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Celebrations A S p e c i a l Pu b l i c a t i o n o f T h e Pu n x s u t a w n e y S p i r i t a n d J e f fe r s o n Co u n t y N e i g h b o r s

Š2013 The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors

F e b rua ry 2013


More and more couples planning to walk down the aisle are embracing save-the-date cards to give guests adequate notice that there is a party on the horizon. Save-the-date cards do more than let guests know when you’re getting hitched. The cards are a preliminary way to keep guests informed and let them know they are, in fact, on the guest list. These cards haven’t always been so popular, but have risen in popularity due to longer engagement periods, a growing number of destination weddings and the growing number of couples with guests from all over the country, if not the world. Considering people often plan business trips, vacations and other excursions several months in advance, save-the-date cards help secure a greater number of attendees at your wedding. Save-the-date announcements can vary in many ways. They may be postcards or magnets that can be attached to a refrigerator door. If you desire a cohesive theme to your wedding stationery, select the save-thedate cards at the same time you choose your wedding invitations. This way you can ensure

that either the patterns, fonts, colors, or style of the cards will match. It will also help convey the tone of the wedding. Guests often take their cues regarding the level of formality of the wedding from the type of stationery couples choose. When to send out the savethe-date announcements is important as well. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to mail out the cards 6 months in advance for a standard wedding. If the wedding requires travel or extended overnight accommodations, you may want to mail them out 8 months to a year in advance to give guests the time to investigate flight costs and hotel arrangements. A wedding also may necessitate planning a vacation or personal time off from work. Therefore, ample advanced notice is advisable. Be sure to make your guest list in advance of sending out save-the-date cards. Everyone who receives a card should also be sent an invitation prior to the wedding. Remember to include any members of your planned wedding party in the list of recipients. Just because a person has verbally confirmed attendance at your wedding doesn’t mean they should be excluded

Here’s to you

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

Tips for a great best man toast

The best man toast can be one of the most memorable parts of a couple’s wedding. Sometimes a toast is memorable for its humor and heartfelt sense of appreciation for the groom and his bride, while other toasts are more memorable for all the wrong reasons. One of the reasons best man toasts can be so unpredictable is that giving a best man toast is such a unique experience. It’s something many men never do, while those who do give a best man toast may only do it once in a lifetime. It’s understandable to be nervous when asked to give a best man toast, but there are a few tricks of the trade a best man can employ to calm those nerves and ensure his toast is memorable for all the right reasons. • Practice makes perfect. Few people are capable of standing in front of a crowd of people and speaking off the cuff. A best man should take this into account and practice his speech before the big day. A spur-of-the-moment speech may provide an adrenaline rush, but such an endeavor may come off as if you didn’t care enough to put the effort into writing a thoughtful toast ahead of time. In addition, practicing the toast once it’s been written will make you feel more comfortable and confident in front of the crowd. If possible, practice in front of a friend or family member so you can solicit feedback. A friend or relative might be able to help you fine-tune the speech, which in turn can calm your nerves once you’re handed the microphone. • Avoid alcohol. Getting liquored up prior to

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your toast is a recipe for disaster. Though it may seem like a good idea to employ alcohol to calm your nerves and lower your inhibitions, it’s not a 15% OFF YOUR WEDDING INVITATION ORDER good idea. Consuming alcohol before your toast increases the chance that you will end up embarrassing the bride and groom as well as yourself. • Get to the point. Men and women who have P.O. Box 166 223 W. Main Street attended their fair share of wedding receptions no Big Run, PA 15715 doubt have sat through a long-winded toast from the best man or maid of honor. Such toasts can bring a festive reception to a grinding halt, and guests will likely tune out before the best man or 814-427-2517 • 1-800-775-6040 • Fax: 814-427-2827 maid of honor gets to the point. Being succinct should be a goal for a best man with regard to his toast. Avoid long-winded walks down Memory Make Your Lane in favor of a toast that thoughtfully cuts to First Dance the chase and lets everyone get back to celebratTogether ing. • Spin a yarn. While it’s important to be brief, A Special don’t be so brief that no one at the reception learns One! IN DOWNTOWN DUBOIS about your relationship to the groom. Share a humorous anecdote from your mutual past to ilBook your wedding now lustrate the type of relationship you and the groom through March 30, 2013 an Dyke & Co. share with one another. This story should have an and receive $100 OFF element of humor but don’t include anything too offers dance classes in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Exercise embarrassing, and all ex-girlfriends should be cakes serving 150+ guests and Ballroom Dancing considered off-limits. • Congratulate the couple. Because nerves Learn to Dance for play such a significant part in many best man Your Special Day! 7 N. Brady Street toasts, it can be easy to forget to congratulate Group Discounts for Bridal Parties both the bride and groom. Don’t just toast the DuBois Call 814-938-8517 groom at the end of your best man speech; toast 814-371-2253 www.vandykeandcompany.net his new bride as well.

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Save-the-date card etiquette


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Weddings are a celebration wherein guests look forward to the reception as much as the actual ceremony, and the food served at the wedding is often hotly anticipated. Wedding receptions feature a bevy of different foods to tempt the palates of those in attendance. From appetizers served during the cocktail hour to the last crumb of cake, food plays a big role in a wedding reception. Choosing foods for a reception can take a little forethought, especially when the wedding party is especially large. The following are a few suggestions to ensure most guests are happy with the menu selections. The first rule of thumb is variety. As much as budget allows, give guests the choice over what they dine on. During the cocktail hour – if there is one – couples can play with many different tastes and of-

ferings. For those who want to be creative, this is the time to do so. Exotic flavors can be served alongside more traditional offerings that guests recognize. For example, offer Asian fusion appetizers that may have spice alongside more traditional items, like miniature quiches. During the main course of the meal, give guests a few options. Most catering facilities will offer suggestions in their meal packages. Couples can typically choose to offer a meat dish, a poultry and a seafood. This caters to a wide variety of diners. It is important for couples to recognize that many people have food allergies or are on restricted diets. While it may not be possible to provide for everyone’s specific requirements, it is possible to make some accommodations First, ask the catering manager how

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his company provides for guests who are vegetarians or vegans. Ensure that the meal will not be simply a bunch of garnishes and vegetable side dishes lumped together. In addition, couples should recognize that many people have now adopted gluten-free lifestyles. More and more restaurants and establishments have expanded their offerings to include gluten-free items, so it is important for the bride and groom to confirm. People who are diabetic and must limit their consumption of sugars and carbohydrates may appreciate a selection of sugar-free desserts or lower carbohydrate foods. When couples focus on meeting the needs of their guests, it shows they have put in the effort to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable at the wedding. Couples who have the environment in mind can choose to serve organic foods and look to catering facilities that purchase foods from local vendors and farms. If a banquet hall does not make such concessions, ask if specialty items that benefit organic and local food producers can be brought in. Some caterers will be happy to make the change, but it will likely affect the cost of the wedding package to do so. Food and drink will be some of the most costly portions of a wedding, and couples who are interested in keeping costs down can still offer quality foods if they make some changes. Varying the time of day that the wedding is held can enable a brunch or luncheon wedding to take place. These foods are often less expensive and labor-intensive to prepare, and therefore the cost savings are passed down to the bride and groom. Some couples opt for a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre-only reception – which should clearly be indicated on the invitation so that guests can plan accordingly. An informal wedding may feature only a selection of desserts and specialty liquors. This may be the least expensive option. Food is an important factor at a wedding and it is in a couple’s best interest to ensure that the food served is tasty, full of variety and acceptable to the majority of the guests who will be attending the reception.

