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Celebrations January 20, 2012 • Journal & Courier •

Secrets of a wedding DJ Page 4 That perfect first kiss Page 12

Traditional glamour

Brides clamor for delicate detail of lace Page 2


Celebrations | Friday, January 20, 2012

High-society brides Lace dresses evoke royal, Victorian style


ON THE COVER A model wears a Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner gown at the Moses Fowler House in Lafayette. The dress is available at The Bridal Boutique and Mr. Penguin Tuxedo in Lafayette. (Photo by Michael Heinz/Journal & Courier)

COMING TUESDAY Planning a wedding on a budget? Check out Tuesday’s Your Financial Health section for tips on saving for the big day.

It was only befitting that Kate Middleton would wear a gown that incorporated lace to marry Prince William in what became the most fairytale wedding ceremony in recent memory. Her dress was a merger of traditional beauty and royal glamour, subdued but quite unforgettable. One couldn’t help but be captivated by the intricate lace appliqué detailing that ran over such a fitted bodice and flowing skirt. The open-work fabric has elicited a sense of regal high society ever since Queen Victoria donned Honiton lace at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. “Lace evokes a sense of delicateness and fondness for detail,”

said Dan Rentillo, design director for David’s Bridal. “Depending on the gown, it can also reflect a sense of romanticism, tradition and timelessness.” Last year’s royal wedding isn’t the only ember fueling the bridal lace furor. Another iconic wedding dress surfaced last year stoking the blaze. Carolina Herrera’s wedding dress worn by “Twilight” character Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in the latest movie was a modern take on Victorian elegance. The body-conscious fit enumerated every slight curve while the French lace paid homage to an era of tradition without prudish inhibitions. The open back also added a bit of contemporary sex appeal. Given the new fashion icons for bridal gowns and the overall trend

of incorporating lace into readyto-wear collections, it has once again become a wedding dress staple for 2012. “We have tons of girls coming in asking for lace and vintage-looking (gowns),” said Tabitha Freije, a sales associate at The Bridal Boutique and Mr. Penguin Tuxedo in Lafayette. “The royal wedding definitely helped, and a lot more girls are having traditional weddings these days. Now that the economy is getting better, they are able to spend a little more and have that dream wedding.” Lace has been incorporated onto modern dresses in several ways. At times, it’s in the details — lace tiers to give a dress texture or lace masked underneath See LACE, Next Page


Friday, January 20, 2012 |

Grooms’ cakes get elaborate

LACE from Page 2

organza overlay. “Designers create unique patterns by mixing different laces together or carefully layering them on top of each for depth and dimension,” Rentillo said. Other times it’s in the embellishments — lace appliqué sewn right onto the satin in floral designs highlighted with detailed beadwork. But these days, it’s often in full view — a lace train trailing behind a gown or a ball gown covered in lace. The silhouettes vary as well. There’s lace on all kinds of wedding gowns from mermaid to ball gowns, Freije said. Lace also has been used on dresses with shorter hemlines, either the actual wedding dress or a second reception dress, Rentillo said. “Styling can range from traditional to a little sexy,” he added. Although a delicate fabric, lace is a strong indicator of a bride’s fashion sensibilities.


By LISA A. FLAM The Associated Press

Many brides are going the traditional route with lace-covered dresses that evoke classic styles. (BY MICHAEL HEINZ/JOURNAL & COURIER)

“It shows she wants a traditional wedding,” Freije said. “She wants to look classy instead of the modern, fun look. It shows that she’s serious about what she’s doing and that she has some style.”

