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Budget breakdown cost by location

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A quick guide to seasonal wedding flowers



icking the perfect flowers for your perfect day can be tricky. Besides budgeting for the blooms, you must also consider what’s in season. You may be out of luck if you want a tulip bouquet in the middle of November. Many flowers, like roses, orchids and other tropical flowers, can be found year-round due to imports from warmer climates and a popular rise in green house growth, but for the best quality and lowest prices, choose seasonal blossoms.

WINTER Many brides may worry about winter weather putting a damper on their flower options, but there is no need to fear. The bold and beautiful amaryllis flower blooms during this season.This is also the best time of year to buy orchids. Other winter flowers include: • Anemone • Blue Forget-Me-Nots • Jasmine SPRING Brides have no shortage of variety during the season when the earth springs back to life. Colorful bulbs and fragrant flowers display their beauty, and the only dilemma is which one to choose. Some spring flower options are: • Tulips • Daffodils • Peonies SUMMER The sun is high in the sky and the flower options are virtually limitless for brides braving the summer heat for their big day. Popular choices for this season include: • Gerber Daisies • Hydrangeas • Calla Lilies AUTUMN A bride couldn’t ask for a better backdrop than the changing colors of fall. However, the reds, oranges and yellows aren’t just for the leaves. Autumn flower options boast: • Chrysanthemums • Marigolds • Dahlias 2 OPERATION WEDDING DAY






Hiring the entertainment







SALES MANAGER Heather Gibson




on the cover


CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Amy Binkley Hillary Bratton Russell Varner

ADVERTISEMENT DESIGNERS Scott Schwartz Dorian Gibson





romantic places to propose

OPERATION WEDDING DAY 1122 Henderson Dr. Jacksonville, N.C. 28540 ADVERTISING 347-9624

Aubree and Billy Reynolds. Photo by Ena Sellers

The special Operation Wedding Day is published by Landmark Military Newspapers of N.C., a private enterprise not connected with the DoD or the U.S. Marine Corps. The appearance of advertising in this publication does not constitute endorsement of these products or services by the DoD, the U.S. Marine Corps, or Landmark Military Newspapers of N.C. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. The editorial content of this publication is the responsibility of Landmark Military Newspapers of N.C. For distribution and advertising inquiries, call 347-9624.

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Ready to pop the

question? a guide to some of the most romantic places to propose


t can be one of the most timorous and happiest moments of a man’s life. Months of planning and preparation usually go into the man asking the love of his life the big question. While many might think that on a local beach is the best local place to propose, there are plenty of great options to be found if one takes a second to look around. Need some help? Here’s a guide to some of the best local places to propose. -Airlie Gardens (Wilmington) Established in 1901, Airlie Gardens is a valuable cultural and ecological component of New Hanover County and North Carolina history. The Gardens provide some of the most picturesque views in the area with its breathtaking combination of formal gardens, wildlife, historic structures, walking trails, sculptures, views of Bradley Creek, 10-acres of freshwater lakes, and the grandeur of the 462year-old Airlie Oak. -Duplin Winery For those with a fine taste for wine, the Duplin 4 OPERATION WEDDING DAY


Winery in Rose Hill, N.C. is a great spot to visit and its Bistro restaurant can provide a perfect proposal opportunity. Take your wife-to-be on a tour and or tasting at the winery first and then finish the evening with a romantic dinner at the Bistro. -North Carolina Lighthouses While Cape Lookout is the closest to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, any of North Carolina’s famous lighthouses

make for excellent visits and romantic moments. Few places can match the history of the lighthouses. Whether you view it on land or by boat, these famous landmarks will provide a gorgeous backdrop to your proposal. -Shackleford Banks If your wife-to-be is a horse or wildlife lover, then the Shackleford Banks would be a perfect place to pop the question. Just northwest of Cape Lookout, the Banks are one of the last places

on Earth to have wild, untamed horses. The island, which is only accessible by ferry, has become a popular tourist and camping location. What better way to propose than in front of wild horses? -Battleship USS North Carolina Any history buff or military lover will be honored to visit the legendary battleship USS North Carolina in Wilmington. The World War II ship has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wilmington and also holds special monthly events. A proposal at sunset would be a dream come true for history buffs. -Tryon Palace Growing up, many girls want to be royalty. Why not treat her like one at the reconstruction of a historical colonial royal governors’ palace in New Bern? Open to the public since 1951, the Tryon Palace gives a glimpse of the high life during the colonial times and includes 14 acres of gardens, historic homes and the gorgeous Governor’s Palace. Outside the palace would be a perfect spot to ask her to be your queen.

