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Wedding Showcase

2 0 1 3 Be open to ideas, advice when planning O

nce you announce your plans to get married, there’s a good chance that people close to you will be ready and willing to dispense their share of advice. Some words of wisdom will be priceless, while others you can store away for another day. When polling married couples, you will likely find they would change “this” or “that” about their weddings if given the chance to do it all over again. Here is some advice that you can choose to follow for your wedding day.

Tip No. 1: Trust your vendors Couples often have unique ideas for their wedding day. It may seem tempting to spell out what you want in minute detail and insist on wedding vendors carrying out your wishes to a T. But the smarter idea may be to give vendors a little more free reign — after all, they are the professionals.

“I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my centerpieces to look like,” offers Jean M., Connecticut. “I gave the florist my suggestions and the ‘feel’ of what I was trying to create, but ultimately I left the finished product up to her. When I walked into the reception hall and saw my centerpiece baskets overflowing with fallhued flowers, berries and twinkling candles, I was so excited I had left it up to the expert.” When deciding on particular aspects of the wedding, you can give your general ideas, but leave the finished product to the professionals. Don’t list every song you want the deejay to play or micromanage all of the poses the photographer should take. After all, experienced pros have likely done this dozens of times in the past and could produce results you never dreamed possible. Tip No. 2: Scale down Unless you are planning on auditioning for the show “Over-the-Top Weddings,” it

“I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my centerpieces to look like. I gave the florist my suggestions and the ‘feel’ of what I was trying to create, but ultimately I left the finished product up to her. When I walked into the reception hall and saw my centerpiece baskets overflowing with fall-hued flowers, berries and twinkling candles, I was so excited I had left it up to the expert.” — Jean M., Connecticut

might pay to make your

wedding more about being personal and less about wowing the crowd with special effects and expensive treats. It’s easy to be lured into extra dinner courses or be persuaded to release doves at the ceremony, but will these extras impact your relationship or the life you will be building together? “If I had to do it all again, I would skip the dessert bar I had at my wedding,” says Alice C., Ohio. “The spread of pies, pastries, cookies, and chocolates certainly looked impressive, but it cost me a small fortune. Also, people filled up on

the dessert bar so much, they no longer had room to taste my special-ordered wedding cake.” Tip No. 3: Don’t overextend Your wedding will hopefully be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Therefore, couples often plan to spend a good deal of money to ensure their special day is perfect. Weddings are still viewed as a high-priority expense and most couples save for a long period of time despite sluggish consumer spending reports. According to the market research and analysis firm IBIS World, nearly 60 percent of couples go over their budgets

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when getting married. Some do so at the risk of being in debt afterward. “It can be easy to get carried away in wedding spending,” shares Deirdre H., Michigan. “I went way over budget when getting my wedding gown and a few other components of my wedding. My husband and I struggled the first year of our marriage trying to fix our finances and battling a bad case of money-related stress.” Try to stick to a budget as much as possible so that you can enjoy yourself not only on the wedding day, but also long after the honeymoon has ended. Tip No. 4: Keep it in the family Selecting members of your wedding party can be challenging because there may be so many special people in your lives right now that you want to honor. Choosing a best man and a maid/matron of honor is a large responsibility because these people stand out in the

wedding.

Although couples struggle with their choices and want to please everyone, your safest bet is to choose a family member. “I ended up choosing my best friend over my sister as maid of honor,” says Clara T., Arizona. “Although we were very close at the time, we’ve since grown apart due to work relocation. My sister and I, however, talk and hang out frequently. I regret not having asked my sister to be my maid of honor, considering hers is a friendship I know will last a long time.” Unless you don’t have close family members or your relationship with your siblings or cousins is strained, choose a family member to serve as best man or maid of honor. It is easy to be overwhelmed when planning a wedding, and couples can expect to be bombarded with advice. However, it could pay to heed the advice of couples who have already lived and learned from their wedding choices.

