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inside: • Financial planning for your future together • Indoor and outdoor venues • Hiring the right caterer • Capturing precious moments in photos • Planning a wedding on a budget • Taking father-of-the-bride duties seriously

A special supplement to the Lassen County Times, Westwood PinePress and Chester Progressive.


Lassen County Times, Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress

Wedding Guide 2013

Premarital counseling can provide the tools to a happy marriage Spiritual guidance can help iron out potential problems couples may face as they plan their future together

The Bureau of Land Management offers many sites to stage your dream outdoor wedding, such as Eagle Lake. Photo by Jordan Clary

Your wedding in a natural setting Whether your nature-wedding dream includes the mysterious landscape of the high desert or a tranquil spot along the Susan River, Lassen County, with its unique natural beauty, is sure to have something to meet your needs. Will it be a garden or mountain setting? Lakeside or desert? When a couple chooses to hold their wedding in a natural setting, the location they select makes a statement as to who they are as a couple and what’s important to them. Therefore, time and thought should be put into the decision. How will the setting best reflect their personalities and interests? The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a good place to begin to find the ideal outdoor wedding loca-

tion. Hobo Camp, with the scent of pine filling the air, is one popular BLM spot. An important consideration in choosing an outdoor location is whether it has facilities such as restrooms and picnic tables, and Hobo Camp has these already in place. Other places for a location in the trees include sites at Eagle Lake and Caribou Wilderness. Most of the high desert campgrounds have basic facilities, but the trade-off is the distinctive topography of rocks and sage. If you opt for a wedding on BLM land, you will want to plan well in advance — they advise at least six months lead time to make sure there is not a conflict on location and to give enough time to issue a Special Recreation

Use Permit. The price will vary depending on how many people will be attending. For more information on planning the perfect BLM wedding, call 257-0456 and ask for the outdoor recreation planner. Some of Lassen County’s ranches and farms also provide space for weddings. Family operated Wemple’s Pumpkin Patch in Milford is popular with many locals. For information on reserving wedding space at Wemple’s, call 253-2514. Other options include the lawn of the Susanville Elks Lodge and the Bailey Creek Golf Course at Lake Almanor. You can call the Elks Lodge at 257-4810. Bailey Creek Golf Course’s number is 259-4653. If you want to save costs,

consider a simple courthouse wedding at the Lassen County Courthouse. The ceremony, performed by the county clerk, usually takes about 1520 minutes and can be conducted outdoors on the old courthouse lawn. The county clerk is also available for different locations for a fee by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 251-8217. There are many possibilities for a natural wedding location. Don’t overlook the obvious. Friends’ backyards, favorite family picnic areas, special camping sites, even old barns can all offer possible sites for a special ceremony. The creative couple is sure to find something in Lassen County to make their day memorable.

Premarital counseling might be the answer many couples are looking for if they are interested in pursuing marriage or are newly engaged and want to get their marriage off to the best start possible. Community Church of Susanville offers premarital counseling, which provides couples with the tools to work through the challenges of marriage and help them gain a better understanding of each other. According to Senior Pastor Rick Conrad, Community Church offers six weeks of premarital counseling with one of the three pastors, which also include Rick Floyd and Jackson Fong. During those weeks, Conrad said a couple will look at a number of aspects of marriage such as child rearing, finances, social life, sex and what it means to be married and what that entails. “And our goal is to define that through the context of God’s word,” he said. Couples will be given homework assignments and provided with questions to discuss with each other about their life together. Premarital counseling doesn’t necessarily mean a divorce-proof marriage but it

helps get you off on the right foot and the tools to counter the problems, Conrad said. When couples go to Floyd for counseling, he first gets to know their story, such as how they met, and then he learns a little about each of their pasts to work on forgiveness of past hurts and offenses. Then they move into what Floyd describes as “prior agreement,” such as the number of children each person wants and the principles the individuals want to foster during marriage and specific areas of concern — communication, blended families, disciplining children and finances. Floyd said sometimes he will bring in someone with expertise in a specific area. As premarital counseling winds down, Floyd and the couple will talk about the wedding ceremony and what fits their personality. Conrad suggests people go through premartial counseling before a date is set as in some instances he has had people decide to postpone the date or not get married at all. If you are interested in receiving premarital counseling, call Community Church at 257-2924.

