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2013 Wedding Planner Published by the Daily Journal

Feature Wedding: Kelsey & Kyle Kasting | Planning your marriage | Cake trends | Wedding budget worksheet

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January 31, 2013 Southside Wedding is published by the Daily Journal. EDITOR: Paul Hoffman WRITERS: Amy May, Bea Northcott, Greg Seiter DESIGN: Amanda Waltz, Margo Wininger

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Roles of the Wedding Party Feature Wedding

10 Kelsey and Kyle Kasting 18 Trends in Dresses 24 Amazing Wedding Cakes 26 Unique Cake Toppers

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28 Men Who Can’t Dance 30 Wedding Registry Tips 32 Planning Your Marriage 34 Wedding Budget Worksheet

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Can I tell our guests not to wear the same color as the bridesmaid dresses? It’s perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to give guests some sort of attire guidelines based on the formality of the occasion (black-tie, cocktail, beach-chic). Some couples are even asking friends and family to dress to match the wedding’s theme or palette (say, all black-and-white or Roaring ’20s attire) in order to get highly stylized photos and to excite guests about a unique wedding experience. But it’s still not kosher to dictate to guests what specifically they can and can’t wear. Even that unspoken rule about not wearing white should remain ... well, unspoken. If your invitations showcase your wedding colors, your female guests may catch on and steer away from dresses in those shades anyway. But if you want to make sure your bridesmaids stand out, gift them matching statement necklaces or earrings, or get them sashes to wear with their dresses in another color from your wedding palette. We’re saving for a new home. How can we ask for cash in lieu of gifts? Try to avoid asking for cash gifts. A more etiquette-friendly option? You can now register for contributions to a down payment on your home (DownPaymentDreams. com). And many stores allow you to register for gift cards, which you can use to buy the things you may want or need ... later. If you’re anxious for cash gifts, ask a few close friends and family members to politely spread the word. You should also register for some traditional items to accommodate guests who’d prefer not to give you money.

We want to have our wedding in D.C., where we live, but most of our guests have to travel. What should we do? Have your wedding in D.C. Don’t feel bad about asking guests to travel — your situation is pretty common, actually, and most couples find that no matter where they decide to get married, some of their guests will have to travel to get there. You can make it easier on friends and family by negotiating discounted rates on room blocks at a few hotels in the area and sending the save-the-dates out at least six to eight months in advance. Is it OK to announce our engagement and include photos of my ring on Facebook? I know a lot of people do this, but my fiancé thinks it’s tacky. Of course you want to share your news (and gorgeous ring) with the world. But before you go public, take a day or so to get a good idea of the size of your guest list. You may not realize the land mines that are associated with your guest list yet and how one little post can turn into a big headache or into hurt feelings and miffed relatives and friends. If you won’t be able to invite all your family members and friends, think twice about posting the news online for the world to see — at least until you can explain to any potentially offended parties that you’re having a very small wedding. Consider a safer option than Facebook: Post pictures of that beautiful ring and a post-proposal shot of the two of you beaming on your wedding website, and send the link to just the relatives and friends you know you’re definitely inviting to the wedding. That way, you’ll get the news out drama-free.

Carley Roney, co-founder and editor in chief of The Knot, the nation’s leading wedding resource, advises millions of brides on modern wedding etiquette at Got more questions? Visit www.theknot. com/askcarley for 800-plus answers on all things wedding.



To help you get a better understanding of how to plan a wedding and when you should be making certain decisions, here’s a time frame you can follow that should ensure that your wedding goes off as smoothly as possible. 10 to 12 Months Before If you haven't done it already, this is a good time to announce your engagement and introduce your respective families. Since most reception halls and churches have busy wedding schedules, it is also important to book both as early as possible, preferably at least a year in advance of your wedding day. It's also a good idea to start putting together a guest list around this time and ask your parents whom they'd like to invite as well. Also, since your budget will determine just about every aspect of your wedding, sitting down and determining what you can spend and developing a savings plan should be first and foremost. 6 to 9 Months Before This is the time when you want to start booking some services, such as a florist, caterer, a DJ/band and a photographer. However, some of the more experienced DJs and bands, as well as photographers, might have their schedules booked a year in advance, so this might be something you'll want to consider doing shortly after you get engaged and choose a date. Also, this is a good time to inform any guests who will be traveling significant distances of the date of your wedding. The earlier your guests can book a flight, the less expensive that flight will be. This is also a good time to order gowns for both the bride and bridesmaids, as some manufacturers require a few months to ship to bridal shops. You might want to ask some-

one, such as your priest or rabbi, to be the officiant of your wedding. And much like out-of-town guests will save travel dollars the earlier they learn of your wedding date, you will likely save money, too, if you book your honeymoon around this time. 4 to 5 Months Before This is a good time to decide on wedding invitations, of which there are many styles to choose from. Also, now is ideal to start hunting for a wedding cake by sampling a number of different bakeries’ cakes before ultimately making a decision. Just to be sure, confirm that all of the bridesmaids have ordered their gowns and start looking for a tuxedo for the groom as well as the groomsmen. If you haven't done so already, purchase your wedding rings and let any other people you'd like to participate in your wedding (ush-

ers, readers during the ceremony, etc.) know of your intentions. 2 to 3 Months Before Finalize your guest list and mail out your invitations. If your guest list includes a considerable amount of people who are spread out geographically, mail the invitations as close to 12 weeks in advance as possible. This is also a good time to finalize your menu choices for your guests, and find all your wedding accessories such as the ring pillow, candles, etc. Also, since it is tradition to provide gifts for those in the wedding party as well as the parents of the bride and groom, this is a good time to decide on and purchase those gifts. Just to be safe, confirm that all groomsmen have ordered their tuxedos and finalize all transportation, both to and from the wedding and to the airport for your honeymoon.