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Save the date: Let guests know they are invited M

ore and more couples planning to walk down the aisle are embracing save-the-date cards to give guests adequate notice that there is a party on the horizon. Save-the-date cards do more than let guests know when you’re getting hitched. The cards are a preliminary way to keep guests informed and let them know they are, in fact, on the guest list. These cards haven’t always been so popular, but have risen in popularity due to longer engagement periods, a growing number of destination weddings and the growing number of couples with guests from all over the country, if not the world. Considering people often plan business trips, vacations and other excursions several months in advance, save-the-date cards help secure a greater number of attendees at your wedding. Save-the-date announcements can vary in many ways. They may be postcards or magnets that can be attached to a refrigerator door. If you desire a cohesive theme to your wedding stationery, select the save-the-date cards at the same time you choose your wedding invitations. This way you can ensure that either the patterns, fonts, colors, or style of the cards will match. It will also help convey the tone of the wedding. Guests often take their cues regarding the level of formality of the wedding from the type of stationery couples choose. When to send out the save-the-date announcements is important as well. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to mail out the cards 6 months in advance for a standard wedding. If the wedding requires travel or extended overnight accommodations, you

Save-the-date cards inform guests that a wedding is on the horizon, making it easier to arrange travel plans. may want to mail them out 8 months to a year in advance to give guests the time to investigate flight costs and hotel arrangements. A wedding also may necessitate planning a vacation or personal time off from work. Therefore, ample advanced

notice is advisable. Be sure to make your guest list in advance of sending out save-the-date cards. Everyone who receives a card should also be sent an invitation prior to the wedding. Remember to include any members of your planned wedding party in the list of recipients. Just because a person has verbally confirmed attendance at your wedding doesn’t mean they should be excluded from subsequent announcements. Guests may talk to one another and it is best to avoid hurt feelings and any added drama before the wedding by treating everyone equally. Be sure to include the wedding date, your names and the location of the wedding on the save-the-date cards. You do not need to offer RSVP information or detailed specifics at this time. You may want to include a Web site URL on the card so guests can check it frequently for updates on wedding information. Be sure to also include that a formal invitation will follow at a later date. You do not want to cause confusion by having guests think that the save-the-date card is the actual invitation. Also, make sure you address the save-the-date cards correctly to show your intentions with respect to guest invites. For example, be clear about whether children will be invited and whether a boyfriend/girlfriend or another guest can tag along. Although save-the-date cards are not a necessity, they have become a popular part of wedding planning to eliminate confusion about invitations as well as help guests plan time off for your wedding.

Wedding music that stands the test of time Top tips for creating There are many different ways to convey feelings of affection. Some people pen poetry, others bestow gifts, while still others feel moved by music and lyrics. Songs have long been a popular way to convey emotions, and love songs have been performed by artists from nearly every musical genre at some point in time. Although music is subjective, some love songs have stood out as fan favorites. Commonly featured at weddings or as the backdrop on romantic evenings, the following songs are considered some of the more popular love songs of all time.

of her feet. The song “Up Where We Belong” by Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker from the movie will always be a romantic favorite.

“Love Theme From ‘A Star Is Born’” (Evergreen): This Barbara Streisand classic from the hit film helped Streisand earn both an Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture and Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

“I Do It for You”: This Bryan Adams hit was nominated for an Oscar as the theme for the 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”

“Up Where We Belong”: Few people can forget the ending scene of “An Officer and a Gentleman” when Richard Gere sweeps Debra Winger off

“All My Life”: Former Jodeci members K-Ci and JoJo created an enduring romantic song with this pop hit. “Save the Best for Last”: This song became Vanessa William’s signature song and a smash hit. “Be With You”: Soul singer Mary J. Blige emphasizes sticking with the one you love by being loyal.

“I’ll Make Love to You”: This Boyz II Men song was one of the longest-running No. 1 hits of all time. “Lovesong”: The Cure’s Robert Smith penned this song as a present to his wife, Mary, in 1988.

