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February 2013 A special supplement to The Daily Nonpareil Front Cover.indd 1

1/23/2013 10:34:12 AM

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Brides and grooms write their own rules Chris Christen

OK, that might be overstating the trend. But things certainly are changing as brides break out of prim-and-proper mode and do their own thing.

by Carrie Underwood, Megan Fox, Kelly Clarkson and other celebrities over the past five years. Black diamonds also are getting hard looks. Schmelzer’s brides tend to be after that “very unusual piece that their girlfriends aren’t going to have.” Rings with white diamonds and a colored gemstone are an attractive option. “Colored gemstones have been favored by royalty and used in engagement and wedding rings for centuries,” Schmelzer said. So dazzle away. But stick with sapphires and rubies for durability.

The bride wears white

Beyond the cake

World-Herald News Service


ules that a bride wouldn’t dare to break as few as 10 years ago are now officially gone from the etiquette books.

A bride can wear any color that makes her happy. Pink gowns stole the hearts of recent celebrity brides Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway and Reese Witherspoon. Champagne and other blush tones remain strong for springsummer 2013. For fallwinter? Silvery hues. The word from Rachel Leonard, fashion director for Brides magazine: “You don’t have to wear a white dress anymore. But it still has to look like a wedding dress.”

An engagement ring must have a white diamond

Colored diamonds and gemstones rock in engagement and wedding rings. Princess Diana wowed the world with her choice of an 18-carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds for her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981. Prince William reminded brides everywhere of the beauty of a colored gemstone when he proposed to Kate Middleton with his mother’s ring. Mark Edward Schmelzer, of Mark Edward Private Jeweller in Omaha, has had increased interest among his clients for fancy yellow diamonds, possibly due to rings flashed

February 2013

The wedding cake isn’t going anywhere, but it’s not necessarily the star of the dessert table anymore. The couple’s favorite sweets — donuts, ice cream cakes, homemade pies and giant cookies — are becoming more popular. “Brides and grooms are truly making their weddings about themselves and sharing themselves with their guests,” said Vivian Green of Tin Box Weddings in Omaha. Omahans Melanie and Chris Schultz have a special place in their hearts for Chicago Dawg House. The restaurant was a low-key date destination early in their courtship. When the couple married in July 2011, they hired the restaurant’s food truck to cater their reception at Ackerhurst Dairy Barn in Bennington. “Guests stepped up to the truck window and ordered Chicago dogs, brats, burgers, fries and onion rings straight off the menu,” said the bride. Thirsts on a blistering hot day were quenched with beer from Upstream Brewing Company and wine from Trader Joe’s. “We went pretty simple on the decorations and flowers,” Melanie said. “That freed up resources to throw a fun, laid-back party for the people we love.” Megan Duster and Jamie Locatis, like a growing number of engaged couples, decided everything together

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Happily Ever After

— colors, menu, flowers, favors, etc. They held their September 2011 ceremony and reception at Weiss Studios and Gardens near Springfield, Neb. “We had the ceremony in the wildflower garden and danced into the night under the stars,” said the bride. The dessert table featured a traditional wedding cake baked by the bride’s mother and aunt, plus cupcakes baked by a friend, an ice cream cake for the groom, and a gourmet cookie cake. Fresh-popped popcorn and the couple’s favorite beer also were included on the menu.

Setting the mood

When it comes to ambiance, “lounge areas are hot, hot, hot,” said Kaleigh Wiese of design boutique Meldeen. Add throw pillows, potted trees, draping and uplighting and you can transform any room in to a lounge, Wiese said. “Brides are willing to invest in ambiance,” said

Rachel Richards of STEP Group, an Omaha-based event marketing firm that recently added tabletop fireplaces to its inventory of lounge furnishings. The pieces, Richards said, have been especially popular for weddings with hors d’oeuvres receptions. Erin Williams and the design team at Memricals helped Omaha newlyweds Lindsay Ehresman and Adam Ickes transform the Fountains Ballroom in Glenwood, Iowa, into a swanky clublike setting using lounge furniture, tall cocktail tables and uplighting. “The couple had 300 guests but didn’t want seating for everyone,” Williams said. “My first thought as an event designer was ‘No, you can’t do that.’” The couple persisted, arguing that minimal seating would promote mingling and get people on the dance floor. They were right, Williams said. “The vibe in the room was awesome.”

Photography and video

When it comes to professional photography and videography, it’s not just about documenting the wedding day or having pretty backdrops for portraits, said Vivian Green of Tin Box Weddings. “Bridal couples want something out of the norm.” Video love stories have been a hit for Green and her husband Jordan. The video tells the couple’s story leading up to their wedding day. “These videos can be so sweet and personal,” Green said. They’re typically shown at receptions. “But we recently had a couple play theirs right before the bride walked down the aisle. It was like we were witnessing the ‘happily-everafter’ part of their story.” Tin Box encourages couples to consider places and spaces that reflect pieces of their story for both video and still photography. “Maybe it’s a library where they met, a miniature golf course where they had their first date, or a coffee shop where they hang out,” Green said. Even bridal portraits are done on location. Tin Box

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February 2013

recently captured a bride’s shabby chic wedding theme in portraits taken in a vacant farmhouse with torn wallpaper, peeling paint and fire-singed wood. “It was like a movie set. It fit perfectly with her style,” Green said. For their own reception, Vivian and Jordan hung photos gallery-style. “It was a fun way to express our love of photography, share our interest in art and tell our story in a creative way.”