Choosing an indoor venue for your upcoming nuptials Diamond Mountain Casino & Hotel The Diamond Mountain Casino & Hotel offers venues for 20 to 300 people and inhouse catering and beverage service. Group room rates are available for parties of 15 or more. The hotel boasts spa suites with whirlpool tubs, an in-house salon, exercise room and indoor pool, and restaurants. For more information, contact Restaurant and Banquette Manager Matt Wolcott at 252-1100. Susanville Elks Lodge The Elks Lodge can hold up to 250 guests seated for events. For weddings, the lodge offers custom packages including tulle decorations, lighting, a full bar, and sit down dinner, buffet and appetizer meal services. For more information, call Rushelle at 257-4810. The beautiful Elks Lodge in Uptown Susanville is the choice of venue for many newlyweds.

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Veterans Memorial Hall For large parties, the Veterans Memorial Hall is another good option. It offers a package deal that includes tables, chairs, lighting, sound and use of the kitchen. The main floor can hold 350 guests seated at tables and additional people in the downstairs room. For more information, call Nancy at 251-8288.

Places of worship Lassen County has more than 40 churches that may offer wedding services. Find contact information for indi-

vidual churches in the Lassen County Places of Worship section of the newspaper or in the local phone book.

The Diamond Mountain Casino and Hotel offers venues for 20 to 300 people.

The Veterans Memorial Hall in Susanville is popular for large gatherings.


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Lassen County Times, Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress

Wedding Guide 2013


Think creatively: Great ways to make your party memorable Hosting a party can be stressful. Not only do you need to make sure your house looks great, you have to ensure your guests are having a great time. You can accomplish this with the right choices in food, music and décor. And it needn’t be hard to add some style and flair to make your party sparkle. From décor to table settings to food, a few unique twists can make guests feel welcome and ready to party upon arrival. So set the mood accordingly. Delight on arrival You can delight their senses right away with something delicious baking in the oven. Also, be sure your entranceway is decorated and there’s music playing. Just keep the volume at a conversationfriendly level. Think small Instead of hosting a multicourse sit-down dinner, make life easier on yourself and more fun for your guests with a splendid spread of small plates. A small plate dinner

means guests can eat whenever they arrive and mix and mingle as they do so – it’s an easy, fun way to entertain. When it comes to parties, the visual impact of your food is as important as its taste. This is where small plates shine, as little tastes can have a big impact with their colors, shapes and designs. Give guests a taste surprise with a round-the-world lineup of cuisines, from traditional sliders to more exotic choices like dumplings and Mediterranean dips. For inspiration, turn to a cookbook devoted solely to miniature appetizers and desserts, such as those from author Robert Zollweg. Aim for each dish to feature about four to six bites of food that can be eaten comfortably seated or standing and arrange dishes on small, sleek plates, such as Libbey Just Tastings mini dinnerware collection. Both the Just Tastings collection and cookbook line are available at Bed Bath & Beyond. For the sake of presentation, be sure your dishes present a great array of colors.

Attendees will naturally end up moving around the room in order to taste everything. Make sure to coordinate tablecloths, napkins, candleholders and centerpieces. You can

find a colorful assortment of each at Remember: think creatively! Setting the party mood is important.

Dress it up You can dress up your party space with a few simple and elegant flourishes. You can make stylish centerpieces by taking clear bowls and filling

them with colorful ornaments and pretty greenery. And you can fill glasses with colored stones and small candles to add a sophisticated glow to the room. (StatePoint)

By setting a mood that is both cheerful and chic, you can make a great impression on guests and throw a party they won’t soon forget.