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“Sweet Love”: Anita Baker’s soulful hit helped turn her from a budding R&B singer into a household name. “Love Me Tender”: His good looks and gyrating hips helped thousands of women fall in love with Elvis Presley. However, this signature love song endeared the famed crooner to many others. “My Heart Will Go On”: Celine Dion’s theme from “Titanic” became one of the most popular love songs of all time after the film’s 1997 debut. “I’ll Stand by You”: This 1994 hit from The Pretenders can be interpreted as a song of romantic devotion or a commitment to friends. “You Are So Beautiful”: Joe Cocker makes the list again with this soulful 1975 hit. “Have I Told You Lately”: Originally written and recorded by Van Morrison, this song gained new life and notoriety when recorded by Rod Stewart. “My Girl”: Beloved R&B

group The Temptations deliver a song about sunshine on a cloudy day in this classic. “I Will Always Love You”: Witten and performed by Dolly Parton, this song is perhaps most known for the version performed by Whitney Houston for the soundtrack of her 1992 film “The Bodyguard.” “Time After Time”: A song of devotion, Cyndi Lauper earned her first No. 1 single with this hit. “Hey There, Delilah”: A simple song of young love by the Plain White T’s. “Unchained Melody”: The Righteous Brothers delivered the best-known version of this song, which helped create movie magic between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in the 1990 film “Ghost.” “Just the Way You Are”: Billy Joel’s classic in which he tells his beloved she is perfect as-is. “Your Song”: A simple, eloquently written song of love from Elton John.

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list. Talk to your fiancée and work together. Also, think about what you need now and in the future – you might be dining for two, but soon you could be hosting a dinner party for 12 and will want dinnerware worthy of the occasion. Ask for help: Don’t be shy about seeking advice. Visit a store and talk with an expert consultant who can help with gift selections and offer tips on what you’ll need to enjoy your home. Be sure to research the items that go on your registry. Touch the towels, hold the flatware — you may need to visit the store multiple times to get it right. If you change your mind, remember it’s always possible to update your registry online at any time. Dream big and small: Not all guests will be working with the same budget, so include a range of items at various price points. Guests will appreciate the variety for individual and group gifts. Dream big and include a few big ticket items and gifts that last a lifetime. Keep in touch: From savethe-date notifications, personalized announcement cards and registry details, keep in touch with your guests stylishly with a complete, customized wedding stationery ensemble. You can visit www.BedBathAndBeyond.com and click on “personalized invitations” to visit their onlineonly stationery store.

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Simple ways to save on costs A

ccording to a 2012 report in Brides magazine, the average American couple spends just under $27,000 on their wedding. Clearly couples can expect to invest a substantial amount of money for their weddings. While many couples find the cost of a wedding is well worth it, others would like to find ways to save so their big day isn’t a budget-buster. Such savings aren’t always easy to come by, especially for couples with a very distinctive picture in mind of what their wedding should be. However, even couples strongly committed to a certain wedding style might change their minds once they realize how much such a dream wedding will cost. For those couples as well as couples who simply want to save some money, the following are a few ideas to avoid busting your budget without venturing too far from your dream wedding. — Trim the guest list. The guest list is perhaps the easiest place to begin saving money. Many reception halls will charge by the head, so consider if you really need to invite

150 guests or if 100 will do. Such trimming can save you a substantial amount of money. For example, a banquet hall that charges $200 per guest will cost couples with a guest list of 150 $30,000 for the reception alone. Cutting that guest list to 100 reduces that cost by $10,000. When putting together the guest list, remove those candidates who would best be described as acquaintances. This can include coworkers with whom you don’t socialize, as well as old college friends to whom you rarely speak. Distant cousins you haven’t spoken to in years can also be cut from the list. — Don’t go overboard on the gown. Styles are ever-changing, so there’s a strong chance brides won’t be passing down their wedding gowns to their own daughters someday. What’s popular now will likely seem outdated by the time your daughter walks down the aisle. Keep this in mind when shopping for a wedding dress, which can be made in the same design as the one you try on but with cheaper fabrics that are a fraction of the cost. The disparity between gown

