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Newly engaged? What's next?


aking the commitment to live life with another person is a large step. It marks the beginning of your future together. Planning a wedding can be big undertaking. Many times the course of planning from the moment of engagement to the wedding day can stretch over several years. It requires patience, budgeting and organization. A wedding binder or filing system can help keep receipts and information all in one place. Additionally, use these steps as guidelines for your own event. Engagement party: Many

couples enjoy having an engagement party to announce that they're planning a life together. Engagement parties are receptions on a smaller scale. It's not necessary to invite all of the guests you'd be inviting to the wedding unless you have the budget to do so. Keep it to immediate family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles and first cousins. You may also want to invite close friends. If finances are an issue, consider a brunch or a cocktail party with passed appetizers instead of a full sit-down dinner. Set the date: Once you

decide you're getting married, you should consider when you want the big day to occur. This can depend on what month of the year you enjoy or when you think you may have saved enough to cover the cost of the wedding itself. Prime

months include the spring and summer. If you want to have your wedding relatively soon, you may find that certain dates are already booked up for houses of worship and reception halls. Choose an off-peak time of the year, such as January, March, November or December, instead. Establish a budget: The scope of your wedding will depend largely upon what you can afford. Many of today's average weddings range from $25,000 to $35,000. Make a list of all the costs you will have:

See Don't, pg. 4

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Don't get overwhelmed, plan for the day in advance Continued from page 3 wardrobe, clergy fees, reception hall, flowers, photography, gifts for wedding party, transportation, honeymoon, etc. Figure that the majority of the costs will be around $2,000 each (excluding the reception site, honeymoon and ceremony). Seeing the end cost will help you develop a plan for saving. Keep in mind that many of the payments and deposits are made over time, so you won't have to come up with the lump sum all at one time. Wedding sites: Once you

have a date and budget, your next step is to make arrangements with the church, synagogue or other place where the ceremony will take place. Most houses of worship prefer you secure the day with them before booking your reception site. Many places book a year or more in advance, so it is important to shop around and secure your locations as soon as possible. When looking at reception locations, it helps to have a preliminary idea of how many people you'll be inviting to the wedding so you can compare costs and

decide on room sizes. Certain places offer lower rates for Friday and Sunday than Saturday night. This can help to keep your reception more budget-friendly. Photography, Music, Flowers, Limos, Hairstylist: Some wedding vendors book up as fast as reception sites, particularly if they come well recommended. Secure your date for services with these people shortly after you reserve your ceremony and reception site. Vendors will likely require a deposit and balance paid before the wedding. Wardrobe: The ladies in

the wedding will need to browse for and decide on gowns roughly 6 to 8 months before the wedding. This allows time for the dresses to be ordered and alterations to be made. Gentleman can typically shop for tuxedo rentals a month before the wedding. Registry: If you want to select gifts from a specific store, register for them as far in advance as possible. This way if people want to give you gifts from the registry in advance of the wedding, they'll know what to

See Plan, pg. 5

SIRLOIN SALOON (SIRL); 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 64342

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Plan the honeymoon together, so you'll both enjoy it Continued from page 4 choose. Definitely register by 2 to 3 months before the wedding, because this is when the bridal shower is typically held. Stationery: Order your invitations, save-the-date cards, etc. 5 to 6 months before the wedding so you have time to check the proofs and ensure they're printed correctly. Wedding invitations are usually mailed out 1 to 2 months prior to the event. It is customary to stamp the RSVP card so that guests simply put it in the mail.

Religious requirements: Some houses of worship require classes or retreats before a wedding ceremony to prepare the couple for marriage in a religious sense. Make sure these tasks are completed. Honeymoon: It used to be the groom's task to book the honeymoon, but most couples do it together these days. Book the honeymoon and apply for passports if necessary, several months in advance. Seating arrangements: This can be one of the most challenging parts of wedding planning. Once the majority of your RSVPS are in

hand, you'll want to think about seating. Most reception halls will give you a seating map that you can use to determine seating. If you are a visual person, you may want to enlarge the map and actually cut out the names of guests to stick and re-stick in different areas of the room until the seating is just right. There are also computer programs that can help you with seating tasks. Balances due: In the last months to weeks before the wedding, most balances will be due for the services. The reception hall will

want a final seating count and you will be picking up your gown. When paying these balances, it's also a good idea to confirm with musicians, photographers and limo companies. Rehearsal: Set a rehearsal a week prior to the wedding or within a few days before. This gives everyone a trial run. A dinner is customary following the rehearsal. The big day: Rest up the night before and organize all of your wardrobe, honeymoon packing and then get set for one of the most momentous days of your life.

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Shop for your gown without stress


efore you start looking for your dream wedding gown, here are a few helpful tips to ensure you have a stress-free shopping experience: Do some preplanning. Yes, you may have been looking at bridal magazines and surfing the Internet shopping sites, but when the date has been set it's time to really do your homework. It's great to have ripped a picture or two — or three — from the pages of your favorite magazine to take with you when you go shopping so that you and your

bridal consultant will have some idea of what your preferences are. But be prepared and keep an open mind. There are lots of options out there and you should try on as many dresses as you can before

you settle on the "perfect" one. Don't overspend. It's best to know what your budget is before you go shopping for your wedding dress. Since the cost of the dress is one of the biggest expenses of the total wedding budget, if you do splurge on a dream dress you need to consider scaling back on another part of the wedding. If you are visiting a specialty bridal salon, inquire about their pricing policies and alteration costs. Many require a deposit when you place your order. Do make an appointment.

