Times Herald January 17, 2010
Getting ready for the big day Give the gift of a honeymoon Be in tune with music selections
Times Herald l Winter Bride 2010 l 02
Bride-to-be shares planning process
Tips to finding the perfect photographer
Making sure your gem makes the grade
Money Talks: Couples meet hurdle head-on
Honeymoons go on gift registries
Making dreams come true within three months
Grooms get pampered
variety of music options available for bridal couples
WinterBride General Manager- Advertising Director/Lori Driscoll Editor/Jill Carlson Editoria Layout/ Janel Albrecht , Lisa Miller Contributions: Comments: Advertising:
Jesse Dunsmore, Crystal Garcia, Bob Gross, Wendy Torello, Mark R. Rummel For questions, comments or story ideas, contact editor Jill Carlson at (810) 989-6213 or e-mail: email@example.com For advertising rates and information, call (810) 985-7171
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Bride-to-be offers peek into planning process By Crystal Garcia
ot every woman knows what she wants for her wedding. I was never one of those girls who grew up planning my
By Wendy Torello, Times Herald
Crystal Garcia and Duff Tyler are getting married Sept. 4. They are seen here in an engagement photo in September in Marine City.
wedding. Yet, here I am, getting married Sept. 4 to a great guy I’ve been dating for a little more than two years. His name is Duff Tyler. I met him while I was working at the Tribune-Star in Terre Haute, Ind. While it’s still a little early in the planning process, I’ve not had much trouble planning my wedding. Most things have come fairly easy. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have many expectations. We got engaged in March, a few days before I returned to Michigan to start working at the Times Herald. I started planning almost immediately after I said, “Yes,” for which I am now grateful. I bought a few bridal magazines, began scouting venues online and attended bridal shows. It also has helped having a bunch of married friends eager to put their two cents in. The Internet is full of resources, especially TheKnot.com, which I probably check almost as much as I check my e-mail and my Facebook page. Having attended eight weddings — including two in which I was a part — I figured out a few things along the way. For example, I don’t want a pushy photographer who isn’t quick enough to capture a moment and instead interrupts people and poses the shots. A friend of mine had a photographer like that. There’s actually a picture of me giving the photographer a dirty look. I don’t want small children at our wedding. At large family gatherings, people seem to take it for granted their children are OK and don’t really watch them.
05 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
My thoughts were reinforced two average wedding costs $27,800, according to years ago at a friend’s reception when two TheKnot.com). children almost set the cake table on fire To save money, I’ve been to about six playing with candles. bridal shows and collected some freebies I do want a great disc jockey. They really from them. I’ve won a shrimp tray, six set the tone for a wedding, which is why I’m corsages, $250 toward linens, lighting for excited my good friend, Walter, agreed to DJ a dance floor with the purchase of overall our wedding for free. room lighting, Mary Kay facials for myself Speaking of and my girls and a dancing, I also want necklace. a big dance floor. Had I sat There’s nothing through a few demonworse than a small, strations for cookware crowded dance floor and travel groups, I with people stepping also would have won on you or spilling a few trips to exotic things. locales, a pair of his Our venue, the and-hers aprons Grecian Center in and online grocery Southgate, has a coupons. Good thing great dance floor and I Googled those was a dream comes companies to read true, especially after horror stories from scouting some places Courtesy photo fellow brides about that turned out to Crystal Garcia and Duff Tyler are getting strong-armed sales be too small or too married Sept. 4. They are seen here at a tactics and sitting expensive. Christmas party in December 2007. through hours of I attended a people pitching friend’s reception there, as well as my high time shares. school prom, so I knew it would be nice. So here I am. We have a venue, a cake, Then I discovered it had a place to have the flowers and a DJ. I’ve ordered my dress and ceremony, too. had my first fitting. We’ve sent out our Perfect. I saved $500 booking both at the “save the dates” and put a down payment same site. We could have had it at a church on the honeymoon. and probably saved more, but that’s not our At the time I started planning, the style. wedding seemed so far away. With a little Plus, there’s another good reason for less than eight months to go, some people having both events at the same place. Most might say I still have plenty of time. of Duff’s guests will be coming from out of If that’s the case, why do I feel like the town. We didn’t want them to get lost driv- wedding’s tomorrow and we forgot to send ing from the ceremony to the reception. out the invitations? The Grecian Center also had our Satur I know it’ll all come together. Until day date available. It was the only Saturday then, I’ll just remind myself of the light at left in September, so it was as if fate had the end of the tunnel: I’ll be married! intervened. Duff and I are paying for the wedding Crystal Garcia is a Times Herald copy editor. with the help of my mom and grandma. I Contact her at (810) 989-6263 or cagarcia@ hope to pay no more than $10,000. (The gannett.com.