1 to 2 Months Before Schedule the first bridal-gown fitting. Also finalize the readings you'd prefer during the ceremony and mail them out to anyone who has agreed to do a reading. If your family prefers to host a small gathering for close family and friends after the wedding rehearsal, the night before the wedding, this is a good time to order any food or drinks you might want to serve that night, or make a restaurant reservation. 3 to 4 Weeks Before Confirm your honeymoon arrangements and see if your wedding rings are ready. This is also when you should get your marriage license and check the guest list to see who has and hasn't RSVP'd. For those who have yet to RSVP, you might want to contact them so you can get a closer idea of what the head count will

be. You should also prepare and order your wedding program around this time. 1 to 2 Weeks Before Get a final attendance count and submit it to the caterer as soon as you know of it, while also providing a final seating chart. Pick up the wedding gown and tuxedo. Make sure the wedding party picks up their attire. Also, finalize your vows and confirm all wedding-day details such as transportation, photo schedules and addresses. And don't forget to pack for your honeymoon. The Day Before This is mainly when you rehearse for the ceremony and make any final confirmations you might have to make. Also, make sure to get some sleep so you'll look good in all of your wedding-day photos. Metro Creative



roles of the

wedding party by Metro Creative

A wedding can be a wonderful and memorable experience for all of those involved. That’s why you ask friends or relatives to share in the event and serve in your wedding party. Your offer is a wonderful honor, one that carries with it varying degrees of responsibility depending on the role each person will be playing. To help you decide who to ask to be in your wedding party, here is a list of titles and responsibilities for each participant’s role.

Maid of Honor

The maid of honor is a role typically filled by a sister or a very close friend. It is the equivalent of the groom's best man. The maid of honor's role, therefore, is typically very involved. Among her many responsibilities, the maid of honor accompanies the bride on shopping trips for her wedding dress while also planning the bridal shower, bachelorette party and coordinating the bridal party gift for the bride. Also, the maid of honor helps the bride get dressed on her wedding day, holds the groom's wedding ring during the wedding and may also help in the writing of invitations. The maid of honor will also typically act as a witness to the wedding and dance with the best man at the reception. If the woman you're asking is married, her title will be matron of honor.

Best Man

Perhaps the most well-known responsibilities of the best man are organizing the bachelor party and giving the toast at the reception. But the best man, who is typically a brother or best friend of the groom, also has a slew of other responsibilities. In addition to helping the groom choose his tuxedo and get dressed before the wedding, the best man coordinates the couple's gift from the groomsmen and takes care of the newlyweds' transportation to the airport after the reception or the next morning. The best man may also hold onto any payment that's due to the reception site or the donation for the house of worship, and take care of any final financial details. He also holds the bride's wedding ring during the ceremony.


Along with walking in the wedding procession, bridesmaids attend the shower and contribute to the bridal gifts. Bridesmaids, who are typically sisters or friends of the bride or groom, also dance with the groomsmen



during the reception. To be further involved, each can be given specific roles, like reading a religious passage at the ceremony, providing assistance with choosing wedding vendors or helping to address wedding invitations.


Groomsmen are the male equivalent of the bridesmaids, typically having nearly identical responsibilities. Sometimes, groomsmen can act as ushers for guests arriving at the ceremony. Groomsmen walk in the wedding processional and attend and help organize the bachelor party, as well.

Flower Girl

If the bride has a sister who is especially young, that sister typically fills the role of flower girl. Since most flower girls are very young, their responsibilities are generally limited to carrying a basket of flowers during the processional and, depending on the bride's preference, tossing flower petals on the ground to mark the bride's entrance.

Ring Bearer

Like the flower girl, the ring bearer is a very

young member of the family, only the ring bearer is a male. The ring bearer's role is to carry a pillow with the rings sewn on it during the processional. Some couples choose to have the ring bearer and the flower girl walk next to one another during the processional.

Parents of the Bride

The bride's parents may be responsible for hosting the wedding, if they will be completely financially responsible for the event. In some cases, the father of the bride escorts his daughter down the aisle alone, but in other instances or in religious ceremonies, both parents may accompany the bride. In all cases, it's her preference. The mother of the bride may help fund or

contribute to the planning of the bridal shower if the maid of honor needs assistance. These parents may also foot the cost of an engagement party or dinner to meet the groom's family.