costs in the United States and Canada should paint a good picture of how easily brides can save money on their gowns. According to a survey of wedding trends conducted by Weddingbells, an online resource for Canadian brides, the average Canadian bride in 2011 spent just under $1,800 on her wedding gown, while the average American bride spends roughly $1,100 on her gown. Though the reasons for that disparity are unclear, it’s safe to say there are savings to be had for brides who don’t want to break the bank paying for their wedding gowns. — Get hitched in the off-season. Many couples prefer to get married sometime between the months of May through October. During these months, venues and vendors, including limousine services, caterers, photographers, musicians, and deejays, are more expensive. If you are willing to switch your wedding date to the off-season you can save a substantial amount of money. In addition, you likely won’t face as much competition for the best venues and vendors as you will during the peak wedding season. — Trim your beverage

budget. The bar tab at the end of the reception can be considerable, but there are ways to save money while ensuring your guests can still toast you and yours with a few libations. Rather than offering a full bar, limit the choices to beer and wine, which will be perfectly acceptable to most guests anyway. In addition, rather than paying the caterer for the wine, buy your own and you’ll save a considerable amount of money. You may have to pay the caterer a fee to pour the wine, but that fee is negligible compared to what you’d pay the company to provide the wine. — Choose a buffet-style dinner over waiter service. Many guests will no doubt prefer a buffet-style dinner instead of waiter service, so take advantage of that and choose a more affordable buffet-style dinner that allows diners to choose their own entrees and side dishes. When it comes to trimming wedding costs, couples will have to make compromises. But those compromises don’t have to come at the cost of a beautiful and memorable event.

A bride who’s willing to be flexible with respect to her wedding gown can save a substantial amount of money.

Tips for a great best man toast he best man toast can be one of the most memorable parts of a couple’s wedding. Sometimes a toast is memorable for its humor and heartfelt sense of appreciation for the groom and his bride, while other toasts are more memorable for all the wrong reasons. One of the reasons best man toasts can be so unpredictable is that giving a best man toast is such a unique experience. It’s something many men never do, while those who do give a best man toast may only do it once in a lifetime. It’s understandable to be nervous when asked to give a best man toast, but there are a

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few tricks of the trade a best man can employ to calm those nerves and ensure his toast is memorable for all the right reasons. — Practice makes perfect. Few people are capable of standing in front of a crowd of people and speaking off the cuff. A best man should take this into account and practice his speech before the big day. A spur-of-the-moment speech may provide an adrenaline rush, but such an endeavor may come off as if you didn’t care enough to put the effort into writing a thoughtful toast ahead of time. In addition, practicing the toast once it’s been written will make you feel more com-

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groom as well as yourself. — Get to the point. Men and women who have attended their fair share of wedding receptions no doubt have sat through a long-winded toast from the best man or maid of honor. Such toasts can bring a festive reception to a grinding halt, and guests will likely tune out before the best man or maid of honor gets to the point. Being succinct should be a goal for a best man with regard to his toast. Avoid long-winded walks down Memory Lane in favor of a toast that thoughtfully cuts to the chase and lets everyone get back to celebrating.

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fortable and confident in front of the crowd. If possible, practice in front of a friend or family member so you can solicit feedback. A friend or relative might be able to help you fine-tune the speech, which in turn can calm your nerves once you’re handed the microphone. — Avoid alcohol. Getting liquored up prior to your toast is a recipe for disaster. Though it may seem like a good idea to employ alcohol to calm your nerves and lower your inhibitions, it’s not a good idea. Consuming alcohol before your toast increases the chance that you will end up embarrassing the bride and

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Proper planning for hiring the right caterer will allow you and your guests to eat, drink and be merry and enjoy your special day.

