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A Supplement of the Iron County Reporter & Shopper’s Guide ~ 2012

weddings Origins of bridal customs 02 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide

Chances are those who have attended a wedding have witnessed some popular traditions take place. The bride wears a veil, a court of wedding attendants accompanies the bride and groom, and birdseed, rice or flower petals are tossed. But have you ever wondered why? The wedding customs are ripe with tradition and harken back to days when superstition and myth often ruled the day. Throwing rice: Today it has become de rigueur to blow bubbles, toss birdseed or release doves when the bride and groom leave the house of worship newly betrothed. That’s because savvy individuals found that raw rice can pose a hazard to birds pecking in the area. However, rice throwing

is an old custom that dates back to the Middle Ages, when wheat or rice where thrown to symbolize fertility for the couple. Bouquet: Nowadays, the bride carries a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But the purpose of the bouquet held different meanings in the past. Saracen brides carried orange blossoms for fertility. Others carried a combination of herbs and flowers to ward off evil spirits with their aroma. Bouquets of dill were often carried, again for fertility reasons, and after the ceremony, the dill was eaten to encourage lust. Bridesmaids: There may be arguments over dresses and how many bridesmaids to have in a wedding party now, but in ancient times it was “the more the mer-

rier.” That’s because bridesmaids were another measure to keep the bride safe against evil spirits. Essentially the bridesmaids were decoys for the spirits -- dressing like the bride to confuse the spirits or maybe help deter them to leave the bride be. Wedding rings: Wearing of wedding rings dates back to ancient Egypt. The round shape of a ring symbolizes eternal love. The ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it is believed this finger has a blood vessel that goes directly to the heart. Wedding cake: The traditional wedding cake evolved from Roman times when the cake was originally made from wheat. It was broken over the bride’s

2012 head to ensure fertility. All of the guests eat a piece for good luck. Single women used to place a piece of wedding cake under their pillows in the hopes of finding their own husbands. Father accompanying the bride: This tradition symbolizes that the bride’s father endorses the choice in husbands and is presenting his daughter as a pure bride to that man. Kissing the bride: In older times, a kiss symbolized a legal bond. Therefore, the bride and groom kissed to seal the deal on their betrothal. There are many traditions surrounding a wedding that people simply accept. But understanding their origins can make the ceremony more meaningful.

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03 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide


What to look for in a reception venue Engaged couples must make assorted important decisions with regards to their wedding day. For some, the process of planning a wedding can be overwhelming, while others revel in each and every decision. Among the many decisions couples must make is which venue to use for their reception. The wedding reception venue is where most of the day will be spent, and where the majority of the people will do their mingling. When looking for a wedding venue, there are a number factors to take into consideration. The Accommodations The facility itself should be able to accommodate the wedding size. Some weddings are grandiose events with large guests lists, while others are

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more understated and intimate, with only a small number of family and friends in attendance. Couples should know which type of wedding they will be having, and should have at least an estimate figure in mind of the number of guests before visiting any facilities. Once that estimate has been made, look for a facility that can comfortably accommodate that number of people, and ideally find one that has a done so in the past. Couples won’t want a facility where everyone is crammed together, nor will they want one where a relatively small number of guests are in a large ballroom with lots of empty space. More minor details regarding the facility must also be considered. Ask if the facility is handicapped accessible.

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the hotel. Since many wedding guests come from out of town, they likely won’t know the area well and could get lost if the facility is too far away from their hotel. Keep things simple by finding a reception venue that’s close to the hotel or hotels where guests will be staying. The Hours Couples who want their receptions to last into the wee hours should inquire about the facility’s hourly rate. A typical reception lasts five or six hours. If couples want to go beyond that, they might have to pay an hourly rate. Ask if the facility charges an hourly rate or if the venue can simply be rented for as long as the party keeps going. The Price Many facilities offer a flat rate to rent the venue. When discussing the rate, be sure to ask what’s included. Will food, flowers, venue decor, and even staff tips be included in the rental fee? When choosing a reception venue, couples must consider a host of factors that stretch beyond a venue’s aesthetic appeal.