Before you sail into a bridal salon with your best friend or mother in tow, it's best to call ahead and make an appointment. Many bridal retailers are more formal in their approach to shoppers than traditional fashion stores. Bridal consultants are there to assist you in a private dressing room as you try on gowns, and you need to make sure there will be someone free to give you their undivided attention. If you can, visit these salons on a weekday when

See Make, pg. 7

HEINEL'S CLOTHIERS (HEIN); 3.4997 in; 2.5 in; 0; Black; 64366

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Make a memorable day out of the experience Continued from page 6 it's quieter and there aren't so many brides-to-be waltzing around the store. Don't take an entourage. Think carefully about who you take with you when you shop for your gown. Don't take four of your bridesmaids. First of all, they won't all fit into the dressing room with you, the bridal consultant and the seamstress, and secondly, you'll have four different opinions. Instead, ask one person whose opinion you trust whether it's a relative or a close friend. Then make a memorable occasion

out of it, perhaps taking them out to lunch afterward. Do be patient. Yes, there are lots of gowns to choose from, and you may be trying on several. Know this in advance and don't schedule a date with your fiance for an hour after you arrive at the bridal store. Then don't hesitate to tell your bridal consultant exactly what kind of wedding ceremony you are going to

have — formal or informal, traditional or contemporary, afternoon or evening. The expert is there to help you narrow down the choices and make the best decision. If you're planning a wedding on the beach or one in a chic Parisian hotel, let the consultant in on your plans from the beginning.

Don't forget accessories. When you do find your dress, don't forget to purchase all the extras at the same time or when you have your fitting — undergarments, headpiece, shoes, hosiery, etc. You'll be glad you did. You'll also want to book an appointment with your hair stylist after you buy your headpiece and veil. The right accessories can make a big difference in how your gown will look on you. And then you can practice walking down the aisle in style.

POMPANUCK FARM; 3.4997 in; 2.5 in; 0; Black; 65249

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Vera Wang breaks down the fabrics of choice


f you've ever wandered into a bridal salon, you've probably thought you were on a different planet. The words bandied about — especially describing the fabrics these dresses are made of — create a foreign language for most of us. In her lavish book, "Vera Wang on Weddings" (HarperCollins, $65), the influential fashion designer who is famous for her luxurious wedding dresses provides a wealth of knowledge on bridal elegance. "As a fashion professional and a former bride," says Wang, "I am now able to

translate all my knowledge, experience and love of style to the visual and emotional vocabulary of weddings." When you start talking about bridal gown designs, it all starts with fabric, says Wang. "In all cases, the fabric

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dictates the shape, drape and cut of a dress, as well as the time of day and season it can be worn," she says. "Conversely, the choice of silhouette will impact the fabric selection, as the requirements for a lavish ball gown will differ greatly from those for a narrow column." Here are a few of Wang's brief definitions for fabrics usually found in structured gowns: Duchess satin and satin polyester. One of the most flattering fabrics for formal gowns, satin is stiff, opaque and shimmering, ideal for strict A-lines, full, gathered

skirts, mermaid shapes or structured bustiers. It also serves as the perfect foundation for a beautiful lace gown. Silk taffeta, silk radzmire, taffeta blends. Comes in a variety of weights, textures and weaves and is light and airy so it requires a substantial foundation or multiple linings. Taffeta looks best when gathered for volume and always looks most luxurious in off-white. Satin-faced organza. One of Wang's preferred fabrics, organza is lighter in appearance and less opaque than

See Many, pg. 9

Many fabrics available Continued from page 8 duchess satin and has a subtle sheen or luster to it. It works well with other fabrics such as lace, velvet, satin or taffeta. Tulle. Originally used for petticoats and underpinnings, tulle is often draped as a simple overlay or gathered into a full-skirted ballerina gown. It can also look sleek with a clean bodice or daring and romantic with a boned corset. Brocades and woven jacquards. For formal weddings, these fabrics are extravagant and expensive lending

themselves to all types of embellishment, such as lace, embroidery, passementerie or beading. Silk faille. A thick fabric that can be difficult to sew, but is suited to full, extravagant shapes. Basket weaves. Lighter and crisper than more traditional fabrics like satinfaced organza, basket weave can be charming for less formal weddings. Softer constructions are fabrics that lend themselves to more casual gowns that are more body-conscious, such as: Silk crepe and crepe blends. Silk crepe is still one of the

most popular fabrics for wedding and evening gowns since it can be worn draped and embellished or tailored and plain. Silk charmeuse. Another glamorous fabric immortalized by Hollywood sirens like Jean Harlow in the 1930s. Due to its shine, it is best worn unadorned.

Georgette . A sheer, sensuous fabric that is easier to wear than jerseys or silk c h i f f o n and requires a special lining due to its transparency. Silk chiffon. Even sheerer thangeorgette, that comes in a variety of weights, finishes a n d transparencies.