Let’s talk wedding rings: Styles vary and trends come and go An engagement ring symbolizes love and commitment and a man’s intention to marry a woman. It is a piece a woman will wear for a lifetime and can become a family heirloom passed on through the generations. In western culture, rings are worn on the ring finger of the left hand because of a long-time belief that it contains a vein that leads to the heart. Engagement rings vary in shape and commonly feature diamonds or other gemstones. Styles vary and trends come and go. According to Sherry McBroome, owner of Sierra Jewelry Company, filigree style rings are popular and one trend she is seeing right now is people wanting antique styles and coming in with family heirlooms to be updated. Jewelry recovered from the Titanic, which sank after striking an iceberg in April 1912, was part of a three-city tour marking the 100th anniversary of the incident and McBroome said customers

want to replicate those styles, too. People are also gravitating toward a Euro shank style ring, where the piece has a flattened, square bottom, which prevents the ring from twisting. Another trend is a double color ring where the yellow and white gold are mixed, according to McBroome. Dana Hirsche, who owns Leslie’s Jewelry with her husband Curt, said customers like the halo style ring where a stone, of any cut and shape, is surrounded by tiny little diamonds. She said the store sells a lot of three-stone bands and white gold is still very popular for engagement rings. When choosing a ring for your fiancée-to-be, take note of her style. Is she classy and elegant, sporty, an antique lover, enjoys all things western, or just appreciates the simple things in life? Pay attention to the jewelry she already wears. Are her rings similar in style, does she have a preference for a gem cut and does she wear

silver more than gold or vice versa? Hirsche said sometimes its just the man who comes in and shops and she asks him what his fiancée likes and knowing that makes the shopping experience a lot easier. When searching for that perfect ring, Hirsche advises people go to someone who is reputable and who is willing to teach them about diamonds. In helping people select rings, McBroome and Hirsche said they help educate their customers on diamonds and the four Cs — cut, clarity, color and carat. Knowing budget parameters also helps. McBroome encourages people to get the best diamond they can for their money. If a quarter-carat diamond is all you can afford, “get the nicest one you can,” she said. A person can have a large diamond but if it’s not quality, it’s not pretty, according to McBroome.

Engagement rings come in all shapes and sizes. Sherry McBroome, of Sierra Jewelry Company in Susanville, said filigree rings, such as the piece on the left, and antique-style rings, right, are popular right now. However, some may prefer a modern setting such as the middle ring. Photos by Ruth Ellis

Dana Hirsche, of Leslie’s Jewelry, said the halo rings such as the ring in the center are still popular as are triple stone bands like the one on the left.

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You must be accompanied by a person 21 years of age or older with a valid I.D. to enter the casino.


Lassen County Times, Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress

Wedding Guide 2013

Make sure you capture those precious moments forever

Many brides and grooms want photographs of their rings being placed on their fingers.

Reading for romance While everyone presumably loves the romance of a fairytale wedding, the reality is, relationships take work, and marriage is seldom effortless. Wise couples will face these challenges now and learn to grow as a couple rather than waiting until the differences become blown out of proportion. While a book alone will not solve serious issues, it can set a couple on the right track. Many books are published each year offering advice on relationships, either how to find the perfect relationship or how to save the one you have. The following five books can either be found or ordered at Margie’s Book Nook: “Happily Ever After: 6 secrets to a happy marriage,” by Gary Chapman, a counselor, offers advice for communicating on six common problems couples may face such as fighting fair, negotiating change and handling money. “The Four Seasons of a Marriage,” also by Gary Chapman, uses the metaphor of changing seasons to illustrate the cycles a marriage may go through. “Love Smart,” by self-help guru Dr. Phil McGraw, offers advice for attracting and keeping love. “Calling in the One,” by Katherine Woodward Thomas, claims to teach readers how to create the “relationship of their dreams” in just seven weeks using principles taught in “The Secret.” “The Four Factors: Should You Stay, Go or Improve your Relationship,” by Ron Gentile, Ph.D helps you discover why past relationships went wrong and how to keep your current one going right.


Photographs 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 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.

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A simple way couples can make a wedding uniquely their own is by authoring their wedding vows. If personal information is woven into the exchange it can’t be duplicated. A creative writing course is not necessary. However, to create vows you can be proud to recite here are a few guidelines to follow: Understand the task A vow is a solemn promise, pledge and personal commitment. For example, consider the personal commitment pledged when reciting traditional vows. Couples commit for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Begin by brainstorming To gather ideas for the vows, create a few notes. A writer on recommends writing about your relationship, such as how you met your future spouse, when you realized you were in love and how your life has changed. Include a description of the proposal and any

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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.

special moments. Also list promises you want to make. A good way to put these promises into words is by personalizing the traditional promises to love, honor and cherish. Some experts suggest using a tape recorder to voice thoughts rather than putting the vows on paper. They say this technique will make the vows more natural. Get inspired Inspiration can come from poetry, a love song, other wedding vows, a favorite movie, or romantic moments in a couple’s relationship. For a wide array of vows that might inspire go to They have examples that are traditional, non-traditional, personalized, celebrity, interfaith, later in life, remarriage, intercultural and cultural. They also have a long list of wedding poems such as “How do I love thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; “Blessing for a Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman; and “All My Happiness Goes Out to You” by Nicholas Gordon.

