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Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1

Check out these local merchants … they will help make your day special! ‘Honeymoon’ origin reveals dark legends It has become tradition for married couples to jet off on a post-wedding vacation. This honeymoon is a way for the bride and groom to enjoy quiet time together and start off their married life together on an intimate level. Although the word “honeymoon” has happy connotations today, the original meanings of the word may not be so blissful. There are varying accounts of the evolution of the word “honeymoon,” but many believe it to be a Norse tradition deriving from the word “hjunottsmanathr.” Northern European history describes women being abducted from their families and forced into marriage with a man from a neighboring village. This husband would take his new bride into hiding and stay there for a while until it was certain the bride’s family had given up the hunt and retreated. It was also tradition for Scandinavian couples to drink a sweet, honey-infused wine known as mead for a month after getting married. This may

be where “honey,” for the sweet drink, and “moon,” for the one-month period of time, originated. Others say “honeymoon” refers to a sarcastic quip that a marriage starts out sweet as

honey, but then wanes much as the moon will each cycle.

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Use cuisine to create a wedding to remember Despite the months of planning and poring over every minute detail of a wedding, it has often been said that what people remember most about wedding receptions is the food and whether they had fun. So instead of worrying about choosing Jordan almonds over chocolate truffles, or whether the cake should have an extra tier, couples may want to pay more attention to selecting their reception menus. Although certain foods are wedding staples, it could pay for couples to think with their stomachs instead of their heads when selecting wedding day fare. Having a selection of foods that taste as good as they look is a wise idea over having certain foods simply because they are trendy. Whether you are cooking yourself, having a family member serve as chef, catering or

relying on the menu of the reception hall, think about foods that will please guests and select those items, regardless of them being fancy. Here are some other tips. —You want foods to be filling but not so much so that guests have to waddle to the dance floor. If you’re planning on several courses, keep portion sizes small to offer a taste of the different items offered. —Classic foods can work well as wedding fare. Roasts, barbecued meats and favorite pasta dishes can make guests feel like they’re dining at someone’s home and not at a wedding. —Choose items people have heard of. Instead of tornadoes of beef, select a hearty prime rib. Just because a dish sounds fancy doesn’t make it taste better. If a guest doesn’t know what he or she is eating, it can be uncomfortable. Now is not

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the time to experiment with exotic foods, either. Otherwise, some picky eaters may be left hungry. —Think about the foods you love and see if they can be incorporated at the wedding. Although a breakfast bar at an evening event may seem funny, waffles and omelets may appeal to a greater number of guests than a gourmet fish creation. —Don’t make vegetarians an afterthought. Too often, vegetarians must eat whatever

the kitchen can pull together, which is usually a compilation of the vegetable garnishes from the meat dishes. Make an effort to have a true vegetarian dish that is intricate and delicious. —Mashed potatoes are a crowd pleaser. Serve little portions of mashed potatoes in cocktail glasses and enable guests to top as they see fit with bacon bits, cheese or chives. —No idea is silly, and serving any type of food in a hors

d’oeuvre style can make it acceptable at a formal affair, whether that food is pizza or caviar-topped crackers. —If you have a favorite restaurant that serves delicious food, find out if it will cater your wedding. —Just because it isn’t on the menu doesn’t mean it cannot be prepared. Talk to the catering manager and let him or her know your preferences. Provided you’re willing to pay a little more, there’s a good chance you can

have items that aren’t on the standard catering menu. —Think outside the box for your cocktail hour “bars.” A bread bar, a dipping station, milk and cookies service or a vegetable bar are options that go against the standard cheese and pasta stations. Although it’s your wedding, ultimately the goal is to please the guests. By choosing foods they will love and rave about, you’re guaranteed positive remarks on your wedding.