Bridal hair trends for 2013

Groom attire

While brides are choosing gowns with color, grooms are thinking twice about tuxedos. “The number of tuxedo rentals for weddings has dramatically dropped,” said John Ryan of Jerry Ryan Clothing and Sportswear in Omaha. “I used to do 225 tux rentals a year. In 2012, we did 50 tux rentals and sold 250 suits to bridal parties.” There’s a practical consideration: “The average tuxedo rents for $175 at my store,” Ryan said. “That’s a significant investment for one day of wear.” And an image-driven consideration: “A young professional guy working toward a six-figure salary isn’t interested in the business casual look. He’s dressing to impress,” Ryan said. Grooms in their 20s and 30s, Ryan said, have taken such a strong interest in dark suits, the thirdgeneration clothier has expanded its inventory of wedding-worthy models in three price categories: $149, $199 and $229. Nine out of 10 grooms are buying the shirts and ties for their groomsmen as a thank-you gift. After the wedding, all of the men have a useful and welcome addition to their wardrobes. “Brides love it,” Ryan said of the suited look. His own daughter and son-in-law, Shannon and Michael Sands, chose suits over tuxes for their December 2011 nuptials. “We have booked about 10 weddings for spring-summer and they’re all suit weddings,” Ryan said. •

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Braids Ballerina Bun Classic Curls Fishtail French Twist Side Pony Straight Vintage Wavy Happily Ever After

Party planners, a one-stop shop Tim Johnson


f organizing events isn’t your thing, you’re trying to plan long distance or you just don’t have time to take care of all the details, a wedding planner might be your ticket to a perfect wedding. LimeLight Expressions of Omaha offers a wide range of services, from addressing invitations to booking vendors to photographing your ceremony. They will even decorate your honeymoon suite, if it is within a reasonable distance. “We’re kind of a one-stop shop,” said owner Kimmylea Konsel. LimeLight has three photographers on staff who can take your engagement, wedding and reception photos, she said. It also has its own floral designer. LimeLight’s staff can help you plan your bridal shower, pick out the wedding party’s attire, design invitations, find venues for your wedding and reception, select wedding favors, negotiate with vendors, plan a menu, set up for your wedding and reception, plan your rehearsal dinner, and more, Konsel said. They will also help with transportation and transportation arrangements. “We save the couples tons of time,” she said. Among the ways they do that is by finding vendors and keeping track of what everything will cost, Konsel said. “We’re making it very easy (to book vendors), because we’re working with people we’ve already worked with and know will do a good job,” she said. And, of course, they will coordinate everything and everyone on your wedding

Happily Ever After

day. LimeLight will have four or five staff members on site for your wedding – more, if they are also doing photography, Konsel said. They will pin on corsages and boutonnieres, and they will have an emergency kit to help take care of those little problems that can arise. They will greet guests and make sure those with special needs get the assistance they need. They will cue the wedding party when it’s time for them to enter and round everyone up for each of the photo poses. They will haul everything to your reception and set things up and check on the cake, food, entertainment, etc. to make sure things are ready when it’s time for guests to start showing up. “LimeLight Expressions has bridal services that will fit any wedding needs and budget,” Konsel said in an email message. “We can custom design you a package with any services from our bridal service package to assist you in making your day go flawlessly.” So when should you book a wedding planner? “Usually, a year is ideal, but we handle everything from three months to a year,” Konsel said. “It’s really how involved the bride and groom want us to be.” Limelight already has a booking for a 2015 wedding, she said. LimeLight Expressions prides itself on community involvement and gives 5 percent of all sales to the nonprofit organization of your choice. “Not only do we donate 5 percent back to the local community, but we assist with as many fundraising/ charity opportunities as possible,” Konsel said. “We also choose one needy local family a year and adopt them. We want to bless others, because we have been blessed.” For more information, visit the website at or call (402) 680-7383. •

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February 2013

Loess Hills Floral named Best of Wedding Florists in The Knot Best of Weddings 2013


honda Bullington is pleased to announce she has been selected as a 2012 winner in The Knot Best of Weddings, a special section in The Knot (Omaha/Council Bluffs area) magazine and on Weddings from The Knot, the number-one wedding resource that’s most trusted by brides.

The Knot Best of Weddings 2013 provides a “by brides, for brides” guide to the top wedding professionals across the country, and is a must-have when it comes to selecting the best-of-the-best wedding resources. From New York florists and Seattle bridal salons to DC makeup artists, engaged couples will find detailed feedback on local wedding businesses reviewed by thousands of newlyweds who had great things to say. “We are so excited and honored to receive this award. Looking forward to meet new 2013 brides” • Your Are Limited Only By The What is your dream of “Happily Ever After”? - Like us on facebook & post your answer on our wall & receive a FREE “Throw Bouquet”


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Happily Ever After

Best wedding songs of 2013 Ray LaMontange

Jason Mraz

“You Are The Best Thing”

“I Won’t Give Up”

Christina Perri “A Thousand Years”

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Colbie Caillat “I Do”

February 2013

11 wedding traditions to skip

Old-School Rule:

Old-School Rule:

Your wedding dress should be white. You have to wear a long white veil.

Old-School Rule:

Old-School Rule:

You have to walk down the aisle to Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus”

You shouldn’t see each other until the ceremony.

The New Twist: It can still be white or ivory, but don’t be afraid to add a pop of color with a sash, cardigan, pair of shoes or piece of jewelry. Truly brave? Champagne, blush and nude dresses are huge right now, adding an understated uniqueness to the ensemble.

The New Twist: Don’t hide that gorgeous face! Break away from the outdated standard with a chic headband, a fabulous feather fascinator or a few sparkly hair clips. Or you could just leave your hair down with nothing in it at all (you rebel, you!).

Old-School Rule:

Old-School Rule:

Old-School Rule:

Old-School Rule:

Bridesmaids are female and groomsmen are male.

Bridesmaids should match.

Wedding ceremonies take place in a church.

Your guests must be seated on two sides.

The New Twist: Don’t confine your list of VIPs to your female friends (or his to only guys)! If your best friend in the world happens to be a guy, make him your bridesman, or your groom can ask his good friend to be a groomswoman.

The New Twist: Let your girls’ individual personalities shine by having each one pick a dress that suits her own taste and shape (but perhaps all in the same fabric or color). Or let them personalize their look with accessories like funky jewelry, boleros or patterned tights.

