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Wedding Guide

A special supliment to The Valley News & Clarinda Herald Journal

On this day I will marry On this day I will marry my best friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with and most importantly love unconditionally. Proposed while living in Denver, CO. They now live in Fargo, ND. Tyson has proposed to Amanda (3) times! But, you know what they say..... The third

time is always a charm. He proposed for the first time New Year's of 2008 and then again a few months after that with a ring pop while they were eating Taco Bell. Both times the answer was YES with a clause "when is the ring coming?" On April 7th, 2009 Amanda was enjoying her typical day at work at the radio station and

towards the end of the show received a surprising phone call from Tyson's aunt Lynn from Iowa. She streams the show from Iowa and just wanted to call in to say hello. The host of the morning show then decides to get Tyson on the phone and have him propose to Amanda. Tyson asked her to marry him and once again she gave the

phrase for the third time "YESBut, when is the ring coming?" Amanda thought it was a joke until she got home that night and a Zales box was sitting on the counter. She opened the box and was soooooo excited. To her disappointment it was a key. Not just an ordinary key it was a rusty heavy equipment operator key that Tyson had for years. He looked at her and said, "I know it's not much and a little rusty, but it is the key to my heart!" Amanda started crying not only because it was adorable, but because she still did not have the ring! (haha) As she was walking into the next room Tyson grabbed her arm and said, "Really Amanda? Do you think I would ask you again if I didn't have a ring?" He got down on one knee and popped the question! July 2, 2011 ……The wedding will take place outdoors on Middle Leaf Lake in Henning, MN. Amanda graduated from Wadena, MN high school and Metro State Community College, DN, CO. They moved to Fargo, ND in 2010. She is employed with Country Station Froggy 99.9 as a morning show personality while Tyson is employed with Aggregate Industries as a heavy equipment operator.

Thoughts from the mother-inlaw... Amanda won’t have to worry about the usual stereotype mother-in-law because I had an excellent role model Rita Sliger in Grandma Gladys Sliger. Grandma Sliger had a special gift of bringing the whole family together. Each Sunday I looked forward to visiting because my cousins would be at my grandparent’s home. We had Christmas there too. Grandma Sliger always included my mother in on any of the plans and festivities. Even though Grandma Sliger and my mother may have had some disagreements my mother loved Grandma Sliger deeply. My mother even lived with my grandparents while my father was in the army serving in the Philippines during WWII. I have tried to fashion my “mother-in-law” self after my Grandma Sliger. The difference is living several hundred miles apart from my future daughter-in-law makes visits and phone calls anticipated. Social media helps keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in their lives and clues me in to the times not to call or make a comment. Of course, with Amanda being in radio and communications, the listening audience gets to be a part of our “family” as well. But, one of the hardest things about living so far apart is that some “traditions” will not be able to happen, such as the Sunday visits. However, I am sure we will find a way to make our own long distance traditions. My greatest fear of becoming a mother-in-law is getting labeled and having a barrier between my future daughter-in-law and myself.

Thoughts from the mother-in-law... Fortunately for Carrie, I come from a long line of wonderful mother-in-laws. Goldie McKinzie, my great -grandmother, lived to be ninety-five. She was a strong Irish woman who never met a stranger. Terri Kruse Christmases at her farm were the best! As a kid, it was an adventure to follow the gravel road to her old house in the country. Everyone (even the in-laws) looked forward to seeing her and to the warm fellowship and brilliant feasts that went on in her home. Grandma McKinzie used to say the in-laws were easier to get along with because they didn’t have the hot-headed Irish temper. Verda Irwin, my grandmother, also lived a long and wonderful life. Like her mother, she loved everyone! Birthdays and holidays alike, she welcomed all of us and a few strangers into her home. Grandma’s home was always decorated to the hilt. My favorite being the bubble lights at Christmas. I have carried this tradition on in my own home with bubble lights on the mantel. My mom always loved Grandma, her mother in law, as she treated my Mom like she did her own daughter. There were never any hard feelings or differences between my grandma and her three daughters-in-law because of her love and fairness. My own mom, Shirley Irwin, has never uttered or implied a bad word about Bill Kruse. And trust me there have been times when she should have!!! She has always been more than supportive of our marriage and of our children. Mom also continues to celebrate holidays and birthdays making all invited feel a part of the family. I hope that some of the warmth and loving kindness that came from within these women has been passed on to me. I hope to carry on this fine tradition of warm and loving mother-in-laws. What do I fear most in becoming a mother-in-law? Nothing! I’m excited to become a mother-in-law! My son is marrying a wonderful young woman and we love her dearly. I might even get some grandchildren out of the deal!