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Look picture perfect for your wedding day Y

ou finally chose the dress, decided on the location, booked the florist, music, and caterer, and agreed on the guest list. Before you breathe a sigh of relief that all of the details are tended to, think again. The most important and often overlooked detail of achieving wedding day perfection is the bride's complexion. Dull, blotchy skin, unsightly blemishes and dark under-eye circles are enough to make any girl cry let alone a bride! Since your wedding album will last forever, it's equally important to look beautiful in person and have camera-ready

skin. Follow these simple steps for a radiant, glowing complexion: Get Glowing: Every bride wants radiant skin but can't

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always afford costly facial treatments. Achieve similar results with an at-home product like Vita-K Solution At Home microdermabra-

sion Kit. It includes a Resurfacing Cream containing the powerful Vitamin K and C Complex that works together with the Derma Brush to gently resurface the skin. Replenish lost collagen while infusing essential vitamins and nutrients to moisturize, soothe and protect. The result is firmer, smoother, younger-looking skin. Protection is Mandatory: The most important thing any bride can do for her skin is to apply a broadspectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen everyday, rain or

See PLAN, pg. 11


Plan ahead and you'll have beautiful skin Continued from page 10 shine. When preparing for the big day, the last thing any bride needs is a sunburn, uneven skin tone, or dull, dehydrated skin caused by the damaging effects of the sun. Fight Back: If you're prone to blotchy skin you can actually treat the problem rather than cover it up. Reach for an effective remedy that will eliminate the appearance of blotchy uneven skin tone, acne marks and facial discoloration. Plan Ahead for Radiant Eyes: If you're one of the many women who suffer

from serious under-eye dark circles and/or chronic under-eye puffiness, start a regimen at least one month before the big day.

Look for an effective, yet affordable, product and you will begin to see a reduction in the appearance of dark circles and puffiness within

two weeks of first application. Optimum results usually occur in one month so make sure to time it before your wedding day. Take a Deep Breath: Brides are notorious for suffering from anxiety. Make sure you tend to all the details for the big day, but don't forget to take care of yourself or it will show through your skin. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day; cut back on fatty and salty foods; get as much sleep as possible; and engage in a stress-relieving activity at least once a day. If you take care of your body and your mind, your skin will benefit!

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 11

How to look and feel your best on the big day


hether the look is simple, glamorous or modish, every bride has a vision of how she'd like to look on her wedding day. She's flipped through dozens of wedding magazines, put sticky notes on her favorite pages, and she's got her fancied look embedded in her mind. But for many brides, the difficult part is transforming that hairdo and makeup concept from the photograph into the real world, where there are blemishes, weather conditions and nylon snags.

"What people have to remember is those photos were taken in controlled environments," says Michelle Dastyck, a professional makeup artist. "Thinking you are going to look exactly like the person in the picture is unrealistic." A more realistic goal, Dastyck said, is to capture the essence or feel of the magazine bride but tailor it to the real bride's overall look and personality. Dastyck said a bride's beauty also is reflected in how she feels on the

inside. Dastyck and Sandie Trevor, a cosmetologist, are the women behind "The Perfect Wedding" DVD series. They have come up with a list of tips for brides that will ensure that they are looking and feeling their best on their day. There is a reason it's called beauty sleep. Most brides don't get enough sleep the week of their wedding. Planning your wedding may be one of the most stressful times in your life. The stress will inevitably show on your face on the

big day. Don't skip on sleep no matter how much there is to do. Get at least eight hours every night, and take power naps. Don't leave administrative and logistical details until the last minute. The additional stress can really take away from the joy of getting ready and cut into the preparation time scheduled. So don't leave decisions such as seating arrangements or your transportation to the ceremony until the last min-

See Try, pg. 13

CLASSIC LIMOUSINE SERVICE (CLSV; 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 65248

HEILSAMR BAKERY (HEIL); 3.4997 in; 2.5 in; 0; Black; 64369

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Try the entire wedding ensemble on prior to the wedding Continued from page 12 ute. When choosing a bridal hairstyle, take Mother Nature into consideration. Elements such as high humidity, wind and possible showers can greatly affect the look and holdability of a style. Never have any waxing done the day before the wedding or try any new skin products or treatments just before the wedding. Waxing, especially on the face, may leave irritation and redness that may be impossible to conceal with makeup. Skin may

even scab due to the use of excessively hot wax right before the wedding. Don't have your hair cut right before the wedding. The hairstyle you planned on wearing for your wedding day may not be achievable if the hair is cut too short. Have your trim no closer than four weeks before the wedding. Don't overcondition hair the night before the wedding. It will make the hair too soft and limp to maintain the style throughout the day. The foundation normally worn daily may not be the best choice

for a wedding. To promote a long-lasting finish and to diminish shine in photos, use an oil-free matte foundation. Be prepared to look photo ready all day by planning for easy access to touch-up essentials. Brides often do not realize that they need to be photo ready for many hours. Having hairpins, a comb or brush, tissue, lipstick or lip gloss and a powder compact tucked into a small bag or purse can help keep brides looking perfect all day. (Dastyck and Trevor rec-

ommend putting an attendant in charge of this little emergency kit to lighten your load.) Try on the entire wedding ensemble. By entire wedding ensemble, we mean lingerie, shoes, dress, veil, jewelry, gloves. Practicing g etting dressed before the wedding day will help you not only to decide what order to get dressed, but more importantly, brides can avoid finding out minutes before their wedding that some aspect of their attire does not look or feel as they expected.

CAMBRIDGE HOTEL (CAMH); 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 64726

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Get to know diamonds before you buy By L.E. Klein

If a diamond is what she wants, educate yourself. The four “Cs” are a good place to start — attributes of diamonds can dramatically affect the price and appearance of your ring.


he big decision has been made: This is the woman you want to spend life with. But the next step can be daunting for many men — shopping for an engagement ring. Your father can help, but his advice may be decades out of date. What’s a modern groom to do? First, think about the woman you love. Would she prefer a ring with some family history behind it? Something unusual or handmade? Something with sentimental value, repre-

senting a trip you took together or a place you both love? “It’s important to know what she wants,” said Brandee Dallow, spokeswoman for the Diamond Information Center in New York.