Ancient roots of bridal customs Chances are those who have attended a wedding have witnessed some popular traditions take place. The bride wears a veil, a court of wedding attendants accompanies the bride and groom, and birdseed, rice or flower petals are tossed. But have you ever wondered why? The wedding customs are ripe with tradition and hearken back to days when superstition and myth often ruled the day. Throwing rice: Today it has become de rigueur to blow bubbles, toss birdseed or release doves when the bride and groom leave the house of worship newly betrothed. That’s because savvy individuals found that raw rice can pose a hazard to birds pecking in the area. However, rice throwing is an old custom that dates back to the Middle Ages, when wheat or rice were thrown to symbolize fertility for the couple. Bouquet: Nowadays, the bride carries a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But the purpose of the bouquet held different meanings in the past. Saracen brides carried orange blossoms for fertility. Others carried a combination of herbs and flowers to ward off evil

spirits with their aroma. Bouquets of dill were often carried, again for fertility reasons, and after the ceremony, the dill was eaten to encourage lust. Bridesmaids: There may be arguments over dresses and how many bridesmaids to have in a wedding party now, but in ancient times it was “the more the merrier.” That’s because bridesmaids were another measure to keep the bride safe against evil spirits. Essentially the bridesmaids were decoys for the spirits — dressing like the bride to confuse the spirits or maybe help convince them to leave the bride alone. Wedding rings: Wearing of wedding rings dates back to ancient Egypt. The round shape of a ring symbolizes eternal love. The ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it is believed this finger has a blood vessel that goes directly to the heart. Wedding cake: The traditional wedding cake evolved from Roman times when the cake was originally made from wheat. It was broken over the bride’s head to ensure fertility. All of the guests eat a piece for good luck. Single women used to place a piece of wedding

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cake under their pillows in the hopes of finding their own husbands. Father accompanying the bride: This tradition symbolizes that the bride’s father endorses the choice in husbands and is presenting his daughter as a pure bride to that man. Kissing the bride: In older

times, a kiss symbolized a legal bond. Therefore, the bride and groom kissed to seal the deal on their betrothal. There are many traditions surrounding a wedding that people simply accept. But understanding their origins can make the ceremony more meaningful.

A wedding cake once symbolized fertility for the happy couple. It’s no longer broken over the head of the bride, but guests still partake.

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Tips for your engagement photo Helpful floral

Engagement photos don’t have to be posed portraits. Experiment with looks that fit your personalities for memorable photos.

Newly engaged couples may choose to capture the occasion in photos that they can cherish. Often, one of these photos is used as an announcement to family and friends and might even be published in the newspaper. Engagement photos may be part of a package negotiated with the photographer who will be covering the wedding day. Some couples enlist the help of a friend or a budding photographer to capture an engagement shot. The average cost of engagement photos can range from $200 to $500. Some couples opt to use a photographer who might specialize in other areas (i.e. fashion models) but may want to break into the wedding biz because of how lucrative it can be. Costs may be negotiated as a result. When shopping around for a photographer, there are certain

things couples should keep in mind. The first and most important is selecting a photographer you can relate to. If you don’t feel a connection with the photographer, he or she will have trouble coaxing the shots that will produce the best results. He or she should also be a professional and have some experience working with posing couples. This way the photos don’t look stiff or contrived. Here are some other tips that can lead to great photos. —Find a photographer who fits your style. If you’re a quirky couple, go with a quirky photographer. If you’re reserved and a follow-the-book type of couple, then select a more traditional photographer. Some photographers out there forget that this is your moment and want to impart their idea of what you want. Make sure he or she takes your ideas into consideration. —Select one who is open to different shoot locations and brainstorming. Some of the best photos occur in natural settings, where things aren’t entirely planned. If a photographer simply works out of a studio, you may want to select one who has more free rein with different locales. —Choose your location wisely. Certain locations will stand out in your minds because they are visually stunning or are special places where you have spent moments as a couple. By choosing a place that offers a personal connection, there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate the photos in the long run. Also, be open to the fact that unplanned stops may offer a great background for the image. Be open to the unexpected. —Try random poses and some candid shots. Although you might have a vision of the perfect photo in your mind, experimenting with different ideas can sometimes lead to a great photo you really love. Expect to take your share of kissing, nose-touching and portrait shots. But some fun poses, such as running or jumping (or rolling around on a beach full of waves) can produce candid shots that are truly masterpieces. Remember, sometimes photographers will pose you in positions that seem a bit awkward, but this is to get the best lines of the body and flattering images. —Choose clothing that fits the mood. If time and budget allows, have several different wardrobe changes so that you can see which outfits work and which ones don’t. A formal outfit, comfortable street clothes, something beachy or clothing that fits with your interests (such as polo or baseball) can make for interesting engagement photos. Avoid clothing that is too trendy or busy, which may take away from the actual images in the long run. Plus, you don’t want to look back at these photos in the future and say, “What was I thinking?” Avoid matchy-matchy, though. If you are dressed alike, you may appear to be trying too hard. It’s the individual personalities you want to shine through.