Operation proposal. . . “Operation Proposal” began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when Carrie and I traveled there for a concert, something we have done together since we were in high school. We were about to catch our shuttle to the concert when Carrie looked at me and said, “I couldn’t imagine a better person to be with or place to be at right now.” At this point her eyes watered up and she gave me a big hug. I

knew that I felt the same way. I knew I had to recreate that exact moment to propose to Carrie. After countless nights of trying to think of the perfect opportunity to fulfill my plan I learned the same band was playing in Des Moines in a few months. I knew this would be the perfect time to “pop the question!” It was the day of the concert and I had taken the day off to

complete all the necessary steps to make this the perfect moment. The room was reserved at the same hotel chain we stayed at in Minneapolis. I had even gotten the exact same room number. The flowers were in place, the wine was chilling, and the same movie was playing on TV, the scene was set. I knew Carrie would be getting off work shortly so I made a

quick call to her office and told her to meet me outside. As I pulled up to get her I was very nervous and excited! I told her that everything had been taken care of for the night and we could just relax and enjoy the evening. Seeing all the special details I had prepared for her made her eyes sparkle like they did in Minneapolis. I knew this was the perfect time to ask the ultimate question. I told Carrie I wanted her to be as happy as she was on that cold night in Minnesota, for the rest of her life. At this point, I got down on one knee, gave her the ring, and proposed! Carrie quickly said “Yes”! We spent the rest of the evening at a great concert and celebrating with friends. The wedding will take place June 11, 2011, in Urbandale, Iowa. Carrie graduated from Simpson College and received her Master’s Degree from Drake University. Carries is the Chief Financial Officer for the City of Windsor Heights. Tyler graduated from the University of South Dakota, and is a Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohls in the Des Moines metro. Both are 2002 graduates of Shenandoah High School.

Give a Ring That Lasts FOREVER A

ccording to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), an average of 2.2 million couples get married each year. And one of the most popular days for couples to get engaged is Valentine’s Day. While professions of love are an important part of each Valentine’s Day, for the thousands of men who pop the question on February 14th, the way he proposes is what takes precedence. And no part of that proposal leaves a more lasting impact than the engagement ring. In fact, the Bridal Association of America reports that 85 percent of all grooms propose with a ring. For grooms getting down on one knee this Valentine’s Day, consider the following engagement ring and proposal tips, courtesy of noted jewelry and style expert Michael O’Connor. „Give a ring that lasts a lifetime. O’Connor is quick to note that an engagement ring is a piece of jewelry that a bride will wear everyday for the rest of her life. Therefore, grooms should look for a ring that’s not only beautiful, but durable as well. Platinum provides

the best of both worlds. A naturally white metal, platinum, unlike gold, won’t cast a yellow color into a glittering diamond, but instead, enables the diamond to sparkle brighter. In addition, platinum is a more durable setting than yellow or white gold, an important point to consider when purchasing a ring, especially since you want to make sure that the center diamond is always properly secured. „Take a cue from celebrity style. These days celebrity weddings and engagements are big news. But for couples not earning celebrity paychecks, it is still entirely possible to afford engagement rings similar to those of Hollywood’s brightest stars. After all, platinum and diamond engagement rings start at under $2,000 from retailers. “Choose a ring style that’s comfortable, practical but also unique to your personal style sensibility,” says O’Connor. The classic platinum and diamond solitaire remains one of the more popular ring designs among celebrities, including Fergie, Beyonce and Rachel Bilson, while other

Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Hudson and Eva Longoria-Parker have gone for a more romantic style. They’ve selected platinum settings that have a technique called ‘micropave,’ where tiny diamonds are set all over the band and/or center stone to create a shimmering effect. “Whatever platinum engagement ring style you purchase, always remember to select the same metal for your wedding band,” notes O’Connor. “A white gold wedding ring will lose metal over time, so it wouldn’t look appropriate with a sparkling platinum engagement ring.” „Craft a platinum proposal. Costly proposals are long gone. Nowadays, men are opting to create a meaningful experience for their future bride. “Take her to the location of your first date, or cook her the best meal that you shared together,” says O’Connor. “Your bride-to-be will think back to this moment for the rest of her life, so I encourage men to spend time planning the perfect proposal and to think of your favorite shared memories.”