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Find a gown they all will love Close friends and family members are an important component of a couple’s wedding day. Individuals who are especially close to the bride and groom are often asked to become members of the wedding party, which means a bride-tobe will be asking one or more women to play an integral role in the celebration. To set these ladies apart from other guests at the wedding, they are often asked to wear coordinating bridesmaid gowns. Selecting a style and color that is fitting to the unique people of the bridal party can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. As if choosing your maid of honor wasn’t tricky enough, you now must make a host of other decisions as well, all while playing stylist to the wedding party. Fashion sense is as unique as a fingerprint, and it is unlikely the bridesmaids will be able to agree on every aspect of the gowns they will be asked to wear. However, there are ways to narrow down the choices and be as accommodating as possible to their needs. Size matters The body shapes and sizes of

the women in your bridal party will be different, and this should be kept in mind when selecting a gown style and cut. There are certain dress shapes that are universally flattering, such as A-line. Try to avoid gowns that are extremely form-fitting, as only a few of the bridesmaids may be able to pull off this look successfully. The remainder could be left feeling selfconscious and uncomfortable. Plus, form-fitting clothing will be restrictive and can be difficult to move around in – particularly considering the gown will be worn for an entire day. Flattering Color As a bride you may have a colorscape in your mind for the wedding. But what looks good in table linens and flowers is not always the right choice for clothing. Take the skin tones and hair colors of your bridesmaids into consideration before choosing a dress. Green- and yellow-hued dresses may not look nice on women with olive skin tones, while very pale colors may wash out women with fair skin. Those with dark skin may need a brighter-colored dress.

Price Tag It is an honor to be asked to be part of a bridal party, but that honor can be very expensive. The bridesmaids are expected to pay for their wardrobe, hair styling, and makeup, as well as parties and gifts for the happy couple. As a courtesy to the women who already will be investing a considerable amount to be a part of your wedding, make every effort to select a gown that is affordable. There are plenty of retailers offering stylish options that may not be as expensive as some specialty stores. Other Tips Once you’ve decided on the basic elements, consider the following suggestions to find a gown that the bridal party will enjoy. • Take one or two bridesmaids shopping with you. Try to select ones with opposite body types so you can see how the gown looks on a woman who is thin and one who may be more full-figured. • Think about choosing separates. The bridesmaids can mix and match tops and bottoms to find a fit that works. This may

enable a woman with a larger bust size to select a top with supportive straps while another bridesmaid can opt for strapless. Many stores have increased their inventory of separates because of their growing popularity. • Choose one color and then let the bridesmaids choose the style they like the best for themselves. The look will still be cohesive, but it won’t be boring with one type of gown. Also, each bridesmaid will be comfortable with a gown that flatters her shape. • Go with a tea-length gown. These gowns have become quite trendy and are less formal and cumbersome than full-length gowns. Plus, there is a greater likelihood that the gown can be used again at a later date. • Purchase the bridesmaid gowns at the same store where you will be purchasing your wedding gown. Most shops will offer a courtesy discount if the bridesmaid gowns are purchased at the same store. Ensuring bridesmaids are happy in their gowns takes a little work but will be well worth the effort.

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Make guests feel special with these extra touches the flow of conversation to make a trip to the food stations, choose butler-passed hors d’oeuvres to bring food right to the guests. It lends a feeling of indulgence and is also a convenient way to keep guests satiated. • Valet parking: Most wedding venues provide on-site valet parking. However, if you’re using a restaurant or banquet hall that does not provide this service, you can hire a valet company to do the parking for guests. While you will be whisked to and fro in the back of a limousine, guests will have to do their own driving. Being able to exit the car right in front of the venue and not worry about finding a parking space will be convenient for guests. • Emergency toiletries baskets: Rather than spending money on an extra floral arrangement for the men’s and women’s restrooms, purchase items that can be grouped into a handy basket. For women, include items such as extra pairs of stockings, spray deodorant, sanitary items, and sewing kits. For men, mints or mouthwash, dental floss, cologne, and stain removal pens may come in handy. In the event that a minor mishap occurs during the wedding, guests will have items at their disposal to remedy it. • Specialty courses: In addition to the cocktail hour and the main meal, you may be able

to arrange specialty stations for guests with particular palates or interests. Some couples like to have a cigar smoking area or you can offer specialty cocktails. When ethnic customs are included in a wedding, menu items can be geared around native dishes. Candy and dessert bars are also popular to have at weddings, particularly if children are invited. A flambe dessert presentation is both a spectacle and a treat. • Overnight accommodations: For the wedding that will run into the wee hours of the morning, offer guests a place to stay nearby to remove the hassle of driving home at a late hour. Some reception halls have arrangements with nearby hotels. For those that don’t, negotiate a discounted rate for wedding guests. Many do and will set aside a block of rooms for your event with a discount code. You may want to treat guests who choose to stay over to a complementary breakfast the next day as one final show of appreciation. • Special seating: Guests who may have mobility issues or difficulty hearing may appreciate being seated in certain spots for convenience. Seat the elderly or handicapped close to the exits and the restrooms if possible. When choosing a reception room, confirm the distance to the restrooms to make it convenient for those who may not be able to walk far. Those who may be sensitive to the music can be seated Weddings are typically expensive affairs. Couples may be willing to away from the speakers. And of go the extra mile and stretch their finances for their big day, but what course, every attempt should be about their guests? Couples ask much of their out-of-town wedding guests, who must arrange for travel and lodging and possibly even childcare if they are bringing young children. Because traveling to a wedding can be such a costly expenditure, many couples look for ways to alleviate some of the financial pressure that this travel places on their guests. The following are a few ways couples can do just that. • Find an airport-friendly wedding destination. Couples who can get married within a short distance of a major airport can save their guests a significant amount of money. A major airport has more flights, and that can translate to more options and more affordable flights for your guests. In addition, a wedding destination that is close to an airport reduces the chance that guests will have to pay for rental cars. A cab ride to the hotel might be less expensive than a rental car, which guests may not need aside from getting to and from the airport. • Inquire about group airline rates. Couples know to negotiate group hotel rates for their wedding guests, but few may know it’s possible to negotiate group airline rates as well. If a large number of your wedding guests will be traveling from the same city, contact the major airlines to see if they offer group travel discounts. Many airlines do, so comparison shop to find your guests the best deal. • Consider a longer engagement. A longer engagement can save your guests money on travel. Couples who choose to have a longer engagement and send save-the-date cards out early are giving their guests more time to book flights and find deals. Flights tend to be less expensive when booked well in advance, so a longer engagement gives guests more time to find a flight that’s affordable. In addition, travelers who can book early often get the first crack at the best flight times, saving themselves the nuisance of taking a red-eye flight or traveling early in the morning.

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Wedding receptions run the gamut from small, intimate gatherings in a restaurant to large spectacles featuring hundreds of guests inside a banquet hall. At the heart of any wedding reception is the desire to present a memorable party for all in attendance. That being said, there are some steps couples can take to add extra indulgence to wedding receptions and really set them apart from the mundane. With the average cost of weddings now teetering around $28,000, couples certainly are pulling out expensive stops to treat guests to a good party. Although some may argue that spending tens of thousands of dollars on a one-time event is preposterous, there are scores of couples who want to splurge on an event that (hopefully) will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. With this in mind, many want to add special touches to the wedding that will show guests how much they are appreciated and to make their celebration different from previous weddings. Here are some ways to do just that. • B u t l e r- p a s s e d h o r s d’oeuvres: During the cocktail hour guests are mingling and taking advantage of the opportunity to engage in conversation. This may be the last real opportunity to chat amongst one another before the volume of the band or deejay drowns out discussions. Rather than disrupt


Roles of best man and maid of honor

Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013 - 7

Being chosen as a best man or a maid of honor is a significant and meaningful honor. Those roles have evolved over the years, but these special participants must still perform some of the traditional duties of the past, including serving as the official witnesses to the ceremony. The following is a rundown of the various duties maids of honor and best men are now expected to handle once they’re chosen for these distinguished honors. Prior to the wedding Before the wedding takes place, the maid of honor will closely assist the bride-to-be with many of the important decisions related to the look and the feel of the wedding. She typically accompanies the bride to dress shops to select gowns for the bride and bridesmaids. Much in the same manner, the best man will assist the groomto-be with choosing tuxedoes or suits and also with coordinating with the ushers to ensure they know when to go for fittings. Although the best man will serve as a sounding board for the groom, traditionally the bride and her bridesmaids have taken on the majority of the wedding planning, so the maid of honor can expect to play a larger role than the best man. The maid of honor may be asked to delegate certain assignments, such as helping to find wedding vendors or addressing invitations. She may go with the bride for makeup and hairstyle trials. Together with the bridesmaids, she will plan a bridal shower party and a bachelorette excursion. She may select a wedding gift for the couple and present it on behalf of all the wedding attendants.