Take care when choosing a caterer for your wedding T

aking the time to preplan your wedding reception is your best bet to ensure a wonderful and festive celebration of your big day. In fact, the decisions you make about who will cater your party could be among the most important and costly decisions you make about your wedding. For some, a favorite restaurant may be the answer. Some may want a celebration at their home or the home of a friend. Some wedding receptions will require renting a hall and hiring a band or a DJ. In any case, the highlight of the event will be the meal and what kind of food you want to serve should be one of your first considerations. Are you interested in a particular cuisine? You also need to find out if the caterer can make and/or serve a wedding cake or accommodate special requests or special family recipies. Some

Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family about their experiences with local caterers. Try to get references and referrals. A good caterer should be able to provide a list of satisfied clients.

caterers will allow you to sample their food in advance, if you ask. Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family about their experiences with local caterers. Try to get references and referrals. A good caterer should be able to provide a list of satisfied clients. Of course, your caterer needs to know how much you have budgeted for your reception. Most caterers charge on a per-person basis, and most will require a deadline when you let them know how many guests will be attending. Most caterers will be able to make sugges-

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tions once they know what you want and how much you have budgeted for the reception. You also will need to decide if you want a full, sit-down dinner or a buffet line. Buffets may be cheaper, but check with your caterer. Make sure the caterer can provide an itemized list of all charges. You also will need to make sure the caterer can handle your need for chairs, tables, linens, service, etc. and if there are any extra costs associated with any of these items. You also should ask if you have any options such as the color of the linens. You also will need to decide how to handle beverage stations, especially if you plan to serve alcohol. Some caterers can supply alcohol for your party and others will charge a corkage fee to serve alcohol you have purchased. You may be able to save some money by supplying the alcohol and paying the fee to have the caterer serve it. If you’re renting a hall for your reception,

make sure to check to see what rules they have regarding alcohol. Of course, you will want to have a signed contract that outlines the responsibilities of both parties — you and the caterer — and describes exactly how payment will be made. Most caterers require a deposit in advance. The contract also should cover set up and break down times, especially if you’re renting a hall for your event. Try to get everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings later. A good caterer should always use a written contract. Proper planning and hiring the right caterer will allow you and your guests to eat, drink and be merry and enjoy your special day.

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Helpful tips for writing your own wedding vows wedding is a once-in-alifetime event for many couples, so brides and grooms wish for the event to be momentous and memorable. As such, couples are increasingly integrating personal nuances into their ceremonies and receptions to tailor weddings to their unique visions. The desire to include personalized wedding vows continues to be a popular trend. If you are considering personalized wedding vows, first realize that it may not be a simple task. That’s because you want the message conveyed to be dear to your heart, and that can be challenging when faced with the pressures and planning of the rest of the wedding. That isn’t to say that writing your own vows is impossible. Here are some guidelines for personalizing your ceremony with your own sentiments. — Schedule time for writing. Amid the bustle of dress fittings and interviews with photographers, it can be easy to put off the important task of writing vows for another day. But as any great writer can attest, it takes writing — and rewriting — to achieve a finished product you can be proud of. Give the task of writing your vows your undivided attention. Mark it in on your calendar or set a reminder on your computer just as you would any other appointment. — Be aware of ceremony guidelines. It is best to check with your officiant and confirm that per-

sonalized wedding vows are allowed. During civil ceremonies it’s often acceptable to customize vows as you see fit. However, during religious ceremonies there may be lines of scripture that need to be read or certain passages required. Before you spend hours working on the task, be sure that it is allowed and that your spouse and you are on the same page. — Jot down your feelings. Answer some questions about what marriage means to you and how you feel about your spouse. Try to avoid trite sayings and think from your heart and personal experiences. Think about what is the most important thing you want to promise to your future partner. These notes can serve as the starting points for the actual vows. — Read inspirational writings. Perhaps there is an author or a poet who inspires you? You can quote certain writers in your vows or let the tone of their works help shape the words of your vows. There also are suggested wedding readings and other quotes about marriage readily available at the library or with a quick search online. — Decide on a tone. Although the day is based on love and affection, you may not feel comfortable spouting words of adoration in front of friends and family. Feel free to tap into your

A

Walking his daughter down the aisle and giving her away to her husband-to-be could be one of the most poignant and bittersweet duties the father-of-the-bride faces come wedding day.