Parents of the Groom

The groom's parents should host a rehearsal dinner prior to the wedding. They may also choose to contribute to the wedding if they desire. In most cases, the groom's parents have limited responsibilities, but can be involved as much as the wedding couple would like. Traditionally, the groom's mother confers with the bride's mother on what color gown she is wearing, so as not to go with the same shade. The groom's parents may walk down the aisle in advance of the rest of the wedding processional and take their seats.

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By Amy May Daily Journal staff writer


Former 4-H’ers enjoy their ‘perfect’ day SouthsideWedding


When Kyle and Kelsey (Walls) Kasting started their wedding planning, the biggest concern for them was where to have the reception, which would include 330 guests. After scouting several locations together, the Franklin couple ended up choosing Factory 12 Event Loft in Columbus. Neither of them has ties to Columbus, but they loved the venue and did not think the city just south of Johnson County would be too far a drive for their guests. Both Kastings come from very large, extended families and have many friends from Franklin Community High School and Purdue University, which they both attended, so they knew they could invite a lot of guests. The final guest list was 350 people, with about 330 accepting. “This venue allowed us to invite the large number of people,” Kyle said. After choosing the reception site, they needed a church. “It was important to us to get married in a church,” Kyle said. However, their church, Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin, restricts the times it conducts weddings and could not accommodate their Saturday evening event. Kyle’s childhood pastor, Rev. Mike Beck, introduced the Kastings to Rev. Steve Russell at Sandy Hook United



Methodist Church in Columbus. Russell conducted the pre-marriage counseling and agreed to marry the couple. Since they were having the reception in Columbus, they saw the advantage of having the ceremony there, too; their guests would not have to drive a long distance between the wedding and the reception, Kelsey said. Out-of-town guests were encouraged to stay at the Hotel Indigo in Columbus, which also provided shuttle service. Smith’s Row restaurant in Columbus, not too far from the church, was the site for the rehearsal dinner, as well. After nailing down the location, the Kastings relaxed a bit and enjoyed the rest of the planning process, Kelsey said. She knew what was in store She knew exactly what was in store for her. Her twin sister, Katie Reese, got married in September, and her brother, Kyle Walls, married in December 2011, and Kelsey helped and played roles in each of those weddings. “My parents had three weddings within a year,” she said. Kelsey Walls, the daughter of Kevin and Kim Walls, and Kyle Kasting, son of Tom and Phyllis Kasting, have known each other almost all their lives, although as children, their age difference put them in different social circles. Still, they had much in common. They both were raised in rural Franklin on farms, participated in 4-H and the Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair.



Tom’s mother was a longtime 4-H leader, fair board member and organized the Little Miss and Mr. contest at the fair. Kyle followed in her footsteps and serves on the fair board, organizing concessions, tents and sponsorships. He graduated from Purdue

“If I recollect, you’ve been dress shopping since you were 6.”

they did not see each other as young adults. Through mutual friends, Kyle and Kelsey reconnected after graduation and started dating. On Oct. 22, 2011, Kyle brought Kelsey a cake with “Will you marry me?” inscribed on top in icing and offered her a diamond engagement ring. She accepted. They took a little over a year to plan the big event. Dress shopping


University and started Midwest Communications Group, a political consultation firm. Kelsey was a 10-year 4-H’er, graduated from Franklin and then Purdue. She is the program manager for the national FFA organization, a group for young people interested in agriculture. She helps organize many of the events for the students. They were never at Franklin High School or Purdue at the same time, so



One of the most important parts of the wedding for the bride is the dress. Kelsey started dress shopping in December, a few months after Kyle proposed. “If I recollect, you’ve been dress shopping since you were 6,” Kyle joked to his wife. She took several female relatives on her shopping trips and found her strapless white gown at David’s Bridal on the northside of Indianapolis. Her attendants included her sister, Katie

Reese, matron of honor; and friend Katie Coleman, maid of honor. Kyle’s sister, Kim Minton, and Kelsey’s friends, Amy Davidson and Jami Howland, were bridesmaids. Kelsey used the Internet and found dresses for her attendants at J Crew. The Kastings purchased the navy blue kneelength, strapless dresses as gifts to the attendants, she said. Unlike some bridesmaids’

gowns, these dresses can be worn again. Kyle’s best man was his brother-in-law, Josh Minton. Groomsmen were Kyle’s friends, Austin Papenbrock, Brett Jones and Clay Fulkerson, and Kelsey’s brother, Kyle Walls. Instead of wearing tuxedos, Kyle and the attendants wore charcoal-gray suits from Jos. A. Bank. The suits were also purchased by the couple and given to the

attendants as gifts. The flower girl was Kyle’s niece, Avery Minton. The ring bearer was his cousin, Brody Sparks. Ushers were Michael Reese, Kelsey’s brother-in-law, and Adam Vaught, Kyle’s friend. The invitations heavily employ the wedding colors of navy blue, green and silver, and Kelsey’s creativity is evident. The saveSouthsideWedding