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Wedding Guide • January 2011

Accessory Essentials for Brides and Bridesmaids jewelry when creating their bridal ensemble, Yankelevitz offers the following jewelry tips for brides on their big day. „ Match jewelry with your gown. No two brides are ever the same, but there are similarities between wedding gowns and certain jewelry that goes well with each type of gown. For example, the type of necklace a bride chooses will depend on the neckline of her gown. When the bride is interested in matching a piece of jewelry with her wedding dress, we believe the lines and flow of the dress are the defining accents to consider. If the bride has chosen a vintage, lacy gown, then something antique, or beaded and chandelier style is beautiful. For a more clean, modern and linear style dress, a simple charm or statement piece, such as Hazel & Harlow Love Bird Pendant or Crescent Moon, is ideal to enhance the wedding gown or dress without taking away from the complete ensemble Recognizing the myriad style wedding gowns, Hazel & Harlow jewelry offers an extensive catalog, ensuring that each and every bride will find the right accessories no matter the style of her dress. Made from fine sterling silver and 24K gold vermeil, all pieces of Hazel & Harlow jewelry are hand carved, hand etched and

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enhanced with beautifully set topaz stones. „ Consider a splash of color. Today’s brides aren’t solely hoping to look elegant and demure. They’re also hoping to attract attention. And nothing helps to do just that more than some colorful jewelry to complement your white wedding gown. Colored gems and even yellow diamonds are a growing trend among brides. If that’s not your thing, the Hazel & Harlow Web site boasts an assortment of designer collections, enabling visitors to enjoy creations by comparable artists from all over the global fashion community, including luxury and moderate priced brands that speak to the trendsetter within every bride. „ Go green. Perhaps no trend is more popular or hot button than the go green movement. As a result, many brides are showcasing their environmental side and embracing a growing trend among bridal jewelry, namely the choice of nature-inspired jewelry that includes themes such as flowers, butterflies, leaves, and rosettes. Hazel & Harlow is inspired by the whimsical, organic and feminine styles of vintage Paris, with the unique birds, floral motifs, animal and leafy carvings and filigrees so elegantly done by the designer. Everything about Hazel & Harlow jewelry evokes a mood and feeling of nature, and the growing interest in the collections of more floral inspired pieces is a true testament to the bride’s desire to incorporate these classic themes into their memorable day. For more information or to peruse their extensive collection, visit Hazel & Harlow at

Thanks to GroomsOnline, grooms can show their groomsmen how much they're appreciated with thoughtful gifts that won't break the bank.

Gift Your Groomsmen for Under $50 When it comes to planning a wedding, grooms often take a backseat to their blushing brides. While men no longer serve a strictly spectator role when it comes to planning a wedding, much of the ins and outs of the wedding remain the bride's domain. One area where men maintain complete control is gifting the groomsmen. A tradition that dates back decades if not centuries, gifting the groomsmen is the groom's way of showing his appreciation to those frequently overlooked but trusted friends who stand by his side on his wedding day. "Groomsmen are often overlooked in a wedding party even though they play important roles," says Mark Walerstein, founding of GroomsOnline (, an informational Web site offering tips, pointers and a host of unique gifts tailored to grooms with budgets big and small. Understandably, many of today's grooms are working with budgets smaller than they might have been in years past. Fortunately, boasts a bevy of gift ideas under $50, all of which will ensure lasting memories for years to come.

HEIDI WOODS Lead Graphic Artist/ Graphic Design Coordinator SHARON CAHILL Graphic Artist MARK ANDERSON Advertising Rep. RHONDA BYERS Advertising Rep. RITA SLIGER Advertising Rep. VERLIN SMITH Distribution Driver

THE VALLEY NEWS (USPS 005-949) is published twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 104 times a year. Annual subscriptions are $52.50 per year for carrier-delivered home delivery where available; $57.75 per year for motor delivery where available; and $63 per year for mail delivery anywhere in the continental United States. College students: $31.50 per year anywhere in the continental United States. Periodicals postage paid at: Shenandoah, Iowa and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: THE VALLEY NEWS, PO Box 369,Shenandoah, IA 51601-0369. The contents of this newspaper are protected by copyright. Other than noncommercial, personal use of a limited nature, no part of this publication may be copied and reproduced in any way without the prior written consent of the publisher.

Shenandoah’s Oldest Continuously–Operated Business Shenandoah Post (Founded 1882); Shenandoah Sentinel (Founded 1887); Shenandoah World (Founded 1910); Consolidated with Evening Sentinel May 1, 1994. A Western Iowa Newspaper Group Publication of Midlands Newspapers, Inc.

