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An invitation that says ‘you’ Wedding planners take care of all the details What’s ‘in’ this year for brides to wear

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FEBRUARY 20, 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Kitsap Wedding Expo T

ime has flown by since the last Kitsap Wedding Expo and we are thrilled to bring this amazing event to you once again. The Kitsap Wedding Expo is Feb. 21 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds’ Kitsap Sun Pavilion, and presented by The Point Casino and its new Market Fresh Catering division. The Kitsap Wedding Expo is produced by GS Events, a division of Gordon Sound. GS Events has been bringing great events to Kitsap County for more than 10 years. This year marks 40 years in business for Gordon Sound and we are excited to offer our experience and knowledge to all of you who acre planning to be married in the coming months. The Kitsap Wedding Expo has grown year after year and we are very lucky to have wonderful partners and vendors. It is the largest show in the West Sound. It offers more than 60 vendors at the 2015 show. Vendors

Annie LaValle photo

A duo of flower girls prepare for their walk down the aisle. are all “Wedding Specific” and range from caterers, to

venues from large to small, to photographers for every

budget, to DJ services that will knock your socks off, as well as all things you need to get ready for the big day including dresses, limos, skin care, make-up and more. Taste wonderful food as you check out the best caterers in the Kitsap County area. Sunny Saunders, owner of GS Events, is also the Kitsap Fair & Stampede manager and her experience will give you the best possible show in Kitsap. This show is geared toward all types of couples from all walks of life and with variable budgets. Kitsap County has become a “Destination Wedding” location and Kitsap welcomes brides and grooms from all over Western Washington. With reasonable rates, beautiful scenery and many things to offer, brides and groom are choosing the Kitsap Peninsula for all of their wedding needs. The Kitsap Wedding Expo opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

Fashion shows are scheduled at noon and 2 p.m. presented by American Rose Bridal, Gordon Sound and Delightful Details. Each bride and groom will receive a free bag courtesy of The Point Casino, an issue of Seattle Met Bride & Groom magazine, as well as a pin designating you as a bride or groom. Parking is free and admission is $6, $5 for military and seniors. Those 15 and younger get in free.

Did you know… Weddings in Kitsap County range in price from $10,000 to $38,000. The average number of guest ranges between 162 and 182. A single guest adds between $159 and $194 to the overall cost of the wedding. The best way to save money is to control the number of people you invite. In Kitsap County, 36 percent of couples spend less than $10,000; 28 percent spend between $10,000 and $19,999; 19 percent spend between $20,000 and $29,999; and 17 percent spend more

than $30,000. The average wedding budget in Kitsap County pencils out like this: $13,480 spent on catering, venue and rentals; $1,910 for a planner; $3,340 for photography; $4,620 on jewelry; $914 on invitations; $751 on gifts and favors; $1,840 on flowers; $1,470 on entertainment; $149 on beauty and spa treatments; and $1,910 on attire. — Source: www.

Kitsap Wedding Expo 2015 An annual publication of Sound Publishing. For information about upcoming special sections, call 360-779-4464. Publisher: Lori Maxim Editor/Writer: Leslie Kelly Advertising Director: Donna Etchey Sales Representatives: Frank Portello, Annie LaValle, Jennifer Zuver, Michael Wilridge, Marleen Martinez, Maggie Wilson Production Manager: Bryon Kempf

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Wedding planners take care of all the details



edding planners are the professionals who can make certain everything happens as it should on the big day. And that’s why they are so needed. Just ask one. “Sure, you can ask your mother or your sisters or your friends to help out,” said Rebecca Neal, a wedding planner with Ramblin’ Rose Events. “But why put that stress on them? They want to enjoy the day too.” Darla Vieyra, wedding planner with Red Door Designs, agrees. “The bride and groom should be able to just enjoy their day,” she said. “If you have a wedding planner, then you know all the details are taken care of. And on the wedding day, if there are questions, there’s somebody to go to, so the wedding party can stay relaxed.” Wedding planners offer a variety of services. Most offer “day-of” service, which can cost from $400 to $1,000. Full service begins nine to 12 months before the wedding and ranges from $1,500 to $2,600. Planners say once you get engaged, you should begin to shop for a wedding planner. “Most of the brides who come to me have found their venue and have their date,” Neal said. “What comes next is setting the budget.” Vieyra’s experience has been that engaged couples come to her and want help finding wedding professionals. “Get with a planner as soon as possible,” she said. “There’s so many details that need to be taken care of.”