The best man will coordinate the bachelor party and may be asked to assist the groom with selecting a honeymoon site or to come along to book the trip. Wedding day On the day of the wedding, the maid of honor and the best man will act as a support system for the bride and groom. The maid of honor will help the bride get dressed and help iron out any mini-emergencies that should crop up. The best man will help ensure all of the ushers are dressed and get the groom to the wedding on time. During the ceremony, the maid of honor will hold the bride’s bouquet while she participates in the wedding. The best man will keep the rings safe until they are needed. The maid of honor also will help adjust the bride’s train and veil as she sits and stands during the ceremony. Both will sign the marriage certificate as witnesses. At the reception, the best man is expected to give a toast and the maid of honor may share some words as well. She also may accompany the bride to the restroom and assist her with managing the gown. After the wedding The best man will be in charge of returning the tuxedoes to the rental shop, if necessary. He also may drive the newly married couple to the airport so they can depart on their honeymoon. The maid of honor will assist the bride in changing out of her gown and into her travel clothes. Oftentimes the maid of honor takes the gown to the cleaners in the days following the ceremony so the dress can be preserved.

Test out wedding music vendors Music is an integral element of many of life’s special events. The score of a movie can carry a film, and a tender song can bring tears to a person’s eyes during a stage production. Many couples spend lots of time choosing a song for their first dance at their wedding. While that song is significant, couples should devote lots of time to choosing a band or deejay for the reception as well. Statistics compiled from a variety of sources, including USA Today, TheKnot.com and Brides magazine, point out that roughly 80 percent of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment. When asked, many couples admit they wish they spent more time and money choosing their wedding entertainment. Music helps make memories and gets guests on their feet. Those who enjoy themselves most at the wedding are often the people who are on the dance floor. It is important to note that price shouldn’t be the deciding factor for wedding day entertainment. It is crucial to see the entertainment provider in action to judge for oneself just how good he or she is. One of the best ways to witness a deejay or band in action is to attend a wedding where they will be working. Find out if you can spend a little while peeking into a wedding and gauge guests’ responses to the music and find out how the entertain-

Cost of weddings depends on area How much money a couple spends on their wedding depends largely on where they decide to tie the knot. While couples across the nation spend an average of roughly $27,000 on their weddings, the cost of tying the knot is considerably higher in major cities such as New York and Chicago. According to TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding in New York City in 2011 was a shade under $66,000, making the Big Apple the most expensive city in the country to get married. That’s considerably more than the runner-up, the Windy City, where couples spent just more than $53,000 to get married. Couples who wince at those figures should know that there are more affordable places to get married. The state of West Virginia, for example,

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ment engages the crowd. The entertainer may be able to arrange this with a couple from an upcoming wedding so that you don’t necessarily have to crash the wedding. If a musical entertainment company is wary of letting you see players in action, it may be an indication to look elsewhere. Another good way to see for yourself if the entertainment factor is high is to pay attention to the bands and deejays used at weddings you attend. If you are planning nuptials in a year or the months to come, take the cards or information of the entertainers you come across at weddings and any special event parties. If there is someone who is doing an impeccable job, there should be no hesitation to hire that person for your own wedding. Don’t be embarrassed to ask a friend or family member for the name and number of their deejay. If you have specific music requirements, such as cultural music or certain versions of songs you prefer to be played, it is key to discuss this with the deejay or band

ahead of time and confirm they can meet your needs. Certain wedding vendors may promise you the world but fail to deliver. Ask the deejay for a playlist to see his or her selections for the wedding. Find out if the band has a compilation they can send to you so you can see how they sound performing some of the more popular songs typically played at wedding receptions. If you like a particular b a n d o r d e e j a y, d o u b l e check that the people you see playing are actually the ones who will be performing at your wedding. Many times performers are part o f l a rg e r c o m p a n i e s t h a t have many people working under one name. If you’re not careful, you may not get the same performer you had hoped for. Request specific individuals if you want to guarantee that the music will be what you heard at a previous wedding or during a trial performance. Music can make or break a wedding reception. Invest ample time into selecting and trying out vendors to ensure fun is to be had by all.


Each year that passes is another opportunity to celebrate a birthday. Traditions like lighting candles on a cake and singing to good fortune are popular, but there are many other ways to celebrate birthdays to set them apart from past celebrations and make them a bit more special. • Plant a tree. Plant a tree on your birthday so you can see how the sapling turns into something impressive year after year. This will mirror your wisdom and growth as each year passes, as well. • Research the day and year you were born. It’s much easier now to tap into history than it was before the Internet came along. With the click of a mouse you can investigate what songs were popular, who was in charge of the country, books that were released and even popular movies of the era. While you are at it, find out which favorite celebrities or other persons of interest were born on the same day as you. • Try something outside of your comfort zone. You may want to try something daring on your birthday, like going bungee jumping or skydiving, or you may prefer something less risky, such as a fashion

makeover or riding that new roller coaster at the amusement park. Use your birthday as an excuse to try something that is out of your element. • Book a trip. Be it a oneday jaunt in the car or a weeklong vacation, a change of scenery could be the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. If you’re confident and want to travel solo, that is one way to spend undivided “you” time. However, it may be even more fun to bring a few celebrants along with you. • Create a time capsule. Remember when you wrote notes and sealed up mementos from childhood for a time capsule project at school? You can do the same type of thing on your birthday and then plan to open the capsule in the future. It will be interesting to look back at the styles worn, read your own words, listen to music of the time, and, if you include a newspaper, peruse the paper to study the events that were making headlines all those years ago. • Dine at an exclusive restaurant. It seems celebrities always have a reason to get dressed up and head to the trendiest restaurants. Use your birthday as an excuse to splurge and do the same. Pur-

chase a new outfit and book a reservation at one of the hottest restaurants in your area. Enjoy the evening knowing you are treating yourself to something out of the ordinary. • Send your parents a gift. If it wasn’t for Mom and Dad you wouldn’t be here. While they may periodically and jokingly remind you of the sacrifices they made through the years, keep in mind what they’re saying is probably true. So send your mother a bouquet of flowers and treat your father to a round of golf. • Take the day off from work. Save some personal time to ensure you don’t have to head into work on your birthday. Even if your birthday falls on a Tuesday and you aren’t making a long weekend out of the day off, it’s still fun to take your birthday off from work. • Celebrate by helping others. Birthdays are happy times, and you can share your enthusiasm with others who may not have as much to smile about. Find out if you can volunteer time at a soup kitchen or at a hospital for the day and show others how worthy they are to have the opportunity to spend a birthday with you.

Planning a party without big problems

(BPT) – Planning a large celebration can be challenging. From setting a date that works for everyone to creating a fun party atmosphere, there is a lot of work that goes into planning the perfect event. Regardless of who the party is for, there are some ways to ensure your big party comes off without a hitch. Renting makes sense Few of us host large gatherings on a regular basis, so it’s not surprising if you don’t have enough seating on hand for a large group, or a supply of chafing dishes to keep everything warm on your buffet. Since you may only use these items once or twice a year, it doesn’t make sense to buy them – plus, where would you store them for the rest of the year? Fortunately, it’s possible to rent just about everything you could possibly need to stage a large-scale celebration. Rental stores in your area carry party necessities from chairs and tables to place settings and stemware to festive decor. Just remember to reserve your items early, especially if your party is during a busy time of year like the holidays. Where not to skimp Saving money is vital when you’re planning a big event. It’s smart to look for the best deals you can find on rental items, and to find creative ways to save money. But every host knows there is one aspect of the party that can’t be skimped

on – and that varies from event to event, and crowd to crowd. If you know your party will be heavily attended by foodies, you may want to spend a bit more on gourmet fare and cut costs in other areas. If your guests are the kick-up-their-heels type of crowd, it may make sense to invest more in live music or a DJ. Hosting a bevy of social butterflies? They may appreciate more upscale seating that affords them plenty of comfy places to sit and chat. Knowing what you can rent to save money and where you have to spend is an essential part of staging a smashing soiree and saving money at the same time. Special ways to spice things up Every party should have at least one element that gives guests a delightful surprise. Maybe it’s a make-your-own dessert station for the company holiday party, or a chocolate fountain for your large family gathering. Whether it’s adding elegant lighting and centerpieces for your New Year’s Eve party, or a large screen television and games for your football party, adding a special touch can really set the tone for the event. It’s easy to find these types of rental party items that make for a special surprise for your guests. You can find more ideas for great party items and how renting can help you stage a spectacular event at www.rentalhq.com.