Old-School Rule:

The New Twist: Have the DJ play your favorite The New Twist: Schedule a “first look” photo love song or a Caribbean steel-drum melody. shoot. This frees up more time after the ceremony Book a jazz cellist or a two-piece band to play an and it also lets you spend a few precious instrumental version of a rock song that’s special moments with your soon-to-be spouse before all to your relationship. the wedding craziness sets in. (Trust us; it will!)

The New Twist: Pick a ceremony venue that’s meaningful to the both of you. It can be anywhere, from a park or a backyard to an old theater or a hip city loft downtown.

Old-School Rule:

Your accessories should be understated. You should exchange traditional vows. The New Twist: Make a statement. Punch up your wedding ensemble with boldly colored shoes, statement necklaces or a cute bolero. Worried they’ll distract from your gown? Keep your look simple for the ceremony and then add accessories for the reception.

February 2013

The New Twist: There’s more than one way to design a ceremony setup. If you have the option, consider keeping everyone together in a nontraditional seating arrangement, like a circle around the altar.

Old-School Rule: Bridesmaids should carry

matching bouquets. The New Twist: There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the same vows that so many have said before you. The New Twist: Your bridesmaids don’t have to hold the But adding your own language can make the ceremony same kind of flowers to look the part. Have each one carry more meaningful to you. If you’re nervous about writing a bouquet in a signature color or let your florist create your own vows from scratch, borrow lines from your several mono-botanic bouquets in the same hue. Or add favorite songs, poems, movies or children’s books. fancy ribbon wrappings to help each girl stand out.

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Happily Ever After

Top 6 engagement ring trends

Neutralcolored Gems Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s relationship might not have lasted, but the lure of coloured engagement rings sure did. Her 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring set the stage for a bevy of other colourful gemstones like beryl, sapphires, and rubies to take a leading role.

Diamonds Intricately All Around Raised Settings A gorgeous diamond gets lots of character from its surroundings. And these current styles drizzled with diamonds are definitely a hit among brides and designers alike. Not only do the extra diamonds add tons of sparkle, but they can enhance the size or at least give the illusion of a larger centre stone. What bride-to-be (and groom too) wouldn’t love that?


Twisted Bands

Designers have opted to put a little more swing The newest ring settings in their rings. From are really raising the bar swirling diamond bands — elaborate and (more to more streamlined important) lofty designs metal twists, we’re are hot. There’s nothing enamored with this like a delicately draped smooth move. bow or precision-cut mold to give your centre stone the spotlight.

Vintage Glamour

EcoFriendly Rings

Heirloom styles, though rich in history, are Decorate your ring definitely not a tired finger with conflict-free idea. Think intricate diamonds and recycled settings with metal and gold settings. diamond detailing.

elebrate Life’s





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February 2013

Make your party memorable Bachelor and bachelorette party ideas that go beyond the bar hopping and club scene Mike Brownlee


t’s not all bar hopping and strip clubs. While the majority of bachelor and bachelorette parties in the metro feature some variation of a trip to the bars, some grooms- and brides-to-be decide to do something a little different. Jorge Wiebold of Council Bluffs is shirking the bars – and the city – and heading with a group of about 10 friends to Waubonsie State Park outside Hamburg for his bachelor party weekend. “I think we just all felt like we’ve done the bar thing before on any random weekend,” Wiebold said. “This is a chance for us to do something different.” Wiebold said the crew would spend the weekend fishing, playing football, drinking and more. “I like to be outdoors and I like to fish so I thought it would be a fun way to spend a weekend with the guys,” he said. Robin Helm with the Mile-A-Way hall and The Bus said she sometimes sees people step outside the norm. The hall’s only been rented out for one bachelor party since it changed ownership, Helm said, with the groom and friends hosting a “Casino Night.” There were door prizes for people with the most chips, while money spent to play went to the groom to help out with the wedding and honeymoon. “It worked out nice, they didn’t have to hop around from bar to bar, it was something different,” Helm said. One of the more unique parties during her time running The Bus, Helm said, was a joint bachelor and bachelorette party that dropped off the guys at a baseball game and the girls at a vineyard and winery. Afterward, the parties met up for dinner and drinks. If you’re looking to travel, the common bachelor/ette party getaway is Las Vegas, always a fine choice. But the Travel Channel offers a few other ideas for women: • Attend a music festival, which often feature multiple performers, supply plenty of food and drinks and allow you to mix with a crowd that’s also in the mood to celebrate. • If the bride-to-be is the outdoorsy type, try organizing a whitewater rafting trip to make her sendoff from the single life a heart-pumping adventure. • Enjoy rest and relaxation at the beach. Belize may

February 2013

not be the first destination that comes to mind for a bachelorette party, but its abundance of beach resorts, organic spas and adventure activities make it a fun girls getaway. Cave tubing, kayaking, visiting Mayan ruins and parasailing are among the recreation options. For men, offers these ideas: • If the groom-to-be is a fan of the outdoors, consider a weekend in nature (and pack plenty of beer for the occasion). Whether you plan a ski trip in the mountains or a couple of days camping beside the lake, it’s guaranteed to include some serious male bonding time. Hiking, kayaking or whitewater rafting can be a great way for the groom to have his best buddies together before he ventures into marriage. • The plunge into marriage will seem like a piece of cake – especially if the bachelor jumps from a plane at 10,000 feet first. If the idea of skydiving doesn’t thrill your crew, try bungee jumping, hang gliding, scuba diving, surfing, rock climbing, mountain climbing or even “shark hunting” (observing sharks while scuba diving). There’s nothing like defying death to bring a group of guys closer together. If you want to stay closer to home, rent a few go-carts for the day, or dust off your old skateboards and ride them back to the skate park. • A little friendly competition can bring out the best in friends. Sports are a great way to get the gang together and honor the groom. Organize a tournament, complete with a couple of kegs and personalized T-shirts to mark the occasion (different colors for different teams, of course). Football, soccer, tennis, golf, flag football, volleyball, bowling or even paint ball can be a blast. Pair the tournament with a barbecue afterward and you’ll have the makings of a perfect bachelor party. If your gang is not the athletic type, buy group tickets to a local sporting event. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for tailgating beforehand. Supply each player with a personalized cooler for snacks throughout the day. •