the-date card includes a penny and a silver scratch-off section, which reveals the date of the wedding, Nov. 17, 2012. Kelsey said she got the idea from Martha Stewart Weddings and the guests seemed to enjoy it. The program was a small, folding postcard sized book, bedecked with a blue ribbon and worthy of keeping as a souvenir. It even contains a crossword puzzle titled “How well do you know Kelsey and Kyle” and a personal thank you to their guests for support throughout their lives. Jenny Mowrey handled printing for them. The flowers were designed by Farmers’ Daughters Market, which is owned and operated by Kyle’s sister, Kim Minton, and Jenny Mowrey. The unique bouquets were green and white to reflect the Kastings’ color scheme. They didn’t spend a lot of time tasting potential wedding cakes or catering fare, Kelsey said. Tonya Cruser of CakeArt made them a small wedding cake for the ceremonial cutting and provided stacks of five different flavors of cupcakes for the guests, which were a big hit, Kelsey said. “There was only one left after the wedding,” she said. The groom’s cake was shaped like a Jack Daniels bottle, a favorite for Kyle. Gethin Thomas Catering provided the reception dinner. The Kastings did not want a buffet, so they chose family-style dining. Guests could choose chicken or steak and then help themselves to potatoes, beans and salad. The hors d’oeuvres were sliders and other late night snacks and an open bar was available. Many of the vendors were chosen after online research, Kelsey said. For photography, they chose Modern Relics Photography, owned by Amber Berninger, and decided to have a video done, as well, by Indiana University student Dylan McSweeney. The music was provided by Main Street Dueling Pianos, a duo based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Somewhere in the midst of all the planning, they also selected and bought a house near Hillview Country Club and ordered furniture, which arrived the day they got back from their honeymoon.

Coordinator helped a lot Perhaps the most important vendor Kelsey booked, however, was a wedding coordinator. Although the Kastings did most of their own planning, it was nice to hand everything off to the coordinator the weekend of the event, Kelsey said. Morgan Banks of Bloomington-based Ashley Weddings and Events made sure the flowers were correct and that the food and drinks were all in order, for example. Kelsey was able to relax and hang out with her bridesmaids as they all did their hair and makeup. “I wanted to do all the planning, but wanted somebody there so I could enjoy the day,” she said. “I passed everything off to her.” “She was a big help,” Kyle agreed. “All of us were able to relax and enjoy the day.” All of the planning paid off, as the wedding had no problems with vendors or planning, they said. Kelsey worked in a funny dance with her dad, which surprised all the guests. Kyle was most happy to see his college friends from all over the country; everyone

seemed to have a great time and enjoy the food and music. “That was the first time all my friends from Purdue had gotten back together. It was good to get together with them,” he said. Kelsey could not be happier with her wedding, which she describes as “perfect.” “I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. “We have friends from all over and it’s rare to have all of your family and friends together.” Kyle said he originally pitched for a destination wedding with a small group of close friends and immediate family and then a big party when they returned. “I reminded him that the party is the more detailed part,” Kelsey said. So instead, Kyle booked the honeymoon trip, surprising Kelsey with an eight-day trip to Hawaii the day after the wedding. Upon their return, they also took a Caribbean cruise. In the end, they were glad they went with the big wedding and even enjoyed the planning process. Her advice to couples planning their own wedding: “To not sweat the small stuff and enjoy every minute — it comes and goes before you know it!” SouthsideWedding




Trends in Dresses

This year’s gowns will feature more soft, soothing colors and sheer backs By Greg Seiter



When it comes to weddings, love is in the air no matter the season, and as brides-to-be begin the tedious task of shopping for a wedding dress, here’s a look at what they can expect to see in 2013 trends. Many industry experts expect color hues to take center stage this spring with pastels being particularly in high demand. According to, soft, soothing colors like cotton candy pink, ice



blue and creamy caramel will be at the top of wish lists. In fact, even those who prefer a more traditional white or crème palate may be tempted to add colored accessories such as a mint sash or peachy flower corsage. Of course, bold colors made a stand last season and will continue to do so this year, so wedding planners can also expect to see a fair share of smoldering reds and heavenly blues from designers that include Vera Wang, Douglas Hannant, Mark Zunino, Romona Keveza and Maggie Sottero. While portraying Bella in the Twilight saga’s “Breaking Dawn” films, actress Kris-

ten Stewart unknowingly helped launch a bare-back revolution for 2012. That trend continues in 2013 but with subtle changes. Even though says, “Designers took a backwards plunge this season with the most naked, open, draped, cutout backs we’ve ever seen in a single season,” indicates portrait back wedding dresses, which can have an illusion (sheer) back that features intricate crystal or lace detailing, can give a classic look with a modern feel through various embroideries and modest appliqués. Even a simple keyhole opening can create a fashionable but eloquent look.