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Finding right photographer is crucial ContentOne
Diana Lynn Newby, 31, of Memphis, Tenn., poses for her wedding photographer, Carine Tran, on Aug. 30, 2008, in the lobby of the International House in New Orleans. By Julia Hays
o couples out there preparing for their big day, the most important person to find after you choose a mate can be the wedding photog-
rapher. The photographer will be with you during the eight to nine hours of your preparation, ceremony and reception. The moments his or her camera captures will last a lifetime. As Joshua Stern of JS Photography in Cherry Hill, N.J., puts it, “Once the day’s over, the music stops, the food has been eaten, what you’re left with to cherish is those photographs.” Couples can avoid scrambling searches and complications by approaching the task of finding a photographer with a plan in mind and a vision of what they’re seek-ing.
fluctuate with the seasons. October and May are the most popular months for weddings, experts said. They recommend finding a photographer once the ceremony and venue locations are booked, about nine months to a year in advance. Can couples trust referrals? Though the age of the Internet has helped couples do much of their own research, referrals from family and friends continue to be one way many photographers generate business. Photographers recommend referrals as well as research. Most said it’s good to get recommendations from clients who have worked with the photographer, seen the results and knew their attitude on the big day.
Style and personality
Most professional photographers have the talent, but it’s important for couples to also Just like venues get booked, photographers find one with similar taste. have busy schedules as well, which can “Look to see if the style is more tradi-
tional, posed shots, or a photo-journalistic style, like candids in a newspaper where the photographer is trying to tell the story of the event,” Stern said. Looking through albums can tell a couple how a photographer works. It’s also important to ask who will be shooting the event. Some places have multiple photog-raphers. Much like a wedding guest or member of the bridal party, the photographer will spend hours with the couple and should mesh with them. Following the event, we’re together anywhere from six months to a year,” said Bill Kovnat of K&K Photography in Cherry Hill, N.J. Photographers are booked in advance to spend a day with a couple and may stick around to retouch proofs and complete albums. One suggestion Kovnat offers is booking an engagement photography session with a
photographer to gauge comfort levels with the individual and to see their work style.
The three Ps of booking a photographer for your wedding are prices, packages and proofs. Studying a package is important to know what services are included and which ones require additional costs. Things such as retouching, artistic enhancements, online galleries, working overtime, turn-around time and receiving the photos’ negatives vary with each photographer. Album styles similar to traditional hardcover albums, storybook albums or coffee table books can be priced differently, as can gallery-wrapped canvas prints. Kovnat said it’s important to sit down with a photographer to brainstorm ideas, discuss locations and times and to develop a script and multiple plans to make sure the shutter goes off without a hitch. Julia Hays writes for ContentOne.
07 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
All that glitters Follow 4 Cs when buying diamonds ContentOne
inding an engagement ring that fits a woman’s style, personality and is flawless in appearance can be challenging. But when using the 4 Cs, chances are you will choose the right diamond. Carat, color, cut and clarity are the properties to look for in a diamond. They add up to affect cost and appearance of the stone. Carat: Diamonds are measured in metric carats equal to 1/5 of a gram. In general, the heavier a diamond is the more valuable it is. But a bigger stone is not always better. The other Cs affect a diamond’s appearance and radiance. Cut: Cut dictates how light travels through the diamond to provide maximum radiance. The better the cut, the more sparkle. Cut then is divided into type of cut, with round brilliant being the most traditional. Clarity: This refers to the number of imperfections in a stone. Diamonds are rated on a
scale of flawless (the rarest and most valuable) to inclusions (which contains more imperfections). Color: This may be the easiest quality to tell with the naked eye. Most diamonds contain some color, with value increasing as they approach colorless. The Gemologi-cal Institute of America rates diamonds on a scale from D (color-less) to Z (light yellow). Today’s styles range from traditional to custom and contemporary designs, said Lucian Lee, owner of Hale’s Jewelers in Greenville, S.C. The most popular styles tend to be princess cut and round brilliant, both of which provide a lot of sparkle no matter a stone’s size. Mountings and bands more often are white metal such as white gold or platinum. The vintage style, with a large stone surrounded by smaller ones and bead settings, is gaining momentum. New technology also has refined the way smaller diamonds are cut, allowing for a high sparkle factor even at a lower carat.