Planner Darla Vieyra Both planners can help brides with venues, caterers, florists and photographers. They work with local companies and can suggest the best match based on the size of the wedding. And, when setting a budget, it’s the size that counts. “The typical cost for a smaller weddings in and around Kitsap County is $12,000,” Neal said. “The average cost, however, is more like $18,000. It all depends on how many people attend.” Planners suggest interviewing several wedding planners and deciding on who’s the best match. “Make sure it’s somebody you are comfortable with and can be honest with,” Vieyra said. Once the decision is made and the budget is set, planners generally keep in touch with the brides through email. They often meet face-to-face once a month. A planner who works with the couple pre-wedding generally helps with the selection of vendors and takes care of confirming all dates with the vendors and overseeing the contracts. They can make

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suggestions of ways to save money, if needed. The planner stays in touch with the vendors throughout the process, updating them of any changes in plans. They also keep a timeline of when things need to be done, such as securing the wedding attire, selection and sending invitations and confirming the menu with the caterer. They assist with the wedding day itinerary for the couple, the wedding party, family and vendors and they review and coordinate the rehearsal and ceremony with officiates, the wedding party and vendors. On the day-of, planners assist the bridal party, distribute payments to vendors, organize and set up photos, distribute flowers, oversee the venue and decorations, provide for emergency needs and troubleshoot when needed. Many planners also help in making the decorations and planning the theme and the decor for the event. Planners say that, in general, it’s the bride that makes the call. “Generally, the only thing the groom really gets involved with much is sampling the food and cake and deciding what’s going to be served,” Neal said. And, one of the best parts of having a planner is they handle after-theceremony duties. “After the wedding and reception is over, nobody, especially the parents of the bride and groom, want

to stick around and clean up,” Neal said. “That’s part of what we do as planners.” Planners also ensure cake and meals are boxed for the wedding party to take with them and they load gifts and keepsakes into the designated cars. Vieyra said brides and grooms need to keep in good communication with their planner. “Don’t be afraid to be assertive,” Vieyra said. “It’s your wedding. I’m here to keep things calm and make sure everything is happening as you want it to.” Vieyra became a wedding planner after she planned her wedding. She was married in October 2012. She and her husband, who is in the Navy, moved from San Diego later that year to Port Orchard when he was assigned to Bangor. She has a background in interior design. “It just seemed like the perfect career for me,” she said. “I love being behind the scenes and making things happen. And I’m a crafty person.” Her goal is to make each wedding unique to the couple. “Extreme attention to detail and a cohesive overall picture is so important,” she said. “With me I’m a planner and that’s the key.” Services at her company, which she named Red Door Designs because red is her favorite color, include full service, day-of, partial service and an a la carte menu. But even the

day-of service starts about two months before the event. Vieyra likes doing outdoor weddings but will work in any venue. She has found that summer and fall are the most popular times for weddings in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, the vintage or rustic wedding decor has been the most popular. She also specializes in making stationery, invitations and signs for weddings.