The ring is just the beginning...


re you one of the thousands of couples who got engaged over the holidays? This is the time for you and your soon-to-be to get everything you ever wanted -- whether you're starting from scratch, upgrading, expanding or replacing. Turn a whole bunch of mismatched mine and yours into a lifetime of ours. "When it comes to registering, relax, take your time and have fun," recommends Audrey Stavish, a bridal and gift registry expert. "Choose items that are right for you and your soon-to-be. Go through the registry process together and have fun!" Here are some additional tips to make wedding planning a breeze: Plan ahead: Start a bridal registry as soon as you say “yes.” That way guests will have lots of options for engagement gifts and showers.

Do the math: Experts advise registering for 2-3 items times the number of guests you plan to have. Close friends and family will rely on your registry for special events leading up to the wedding. Your guests will appreciate having lots of choices when they shop for you. Register now because you won’t buy it later: You may think you will ... but you won’t. Now is the time to let others get you the stuff you’d never buy yourself. Your friends and family might even get together to purchase a higher priced “group gift.” Dream big: Register for gifts in a range of prices and categories. This will give guests and group givers lots of options to choose from. C’mon back: Most couples don’t make all their selections in a single spree. Plan on making multiple visits. Congratulations and best wishes on your engagement. Now get registering and let the gift-giving begin.

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STORY BY HILLARY BRATTON • COURTESY PHOTOS n engagement ring is the most intimate way of showing your everlasting love and devotion for a woman. It is important to stay true to your own taste when choosing a ring, because whenever she looks at it, she is going to think of nothing but you. When faced with the plethora of choices that come with choosing or customizing a ring, don’t be intimidated. Just follow your heart. The diamond The most important part of choosing the perfect engagement ring is the diamond. The diamond expresses exactly how you feel about your future wife, so take the four Cs into consideration when choosing the stone. Cut The brilliance of a diamond depends very heavily on its cut. Ask your jeweler to explain the different cuts and to see examples so you can get an idea of what you like. “The more traditional choice is the round brilliant cut, but today’s modern young lady prefers a princess cut,” said Brad Padgett of Bradley’s Jewelers in Jacksonville. Clarity Most diamonds are flawed. These flaws occur while the diamond is forming in the Earth. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine the clarity of a diamond. A Clear diamond is much more brilliant than a flawed diamond and much more expensive. Color Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they sparkle the most. Muddier diamonds will not refract as much light, making them look much more dull. Carat A carat is the unit of weight by which diamonds are measured. Large diamonds are extremely rare, so the price rises exponentially with the carat weight. Choose a precious metal When choosing between yellow or white metals, take into consideration what your significant other usually wears. Unless she predominantly wears gold jewelry, select a white precious metal for the band of the ring. Most contemporary brides prefer white gold or platinum, because it is more neutral. Solitaire or multiple stones The final decision is the most creative part of the process. Do you want the cleanness of a solitaire diamond or do you want to showcase her beautiful rock with smaller diamonds? These smaller stones can be cut in any shape you desire to help set off the larger diamond. Keep in mind it is customary to spend at least three months’ salary on an engagement ring. The time take making all of these decisions will reflect in the overall beauty of the ring. Just be assured if you put your heart into it, the ring will be sure to take her breath away for years and years.


Make your bride feel like a princess

Popular cuts

What you can expect to pay for your wedding in three of the closest and most popular wedding destinations. Averages based on spending of other brides and grooms, not wedding vendor prices. Spending and prices can vary widely. You should expect to pay, on average, 50 to 100 percent more when choosing experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services. Figures obtained from the 2010 wedding report.

In Jacksonville On average, couples spend between CAKE

$9,606 and $16,010 TRANSPORTATION

Between $413 and $550

Between $452 and $802

Between $1,082 and $1,442 PHOTOGRAPHY

Between $1,485 and $1,980


Between $2,906 and $3,874


Between $1,604 and $2,138


Between $4,094 and $5,458


Between $2,405 and $3,206


Between $2,036 and $2,714 Between $2,369 and $3,158 Between $1,064 and $1,418 Between $872 and $1,162 Between $2,003 and $2,670





In Wilmington On average, couples spend between $15,112 and $25,186 CAKE Between $494 and $658 FLOWERS Between $2,364 and $3,152 PHOTOGRAPHY Between $2,436 and $3,248 WEDDING PLANNER Between $2,834 and $3,778 ATTIRE Between $2,298 and $3,064 DJ Between $1,043 and $1,390 LIVE BAND Between $2,396 and $3,194