Baseball stadiums, poker chips and racks of saucy ribs don’t usually come to mind when you think “wedding.” But these manly pursuits have found their way to the dessert table through a new breed of groom’s cake that is more elaborate and personal than ever. Traditionally a gift from the bride to her new husband, the groom’s cake was usually a simple affair, made with fruit and liquor, and perhaps chocolate. It is believed to have originated in Victorian England and arrived in the United States in the mid-19th century, where it became popular mostly in the South. Take today’s trend of highly personalized weddings, add the fact that more grooms are involved in wedding planning, and throw in the popularity of extreme baking shows such as TLC network’s “Cake Boss,” and you’ll find that humble groom’s cakes have evolved into works of

edible art. While traditionalists still honor the groom with a plain, round cake, many couples are ordering cakes in the groom’s favorite flavor and in the shape of golf clubs, fishing gear, football helmets, smartphones, and guys-night foods such as burgers, pizza and hot dogs. “It’s really about the groom’s interests and his hobbies and something that’s reflective of the groom,” said Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings. “A wedding is about the two of them. That’s one detail that can be all about the groom.” After last spring’s royal wedding, at which Britain’s Prince William requested a groom’s cake made of biscuits, the popularity of the cakes among U.S. couples is likely to get another boost, Miller said. “All eyes were on that wedding,” she said. “I think (William’s) groom’s cake will definitely help inspire the growing trend here.”



Getting the party started | Friday, January 20, 2012

Wedding DJ shares his secrets, tips for a rocking reception By TIM BROUK

To make it as a DJ in Greater Lafayette, you have to be versatile. DJ Mixmaster J — also known as Jerry Strok — has a home base and a booth he built himself at the End Zone, a sports bar and grill that doubles as a booty-shaking night club on Friday and Saturday nights. When he’s not spinning beats for the party people in Lafayette’s south side, Strok provides music for weddings, after-prom parties, Central Catholic High School football games and other events. No matter what the gig, Strok relies on beat-matching and avoiding “trainwrecks” — when the music loses the beat or stops all-together — at his gigs, whether it’s a club or a wedding. Strok gets wedding DJ jobs in Greater Lafayette, Indianapolis and in his home state of Wisconsin.

On a snowy Thursday afternoon, Strok told his secrets of keeping a wedding reception dance floor going, what happens when you comDJ Mixmaster J — also known as Jerry Strok — is a DJ at many events in bine a broom, stripper music and Lafayette, including weddings. (BY TIM BROUK/JOURNAL & COURIER) Grandma, and how “The Chicken Dance” makes it into the wedding reception. Question: How do you balance the club and wedding gigs? A: All my weddings are wordof-mouth. I have cards. I get a lot of brides who come up to me here (at the End Zone) and say “This is the kind of DJ I want at my wedding.” A lot of DJs — I call them jukebox DJs — don’t do the art of DJing. That’s how I get a lot of my business. Q: What is the “art of DJing” to you? A: Just the mixing, the blending of the music transitions. Your jukebox DJs and iPod DJs, they’ll be playing “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot and then all of a sudden See DJ, Next Page


Friday, January 20, 2012 | DJ from Page 4

they’re playing something way off-beat and people will be out dancing and that will mess them up. We can blend in that slower beat. We can gradually get there without missing a beat. Q: What process do you have in planning your set for a wedding? A: I send them a packet, itinerary and order of events. I let them go over that. I send them a packet of songs of the first dance, the removing of the garter, things like that. Usually, it’s a six-month gap before the wedding. I have them review that and look at that all over. Between then, they might come up with something else. I send them a wedding DJ top200 list with songs you hear at every wedding: “Dancing Queen,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I say “X” off the ones you don’t want to hear. Then, we get together about nine weeks before the wedding and we’ll go over everything and talk it out and then

I’ll meet with them about a week and a half or two weeks before the wedding to make sure we have all the right songs. We don’t want to have the wrong songs. Last year down at the Crown Plaza (in downtown Indianapolis), I actually did a wedding ceremony also. So I do both the ceremony and the reception. Q: What are some songs guaranteed to get the people moving? A: I’ve been lucky. The last several weddings I’ve done, the dance floor has been packed. “Mambo No. 5” is a big one. Of course “Love Shack.” I try to stay away from “Celebration.” I do “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, which gets the families out there. A big entrance song is “I Gotta Feeling.” That’s another thing we do is the grand entrance. We’ve done some crazy things with that. I come in with Frank Sinatra, real slow and elegant, and we’ll flip it to Black Eyed Peas or something like that. “Sweet Caroline,” AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” things like that. Q: What’s one of the craziest