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The busy person’s guide for entertaining on short notice

Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013 - 9

(BPT) – Ideally, you’ll have a few days notice to get everything in order when you’re hosting guests. But everyone knows that’s not always the case. Drop-ins happen and you can make a choice between panicking or embracing the spontaneity of a last-minute get-together with your friends and family. The key to being an unflappable host is having a simple process to get your home guestready in a hurry. You don’t have to be a neat freak or Michelin chef to make an impromptu gathering at your house a success. You simply need to prioritize what is most important to get done, and rely on some help from modern technology to speed up the process. Here’s a guide for entertaining on a dime that will make unplanned visits more pleasant surprises rather than major inconveniences: • Enlist a full-time housekeeper. Maybe you don’t have the means to put someone in charge of keeping your house clean, but you can put gadgets on the job full-time. Rather than spending time to clean floors yourself, let a robot do the work for you. iRobot Mint, which features both a sweep and mop mode, can effectively handle the job of cleaning your hard floor surfaces all by itself. Mint works with cleaning cloths made by brands like Swiffer, as well as its own specifically designed microfiber cloths that can be reused hundreds of times. It automatically cleans along walls, around furniture and into corners, while avoiding stairs and carpet, so there’s no need to supervise while it does its job. • Get into party mode with the touch of the play button. Connect your home stereo system with Bluetooth-enabled technology that can allow you to cue up the tunes simply by giving the orders

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through your smart phone or another connected device. Curating party playlists can be a fun activity during your downtime so you can be all set to go when you get the call that guests are on the way. • Whip up delivery on speed dial. Store a list of your go-to numbers for food delivery service on your phone so you can make the call once you know you’ll be having visitors. If you’re not one who likes to order out, keep a stash your favorite snacks or appetizers in the freezer for quick reheating when guests arrive. Last-minute guests won’t be expecting a threecourse meal, so convenience is more important than elaborately prepared meals. • Ditch the dishes. Make things easier for you and festive for your guests by keeping decorative paper plates and napkins on hand. Storing a stash of these in a kitchen drawer is ideal for last-minute hosting since it means you don’t have to worry about hurriedly washing the dishes or creating a mess that you’ll need to clean up later. • Embrace quick fixes. You wouldn’t normally throw everything that’s been left out in a storage room, but it won’t hurt if you’re just hosting company for a few hours – you can put everything in its proper space once they’re gone. Keep items like stain sticks on hand for quick coverage of stains and smudges you’ve been meaning to get to tackle. Start by clearing the entry way, move to the living room and forget about areas your guests probably won’t see. Last-minute hosting doesn’t have to be stress-inducing, especially since your guests won’t be looking for the royal treatment if they’re coming over on short notice. For more tools that can make keeping your home clean and guest ready even easier, visit www.irobot.com.

Party planning just like the professionals There are so many different reasons to throw a party. From birthdays to bar mitzvahs, the reasons to celebrate are many. Some people are seasoned experts at planning and executing the perfect party, while others are more apprehensive about hosting. However, with a little guidance, anyone can successfully host a memorable party. Whether you’re planning an intimate cocktail party for a few friends or a large-scale event for a baptism or anniversary, some simple tips can reduce the stress involved in being a party host. Step 1: Create a budget Planning the perfect event starts with establishing a clear budget. Above all else, setting a firm budget will help set limits as to what and how much you can buy for the event. It will also then help you make your lists and details accordingly. Be sure to list the main components of the party first: including food, beverages and invitations. It’s important to allocate more of your budget to those items and use the remaining funds to decorate and set the mood. Step 2: Decide on a location Knowing where you will be having your party – usually dictated by how much you can spend – will help pave the way for other decisions. For example, if you are having a party at a restaurant, all you may need to handle are providing favors and bringing a cake. But if you are renting out a room or having the party at home, your workload will increase. There are many different places you can have a party, even some unconventional locales. Therefore, if you are coming up with roadblocks based on the cost of venues, think outside the box. Look to churches, restaurant

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back rooms or even schools for an empty room. Step 3: Make your shopping list Once you’ve established your budget and location, it’s time to make your shopping list. List all of the foods you plan to make and then separately list the ingredients that need to go into each recipe. Purchase the necessary ingredients if you are having mixed drinks. An easier idea is to simply offer soft drinks, wine and beer because guests can serve themselves. You can shop for nonperishable items, like utensils and decorations, early on. Save perishable foods for a few days before the party. Step 4: Get help Hosting a party can be a lot of work, so it can benefit you to have a friend or family member lend a hand. Perhaps he or she can work on party favors while you’re putting the finishing touches on the meal or the dessert. If the budget allows, some people like to hire a service to wait on guests and cleans up during and after the

party. This is beneficial to hosts who want to mingle with guests and not worry about collecting soiled dishes and beverage glasses. Step 5: Decide on personalization Although there may be the temptation to have a theme party, sometimes these can come off as immature. Instead, think about putting your own personal touch on the party planning. For example, if you’re a budding artist, decorate with pieces you have made and other inexpensive works of art. Think about having a decorative item as a centralized theme, such as crystal vases or birdhouses. Maybe the party will be dazzling because of a particular color scheme. Figure out what you like and then go with that instead of a preconceived concept from a party store. Professional party planners make their money by creating one-of-a-kind events for their clients. You, too, can host a party that will be magical with just a little organization.

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Four steps to finding the perfect engagement ring • Platinum is a naturally white metal, meaning it will never fade, change color, or need to be redipped or re-plated. • White gold, on the other hand, is a created by adding an alloy mix to yellow gold. As the white color fades, the ring will need to be redipped a few times each year. • Platinum pairs well with all stones because its natural color will not cast any unwanted color onto the gem, plus its density makes for an extremely secure setting. • If you want matching bands, be sure to consider what your partner likes before deciding on

a metal. 2. Determine the Cut of the Stone • Traditionally, round and princess cuts are the most popular. • Recently, celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Sofia Vergara and Drew Barrymore have brought attention to less common cuts such as emerald, cushion and radiant. 3. Determine the Style of the Ring • Vintage: Offering a traditional look, these settings can either be an actual estate piece or a new ring with a vintage style. • Modern: Tension settings, where the diamond is held without

The man’s guide to selecting wedding bands (NewsUSA) – Congratulations to all you soon-to-be grooms. Now that your wedding is only months away, your jewelry collection – just a watch, huh? – is about to increase by as much as 50 percent. Meaning, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of wedding band you want for yourself. Wedding bands have become the norm for men in recent years – 97 percent of grooms in The Knot Market Intelligence’s “2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study” opted for one – so even if you have any doubts, your bride will probably set you straight. That means your only real decision is what kind of band best suits you. To hear CNNMoney.com tell it, there are basically two camps: those who “don’t want to compromise” when it comes to quality (platinum bands), and those who feel they cannot afford the best and therefore need to settle (bands made from alternative metals). But, as jewelry expert Michael O’Connor points out, that doesn’t really give the whole picture. “It’s true that platinum is so rare – 30 times more so than gold – that if all the world’s supply were melted and poured into an Olympic-size pool, it would barely reach your ankles,” O’Connor says. “But men’s platinum bands start at $500.” That turns out to be pretty comparable to the cost of the two most popular alternative metals: titanium and tungsten carbide. Both are perhaps best known for being used to make fighter jets. Cool, right? Well, yes, but that also means they’re intrinsically lightweight and lack the heft of platinum. “Most men prefer something that feels masculine on their finger,” says O’Connor. There are other facts to consider, too. Tungsten and titanium

jewelry will need special reconditioning if scratched, and cannot be resized. Even the more popular white gold will require rhodium replating to restore its white color due to wear over time. And while platinum – as all precious metals – can scratch, the metal is simply displaced on the surface of the ring, meaning very little metal is lost in wear. That makes it the most durable family heirloom that will last generations.