SON & SKY FINE FOTOS (SONS); 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 63443

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Carat: This term reflects the weight of a diamond, not the size. Depending on how a diamond is cut, one 1-carat stone can look noticeably smaller or larger than another. A larger carat is not necessarily more impressive. Cut: Two attributes make up the cut of a diamondshape and proportions and

polish. The most common shapes are round, marquise (tapered oval), heart, emerald (rectangular), pear, princess (square) and oval. The proportions and polish are indicated by percentages. Ask a jeweler to help you understand these measures and their importance.

Clarity: Diamonds often come with imperfections, smudges and crystals imbedded in their structures. The stone’s value increases as the clarity increases. Don’t be afraid to ask for a “loupe” or jewelSee Wait, pg. 15

DDM HAIRCUTTERS (HSTO); 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 64953

Wait for the right time to buy a lifelong gift Continued from page 14 er’s magnifying glass to check the stone yourself.

Color: Most of us think

of diamonds as white or clear, but in fact they come in dozens of shadings, including many tints of yellow. More valuable stones are free from any visible color. Before embarking on a ring-shopping trip, determine what features you personally like in rings. Your fiancee will appreciate your personal input, unless you often disagree

on matters of taste. In that case, ask her mother or a close friend for recommendations. Other ring tips:

Shop smart:

L i ke cars, jewele r s have a slow season when prices drop. June and July are good months, or when the holiday rush is over. Prices also track the economy and sup-

ply, watch the newspapers.

Find a good, established jeweler. Smaller, family-

run stores will often give you better service and can help you follow up with future service and fittings.

Make sure the stone is certified by t h e Gemological Institute of America or

E u r o p e a n Gemological Laboratory, respected labs that set standards for the industry. Get

the official GIA or EGL grade of the stone.

Don’t be rushed into a decision. Take your time and be practical about your finances. Don’t mortgage your future for a flashy stone.

Top tips Make sure you educate yourself about diamonds before you go out shopping for a ring.

RAINER'S GOURMET (RAGO); 7.166 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 64368

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 15

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WALDRON & RHODES (WALD); 7.166 in; 9.55 in; 0; Black; 63293

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 17

GIFTS & ENGRAVING (GIFT); 3.4997 in; 2.5 in; 0; Black; 64354

STATION HOUSE B & B (STBB); 3.4997 in; 2.5 in; 0; Black; 65134

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PRISTINE LIMO SERVICE (PRIS); 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 64365

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CELEBRATION RENTALS (CERE); 3.4997 in; 5 in; 0; Black; 64989

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LIQUOR STOP; THE (LIQS); 3.4997 in; 2.5 in; 0; Black; 64987

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 21

Dressed to suit your personality, style Continued from page 16 ticularly tall or thin, as larger men should avoid the three- or four-button tuxedo. Double-breasted. As one might infer, the doublebreasted tuxedo is one with two rows of buttons as opposed to one. Typically, these work best with heftier grooms, as double-breasted suits tend to hide girth and appear more comfortable. Cutaway Tuxedo. These go well with men of all statures. Cutaway refers to the front edges of the coat sloping diagonally from the waist and forming tails in

the back. These are the most appropriate option for daytime weddings. Tails. Tails are mainly reserved for ultraformal and traditional weddings. Featuring a severe break between front and back, tails should be avoided by shorter or stockier grooms. High or Low Vest. High vests are typically good for taller men with longer torsos, as they extend up the torso higher than a regular vest and go well with a high-button coat. Low vests are more appropriate for most men and can be worn by men

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of all body types. Peaked Lapel. An extension of the coat collar, the peaked lapel is a good choice for a shorter groom, as it makes the body appear longer and leaner. Shawl Collar. Unlike a traditional collar, shawl collars do not come to a point, making this a difficult choice to make depending on body type. In general, a wider groom will want to stick with a wider shawl collar as a thin collar will make him look larger. Similarly, a more svelte groom should stick with a thinner collar, as a wider one will have a cartoonish


Groomsmen play a significant role in the wedding


eddings, or so it would seem, are all about the brides. While all eyes are on the bride as she walks down the aisle, the groom is often relegated to secondary status. Such is the case as well when it comes to bridesmaids and groomsmen. While family and friends are most inclined to notice the bevy of beauties in matching dresses, groomsmen tend to go largely unnoticed. One person who shouldn't fail to notice the groomsmen is the groom himself. Part of being a good groom is not only

showing support for your blushing bride, but showing appreciation for your groomsmen as well. Groomsmen can and often do have significant responsibilities before and during the wedding, whether it's offering support to a nervous groom or organizing

one final and memorable get-together before the he ties the knot. Commemorate the reception: While women tend to lean toward the sentimental side at weddings, men are often less so, and tend to focus on the celebratory aspects of the day. Grooms can give out a personalized pub sign, pub shot glass, pub beer stein, or a pub bubble clock as a means of commemorating the day. Such gifts can then be displayed at celebrations for years to come. Back to the bachelor party: These days, weekend getaways are a common theme

to many bachelor parties. If your bachelor party happened to be a weekend getaway where you and your groomsmen kicked back and enjoyed your favorite hobby, consider gifts that evoke memories of that special weekend where you were the guest of honor. Take a swing at a great gift: For grooms and groomsmen who are particularly fond of America's pastime, consider a personalized Louisville Slugger bat commemorating your big day

See Grooming, pg. 24

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 23

Grooming yourself to be a helpful groomsman Continued from page 23 and each groomsman's participation in it. The bats can even feature your favorite team's logo engraved. Other such gifts include personally

signed baseballs, perfect for any sports fan. Go the more fanciful route: For grooms whose wedding will be an elegant affair, celebrate that elegance by giving your groomsmen a gift they're sure to value for

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years. Perhaps no accessory for men is more elegant than a pocket watch. Engrave a pocket watch for each groomsmen in your party as a show of appreciation and an acknowledgement

of their roles in helping you and your bride create an atmosphere and a day you'll remember forever. You can also score extra points by engraving a special sentiment to your own father or the father-of-the-bride.