Show gratitude to everyone who helps with ceremony through a personal message. Don’t let thank-you gifts be forgotten. Start thinking of gift ideas early on and plan for any extra time for engraving or other personalization. Groomsmen: When selecting gifts for groomsmen, think about a gift they would like but probably wouldn’t buy themselves. This can be cuff links, a fine watch, money clip or a high-quality wallet. Feel free to splurge a little more on the best man. Bridesmaids: Traditional gifts for bridesmaids are different types of

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jewelry, monogrammed stationery, a spa treatment or another pampering session. As you have with the best man, feel free to bestow a little more thanks on the maid of honor with a more lavish gift. Younger bridal party members can get a similar gift, but one in scale with their ages. Clergy: Many couples choose to make a financial donation to their house of worship. Additional tipping or monetary gifts for musicians, altar boys/girls, etc. can also be a thoughtful gesture. A donation toward an officiant’s vestments

may also be appreciated. Parents of the bride and groom: The couple may choose to bestow a gift on their parents, which can be especially meaningful if the parents are taking care of the financial responsibility of the wedding. Jewelry or fine gifts in similar scope to that of the bridal party are good ideas. Consider engraved picture frames that can house a wedding portrait down the road. Others: Readers, soloists, ushers, etc. can be given a small token of your appreciation, like a gift card or a personalized memento.

Your hands should look as lovely as your dress!

First dance song ideas If Michael Bublé or Nat King Cole aren’t on your playlists, chances are you may be looking for a first-dance song that’s a little less traditional for your wedding reception. Couples considering a song that’s a little different and speaks to them but won’t necessarily offend the wedding purists in attendance, might want to consider the following tunes: “All I Want is You” (U2) “Amazing” (Aerosmith) “Crash” (Dave Matthews Band) “Crazy for You” (Adele)

“Faster” (Matt Nathanson) “For You I Will” (Monica) “Here Without You” (3 Doors Down) “Kiss Me” (Sixpence None the Richer) “I’ll Stand by You” (The Pretenders) “Love Song” (The Cure) “No One” (Alicia Keys) “Nothing Compares to You” (Sinead O’Connor) “Suga Suga” (Baby Bash) “Without You” (Rent Soundtrack) “You Want to Make a Memory” (Bon Jovi)

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Before discussing table settings for their weddings, many couples find it helpful to brush up on some floral terminology before visiting florists. It can make them appear more knowledgeable and prepared if they understand what will be discussed and are able to choose what they want. It also helps to ensure that money is being spent in the best way possible. Here are some common and some lesser-known florist terms that can be advantageous to know. —Biedermeier: A nosegay arranged tightly with concentric circles of differently colored flowers. The flowers are wired into a holder with only one type of flower in each ring. —Bouquet: A dense bunch of blooms that are kept together in a bouquet holder, wired or tied with ribbon. —Crescent: One full flower and a flowering stem wired together to form a slender handle that is held in one hand. —Garden: A centerpiece featuring wildflowers. —Nosegay: Small, round bouquets composed of densely packed round flowers and fill. —Oasis: Specialized foam that is used in bouquet holders and centerpieces to retain water and keep blooms fresh. —Pomander: A flower-covered ball that is suspended from a ribbon. It is often carried by child attendants. —Posies: Smaller than nosegays but similar in design. —Presentation: A bunch of long-stemmed flowers cradled in the bride’s arms. It’s sometimes known as a pageant bouquet. —Topiary: Flowers trimmed into geometric shapes. —Tossing: A smaller copy of the bride’s bouquet to use in the bouquet toss. —Tussy mussy: A small, metallic holder to carry a posy.