“Extreme attention to detail and a cohesive overall picture is so important.” — Darla Vieyra, planner She also does other events. Find out more at www.RedDoorDesignsNW. com. Neal began her business, Ramblin’ Rose Events, after returning to the area from Colorado in 2009. Her mother had a flower business and she decided that doing events would couple nicely with that. Today, the business focuses on events for groups smaller than 100. They offer a barn and meadow for outdoor weddings and parties on five acres near Port Orchard. Neal will plan weddings at any locale, but offers up the Ramblin’ Rose Barn and Meadow for consideration. Rates range from $1,000 to $1,800. Birthday

parties, work parties and anniversaries are welcome. Besides the barn, she’s managed weddings at the Kitsap Conference Center, at Catholic churches, state parks and at Port Gamble. She even was invited along for a two-week wedding in the Bahamas. Generally, she takes on about four weddings each season, and hopes to grow her business. She and her husband and daughter live on the property as well as her mother and grandmother who help with events at Ramblin’ Rose. Her mother doesn’t do flowers anymore, but make special balloon arches for weddings and parades. She’s found barn weddings to be popular. “We’ve done them where guests sit on hay bales instead of chairs, and where the aisle is decorated with standing logs covered in flowers,” she said. “Anything rustic — either antique-like or with a country-cowboy theme fits well with the barn.” Her advice to couples is to never scrimp on the photographer. “Everything else will fade away,” she said. “You won’t remember what the food tasted like, or what the cake looked like,” she said. “But the photos will be with you forever. They are the only thing that truly lasts forever.” For more information, go to www.ramblinrevents. com, or email Neal at Ramblin-rose@hotmail. com.

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FEBRUARY 20, 2015

For the brides, it’s all about the wedding dress By LESLIE KELLY


ith many years of experience behind her, Lynanne White is ready for another season of weddings. She plays an important part. She dresses brides. White is the owner of American Rose Bridal in Poulsbo. The store offers a wide range of bridal gown styles and sizes and has everything needed to dress bridesmaids, grooms and groomsmen, mothers of the couple, and any children who have parts in the ceremony. This year White anticipates the more simple, elegant styles to be popular. “It’s not so much the poofy ball gowns that brides are wanting,” White said. “They are going for the fitted, mermaid-style gowns, with lace and keyhole, or open low backs that are jeweled.” As for color, brides are opting for neutrals, ivory, creams, beige and champagne, not pure white.

Leslie Kelly /Staff Photo

Lynanne White, owner of American Rose Bridal in Poulsbo. “A lot of brides come in here thinking they want white,” she said. “But not a lot of people look good in pure white. Once they try it on, they realize that.” That also goes for styles. “Sometimes, brides have seen a dress in a magazine that they like and they come in here to try on one like it,” she said. “But once they get it on, they can see that it’s not the style for them.” Bridal gowns in her shop range in price from

$200 to $1,000. Most her brides aren’t shopping for a designer-named dress as they are looking for a particular style. She said the English Downton Abbey-style dress isn’t something that she’s finding to be popular, mostly because of the cost. “Weddings around here aren’t usually the $30,000 wedding,” she said. “Those dresses can be upward of $10,000.” She did have a dress similar to what Princess

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to sell and after a few years I decided having a retail location made more sense.” She can alter a dress as a bride desires and she often will work with a bride to change aspects of a dress that the bride wants to appear a bit different than it does store made. Some brides come in to buy a year in advance, while others are more spur-of-the-moment. “I had a bride come in on a Wednesday night to find a dress,” she said. “She was getting married on Friday.” That happens most often when one or the other -— bride or groom — are in the Navy and shipping out unexpectedly. She hasn’t had to deal with many “Bridezillas.” But she’s seen some “Momzillas.” “Brides come in knowing what they want,” she said. “But their moms sometimes have a different idea. That’s when the problems come about.” She suggests not to bring a lot of people with you when you come to try on dresses. “Just bring one or two people who you really trust,” she said. “Otherwise it can get too confusing with too many opinions.” It’s common nowadays, too, for brides to take “selfies” in front of the mirror as they try on dresses and then go home to think about what dress they’ll buy. “Sometimes they’ll send pictures out to people who live out of the area and ask for advice,” White said. “That’s particularly the case when trying to decide bridesmaids’ dress styles.” White also warns against buying a wedding dress

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online. “People like to shop online,” she said. “But they’ll bring the dress in here and tell me it doesn’t look like it did online and it doesn’t fit. Many times the dress shown online is a designer dress and what they get in the mail is a cheaper version.” Those brides often start all over and decide on another dress from her shop. “We’re here to fix their mistakes,” she said. About half her business is for weddings. She also outfits women and men for military balls, chamber galas, cruises, proms and other formal events. For more go to www., or go to 19045 Highway 305, Suite 160, Poulsbo. Call her at 360-697-9100. American Rose Bridal is outfitting the models during the fashion shows at the Kitsap Wedding Expo. There will be two shows on Saturday.