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Embrace Everyone's Inner Executive For older grooms whose groomsmen are all established businessmen, perhaps no gift will be more proudly displayed than a personalized Executive Silver Plated Card Case and Pen Set. A gift no rising corporate baron can resist, this unique set is professionally engraved and can hold business cards and an executive pen. Executives on the rise will also love the personalized Executive Money Clip and Pen Knife Set, tailor made and personally engraved for the executive who's always on the move. For more great gift ideas and tips on everything from wedding planning do's and don'ts to valuable timesaving tips leading up to the wedding, visit

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Stock the Bar No man cave is complete without a fully stocked bar, and grooms can help their groomsmen transform their basement into a Mecca of man caves with a carefully chosen gift that's sure to prove a proud addition to their groomsmen's home bar. Grooms can choose a personalized Pewter Medallion Glass Mug that says Best Man, Groomsmen or Usher and

personalize each mug with up to two lines. For the groomsman who already has his own beer mug, consider a personalized 5piece Decanter Set that's ideal for the man who loves to entertain. What's more, this uniquely personalized set makes a timeless reminder of the groom's big day whenever he visits his groomsmen to share a drink and a few laughs.

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Hit a Homerun Seemingly since the beginning of time, men have bonded over sports. Be it football, baseball, hockey, or hoops, grooms can find sports-specific gifts their groomsmen will love. At, grooms can peruse an extensive catalog of personalized sports gifts, complete with all your favorite MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, and even NCAA teams. Be it a personalized locker room print, a stainless steel hip flask or a stadium fan framed print, grooms have a host of choices under $50 that won't break the bank but groomsmen will be proud to display every time they turn on the big game.

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When it comes to weddings, much is made of the bride’s wedding gown. Typically the end product of an exhausting yet enjoyable search, a bride’s wedding gown is, along with the bride herself, often the focal point of the day. As central as the wedding dress is, brides also know their look is never complete without the right accessories. Arguably the most important accessory, aside from the groom, is the jewelry the bride and her bridesmaids will be wearing on the big day. According to Amy Yankelevitz, designer and founder of Hazel & Harlow Jewelry, how the bride selects the accessories and jewelry pieces for herself and her bridesmaid can be one of the most important, and very personal decisions for her special day. Incorporating family heirlooms, favorite keepsakes and contemporary styles can be complicated, but Amy believes in choosing delicate pendant, earrings and even bracelets, but always remember the focus is on the bride’s face and neckline so keep your jewelry selections to just one or two special items. “A signature pair of earrings (our Heart of Gold styles are perfect) highlights the bride’s hair and neckline without competing with the dress,” says Yankelevitz. Because many brides recognize the importance of

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January 2011 • Wedding Guide

Financial Tips for Cost-Conscious Couples I

n a recent survey released by Visa Inc., 88 percent of couples believed they overspent on some aspect of their wedding. Over the years, weddings 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. In today's economic climate, the cost of weddings is even tougher to swallow, as both the domestic and global economy remains difficult to predict. Economic uncertainty has left many young couples fearful of making a big financial commitment to their weddings. But it's still possible for couples to make the most of their wedding without landing themselves in heavy debt once the honeymoon is over and the bills must be paid. „ Limit beverage availability. In the Visa survey, respondents felt they overspent more on food, drink and cake than any other aspect of their wedding. The bar tab can quickly add

up at the end of the night, but couples can limit the bar expense by making on a few different types of drinks available. Offer just two or three drink options instead of a full bar. Couples can also consider a cash bar for mixed drinks to help lower the bar tab by the end of the night. „ Switch from Saturday. Saturday weddings are not only the most popular, but also the most expensive. Couples with some flexibility can save money by moving their wedding to a Friday or Sunday. Couples who move their weddings to Friday often find they get to spend more time with their friends and families the following day, as guests are more inclined to stay in town an extra day than they are on Sunday afternoons following a wedding. „ Forgo a traditional honeymoon. Seventeen percent of male respondents to the Visa survey felt they overspent on their honeymoon. While it's certainly nice to fly off to the Caribbean and spend your first week as a married cou-

ple soaking up some sun, a more local getaway for a couple of days can be just as relaxing and save couples substantial amounts of money. Once the bills have been paid, couples can then enjoy a more traditional honeymoon, possibly in celebration of their first anniversary. „ Limit the guest list. Inviting all friends and family members might be a nice gesture, but it's also an expensive one. Cost-conscious couples can save a good deal of money by only inviting those friends and family members who are closest to them. „ Order less extravagant floral arrangements. Floral arrangements for a wedding can prove very expensive. But couples can trim those costs using more greenery in the floral displays and ordering less expensive, seasonal flowers. When discussing arrangements with the florist, explain that the budget can only allow so much for flowers, and work together to find ways to add aesthetic appeal without breaking the bank.