The Best in Formal Wear

On the front

On the front side of this year’s wedding dress collections, shoppers who want to avoid going strapless or dealing with plunging, low cuts will find plenty of high neckline options, including halters, jewelnecks and bateaus. Another emerging trend involves the incorporation of waist-defining peplums. Considered by many to add a high-fashion look that’s both sexy and graphic, peplums can be found in both structured and softly draped shapes. Some gowns that feature peplums are made by Angel Sanchez, Amsale, Alfred Angelo, Junko Yoshioka and Ines Di Santo. Brides will be getting away from showing excessive amounts of skin beyond what will be seen on the bare-back gowns and will be searching for items that feature long, sheer sleeves. Many collections have items that include wrist-length sleeves, according to ColinCowie Weddings. Some are composed of completely opaque fabrics like silk crepe but most are in lighter weight, sheerer materials. Lace, tulle and chiffon covered arms may be especially popular. Tulle, which is essentially a simple lightweight netting, can also be found in dramatic, see-through necklines and even capes or as ruffles, swirls, free-form flowers and shredded dress layers. Other wedding gown trends to watch for in 2013 include off-the-shoulder styles and add-ons such as under wraps or cover-ups, which help to provide a bride with a small amount of additional warmth on her wedding day.


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Convertible styles says more brides than ever are looking for second party dresses that allow for conversion from aisle-walking glamour to dance-ready comfort. So, designers have responded with convertible styles that use removable skirts, trains and capes to create a distinct reception look. Anyone searching for this trend should use the term “Transformers” because that’s how it’s recognized in the bridal industry. While acknowledging a strong movement toward the utilization of color hues, in particular, David’s Bridal, with a store located in Greenwood, is introducing an inaugural collection — Melissa Sweet for David’s Bridal — which offers brides contemporary styles made of ethereal, vintage-inspired designs. The new collection is composed of seven gowns made of tulle and lace detailing that, according to a David’s Bridal news release, are “Ideal for the bride who is romantic in spirit and has a keen appreciation of heirloom accents that are delivered in a modern way.” Of course, shoppers can find a variety of other collections at David’s Bridal, too. The Oleg Cassini Collection features gowns with gold embellishments and modern coverage, while the Galina Signature Collection boasts skirt drama and sparkle. The bride who prefers simplicity may opt for the Galina Collection, which highlights illusion necklines and novelty fabrics like lace and dot tulle. Classic ball gowns and traditional A-lines can be found in the David’s Bridal Collection. For those in search of a more informal wedding style, the DB Studio Collection, with chiffon and sheath layered fabrics, may be most appropriate.  


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amazing wedding cakes

From bold, graphic flowers to sweet all-white designs, here are a few of our favorite wedding cakes.

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Organic Blossoms

Pixilated Flowers

A square-shaped middle tier and delicate accents combine to create a chic, sophisticated wedding cake.

Pale green flowers accented in gold are just the right touch for a two-tiered, organic butter cream cake, sure to have all your guests’ mouths watering.

The new way to add flowers to your cake? Dot by dot flowers piped onto a three-tiered, white fondant cake add a contemporary feel to a classic shape.

Mod Polka Dots When it comes to polka-dotted cakes, choose a color and vary the shades. Orange, apricot, ivory and white fondant dots can play up a cake’s modern shape.

Black & White Patterns Give your cake a couture look with a black-and-white Parisian pattern.

Crimped Tiers To get a wedding cake that both steals the spotlight and looks the part, send your cake baker a copy of your invite to use as a guide.

Lace-Inspired Fondant How do you keep an eyelet-inspired, all-white cake from looking too delicate and dainty? Decorate it with alternating, abstract patterns.

Gift Cakes Serve mini cakes tableside, or have them wrapped and sent home as favors. Looking for an alternative to the bouquet toss? Serve them to your most eligible friends — guys and girls. The one who finds the ring inside is next in line to marry.

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That personal touch? Say it with a cake topper


he only part of a wedding cake that doesn’t get eaten, preserved in the freezer or smudged across a bride or groom’s face is the cake topper. Why not make it something worth saving? From wooden figurines to monogrammed eggs in a nest to teacups from Grandma’s china cabinet, cake toppers at weddings have become more personalized. Increasingly, couples are working with artists to design the perfect cake topper, unique to them. ``The cake topper is one of the few things that will be part of the wedding that the couple will take home afterward and maybe display in their house,’’ said Portland, Ore.-based artist Hilary Pfeifer, who designs customized cake toppers. ``It’s not just a plastic topper that they use for that day; it becomes an icon in their house afterward,’’ she said. Pfeifer sells her cake toppers out of her online shop, Bunny with a Toolbelt. The figurines



are made of reclaimed wood and painted with acrylic. They are typically animals and often are customized to fit a couple’s taste and interest. Pfeifer’s creations have run the gamut from colorful elephants for a circus-themed wedding, to a pair of robots with a robot dog, to a duck bride and groom wearing Converse sneakers. She has made cake-topper alligators, deer, squirrels, giraffes, flamingos, turtles, penguins, monsters, space monkeys, flying pigs and more. Often they are turned into sports mascots. ``Having customers bring you ideas is great,’’ Pfeifer said. ``It takes me places I wouldn’t have gone on my own.’’ Another artist who has worked with brides and grooms