TRANSPORTATION Between $540 and $960 VIDEOGRAPHY Between $1,776 and $2,368 RECEPTION VENUE Between $3,476 and $4,634 RENTALS Between $1,920 and $2,560 FOOD Between $4,899 and $6,532 BAR SERVICE Between $2,877 and $3,836


In Atlantic Beach

On average, couples spend between $17,936 and $29,893

CAKE Between $534 and $712 FLOWERS Between $2,921 and $3,894 PHOTOGRAPHY Between $2,636 and $3,514 WEDDING PLANNER Between $1,289 and $1,718 ATTIRE Between $2,645 and $3,526 DJ Between $1,128 and $1,504 LIVE BAND Between $2,592 and $3,456

TRANSPORTATION Between $1,020 and $1,360 VIDEOGRAPHY Between $1,923 and $2,564 RECEPTION VENUE Between $8,411 and $14,018 RENTALS Between $2,078 and $2,770 FOOD Between $5,301 and $7,068 BAR SERVICE Between $3,114 and $4,152 INVITATIONS, ETC. Between $933 and $1,244

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any weddings today adhere to tradition, with a big church wedding, a white gown and a bustling reception afterwards. But, there are some couples who prefer to do something a bit unique and unconventional. If you think a “creative” wedding is for


you, here are some ideas to think about.

* Skydiving

The concept of taking the plunge takes on an entirely new meaning when jumping out of a plane at several thousand feet.

* Wedding of the “Stars”

Trekkies may want to recite vows while dressed in costume and speaking native Klingon, while Star Wars

fans may want to do so with Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker attending the festivities.

* Mountain climbing

Couples can reach new heights while scaling a beautiful mountainside and saying their “I dos.”.

* Life in the fast lane

Couples who are NASCAR fans can recite their vows and then take a

spin at 200 mph around a neighborhood track. * Amused festivities Some couples might prefer to get hitched while enjoying the ups and downs of their favorite roller coaster.

* Scuba diving

Some couples prefer to recite their vows with a few bubbles in between and all kinds of marine life as their only witnesses.

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Learn how to make tent cards

What you need: • Card stock • 6 inch strips of ribbon • 4 inch strips of lace • All purpose glue • 2.5x1.25 black strips • 2x1 white strips • Rhinestones. Step One Cut card stock into 5.5x4 strips. Score the card down the middle, then fold where you scored it. Step Two Apply all purpose glue to the lace with a small paint brush in the thicker parts of the lace, attach to the tent card along the top edge. Apply more glue as needed and glue the lace to the front flap. Step Three Attach the small white strips to the black strips so that that you can see an equal amount of black edging on each side. Then punch holes on each end. If you plan on printing the names of your guests on the computer be sure to do this first and then cut the names out. Step Four String ribbon through the hole (first use a lighter to seal the ends of the ribbon, be very careful hold the lighter still and slowly move the frayered edge to the flame, it will melt fast so move your hand in a steady movement). Place the “name plate over the tent and open the tent so you see the inside, pick up one edge of ribbon apply a small amount of all purpose glue and glue the edge to the inside of the front tent flap, repeat with the other side of the ribbon making sure the ribbon is tight. Step Five Attach rhinestones for some sparkle Now you can either write the table number or apply a sticker label inside the tent card.

Jan. 30 New Bern Bridal Expo at the Riverfront Convention Center, 203 S. Front St., New Bern, N.C. February 4-5 Wilmington Wedding Salon at the Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Feb. 6 Onslow Bridal Gala at the Jacksonville Country Club, 2201 Country Club Rd Jacksonville, N.C. March 6 Wilmington’s Wedding Showcase at the Holiday Inn Resort, 1706 N. Lumina Ave. Wrightsville Beach, N.C. April 3 Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show at the Marriott Crabtree Valley Raleigh N.C. OPERATION WEDDING DAY