Still confused? Then ask yourself this question: How committed are you to your future wife? If the answer’s what we think, then know that platinum has traditionally symbolized a relationship that will endure since it doesn’t fade or change color. “That’s the kicker for a lot of couples,” says O’Connor. For more information, visit www.preciousplatinum.com/ weddingbands.

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10 - Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013

(NewsUSA) – There are a few big purchases in life that you really don’t want to mess up – a first house, a health care plan, a new car, and especially, the engagement ring for your loved one. According to The Knot, a popular wedding inspiration magazine and planning website, the decision is so important it takes consumers more than three months to find the perfect ring, and the average cost is $5,000. If you’re starting to sweat under the pressure, here’s a step-by-step guide to make your decision easier: 1. Determine the Metal


Tips for selecting wedding day flowers

Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013 - 11

What would a wedding day be without flowers? The beauty and the aroma of fresh-cut flowers can create a welcoming atmosphere and complement the beauty and the style of a wedding wardrobe. Flowers are often the first things that guests see upon arriving for the ceremony, and they may even be something guests take home at the end of the night. Flowers create an air of romance, and most couples want to make flowers – whether fresh or silk – an integral part of their wedding day. As with any decision when planning a wedding, choosing the right flowers requires some research and a basic knowledge of which flowers will convey the message and the theme of your wedding. The number of colors, textures and combinations that can be created are so numerous that couples may feel the decision on the floral arrangements is best left to the florist. But it doesn’t take a lot of expertise to know what you want, and it is important for couples to convey their feelings to the florist. Consider these tips when choosing a florist and selecting flowers. • Experts advise that a couple start looking for a florist at least six months before the wedding, especially if the wedding will take place during the peak season of May through September. Get recommendations from friends as to which florist they used or find out if your wedding planner or banquet hall manager recommends a particular florist. Some catering halls have agreements with florists, and they work together. • Browse magazines to get ideas of what you like. You also may be able to find a florist through an advertisement or if he or she has been featured in publications. Keep a scrapbook of the colors, types of flowers and arrangements and any other ideas that attract you so you will be able to present this information to the florist. • Establish your flower budget prior to sitting down with

the florist. You should expect to pay at least 8 percent of the total wedding cost on flowers. Get an estimate on the floral arrangement and then tweak your needs according to your budget. Many florists can modify arrangements and find a middle ground with regard to cost. Selecting flowers that are in-season will result in more affordable rates than if you desire exotic or out-of-season blooms. • Once you’ve hired the florist, you can come up with a wedding flower worksheet that establishes all of your needs. The florist may ask for specific information, such as photos of the bride’s gown as well as the colors and styles that the wedding party will be wearing. A good florist knows that a bouquet should not overpower or detract from the beauty of the bride. The florist may want to mimic textures from the dress, such as beading, with smaller flowers or berries within the arrangement. The groom’s boutonniere is traditionally one of the flowers from the bride’s bouquet so that the look is cohesive. • Ceremony flowers may be traditional, and some houses of worship have strict guidelines as to what can and cannot be used. However, reception flowers can be where you show off your creativity and whimsy. After all, this is a party and it should be fun. You may want to give the florist more freedom of expression with regard to reception centerpieces and flowers that adorn other areas of the room. • Because receptions tend to take place in the evening hours and are often indoor affairs, experts say that added lighting may be needed to put emphasis on the floral centerpieces and help present them in their best light. You may want to think about hiring a lighting designer to spotlight some areas of the room or at the very least incorporate candlelight into your centerpiece arrangements. • To give the impression that

Tradition behind tossing rice Once a couple has been married, tradition states that they be covered with tossed rice upon exiting the ceremony. The idea of throwing rice began during the Middle Ages, when rice symbolized fertility. Rice was tossed at the married couple in the hopes they would have many children and be blessed with prosperity as a family. A false rumor spread that rice was harmful to birds who would eat the discarded rice and explode, so many people now use birdseed or rose petals as alternatives. However, rest assured that the rice myth has been debunked by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

there are more flowers than there really are, use fragrance and filler as your tools. Fragrant flowers can fill up the room with a welcoming aroma. Look for frangipani, lilies, hyacinths, jasmine, and sweet peas for a big impact. Florists know how to stretch arrangements by using greenery and other filler to lend bulk without too much extra cost. • Experienced florists will know how long it takes certain buds to open and show off their maximum beauty. Therefore,

expect a florist to be working on your floral arrangements as much as a week before the wedding date – purchasing containers, cleaning flowers and waiting for certain ones to open fully. Minimize changes close to your wedding date as most things will already be started. • It is possible to make your own centerpieces or bouquets if you so desire. Simplicity will work best for the novice. Think about grouping similarhued calla lilies together for a

bridal bouquet. Hydrangea and peonies are larger flowers that can easily fill up a vessel on a table as a centerpiece. White flowers will coordinate with any color scheme and could be the easiest to mix and match. White blooms include sweet pea, rose, camellia, stephanotis, narcissus, gardenia, orchid, lily of the valley, jasmine, and gypsophila. Flowers are one component of the wedding that will help achieve the magic and beautiful atmosphere couples desire.

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How to make your proposal perfect that person. Yes, you may have chosen the perfect ring, but presentation is equally important. Choose something that will not only stun your betrothed, but also be something he or she can keep for years. Ditch the typical velvet box and go for a personalized, engraved keepsake box from Things Remembered. With dozens of box options, you can perfectly match the style of your new fiance, from classic and elegant to contemporary chic. Then, take it one step further and engrave something meaningful to commemorate this day. Your names, the date you were engaged or a personal love saying (that maybe only the two of you understand) are ideal inscriptions. Make it a party Yes, the holiday season is filled with parties, but a personal engagement party is something

that you and your families will remember forever. Whether you choose a private, intimate locale to pop the question or a bustling public setting, convene family and friends during or afterward to celebrate together. Plan a special party to commemorate this momentous, life-changing occasion. Don’t forget, a great party doesn’t necessarily mean great expense. Gathering at home with champagne, maybe a cheese plate and a homemade music playlist can make for one of the most memorable occasions of your life. Just be sure your future spouse is the center of attention, and you’ll be set to make the event unforgettable. Capture the moment Nearly all couples choose to hire photographers and videographers to capture the memories of their wedding day. But isn’t the engagement just as momentous? As your heart begins to race when your knee bends toward the ground, the last thing on your mind will be your camera. But being able to actually look back at this moment will be something you’ll treasure for years to come. The holidays are busy for everyone, so if you plan on hiring a professional photographer, make sure to call at least a few weeks in advance. Luckily, unlike your wedding day, you’ll probably only need the photographer for an hour or so. If you’re already on a shoestring budget, see if a photography enthusiast friend will take photos

for you. They may not end up in The Louvre, but with a decent camera, you’ll be sure to have some great snapshots of the big moment. When it’s all said and done,

you and your new fiance may not remember every tiny detail. But using these simple tips will ensure your engagement day is a truly unique, memorable experience for you both.