“Usually, it’s the bride that will end up wanting (‘The Chicken Dance’) played and she’ll be the one out there doing it. So usually the ones that are totally against it are all for it when it comes down to it. JERRY STROK, DJ Mixmaster J

things you’ve done while DJing a wedding? A: I did a couple’s wedding at The Trails and the father was a wedding DJ who recommended to do this thing called the broom dance. Everyone gets in this big circle and I play the song and they pass the broom around and when the song stops and you’re holding the broom, you have to go in the middle and do some-


thing with the broom. The bride came up to me and said “Watch my grandma. ... You gotta get my grandma.” When it came around to her, she had no way to get out of it. I stopped it on her and took her out to the middle and put on a stripper song. That was pretty funny. Q: What’s the most annoying part of the job? A: The little kids who come up and say, “Play this. Play this. Play this,” while I’m playing something. Go back to your parents. Q: What’s a song that you’re sick of? A: Uh, “Chicken Dance.” Most of the brides will say “Don’t play ‘The Chicken Dance.’ ” I’ll say, “Well, I’ll only play that if somebody requests it and I clear it through you.” Usually, it’s the bride that will end up wanting it played and she’ll be the one out there doing it. So usually the ones that are totally against it are all for it when it comes down to it. “The Macarena” is another one, but I don’t play that. Online: mixmasterj.gee


Celebrations | Friday, January 20, 2012


TGIF | Ready, set, GO!

Friday, January 20, 2012 |




Celebrations | Friday, January 20, 2012


TGIF | Ready, set, GO!

Friday, January 20, 2012 |




Celebrations | January 20, 2012

Couples’ letters take ceremony to ‘deeper place’ By JENNIFER DOBNER The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The task assigned by the minister ahead of our May 1999 wedding seemed simple enough: a letter from each of us telling her why — out of all the possible people in the world — we had chosen to marry each other. The answer, too, seemed simple: love, of course. “But you can’t use the word love,” the Rev. Constance Redding Sidebottom said. “That makes it too easy.” Sidebottom, 68, a retired United Methodist minister and my aunt, always asks couples for wedding letters and is certain they have transformative power. “Often weddings are for show,” said Sidebottom, of Polson, Mont. “The sacredness is removed by the glitz and the money spent. But when couples are asked to write the letters, they often move to a deeper place. Their effort to be honest and genuine for one another is honored by God and made holy.” Beyond the ban on the word “love,” Sidebottom has other rules about the letters, which she reads out loud during the ceremony. Bride and groom are forbidden from sharing their letters with each other ahead of the wedding, and Sidebottom won’t officiate without receiving them. Over her 11 years of full-time ministry, not one person has failed to write the letter, although some

A stack of love letters sits beside the wooden box they are kept in at AP staffer Jennifer Dobner’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dobner and her husband write a love letter to each other each year and keep them all in the wooden box. (BY JENNIFER DOBNER/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS) have cut it close, Sidebottom said. One groom delivered his to her door at 7 a.m. on the day he was to be married. “Every single bride and groom says they agonize over writing the letters because they understand how important they are,” Sidebottom said. Nearly every faith tradition has a well-scripted formula for wedding ceremonies. There are specific prayers to be offered, scriptural passages to be read and vows to exchange. But the letters bring something

different. Through their own words, the

couple essentially writes their own sermon about life, love and their expectations for marriage, Sidebottom said. They add a personal touch to a ceremony much like self-written vows, a trend that began in the 1960s as some couples moved away from religious tradition, said Diane Warner, author of the “Complete Book of Wedding Vows” (New Page Books, 2006). Warner had not heard of Sidebottom’s letters, but said that, especially in stricter faiths where customized vows are discouraged, they might be a way to satisfy both clergy and the couple. “And for those who have children, someday those letters will be a really valuable gift,” said Warner, of Tucson, Ariz. The letters can reveal more about a couple’s individual personalities and tell the “truth about what’s really going on” between hearts, Sidebottom said. See LETTERS, Next Page