When selecting a diamond, be sure to consider carat, color, cut and clarity.
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before you say ‘I do’ The Associated Press
Debra Herrera and Johnathan Beam laugh during a premarital class offered by First Things First in Chattanooga, Tenn. The two-week course prepares couples for marriage. By Melissa Kossler Dutton
hen Missy Gillen met her future husband, Mike, she hadn’t given much thought to a rainy day fund or investing money. But as the Westlake, Ohio, couple got serious, she started paying attention to their finances, something Mike Gillen encouraged. “We’re both very aware of our goals,” said Missy, who got married in July, but not before creating a budget and starting
to save for a house. Talking about money before marriage is essential for wedded bliss, said financial experts, since it can eliminate a lot of surprises and arguments. Conversation can help a couple understand each other’s financial standing, spending habits and savings goals. Financial stress is one of the main causes of divorce, said Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Silver Spring, Md.
“People bring financial baggage into a relationship and often don’t deal with it until problems arise,” she said. Many newlyweds do not foresee that money can be an issue, said Julie Baumgardner, executive director of First Things First, which offers financial education classes to couples in Chattanooga, Tenn. “It’s not a topic that people tend to put a lot of weight on,” she said. “Learning how to manage your money together is a big deal.”
These experts and financial counselor Taffy Wagner of Denver offered some tips for addressing finances before exchanging wedding vows: 1. Sit down with your partner and discuss your finances. Bring copies of your credit score; pay stubs; credit card bills; details about loans, child support payments or debt; and any other relevant financial information. This will help both parties develop a picture of their financial responsibilities after marriage.
unexpected expenses, and decide whether you agree with the approach. After you’re married, you may decide that turning to mom and dad or using a credit card to cover emergencies is unacceptable. 7. Agree to create an emergency fund. Financial experts recommend setting aside enough money to cover living expenses for three to six months. Start by setting aside 10% of your paycheck. 8. Develop a policy about lending money. Decide whether you would be willing to give a loan to a friend or relative. If you’re comfortable doing that, discuss whether you would charge interest and how much you could afford to lend. Always put the details of a loan in writing. 9. Discuss whether one of you will stay home after the birth of a child. If that is a goal, start planning how you could live on one income. 10. Share details about the way your parents ran their household. Did they employ a housekeeper, landscaper or other help that you would expect in your household? Was charitable giving or religious tithing an important part of your upbringing and what are your attitudes toward it? Melissa Kossler Dutton writes for The Associated Press.
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09 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
2. Examine one another’s credit scores. If one person’s score is below 700, consider keeping your finances separate. Work as a couple to help the person with the low credit score improve it by paying off debt and taking care of overdue bills. Do not apply for any joint credit cards. Instead, put the cards in the name of the person with good credit and make the other person an authorized user. 3. Decide which of you will be in charge of managing the money and paying bills. It’s important to develop a system so the bills are paid on time. Make sure the other partner has a basic understanding of the system and is aware of all bank accounts and investments. 4. Develop a budget the two of you can live on. Make sure allocations for groceries, clothing, etc., are reasonable. No more than one-third of your gross income should go toward a mortgage. Don’t spend more than 25% of your gross income on rent. 5. Set limits on spending. Determine how much money you are comfortable spending without consulting your spouse. For example, agree to discuss any purchase over $100, $500 or $1,000. 6. Find out how your partner handles
Smart bridal couples discuss money matters well before the wedding ceremony.