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Pare down your guest list


ouples are faced with many decisions when planning a wedding. One often overlooked decision concerns the guest list. Ideally, couples would love to invite all their friends and family to share in their special day. Realistically, however, budget often dictates just how many guests a couple can invite. That reality has led to a disagreement or two over the years, as both the bride-to-be and her future husband make their case for who makes the cut. To help avoid such disagreements, couples should consider the following tips when paring down their guest list. MAKE A MASTER LIST It’s impossible to pare down a guest list if there’s no list to begin with. Once the planning process begins, couples should separately write down all the guests they would like to invite. Once each is finished with their list, the hard work of paring that list down can begin. WHO’S PAYING THE BILL If Mom and Dad are paying for

the wedding, then their suggestions for the guest list should carry most of the weight. Weddings are very expensive, and if Mom and Dad are paying they should have a significant say on who will be in attendance. The same principle can be applied if the couple is paying for their own wedding. If the costs are being split down the middle, then both should be allowed to invite the same number of guests. ASK THAT KIDS STAY HOME Many couples request that their guests leave the kids at home. While nieces and nephews might make the cut, it’s perfectly acceptable for couples to state their preference that children not attend. Friends and family should understand the preference, particularly in the current economic climate. IT’S NOT A REUNION Couples are often tempted to invite long-lost friends to their wedding. But cost-conscious couples must recognize their wedding is not a reunion. If the goal is to keep the guest list under control, only invite close friends and family

members who have kept in touch with over the years. STICK TO YOUR GUNS Couples vary greatly with what they want out of their wedding. Some want a grandiose affair they can share with their whole family and all of their friends. Other couples want a more laid-back affair with only those closest to them in attendance. Whatever their preference, couples should remain firm and not feel guilty no matter how many guests they choose to invite. CUT BACK IN OTHER AREAS. If it’s proving simply impossible to agree on a reduced guest list, consider inviting everyone and cutting back in other areas. Before signing any contracts, closely examine each one for items that can be removed without drastically changing the celebration. Chances are there are savings to be had, and those savings might make the difference between inviting and not inviting another friend or family member. Read page 29 for some cost saving ideas. OPERATION WEDDING DAY 11



ith all that goes on while planning an event or a wedding, be sure not to let the entertainment fall through the cracks. A good way to keep guests with varied musical tastes entertained is to hire a DJ. DJs are not the only option though, as here on the coast there are many excellent live performers who specialize in everything from classic rock to acoustic, folk to classical music. As with flowers, catering and photographers should be booked really early in the process. Simon Spalding suggests planning early. “I would say that I’ve had to turn down roughly half of the calls I’ve had about weddings, because I was already booked to play somewhere else,” he said. Planners should know what musicians will play for “social hour music,” as well as the bride and groom’s first dance, the wedding party dance, father and bride’s dance and even the mother and groom’s dance. Other specific songs could include the cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss and more. Some DJs meet three months before a wedding with the couple and complete a five-page planning packet to determine which songs, in addition to the type of music they would like played. It is a good idea to have documentation on what will be played and speak face to face with the musicians and DJ. Often DJs at receptions will function as an emcee, announcing the wedding party and keeping things moving. This role should be discussed early in


the hiring process. Be sure to talk with the entertainment provider about the location of the event, and tackle any electrical or acoustic challenges well before the event date. If a band is hired for a reception, make sure to specify whether the band will need to provide the sound system. It is very important to discuss the fees involved the first time you contact the musicians. This can establish what the total cost of the musicians will be after determining the particulars of dress, travel, sound system set up and breakdown, time spent learning new songs and total time spent at an event. If the musicians are unavailable, or don’t offer the music-style or instruments) you are looking for, ask them to suggest someone else. Most

musicians are happy to do this, and it can save you a lot of searching. Finally, if you’re looking for something really different for a wedding, you can always book other types of entertainment. For example, there is

a fire eater in Raleigh who could certainly add some heat to any wedding. Some bands offer a karaoke experience, allowing guests to sing along with their favorite songs while backed by a live band.



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very bride-to-be wants her wedding reception to be one of the most memorable experiences of her life. All of the most important people in her and her husband’s lives will be there sharing in the joyous occasion. But with all these guests in attendance, the pressure to provide an atmosphere and cuisine that is pleasing to many can be overwhelming. Don’t worry. Marine Corps Community Services Clubs and Catering Division provides services which ensure a bride’s wedding reception aboard Camp Lejeune will not only be a success, but an event no one in attendance will soon forget. A certified wedding planner, such as Dawn Jensen, will help the bride make arrangements for everything from wedding vendors to decorative items, such as ice sculptures. This guidance is