Follow the format At, authors are told that the format for vows includes an introduction, main body and conclusion. According to the site, the introduction might highlight such information as how the couple met; the main body might cover how life has been enhanced by the relationship and why the union is meaningful; the conclusion provides expectations for the future. Another site,, provides a little more detail on the structure. Begin with a salutation — simply addressing the person or use a small portion of a poem, a sentence from a story or song lyric. Transition to a description of what your beloved means to you, then clarify how you knew you had fallen in love and how your love grew to a lifelong commitment. The fourth section would pledge a willingness to address and conquer any difficulties in the marriage and the finishing touch is a closing sentence.

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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 shot a wedding. In Lassen County, the fee generally runs between $1,500 and $2,000. 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 specific image.

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Lassen County Times, Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress

Wedding Guide 2013


Planning your wedding on a budget A beautiful wedding can be elegant and stylislh without causing a couple to go into debt before they even say I do. There are many ways to cut costs from the wedding dress to the reception allowing a couple to have some extra money to start their new life together.

Once a couple has announced their engagement and shown off the new ring, they start looking at a wedding date and a venue. Consider picking a Friday to cut down on prime time venue costs, as well as dinner prices, if included. For many brides, if not all,

Diligent budgeting can be a challenge, but it will result in huge savings in the long run.

choosing the perfect dress for the wedding day is a special occasion, but there are alternatives to finding a dress other than at a bridal shop. Look for a marked-down dress at a department store and discontinued gown racks, or stop by a consignment shop. As you prepare to invite guests, keep the list small as this will cut down on invitations and possibly the number of tables and chairs you might have to rent and the centerpieces and favors you will need. If a large guest list can’t be avoided, use bigger tables to also cut costs on decorations and tablecloths. Tap into your creativity as well and make your own decorations, centerpieces and wedding programs. When choosing invitations, make sure the one you select requires only one stamp. Every little detail is important. Flowers can pull everything together and they can be reused throughout the day. Once the ceremony and pictures are over, bridesmaids tend to drop their bouquet on a table, or maybe even in another room, out of sight, out of mind. Instead, have them place their bouquets around the cake table or as a centerpiece. A bride may also want to carry a small bouquet or a single flower, and save some money by using seasonal flowers. Do you plan to serve a meal? Pay for the main course and request some good

friends and family supplement the meal by making salads and side dishes. Good friends will want to help make your day special so take advantage of it. If you do plan to serve a catered dinner, try offering a buffet or plate dinner and serve chicken or pasta. To cut costs further, skip the main course and provide appetizers and drinks. Or consider having an afternoon reception with cake, punch and hors d’oeuvres. If serving alcohol is a must, provide beer or wine or have a cocktail hour. A bride may also want to look at borrowing some items like a cake-cutting knife, toasting glasses, jewelry and even shoes. A wedding would not be complete without the traditional cutting of the cake by the bride and groom. But if the wallet is tight, have a cake decorator make a small traditional cake that sits on the cake table, but serve a sheet cake to the guests. Try to avoid high band or DJ fees by knowing how large your reception venue is and the exact layout. Make sure you understand if a band or DJ wants to include more speakers and microphones before signing a contract or expect to pay for additional fees. Even if one idea doesn’t sound appealing in cutting costs, do try to find other ways to save a buck or two so you can enjoy the big day without any debt.