to customize cake toppers is Heather WardMigner, based in Asheville, N.C. Through her online store, Star House, she sells a variety of figurines made of local poplar wood that are then cut, burned and painted with watercolors to create specific images. Her cake toppers have included couples on double bicycles, pairs of love birds, and a bride and groom in a yellow canoe. Typically, her wooden characters are based on a photograph, and closely resemble the actual couple—a far cry from the standardized cake toppers of yore. The effort that goes into creating such a personal memento contributes to its ultimate staying power. ``I love thinking about how 100 years from now some bohemian college students might have their grand-

parents’ cake toppers displayed in their apartment,’’ Ward-Migner said. The customization of wedding cake toppers is still a niche trend, but one that has been growing, according to Anja Winikka, senior editor at ``Your wedding cake as a whole is such a great way to add your own personality, and it’s a great way to make a statement at your wedding without going over the top,’’ Winikka said. ``The cake topper falls into that category as well.’’ She has seen various handcrafted toppers recently. Love birds are a popular choice, she said, including options made out of felt, fabric, wood or other materials. Winikka has also seen the vintage craze enter the wedding-cake-topper arena. Couples are repurposing their parents’ and grandparents’ cake toppers as their own. You can also creatively use trinkets from your grandparents or tiny teacups from their china cabinet as your cake topper, she suggested. In the case of a cake or cupcake tower that isn’t suited to having a topper, the bridal couple can turn the entire cake table into a sort of display area with mementos or figurines that add personality, Winikka said. ``I’ve definitely noticed that when a normal person thinks of a wedding cake topper, they think of the plastic bride and groom,’’ said wedding planner Laura Auer, whose company is about to plan its 300th wedding. ``But I’ve probably seen that only five out of the 300 times. People want different skin tones, or they aren’t male-female couples, or they just don’t want old-school traditional bride-and-groom cake toppers.’’ Auer started her Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company, Blue Canary Events, in 2005, and has seen a trend toward unique cake toppers. In addition to art pieces custom-designed for the couple, she has noticed a lot of monogrammed cake toppers, sometimes very ornate — made of crystal or pretty much any other material. If the bride is taking her husband’s last name, it’s not proper etiquette to use that married name until after the couple has taken their vows, Auer said. So having it on the cake might be a fun way to introduce the new shared initial for the first time. Other popular options are edible or floral cake toppers — real decorative flowers, fruit or flowers made of frosting. By HILLARY SPEED / Associated Press Writer

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Men Who

Can’t Dance The pressure’s on for grooms with two left feet Looking silly — or worse — during the first dance as a married couple rates way up there on the scale of wedding stress for grooms who are terrified of anything fancier than the high school prom sway. “It’s not Emily Post’s dance anymore,” said Crista Tharp, a wedding planner in Kokomo, Ind. “Some are doing rap, hip-hop, break dancing in little snippets. Most grooms would probably nix the dance, but they’re not given that option.” Motivated by television’s “Dancing with the Stars” and wacky wedding dance YouTube videos, more couples are building fancy footwork into their big-day budgets, turning up the pressure on members of the wedding party with two left feet. For those who can’t dance — but will be singled out by cameras and watching guests — setting a clear goal is a good place to begin, dance instructors suggest. Are you merely looking to survive with a few basic steps, or are you going all-in with dance sequences put together with help from an instructor or a wedding choreographer? Groom-to-be Jerry Karran, 28, a video editor in New York City, decided on regular lessons at a dance studio ahead of his wedding in July with 400 invited guests. He tried watching instructional videos online, but they left him confused. “I’m very nervous,” he said. “I’m not nervous about anything else concerning the wedding but that. I can’t dance, like, at all. Everybody’s looking at you. I don’t want to look stupid messing up, or stepping on her toes or something.”



Dance lessons helped calm Jeremy Gorelick, 30, when he got married in April at Johns Hopkins University, where he met his wife. He has always enjoyed dancing in clubs, but slow dancing was “The worry of the wedding for both of us.” They took lessons together, but he often practiced on his own with a broom. That, Gorelick said, was a misstep because it wasn’t at all like leading his bride on the dance floor. “A broom will do whatever you do, so it was actually an exercise in futility and probably did more damage,” said Gorelick, of New York City and White Sulphur Springs, N.Y. Start taking lessons well in advance of the big day to make your movements more instinctive and less dependent on shaky, short-term memory, instructors recommend. Beginning at least six months ahead of a wedding is ideal, but six weeks would suffice, so long as at least four lessons are involved. Start with group lessons, many suggest, to get comfortable on a dance floor and boost confidence. Then take private instruction to work on a specific routine or dance. Jackie Horner, who was Gorelick’s instructor, often teaches whole wedding parties how to dance. While women, too, can be dance-challenged, men are often more nervous because they must also learn how to lead, she said. “I say to them, dancing is just walking to music,” Horner said. “I have them walk around the room for me to just feel the music a little bit, because there are men who do not have any rhythm at all. Usually it’s a little easier than they thought.” Gorelick said beginners should advocate for a short song. He and his wife chose “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson after their instructor steered them away from a longer tune, “based on the fact that I seemed so tense. She didn’t want me to be out there for an eternity, which is sort of what it felt like.” James Joseph, who wrote the book “Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing”

Michael Drazin and Shelley Kapitulik take a dance lesson in preparation for their June wedding at the Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Greenwich, Conn.