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If the wedding is in the warmer months, make sure the venue is air conditioned. Since most weddings have a break in between the ceremony and the reception, ask if the facility has a room in which the bride and groom can freshen up before the reception begins. The Date Couples may choose the date of their wedding based on the availability of a church they attend or a specific wedding officiant they want to perform their ceremony. Once that date has been chosen, it’s time to look for a reception venue. Couples who have a specific venue in mind might want to ask about the venue’s availability before settling on a wedding date. When seeking out a reception venue, ask if the venue has any other events scheduled for that day. Some couples prefer to have the facility all to themselves and their guests. The Location The facility’s location should be a priority. Couples won’t want their guests to have to drive too far from the wedding ceremony to the reception venue or from the reception venue back to

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04 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide


Advantages of a wedding video In a financial climate where most people are pinching pennies, it comes as no surprise that many engaged couples seek ways to cut costs with regard to their weddings. Some couples are undecided whether certain components of their wedding are necessary. The decision to hire a videographer is one such area couples fret over. After all, with a photographer snapping hundreds of pictures, having a video may seem like an unnecessary luxury. However, people often find that having a wedding video to cherish long after the day has passed is well worth the price. There are several advantages to hiring a professional videographer to capture the day. A professionally produced wedding video is not the same as Uncle Fred carrying around his archaic camcorder and catching a few embarrassing dance moves dur-

ing the reception. A professional video will showcase all moments of the wedding from perspectives not easily captured by photography. In addition to showcasing the images of the wedding, the video will also share the sounds and emotions of the day. Here are some things to think about. Choose a videographer who will work in conjunction with the wedding mood and parameters. You probably don’t want a videographer who uses bright lights that can be distracting. Nor do you want a videographer who pushes the camera in guests’ faces for a less-than-candid interview. Today’s professionals are inconspicuous and simply record the events as they unfold. A videographer will capture the things you may have missed during the busy day. He or she can serve as the eyes and ears for the things you’re not seeing and hearing.

Although ours is an increasingly digital world where people capture photos and videos on their smartphones and other devices on a regular basis, a wedding video can serve as a family memento. What other time, apart from the holidays, do you have all of your friends and loved ones together in one place? Sound is a portion of the wedding that photos simply cannot capture. To relive the music and the words of the day, a videographer is a necessity. Professionals who use wireless micro-

phones will produce a video with the best sound quality. You can work with a good videographer so it’s not simply a video with close-up shots of your face or unflattering perspectives. Talk about your preferences and even fears about being filmed (some people just don’t like watching themselves on TV), and the videographer can no doubt find solutions that will accommodate your needs. Although brides and grooms may be cutting costs with regard to their wedding, they may not want to pass on the wedding video.

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weddings Unique reception touches 05 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide

Over the course of their lifetimes, many people will be wedding guests on several occasions. During the height of wedding season, weddings can run into one another, as the format and the festivities are similar at various ceremonies. Couples interested in setting their nuptials apart may want to enhance the wedding reception with a few unique ideas. Who hasn’t attended a wedding that seems formulaic? The couple enters, they do their spotlight dance, there’s food, a bouquet toss and then the cake cutting. Guests may actually be able to predict what’s coming next. While it is often customary and easy to follow tradition, that doesn’t mean you cannot buck with tradition and offer a few creative ideas to make your event stand out. Here are several ideas you can introduce into your wedding to add something special to the reception. Skip the big entrance. Those who were kind enough to attend the ceremony have already been introduced to the newly minted