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Food that suits your personality Reception trends range from casual and social to the tried-and-true sit-down dinners Tim Rohwer


hen it comes to the wedding reception, the bride and groom have many options to make that part of their special day even more memorable, according to local catering experts. “We’ve done prime rib dinners, beside chicken and mashed potatoes,” said Josh Benson, catering manager for the Council Bluffs Hy-Vee Food Store on Madison Avenue. “We can drop the food off if the couple wants or we can serve a full sit-down dinner.” Upon request, his staff will carry around trays of appetizers for more convenience for the guests, he said. “It just depends on the level of service the couple wants.” “There’s not a standard reception anymore,” said Stacy Newman, owner of Celebrate Catering. “More and more, the bride and groom are gearing their menu to their personalities.” Benson mentioned the word “option” quite frequently when it comes to receptions. For example, there are couples who want a more informal, casual reception, and who have requested a “grill-out” featuring hamburgers or grilled chicken breasts. “We can do it for big crowds,” Benson said. “It’s an option.” Couples who are more laid-back may prefer that kind of casual reception, Newman added. Barbecue receptions are popular, she said. As far as new trends in food, Benson mentioned “a pasta bar,” featuring two pastas, two different meats, salad and bread sticks. A typical food station Newman provides includes a potato bar on one end and a seafood bar at the other. It does, however, require more staffing, and cost, she said. She mentioned that bars or food stations are an option allowing the guests to eat when they want to and “breaks the crowd up” so there isn’t a long line at the serving table. Food stations featuring different kinds of food or appetizers may or may not work depending on the facility or number of guests, according to Benson. For large parties of 250 guests or more, he recommended the traditional double buffet line for faster service. Bars or food stations may not be suitable in smaller halls, he added.

Happily Ever After

On the other hand, food stations can encourage guests to mingle and meet more people, Benson said. He also recommended that couples should consider performing the cake-cutting ceremony as soon as they arrive at the hall, as opposed to after the main meal has been served. “After they do their grand entrance, they should do their ceremonial cake cutting, and if they want, we can cut the cake for the guests for them,” Benson said. That way, while the guests eat their meal, the cake will be cut and ready to serve immediately following the meal so the guests don’t need to wait, he said. Even though there are many options, the traditional sit-down dinner is still consistent, Benson said. “Roast beef dinner is always popular and we have one of the best,” he said. “Last year, we did over 80 weddings, which was an upswing from the past. We work on improving our service.” One change that Newman has seen is the request for the munchies like nachos later in the evening, as opposed to appetizers prior to the main meal. “It’s something that is becoming more frequent,” she said. A majority of her clients select her stuffed chicken breast dinner, Newman said. •

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February 2013

10 popular wedding floral trends 10: Fur and Feathers

9: Showstoppers

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the center of attention on your wedding day. To make sure you remain the focus of everyone’s gaze, try holding onto a large, vibrant bouquet.

3: Enchanting Votives

Gone are the days of boring taper candles on reception tables. Today’s brides are experimenting with votives by suspending them from tree branches and hanging plants as well as nestling them in large ensemble flower arrangements and centerpieces.

Yes, we’re serious! This flamboyant pairing might seem a little risqué or kitschy, but adding a few feathers or some faux fur to your bouquet can be both beautiful and striking.

2: Family Honor

You might be taking his name, but you’re not relinquishing any bonds to your family’s heritage. So why not pay tribute to the ones who got you this far though your floral décor?

1: Fewer Flowers, More Trees

8: Au Naturel

You don’t have to walk down the aisle in your birthday suit to go au naturel. If you’re looking for a way to convey a back-to-nature kind of feeling, use local wildflowers for your floral décor and bouquet.

7: Bejeweled Bouquets

No matter what kind of floral décor you decide on, you can always glam up your flowers by attaching some inexpensive jewelry to them.

For an eco-chic vibe, decorate tables with leaves and freshly collected greenery. This harvestthemed setting reflects the season and the bride’s environmental consciousness.

For Your Wedding Day

6: No Muss, No Fuss

More isn’t always better. Sometimes, an easy classic, like flowers in a clear glass vase, works perfectly.

5: Going Fruity

If you like your flowers to be stylish and cheeky at the same time, you might want to go fruity. And by fruity, we mean using actual fruit in your arrangements.

4: Asian Atmosphere


Asian fusion floral design is a lot like Asian fusion cuisine: It merges Japanese and Chinese cultural trends and traditions into a single offering that, while not representative of either country specifically, incorporates and celebrates different elements of both (kind of like Tex-Mex food and décor).

February 2013

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Happily Ever After

Picking the perfect ring Ashlee Coffey


icking out an engagement ring is a huge step for couples who are ready to move on to the next stage of their relationship. Ask any jeweler and they’ll tell you there are several steps to picking out that perfect ring for your bride-to-be. According to Marti Lynch of Lynch Jewelers, 126 E. Broadway, the first step for anyone looking to buy an engagement ring is to figure out a budget. “The first question I ask is, ‘Do you have a budget amount? If so, how much are you wanting to stay around?’” she said. She isn’t sure about the myth that an engagement ring should be three-and-a-half months worth of a person’s salary. “It’s what you can afford and still feel comfortable with – without stressing out your relationship,” Lynch said. “Diamonds are a good investment, though. Usually at the end of a person’s life, it’s usually the jewelry that gets passed down to children and grandchildren. Cars wear out and homes get sold.” Today, engagement rings can start between $2,000 and $2,500 and go up from there, said Megan Prichard-Brabec, who works at her family-owned Steven’s Jewelry, 1722 Madison Aven. Her advice for first-time ring shoppers is “don’t get yourself extended.” “Stay within your budget because you can always upgrade,” Prichard-Brabec said. If a person finds the perfect ring that’s a bit outside of their budget – or can’t purchase the ring right away – a lot of stores have payment plan and layaway options. Once a budget is set — the buyer should have an idea of what type of style the bride-to-be is interested in. “Is she wanting something with lots of ‘bling’ or something that’s very simple?” Lynch said. Today’s popular styles of engagement rings include the traditional solitaire and the newer trend: the halo. This design includes a center

Happily Ever After

diamond surrounded by a “halo” of smaller diamonds. “The halo design seems to be real popular with the younger crowd,” Prichard-Brabec said. “I think it gives the ladies something kind of fun and it doesn’t look like your everyday engagement ring.” Couples should also consider the type of metal the engagement ring is set in. Most popular types of metal for engagement and wedding bands include 10 karat or 14 karat white gold or gold. Platinum is also popular, although it is the most expensive. For a man’s wedding band, alternative metals, such as titanium, tungsten carbide or combination metals like titanium with sterling silver, are also very popular and are relatively low in cost for couples on a budget.