The vintage option Many brides are opting for the vintage look. And the Meli-Melo Island Vintage Boutique is a great place to look for vintage wedding dresses. Karen Mar has been a collector of vintage fashions all her life. It was only after moving to Bainbridge Island with her husband four years ago that she decided she had to share her collection with others. That’s what prompted her to open Meli-Melo, a French term that means “a little bit of everything,” in downtown Bainbridge. The boutique includes nine venSEE ATTIRE, NEXT PAGE

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Kate Middleton wore, but even it didn’t sell. “People came in and when they saw it they’d say. ‘Oh, that’s Kate’s dress,’ ” White said. “But they didn’t want to wear it.” For bridesmaids, soft pinks and blush seems popular this year. The bright colors aren’t so popular as they have been, White said. In recent years, brides will pick a color that they want for the bridesmaids’ dresses and then have the women wear a dress that fits their body type. “Gone are the days where the bridesmaids all wear the same style dress,” she said. “Brides realize that the bridesmaids want to look good in what they have on.” Other trends include unusual footwear. “I don’t sell many shoes anymore,” she said. “Brides and bridesmaids are wearing Converse tennis shoes or cowboy boots. That’s one of the ways they are personalizing their weddings.” She does outfit grooms, too, and has a full range of rental tuxes. Black remains the most popular. “Shades of gray, sand and silver are used as well as navy,” she added. Long tails aren’t common, and she’s only seen them worn once by the groom in a couple who was from England. She dresses about 100 brides a year and has had the shop for 10 years. Prior to that, she worked from her home hand-making wedding gowns. “I found it less expensive to buy gowns, especially when you consider the hours spend in doing fine hand-beading,” she said. “I use to pack up dresses and go to these shows

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Some brides prefer to create their own invitations By LESLIE KELLY

Wedding invitations are just about as different as are brides and grooms. Just ask Stephanie Hughes. “There is no normal anymore,” Hughes said. “Brides and grooms are free to create and use any invitation they want.” And to facilitate that, Hughes puts her graphic design talents to work with custom papers she has in store at her business, Paper Quirks. Once a date is chosen, and a location set, brides and grooms come to her and start talking. “They tell me what they’re thinking and we

take a look at what other couples have done,” she said. “If they can explain (the concept) to me, I can make it.” Papers can be solid colors, metallic and prints. The “chalk board” look is popular and colors that are trendy are corals, shades of gray and blue and muted color. “Bright colors aren’t being used that much anymore,” she said. “And thank goodness the Tiffany blue phase is over.” Many couples are opting to include their photograph on the invitation, and the simple single fold invitation is rarely used. Tri-folds, or invitations that open like a package are in. Graphics

and typography is the focus. As for what’s said on the invitation, it’s a lot more informal, she said. “The names of the parents aren’t used that often anymore, unless it’s young brides who want to show respect to their parents who are paying for the wedding,” Hughes said. “Most couples are using wording that means something to them.” On average, invitations cost from $1.50 to $2.25 per person. Save-the-date cards are popular, especially for couples who are planning their weddings in advance. Often couples will use postcards. “One couple I worked with used 12 small tiles


nine vendors who show vintage items, home decor (including some antique and shabby chic furniture), handmade jewelry and gifts. “It was always a dream of mine to open a vintage store,” Mar said. “It just seemed like the time was right.” Mar has designed custom bridal veils selling them online and directly to customers through bridal salons since 1995. Meli-Melo has a booth dedicated to wedding attire with vintage gowns and Mar’s handmade veils. She even stocks some more up-to-date bridal fashions which she gets from bridal salons. But nothing in that booth is more than $499. “My passion for vintage clothing, especially wedding attire, is because vintage looks classy and timeless,” she said. “And people who want vintage appreciate that they are using something that has a history. It makes them feel good to wear