free of charge and is a huge help to brides with so much on their plate already. “(I love) knowing I have helped a couple celebrate and create an everlasting memory,” Jensen said. The newly renovated Marston Pavilion, sitting right on the water, is just one of many beautiful facilities brides can choose from to hold their reception. MCCS facilities, including the Paradise Point Officer’s Club, Stone Street Community Center, The SNCO Club and Coastal Banquet Room at the Ball Center can comfortably cater to groups as large as 500 people. Reservations are required at all facilities. The catering service itself has over 100 years of culinary experience with an incredibly attentive and amiable wait staff. Not only do they have an expansive menu to choose entrees, desserts, and hors d’ oeuvres from, but they can also whip up special

off-menu requests. Unconventional requests, like a smashed potato station, have been so successful they have earned a permanent place on the catering menu. “Everyone loves smashed potatoes, and it’s presented as a fun cocktail,” said Dawn Jensen, Catering Sales Manager for MCCS. “It’s been a real hit.” More conventional items on the menu include prime rib and filet mignon, as well as vegetarian options to help cater to everyone’s needs. A vast selection of hot and cold hors d’ oeuvres and special presentations will please your guests’ eyes and palates. Buffet and individual meal options make the menu possibilities endless. For more information, contact Dawn Jensen at 451-8224 ext 239 or Anita Mayer at 451-8224 ext 247. Also, visit for the catering menu, venue reservations and pricing. OPERATION WEDDING DAY 17


ith all the work that goes into planning a wedding, it can be easy for couples to overlook their own honeymoons. But, in the middle of all those seating arrangements and reception hall negotiations, couples also need to plan and look forward to the rest and relaxation that awaits.

Couples can take the following advice to ensure their getaway goes off without a hitch.

Be budget-conscious.

After all the stress of planning and paying for the wedding, couples will likely just enjoy the time away. Take this into consideration when planning a honeymoon. If a dream trip isn't in the budget, don't fret. A less expensive getaway is still a getaway, and couples will enjoy

their well-deserved break no matter where it is.

Plan an off-season honeymoon. That dream hon-

eymoon might be affordable after all if couples can wait till it's not the height of tourist season. Couples who can put off their honeymoon until the off-season will no doubt find their dream honeymoon is much more affordable. Start early. It's never too early to start planning the honeymoon. The earlier couples begin to research possible destinations, the better feel they

will have for what they can and can't afford. But, don't book any flights or make any reservations too far in advance. The best deals are often available a few months before the trip.

Spread the news that you're newlyweds. Hotels love

hosting newlyweds, and many will upgrade rooms for recently married guests. Couples should not be too brash about it, as fully booked hotels won't be able to upgrade their guests. But, let the hotel know you're on your honeymoon when checking in, and they might just

upgrade your room and comp you a bottle of champagne as a gift.

Think outside the box.

When asked about a dream honeymoon, couples will often bring up Hawaii or Paris. While those are beautiful places to spend a honeymoon, they're also expensive. There are a bevy of locales, be it domestic or international, that aren't nearly as pricey as the most popular honeymoon destinations, but still make wonderful options for a honeymoon getaway couples won't soon forget.

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new and tasty trend in weddings is having a Candy Station at the reception instead of traditional wedding favors. The idea is to buy or rent candy jars and fill them with favorite candies, either fun, festive or gourmet. Guests treat themselves to whatever candy they like. With a candy bar or candy station, candy can reflect the colors of the wedding in addition to the tastes of the couple. Candies colored in “beachy” blues and greens can make a delicious visual statement—it just depends on what candies catch your eye. Jars are perfect for labels with little gimmicks, phrases and pictures of the bride and groom. You can go a step further with a chocolate fountain or ice cream station. For a candy bar, before you start to purchase the candy, it’s best to pick a color theme and decide on the amount of candy you will need. Monochromatic themes can often work better than having many colors by tying the overall look together. Colors can be bought seasonally or in bulk of one or two colors at a time, especially when the candies are something like jelly beans. Bulk buying can often save a lot of money, but don’t forget to pay attention to wholesale pricing after a major holiday when retail stores are trying to get rid of candy: Valentine’s Day and Christmas can offer great red colored candy choices, while Easter is great for pastels. Try to plan how much people will take to avoid being left with tons of candy after the reception. A good starting point is 5 to 8 ounces per guest, but this will change depending on the number of guests with a sweet tooth. If additional desserts will be served, having a huge candy bar and traditional desserts may be too much. Popular candies for a candy bar include Jelly Belly’s, candy canes, lollipops, licorice, M&M’s, Skittles and more. An advantage to these candies is that they come in many colors.