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Times Herald l Winter Bride 2010 l 10
More couples put trips on gift registry By Bob Gross
honeymoon be on the guests
By Bob Gross, special to the Times Herald
Mike and Ashley Dixon of St. Clair Township look at photographs taken during their June honeymoon in Jamaica. The Dixons had a honeymoon registry so their friends and family could help pay for the trip.
hen Ashley and Mike Dixon were married this past June, they didn’t need another microwave, a blender or a new set of
pots and pans. So the couple, who live in St. Clair Township, did something a lot of other couples are doing. They set up a honeymoon registry to help pay for a trip to Jamaica. It was their friends’ idea. “It was great,” Ashley Dixon, 26, said. “Our wedding party had put on a wedding shower. Instead of gifts, we said, ‘We don’t want gifts or anything, we just wanted our friends to get together.’ “They went to our travel agent and asked what would be a cool thing to do.” “Our honeymoon was pretty much paid for at our wedding shower,” she said. In addition to getting married this past summer, Ashley also owns Spectacular Events and plans weddings. “We had our house, we had everything already,” she said. “I think a lot of times that’s how brides are nowadays. They are established and have everything. “It’s nice (for friends) to be able to donate to their honeymoon instead of giving cash — not knowing exactly where it’s going.” She and Mike, 46, worked with St. Clair Travel Service in St. Clair.
It’s nice (for friends) to be able to donate to their honeymoon ...”
Ashley Dixon, St. Clair Township
11 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
“Guests buy gift certificates (from the travel agency), then those people give them to the bride or groom...”
D’Ann Schweihofer, St. Clair
“It’s really popular because of the fact that a lot of couples are older or live together, so when they come in, they’re booking their destination wedding or honeymoon,” said D’Ann Schweihofer, one of the owners of St. Clair Travel Service. St. Clair Travel provides cards brides and grooms can include in wedding or shower invitations, informing guests the couple is registered. “Guests buy gift certificates (from the travel agency), then those people give them to the bride or groom at their shower or wedding,” Schweihofer said. The gift certificates, which are available in different monetary values, also can be used to buy special amenities, such as a helicopter ride, Schweihofer said. Judy Erbe of Far Away Places, a travel agency in Marysville, said she started doing honeymoon registries in 2004, when her daughters were married. “It seems like people are waiting longer to get married,” Erbe said. “When they do, they already have established homes and the things that go in them.” In addition to gift certificates, guests often give a small present that goes with the trip, such as a travel bag or a beach towel if they’re staying at resort, or a bottle of wine if they’re booking a cruise, Erbe said. “I’ve had a couple that were just honeymoon showers,” she said. Debbie Jones, a wedding planner at A Memory in Motion in Port Huron, said she knows several people who have set up honeymoon registries or accounts to pay for a destination wedding. “It is popular,” she said. “I’ve had a couple of different ones that have talked about it. I have a couple (of bridal couples) who have done it — people that I know of, not necessarily people I have worked with.” She said couples can set up a Web site that guests can go to in order to deposit funds into an account. “I can help them figure out how to do that,” Jones said. “There’s a few banks that will do it, and there’s a few travel agencies
that will do it.” Erbe, however, said couples need to book their trips well in advance of the wedding or shower. “The bride has to come in and physically book a trip so we have a price to apply the payments to,” Erbe said. Trips must be paid for 45 days in advance, Erbe said. That means the gift certificates should be bought “six weeks out from the wedding, otherwise the couple has to pay for the trip in advance,” she said. The most popular spots are the Caribbean and Mexico, Erbe and Schweihofer said. “They want a tropical destination, they want a beach, something relaxing,” Erbe said. “I don’t do a lot of honeymoons in the United States.” Some resorts also offer incentives to attract couples to marry there as well, Schweihofer said. “Some hotels actually offer free weddings and help with the wedding coordinator that’s there,” she said. Couples who want to leave the country for a honeymoon or a destination wedding at a resort must plan ahead — no last-minute elopements or waiting to see how much cash shows up on the reception gift table. “Last-minute deals, they’re there, but they’re never what you want,” Erbe said. “And you need passports now, and we have to give the Transportation Security Administration all their information before they travel. It definitely should be a planned thing.” Schweihofer and Jones said some couples delay their reception until after the trip so they can share their memories with their guests. “Another nice thing that they do is people bring their photo albums home, and they have a little reception,” Schweihofer said. “ People get to see what they were part of.” Bob Gross is a freelance writer who lives in East China Township.
By Bob Gross, special to the Times Herald
D’Ann Schweihofer of St. Clair Travel Service works with brides and grooms to set up honeymoon registries that provide guests an alternative to the traditional gift registry.