Leslie Kelly / Staff photo

Karen Mar has a selection of vintage gowns in her shop. something that otherwise may not be used again.” While the Downton Abbey style and the 1920s vintage look are popular right now with weddings, Mar said her favorite look is the 1970s. “In fact, my husband and I did a 1970s theme when we got married,” she said. “I had some stuff, but I had to make him a white suit with bell bottom pants because I couldn’t find any. “Everyone who attended the wedding wore ‘groovy’ outfits and the wedding cake had peace signs and smiley faces on it.” While some young brides want all new when it

comes to wedding fashion, others think wearing a repurposed gown is great, a statement about giving new life to once-used things. In most cases, with vin-

on their card with photos of things that told their story,” she said. “They had a picture of their Airstream travel-trailer, their hairless cat and a football team that meant something to them. Then they just listed the date at the bottom of the card.” A bundle of 150 cards cost them $103. Hughes will also design invitations and put them on discs to be printed elsewhere, if the couple wants. “I know some couples are on tight budgets,” she said. “We work on getting something that looks really wonderful and then it will print on a lesser quality paper nicely.” While Hughes will do

all the work for the bride, some brides like to make their own invitations. Hughes has a classroom in the back of her store where the bride and friends can do that if they want. “Things seem to be more relaxed and not so fancy anymore,” she said. “It usually follows what the economy is doing.” Hughes also paints personalized wood signs for use at weddings and receptions using the chalk paint process. Hughes and her husband, Nate, moved to the Poulsbo area from Utah about four years ago. She grew up in the area and wanted to return to be near family. Her husband

is a software developer and works for Disney in Seattle. They have a son, 5, and a daughter who is in college. After making invitations and paper wedding flowers and selling them online, Hughes decided to open a retail store last November. The store is at 18657 Highway 305, Suite 7, in Poulsbo. She stocks supplies for paper crafts including scrapbook paper, chalk paint, signs, some small painted furniture, and an array of crafty items such as pendants and magnets made from bottle caps. To schedule a time to create a personal wedding invitation, call her at 206858-3191.

tage gowns, brides opt for a cream, ivory, or antique white. “Mormon brides are the only ones that say they have to have pure white gowns,” Mar said. “Otherwise, pure white is not that popular.” Some of the vintage gowns are displayed just as they originally were made. Others have been made by Mar using vintage fabrics. Styles also include the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her hand-beaded veils come in both short and long lengths. “Destination brides like the short veils because having a long train and transporting it can get tough,” she said. Depending on the design and length of a veil,

Mar can invest from five hours to days to complete a veil. “I sit with a veil and bead and just lose track of time,” she said. As for dress styles, young brides prefer off-theshoulder styles, she said, whereas older brides prefer to cover their shoulders and arms. Just as important are the accessories that a bride wears, and Mar has

some of those, too. Making sure that a bride’s jewelry matches the style and era is important. “We have some nice vintage pendants with pearls and gems that are just the perfect accents,” she said. Meil-Melo is located at 162 Bjune Drive SE, Bainbridge Island. Call 206 780-6700, or go to www.

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Capturing the moment is the photographer’s task By LESLIE KELLY


hey’re been to fields and farms. And churches and castles. And even to Alaska and the East Coast. That’s just a few of the places Hannah and Tyler Scholle, of Tyler and Hannah Photography in Silverdale, have been to photograph a wedding. “We love to travel,” Hannah said. “We have lots of great venues right here in Kitsap County. But we’ve had friends ask us along on their destination weddings to Alaska, the East Coast and the Midwest. The married couple began their wedding photography business about three years ago. They both come from families that made photography important as they were growing up. “Tyler’s father is a nature and wildlife photographer,” Hannah said. “And both my parents have had an interest in photography since they were young and did it in 4H. Tyler started out in real estate photography and he began pho-

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Casual wedding photographs are becoming more popular. tographing friends’ weddings. I was helping him with that and eventually we just decided to make it our full time business.” While they’ve been working out of their home, they are in the process of opening a studio in the Old Town district in Silverdale. Weddings make up 80 percent of their business, but they also photograph babies, families and do senior portraits. “We’re really trying to focus on weddings,” she said. “We do about 20 to 30 a year.”