Duties 1. Attend engagement, rehersal party. 2. Plan the bachelor party. 3.Pay for your own tux, get fitted in advance. 4. Keep the groom cool and stress free. 5. Usher guests to their seats, direct them to the bathroom and answer questions. 6. You'll walk a bridesmaid down the aisle and dance with her during the wedding. 7. Decorate the getaway car with anything you like, ensure the suitcase is in the trunk.

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 25

Plan an original wedding without the high price


ore so than ever, soon-to-be-wed couples are establishing their own traditions by looking for ways to impart a custom feel into their weddings — without breaking the bank. Weddings have a tendency to be contagious, and chances are, you've already been invited to a number of weddings this year. After a while the same traditions can become tedious and routine. If you are planning your own wedding, you may be competing with others you know for unique ideas. According to the latest

findings, 2.4 million weddings occur annually. That's a lot of bouquet tossing and wedding band renditions of "The Wind Beneath my Wings" to sit through. It's no wonder most brides want their ceremony and reception to be different. Maybe you're inspired by the lavish celebrity affairs, many of whom fly entourages to exotic locales, or are looking to clean out florists' supplies of an entire species of flower all in the effort to be different. Celebrities have the bankrolls to do so. But you, too, can have a custom affair with an average wed-

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ding budget. So apart from choosing personal wedding songs and outlandish bridesmaids' gowns, what can you do to be unique? Plenty. With a creative imagination and some internet resources, you can host a custom wedding. From personalized stationery to memorable keepsakes, there are a number of ways to put your special touch on the affair." On Location: Change the setting of the wedding. Think beyond the local reception hall. Investigate a park, theater, museum or even a building rooftop. You

may be able to get these venues for a steal. Also, destination weddings are growing in popularity. According to the American Wedding Study conducted by the Conde Nast Bridal Group in 2006, about 16 percent of all couples have a destination wedding, a 400 percent increase in the past 10 years. Break the rules: Okay, so there really aren't hard-set rules in weddings, except for those that your house of worship may require. Still, people become accustomed

See Personalize, pg. 27

Personalize your wedding to fit your very own style Continued from page 26 to certain traditions. Go against the norm. If the groom wants a female "best man" that's his prerogative. If the bride wants to ditch the white gown and wear a drop-dead-gorgeous red dress, she certainly has the right. The first dance at the reception doesn't have to be a sappy love song. Choose an up-tempo number or your favorite rock hit. Some guests' jaws may drop initially, but soon they'll understand you're just expressing creative license. Personalize stationery : Couples can show their personalities through the stationery they choose — from save-the-date fridge magnets to thank you notes that all form a cohesive theme. A well-designed invitation set not only establishes the mood of the event, it also informs guests of what to do and when. But traditionally stationery doesn't offer many opportunities for personalization, espe-

cially if you're planning a wedding that has unique communication needs, such as a destination wedding. The Internet has many custom invitation Web sites that offer affordable, yet unique sets, so shop around and see what you can dig up. Take the cake: Instead of a tiered wedding cake go for a custom creation. If you've ever tuned into the Food Network you know that cakes can be designed in all shapes and sizes. Whether a series of individual cupcakes, gourmet brownies or your favorite pie, allow your preferences to set the scene instead of feeling the need to conform. Free DIY favors: Guests look forward to taking home a memento from the wedding. But usually it's just something that ends up collecting dust on a shelf. For intimate weddings where the guest list may be considerably smaller, you can personalize favors for each couple that attends.

Manchester Newspapers • Bridal Book 2010 • 27

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Children require added attention, even if they're cute


ou can't foresee everything youngsters can do at a wedding, but you can lessen the chances of a major disaster. Experts have suggestions for couples to consider when planning a wedding involving children: Don't try to have someone too young. Children should be at least 5 to participate in the wedding ceremony. Pay attention. Children like to be the center of attention, so ask someone to pay special attention to them.

Kids don't have much patience. When photos and other activities are done before the wedding, try to have youngsters participate at the last minute, rather than making them stand around the entire day. Keep them comfortable. If you plan on having a child stand with you during the ceremony, seat a parent nearby. Set up a room or an area for children 10 and younger and keep them occupied with coloring, crafts, videos, etc. Ask an older child or adult to oversee the activities.