Times Herald l Winter Bride 2010 l 12
Homework ensures harmony on big
day Times Herald photos by Mark R. Rummel
Kord Semrow plays for his brother, Kolton, and Adelle Laurence in their home in Port Huron Township. Kolton and Adelle are having Kord play at their wedding. By Jesse Dunsmore
side Wesleyan Church in Clyde Township to the tune of “Danielle’s Wings” from the he invitations can look perfect, soundtrack to the film “Ever After.” the cake divine, the tuxes and Said Semrow, 20, of Port Huron Towndresses gorgeous — so why ship: “She kind of turned down my idea of should the wedding music be the ‘Imperial March,’” Darth Vader’s theme any less noteworthy? from “Star Wars.” The good news is, there are plenty of “I thought it’d be cool, but she wasn’t so options. hot on it.” Kolton Semrow and Adelle Laurence are There are plenty of options for ceregetting married this summer. They haven’t mony music beyond the traditional organ had extensive discussions about their musi- belting out the “Bridal Chorus” (better cal selection yet. known as “Here Comes the Bride”), said “The only thing I’ve got picked out is Dwight Weber, executive director of one for coming down the aisle,” said Lauministries at Colonial Woods Missionary rence, 19, of Port Huron. Church in Port Huron. She wants to enter the sanctuary of Hill- “I’ve seen everything from harps to
string quintets to full organs,” he said. Wedding planner Ashley Dixon of Spectacular Events in Port Huron said churches typically offer the use of their pianist or organist for $100 to $200, if it’s not already included in the cost of the ceremony. Other musicians for the ceremony vary in price, she said. Simply Strings Quartette in Port Huron offers four musicians with two violins, a viola and a cello for about $300 a ceremony, co-manager Maureen Kerr said. The price may change based on the job — such as playing a single song versus playing all the music for the ceremony. For the economy minded, performers aren’t necessary. Janice Groth, owner of
AWP, a wedding planning company in Lapeer, said she’s burned CDs for couples on a tight budget and used whatever sound system was available. The musical selection may have to be screened if the wedding is in a church. “Some churches require only religious music,” Weber said. Semrow and Laurence plan to have live music, but they aren’t breaking the bank. “We’re going to have my brother, Kord, playing his guitar,” Semrow said. “There’s a song called ‘Walking in the Air’ that I’ve always liked, especially on acoustic.” The couple also has lined up a former
13 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
youth pastor from their church to sing Christian songs. Getting married outside a church can increase your options. Typically, a disc jockey works the ceremony if it’s outdoors or at a reception hall, said DJs Josh Pomeroy of Bigfoot DJs in Port Huron and Cory Moretz of Ultimate Sounds in Port Huron Township. “A lot of times we try to be out of sight, out of mind and try to make sure the sound is right” during a ceremony, Pomeroy said.
Play that funky music
Kord Semrow plays for his brother, Kolton, and Adelle Laurence. He will be playing the guitar at their wedding.
The reception is where a DJ really earns his or her money — and it’s not a small amount. “For a decent DJ, you’re really not going to get anything professional … below about $500. That would be very low,” planner Groth said. “I could get a DJ for myself, someone I’ve worked with, for about $500 because I have a rapport with him, but his starting rate is about $800.” Moretz said his pricing fits in that range but varies based on the season. Summer weddings are more popular. Ultimate Sounds costs a bit more to book in June than it would in February. DJs can help couples select music for
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based on the location of the event. Dixon said she recommends a DJ for a reception instead of a band. “They have more of a music selection; they are good at emceeing and playing. ... (With) a band, you’re stuck with their stuff and, of course, they have to take breaks,” she said. For their reception at the Family Life Center — a multipurpose building belonging to the church — Semrow and Laurence have a simple answer to this, too. “We’ll probably just plug our iPod in,” Laurence said. “We figured we’re trying to save money anyway. Kolton’s cousin … knows the sound system anyway, and he’d be more than willing to help.” Groth doesn’t recommend this unless someone’s willing to do all the other work a DJ or band normally would, such as introduce the wedding party and host the different segments of the evening, and, in general, keep the party going. “I don’t recommend doing that unless it’s a very organized bride and groom,” she said. Jesse Dunsmore is a Times Herald reporter. Contact him at (810) 989-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridal soundtrack evolves It’s part of the social consciousness: The bride walks down the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride” as her future husband smiles. But do weddings stick to a traditional soundtrack anymore? It depends on who you ask. Disc jockey Cory Moretz of Ultimate Sounds in Port Huron Township said the signature song — actually called the “Bridal Chorus,” by Richard Wagner — or Pachabel’s Canon in D major still are what he hears at 90% of the weddings he covers. Janice Groth, owner of AWP, a wedding planning company in Lapeer, has had a different experience. “Traditional is kind of not so traditional” lately, she said. “Nine times out of 10, it’s not your traditional wedding march.” Irish singer Enya is becoming popular, especially her song, “Only Time,” Groth said. The reception is a different story. There is a lot more music. And the music is supposed to help get the party started. Many couples go with a sports team’s