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Brides and grooms have a few options when it comes to the music played at their ceremony and reception. Live musicians or deejays are often the entertainment of choice. When hiring the entertainment, there are some important things to keep in mind. The music of the wedding will set the tone for the event and keep guests entertained during key moments of the day. Musicians will often work in conjunction with a maitre d' to be sure the reception moves along smoothly and sticks to the schedule. Music will be played while guests are dining and when there are opportunities for dancing. It's essential to listen to musicians or deejays before hiring anyone to ensure what they're offering will fit in with the wedding. Also, it's helpful to confirm the person or people being auditioned will be the exact individuals at the wedding. Some entertainment companies hire out contract musicians, meaning the preview musicians may not be the same person who will perform at the ceremony. That can potentially prove disasterous. If a certain musician or deejay is requested, be sure it is put down in writing in the contract.

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Provide the musical entertainment with some information to further help the wedding go off without a hitch. This may include but not be limited to the following: „ Names of all wedding party participants so they can be properly introduced. „ Name of the married couple, including pronunciation of the last name, if necessary. „ The title of the couple's song. „ The titles of songs to be danced with mother/son or father/daughter. „ A listing of any preferred songs. „ The title of a "spotlight dance" song. „ Any music that is off-limits at the reception. „ Special announcements that should be made, such as mentioning a guest's birthday or another special event involving guests. „ Whether a bouquet and garter toss will take place, and which songs should be played during these traditions. In most cases, wedding musicians are professionals who have handled many weddings and are very accustomed to what should be done to make the night a memorable one. Trust in the expertise of the musicians, and provide guidance where necessary.

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Wedding Guide • January 2011


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All eyes are typically on the bride during a wedding. But that doesn't mean the groom should be a shrinking violet. While the bridal gown may garner the "oohs" and "aahs," what the groom wears on his wedding day is quite important as well. In many ceremonies, the groom spends several minutes standing beside the alter awaiting his bride-tobe. Before the first notes of "Here Comes the Bride" are played, all eyes will be on him as he anxiously awaits the start of the ceremony. As such, it is essential that the groom look well polished and is dressed in accordance to the tone and scope of the wedding. Because most weddings are formal occasions, grooms often choose to wear a tuxedo or high-end suit. A well-fitted tuxedo combined with a formal shirt, tie and vest is the classic wedding ensemble. Generally the tuxedo jacket is single-breasted with three

buttons and satin trim. This style is universally flattering to most men's frames. Accessorizing the tuxedo can mean different things. Some choose to wear a vest while others opt for a cummerbund. Others add suspenders. These accessories, including the tie or bow tie and the vest, can be all black like the tuxedo or can be coordinated with the colors of the wedding party. For example, if the bridesmaids are wearing butter yellow gowns, the groomsmen can wear yellow accessories. However, to set themselves apart from the groomsmen and ushers, grooms tend to go with the classic black and white and forego colors. On some occasions, grooms may choose to wear a white tuxedo. A well-groomed groom is also an important wedding day must. He should be well-shaven and have recently had a haircut. If he has facial hair, it should be trimmed and neat.

Because he will be photographed all day long, a groom can choose to take some cues from his soon-tobe-spouse. He may indulge in a manicure to ensure nails and cuticles are neat. A dusting of translucent facial powder can tame shiny skin in photos. Some couples opt for teeth whitening prior to the wedding to ensure a sparkling smile. When dressing the rest of the men in a wedding, they should take their cues from the groom, but not be carbon-copies of him. Fathers of the bride and groom can set themselves apart with a pocket square or a specially colored boutonniere. The exception to a tuxedo or a suit would be for a casual wedding, particularly one held at the beach or in a park. Then the groom can wear what will coordinate for the occasion, such as a dress shirt and slacks, or even sandals and shorts for the ultra-casual wedding.


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Wacky Wedding Facts According to, the unofficial experts on all things weddings, there are some things 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 (even

though 87 percent of brides wear white). „ Only 19 percent of couples rely on a wedding planner. „ 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

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January 2011 • Weekly Times

Paring Down Your Wedding Guest List . . . Couples 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 as early as possible. 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. „ Consider who's footing 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 who will 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 the groom- and bride-to-be 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. This can be noted on the invitation, addressing friends as "Mr. John Doe and guest" or "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe." Guests should take the hint, but if any RSVPs with their kids, be sure to call them immediately and explain the situation. 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 costconscious 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 or not 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 ceremony and 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.

Think Outside the Box When Gifting Today's Newlyweds Few, if any, days are as memorable as a couple's wedding day. Months and sometimes years 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. Just like many aspects of weddings have changed over the years, so, too, has gifting the bride and groom. In years past, guests simply chose a gift from the couple's registry and that was that. However, today's couples often have little use for traditional registries, a byproduct of more and 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 very problem, couples and frustrated gift givers alike have increasingly been turning to, a free online honeymoon registry catering to couples who could use some help planning and paying for their perfect honeymoon,

and guests who want to give something more meaningful than an envelope full of cash. "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 conveniently choose from a host of activities listed by the newlyweds themselves, including dinners, local tourist attractions and even airline and train tickets. In so doing, guests can 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 dream 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, worse yet, 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.