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outside the cake pan


edding styles are constantly changing and so is the traditional wedding cake. Ages ago it really didn't matter what the cake looked or tasted like because it wasn't for eating. It was thrown at the bride as one of the fertility traditions of the ceremony. Now cake is looked as a sweet start for the married couple. Choosing flavor and style has become as important as picking the bride's dress. Couples have so many more options to choose from. The traditional cake has usually been three to five round tiers, a light yellow or white, with royal icing. A new twist to flavor is adding liqueur such as cappuccino or Grande Marnier. Popular flavors this year seem to be fruity flavors such as lime, lemon and orange. With so many choices in flavors, it can make for a difficult decision. Most couples choose a cake that goes with the style or location of their ceremony, such as having a wedding on the beach. Couples can opt to have a cake in the shape of a sand castle with shells as an accent. With also having so many choices in frostings, bakeries are able to create pearl-finished toppings with sea horses, mermaids and sea stars. Cakes can also be geared toward the season of the wedding, such as fall. The season theme can be added to by serving a spice cake or serving apple, pumpkin or pecan pie. Pumpkin bread has also taken the place of a traditional cake. There is no detail too small in choosing the cake. Icing may not seem like a big deal, but there are so many types — and which to use can depend on the type of cake. Choices include buttercream, royal, marzipan and fondant. A variety of wedding cake toppers are also being used. The traditional bride and groom is still used, but a wider variety is available to reflect family heritage. Couples can really be creative in toppings and there are lot of weddings where they use doves, dolls and lace designs. Flowers are very popular, especially with edible flowers." The bottom line in choosing a cake is — don't be afraid to experiment.

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Vows are forever, make them count


ying the knot can become extremely complicated, especially if you're planning a big ceremony. Lengthy to-do lists could make you feel as if you're attempting to untie the legendary Gordian knot while blindfolded. So why go to extra bother with writing your own wedding vows rather than reciting the old familiar ones? "Wedding vows are words said on a special day. Marriage vows represent the way you will live together," say Shonnie Lavender and Bruce Mulkey, authors of "I Do! I Do! The Marriage Vow Workbook" (, $24.95). By any name, these vows should be more than just words recited during the ceremony. They represent a thoughtful, heartfelt com-

mitment to your relationship and the way you intend to live as a couple, from that day forward. More than seven years after their marriage, Lavender and Mulkey treasure their vows even more than on the wedding day. Copies hang in their kitchen and bedroom, and can also be found on their Day Planners. Regular review of their vows also "reminds us why

we love each other so much," says Lavender. In fact, "We really believe that the divorce rate would go down if couples spent as much time thinking about their vows as picking out invitations," Mulkey says. There's a trend toward personalizing weddings. Your wedding should reflect who the two of you are, as a couple. To accomplish that aim, some couples choose to write their own wedding vows to convey a sense of their relationship commitment. Those for whom this is a second wedding frequently decide to include members of their blended family when writing vows. How do you begin the process of writing vows? Given that the average wedding ceremony lasts only 15

minutes, limit your vows to the most essential elements. Leave out any extraneous jokes or innuendos. Start early. Don't wait until the last minute since your vows need to be thoughtful and long lasting. Devote some time to talking it over thoroughly with your partner, planning together for what you'll pledge to each other for a lifetime. When you have a first draft, try reading your vows aloud to check for repetition of ideas or phrases, or for awkward juxtapositions that could set up verbal stumbling blocks. Aim for language that's meaningful, clear and natural sounding. Finally, try to write not just for the wedding day but for 10 years into the future.

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Wedding guests have responsibilities too By Kelsea Gurski


he perfectly scripted calligraphy on the envelope may be the first clue. And the matching printed stationery divided by tissue paper inside will confirm it — you're invited to a wedding. Being a good wedding guest isn't a role to be taken lightly. How guests behave — both before and during a wedding — can have a significant impact on the bride and groom's experience.

First, pay attention to whom the invitation is addressed to. Brides typically word the invitation in a manner that clearly states who is invited. For example, if you are welcome to bring a guest, the envelope will say "and guest." Children should accompany parents only if the invitation states "and family" or specifically includes the children's names, she said. Don't call the bride and groom and ask if you can add to the guest list because

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they always say yes, even if they don't want to. Promptly let the couple know who will be attending. The reply-by date is not a mail-by date. Many reception venues require that the bride and groom guarantee an exact number of attendees for dinner, usually about three days before the big day. Whether it's a sit-down dinner or a buffet reception, the couple must pay for that guaranteed, so if you've committed make sure you go. Guests who have commit-

ted to the wedding date and later learn they cannot attend should call the bride as soon as possible, she said, even if it's past the RSVP deadline. Dress Code Deciding what to wear to a wedding can be a tough call, but there are a few rules of thumb guests can use to guide their decision, Generally, if no dress preference is indicated on the invitation, women should consider a sundress

See If, pg. 35

If nothing else, do your best to be on time to the ceremony Continued from page 34 or something comparable for an afternoon wedding or a cocktail dress for an evening affair. Strapless dresses almost always are acceptable, Men should wear a dress shirt and slacks, and add a tie and jacket if the affair lasts into late afternoon or evening. Jeans, sandals or shorts, unless such attire is mentioned on the invitation, are never acceptable. The next decision guests typically face is what to give the couple. Guests can either send the gift beforehand, or

"Do not use the host bar as a chance to experiment with hard liquor." take a gift or card to the reception. Etiquette allows for up to a year to send a gift. Wedding Day On this day, the best thing guests can do is be on time, said the Rev. Robert Jallus, pastor at St. Agnes Church. He advises guests to arrive at least 20 minutes early to sign the guest book and find a seat. Arriving any later

could congest the processional. Those who do arrive late should avoid interfering with the ceremony, he said. If the ceremony will be held at a church of a faith different from guests, that shouldn't deter them from attending, he said. In fact, he encourages such guests to join in as best they can. Many pastors, he said, make it easy for everyone to follow along. Reception When the ceremony has ended, shower the couple with confetti or bubbles —

if provided — and head to the reception site. Once again, be on time. Arrive at the reception hall before the couple to participate in the events planned there, such as the wedding party introductions, cake cutting and first dance. Keep outlandish behaviors in check. For instance, guests should not use the host bar as a chance to experiment with hard liquor. More than anything, guests should make any effort to be a positive part of the couple's day.