Top tips for creating your wedding registry Just engaged? Before those wedding bells ring, you’re going to do lots of planning in the months ahead. While most of your preparations will only matter on the first day of your marriage, your wedding registry will impact your happily ever after. Wedding experts say to ensure domestic bliss, make the most of your registry with proper planning, research and free resources. “Determining what you want and need for your future should be an exciting process,” says Audrey Stavish, wedding and gift registry expert at Bed Bath & Beyond. “An expert consultant can help demystify product details and ensure you don’t miss any categories.” As you think about registering, Stavish is sharing tips on

creating the perfect registry: •Don’t delay: You’ll likely have multiple occasions that requires gift-giving on the part of friends and family. From the engagement party to the shower to the main event, guests will want giving guidance. So register early. Opt for a registry that offers convenience and good customer service. A store with locations nationwide and an online ordering system will make it easy for you and your guests. •Take inventory: Assess what you already have, what you don’t have and what needs replacing. A walk through your home using a registry checklist can help you build a 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 and click on “personalized invitations” to visit their onlineonly stationery store. •Return policy: Did you get duplicate gifts or gifts in the wrong color or size? Or maybe you just changed your mind. Check a store’s return policy before registering so you can return or exchange any gift on your list and live hasslefree ever after. (StatePoint)

Easy and elegant chocolate-dipped strawberries If you’re looking for a quick, delicious appetizer for your special day, try chocolate-dipped strawberries. Each luscious red berry can be coated in white, milk or dark chocolate and rolled in coconut, nuts or more chocolate. Make your own unique combination your guests will remember. Ingredients: 6 ounces milk or dark chocolate, chopped 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped 1 pound ripe strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well Optional toppings (see below) Directions: Put the semisweet and white chocolates into two separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill two medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in separate bowls (preferably glass) in a microwave at half power, for one minute, stir and then heat for another minute. Stir until smooth.) Once the chocolates are melted, line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark (or white) chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back

into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. To add some flair, do one or all of the following: Dip a fork in the white (or dark) chocolate and drizzle over the dipped strawberries. Sprinkle or dip chocolatecovered berries with shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts, chocolate morsels or shavings, or sprinkles. Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets — about 30 minutes. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

A healthy financial relationship is a building block for a healthy overall relationship. Take steps now to define your priorities, so you can begin working toward your shared goals. Photo by A.KaZaK —

Tips to help couples plan their financial future Experts say that with good communication and solid planning, couples can put themselves in the right position to build a solid financial future together. “American couples across all demographics need to spend time talking about financial and retirement issues sooner rather than later,” says Tim Johnson, chief investment strategist for Lincoln Financial Network. “A couple should literally ask each other, ‘What are we really trying to accomplish here and what do you want out of this whole thing?’” As part of an ongoing effort to educate consumers about financial preparedness, Lincoln Financial recently launched a set of tips and actionable steps designed to help people achieve financial well-being: •Plan with purpose: When reviewing investments and solutions that can help grow and protect wealth, couples need to have a shared plan in mind and an understanding of what’s important. Remember, the conversation doesn’t have to be all budgets and numbers. You can engage your loved one by talking about concrete goals, such as a wedding, vacations and homeownership. •Be engaged, no matter what: Don’t throw your hands

up at uncertain economic conditions. The market has always gone up and down. Volatility is just part of investing. So rather than toss account statements into a pile of unopened mail, identify what’s working well and build on it. For what’s not working well, rebalance portfolios, as necessary. You can stay motivated as a couple by celebrating small steps along the way. Be sure to reward yourself responsibly when something good happens. •Communicate: Each person in the relationship has an opportunity to take steps, both large and small, that help achieve short- and longterm financial goals. But working together is important. A couple is most powerful when pulling in the same direction. A trusted financial professional can help you get on the same page and chart a solid path to the future. Be sure to hold regular financial meetings to address weaknesses and celebrate successes. Make it fun. Understanding who your partner is and what motivates him or her can make for a strong relationship and a solid future. For more tips, visit (StatePoint)

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Lassen County Times, Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress

Wedding Guide 2013

Take care when choosing a caterer for your wedding Taking 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 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 suggestions 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, sitdown 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 re-

garding 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.

Father of the bride plays a special role in a wedding Wedding 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 out-oftown 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 father 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 bride will select a song with special meaning for both of them. Fa-

ther 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. He may raise a toast to the guests.

It’s ok to make her cry... Giving the bride away is an important part of the ceremony, and can be emotional and bittersweet for a father.

...and say


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Wedding Guide