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It is customary for the bride- and groom-to-be to show their gratitude to all of the people who will make their wedding day special. Thank-you gifts should be something thoughtful and enduring. Avoid fad or gag gifts. Gifts should be presented at a pre-wedding occasion. It’s customarily done at the rehearsal dinner. Crafting personalized remarks is a nice way to call attention to the unique tasks of each wedding participant. Don’t simply pass the gifts out in one fell swoop. This way the gift will have more meaning

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Feed on these wedding favor ideas Do you have a shelf or cabinet that’s filled to the brim with wedding favors such as engraved ice cream scoopers, cake servers, cheese spreaders or tea light candleholders? If you do, you’re not alone. As couples pore over guest favor options, many select trinkets or knickknacks that, while thoughtful, end up collecting dust in someone’s home. Edible gifts also can be thoughtful — and flavorful! Guests may look forward to an edible favor because it’s a memento of the special occasion and it won’t become a permanent fixture in their homes. There are many edible favors from which to choose. They can also be customized according to the theme of the wedding.

a favorite because they are sturdy enough to cut into different shapes. Professionally iced, these cookies can be a masterpiece to behold. Some couples opt for customized fortune cookies that express personalized sentiments to guests. Make-your-own Sometimes it’s less expensive to give guests kits that they can take home to create their own edible treasures. Options abound and can include everything from personalized packets of hot chocolate to tea bags. Other couples choose among mixes for making cookies or cakes.

Chocolate It’s difficult to find an edible favor more universally beloved than chocolate. Rich and inviting, chocolate has long been given as a symbol of love and devotion. Chocolate candies and baked goods can work well for wedding favors, provided the favors are refrigerated to avoid melting. Ideas for chocolate favors include individually packaged truffles, gourmet brownie bites, candy-covered chocolates with an inscription, chocolate covered apples, chocolate coins and other similar creations. Chocolate molded designs (much like those chocolate Easter bunnies) are another idea.

Edible wedding favors could include decorative cookie baskets featuring gourmet cookies from a favorite bakery.

Cookies Sweet cookies also make good edible favors. Butter cookies are

Candies It has become popular to have a self-serve candy bar at many weddings. Guests are invited to step up to the display and serve themselves from a series of different confections. Autumn weddings could have Halloween-inspired candies or those in fall hues. It’s easy to follow a color theme when you have a bevy of different candies at your disposal. Many stores sell inexpensive jars and candy dishes to house the candy. Designer Chinese takeout-type containers are available from craft stores and can be the perfect way for guests to make that candy portable. Other edibles From cupcakes to maple syrup to personalized bottles of barbecue sauce, couples have so many options for guest favors at their disposal.

Add special flair with unique reception touches Over the course of their lifetimes, many people will be wedding guests on several occasions. During the height of wedding season, weddings can run into one another, as the format and the festivities are similar at various ceremonies. Couples interested in setting their nuptials apart may want to enhance the wedding reception with a few unique ideas. Who hasn’t attended a wedding that seems formulaic? The couple enters, they do their spotlight dance, there’s food, a bouquet toss and then the cake cutting. Guests may actually be able to predict what’s coming next. While it is often customary and easy to follow tradition, that doesn’t mean you cannot offer a few creative ideas to make your event stand out. Here are several ideas you can introduce into your wedding to add something special to the reception. —Skip the big entrance. Those who were kind enough to attend the ceremony have already been introduced to the newly minted happy couple. Instead of spending the cocktail hour in the isolation of the wedding suite, mingle with your guests from start to finish.