happy couple. Instead of spending the cocktail hour in the isolation of the wedding suite, mingle with your guests from start to finish. So much time is spent posing for pictures or being out of touch with guests, the cocktail hour can be a great time to sit and chat. Being with guests during the cocktail hour means you don’t have to make that big entrance from behind closed doors. Guests will have all eyes on you when you step on the dance floor for your first dance together. Encourage couples to dance together. It’s often customary for the bridal party to join the bride and groom on the dance floor midway through the first dance. However, that leaves spouses or significant others waiting in the wings while their dates tango with groomsmen or bridesmaids. Instead, don’t have assigned partners. Rather, encourage your bridal party members to dance with whomever they choose. Swap the garter/bouquet toss for something more meaningful. If you’re part of a couple who feels the garter and bouquet toss has become trite, there are

other ways to create special moments in your celebration -- ones that don’t single out the singletons who haven’t yet found their special someones. Use this time to present a small gift or token of your affection to someone on the guest list who has served as a mentor or source of inspiration. Choose one special component as an extra goodie for guests. Some couples feel the more they offer the better guests will view their wedding. Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean guests will have a better time. If you want to go above and beyond the ordinary, find one thing that you absolutely love and offer that at the party. It could be a flambe presentation, a chocolate or candy bar, a carving station with your all-time favorite food (even if that’s PB&J), or a carnival-inspired automatic photo booth. Hire a live performer. Although it’s hard to beat the performance quality of your wed-

2012 ding song being performed by the original artist, unless you’re cousins with Celine Dion, chances are she won’t be available to sing “My Heart Will Go On” at your reception. However, a live band adds a certain level of excitement that a disk jockey may not be able to provide. Those who are adding a cultural or ethnic component to their wedding may want to hire a dance troupe or another type of performer, like a bagpiper, as an added measure of entertainment for guests. Let them eat ... cookies? Some people just don’t like cake. Therefore, why should a couple have to cut a seven-tiered white confection? Towers of different types of treats can be created from just about anything and serve as the perfect backdrop for that classic cake-cutting photo. A pyramid of cream puffs, stacks of brownies, a cookie castle, or cereal-cake concoctions can work.

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06 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide

Wedding themes can add up to extra fun Every couple wants their wedding to be memorable. The goal of planning a wedding is to create an experience that everyone will remember for years to come. For some couples, a theme

wedding is the best way to accomplish just that. When it comes time to select a theme, the day the wedding takes place may dictate the theme. For example, if the wedding takes place on Halloween,

the ideas for the theme are easy. Many other couples choose a theme that highlights a specific interest or hobby or something that is dear to them. Here are some popular wedding themes. Holiday: The Christmas season lends itself well to wedding planning. The colors (red, green, gold) are already established, and most churches and buildings are already decked out in holiday finery, cutting down on the amount of flowers and embellishments couples need. Because the holiday season is so busy and a popular time for socializing, couples who want to tie the knot during this time of year should send save-the-date cards well in advance. Another option is to have a “Christmas in July” wedding, featuring the same holiday themes but without the hectic nature of the holiday season. Vegas: Couples who want to tie the knot in Las Vegas but want to ensure all their loved ones can attend can recreate the magic of Vegas wherever they may be. Casino-inspired games and big

buffet meals can make guests feel like they have stepped into a casino on the famed Vegas strip. In addition, an Elvis impersonator is essential to a Vegas wedding. TV show: Some couples elevate certain television shows to cult status. Whether it’s “Friends” or “Star Trek,” popular television shows have been transformed into festive wedding themes. Whether the idea is to go daring and exchange vows in costume or simply name reception tables according to characters or show locations, couples can include a little television fun into the event. Fairytale: Many men and women envision a fairytale wedding complete with horse-drawn carriage and the “happily ever after.” This is what makes Disney

2012 properties as well as the various castles around the world popular backdrops for wedding events. Those planning a fairytale wedding need only look to favorite stories or movies for their inspiration. Interest or passion: Love to climb mountains? Avid about scuba diving? Couples who share a particular interest can include elements of this sport or hobby into their wedding. Invitations and decor can hint at the theme, and then special activities can further enhance it. Fish bowls as centerpieces may call to mind underwater adventures, while surfboard-shaped invites may set the scene for a beachside party. Theme weddings can add an extra spice to the festivities and incorporate couples’ interests into the event -- making it even more special.