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(BPT) – You’ve picked the perfect ring. You’ve practiced the words you’ll use when you propose. But you know she would be livid if you asked her on the big screen at a sporting event. Making an engagement truly memorable will win you points for a lifetime each time she retells your engagement story. These tips will help your engagement stick out. With so many engagements between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, here are some great ways to make your engagement be one of a kind. Take it personally You are proposing to the woman or man of your dreams. The one person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with. The person who is the perfectly unique match to yourself. So, make the proposal just as personalized and special as


Simple ways to save on your wedding The disparity between gown costs in the United States and Canada should paint a good picture of how easily brides can save money on their gowns. According to a survey of wedding trends conducted by Weddingbells, an online resource for Canadian brides, the average Canadian bride in 2011 spent just under $1,800 on her wedding gown, while the average American bride spends roughly $1,100 on her gown. Though the reasons for that disparity are unclear, it’s safe to say there are savings to be had for brides who don’t want to break the bank paying for their wedding gowns. • Get hitched in the offseason. Many couples prefer to get married sometime between the months of May through October. During these months, venues and vendors, including limousine services, caterers, photographers, musicians, and deejays, are more expensive. If you are willing to switch your wedding date to the off-season you can save a substantial amount of money. In addition, you likely won’t face as much competition for the best venues and vendors as you will during the peak wedding season.

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Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013 - 13

According to a 2012 report in Brides magazine, the average American couple spends just under $27,000 on their wedding, while their northern neighbors in Canada spend slightly more than $23,000 on average for their big day. Clearly couples, regardless of which side of the border they call home, can expect to invest a substantial amount of money for their weddings. While many couples find the cost of a wedding is well worth it, others would like to find ways to save so their big day isn’t a budget-buster. Such savings aren’t always easy to come by, especially for couples with a very distinctive picture in mind of what their wedding should be. However, even couples strongly committed to a certain wedding style might change their minds once they realize how much such a dream wedding will cost. For those couples, as well as couples who simply want to save some money, the following are a few ideas to avoid busting your budget without venturing too far from your dream wedding. • Trim the guest list. The guest list is perhaps the easiest place to begin saving money. Many reception halls will charge by the head, so consider if you really need to invite 150 guests or if 100 will do. Such trimming can save you a substantial amount of money. For example, a banquet hall that charges $200 per guest will cost couples with a guest list of 150 $30,000 for the reception alone. Cutting that guest list to 100 reduces that cost by $10,000. When putting together the guest list, remove those candidates who would best be described as acquaintances. This can include coworkers with whom you don’t socialize, as well as old college friends to whom you rarely speak. Distant cousins you haven’t spoken to in years can also be cut from the list. • Don’t go overboard on the gown. Styles are everchanging, so there’s a strong chance brides won’t be passing down their wedding gowns to their own daughters someday. What’s popular now will likely seem outdated by the time your daughter walks down the aisle. Keep this in mind when shopping for a wedding dress, which can be made in the same design as the one you try on but with cheaper fabrics that are a fraction of the cost.

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Determining if a destination wedding is for you spread the word about their island wedding, it’s best to consider a few factors to determine if a destination wedding is truly the best way to go. • Guests: How many guests a couple hopes to invite is a great starting point when determining if a destination wedding is for you. Many couples who choose to have a destination wedding do so because they prefer a more intimate ceremony. Destination weddings are obviously more expensive for guests than a more traditional ceremony, so many guests won’t be able to afford to attend. Couples who intend to invite many guests might want to avoid a destination wedding. • Locale: The destination for your destination wedding should be a locale that holds a special place in your heart. A random location that you find on the Internet might work out, but having some prior experience with the destination can help you anticipate minor, yet potentially problematic, is-

sues. These issues can include the accessibility of the airport, currency exchange rate and the weather. In addition, you can help guests have a better time on their trips if you have already familiarized yourself with the locale. If you haven’t traveled much as a couple and don’t have a particular place in mind, then you might find a destination wedding is more hassle than it’s worth. • Accessibility: A common problem many couples encounter when planning a destination wedding is the accessibility of their chosen locale. Couples will likely have to visit the destination at least once prior to their wedding, which will eat up some of your wedding budget and your vacation time (which you will need to save for the actual wedding and your honeymoon). If the locale is a remote island that’s not

Vintage is the trend in bridal jewelry

(MS) – “Vintage remains a strong trend in bridal jewelry,” according to Jill Maier, VP of design at CAROLEE. Harking back to the adage that “everything old is new again,” brides are favoring art deco, estate-inspired silhouettes when it comes to jewels. The mix of crystal and pearl is a signature look of CAROLEE. It’s a timeless combination fused into an array of bridal designs: florette bracelets, delicate drop earrings, vintage-inspired necklaces. Here, the bride can rest easy knowing she won’t have to sacrifice for style: the majority of the collection comes in under $100. These pretty pieces are perfect for the blushing bride and their versatility makes them ideal for the bridal party as well. The desire to look fabulous without spending a fortune has never been quite so high. Many brides are choosing just one or two standout accessories, balancing a modern detail-oriented ceremony and reception with their minimalistic, classic ensemble. Maier also notes, “The beauty of this jewelry is that it’s distinctive without being overwhelming. It can be worn alone and looks great layered.” Jewelry experts at the CAROLEE counter in major department stores Carl and Daphne (Spencer) Pape Jr. are always a great resource for Rossiter jewelry bridal tips, or click on “BRIDAL” at www.carolee. January 25, 1986 com for a wealth of ideas for A job-related injury the day before the wedding accounts brides and every member of the for the groom’s black eye. bridal party.

very accessible, that can make these pre-wedding trips pretty stressful. Accessibility should also be a consideration for your guests. How far will your guests have to travel? How much money will guests have to spend on airfare and hotel accommodations? The less accessible the locale is, the more you and your guests are going to have to spend. Accessibility of the airport is another consideration. Some island locales and resorts are known for their remoteness, which can be a problem for wedding guests. If the resort is a long ride away from the airport, that’s another expense for guests. The resort may provide a shuttle service, but that cost will fall on the couple and the shuttle may not run frequently, which can prove problematic when guests’ arrivals are staggered. • Legality: The law is another thing couples must consider when deciding if a destination wedding is for them. Laws vary depending on the locale, so

before you commit to a specific locale, make sure you’re legally allowed to get married there and if there are any hurdles you must clear before you can. Those hurdles might be significant, and couples may find they’re not worth the hassle. Destination weddings are on the rise, but couples must consider a host of factors to ensure a destination wedding is truly for them.

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14 - Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013

When the time comes to walk down the aisle, more and more couples are choosing to make the procession in a far-off land. Destination weddings are on the rise, with researchers at TheKnot.com reporting that roughly one in four couples who tied the knot in 2011 chose to have a destination wedding. Destination weddings may appear to be an ideal way to tie the knot, but couples should know that planning such a ceremony may be even more difficult than planning a more traditional affair. Couples who choose to have a destination wedding must be ready to put a significant amount of faith in a wedding planner, who is often affiliated with the resort where the couple will be staying. Though the wedding planner may handle many of the details concerning the ceremony and the reception, couples should know that some of that planning will still fall on their shoulders as well. That planning may not be so simple, so before couples


How to find the right banquet hall for the big day Planning a wedding is no small feat, as couples are faced with many decisions seemingly from the moment they get engaged right up until they walk down the aisle as man and wife. One of the biggest decisions a couple will make is where to host the reception. Couples must consider a variety of factors when looking for the right banquet hall to host their reception. The wedding is a celebration, and the banquet hall is where the couple and their guests will let their hair down and hopefully enjoy a festive and memorable night. Because the reception is typically the most lengthy portion of a couple’s wedding day, it’s important to find a place where everyone can be

comfortable and enjoy themselves. The following are a few tips for couples looking to find the ideal banquet hall to host their wedding reception. • Ask around. Word-ofmouth is a great way to find the right banquet hall. Ask friends or family members who got hitched in the same town where your ceremony will be if they can recommend a reception site. These friends or family members can provide a behind-the-scenes look at a reception hall, from how accommodating the staff was to how flexible the banquet hall was with regard to pricing to how open the staff was to suggestions. Wedding planning isn’t easy, so if friends, family members or coworkers recom-