(BlueChip, 2010), said taking lessons is fine if couples have the time, money and inclination. For those in dance-floor survival mode, try embellishing the basic side step with a simple change of footwork, a slow rotation or some underarm turns. “If anyone asks, tell them it’s a foxtrot,” he said. Change steps when the music changes, from verse to chorus, for instance, to avoid getting lost. Making four or five changes, with a dip in the middle and at the end, can look more difficult than it really is. Working with a choreographer, Joseph said, may be more trouble than it’s worth. “If you work with a teacher, there’s a temptation to add choreography that you might not be able to handle,” he said. “Don’t get in over your head.” Practicing in wedding clothes, including shoes, also helps lessen anxiety, said Joseph, a former two-left-footer who lives in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Videotape a practice session to see what needs work — and practice, practice, practice. Grooms aren’t the only front-and-center wedding participants who may be jittery about big dances. In 2006, at age 62, bawdy TV personality Jerry Springer brought tears to the set of “Dancing with the Stars” with an on-air kiss for his daughter Katie after a waltz he learned so he could dance at her wedding that December. “I’ve never really danced,” Springer, now 66, said in an interview. “So the night of the wedding, it’s time for the big fatherdaughter dance. In the middle of it, Katie looks up at me and says, ‘Dad, nobody can see our feet.’ They were covered by her big gown. My advice to dads unsure if they can dance for their daughter’s wedding is to make sure they have a big gown. Then you can get by doing anything.” Shelley Kapitulik, 29, and her fiance, Michael Drazin, 27, both of Greenwich, Conn., hope to do more than just get by when they dance to the Michael Buble cover of James Taylor’s “How Sweet It Is (To be Loved by You)” at their June reception. They plan a swing dance, and took lessons to get a nervous Drazin over the hump. “The more we dance and I make mistakes, we figure out how to just keep going, which has decreased the anxiety level,” he said. By LEANNE ITALIE / Associated Press Writer

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Top 10

Wedding Registry Tips









register early

What are you waiting for? Registering for wedding gifts should be one of the first tasks you tackle when you get engaged. Friends and relatives will be looking to buy wedding gifts as soon as he pops the question. Really! Take the guesswork out of gift buying by making sure they know what you want. You don’t need to complete your list just yet, but at least have a selection for guests to browse.

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Hitting the stores together is essential. After all, the gifts are for both of you. To decide what you need, take inventory of the things you already have and see where the gaps are. Talk about the style of home you’d both like, and split up the final say (you could alternate items) to make it fair. (Maybe he gets to make final decisions on electronics, while you get to choose the kitchen stuff since you’re the chef.)

register for what you want Don’t feel like you just need to register for china and flatware. Many stores have wedding registries now, so feel free to include whatever it is that will make your new house a home, be it electronics, appliances, or even camping equipment.

but...think about how you live

Try to avoid filling your list with things you’re never going to use. If you two aren’t the formal party types, then you probably won’t need a crystal punch bowl, as compelling as it may seem when you walk by with that registry scanner. Also, be extra-sure before you register for anything that’s monogrammed. Once your name is on it, you probably won’t be able to return it.

check the store’s return policies

It’s always a good idea to inquire about a store’s exchange/return policies. The great thing is many wedding registry retailers have amazing customer service to accommodate to-be-weds’ needs (for example, you might suddenly realize that you don’t really have room for 24 chargers and want to return, say, eight of them). That said, being aware of the store’s return and exchange timelines will help you better plan and manage your registry.

make sure you hit all price points

As much as you may be hankering for that gorgeous $350-a-place-setting silver, be sure to register for items in a wide range of price points: under $50, under $75, under $100, under $200, and beyond, so all of your guests can choose gifts they can afford. You don’t want your college friend feeling overwhelmed by the fact that

he can’t find a single gift; and on the opposite side, you don’t want your parents’ closest friends to have to buy you a multitude of smaller items to give you a generous gift.


be considerate of your guests

At least one (and preferably all) of your registries should be available online. Guests should also be able to place their orders in person, over the phone or by fax. If you’ve registered at a boutique retailer that doesn’t offer online services, you should be ok, as long as that’s not the only place you’ve registered. We live in a hectic world and you want to let guests be able to order you a gift — even if it’s 2 a.m.!


update often When a guest buys a gift for you, your registry should automatically update, allowing other guests to see what’s been purchased (and allowing you to see what’s on its way!). Make sure to revisit your registry often (trust us, you’ll be visiting several times a day once the wedding day nears), and update it with additional selections as products are purchased so that guests always have a variety of things to choose from. Aim to have at least twice as many items on your list as guests at your wedding.


think gift cards Sure, some couples love receiving cash, but asking for it is not exactly Future Mr. and Mrs. Manners-approved. A more etiquette-friendly option? Try gift cards. Many stores allow you to register for them and you can use them to buy the things you want and need...later. If you are anxious for cash gifts, ask one or two close friends and immediate family members to politely spread the word.