eddings have become a major financial commitment, in many instances ensuring a couple’s first task as man and wife will be paying off the mountain of bills they accrued to achieved their dream wedding. Here are some ideas

from the leading experts. Cash Bar The bar tab can quickly add up at the end of the night. Offer just two or three drink options instead of a full bar. Consider a cash bar for mixed drinks to help lower the bar tab by the end of the night. Avoid the High Season The majority of weddings take place from May through October. So you could save across the board by getting married during one of the quieter months, such as January or March, says Carley Roney, editor-inchief of Daylight Savings Reception halls charge the highest fees for 7 p.m. on Saturday night. Consider Sunday brunch for more savings. Network With Other Brides Many bridal planners suggest to network with other brides to divvy up the decorating costs. Talk to the bride who is getting married immediately before or after to see if you have similar ideas for decorations. You might be able to split the cost.

Cut the Cake For small weddings, use a faux bottom for the lower two tiers of the bridal cake. It will look great for the pictures, and no one will ever know. For bigger weddings, choose a smaller version of your dream cake and get sheet cake that can be cut in the back and served to guests. They’ll never notice. Flowers by the Season Stay with what’s in season, use more greens and fewer blooms. Roses are always available, but brides should steer clear of floralintensive holidays such as Mother’s Day, when high demand will drive up costs. Do Yourself a Favor Overspending on seemingly inexpensive items such as invites and party favors can add up to a big hit on your checkbook. Some experts recommend letting place cards double as favors, or incorporating the favors into a creative table centerpiece To find out more ways of reduce the average cost of a wedding visit smartmoney. com.

WEDDING BUDGET PLANNER STATIONERY $_________ Invitations Announcements Thank-You Notes Reply Cards At-Home, Pew Cards PHOTOGRAPHY Formal Portraits - Engagement - Wedding Wedding Album Parents’ Albums Extra Prints VIDEOGRAPHY RECEPTION Food Beverages Ice Sculpture Wedding Cake Gratuities and Taxes Escalation Clause Valet Parking Coat Check Ladies Room Police Officer MUSIC Wedding Reception


$_________ $_________

BRIDAL ATTIRE $_________ Dress Headpiece and Veil Undergarments Jewelry Shoes Trousseau

FLOWERS $_________ At Ceremony Bridal Bouquet Attendants (male, female) Mothers’ Corsages Reception





TRANSPORTATION Limousines Parking


EXTRAS $_________ Monogrammed Napkins Matches Guest Towels Favors, Groom’s Cake Rice Bag, Garter Hotel Accomodations

WEDDING PARTIES $_________ Bridal Luncheon Rehearsal Dinner Out-of-town Guests FEES

$_________ Church/Synagogue Officiant Assistants (cantors, altar boys)



$_________ Maid of Honor Best Man Bridesmaids Groomsmen Other

HONEYMOON Transportation Accomodation Daily Allowance







Honoring a deceased family member


eddings are supposed to be joyous events, which can make it difficult to honor a deceased parent. Doing so in a way that does not compromise the upbeat mood of the event can prove quite a challenge to prospective brides and grooms. The death of someone close is rarely easy to accept, especially when it happens close to a couple’s wedding day. But there are many ways couples can honor a deceased parent at their ceremony. • Display pictures of the deceased with the wedding couple so that

their memory can be part of the festivities. • Set up a table with a special floral arrangement and photo with a placard that states, “In memory of ...” • Wear a piece of clothing or jewelry that belonged to the deceased, such as cufflinks from a father or a special veil from a mother. • Ask the pastor or officiant to specifically mention the deceased in the wedding ceremony and offer a special prayer in that person’s name. • Add a memoriam line to the end of the wedding program. • Dedicate a special song during the reception in the person’s name. • A bride who will not

be able to walk down the aisle with her father can choose to do so with her mother or another relative and carry something that belonged to their father. • Set up a photo slide show that includes photos of the deceased. Choose poignant but upbeat music so that the moment is not overly somber. • Light a candle at the ceremony for the deceased relative. • Leave an empty chair and place setting at the reception for the person who could not be there. • Display something that symbolizes the person at the wedding, such as a flag for a deceased veteran or an item that represents the person’s favorite hobby. Few days are as memorable as a couple’s wedding day. Months of anticipation finally culminate with a walk down the aisle, and wedding guests often look for ways to make the day even more memorable with a gift befitting their favorite newlyweds. In years past, guests simply chose a gift from the couple’s registry. Today’s couples often have little use for traditional registries, a byproduct of more couples living together before they get married. “We’re in our thirties and both had complete households when we moved in together,” said newlyweds Mindee and Graham, who chose to forgo a traditional registry. While it’s understandable for today’s couples to forgo traditional registries, that doesn’t make it any easier for wedding guests to gift the bride and groom. In an effort to remedy that problem, couples and gift givers have been turning to, a free online honeymoon registry catering to couples who could use some help planning and paying for their honeymoon. “We didn’t need any more ‘stuff,’” said Mindee. “We needed an amazing honeymoon. Especially since we paid for the wedding ourselves, the added financial help made a big difference.”