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(NewsUSA) – Getting engaged is a very personal and intimate experience for a couple. But for many guys, the purchase of the engagement ring can be a bit overwhelming. Color, clarity, cut, carat weight – there’s a lot to consider! But by understanding the basics of diamonds and keeping the future bride in mind, guys can find the process of selecting a ring much less daunting. Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Craiger Drake of Craiger Drake Designs offers the following tips to help men select a ring that their bride will love: Know the 4Cs. Men should always consider the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of a diamond. Color and clarity, less commonly understood, are critical to the quality of the stone. Choose a diamond valued higher on both the color and clarity grading scales to limit the presence of color and unwanted inclusions. Carat and cut, on the other hand, are personal preferences. Keep the bride’s personality in mind to select a size and a shape that will complement her style. Get certified. To guarantee the diamond’s authenticity and quality, be sure to purchase a diamond that is certified from the Gemological Institute of America. The diamond’s certificate outlines all the individual characteristics of the stone, including the 4Cs, serving as proof of the diamond’s identity and value. Be unique. For many women, an engagement ring is their most treasured piece of jewelry, so it’s important that it is special and unique. A rose gold band or colored side stones, for example, can accent a traditional ring with a touch of color. To personalize the piece further, consider custom designing a one-of-a-kind ring tailored to the bride’s individual style. A final piece of advice: Remember what the ring signifies. “With so much to bear in mind, it can be easy to lose the romance of selecting an engagement ring,” said Drake. “Although it is valuable to know the basics of a diamond, what’s most important is for men to remember the reason they’re buying it.” For more information on Craiger Drake Designs’ jewelry collection, including engagement rings, please visit www.craigerdrake. com.

Paul E. and Marlene (Ronko) Shaffer Oliveburg September 6, 1954

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Tips for writing your own wedding vows A wedding is a once-in-alifetime event for many couples, so brides and grooms wish for the event to be momentous and memorable. As such, couples are increasingly integrating personal nuances into their ceremonies and receptions to tailor weddings to their unique visions. The desire to include personalized wedding vows continues to be a popular trend. If you are considering personalized wedding vows, first realize that it may not be a simple task. That’s because you want the message conveyed to be dear to your heart, and that can be challenging when faced with the pressures and planning of the rest of the wedding. That isn’t to say that writing your own vows is impossible. Here are some guidelines for personalizing your ceremony with your own sentiments. • Schedule time for writing. Amid the bustle of dress fittings and interviews with photographers, it can be easy to put off the important task of writing vows for another day. But as any great writer can attest, it takes writing – and rewriting – to achieve a finished product you can be proud of. Give the task of writing your vows your undivided attention. Mark it in on your calendar or set a reminder on your computer just as you would any other appointment. • Be aware of ceremony guidelines. It is best to check with your officiant and confirm that personalized wedding vows are allowed. During civil ceremonies it’s often acceptable to customize vows as you see fit. However, during religious ceremonies there may be lines of scripture that need to be read or certain passages required. Before you spend hours working on the task, be sure that it is allowed and that your spouse and you are on the

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same page. • Jot down your feelings. Answer some questions about what marriage means to you and how you feel about your spouse. Try to avoid trite sayings and think from your heart and personal experiences. Think about what is the most important thing you want to promise to your future partner. These notes can serve as the starting points for the actual vows. • Read inspirational writings. Perhaps there is an author or a poet who inspires you? You can quote certain writers in your vows or let the tone of their works help shape the words of your vows. There also are suggested wedding readings and other quotes about marriage readily available at the library or with a quick search online. • Decide on a tone. Although the day is based on love and affection, you may not feel comfortable spouting words of adoration in front of friends and family. Feel free to tap into your unique personality. Humor can be used if it aligns with the way you normally express your affections. Be sure to weave this tone into more traditional passages to create a cohesive expression of your feelings.

• Establish an outline. Put together all of the words and phrases you’ve jotted down into an outline to help you organize the flow of the vows, using these words as a blueprint for the vows and building upon them. Make sure the vows will be concise. Aim for your entire speech to be around one minute in length to keep everyone engaged and the ceremony moving along. • Put everything together. Draft your vows and then practice them by reading out loud. You want to avoid long sentences or anything that trips you up. Although large words may sound impressive, they could make the vows seem too academic and not necessarily heartfelt. Enlist the help of a friend or two to act as your audience to see if the vows sound good and are easily understandable. Writing your own vows can be a way to include personal expressions of love into a couple’s wedding day. Public speaking is seldom easy, nor is finding the perfect words to convey feelings about a future spouse. However, with some practice and inspiration, anyone can draft personalized vows.

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16 - Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013

A guy’s guide to finding the perfect engagement ring


‘Green’ ideas for winter-white weddings online services that not only help you create an e-vite, but send it and monitor responses all online. Using such a service can help you keep better track of RSVPs. There is the option of sending invitations printed on recycled paper with flower seeds imbedded in the paper. Your guests can plant the invitation in their garden, and remember your special occasion every time they see the beautiful flowers growing. Visit www. greenfieldpaper.com to learn more. The little things that mean a lot Some other steps that may seem small – like choosing locally grown, in-season flowers rather than out-of-season ones that must be imported – can also make a big difference in how your wedding impacts the environment. Whether you opt to replace cut bouquets and centerpieces with artificial ones that can be reused, or choose acoustic music that requires no electricity to keep guests dancing, it’s possible to find green options for almost every aspect of your wedding.

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in your special day, but many popular items are made from less-than-eco-friendly materials. To green your wedding, consider favors that are useful and organic, such as organic baking mixes or spice mixes. You can find a plethora of these greattasting, green-minded options from purveyors like Simply Organic. They even have holiday-appropriate varieties like Cranberry Bread and Pumpkin Cake at www.simplyorganic. com. Dress up favors with decorative netting and ribbons, and you have a unique favor that’s good for guests and the environment, too. Greener invitations The invitation is often the first impression guests will have of your wedding. While every bride wants invitations that will wow guests, keep in mind the costs – both monetary and environmental – of all that paper. Many eco-minded brides are switching to invitations made with recycled paper or, better yet, electronic invitations. No raw materials are consumed to create e-vites, and what’s more, you can find

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Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013 - 17

(BPT) – You’re ready to say your “I do’s” in front of your family and friends. Planning a memorable celebration of your commitment to each other, however, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your commitment to the environment. It’s possible to create the wedding of your dreams and stay “green,” even in the cold, white months of winter. Environmentally correct weddings are a hot trend, according to TheKnot.com, a leading wedding-planning website. If your vision of the perfect wedding marries eco-friendly green with winter white, here are some tips and ideas to help you turn your vision into reality: Friendly feasting Great food is an essential part of any wedding, whether you’re serving a sit-down dinner or just hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. When you’re planning your menu, however, keep in mind how the foods you choose may impact the environment. For example, is that fish entree net caught, line caught or farmed? A dish’s environmental impact depends on several factors, including how the product was raised and harvested, how it was transported and how far it had to travel from point of origin to plate. By choosing locally grown products or those grown and harvested using sustainable practices, you can reduce your wedding feast’s impact on the environment. Reuse, recycle and revel Brides in bygone generations once gladly wore their mother’s wedding dress, but the practice fell out of vogue as more brides wanted their own unique look for their wedding day. But the green movement has breathed new life into the practice, since reusing and recycling eliminates the need to consume materials and energy making something new. More brides are finding that recycling a wedding dress has other advantages too. It’s possible to achieve a great vintage look with a used wedding dress – whether it’s one handed down from your mother or one you found in a second-hand store. A new gown can cost thousands of dollars, while a repurposed dress can be had much more cheaply. Wedding favor wonders Sure it’s a cool idea and the groomsmen will likely use theirs often, but just how environmentally correct is that custom-imprinted beer cozy? Wedding favors are a way of thanking guests for sharing

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Jack Crossman and Martha Elizabeth (Benson) Emhoff Punxsutawney November 28, 1942 The couple recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