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February 2013

For a woman looking at purchasing a wedding band for her soon-to-be-husband, Prichard-Brabec said to think simple. “The simpler the better for a man,” she said. “Most men like to keep it very simple if they even wear a ring.” Wedding bands for men start at $150 and go up from there, Prichard-Brabec said. Once a style is chosen, finding the perfect diamond is the next step. “Your diamond is probably your most important part,” Lynch said. “You’re looking for the four C’s, including cut, color, clarity and carat.” A proper cut gives a diamond its “sparkle.” Today, the jewelry industry uses computers to cut diamonds to exact and mathematically proven proportions. “When you have a proper cut, you get a complete, good dispersion of light,” Lynch said. “If you have a poor cut, you’re going to have a poor dispersion of light. You can kind of tell by looking at it if something hasn’t been cut right.” Most diamonds might appear colorless but actually have slight tones of yellow or brown. As tones become more easily apparent, the cost and rarity decrease. On the color scale, a “D” through “F” would be considered colorless. A diamond considered an “S” through “Z” on the scale will be light yellow in color.   “What most people go toward is having a diamond as colorless as possible,” Lynch said. But another popular trend is diamonds that have been heat-treated, which gives them color. These include the popular chocolate, blue or black diamonds. Most all diamonds contain naturally occurring internal characteristics called inclusions, Lynch said. The size, nature, location and amount of inclusions determine a diamond’s clarity grade and, likewise, affect its cost. Lynch recommends looking for a diamond that doesn’t have any imperfections seen by the naked eye. “Most people don’t carry around a loop to check out people’s jewelry,” she said. “But something that’s clear of imperfection to the naked eye would be best.” While most women would love to have a large carat diamond – bigger isn’t necessarily better, Lynch warned. “You can have a huge diamond and have it look

terrible,” Lynch said. “And you can have a smaller diamond with good quality that is more expensive than that huge diamond. It’s really about quality.” Once an engagement ring is purchased, it’s important to maintain preventative care on it. Lynch suggests having a ring brought in once every six months to have tips and prongs checked. “It’s important to take care of your ring and check for loose prongs so no diamonds are lost,” she said. “The ring will last a lot longer with preventative care.” •


February 2013

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Imagine the possibilities!

112 Year Old Victorian Mansion



Happily Ever After

Top 8 wedding dress trends of 2013

Sheer Overlays


Convertible Dresses Corset Bodices

This strapless dress with a sheer The ruffles on the skirt of this If you’re looking to change at the The bodice style will give you lots skirt overlay by Christos is the dress are flirty, while the full skirt reception, the convertible dress of structure and support (not to epitome of ethereal beauty. and strapless neckline are classic. trend might be right for you. mention, it’s super flattering!).




Beading & Sequins

An off-the-shoulder neckline like Kate Middleton’s classic wedding An all-gold dress is a little daring for Added sparkle — with a vintage on this Ines Di Santo design is dress with sleeves is still most. Tone it down with a dress with twist — is all over the runways. sexy and romantic. inspiring wedding dress designs. little hits of gold for added warmth.

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February 2013

Wear white on your wedding day — with a bright smile Metro Creative Connection


ress chosen; check. Flowers ordered; check. Photographer booked; check. Bright smiles for the big day; hmmm, not so much.... A soon-to-be bride and groom have a long list of things to complete prior to their wedding day. Though much thought is given to music, transportation, gowns and tuxedoes, it’s important not to overlook a white smile, which will ultimately be the lasting memory of the special day in photo albums for years to come. A white smile can make all the difference and is the finishing touch to every look. In the past, tooth whitening was something left to the professionals at the dentist’s office. Over the years, in-office whitening procedures have evolved to include laser activation of a whitening gel. While effective, the process can be very expensive — something that may not fit into a couple’s wedding day budget. Most people interested in brightening their smiles can find success with at-home whitening solutions. Crest 3D White, the #1 whitening brand recognized by top beauty magazine editors, offers effective at-home whitening solutions, such as Crest 3D White Intensive Professional Effects Whitestrips and Glamorous White Toothpaste, to get a bright, white smile for the big day. The best part is that Intensive Professional Effects Whitestrips whiten as well as a $500 in-office professional treatment for a fraction of the cost. In addition to relying on at-home and in-office tooth whitening solutions, there are other ways that the soonto-be bride and groom and their bridal party can achieve a whiter smile in time for their wedding day: • Get routine dental checkups and cleanings. A professional cleaning at the dentist can remove unsightly tartar and buff the teeth clean. You may see a noticeable difference in the appearance of your teeth after a routine dental cleaning. • Eat raw fruits and vegetables. Chewing raw fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, grapes, carrots and spinach is a good way to reduce tooth staining. • Brush and floss regularly. An at-home oral hygiene routine is essential for good oral health and appearance. Use a toothpaste like Crest 3D White Glamorous White Toothpaste, which removes up to 90 percent of surface stains in just 5 days.

February 2013

Taking steps toward a beautiful, white smile is something every soon-to-be bride, groom and bridal party member can do. Those who are making their wedding day to-do list should include easy tooth-whitening solutions as a ‘must’ for their special day. More information on Crest 3D White products is available at •

It’s easy and affordable to achieve a bright smile with at-home whitening solutions.