Father of the bride always has a place in a wedding W

edding traditions and the duties of the father of the bride are as varied as the cultures from which they arise. Most of the current wedding traditions we celebrate today come from the Victorian era, but today many of these old traditions are changing and many of the responsibilities once assumed by the father of the bride are taken on by others. Of course, the father of the bride should do everything he can to make his daughter’s special day as special as it can be. Traditionally, the father of the bride (and perhaps his family) pays for the wedding. Many couples today offer to pay a portion of the expenses, and sometimes even the groom’s family may help pay the bills. In any case, the father of the bride may want to handle hiring the caterer and selecting the menu, buying the liquor, help plan the ceremony and choose the venue for the reception. He also can help with outof-town travel arrangements and help guests find lodging and transportation. The day before the wedding, many fathers give a speech to the groom during the rehearsal dinner. It’s an important moment when the father of the bride can welcome the groom into the family. Come wedding day, the fa-

ther of the bride normally travels with the bride to the ceremony. During the ceremony, the father of the bride gives the bride away to the groom — perhaps his most important task during the wedding. Who could be prouder on this day than the father of the beautiful, blushing bride? After the wedding, if there is a receiving line, the father of the bride usually stands beside his daughter. During the reception, the father of the bride should offer a fitting toast to the newly wed couple. Most receptions also will feature a father-daughter dance. Sometimes the father will cut in during the first dance at the reception instead. Often, the father of the

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bride will select a song with special meaning for both of them. Father and daughter probably should practice dancing together a little because all eyes will be on them. The father of the bride also should plan a heart-felt toast to the new couple during the reception. He also should ensure the reception runs smoothly, that everyone has enough to eat and drink. Finally, he should thank everyone for attending.

unique personality. Humor can be used if it aligns with the way you normally express your affections. Be sure to weave this tone into more traditional passages to create a cohesive expression of your feelings. — Establish an outline. Put together all of the words and phrases you’ve jotted down into an outline to help you organize the flow of the vows, using these words as a blueprint for the vows and building upon them. Make sure the vows will be concise. Aim for your entire speech to be around 1 minute in length to keep everyone engaged and the ceremony moving along. — Put everything together. Draft your vows and then practice them by reading out loud. You want to avoid long sentences or anything that trips you up. Although large words may sound impressive, they could make the vows seem too academic and not necessarily heartfelt. Enlist the help of a friend or two to act as your audience to see if the vows sound good and are easily understandable. Writing your own vows can be a way to include personal expressions of love into a couple’s wedding day. Public speaking is seldom easy, nor is finding the perfect words to convey feelings about a future spouse. However, with some practice and inspiration, anyone can draft personalized vows.

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter

Capture the precious memories hotographs of your wedding ceremony could be some of the most prized and enduring images of one of the most special days of your life, so it’s important you get them right. One of the most important wedding planning decisions you have to make could be who will record the event for posterity — Uncle Norman, the family’s favorite shutterbug, or a professional wedding photographer. While Uncle Norman may be a real whiz with a camera and could quite possibly take some excellent photographs, most experts still advise hiring a professional photographer for weddings. Here’s why. Weddings are very special events that only happen once, and they happen in real time. If you miss an opportunity to capture an image of one of those once in a lifetime moments, it’s gone forever. Quite simply, there are no do overs. For example, the bride will only throw her bouquet once. She’s not going to retrieve it from her guests and then throw it again because the photographer missed the shot. That can lead to a lot of stress for the photographer, and good old Uncle Norman may not be up to the task. Luckily, wedding photographers have the experience and expertise to work comfortably and professionally in such a high stress environment. After all, that’s what they do for a living. You also might want to