So much time is spent posing for pictures or being out of touch with guests, the cocktail hour can be a great time to sit and chat. Being with guests during the cocktail hour means you don’t have to make that big entrance from behind closed doors. Guests will have all eyes on you when you step on the dance floor for your first dance together. —Dance to an upbeat number. Guests are expecting a slow, sappy tune. What they may not expect is an upbeat song that shows you are willing to have a little fun. If you haven’t mastered the waltz but enjoy a little quick step now and again, feel free to choose a tune that shows your excitement and love for each other. —Encourage couples to dance together. It’s often customary for the bridal party to join the bride and groom on the dance floor midway through the first dance. However, that leaves spouses or significant others waiting in the wings while their dates tango with groomsmen or bridesmaids. Instead, don’t have assigned partners. Rather, encourage your bridal party members to dance with whomever they choose. —Swap the garter/bouquet toss for something more meaningful. If you’re part of a couple who feels the garter and bouquet toss has become trite, there are other ways to create special moments in your celebration — ones that don’t single out the singletons who haven’t yet found their special someones. Use this time to present a small gift or token of your affection to someone on the guest list

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who has served as a mentor or source of inspiration. —Choose one special component as an extra goodie for guests. Some couples feel the more they offer the better guests will view their wedding. Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean guests will have a better time. If you want to go above and beyond the ordinary, find one thing that you absolutely love and offer that at the party. It could be a flambé presentation, a chocolate or candy bar, a carving station with your all-time favorite food (even if that’s PB&J) or a carnival-inspired automatic photo booth. —Hire a live performer. Although it’s hard to beat the performance quality of your wedding song being performed by the original artist, unless you’re cousins with Celine Dion, chances are she won’t be available to sing “My Heart Will Go On” at your reception. However, a live band adds a certain level of excitement that a disk jockey may not be able to provide. Those who are adding a cultural or ethnic component to their wedding may want to hire a dance troupe or another type of performer, like a bagpiper, as an added measure of entertainment for guests. —Let them eat … cookies? Some people just don’t like cake. Therefore, why should a couple have to cut a seven-tiered white confection? Towers of different types of treats can be created from just about anything and serve as the perfect backdrop for that classic cake-cutting photo. A pyramid of cream puffs, stacks of brownies, a cookie castle or cereal-cake concoctions can work. Some bakeries will decorate a “dummy” plastic foam cake, and then you can serve apple pie a la mode, if you desire. —Stage a costume switch. Let’s face it, dancing all night in a long gown takes some stamina. As the bride, have a more comfortable cocktail dress available to switch into for the latter part of the reception. It will also add some variety to your wedding photos.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012 5

Soothe honeymoon anxieties After the thrill of wedding festivities dies down, couples often jet off to a honeymoon retreat and begin an entirely different adventure. The honeymoon may create mixed feelings, some concerning the chance to spend time alone after months of planning and a few feelings of anxiety over spending the first night together as a married couple. For many couples, the honeymoon wedding night is the first time they are intimate together or it holds a special meaning of being intimate for the first time after being married. Such significance can put pressure on a happy and natural experience. Wedding jitters are normal, as are honeymoon and wedding night jitters. But just as wedding trends have changed through the years, so, too, have beliefs about the wedding night.

Knowing about shifting trends can alleviate some of the nervousness. According to a recent survey from Brides magazine, one in three brides plan to get into bed on the wedding night and … sleep. After all of the hoopla of planning and enjoying the wedding, most people are exhausted. Others say they plan to stay up and relive moments of the day. Only about half of all couples think they will consummate the marriage on their wedding night. Taking the pressure off of the wedding night means that the rest of the honeymoon may be filled with opportunities to be amorous. But couples may still be filled with expectations for the perfect romantic retreat. Here are some things to think about. —Accept the fact that some

wedding nights and honeymoons aren’t exactly what’s pictured in the movies. Don’t try to live up to a Hollywoodinspired ideal or you may be let down when things don’t go your way. In other words, it may rain on your beachside l iaison. —A wedding requires a lot of work. Many people find themselves to be physically exhausted afterward. Others find they are so wound up that they cannot relax. When the mind or body is on adrenaline overload or completely wiped out, it’s not the ideal situation for romantic endeavors. —Try to make the honeymoon stand apart from other nights by packing nice lingerie or nighttime attire so that the memories will be special. There will be plenty of other times down the road when you’re an

old, married couple to hop between the sheets in a ratty college T-shirt. —Make sure your packing list includes special toiletries and birth control methods if you’re not ready to start a family so soon after being married. The brands you prefer may be hard to acquire while at some honeymoon locations. —Pack some candles and mood music, or ask the resort to handle these details for you. These items can help set the scene.