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07 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide


Colorful accents chic for this year’s bridal gowns Almost as long as there have been bridal gowns, white or ivory have been the colors of choice for first-time brides. These light hues represent the purity and innocence of the bride. Although a few brides-to-be choose to forego wedding white for something a bit more flashy -- like pink or yellow gowns -- a popular trend today is to wear gowns with accents of black or other deep colors to add dimension to the white canvas. Considering the groom and groomsmen will be dressed in black tuxedos, black accents on a wedding gown have been growing in popularity and add a formal, regal look to a wedding. Darker color embellishments can add drama to a gown. Another advantage is they can call out pattern or adornments not easily seen on a white-onwhite gown. Furthermore, deep colors against the white backdrop of the gown show well in photography, particularly the black-and-white journalistic style that is very trendy as well. Women shopping for bridal gowns who are considering colored accents should be careful

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that these embellishments are subtle and do not overwhelm the gown -- or the person who will be wearing it! Popular enhancements include appliques on the bodice or the train of the gown. Another idea is to select a white gown and then tie a black bow or sash around the waist or put a lace shrug over bare shoulders. Black-and-white lace gloves are also an option for those who want to add just a little splash of dimension. The same concept can be applied to any accent color. Burgundy or plum colors also work well to add the contrast of dark against light and aren’t as extreme as black. Some brides can also opt for a paler, more pastel shade to serve as an accompaniment to the white gown. Many times the accent colors chosen are replicated in the hue of the bridesmaids’ gowns, so the entire wedding party looks cohesive. Because the spectacle will be the beauty of the gown, it’s best to carry a neutral-colored bouquet in a small size. Or, a black-and-white gown can be accented with a small nosegay of red flowers or roses.


08 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide


Coloring the wedding ~ choosing a hue for the bridesmaid gowns Bridesmaids are an important part of the wedding party, and most brides opt to have a handful of close friends and family members play a special role in the wedding. Choosing a gown and a color that will flatter all of the bridesmaids typically takes a little work. An overwhelming majority of couples choose to have a formal wedding. The average number of bridesmaids for these formal weddings is four. Considering around two million weddings take place in North America every year, that’s a lot of bridesmaids for whom gowns and other attire must be planned. Many bridesmaids worry about the gowns they will wear come the big day. Horrible bridesmaid dresses have been the butt of jokes for years, and many people have their own stories of garish gowns they’ve been asked to don for a wedding. Some have said that brides intentionally choose ugly gowns for their bridesmaids to ensure they’re not outshined come the wedding day. Although this may be the case for some, most brides aspire to select gowns that will be flattering for all. And color scheme is integral in the choice of gown. Every well-planned wedding carries a color scheme throughout. This includes the color a bride selects for her bridesmaids to wear. But not every color accentuates everyone’s features. Therefore, some experimentation might be necessary to find a color that is flattering to all and fits with the color scheme. Depending on hair color and skin shade, there are many flattering hues available for gowns. When making this decision, con-

sider bridesmaids’ ethnicity and skin tone. African-American:Women with dark skin and hair may really shine in jewel-colored gowns, including silver, gold, purple and salmon. Very pale colors may be daring and conspicuous. Asian and olive-skinned women: Those with a slight yellow tone to their skin will look good in many colors, including red, navy, peach, and fuchsia. However, avoid colors in light yellow, aqua, gray, taupe, or mint, which may make the bridesmaid look washed out. Fair skin:Ladies with pale skin will benefit from richly colored gowns in jewel tones. Pastels may work, but be careful about those depending on hair color. Pink or red-hued gowns may clash with someone with auburn hair. Yellow and green may not work with a fair brunette. Gray and silver may wash out someone who is pale and blonde. Once a color is chosen, brides also need to consider the season. Certain colors may look out of place depending on the season. For example, an evergreen or deep blue may seem wintry during a summer wedding. Similarly, russet or brown may work for the autumn but not for a spring wedding. Many brides gravitate toward mid-level blues, greens, pinks and purples for their wed-

dings, simply because those colors transcend the seasons.