Friday, January 20, 2012 | LETTERS from Page 8

A carpenter she married some years ago, for example, scrawled his thoughts on a bid sheet, while his bride carefully penned hers on beautiful stationery. The contrast made the congregation giggle. Another groom, a Naval officer, compared the bride to his favorite sandwich, peanut butter and jelly. “He said all these things about the stickiness and the sweetness and the savory, how all the right elements for a perfect dish had just happened to show up in her,” said Sidebottom, who confesses the letter is her all-time favorite. “We couldn’t stop laughing, and we couldn’t stop crying.” The simple act of reading the letters out loud can add emotional heft to a ceremony. “It’s like the Holy Spirit infuses the place and it becomes (the couple’s) wedding with God,” Sidebottom said. “Everybody that is there is affected.” She said many wedding guests have told her their own stories of transformation. Some have been inspired to begin writing anniversary letters to their spouse. Sidebottom often hears from couples she’s married that the

“It’s like the Holy Spirit infuses the place and it becomes (the couple’s) wedding with God. ... Everybody that is there is affected.” THE REV. CONSTANCE REDDING SIDEBOTTOM,

retired United Methodist minister

letters have had a lasting impact on their marriage. At a visit to a church where she once was pastor, Sidebottom was approached by a man whose wedding she performed more than 16 years ago. “He and his wife are still married — always a relief to me — and they read their letters every anniversary, and at times in between when life was so hard that they had to remember why they wanted to marry,” she said. Thirteen years after my own wedding, my husband, Bill Keshlear, and I are also still married, and still writing letters. We write a new one each year and read them out loud to each other on our anniversary. “It seems to help us re-commit somehow, through the ups and

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downs,” he said. We keep our letters in a wooden box carved with Xs and Os, on the dresser in our bedroom. The box was a gift from Sidebottom. Even now, the letters aren’t easy to write. Some read like long book reports that chronicle the years’ events — the job loss, the death of our parents, our struggle through infertility and a failed attempt at adoption. Others are shorter, more literary and sweet. I’m not sure if that’s a function of how much time we made for writing or some sign that we had fewer hills to climb that year. I doubt it’s the latter.


Some are messily scrawled on lined, yellow notepaper (mine), others (mostly his) are neatly typed and printed from the computer. Neither of us has ever skipped writing, although Bill likes to tease me each May by saying he’s not going to do it this year. What’s most interesting to me is how the threads from those first letters continue through each of the 24 we’ve written since. Our commitment to the idea of marriage hasn’t changed, despite our mistakes and missteps. We love each other and like each other. We respect each other, and in each other we have found a comfortable place to call home.



Celebrations | Friday, January 20, 2012

Weddings ready-made for social media By LEANNE ITALIE The Associated Press

NEW YORK — As her grandfather sat pleasantly perplexed at her wedding, Lauren Barnes reached into the recesses of her strapless white gown, whipped out her iPhone and accepted her groom’s Facebook relationship change to “married.” “Nothing’s official,” she said, “until it’s Facebook official!” In today’s $78-billion-a-year business of getting hitched, those wacky viral videos of whole wedding parties dancing down the aisle seem positively 2009. Social media, mobile tools and online vendors are abundant to offer the happy couple extra fun, savings and convenience, though most of the nation’s betrothed aren’t ready to completely let go of tradition. Some send out video save-thedates, include high-speed scannable “QR” barcodes on invitations, live-stream their ceremonies for far-flung loved ones to watch online, and open their party playlists to let friends and families help choose the tunes. They invite guests to live tweet the big day using special Twitter keywords, called hashtags, and create interactive seating charts so tablemates can chat online ahead of time. One couple featured a “guest of the week” on their wedding blog. Another ordered up a cake with an iPad embedded at the base to