Whether at home or abroad, a couple’s honeymoon marks the first chance for intimacy after marriage. Some nervousness is completely normal.

Many factors must be considered when choosing a reception venue Engaged couples must make assorted important decisions with regards to their wedding day. For some, the process of planning a wedding can be overwhelming, while others revel in each and every decision. Among the many decisions couples must make is which venue to use for their reception. The wedding reception venue is where most of the day will be spent, and where the majority of the people will do their mingling. When looking for a wedding venue, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. The accommodations The facility itself should be able to accommodate the wedding size. Some weddings are grandiose events with large guest lists, while others are more understated and intimate, with only a small number of family and friends in attendance. Couples should know

which type of wedding they will be having, and should have at least an estimated figure in mind of the number of guests before visiting any facilities. Once that estimate has been made, look for a facility that can comfortably accommodate that number of people, and ideally find one that has a done so in the past. Couples won’t want a facility where everyone is crammed together, nor will they want one where a relatively small number of guests are in a large ballroom with lots of empty space. More minor details regarding the facility must also be considered. Ask if the facility is handicapped accessible. If the wedding is in the warmer months, make sure the venue is air conditioned. Since most weddings have a break in between the ceremony and the reception, ask if the facility has a room in which the bride and groom can freshen up before the reception begins.

The date Couples may choose the date of their wedding based on the availability of a church they attend or a specific wedding officiant they want to perform their ceremony. Once that date has been chosen, it’s time to look for a reception venue. Couples who have a specific venue in mind might want to ask about the venue’s availability before settling on a wedding date. When seeking out a reception venue, ask if the venue has any other events scheduled for that day. Some couples prefer to have the facility all to themselves and their guests. The location The facility’s location should be a priority. Couples won’t want their guests to have to drive too far from the wedding ceremony to the reception venue or from the reception venue back to the hotel. Since

many wedding guests come from out of town, they likely won’t know the area well and could get lost if the facility is too far away from their hotel. Keep things simple by finding a reception venue that’s close to the hotel or hotels where guests will be staying. The hours Couples who want their receptions to last into the wee hours should inquire about the facility’s hourly rate. A typical reception lasts five or six hours. If couples want to go beyond that, they might have to pay an hourly rate. Ask if the facility charges an hourly rate or if the venue can simply be rented for as long as the party keeps going.

expand the services they include in their rental fee, that can save couples substantial amounts of money. When choosing a reception venue, couples must consider a host of factors that stretch beyond a venue’s aesthetic appeal.

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The price Many facilities offer a flat rate to rent the venue. When discussing the rate, be sure to ask what’s included. Will food, flowers, venue decor and even staff tips be included in the rental fee? If not, is there room for negotiation? When facilities

Exterior of St. John’s Church

Historic old St. John’s Church sets in an evergreen glen in the sleepy town of Johnsville. As an idyllic setting for a small intimate wedding, this wooden structure dating from 1899 has been lovingly restored to its turn of the century charm. Persons interested in having this lovely setting may contact the Johnsville Historical Society at 836-0102 for further information.

Interior of St. John’s Church

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6 Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter

Coloring the wedding: choosing a hue for the bridesmaid gowns Bridesmaids are an important part of the wedding party, and most brides opt to have a handful of close friends and family members play a special role in the wedding. Choosing a gown and a color that will flatter all of the bridesmaids typically takes a little work. An overwhelming majority of couples choose to have a formal wedding. The average number of bridesmaids for these formal weddings is four. Considering around 2 million weddings take place in North America every year, that’s a lot of bridesmaids for whom gowns and other attire must be planned. Many bridesmaids worry about the gowns they will wear come the big day. Horrible bridesmaid dresses have been the butt of jokes for years, and many people have their own stories of garish gowns they’ve been asked to don for a wedding. Some have said that brides intentionally choose ugly gowns for their bridesmaids to ensure

they’re not outshined come the wedding day. Although this may be the case for some, most brides aspire to select gowns that will be flattering for all. And color scheme is integral in the choice of gown. Every well-planned wedding carries a color scheme throughout. This includes the color a bride selects for her bridesmaids to wear. But not every color accentuates everyone’s features. Therefore, some experimentation might be necessary to find a color that is flattering to all and fits with the color scheme. Depending on hair color and skin shade, there are many flattering hues available for gowns. When making this decision, consider bridesmaids’ ethnicity and skin tone. African-American: Women with dark skin and hair may really shine in jewel-colored gowns, including silver, gold, purple and salmon. Very pale colors may be daring and conspicuous.