In fact, their August is already booked. She suggests that brides and grooms begin looking for a photographer as soon as they set their wedding date. Some summer weekends book a year in advance. August and September are the busiest months in this area, Scholle said. Venues are up to the bride and groom, she said, but she and her husband like to shoot outdoors. “Nothing’s better than natural light,” she said. “Often, we’ll take the bride

and groom outdoors to shoot portraits, even after they’ve had an indoor church wedding.” Rain doesn’t even ruin outdoor weddings. “We can work with that,” she said. “We can make the rain drops look almost like glitter.” One of the most unusual weddings they’ve had was in Thornewood Castle in Tacoma. “Everything was very elegant,” she said. “The dresses were big ballroom styles. And the high ceilings gave a unique look in the photos.” They’ve done quite a few weddings at Red Cedar Farm in Poulsbo. “Weddings there are simple,” she said. “They’re really relaxed and rustic.” The average wedding photography runs from $3,100 to $4,500, but includes meeting with the bride and groom throughout the planning stages. It also includes actual photographs. “With some photographers, they’ll shoot the wedding and then just

hand over a disc or a thumb drive,” she said. “We like to present the whole story in an album.” They also download some photos taken during the wedding and show them on a large screen during the reception. And they can help couples with wall art —large photos on fabric that couples like to have to show in their homes. Two popular things that brides and grooms are opting for lately are “firstlook” photos and “dayafter” photo shoots. First look photos are the shot of the bride and groom when they first see each other on their wedding day, Scholle said. They also do that with brides and fathers of the brides. Day after photo shoots are not usually done on the day after the wedding, Scholle said, but more like a few weeks later. “The bride and groom get dressed again in their wedding attire and we take them to locales to shoot that they didn’t have time

to do on their actual wedding day,” she said. “Sometimes it’s Snoqualmie Pass, or with the Seattle skyline in the background, or somewhere that’s special to the couple,” she said. “Sunsets also are popular, if we weren’t able to do that on their wedding day.” Couples still like to have formal family shots too. “We do just what the bride and groom wants,” she said. “Usually it’s the moms who want to make sure there are some of the traditional shots.” The most important thing in selecting a wedding photographer is to look at their work. “Study their portfolio,” Scholle said. “And ask to see more if you’re not sure. Make sure the photographer is someone who will shoot what you want. And meet with them in person to know that you are comfortable with them.” Because, as she’ll tell you, the photos of your wedding are the one thing that will last forever.

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It’s the traditional photo booth meets social media. ​ It’s called the Viral Booth. And there’s a company in Silverdale that can bring the Viral Booth right to your location — even your wedding reception. According to Mindy McKeever and her husband, David, owners of Viral Booth CRV, the Viral Booth takes the traditional photo booth to the next level. “Our booth lets your guests take pictures and videos, and then share the celebration or special event instantly with the world through Facebook, Twitter and other social media,” she said. “And, of course, print the photos as well.”