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Happily Ever After

Creative ways to get married Metro Creative Connection


any weddings adhere to tradition, with a big church wedding, a white gown and a bustling reception. Still, there are some couples who prefer to do something a bit unique and unconventional. They may choose to get married underwater or while skydiving. If a “creative” wedding is for you, here are some ideas to think about. • Prison wedding: A visit to an abandoned prison or haunted location may appeal to the couple with a taste for the macabre. • Skydiving: The concept of taking the plunge takes on an entirely new meaning when jumping out of a plane at several thousand feet while reciting vows.

• 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 attending the festivities. • Mountain climbing: Couples can reach new heights while scaling a 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 or other amusement park rides. • Scuba diving: Some couples prefer to recite their vows with a few bubbles in between and marine life as their witnesses. •

The idea of getting married atop a roller coaster could be amusing to some couples.

Happily Ever After

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February 2013

Hot new wedding colors we love

Neon + Beige Bronze + Black + Crimson Violet + Fuchsia Burgundy + Plum + Papaya Pewter + Cream + Robin’s Egg + Avocado + Creamsicle A quiet neutral like beige tames the two other highlighter colors for a stylish palette with personality. Natural elements like raw wood and organic floral arrangements will keep your decor from looking too stark.

This color combo is all about old-world glamour, so let the past inspire the rest of your wedding details. Think: antique brooches as cake decoration, old gilded frames as table numbers and intricately adorned china.


Achieve high-style status with this totally of-the-moment color combo. Clean and simple decor paired with graphic and contemporary stationery design show off these colors in their best light.

This trio is both whimsical and natural at the same time. You’ll have no trouble finding flowers to create pops of color throughout your decor, so keep your linens and other elements more muted.

These shades look stunning against natural elements, so choose an indoor venue with exposed beams and vaulted ceilings or an outdoor spot with colorful trees. Keep lighting soft with votive candles or paper lanterns to match this trio’s elegance.

elebrate with

Council Bluffs Country Club • Wedding Receptions • Rehearsal Dinners • Anniversary Parties • Birthday Parties • Graduation Parties • Business Meetings • Family Gatherings

4500 Piute Street, Council Bluffs, IA

712.366.0525 February 2013

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Happily Ever After

Pack an emergency wedding day kit Metro Creative Connection


rides- and grooms-to-be hope and pray their wedding day will go off without a hitch. After a year or more of planning and writing checks for so many things, couples hope that it all comes together in the end. For most it does. Others may need a little help keeping things on track.

Although the idea is to hope for the best, being prepared for a few obstacles along the way can ensure the day goes smoothly. Many couples find it wise to pack an emergency kit, stocked with items to make repairs or handle tie ups with ease. Brides and grooms can use this checklist to compile a wedding day kit that meets their needs and customize with any speciality items.

q needle and thread in white, black and the color of bridesmaid gowns q extra pairs of pantyhose q pain reliever pills q antacid q quick-clean detergent stick q bandages q powder q deodorant q double-sided tape q black buttons q sanitary pads q mints/gum q makeup for touch-ups q extra cash q slippers or a change of shoes q umbrellas q hair spray q hair pins q names and phone numbers of all wedding vendors q static cling spray q hair dryer q contact lens solution/eye drops q nail file q nail clipper q straws (to sip drinks without ruining lipstick) q safety pins q black socks q earring backs

Happily Ever After

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February 2013

Make guests feel special with these extra touches Metro Creative Connection


edding receptions run the gamut from small, intimate gatherings in a restaurant to large spectacles featuring hundreds of guests inside a banquet hall. At the heart of any wedding reception is the desire to present a memorable party for all in attendance. That being said, there are some steps couples can take to add extra indulgence to wedding receptions and really set them apart from the mundane. With the average cost of weddings now teetering around $28,000, couples certainly are pulling out expensive stops to treat guests to a good party. Although some may argue that spending tens of thousands of dollars on a one-time event is preposterous, there are scores of couples who want to splurge on an event that (hopefully) will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. With this in mind, many want to add special touches to the wedding that will show guests how much they are appreciated and to make their celebration different from previous weddings. Here are some ways to do just that. • Butler-passed hors d’oeuvres: During the cocktail hour guests are mingling and taking advantage of the opportunity to engage in conversation. This may be the last real opportunity to chat among one another before the volume of the band or DJ drowns out discussions. Rather than disrupt the flow of conversation to make a trip to the food stations, choose butler-passed hors d’oeuvres to bring food right to the guests. It lends a feeling of indulgence and is also a convenient way to keep guests satiated. • Valet parking: Most wedding venues provide on-site valet parking. However, if you’re using a restaurant or banquet hall that does not provide this service, you can hire a valet company to do the parking for guests. While you will be whisked to and fro in the back of a limousine, guests will have to do their own driving. Being able to exit the car right in front of the venue and not worry about finding a parking space will be convenient for guests. • Emergency toiletries baskets: Rather than spending money on an extra floral arrangement for the men’s and women’s restrooms, purchase items that can be grouped into a handy basket. For women, include items such as extra pairs of stockings, spray deodorant, sanitary items, and sewing kits. For men, mints or mouthwash, dental floss, cologne, and stain removal pens may come in handy. In the event that a minor mishap occurs during the wedding, guests will have items at their disposal to remedy it.