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Many brides and grooms want photographs of their wedding rings being placed on their fingers. consider using a local photographer (rather than an out-oftowner) because he or she will be intimately familiar with churches and venues that hold weddings in your area and the particular challenges each location might pose for the photographer, such as lighting issues or unsightly background areas. Of course, cost can be a factor when hiring a wedding photographer. In the big city, a wedding photographer might charge as much as $10,000 to shoot a wedding. In Plumas County, the cost is usually a fraction of that amount. Some wedding photographers will come with an assistant and sometimes a second photographer. Some photographers will even want to attend rehearsals,

so they get a first hand look at the event they’ll be shooting the next day. Before you hire a photographer, make sure you take a close look at their work. Don’t forget you’re paying them to be creative. Go through their portfolio of photographs carefully, compare prices and find out exactly what the photographer will be giving you for your money. Spend some time talking with the photographer, and make sure you can feel comfortable having this person share your special moment with you. Don’t’ be afraid to let the photographer know if you want specific photographs taken during the ceremony. While each wedding presents dozens and dozens of unique photo

opportunities, take the time to think about the particular moments you would most like to capture. Make a list and go over it with your photographer to make sure you record that image. For example, many new brides want a close-up photograph of the ring going on her finger for the first time. Another favorite is the couple’s first kiss after taking their vows. Another often requested photograph is one of the groom the first time he’s sees his bride in her wedding dress. That can be an emotional and magical moment even for men with the toughest exterior. Digital cameras are the norm these days, and wedding photographers who use film tend to be more of a high-end specialty item. Film photographers would sell prints from the slides or negatives, but today many digital photographers will take the photographs, retouch and adjust them in a computer program such as Photoshop and then give you a disc containing all your wedding photographs. Some digital photographers also will offer prints, sometimes for an additional fee. Most wedding photographers will have a Web site and most can post the photographs from your wedding online for family and friends to see. Sometimes those online photos are available for sale as well. Take the time now to plan your wedding photographs before the ceremony, and you’ll have memories to last a lifetime and beyond.

Going on dates is a great way for older married couples to create excitement and romance.

Keeping marriage strong into your golden years he trend of long-married couples calling it quits has been growing. However, there are some steps couples can take to keep their relationships going strong. According to the AARP, divorces among people over the age of 50 have doubled since 1990. According to Susan Brown, codirector of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, one out of three Boomers will face their golden years unmarried. There are a number of reasons why divorce rates have skyrocketed among the over-50 set.

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Understanding just why these divorces are taking place and taking proactive steps to alleviate some of the divorce triggers can be a recipe for a happy marriage that continues throughout a couple’s golden years. — Increase accountability. Ours is a transient society where families no longer bat an eyelash over moving great distances away from other family members. As a result, Boomers may feel like they are not connected to children or grandchildren. With this in mind, they may feel less attached to their marriage or their responsibilities or believe that no one will get hurt by a divorce. Keeping families close and remaining in frequent contact can increase accountability and reduce the propensity for divorce. — Get things out in the open. A major reason for a failed marriage is years of avoiding significant issues rather than addressing problems. Couples should make time to talk to each other about anything that might be bothering them rather than letting too many things slide. If these conversations turn into shouting matches, there is always the option of bringing in a third party to serve as a mediator. — Spend time apart. After retirement, couples may find themselves spending hours upon hours in each other’s company. While togetherness can be beneficial, too much time spent together may lead to feelings of suffocation and the perception that each member of the relationship is no longer his or her own person. Individuals can remedy this by doing more things on their own, whether spending time apart with friends or engaging in hobby time without your spouse. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Brief periods of separation can make the time married couples do spend together feel more meaningful. — Recommit to your vows. After 30 or more years, the vows you shared on your wedding may be a distant memory. Some people may have different views on the permanence of vows, putting personal happiness ahead of the happiness of the couple. Take stock of what you promised one another on your wedding day and stick to those words. — Become a comedian. Laughter has a way of dissolving a tenuous situation. Focus energy on laughing at mistakes instead of pointing blame. Couples can make fun of themselves and resolve to not take things too seriously. — Act like you’re dating. Couples often become complacent after many years of marriage. They may forget about the little details that made the relationship fun in the early years. The personal notes and cards and other surprises may fall by the wayside after being together for some time. Make an effort to go on dates, write love notes and think of what was appreciated by your partners when you were in the dating stage. — Practice selflessness. Sometimes all that is needed to rekindle a relationship is a selfless act that shows how much you care for your partner. Couples who are on the fence with regard to divorce can make an effort to improve the relationship rather than simply see divorce as the best option.


2013 Wedding Guide