theme music. “’The Final Countdown’ by Swedish band, Europe is definitely a really popular one,” Groth said. Another important musical moment, the father-daughter dance, seems to have a new top contender every few years, Moretz said. “I think the artists know the wedding industry,” he said. “I Loved Her First” by Heartland may be the top pick right now, he said. Groth said she also has been hearing the song “Daughters” by John Mayer. One song that has stood the test of time, however, is “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstong. Music for the couple’s first dance is as varied as the people involved. “(When planning), they say, ‘We don’t have a song,’” Moretz said. “I say, you know what? You’ve got to go back home and think about this. … “Everybody has a song; you’ve just got to sit back and think about it.” — Jesse Dunsmore
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the reception — or at least get a good feel for what the couple wants. Moretz meets with clients and builds a list of “must play” songs and “don’t play” ones. “I carry 42,000 songs,” he said. Pomeroy’s company does the same, but clients also can build their own list, tagged with preferred and forbidden songs, using an online tool at the Web site (www.bigfootdjs.com). No couple is expected to pick the whole evening’s playlist, Moretz said. It’s better to have a handful of specific requests and general guidelines — “no rap and no country” for example. Couples who want to hire a band can expect to pay more. “A friend of mine plays in a band, and they do weddings,” Groth said. “They’re about $1,200 to $1,500 for the night. It could be double what you pay for a DJ. … Bands charge more because, obviously, they need to split it up amongst themselves.” Hiring a band requires shopping around. One Web site that can help in a search for a band is www.weddingwire. com. It allows the user to search for bands, DJs or just about anything else,
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15 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
Married in 3 months Pulling off wedding with short planning window takes organization The Associated Press
Nekesa Mumbi Moody, left, listens to instructions from matron of honor and wedding coordinator, Amber Quarles. Moody began planning her wedding shortly after getting engaged. By Nekesa Mumbi Moody
oon after I got engaged in the summer of 2009, my well-meaning BFF pulled me aside and said, “I think you’re making a big mistake.” Her concern had nothing to do with my intended, but my intentions: planning a full-scale New York wedding, with bridal party, sit-down dinner, disc jockey and more, in less than three months. Now, I know most guidebooks and bridal Web sites insist you take at least a year, sometimes 18 months, to pull off the perfect ceremony. Some talk about a sixmonth audition period for florists alone. But with my fiance and I both in our 30s and wanting to get the whole “spend the rest of our lives together” thing started, it seemed a waste of precious time to wait a whole year. So instead of planning to get married in
July 2010, a year from our engagement, we decided on October. When we told people our plans, they were so shocked they often expected to hear a second, follow-up announcement — but no, there was no baby on the way. My friend — that same BFF — had just gotten married a few months earlier, in an elaborate destination wedding in Miami that took a professional planner more than a year to coordinate. She was adamant that I wouldn’t have enough time to pull it off, and even if I did, I would be too stressed to enjoy it. It was stressful at times — but it was the kind of stress I would have had even with 18 months to plan. Looking back, I now know you don’t need a year to pull off a dream wedding. Of course, you can’t waste a day
You have to start planning from the
moment he slips the ring on your finger (and truthfully, if you’ve been talking about getting married, maybe even a little before that). As soon as my fiance and I picked out my engagement ring, we started scouting places for a ceremony. We knew we wanted about 100 guests, a sit-down dinner with dancing later, at a nice place but not-soexpensive price. At a few venues, we got raised eyebrows when we said we were looking at the weekend of Oct. 9. But no one said they were completely booked. Every place we went had at least one day that weekend available, and some of the larger reception halls had more than one room. Friday nights were cheaper than Saturdays, and Sunday was an option as well. It took us just two weeks to lock down our place, an ornate facility that also included a separate hall for our ceremony.