Wedding guests can choose from a host of activities listed by the newlyweds themselves, including dinners, local tourist attractions and airline and train tickets. In doing so, guests ensure newlyweds have the honeymoon of their dreams, all the while not worrying about finances or bills when they return home. Newlyweds Sarah and Patrick enjoyed a honeymoon in Costa Rica, one made more memorable thanks to their guests’ thoughtful contributions to the couple’s honeyfund. “Many of our guests couldn’t wait to talk to us about what they had bought off our registry,” said Sarah. “We are making photo postcards of our trip to use as thank-you notes since everyone at the wedding was requesting a picture of us enjoying their gift.” The online honeymoon registry also helps guests forgo the troubles of shipping gifts or bringing them aboard a flight, where they’re likely subject to airline baggage fees. Robert, who took his new bride, Kili, as well as an extra $5,300 earned from their honeyfund, on a Mediterranean Cruise, notes that his guests appreciated the user-friendly nature of and the hassle-free nature of gifting online as opposed to carting gifts cross-country.

PHOTO BY LT. CHRIS BISHOP o make any to find a planner as early as event run possible. Increased popularsmoothly, it ity has caused many of them helps to have to be booked well in advance someone in and the sooner you have one charge that has been there finalized, the sooner you can before. Nowhere is this truer start taking advantage of their than when it comes to wedservices. Planners generally dings, which is why more work with a team of assisand more people are turning tants as well, balancing the to wedding planners to keep workload around. their perfect day, well, perfect. Most importantly, a From finding the right wedding planner can remind location, renting linens and you of necessities and details tracking down bands or that you may have overlooked DJs with plenty of wedbecause they’ve been there ding experience, wedding time and time again. By planners are the ultimate seeing things that didn’t quite ambassadors for your big work in the past or things that day. Not only can they turn did not work perfectly, they to experience to keep the have the luxury of learning day seamless, but they give from others’ mistakes and family and friends a chance passing that advice onto you. to enjoy the wedding, rather than stress over it. Source, NCCoast which is When planning a wedpart of Landmark Military ding, it’s always important Media of North Carolina.


•A minister for your ceremony •Ceremonial sound & music •Benches for seating & arches •Wedding day photography •Wedding day & rehearsal direction •Sand/Unity ceremonies •Dove releases & more


Finding the perfect dress


eddings are arguably the most important day of any woman’s life, a day to look like and fell like royalty. In order to look like royalty, one must make sure to find the perfect dress, which is much easier said than done. So, before you go out trying on every dress in sight, keep the following tips in mind:

Plan beforehand

Make sure that you have an idea of what kind of style you like. Bring in photos, sketches, or bridal magazines if you need to. Schedule an appointment beforehand, so that you can have the full attention of the sales person. Also, make sure that you know your budget and remember that dress shopping often takes more than a day.

Don’t bring too many people

There are many traditions for weddings that can be traced back thousands of years. One enduring tradition is to throw rice at the newly weds. In recent times, for the safety of birds, rice has been switched to birdseed. Some wedding traditions are based on very real needs of ancient times. Others are based on superstitions or existing etiquette. Throwing rice remains a tradition many


STORY BY RUSSELL VARNER that will be the same with you height as the ones A common mistake bridesyou will wear,” said to-be make is bringing too Bell. many people with them when Don’t be afraid to they go dress shopping. You be creative really only need to bring your Many stores are mother, your maid of honor more than happy and maybe one or two friends. to help customers Also, make sure you don’t with custom orders just listen to your friends and forget what you want in a dress. or trying to recreate a gown. “Having “Don’t give in to the ‘advice’ your gown custom from your mother-in-law, sister, made doesn’t have best friend or groom for choosing a dress,” says Pamela Bell, a to be as expensive as you may think,” said seamstress and designer for JC Bell. “I had a client Carolina Formals in Jacksonwho has brought ville. “Remember it’s you that in her grandmothwill be wearing the dress not ers dress for me to everyone else.” restore and redesign What should you bring? some for her to wear. Make sure to bring any foundation undergarments with Two years ago, I even created a Junior Brides dress for a mother you and, most importantly, shoes. “Even if it’s not the and daughter that looked exexact pair you’re wearing to actly alike.” the event, at least bring a pair Make sure you enjoy yourself