Added in are lots of fun props for guests to dress in and hold. And there’s the option of specialty themed props to match the theme of your wedding. “We create a customized logo for each event to be printed on the bottom of the photo strips,” she said. ​ McKeever said Viral Booth CRV was established in 2012 by Stefani and Noah Veth. McKeever said Viral Booth is not a “franchise.” “We are basically a independent contractor, with Viral Booth proprietary software — meaning, they host the main Viral Booth website and handle any technical issues and updates to the software,”

she said. The busiest months for the business are in the summer — wedding season. “Photo booths have become a huge hit at weddings over the past few years, and is a very competitive market,” McKeever said. “Since David and I have taken over the business, we have partaken in four weddings. We offer a variety of packages to suit every ones needs. Our package prices range from $450 to $1,325.” The couple introduced a new package this year, called the “Social Media Experience,” for $150. “Our price is about $100 below the top photobooth industry’s average,”

she said. “We understand people do have a budget and are willing to work as much as we can to suit their needs.” The standard package is two hours at $450 and the silver package is four hours at $850. Packages give guests the traditional photo-booth experience, a full-color three-picture photo strip with a client customized logo at the bottom. After the guest takes their picture, they will have the option to send their picture to Facebook, email, SMS text, Instagram and Twitter. There is no limit to the social media experience, she said. “Another feature our

booth offers is the option to record up to a 60-second video message,” she said. “And at the end of the event, we will copy all of the videos and pictures and give the flash drive to the client.” The platinum package of six hours at $1,325 offers ever ything mentioned above plus a scrapbook. “Our goal is to make sure that the client sees all of the fun that happened at their event and read the fun, silly comments their friends and family have left for them,” she said. To learn more, email Mindy at ViralBoothCRV@, call her at 360 447-8886, or go to www.

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FEBRUARY 20, 2015



Same-sex couples have choices for their special day By LESLIE KELLY


hen Kathryn Hamm’s mother went looking for what she needed for her daughter’s same-sex commitment ceremony in 1999, she couldn’t find much. “My partner and I were planning a wedding and my mother wanted to help us,” Hamm said. “She looked all over Dallas, even at the gay bookstores, and she couldn’t find anything.” So, her mother founded and, websites that connected same-sex partners with a directory of resources for gay brides and grooms. Eventually, those sites were joined to become, and Hamm went to work for the company based in Washington, D.C. On the site, wedding planners and individuals can find photographers, caterers, florists and venues that are open to samesex weddings. Hamm said while the number of states where same-sex marriage is legal is growing, the site also helps gay couples who are looking at commitment ceremonies. “So often, wedding professionals aren’t prepared for working with same-sex couples,” Hamm said. “It’s the little things — like referring to the couple as the brides or the grooms, rather than the bride and

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Kathryn Hamm groom, and making sure the contract they sign says that. These are the kinds of things that make or break whether same-sex couples feel welcomed.” Hamm recalled a conversation she and her partner had with a venue they were looking at for their wedding in which the woman who was showing them around assumed there was a groom. “She was a lovely person and showed us around,” Hamm said. “But when we got back to her office to sign a contract, she asked us what the groom’s name was. At that point, she’d lost us as a client.” Other things that samesex friendly professionals need to consider are the images on their websites. “If gay couples don’t see themselves in those images, it’s a negative,” she said. Recently, GayWeddings. com joined services with to bring even more ser-

vices to same-sex couples. Included are several blogs where same-sex couples can get ideas for how to handle sensitive subjects. “It’s those things like whether to both walk down the aisle, and whether to kiss at the end of the service, that you can read how others handled them,” she said. “Same-sex weddings are highly personalized. Each couple has to determine what they are comfortable with.” There isn’t really anything “typical” when speaking of gay weddings. “Some couples don’t have cakes and therefore avoid the ‘cake-cutting’ drama,” she said. “Others find that’s something they want to do. The important thing is to plan what you want and know that your family and friends will support you in that.” At her own wedding, which was years before gay weddings were more commonplace, she had some nice surprises. “Many of the guests said they’d never been to a same-sex wedding,” she said. “And for some of the staff, it was their first gay wedding. But we had a couple of the servers pull us aside and tell us how much it meant to be a part of it because they were a gay couple.” Hamm said she thinks there’s a pent up demand for wedding professionals who will work with gay couples. As same-sex marriage becomes legal in more states, and possibly

a federal law passed, that will continue to grow. She noted a recent survey of wedding professionals that showed 82 percent welcomed gay couples. Of those who said, “No,” almost all said it was for religious reasons only.