After colors are worked out, the style of the gown deserves consideration. Because not every bridesmaid has the same physical attributes, many brides are now open to selecting a color and length and allowing the bridesmaid herself to choose the exact style. This way someone who is busty won’t feel uncomfortable in strapless, and someone who is thin won’t be overwhelmed by a lot of ruffles. The intent is to have bridesmaids feel beautiful and comfortable, and different styles can help achieve this. Making the effort to choose a gown color and style that is flattering to all in the bridal party will help the ladies feel they are truly a special part of the wedding

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09 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide


Beauty and the budget can have a happy ending Choosing an inexpensive wedding dress doesn’t mean sacrificing style and beauty. Today’s budget-minded bride has numerous options when it comes to finding an inexpensive wedding dress that looks like a million bucks. You’ve probably had a vision of your ideal wedding dress in your head since you were a young girl... and now that you’re engaged it’s time to actually find that dress. But what if you’re on a tight budget and that dress costs several hundred or even thousands of dollars? Remember, you’ll also need to budget for your veil or headpiece, lingerie, shoes and jewelry. With an open mind and a little legwork, you can find an inexpensive wedding dress that’s beautiful, elegant and works with your budget.

First, keep in mind that the wedding dress you’ve been dreaming of may not be the one that actually looks best on you. Study different kinds of dresses and try them on to determine what style of dress looks best on you. This will help you immediately eliminate certain styles of wedding gowns, and may even change your mind about what kind of wedding gown you really want. Remember to look for a wedding gown that plays up your natural beauty, not overpowers it. These days, all types of wedding gowns are both fashionable and acceptable, and more and more brides are choosing informal wedding dresses. Keep in mind that informal does not have to mean boring or ugly. Often, it means simple and comfortable,

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yet still elegant and beautiful. But where can you find informal wedding dresses? Bridal shops are an option, of course, but you can also search the formal wear boutiques at department stores. Many times you’ll find a beautiful dress that’s very different from what you thought you were looking for, yet is absolutely perfect for you and your style. Is your heart really set on that fairy tale wedding gown? Don’t despair; there are ways to have that dress for less. First, you may want to find a picture of your dream dress and then get estimates from a few seamstresses. Or you can purchase a plain dress and have embellishments added. This will ensure that your dress is truly one of a kind and celebrates your unique style.

You can also find an inexpensive wedding gown by asking the right questions at wedding dress shops. Sometimes they will have off-season, sale or clearance dresses, but these inexpensive wedding dresses are seldom advertised, so it’s always a good idea to ask. Also be sure to keep your eyes open for sample sales in your area. And if you do decide to purchase a dress from a bridal shop, remember...simpler dresses usually cost less. You can always have a seamstress add the embellishments you desire. When shopping for an inexpensive wedding gown, remember to keep an open mind and explore all of your options. With a little work and creativity, you’ll find a wedding gown that’s a perfect fit for you and your budget.


10 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide


Apparel Gown Bridal Shoes Bridal Slip Lingerie Hosiery Jewelry Bridal Headpiece Bridal Gloves Bridesmaid Dresses Bridesmaid Accessories Groom's Tuxedo Groomsmen Tuxedos Garters Gown Preservation Alterations Going-away Outfit Honeymoon Clothes Children's Apparel

Stationery Newspaper Announcement Save the Date Cards Invitations Announcements Map/Direction Cards Reply Cards Ceremony Cards Postage Calligrapher Thank You Notes Rehearsal Dinner Invites Bachelor Party Invites Bachelorette Party Invites Wedding Programs Address Labels Guest Place Cards