Asian and olive-skinned women: Those with a slight yellow tone to their skin will look good in many colors, including red, navy, peach and fuchsia. However, avoid colors in light yellow, aqua, gray, taupe or mint, which may make the bridesmaid look washed out. Fair skin: Ladies with pale skin will benefit from richly colored gowns in jewel tones. Pastels may work, but be careful about those depending on hair color. Pink or red-hued gowns may clash with someone with auburn hair. Yellow and green may not work with a fair brunette. Gray and silver may wash out someone who is pale and blonde. Once a color is chosen, brides also need to consider the season. Certain colors may look out of place depending on the season. For example, an evergreen or deep blue may seem wintry during a summer wedding. Similarly, russet or brown may work for the autumn but not for a

spring wedding. Many brides gravitate toward mid-level blues, greens, pinks and purples for their weddings, simply because those colors transcend the seasons. After colors are worked out, the style of the gown deserves consideration. Because not every bridesmaid has the same physical attributes, many brides are now open to selecting a color and length and allowing the bridesmaid herself to choose the exact style. This way someone who is busty won’t feel uncomfortable in strapless, and someone who is thin won’t be overwhelmed by a lot of ruffles. The intent is to have bridesmaids feel beautiful and comfortable, and different styles can help achieve this. Making the effort to choose a gown color and style that is flattering to all in the bridal party will help the ladies feel they are truly a special part of the wedding.

Including children in a wedding means no kidding around is allowed A wedding is a joyous event that couples want to share with as many people as possible. Couples commonly ask family and friends to take part in the ceremony as ushers, bridesmaids or readers. Before enlisting the help of a child to fill such roles, couples should carefully consider whether a youngster is capable of participating in the wedding

ceremony or if he or she may not be up to the task. Millions of people tuned into the British royal wedding in April 2011. Among the participants were six young children. The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer and Master William Lowther-Pinkerton were

bridesmaids and pages in attendance. The children were as young as 3 years old and as old as 10. Although the duke and duchess of Cambridge were confident enough in the kids’ maturity to include them, reportedly some measures were taken to keep the tots in line. For instance, Prince Henry reportedly delighted little Eliza

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Lopes with a pink “wiggly worm” so she wouldn’t be frightened by the crowds. Said wiggly worm actually made it into the official group bridal photo, being clutched by Miss Lopes. Couples worrying about all the little details of their own weddings may not want to fret about kiddie meltdowns or the bloopers that can occur when kids act like kids. Each child’s personal maturity level should be considered before enlisting his or her help. There are some other strategies to use as well. —Young children serving as flower girls or ring bearers should be able to walk down the aisle without coaxing. If they cannot handle this task, then they should not be asked to take part in the wedding.

Children can fill memorable roles in a wedding ceremony, but couples should plan carefully with them in mind.

—Should children prove competent to walk down the aisle unattended, couples can have them then make their way to the

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seats next to their parents, rather than awkwardly standing with the rest of the bridal party for the ceremony. —A minimum age requirement for wedding participants might be a good idea. A child age 5 or up may be able to appreciate the importance of the event. —Consult with the pastor or officiant of the ceremony. The ceremony location may have rules governing children in the ceremony. —All people who have participated in the ceremony will be invited to the reception. If couples decide to have a kids-free party, then reconsider children in the ceremony. —Think about another role for a young child that will not disrupt the proceedings. Perhaps he or she can help hand out birdseed or small bottles of bubbles to use when the couple has finished their vows. Or give children disposable cameras and allow them to capture a kid’s-eye view of the wedding.

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2012 Wedding Suplement