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How to keep your honeymoon romantic


honeymoon should be the trip of a lifetime for both partners, full of romance and relaxation after months of planning a wedding. But so many expectations are built into a honeymoon that it can become somewhat of a disappointment. Here are some common honeymoon pitfalls and misconceptions and how to avoid them:

1. Be honest with each other. If you go along with

your mate's destination choice to appease him or her, it can lead to quarrels and resentment later on. Instead, choose a honeymoon together. If you want a beach and he wants museums, pick a location that offers both.

Keep these tips in mind 1. Be honest 2. Be realistic 3. Relax 4. Laugh 5. You can be alone 6. Splurge a little 7. Tell people 8. Meet people 9. Be cautious 2. Don't expect nonstop romance. It will take

time to wind down from all of the wedding excitement, so make fun and relaxation a priority instead.

3. Don't exhaust your-

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self by doing too much.

Hopping across Europe in a week is recipe for stress. A better idea is to spend the first few days relaxing, then explore the sites and cities.

4. Don't forget your sense of humor.

Honeymoons occur in the real world where waiters spill soup and luggage gets lost. Laugh through the bumps and bruises and you will get your marriage off on the right foot.

5. It's okay to be apart from your partner. Scout

out the local cafes or collect shells along the beach while your new spouse naps or sunbathes at the pool.

6. Bring along some extra funds. Even if you're

going to an all-inclusive

resort, be prepared for onsite expenses like international phone calls, gift shop items and laundry service.

7. Tell hotel staff that you're honeymooners.

They may offer champagne, invite you to a newlyweds' cocktail party or even upgrade you to a suite.

8. Don't keep just to yourselves. Other honey-

mooners might key you into hidden treasures, such as a romantic restaurant or a secluded cove not mentioned in the tourist manual.

9. Remember to take out vacation insurance. It will protect you if you must cancel your trip or if you can't travel due to weather or illness.

Recent honeymoon trends


or many couples, planning a honeymoon is just as important as planning the wedding itself. Regardless of where you plan to go on your honeymoon, there are some things you should do and some new ideas of which you need to be aware in order to make it the kind of experience you want it to be. First, you must decide on a budget. If money is not an issue for you, bon voyage! However, if you're like most couples getting married, you're already paying for more than you anticipated. Establish a budget and use it as a guide. You may also want to consider using a honeymoon bridal registry. Honeymoon registries are gift registries that allow wed-

ding guests to buy specific components of your honeymoon as wedding gifts. Things like shore excursions, parasailing, spa services, and tours all make great wedding gifts. These are becoming more popular as couples getting married these days often have many of the basic household necessities that comprise a traditional gift registry. Once a budget has been established and you know where you want to go, you need to decide whether you want an all-inclusive package or whether you would prefer to be on your own a little more. For those with tight budgets, an all-inclusive honeymoon has the advantage of one all-inclusive package price. This includes

food, drink, entertainment and most activities at both all-inclusive resorts and on cruises. However, there are usually things that are not included for which you will need to pay, such as motorized water sports and shore excursions. Now you need to book and pay for this trip. Many honeymoon suppliers offer specials for early booking, which may or may not include airfare. Many packages that include a flight can offer significant savings because these suppliers buy airline seats in bulk, at a discount and then package hotel and sometimes car rental to give you significant value. Usually these packages need to be purchased from a travel agent.

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D.J. Worksheet Bride's Name: ______________________________

Entrance Song:_____________________________

Groom's Name:_____________________________

Wedding Song:_____________________________

Married Name: Mr. & Mrs.:___________________

Father/Daughter Song:______________________

Best Man:__________________________________

Mother/Son Song:__________________________

Maid/Matron of Honor:______________________

Spotlight Dance:___________________________

Wedding Party Members:

Garter Toss: Y or N

___________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ ______________

Bouquet Toss: Y or N Special Requests: ___________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________

bridal shows 22nd Annual Rutland Bridal Show January 20, 2008 at the Holiday Inn Rutland/Killington

Burlington Winter Bridal Show March 30, 2008 at the Middlebury Inn

6th Annual Stowe Bridal Show April 27th, 2008 at the Trapp Family Lodge

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For most brides, a new name comes with the ring By Paul R. Huard When most women take their vows, they also take their new husband's family name. It's a time-honored tradition that still suits many brides, but it is also a choice that means you should consider all the legal requirements of a name change well before the wedding day. According to WeddingChannel .com, if you decide to change your name begin using it immediately (and consistently) after the wedding. Use your new name whenever possible -- liberal doses on business cards, in introductions and with friends and family members will get the word out. But when you receive your marriage license, contact your local Social Security office and Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain new identification cards. has a Web page that lists the contact information for each of the 50 states so you can begin the process of obtaining new I.D. . It's located under "Name Change" in the "Bride & Groom" section of the Web site. In some states, if a bride changes her name to anything other than what is

legally her groom's last name at the time of marriage, she may be required to pay a fee. Be sure to ask your county clerk about specific laws governing your area. There are plenty of institutions and government agencies that will need the updated name information. They include: 1. Employers, 401(k) or retirement accounts. 2. Banks, stockbrokers, credit card companies. 3. Post office, utility companies. 4. Voter registration, U.S. State Department (Passport Services). 5. Mortgage/deed/lease companies, insurance companies. 6. Personal memberships such as health or athletic clubs, schools and alumnae associations. By the way, avoid a common pitfall that could spell disaster for your honeymoon trip if it includes foreign travel. In our post-Sept. 11 world, the name on your passport must match that on your airline ticket (and your photo identification card). Make sure your passport passes muster, or consider changing your name after the trip.