couples still enjoy. Everyone attending the wedding participates in throwing rice, or whatever is being used in lieu of it. Couples can borrow from traditions in other countries. In France, people throw wheat, a symbol of bounty, after the ceremony. Italians toss candy and sugared nuts over couples for sweetness in marriage. Rice symbolizes fertility and prosperity. Wheat was

used in ancient wedding ceremonies for the same reasons. When guests threw rice at the bride and groom, they were symbolically wishing them a lifetime full of children and good fortune. Some cultures even ate a meal of rice before the wedding to guarantee further prosperity. Different cultures have long harbored varying perspectives on throwing rice. Some believed it fed the evil spirits

This is your day to find your dream dress. Every girl deserves to look like a princess on her wedding day, but don’t let the stress overwhelm you. Start early and have fun.

that crashed the wedding. Rice and wheat were also thought to represent virginity and wholesomeness by some. A virginal bride used to wear white and carried a stalk of wheat. Single women rushed after the bride hoping to get a few pieces of rice so they would be the next person to walk down the aisle. Despite its foundation in superstition, throwing rice has remained a staple of weddings.

facts vs folklore

The Facts There are some facts that may surprise the average person about weddings across the country. Here are some facts to consider. * Weddings in Iowa and Nebraska are the biggest, averaging 200 guests. * The average engagement ring costs more than $5,800. * Most brides have one do-it-yourself element, such as favors or escort cards. * “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Lady in Red” are the two most popular first dance songs.

The Folklore

* Only 19 percent of couples rely on a wedding planner.

Here are some wedding day superstititions.

* Ancient Romans broke a cake over the bride’s head to symbolize fertility. Today, brides must be fortunate to have only a little cake smashed in their faces.

* A sugar cube in a bride’s glove is believed to sweeten the union, according to Greeks.

* The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress is good luck.

* The groom carries the bride over the threshhold to protect her from evil spirits below. * Saturday is considered the unluckiest day to marry, according to English tradition.


Tips for local accommodations


o matter the occasion, spending a full day of celebrating and catching up with family or friends can be exhausting. And when the day finally ends everyone is going to need a comfortable place to relax, especially if the following day is going to be filled with long hours in the car or a flight home. There are many options for accommodations in Eastern North Carolina, including resorts, private waterfront or water view rental homes, hotels or beautiful bed and breakfasts. And depending on what time of year it is, many of these options will offer offseason discounts or discounts for large groups of people. While trying to figure out which option works best for your party, try the tips below and ask for discount options when it comes to accommodating a large number of out-of-town guests: KNOW THE FACTS Call or e-mail area hotels, resorts and rental agencies to get information on group discounts. Group rates tend to be based on availability, so book your reservations as early as possible. Another option is to request blocking off a certain number of rooms for guests you are certain will be coming. THE BUSY SEASON Remember that the Crystal Coast is a seasonal vacation destination. If you plan your wedding during a popular time, such as the week of July the Fourth, Labor Day weekend or Memorial Day weekend, keeping all your guests in the same location is going to be extremely difficult. STAY CLOSE Be sure to take into consideration the idea of having your wedding reception or event at the hotel, resort or beach house where the majority of event participants will be staying. Following a celebration, it’s very convenient and much safer if guests can just retire upstairs rather than drive back to their accommodations.


Wedding day transportatio options abound

Grooms responsible for arranging transportation can consider the following options. Limousine: A limo is one of the most traditional methods of transport and enables you to carry the entire bridal party. Classic car: Sports car enthusiasts may want to make an entrance — and exit — behind the wheel of a sporty vehicle. Because of their high purchase price, sports car rentals may carry a premium. Horse-drawn carriage: Some couples truly want the fairy tale feel on their wedding day. Boat: Individuals getting married by the sea or another body of water may want to consider attending the festivities via boat. Be sure to have transportation options at the ready for guests who may have over-indulged on alcoholic beverages. Wedding party participants who arrived at the wedding by a limo or other source will need a ride home.



o ouples have many decisions to make. One of those decisions concerns transportation to and from the event. Wedding transportation is perhaps something grooms-to-be can get excited about. After all, we’re talking about cars — some fancy, some large, and many decked out with different features.


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