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Page C6

Weekly Times • January 2011


U.S. Passport Rules Revamped I

f you will be traveling from the United States to an international port of call via the sea in the upcoming months, passport regulations updated as of June 2009 may cause some confusion. Individuals taking a cruise from a U.S. port who will be returning to the same U.S. port upon completion of the trip do not need a passport. This is called a closed-loop cruise. Passengers will be able to enter the states with a birth certificate (with raised seal) and governmentissued photo ID. However, keep in mind that regulations for entering ports of call on the cruise vacation (such as if the cruise ship makes international stops in the Caribbean), may require a passport for you to enter different countries. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

Travelers flying to an international location to connect with a cruise WILL need to present a passport. Air travel is still governed under passport regulations. Passports and birth certificates aren't the only acceptable means of identification for sea travel. Travelers may also want to investigate other options. According to the U.S. Department of State, the relatively new wallet-size U.S. Passport Card is a travel document that may be a more affordable option than a regular passport. It can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. It cannot be used for international air travel. The passport card, which is $45 for a firsttime adult applicant and $35 for children, is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book,

which is roughly $100. It is valid for the same duration of time as a passport book - 10 years. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also informs travelers that there are other means of documentation. Several states and Canadian provinces/territories are issuing an Enhanced Drivers License or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the United States by land or sea. NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrollment cards are part of the Trusted Traveler Program and can speed your entry into the U.S. They are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea. V i s i t , el/trusted_traveler/ to learn more.

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oing green is infiltrating all aspects of daily life. The trend is also carrying over to the ways people celebrate special occasions. For the bride-to-be who is environmentally conscious, a “green” bridal shower can be meaningful and environmentally aware. Planning an earth-friendly shower is relatively easy, provided how many people have similar views on the environment. Here’s how to begin. „ Seek out venues that follow green initiatives. Eco-friendly day spas, gardens, parks, are all viable options. „ Make sure vendors use environmentally responsible materials. Free-trade coffee and chocolate and organic, locally grown foods are just a few

options. „ Get creative with invitations. If you don’t want to send out electronic invites, be sure the materials you use for invitations are recyclable or earthfriendly. For an outdoor occasion, write party information on tree leaves. Later the invites can be incorporated into compost or flattened in a book and preserved. „ Use real linens, napkins and table settings. Skip the disposable items that can end up in the trash. „ Ask guests to bring gifts that are not wrapped. Not only will this save time at the party, it will reduce the amount of waste as well. „ Ask guests to wear sustainable fabrics in their wardrobe, such as linen, organic cotton or hemp.

„ Set the mood with soy candles. They produce virtually no soot, making them better for the environment. Soy also burns longer than other candles, such as those made from paraffin wax. „ Make party favors something that are earthminded as well. Packets of flower seeds or small potted plants are options. Gift baskets of locally grown fruit and vegetables and jarred, fresh-produced preserves make for great gifts. You can also give away some of the same soy candles you used at the party, decorated with a ribbon indicating the party date. With a little planning you can throw a green bridal shower for that special bride-to-be. Then help her host a green wedding as well.

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Did You Know? Most brides-to-be, roughly 75 percent, receive a diamond engament ring, according to the National Association of Wedding Ministers. Sixty-seven percent of repeat brides also will receive a diamond engagement ring. After the question is "popped," the average American couple spends 16 months being engaged.

Page C7

January 2011 • Weekly Times

Approaching the Issue of Children at Weddings There are no etiquette rules regarding whether children should attend weddings. The decision is entirely up to the couple getting married. If you are a guest invited to a wedding and your children are not, there is no reason to take offense. You should certainly respect the wishes of the bride and groom. It is improper to turn up at the occasion with your children and put the couple on the spot. Young children are unpredictable and cannot be trusted to behave at all times. Couples may not want to have their festivities — often occasions that cost $30,000 or more — to be interrupted by children who may be a little too boisterous. Also, children may be an inconvenience to adults simply looking to have a good time. How much can you enjoy yourself if you are constantly keeping an eye on a toddler or tending to an infant? Chances are your wedding experience will be compromised. All in all, many other couples welcome the idea of having children at their weddings. Children represent the extended family and the next generation. They can add life to a party and look adorable dressed in party clothes. If your child is invited to a wedding, or you are the happy couple tying the knot, consider these tips. „ Although children of all ages may be welcome, it’s often better to limit children to ages 4 and older, especially if they’ll be participating in the ceremony as a ring bearer or flower girl. Children of this age are better able to take direction and are a lit-