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Wish list gives you chance to start with the best


wedding registry is a wish list, but couples need to keep sight of its true intent — a convenience for loved ones wishing to give the betrothed gifts. It takes some finesse to find that perfect balance. Experts say the key is to start early, plan for the future and keep guests in mind. "Setting up a bridal registry is an opportunity to start with the best of everything," said Bari Fagin of Bed, Bath & Beyond. "Brides are always looking for a set of cookware, they are always looking for a set of knives, and most brides assume at some point they are going to bake, so they are always looking for their stand mixer. "But, you want to include all the things you wish you had, not just the things you think you should have. "Tastes change. You don't want to say, 'I wish I had registered for fine china when I had the

"You want to include all the things you wish you had, not just the things you think you should have."

chance,'" Fagin said. "This is the time to look ahead." Don't be afraid to look beyond traditional wedding gifts. A set of crystal champagne flutes would be nice, but what about the day-today necessities? Practical items like cleaning supplies or storage organizers are just as important. Nancy Green of Glenarm, Ill., said that of three bridal showers she had attended, the most memorable was the least traditional. Green said a "garage shower" was thrown by family friends who took the concept of a bridal shower, moved it outdoors,

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added a cookout, and limited gifts to those used in or around the garage. One of the gifts came wrapped in leaf bags, secured with extension cords and tied up with a bow fashioned from unused rolls of duct tape, she said. Also less traditional but nonetheless welcome in many modern households are electronics, which make up a growing trend in bridal registries. Still, traditional style seems to prevail said to Tina Klopfer, who has been a bridal consultant at Famous-Barr for four years. Brides seem to prefer casual formal when it comes to china, bypassing

the platinum-edged china for a plain or gold edge pattern, she said. Famous-Barr offers a registry checklist and most people follow it fairly closely. Klopfer has yet to receive any unusual registry

See Most, pg. 46 requests. In fact, most brides consistently choose casual china, stand mixers, bar sets and crystal at the store. Calpholon pots are also increasingly popular, she said. Fagin advised that listing a variety of items at different prices gives guests "the leeway to choose something that they

Get your finances in check By Chandra Orr


s plenty of married couples can attest, money can quickly become a hot topic. And prenuptial bliss can make prenuptial agreements and other money matters seem rather unromantic. In fact, couples often spend more time choosing china patterns than ironing out key financial details. And financial experts say that's a big mistake. "As studies have shown, money is the No. 1 reason couples argue," said Kyle Pitts, a certified financial planner with Hutchinson/Ifrah Financial Services in Little Rock, Ark. "Indeed, many recently divorced couples identify money issues as the primary reason for the marriage's demise. Planning ahead can help preserve both marriages and assets," Pitts said. "Couples must go into a marriage with an understanding of each other's personal and financial history and goals." Planning ahead means opening the lines of communication. First and foremost, couples must be frank about their fiscal affairs and their longterm financial outlook. Building trust is the top priority, Pitts said. Engaged couples should set aside a time to talk openly and

honestly about money matters and be prepared to disclose all assets, accounts and debts. A lack of honesty in such matters will ultimately lead to financial failure and the possibility of a marriage on the rocks, according to Pitts. After reviewing their finances — and before the wedding — couples should meet with a certified financial adviser to discuss their future goals. Regardless of age, it's never too early to start thinking about saving for a home or retirement. "By meeting with a third party, the couple can openly discuss financial goals - individually and collectively — such as saving for a home or car purchase, paying for the children's education, if having children is an option, and retirement planning," he said. "All short-term and long-term goals should be addressed and planned for." Once those goals are set in motion, couples would do well to create a prenuptial agreement, a will and a power of attorney, Pitts said. The bride and groom might not want to consider such topics on the eve of their wedding, but these important documents will create a smooth transition in the case of divorce, death or injury. "A prenuptial agreement

will supersede state laws or judge orders," he said. "Also, if a spouse has other business interests prior to the marriage, the other partners might require some type of prenuptial agreement to protect his or her business interests as well as their own." After the big day, the lucky couple can begin their fiscal future as husband and wife. Merging bank accounts seems like a logical first step, but while a joint checking or savings account goes hand-in-hand with the idea of a successful marriage based on sharing and trust, many couples prefer to keep both joint and individual accounts, according to Pitts. The key is for couples to be up front about their wishes and devise a plan together for how best to manage multiple accounts should they go that route. Merging debt may seem tempting as well, but Pitts cautions against consolidating individual education debts. "If couples have student loans, they should consider keeping them separate to best take advantage of loan and interest deferrals and deductions, as well as lower rates," he said. "Remember, this is an obligation of the individual. If a death occurs, if the debt is consolidated, the remaining spouse still has the obligation."

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Most stores offer bridal registry consultants to help Continued from page 45 are comfortable with." Crafting the perfect registry takes time and requires input from both the bride and the groom. It's important to start early and involve your partner in the process.

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Bridal Book Test  
Bridal Book Test  

Bridal Book Test