They offered a cocktail hour, formal dinner and open bar, all for one price (wedding cake included). Getting a florist also wasn’t difficult. I didn’t start looking seriously until midAugust, and it was not until September that I chose. Again, everyone — from the pricey florist in the famous flower market in Manhattan to the neighborhood florist in Brooklyn, where I live — was willing to work with my short timeline. We got our invitations done quickly and inexpensively at a local stationery store, and had no need for save-the-date cards. My biggest hurdle, it turned out, would be the dress. When I said I was getting married in three months, most bridal salons I went to acted as if I’d said I wanted a bright orange gown. One salon refused an appointment. Of course, dresses were available for a
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The Associated Press
Nekesa Mumbi Moody, left, smiles with her matron of honor, Alicia Quarles. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from Nordstrom. The bride’s dress was bought at Kleinfeld’s Blowout Sale, where designer dresses are sold at deep discounts.
price. I was told I’d have to pay a rush fee if I ordered a gown. Even then, the sales assistants laced the offer with anxiety, saying the dress “should” be available for my wedding, but offering no real guarantees. With so many dress shops with samples available, I figured I would be able to find something white and nice enough for my big day. The stress came when I realized I didn’t like most of those gowns. I started to reach full-panic mode when August came and I still had no dress. Luckily, a ray of sunshine called Kleinfeld’s Blowout Sale saved me: The store made (more) famous by the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress” were offering some of their designer gowns at hugely reduced prices, and that’s where I found an amazing Romona Keveza dress that normally retailed for about $4,000 for $800. Though it had to be altered, which cost another $700 and some drama (word to the wise: Do not choose just any seamstress to alter your dress; I had to have my alterations redone after gambling on a bootleg seamstress first), it was an amazing gown at an amazing price that I wouldn’t have gotten had I ordered six months in advance. The gowns for my bridesmaids also promised to be a headache, but instead of trying to order one from a bridal store, I simply looked online at Nordstrom, found the prettiest evening dress in a color I thought would work and told each of them to order it ASAP. At $150, it was cheaper than most bridesmaids’ gowns and might stand a better chance of being worn again. On some details we were blessed with good fortune. My fiance’s cousin is a minister and did the ceremony for travel costs; my fiance’s friend is a photographer who was paid only the price of his plane ticket. One of my bridesmaids made our wedding favors (personalized CDs), and my BFF’s sister, an event planner, acted as my coordinator for the rehearsal and ceremony. One friend with excellent handwriting did the place cards, and my mother-in-law designed our photo album-themed guest book and the broom for us to jump over, part of African-American tradition. Another of my husband’s friends (I married well) gave us the gift of a DJ and videographer. We did a candy station for guests, picking up the goodies from a candy store and the clear jars at Target. While I did have help and luck, I have no doubt any bride could pull off what I did in less than a year. Nekesa Mumbi Moody writes for The Associated Press.
17 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
up for some
ity the poor groom and his groomsmen. Buttoned up, spiffed up and maybe a little burned out, they’ve long been bit players in the bridal extravaganza, left to feel a tad forlorn and irrelevant. But times are changing, and more businesses are reaching out to pamper and primp the guys as they approach the big day. That goes beyond the bars, restaurants
and “support” staff that long have been part of that preeminent male prenuptial ritual — the bachelor party. These days, salons and spas across the country are trying to lure groomsmen into their shops for the type of parties women long have enjoyed, replete with mas-sages, facials, waxing and pedicures. It’s all trimmed out with the mandatory male theming, of course — maybe with mini-golf, darts or board games, and surely lubricated by adult beverages.
Joe Miro takes a sip of wine while wearing manicure gloves during a spa session at Studio One Eleven Day Spa & Salon in Wilmington, Del. Miro accompanied his brother, groom-to-be Jim, to the local spa. More businesses are reaching out to pamper and primp the guys as they approach the big day.