February 2013

• Specialty courses: In addition to the cocktail hour and the main meal, you may be able to arrange specialty stations for guests with particular palates or interests. Some couples like to have a cigar smoking area or you can offer specialty cocktails. When ethnic customs are included in a wedding, menu items can be geared around native dishes. Candy and dessert bars are also popular to have at weddings, particularly if children are invited. A flambe dessert presentation is both a spectacle and a treat. • Overnight accommodations: For the wedding that will run into the wee hours of the morning, offer guests a place to stay nearby to remove the hassle of driving home at a late hour. Some reception halls have arrangements with nearby hotels. For those that don’t, negotiate a discounted rate for wedding Arranging overnight acguests. Many do and will commodations for guests, set aside a block of rooms complete with complemenfor your event with a distary breakfast, is a welcount code. You may want come touch for those who to treat guests who choose don’t want to travel home to stay over to a compleonce the wedding is over. mentary breakfast the next day as one final show of appreciation. • Special seating: Guests who may have mobility issues or difficulty hearing may appreciate being seated in certain spots for convenience. Seat the elderly or handicapped close to the exits and the restrooms if possible. When choosing a reception room, confirm the distance to the restrooms to make it convenient for those who may not be able to walk far. Those who may be sensitive to the music can be seated away from the speakers. And of course, every attempt should be made to seat individuals who may have conflicts with others away from one another. • Birthday and anniversary mentions: You can notify the band or DJ of any guests in attendance who may be celebrating their own special events on your wedding day or in close proximity. There are many extra touches you can take as a couple to make guests feel welcomed and important at your wedding. •

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Happily Ever After

Popping the question? Simple tips so she’ll say ‘yes’ Metro Creative Connection


ccording to David Tutera(TM), wedding guru and party-planning expert, “Men should propose with personality, making it echo something meaningful to your relationship with one another and do it in a place that highlights your love story.” That certainly sounds like good advice. But while women seem to have the knack for conjuring up perfect wedding-related ideas, men tend to be a bit clueless on the subject. Naturally, the first element involved with a proposal is buying an engagement ring. “This is not just any ring ... it is ‘the’ ring that she’ll cherish for the rest of her life, and may possibly pass down to her children in the future,” says Tutera. Jewelry expert Michael O’Connor offers, “There’s a very good chance the bride has a platinum engagement ring in mind. It’s possible that she’s even offered hints about it, leaving magazine photos on the table or admiring a ring in a jewelry store window.” Platinum is a great choice for engagement rings and wedding bands because it won’t change color or fade. It symbolizes a relationship that will endure. Also, platinum’s durability means that your engagement ring can become a family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation. When selecting a setting, experts including Tutera and O’Connor recommend putting some thought into a design that is classic because this will be a ring that she will cherish through the ages. “Choose a setting that truly reflects how you feel about your partner,” says Tutera. “Platinum lasts forever.” Although the ring is a very important component of the entire proposal, make it memorable. “How did he propose?” is often the first question her girlfriends will ask once she has gotten engaged. Whether taking place at the beach or a page right out of a fairytale, many women dream of a memorable proposal. In a recent contest on, contest entrant Briana D. from New York offers the following hint, “I have always dreamt of a fairy-tale proposal and what better way to drop the ball then to draw out the ring design that I have in mind, fold it up and stick it in an envelope with a love note and his name on it.”

Happily Ever After

There are many other proposal ideas that can secure this special moment. Consider these tips, courtesy of O’Connor. • Make it personal. Propose at a place that has great meaning for your relationship — where you first met, or the place where you first said “I love you.” Think about the romanPropose with style. In a recent tic places you contest on, nearly 60 have visited topercent of contest entrants leave gether that can little hints about the platinum enserve as the pergagement ring they want. fect backdrop for a proposal. • Think back to all of those chick flicks you were persuaded into watching. Was there a proposal scene that she gushed about or another movie moment that stood out? Consider recreating that feeling in the proposal. If need be, man up and rewatch her favorite movies for ideas. • Consider spontaneity. Simply scratch “Will you marry me” in the sand while walking on the beach and hand her the ring in a seashell. • Do it the old fashioned, and tried-and-true way. Bend down on one knee with a rose and ring in hand. “Remember, the proposal and engagement doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable. Simply keep in mind the personality and likes of the bride-to-be and chances are she’ll jump to say, ’yes,’” says O’Connor. He adds, “Almost every quality jewelry designer creates rings in platinum, some even starting at under $1,000, making it easy to find something that will work with her style and fit within almost every budget.” More information about engagement rings in a variety of prices can be found at www.preciousplatinum. com/engagementrings. •

Page 22

February 2013

Save-the-date card etiquette Metro Creative Connection


ore and more couples planning to walk down the aisle are embracing save-the-date cards to give guests adequate notice that there is a party on the horizon. Save-the-date cards do more than let guests know when you’re getting hitched. The cards are a preliminary way to keep guests informed and let them know they are, in fact, on the guest list. These cards haven’t always been so popular, but have risen in popularity due to longer engagement periods, a growing number of destination weddings and the growing number of couples with guests from all over the country, if not the world. Considering people often plan business trips, vacations and other excursions several months in advance, savethe-date cards help secure a greater number of attendees at your wedding. Save-the-date announcements can vary in many ways. They may be postcards or magnets that can be attached to a refrigerator door. If you desire a cohesive theme to your wedding stationery, select the save-thedate cards at the same time you choose your wedding invitations. This way you can ensure that either the patterns, fonts, colors, or style of the cards will match. It will also help convey the tone of the wedding. Guests often take their cues regarding the level of formality of the wedding from the type of stationery couples choose. When to send out the save-the-date announcements is important as well. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to mail out the cards 6 months in advance for a standard wedding. If the wedding requires travel or extended overnight accommodations, you may want to mail them out 8 months to a year in advance to give guests the time to investigate flight costs and hotel arrangements. A wedding also may necessitate planning a vacation or personal time off from work. Therefore, ample advanced notice is advisable. Be sure to make your guest list in advance of sending out save-the-date cards. Everyone who receives a card should also be sent an invitation prior to the wedding. Remember to include any members of your planned wedding party in the list of recipients. Just because a person has verbally confirmed attendance at your wedding doesn’t mean they should be excluded from subsequent announcements. Guests may talk to one another and it is best to avoid hurt feelings and any added drama before the wedding by treating everyone equally. Be sure to include the wedding date, your names and the location of the wedding on the save-the-date cards.