Groom Steve Poland, right, and bride Caryn Hallock say their vows during their wedding ceremony in Buffalo, N.Y. Robert Palgutt, center, a friend of the bride and groom, got ordained online in order to perform their ceremony and read the nuptials from an iPad. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS) stream photos at the reception. A third Skyped in a “virtual bridesmaid” who couldn’t make it, so she was walked down the aisle by a groomsman via iPad. For Steve Poland, 31, in Buffalo, N.Y., it was the whole shebang for his Sept. 10 wedding. “We used the Twitter hashtag ‘polandwedding,’ our nuptials were read from an iPad by our friend, who got ordained online, and our wedding invites were printed by the hip as postcards that we mailed out. I was really hoping to use as our music, but it didn’t

work out,” he said. Oh, and Poland and his wife, Caryn Hallock, spent part of their honeymoon in a Hawaii tree house they found on According to surveys by the magazine sites Brides and The Knot, tech is on the rise in the world of weddings, with 65 percent of couples now setting up special sites to manage RSVPs, stream video of the ceremony and/or reception, and keep guests in the loop. One in five couples use mobile apps for planning. That includes chasing down vendors and

virtually trying on and locating dresses. Seventeen percent of couples use social media to plan, shop or register for gifts, along with sharing every detail online. About 14 percent to 18 percent of brides buy a dress online, according to Brides. Nearly 1 in 5 couples go paperless for invitations or save-thedates. Many of those who have preserved the tradition of paper invites have dispensed with the inserts usually tucked inside envelopes, opting for email or Web tools for RSVPs, maps, and details on destinations or related events. From proposals on Twitter to Foursquare check-ins from the church or honeymoon, weddings seem ready-made for social media sharing — or oversharing, depending on whether you’re invited. Alexandra Linhares, 23, is nervous about that. She just moved to Marietta, Ga., but she’s getting married in April back home in Highlands Ranch, Colo. She and fiancé Bradley Garritson, 24, are taking care not to gush too much to their hundreds of Facebook friends. Other couples turn off their Facebook walls so premature messages of congrats don’t show up before they’ve announced their engagements. “There are a lot of people I work with on Facebook and who follow me on Twitter,” Linhares said. “We don’t want to hurt See MEDIA, Next Page

Friday, January 20, 2012 | MEDIA from Page 10

anybody’s feelings.” But apps and online services have saved her life, logistically speaking. “Since we’re planning a wedding from thousands of miles away, we’re relying heavily on technology to help us,” she said. “We have a private Facebook group that we use to communicate with everyone in our bridal party since we’re all in different states and countries.” Linhares found her gown with the help of an app. She and Garritson rely on Skype meetings to interview vendors. They’re keeping track of RSVPs on their phones, along with the usual tangle of deadlines. And they’re using an app to keep track of their budget. The couple went to the cloud — for online data storage and sharing — to maintain a master spreadsheet everyone can access at any time, avoiding the need to push updates around in email. Such tools can be a godsend, so long as older or not-so-techie folk aren’t stranded on the wrong side of the firewall. “But that list of people is shrinking fast,” said Anja Winikka, site editor for The Knot. Brides found that 17 percent of couples register for gifts exclusively online. Sites have popped up making it easier to combine multiple registries into one — such as — and ask for cash at the same time for honeymoons or home repairs. Cris Stone, 33, will marry Jerry Delp, 44, in San Antonio, Texas, in May. “I already have a wedding website,” she said. “People will be able to watch the wedding via live streaming, though it’s only for the ceremony because I consider that the most important part of the wedding.” John Ham, co-founder of Ustream, said about 10,000 weddings have been broad-