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say thanks

Be gracious — let your guests know their gifts have arrived — promptly. Thank-you notes for gifts received before the wedding should be sent within two weeks of their arrival. Notes for gifts received on or after the wedding day should be sent within a month of your return from the honeymoon. In all notes, be sure to mention the gift by name.

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Plan your marriage, not just your wedding By Bea Northcott

As you plan your wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in the many details of the rehearsal dinner, gowns, ceremony, reception and honeymoon. But it’s equally, if not more important to plan the details of your marriage so that you and your spouse don’t end up after the wedding asking yourselves “What now?” There are many factors that affect a successful marriage. A few of these may be out of your control because they rely on other people (your parents) or things that have already happened (pregnancy or a first marriage). But the factors that are in your control can make up for a lot. And one simple step can actually compensate for the factors that aren’t in your favor. You might name additional factors, but the following have been shown by research to influence your chances of having a successful marriage.


Parents’ marriage Couples whose

Age at marriage In general, those

parents were happily married are less likely to divorce. Of course, many individuals whose parents divorced are able to establish happy marriages. Happily married couples serve as role models as children develop into young adults. So even if your parents were divorced, you can look to other relatives or friends to act as models or mentors.

who are older when married have more stable marriages. Those who marry at 20 years or older have marriages that last twice as long as those who marry under age 20. Nearly half of those who marry under age 18, and 40 percent under the age of 20, end up divorced.

Childhood People who had a happy, “normal” childhood are more likely to have success in marriage. But let’s be realistic. “Normal” doesn’t exist. My childhood was normal for me, but not for anyone else, including my siblings. Factors to consider here are the loving support of family, positive influences and the development of good habits and self-esteem. People who suffered significant trauma as children will bring those wounds to relationships without some intervention. Length of acquaintance Generally, the longer you know someone before marriage, the more likely the relationship will be successful. Those who have known each other more than a year have better odds. Time allows you to observe your partner in a variety of situations, understand him or her better and identify potential areas of conflict.

Parental approval Parental approval is related to marital success for two reasons. First of all, approving parents are more supportive. Secondly, disapproving parents may be seeing real problems in the relationship that might create difficulties for the couple. No premarital pregnancy

Marriages that occur as the result of pregnancy have a high rate of failure; 50 percent end within five years. Reasons for marriage Marriages begun because of genuine understanding and caring have better success than those started for the other reasons, such as getting away from home, rebellion, wanting children or wanting to be independent. Most couples planning a wedding would say they are marrying for all the right reasons. But it’s difficult for individuals who are “in love” to recognize the true reasons for marriage. Sometimes this takes much reflection after the fact and years of experience.

MAKING IT First marriage First marriages have the best chance at success for a variety of reasons. Children are often involved in second marriages, causing additional stress to the couples’ relationship. Also, we aren’t always very good at learning from our mistakes, so we often bring the same “baggage” that contributed to the unsuccessful first marriage to the second (and third, etc.) marriage. The divorce rate for first marriages is between 40 and 50 percent, but is 60-70 percent for second marriages and more than 70 percent for third marriages. Living together Many studies have

been conducted with couples living together either prior to or instead of getting married. Some have shown that couples who cohabit before marriage run a much higher risk of divorce – 40 to 85 percent – than couples who waited until after. Other studies have shown that when premarital cohabitation began after the commitment to get married, there is no greater risk for divorce. Despite the fact that many couples believe that cohabitation is a good way to prepare for marriage, the dynamics and level of commitment change after the wedding.

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I mentioned at the beginning of this article that there is one simple step couples can take to compensate for any of the above factors. That’s premarital counseling. Good premarital counseling/education is a sort of insurance policy against divorce and can reduce the risk of divorce by up to 30 percent. We will all encounter difficulties in our marriages. When couples take advantage of the positive energy and optimism to strengthen the marriage before it starts, they can avoid some of the negative habits and bad communication patterns that can build up later. Couples who attend premarital courses learn to communicate and solve problems better.

Bea Northcott is a columnist for the Daily Journal, writing about marriages, relationships and family.

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Total Wedding Budget

wedding budget worksheet Ceremony


Location fee Officiant fee Marriage license Rings Pillow Total Ceremony

Ceremony Bride’s bouquet Bridesmaids’ bouquets Corsages & boutonnieres Reception centerpieces Flower girl basket Bathroom arrangements Total flowers

Reception Reception site Food Drinks Rentals Cake Favors Total Reception

Attire Gown Headpiece/veil Undergarments/hosiery Shoes Accessories Jewelry Makeup Hair Tuxedo Shoes Cuff links Men’s grooming Total attire

Music Ceremony musicians Band/DJ Extra musicians Total music



Photography Photographer’s fees Videographer’s fees Total photography

Transportation Limousines Buses/transport for guests Total transportation

Stationery Invitations Calligraphy Postage Thank-you cards Total stationery

Gifts Wedding party Parents Other Total gifts

Honeymoon Accommodations Food Total honeymoon


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