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Hamm’s recent book Her advice for gay couples planning a wedding? The same as with any couple. “Set a budget,” she said. “Think about your guest list and when and where you want to have your wedding. Then go from there.” And, she said, remember to work with those who you are comfortable with and those who welcome your union. “Have a good first conversation with your wedding planner or pro-

fessional,” she said. “Make sure they know what you want.” For more information, go to

From TheKnot. com

As marriage equality continues to be legalized in more states across the country, the words “commitment ceremony” and “civil union” are becoming more scarce. n 82 percent of same-sex couples refer to the occasion as their “wedding” in invitations, up from 70 percent in 2013. n 71 percent of samesex couples will have a ceremony and reception, as opposed to 96 percent of straight couples. n 12 percent of same-sex couples will only have a ceremony and 7 percent of same-sex couples are planning to simply host a reception. n Same-sex couples are less likely to have a formal proposal (58 percent) than straight couples (94 percent.) n Proposing with a ring is not as common for samesex couples, with about two out of three couples (62 percent) exchanging an engagement ring before or after the proposal. n When it comes to wedding attire, nearly all (91

percent) of same-sex couples know in advance what their partner is wearing, with 49 percent of male and 20 percent of female couples wearing matching outfits. A majority of samesex couples wear formal wedding attire. Some women prefer to wear a “tuxedas,” the female design of a tuxedo. n Less than half of the same-sex couples walk down the aisle together. Most opt for family members to walk them down the aisle. n Only 38 percent of same-sex couples incorporate religion into their ceremonies. n Only 35 percent of same-sex couples set up a wedding registry, compared to 87 percent of straight couples. n The average spent on a same-sex couple’s wedding is $15,849, compared to $29,858 for a straight couple. Gay weddings are more intimate with an average of 77 guests, verses 138 at a straight wedding. n When it comes to finances, 85 percent of same-sex couples pay for their own wedding, compared to only 13 percent of straight couples. n 63 percent of same-sex couples go on luxury honeymoons spending an average of $4,965, compared to $4,744 for straight couples.




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FEBRUARY 20, 2015

‘Going to the courthouse’ to get hitched is an option By LESLIE KELLY


etting married at the courthouse is something often seen in movies or on television. But it happens in real life too. And it happens here in Kitsap County. Although statistics aren’t kept as to the number of courthouse weddings annually, District Court Judge Marilyn Paja has officiated at many unions since she joined the bench in 1985. There are four District Court judges and they take turns performing the ceremonies, unless a couple asks for a specific judge. All courthouse weddings are performed after hours or on the weekends, Paja said. Other than the cost of a marriage license, the couple is asked to pay an honorarium to the judge that performs the service. She said couples who want courthouse weddings generally call the District

Court and reserve a specific time. There isn’t any “average” courthouse wedding, Paja said. “We speak to them individually so that we understand what they are wanting,” Paja said. “We work very hard to make sure that each ceremony is unique to the couple and is just what they want.” For example, she said, some don’t exchange vows. Others have special words they want to say to each other. And each judge has their own wording that they like to use. Most couples bring flowers or bouquets and have a photographer. Styles range from very formal to very informal. “We see people dressed casual,” she said. “Some are even in shorts in the summer. We’ve had folks in their Seahawks jerseys. We have some in military dress uniforms and the brides are in traditional

wedding gowns. There’s also long dresses and tuxes and some couples will dress in the costumes of their native country if they’re not from here.” The bride and groom must bring their own witnesses. “Unlike in the movies, we don’t provide that,” Paja said. Couples of all ages have courthouse weddings, she said. Valentine’s Day is popular as well as “odd dates,” like 12-13-14. “Weddings are very personal,” Paja said. “We just do the best we can to make them a happy and memorable occasion.” For marriage requirements, fees, waiting period and scheduling, call District Court, 360-3377033. To apply for a marriage license, visit the Kitsap County Auditor’s office at 619 Division St., Port Orchard, or go to marriage.htm.

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