February 2013

You do not need to offer RSVP information or detailed specifics at this time. You may want to include a Web site URL on the card so guests can check it frequently for updates on wedding information. Be sure to also include that a formal invitation will follow at a later date. You do not want to cause confusion by having guests think that the save-the-date card is the actual invitation. Also, make sure you address the save-the-date cards correctly to show your intentions with respect to guest invites. For example, be clear about whether children will be invited and whether a boyfriend/girlfriend or another guest can tag along. Although save-the-date cards are not a necessity, they have become a popular part of wedding planning to eliminate confusion about invitations as well as help guests plan time off for your wedding. •

Save-the-date cards inform guests that a wedding is on the horizon, making it easier to arrange travel plans.

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Happily Ever After

Safe and smart ways to slim down before your wedding METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION


any brides-to-be, and even some grooms-to-be, express concern about their weight in the weeks and months leading up to their wedding. Losing weight is a goal for many engaged couples, but it’s important that couples who want to shed a few extra pounds don’t sacrifice safety for the sake of slimming down. According to a Cornell University study of 273 women with a wedding day approaching, 70 percent wanted to lose more than 20 pounds before their weddings. However, reality indicates that a weight loss of 5 to 10 pounds is more attainable — more so if the weight loss regimen is spread out over several weeks. The term “brideorexia” has entered the vernacular, and it is associated with brides who are taking extreme measures to lose weight. Taking laxatives, engaging in fluid-only diets and even using tobacco or drugs to serve as appetite suppressants are just some of the measures some brides have taken to shed weight before their wedding days. There is no magic formula to shed pounds, but there are certain ways to jump-start and maintain the process of healthy weight loss so brides can look slimmer and healthy for their big day. • Eat. Although initial calorie curbing can help shed weight, eventually your body may adapt to your new eating habits or go into “survival mode,” which means conserving fat reserves. Researchers at Penn State University found that fasting signals to your body that it is being starved, triggering a lower metabolic rate. Brides-to-be should never cut out food entirely. Eating anything less than 1,200 calories a day will encourage the body to try to conserve energy by lowering its metabolism. Severe calorie restriction is not an effective way to lose weight. • Step up your exercise regimen. Reducing food intake alone will not help you lose weight quickly. The goal is to burn more calories than you consume. There-

Happily Ever After

fore, adding more cardiovascular activity to your routine can help burn calories more efficiently. According to a clinical study from researchers at Italy’s University of Padua published in the 2011 International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, eating a light meal before exercising helps you burn more fat and keeps your body burning fat even 24 hours after the exercise. • Reduce sodium intake. Sodium doesn’t necessarily lead to weight gain, but it can make it appear so. Sodium contributes to water retention in the body, which may make you appear heavier or bloated. Cut back on foods that are high in sodium, especially as the wedding draws close, to reduce water retention. • Identify sources of empty calories. Fruit juices, soda and other beverages are often the culprits with regards to unnecessary calorie consumption. Therefore, choose your beverages wisely and limit them to water, teas and unsweetened drinks. If you want to drink fruit juice, consider diluting it. In addition, most alcoholic beverages have 100 calories or more. While it may be tempting to celebrate with wine, champagne and mixed drinks during your engagement period, your waistline may ultimately pay the price for such indulgences. • Hire a good photographer. A camera allegedly adds 10 pounds, a reason many couples panic about their wedding day. A photo is a 2D image of a 3D object. Therefore, the photo reduces depth perception and flattens an image, which may make some items look like they have more bulk. A professional photographer will know how to manipulate lighting and angles of the camera to ensure a more flattering shot. • Eat smaller portions. Oftentimes, it’s not a matter of what you are eating but how much. Most portion sizes served in restaurants or even at home are double or triple the amount that you should be eating. When in doubt, cut everything in half. • Fill up on fiber or protein. Instead of resorting to pills to suppress an appetite, simply eat foods that will fill you up naturally. High-fiber foods will bulk up in the stomach and keep you feeling satiated longer. The same can be said for lean proteins, which take longer to digest, thus fending off hunger pangs. While losing weight for a wedding is many couples’ ultimate goal, the best way to tackle this task is in a healthy, responsible manner. •

Page 24

February 2013

12 great honeymoon locations for 2013 Weddings these days aren’t all invitations, thank-you notes and a car trip to Niagara Falls. Whether you want to relax on the beach, feed your inner foodie or immerse yourself in a different culture, these 12 destinations are 2013’s hot spots for honeymoons, according to the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons.



Sydney, Australia February 2013

Vienna, Austria

Barcelona, Spain

Caragena, Columbia


Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Miami, Florida

T he Turkish Rome, Italy Riviera


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Happily Ever After

Along with superior service, we offer gourmet food and beautiful ballrooms for 100 to 600 or more guests. For more information on wedding packages, call 712.326.2268.

One Arena Way Council Bluffs, Iowa 51501

Let your wedding celebration be the joyous occasion that you have been dreaming about. Our professionals vow to create a memorable day that is everlasting. Setting new standards for once-in-a-lifetime occasions, we combine the finest elements with candlelit ballrooms, certain to take your breath away.

It’s just like falling in love all over again. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••

• Personalized Attention and Exceptional Service • Elegant and Romantic ambiance for up to 180 people • Exquisite Catering and Complete Beverage Service • Complimentary Floor Length Linens and Decor • Group Guestroom Rates

All you need is love. We’ll supply the rest. Your happily ever after begins at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites @ Ameristar-Council Bluffs.


Happily Ever After Cover Pages.indd 3

2/1/2013 2:34:19 PM

Special Day

everything you need for your

catering t cake t flowers chocolate fountain t beverages t balloons

Council Bluffs:

t 23rd West- (712) Broadway - (712) 328-9792 • Mall of the&Bluffs 322-9260

Catering/Special Events Coordinator: Catering/Special Events Coordinator: Josh Benson Ashley Johnson

• 23rd & West Broadway 328-9792 t Mall of the Bluffs- -(712) (712) 322-9260

Catering/Special Events Coordinator: Lindsey Grote-Rodgers Catering/Special Events Coordinator: Josh Benson Happily Ever After Cover Pages.indd 4

2/1/2013 2:34:25 PM

Happily Ever After 2013  

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