tle more mature. Check if your ceremony site has rules regarding children in the ceremony. „ If you want to compromise when inviting children, allow them to be present at the church or synagogue, but restrict them from the reception. You can carefully word this on the invitation by saying “Adult Reception.” „ Talk to the caterer to find out if there is a reduced fare on children’s dinners. This can save on costs, particularly if children aren’t likely to eat an adult meal. „ Children invited to the wedding reception should be dressed accordingly for the formality of the event. Now is not the time for sneakers and jeans. „ Provide entertainment for children during the lulls of the event. Kids may love to get up and dance, but become antsy during dinner courses. Pack along a goodie bag of games, DVDs and toys that can keep them occupied. „ Find out if you can bring along a kid’s chaperone, namely a babysitter or friend who can keep an eye on the kids while you enjoy yourself. „ The bride and groom may want to set up a “kiddie corral” area in the reception room, particularly if they plan to invite a lot of young children. Put down foam interlocking mats and fence off the area so kids are contained. „ If the wedding will be open to children, consider adjusting the hours so that it takes place earlier in the day. This way parents will have time to get their children to bed on or close to their normal bedtime.

Wedding Day Transportation Options Couples have many decisions to make regarding their wedding ceremony and reception. One of those decisions conerns transportation to and from the special event. There are many options in wedding transportation. The more traditional options include renting a car or limousine. The Bridal Association of America reports that the average couples spends $400 to $500 for an automotive rental. However, prices may vary depending on geography and the type of vehicle rented. 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. Plus, it's traditionally the responsibility of the groom to arrange transportation to and from the ceremony, reception and the hotel or honeymoon destination. Grooms responsible for arranging transportation can consider the following options. „ Limousine: A limo is one of the most traditional methods of transport on a couple's wedding day. A limousine's size enables them to carry the bridal party in its entirety. Because the bride and groom often do not see each other before the ceremony, two limos may be rented, one larger for the bridal party, and one smaller for the bride and her parents, depending on personal preference. „ Classic car: Sports car enthusiasts may want to make an entrance -- and exit -- behind the wheel of a sporty vehicle. These can include a high-end Ferrari or an Aston Martin. Because of their high purchase price, sports car rentals may carry a premium.

„ Stretch SUV: The traditional limo has morphed into the stretch SUV of popular models, including the Cadillac Escalade, Ford Expedition or even a stretch

Hummer. Because of their popularity, these rentals may be snatched up quickly. Be sure to book well in advance of the big day. „ Party Bus: Many couples are

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leaning toward a party bus rental, which may be a single- or doubledecker bus that can fit scores of people inside. These are particularly attractive to couples with a very large bridal party, or those who hope to begin the celebration even before reaching the reception hall. „ Horse-drawn carriage: Some couples truly want the fairytale feel on their wedding day. A horse-drawn carriage can evoke feelings of a Cinderella-type day. The carriage tends to be best suited to warm weather. For winter weddings, a horse-drawn sleigh might make a better alternative. „ Motorcycle: Exciting couples may want to ride off into the sunset on the back of a roadster or sports bike. „ Horses: Horses can haul more than just a carriage. A bride and groom atop a handsome steed can make for a memorable wedding transportation option and equally memorable photos. „ Boat: Individuals getting married by the sea or another body of water may want to consider attending the festivities via boat, be it a large vessel or a more intimate canoe or rowboat. Wedding day transportation varies depending on each couple's preference. Here are some other things to keep in mind concerning transportation. „ 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 somehow. „ Find out if a hotel nearby offers complementary transportation to and from the reception hall.

A marriage doesn't have to be in distress to bring in the help of a counselor. Marriage counselors can help newlyweds start out on the right foot or help established couples fine-tune their marriages. Counseling can help in a number of ways: „ Decrease conflicts that lead to fights. „ Provide communic tion strategies fo men and women. „ Suggest new ideas for reconnecting. „ Identify potentially problematic areas that may be easily resolved or require further attention. Couples should interview prospective counselors to determine the best fit and the one they feel most comfortable with. Not all counselors are the same, and some have specific areas of relationship expertise. There also may be counselors who work with both couples and families.