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Times Herald l Winter Bride 2010 l 18
Grooms with a say
In the view of the day spas, times are right for reaching out to men. While men increasingly are frequenting spas, they still represent a vast untapped source of profit for the $9.4 million industry. As men gain a greater say in the wedding decisions, they now have enough interest — and power — to demand a little fun of their own. To get guys into the shop, owners know they must heed the male ego before they can knead any shoulders. While some men are ready to indulge themselves, others enter the experience with some trepidation. At a groomsmen get-together at Studio One Eleven Day Spa & Salon in Wilmington, Del., the irreverent masculine approach was evident from start to finish. Groom Jim Miro, while patiently submitting to an eyebrow waxing, took a shot across the brow from brother Joe Miro. “Get the Brazilian!” Joe teased, prompting Jim to fire off a quip of his own. Getting men into spas can be a bit of a hard sell, especially outside the larger towns, spa owners said. But its potential keeps businesses in pursuit. Across the country, women haven’t hesitated to hit the spa as a pre-wedding event — spa weekends are the most popular choice for destination bachelorette par-ties, according to the International Spa Association. For men, misconceptions and gender peer pressure can stand in the way of marketing efforts, spa owners said. Attracting more male clients also has the potential to boost business in other areas of the beauty business. In recent years, as sales of women’s skin care products remained flat, men’s products have been on the rise, according to a study by the NPD Group. Males customers partial to products that are “simple and multipurposed,” NPD Group said. “Any product that requires extra steps is a much harder sell for men,” said Karen Grant, senior beauty analyst for NPD Group. Any service that carries the whiff of femininity can require some roughing up, imagewise, before the men will bite. And as men tread more deeply into the whirl of prenuptial activities, it’s probably natural they are demanding experiences more finely suited to their chromosomal makeup — primarily because more men
are footing financial responsibility for the wedding than in the past.
A ‘club,’ not a salon
The spa association has found men — who make up 31% of spa customers — prefer barber type or “club” settings to a salon-style ambience. At places such as Off the Top Men’s Salon in Wilmington, that’s accomplished with sports channels on the television and magazines displaying an appreciation of the female form. At Studio One Eleven, it’s a little putting green and board games. “It’s not in a foofy salon environment,” said Sally Russo Pollard, owner of Off the Top. “This is a masculine environment.” The spa experience also illustrates some remarkable differences between men and women, spa owners said. Men are more inclined to demand clear therapeutic results from spa treatments, the spa association has found. After trying for a couple of years, Pollard booked her first groomsmen party in June and was careful to head off any grumbling with catered food. “Typical guy-type of stuff,” she said. “Some panini sandwiches and some sliders, some chips and salsa. I wanted them to have some food, because they were drinking.” With their Bloody Marys supplemented by cigars and friendly verbal abuse, the men enjoyed the afternoon, leaving Pollard the challenge of convincing more of them. “Now we really need to promote it now ContentOne that it worked,” she said. Jason Warren, a groomsman, gets a facial from owner Ginny Rodgers at Studio One Eleven Day Spa & Salon in Wilmington, Del. Warren accompanied groom-to-be Jim Miro to the spa. Eric Ruth writes for ContentOne.
Advice for grooms Grooms, if you want to take an active role in wedding planning but are not sure where to start, don’t wait for a “honey do” list. Here are some places to start: • Make a list of family, friends and coworkers you would like to invite. Start a spreadsheet with names and addresses of guests. • Help work out a wedding budget. • Offer to call vendors to set up appointments. • Meet with your best man and discuss responsibilities. • Talk about honeymoon options with your bride-to-be and discuss a budget.
Plan it. Then book everything. • Suggest taking dance lessons. • Book a wedding-night location. • Find city maps and airport transportation information to assist your guests with their plans. • Set up a time you and your bride can obtain and pay for the marriage license. • Make wedding-day transportation plans for you, your bride and the wedding party. • Write down a list of people you would like to thank publicly. Write a toast. • Make a list of songs you want the band or DJ to play or make a do-not-play list. • Find a location suitable for outdoor
photos in between the ceremony and the reception. • Pay for and arrange payment (via the best man) of the officiant’s fee, the musician and tips. • Write a special note to your bride thanking her for being your wife. Write special notes to your father-in-law and mother-in-law, thanking them for everything they’ve done and, most importantly, do it publicly. • Plan a surprise for the reception, such as fireworks, special music, monkeys, elephants, etc. — Source: www.weddingcompare.com
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Photo by Jody Ross Photography
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19 l Winter Bride 2010 l Times Herald
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Times Herald l Winter Bride 2010 l 20
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