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How to save money REED BROTHERS, LLC on the wedding cake Tool, Equipment and Party Rentals price tags. Furthermore, the time that goes into baking and then intricately decorating the cake adds up to quite a bit of labor. For couples who prefer not to spend too much on a cake, there are ways to save money and still savor a delicious dessert. • Ask a local bakery or restaurant if the pastry chef will create your wedding cake. Oftentimes, bakers who do not specialize in wedding cakes will make a cake at a much lower cost than bakeries known for their wedding cakes. If you adore a dessert at a particular restaurant, ask to have it duplicated. • Commission an amateur baker, such as a friend or family member, to make your

Kenneth A. and Stella “Sis” (Bish) Shaffer Punxsutawney July 8, 1972 High school sweethearts, the couple recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

cake. There are many budding cake artists out there, several of which have the cursory skills to create a delicious and aesthetically appealing cake. Friends or family members may even make the cake for little or no cost. • Keep decorations and flavors to a minimum. The more embellishments and designs you put on the cake, the more expensive it will be. Stick to the basics, and the cake won’t cost as much. • Look into culinary schools in your area. A student pastry chef may be able to produce a cake for you at a fraction of the cost of what an established baker may charge. This saves you money and the student can use your cake as part of his or her portfolio. • Skip the tiered cake. Tiered cakes require careful stacking and engineering. Also, if the tiers themselves are made of crystal or another expensive material, it could inflate the cost of the cake. Choose a lower-profile cake to save money. • Serve guests from a sheet cake. Some couples opt to have a dummy cake on display or just a small cake for cutting purposes, and then have waitstaff serve from a simple sheet cake. Guests rarely recognize the difference. • Shop at a warehouse center. Warehouse centers often have an in-store bakery capable of producing cakes for large crowds. These cakes can be delicious and inexpensive. As long as you don’t advertise where you bought the cake, there’s a good chance no one will be able to detect a discounted cake. • Choose ready-made cakes and stack them yourself. Find a bakery near you that keeps a constant supply of specialty cakes in their display cases. Purchase 2 to 3 cakes of the same variety and find cake pedestals from a party or craft store. Embellish the tiers with a few fresh flowers and you have a tiered cake for a minimal cost. • Think about an alternative to cake. Tarts, pies, cream puffs, and other culinary creations may be more affordable and just as delicious as a lavish cake.

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18 - Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013

A wedding cake is a crowning finale to a momentous wedding day. Couples spend hundreds of dollars on tiered confectionary creations, which provide great photo opportunities and even better desserts. Though a wedding cake is a traditional component of wedding celebrations, professional bakers may charge anywhere from $2 to $6 per guest for the average cake. That could mean spending upwards of $900 for a cake to feed 150 guests. There are many reasons why cakes may be so expensive. For instance, the equipment used to bake cakes does not come cheaply. Ingredients, such as butter, high-quality flours, chocolate, real vanilla, and others tend to have high


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Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013 - 19

Calligraphy, embossing, fonts, watermarks – these and other terms are finely engrained in the wedding stationery lexicon. While traditionalists may pore over carefully crafted invitations and other stationery products from commercial printers, couples looking to rein in wedding spending may choose to take a more hands-on approach to wedding invitations ... by printing the invites themselves. Before the advent of sophisticated home computer systems and affordable desktop printers, brides- and grooms-to-be had to rely on professional printers and engravers. The process of producing wedding invitations likely involved printing plates or some form of thermography and took place in a building replete with bulky equipment and the pungent aroma of ink. Though formal and often exquisitely executed, these wedding invitations can still prove quite expensive. The Bridal Association of America says that the average cost of professionally produced wedding invitations is $659. This refers to invitations that have printed envelopes, reply cards, and printer reply card envelopes. Changes in design or even the color of the text can impact prices further. It is not unheard of to spend as much as $2,000 for high-quality engraved wedding invitations. Considering the invitation is held for a short period of time and then tossed away, some couples cannot imagine spending so much on invitations. In such instances, making your own invitations may be the most affordable option. As the evolution of homebased printing has broadened the possibilities of do-it-yourself printing, couples who hope to design and produce their own wedding invitations have many options at their disposal. Pre-Made Kits A visit to a stationery store or even the local craft retailer should present shoppers with several different wedding invitation kits. These packages often include blank invitations, response cards, envelopes and other embellishments pertaining to the invitation design. Some can be quite elaborate, with the inclusion of vellum or card inserts, as well as die-cut designs. Couples who want control over the wording and printing but

would rather leave the creative design to someone else can benefit from these invitation kits. They also tend to be affordably priced in comparison to a professional printing service. Crafty Card-Making Interest in scrapbooking and card-making has spurred craft centers to stock many different materials that can be used to design wedding invitations. Layering different types of paper to create a three-dimensional effect and using embellishments such as rhinestones or ribbon can help dress up the wedding invitation. Couples hosting a casual wedding for a small number of guests may enjoy the process of hand-crafting wedding invitations and possibly customizing them for each guest. Intimate affairs lend themselves well to this level of personalization, and handmade invitations could set the cozy tone of the celebration. Graphic Design Work Couples who have a creative spark may want to draw up their own invitation design or look for the assistance of an artist or graphic designer. There are many different programs that employ the use of clip art and stock imagery that can be put to use with regard to invita-

tions. Those who have a cursory knowledge of some design applications can import text and images and manipulate the size of their templates accordingly for the type of invitation they desire. The finished file then can be printed at home or brought to an office supply center for more professional results. Digital Services The Internet has brought many services right into the homes of the average person. Discount invitation printing vendors abound and couples can choose and customize everything they want on their invitations. Due to low overhead costs and an abundance of customers, these online retailers are often priced lower than other venues. Depending on how much control the couple desires over the invitation, there may be ready-made templates or the ability to pick items “ a la carte.” The opportunities to create wedding invitations at home enables some budget-conscious couples to keep costs for stationery at a minimum. Not only does making their own invitations save money, it also enables couples to have more creative control over one of the important components of a wedding that helps set the tone for the occasion.

Have your private party, seminar or wedding in our Vine Room Banquet Facility!

W indgate

Vineyards & Winery

Smicksburg, PA

NoW FiVe locatioNs to seRVe you • Winery • Indiana Mall • Downtown Smicksburg • Pittsburgh Mills • Downtown Ridgway

814-257-8797

www.windgatevineyards.com windgatewine@windstream.net

B

TWO RECEPTION AREAS AVAILABLE

Front Room Back Room Great for Seats up to 500. Meetings, Small Receptions, Showers, Parties & More!

Beautiful Location & Building with Ample Room & Parking for Any Size Event!

Private Setting ~ Now Booking for Parties, Weddings, Showers and More THE

1017 Reynoldsville/Falls Creek Road

ELLAMAURO Be a guest at your own occasion. We do all the set up and clean up!

www.bellamauro.net

1/2 mile outside Reynoldsville

653-8084 or 590-0983

Family Dentistry Dunkel between you and the weather

Roofing

“Quality Roofing Since 1896”

Gary and Marla (Divins) Coccimiglio Punxsutawney May 5, 1973 1970 graduates of DuBois High School, the couple’s first date was at a Punxsy/DuBois football game.

• COMMERCIAL • INDUSTRIAL • RESIDENTIAL Punxsutawney

938-9520

- new PAtients welCome -

P. timothy smatlak, DmD Amy Peace Gigliotti, DmD Ronald walker, DmD

• Participating with Blue shield-Delta & Discount Plan Plus • insurance Plans Accepted • Handicapped Access • emergency treatment • evening Appts. Available • Parking Available

938-8554 • 938-5800

203 Clearfield Avenue, Punxsutawney


We’ll take care of the before and after,

so you can enjoy the in-between. RAGLEY’S HARDWARE 248 N. Findley Street Punxsutawney, PA 15767 814-938-4510

©2013 by True Value® Company. All rights reserved.

Find the right products for your project and expert advice at True Value.

20 - Celebrations, The Punxsutawney Spirit & Jefferson County Neighbors, February 2013

Reserve early for your event.


Celebrations