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Page C8

Weekly Times • January 2011

Wedding Cake Trends This Season Avoid common wedding scams

The multi-tiered cake that is a favorite wedding tradition that's often presented at the end of the night. The happy couple takes a slice and enjoys the first piece. In recent years, wedding cakes have become more of an artistic centerpiece than just a confectionary treat. Couples often seek out renowned wedding cake bakers for a cake that will amaze the crowd and complete the theme of the wedding. The average couple will spend between $700 to $800 for their wedding cake. Although many catering halls or reception sites will include the wedding cake in a package deal, many couples choose to order their cake from a specialty bakery who creates culinary masterpieces. If television trends are any indication, many people are opting to spend several hundred to thousands of dollars on a customized wedding cake. These fondant and buttercream creations may be elaborate in nature, so much so they'll likely need to be ordered several months in advance. Couples looking for something a bit different for their upcoming nuptials, many want to consider these trends in wedding cakes. „ 3-D accents on the cake, such as graphic appliques. „ A black-and-white motif that gives the cake a simplistic, yet trendy appeal. „ A lot of bold color in the cake, instead of just

white or ivory. „ Dramatic monograms that can add class to the cake. „ Painted cakes with edible food coloring paint that feature beautiful landscapes or a portrait. A work of art, they're both delicious to eat and fun to admire. „ Cakes that mirror the style of the wedding gown,

including fondant ruffles and appliques. Many couples still opt for the traditional, and that is always in style. Instead of experimenting with the outside of the cake, couples can be creative with cake flavor and fillings. Imagine cutting open the cake to find red velvet or a chocolate ganache filling!

Place your Wedding Announcement in the Valley News, Clarinda Herald-Journal and Weekly Times. Call 246-3097 Shenandoah) or 542-2181 (Clarinda) for pricing information.

Matthew and Ellen had the wedding of their dreams on a beautiful June day. All of the details went off without a hitch, or so they thought. When the time arrived to receive their wedding photo albums and video a few months after the wedding, the photographer who had promised them the world closed up shop, filed for bankruptcy and absconded with the new couple’s precious memories. Tales of wedding woes frequent the news, especially as wedding season approaches. Stories about reception sites that have double-booked rooms, photographers who have not delivered photos, bridal gown shops that don’t have a dress finished on time and so many similar events are no longer a rarity. The majority of wedding vendors are respectable businesses looking to provide couples with the ideal services and memories of their special day. However, some other vendors are just looking to make money at all costs. Avoiding trouble with your wedding means taking matters into your own hands and thoroughly protecting yourself. „ Investigate the business or individual before exchanging money. A simple search online for reviews or checking with the Better Business Bureau should reveal if a business has any complaints against it. Complaints can range from bad service to lawsuits. This easy step can protect couples from potentially going into business with a company that should not be trusted. „ Get word-of-mouth recommendations. A couple who has used a particular bridal vendor and had pleasant results is the best advertisement. Ask friends and family members who have gotten married who they used for flowers, photos, music and more. Using the same people is not being a copy-cat; it’s being a shrewd consumer. „ Contracts are essential. Have all of the details of the business transaction spelled out in a contract that both the vendor and you sign. Writing “Size 8” gown is not enough. Make sure the model number, price, details regarding deposits, alterations, etc., are included. DJs can write how many hours they will be playing music, how many breaks they will take, who exactly will be handling the wedding itself, and other details. „ Check who will be servicing your wedding. On occasion a business may subcontract its services. For example, the photographer you meet at the studio may not be the photographer who shows up at your wedding. If you have a preference as to who services your event, be sure to request that person and have it included in the contract. „ Obtain certification. Some scams are more subtle. For instance, bridal shops who remove designer labels from gowns because they are not authorized retailers is a subtle scam. Another is jewelry stores that misrepresent the quality of diamonds and other jewelry. Be sure to get legiti-

mate certification when purchasing anything of value. „ Ensure the vendor has the equipment described. Some limousine companies may send out flyers advertising highend vehicles they don’t actually own or have access to. They subsequently arrive on your wedding day with a different vehicle. Without a contract specifying the vehicle of your choice, you have little recourse against the company. Filter out shady brokers by asking to come inspect their vehicles on an off-day, like Tuesday afternoon. You want to verify that they indeed own the limo, and that it’s in good condition. „ Skimpy floral arrangements. Upon booking a florist, most businesses will sit down with couples and work up a sample bouquet or arrangement based on personal preferences. Come the wedding day, however, couples might find their arrangements have considerably fewer flowers in them or they’re not the blooms originally chosen. Flowers are expensive, and some florists cut costs by skimping on the amount of actual flowers (not filler) they use. Be sure contracts spell out how many flowers will be in each arrangement, what type of flowers, how many centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, etc. Be sure you can enjoy your wedding and get the services you paid for by being savvy consumers. Don’t simply open up your wallet to the first vendor you meet.

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On this day I will marry my est friend, the one I laugh with, ive for, dream with and most mportantly love unconditional- y. Proposed while...

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