cast live from the site — — over the past 12 months. “People want to participate in the moment,” he said. Stone is using It offers a button on her wedding site so people can give cash for the couple’s home remodel “without ever worrying about checks or actual cash envelopes,” she said. “It’s proven extremely popular so far, and surprisingly not with the younger crowd as we had originally assumed, but with the 40 to 55 set who like not worrying about losing the envelope,” Stone said. She jiggered her Deposit a Gift so people can contribute $25 increments of brick, for instance, or $100 toward the cost of new windows. Nicole Endres, 25, in Centreville, Va., and fiancé Dan Rodriguez, 28, asked for cash, among other gifts, on their wedding website using, to help pay for their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. On invitations, some couples are using the small, square QR codes to lead guests online for additional details, and sharing photos and video on Tumblr, Flickr, Picasa or numerous other fast, free sites. As for the Barnes and James Williams nuptials held Sept. 3 on the grounds of the Long Beach Art Museum, their officiant and friend Andrew Pachon used an iPad for the ceremony, but that and the Facebook fiddle to “married” was about it in the way of tech flourishes. Williams and Barnes, a 29-year-old physician from Long Beach, had Pachon explain toward the end of the ceremony that the couple wanted to share the moment with their 400-plus Facebook friends. Before the ceremony, Williams had sent his bride a Facebook request to change his relationship status to “married to Lauren Barnes.” Once they were hitched, she accepted using her iPhone.

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James Williams, right, watches his bride Lauren Barnes use her iPhone to accept his Facebook relationship status change to married during their wedding at Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, Calif. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Celebrations | Friday, January 20, 2012

Pucker up: Tips for the perfect wedding kiss should look like: classy and loving. “I would guess it will probably be about five seconds long,” she said

By DEE-ANN DURBIN The Associated Press

When Prince William gave his new bride, Kate, a brief kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace last spring, the crowd of thousands wasn’t satisfied. “Kiss again!” they chanted. When the two shared a slightly longer kiss, onlookers erupted in cheers. Few other wedding kisses will ever be subjected to so much scrutiny. But there’s a lesson here: People love the wedding kiss, and they have definite opinions about how a couple should seal the deal. Some want passion; some don’t. Some like staged moments; others want to keep things natural. Everyone wants the kiss to be heartfelt. “There are extreme thoughts about the kiss,” said Kristin Koch, a senior editor at the wedding website Here are some tips to make The Kiss cheer-worthy instead of


Prince William and the former Kate Middleton kiss April 29 on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. (FILE PHOTO/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Talk about it. You talk through everything else about the wedding, from the guest list to the bridesmaids’ dresses. You and your partner should talk about what kind of kiss you want to share, or even whether you want to share one at all. Chelsea Kopperud, 26, and her fiancé, Jeffrey O’Donnell, have already agreed on what the kiss

It sounds silly. After all, most couples have a lot of practice kissing. But you might want to put in a little practice time, especially if you’re doing something you’re not used to, like having the groom dip the bride. Hope Bourgeault, 21, a social work student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, says she and her fiance, Jeff Betterman, are planning to do a dip at their wedding next August. They’re already practicing so it won’t look awkward.

Or don’t practice. Some people insist that the kiss should be natural, and that you should do whatever you feel is right at that moment. Andrea Fassacesia, a New Yorker who’s getting married in April, said she and her fiance have decided to

“wing it.” “A rehearsed kiss looks rehearsed,” she said. “It should be natural, intimate and romantic. And, while it’s in front of hundreds of people, it should just feel like the two of you.”

Do something you’re both comfortable with. Don’t plan a dip or any other acrobatics if you’re not sure you want to go through with it. Koch said grooms often feel more pressure than brides about the kiss, since tradition dictates that it’s something the groom initiates.

Don’t be gross. Just about everyone agrees that extra-long, over-the-top displays of affection are a no-no. They can look forced and make guests squirm. “Have fun with it, be true to you, but a huge make-out or a tongue kiss is just not appropriate, especially if Grandma and Grandpa are watching,” Koch said.

Celebrations 2012  

2012 bridal expo.

Celebrations 2012  

2012 bridal expo.