Ceremony Flowers Bride's Bouquet Bridesmaid Bouquets Corsages Boutonniere Reception Flowers Altarpiece Pew/Chair Bows Throw Away Bouquet Flower Girl Flowers

Rehearsal Dinner Location Caterer Bartender Decorations Music Guest Parking Centerpieces Food


Location Location Fee Clergy/Officiant Altar Decorations Chair/Pew Rental Pew/Chair Decorations Guest Book & Pen Ring Bearer Pillow Flower Girl Basket Unity Candle Aisle Runners Ushers Gratuity Transportation Childcare

Rings Wedding Bands Engagement Ring Engraving

Reception Location Location Fee Caterer Food Bartender Baker Musician/Entertainment Liquor Wedding Cake Groom's Cake Cake Knife Cake Decorations Servers Table Decorations Other Decorations Dishes Glassware Napkins Linens Tables Chairs Guest Book Rice/Rose Petals/Bubbles Parking Gratuities Limousine/Carriage Transportation Childcare Balloons

Photography Gifts and Favors Attendant Gifts Gift for Fiancee Guest Favors

Engagement Photos Bridal Portraits Ceremony Reception Video


11 - 2012 Wedding Planning Guide

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12 - 2011 Wedding Planning Guide


Secrets to a long and happy marriage Some might say a long celebrity marriage is one that endures the duration of the newly betrothed’s trip down the aisle. We’ve seen Britney Spears dissolve a marriage after 55 hours and Kim Kardashian call it quits after 72 days. It seems even money can’t buy matrimonial happiness. But some couples have been together for 50, 60 years and say they’re still as much in love as they were the day they spoke their “I dos.” What do they know that others do not? According to clinical psychologist and relationship guru Dr. Phil McGraw, “We all need to be flexible and to compromise in marriage, but you’ve got to be true to your core traits and characteristics, what I call your authentic self.” Some couples enter a relationship projecting a persona they believe the other person wants -- one that really isn’t what they’re all about. This could be a woman trying to fill the role of her husband’s nurturing mom or a guy playing the protector to his wife. In reality, marriage is more

of a partnership, and truth and trust are often at the basis of good marriages. There are many other “secrets” that marriage experts will offer to couples seeking the magic formula. Whether you’re pondering marriage or have already tied the knot, consider the following advice to make a marriage endure for the long haul. There’s no such thing as the perfect marriage. Some couples create an image of what they think marriage is supposed to be, and that image that often goes “poof” once reality sets in. Even soulmates are bound to frustrate or irritate one another from time to time. Couples should express their frustrations. Bottling up frustrations can eat at a person and eventually destroy a marriage. Talking about the things that are bothering you with your partner opens up a discussion and can help you work through things. Divorce should not be seen as a viable option. Couples who want to bail on the marriage at

every turn could be directing their energy toward divorce as the only solution instead of discovering ways to remove the cause of strife. Divorce can sometimes be the easy way out when you think about the work that goes into keeping a marriage working. Experts say that there are a few issues, like adultery, abuse and drug/alcohol addiction, that may be reasonable catalysts for divorce if personal safety and sanity is being compromised. Make time for romance. It’s easily said but not so easily done. Too often married couples forget what it was like to date when all of their attention was spent on each other instead of the house, kids, work, etc. Today there seems to be even more distractions, from e-mails to texts to pressure and obligations at the office. Happy couples find the time to spend quality time with their spouses -- even if that’s only 10 minutes of alone time a day. Put “we” first. Many people

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operate on a “me” mentality. When you’re part of a couple, give more to your spouse than you take. If he or she is doing the same, you’re working collectively for the benefit of the marriage instead of yourselves. Respect each other. Often couples having troubles realize they treat strangers better than they treat each other. Would use the insults or unflattering terms that you sometimes throw at your spouse with a complete stranger? Probably not. Good marriages are based on a foundation of respect and love. It’s easy to lose feelings of love if the respect is gone. Couples can realize that there are some thorns that come with the roses of marriage, and staying happy together does take work for it to all be worth it.

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