A Resource Guide For Grundy Area Brides
Save-the-date cards inform guests that a wedding is on the horizon
Roles of the best man and maid of honor Tips for a great best man and maid of honor
Determining if a destination wedding is for you Not for every couple
Simple ways to save on your wedding And Much, Much More
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Save-the-date Card Etiquette
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-thedate 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-the-date cards at the same time you choose your wedding invitations. This way you can ensure
that either the patterns, fonts, colors, or style of the cards will match. It will also help convey the tone of the wedding. Guests often take their cues regarding the level of formality of the wedding from the type of stationery couples choose. When to send out the save-the-date announcements is important as well. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to mail out the cards 6 months in advance for a standard wedding. If the wedding requires travel or extended overnight accommodations, you may want to mail them out 8 months to a year in advance to give guests the time to investigate flight costs and hotel arrangements. A wedding also may necessitate planning a vacation or personal time off from work. Therefore, ample advanced notice is advisable. Be sure to make your guest list in advance of sending out save-the-date cards. Everyone who receives a card should also be sent an invitation prior to the wedding. Remember to include any members of your planned wedding party in the list of recipients. Just because a person has verbally confirmed attendance at your wedding doesn’t mean they
Save-the-date cards inform guests that a wedding is on the horizon, making it easier to arrange travel plans.
should be excluded from subsequent announcements. Guests may talk to one another and it is best to avoid hurt feelings and any added drama before the wedding by treating everyone equally. Be sure to include the wedding date, your names and the location of the wedding on the save-the-date cards. 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-thedate card is the actual invitation. Also, make sure you address the save-the-date cards correctly to show your intentions with respect to guest invites. For example, be clear about whether children will be invited and whether a boyfriend/girlfriend or another guest can tag along. Although save-the-date cards are not a necessity, they have become a popular part of wedding planning to eliminate confusion about invitations as well as help guests plan time off for your wedding.
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How to find the right banquet hall for your 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-of-mouth 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 recommend a hassle-free banquet hall, that recommendation can remove a lot of the stress from planning a wedding. • Consider the size of the facility. Some couples prefer an intimate affair with relatively few guests, while others will desire a large wedding party with
lots of guests. Couples can find a banquet hall that’s capable of catering to small or large wedding parties, but find one that fits your party specifically. If your wedding party is small, then avoid a larger facility that will appear empty. If the party is large, make sure there’s adequate room so guests won’t feel like they’re sitting on top of one another during dinner and dessert. • Don’t downplay decor. A banquet hall with an attractive decor is not only aesthetically appealing but can appeal to a couple’s finances as well. Such a hall likely won’t need any additional decorations, while a banquet hall that’s unadorned and lacks embellishments will, and those decorations can dip into a couple’s overall wedding budget. Compare the costs of the more decorated banquet hall with the one that’s more plain in appearance, factoring in the cost to decorate the latter, and you might just realize the one with more aesthetic appeal is more affordable in the long run. • Prioritize privacy. Few couples would be open to strangers having easy access to their wedding reception. When shopping for a banquet hall, look for one that gives you and your guests all the privacy you need. Many couples have taken to hosting the entire ceremony at a hotel, which may handle the bulk of the planning and remove the hassle of transportation for out-of-town guests. However, couples considering a hotel should look for one that can promise privacy from other guests at the hotel who aren’t there for the wedding. The reception room should be secluded from the rest of the hotel so other guests walking by aren’t tempted to walk in on the festivities. — Metro Creative Connection
The banquet hall is where couples can expect to spend most of their time on their wedding day, so couples should exercise their due diligence to ensure they find an inviting and festive facility.
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Your Wedding Every moment. Every detail.
Roles of the best man and maid of honor 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.
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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 groom-to-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. — Metro Creative Connection
Tips for a great best man toast
Here’s to you
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 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 attended their fair share of wedding receptions no 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 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 Lane in favor of a toast that thoughtfully cuts to the chase and lets everyone get back to celebrating. • Spin a yarn. While it’s important to be brief, don’t be so brief that no one at the reception learns about your relationship to the groom. Share a humorous anecdote from your mutual past to illustrate the type of relationship you and the groom share with one another. This story should have an element of humor but don’t include anything too embarrassing, and all ex-girlfriends should be considered off-limits. • Congratulate the couple. Because nerves play such a significant part in many best man toasts, it can be easy to forget to congratulate both the bride and groom. Don’t just toast the groom at the end of your best man speech; toast his new bride as well. — Metro Creative Connection
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Creating a wedding registry now easier than ever While many once popular wedding traditions might have fallen by the wayside, many others have withstood the test of time. One tradition that has endured is the wedding registry, which is designed to help wedding guests find the right gift for the couple of honor. Thanks in large part to the Internet, it’s now easier than ever before to set up a registry. Couples can do so entirely via the Web or visit their favorite store or stores and use a hand-held scanner to add items to their registry. But even though registries are easy to set up, it might help couples to consider a few tips before they start clicking or scanning away. • Register with multiple merchants. Couples can help guests out by registering with multiple merchants. Doing so gives guests more options and increases the likelihood that guests can find the store. When choosing merchants, try to choose national stores that guests can access regardless of where they live. • Don’t assume all guests are tech-savvy. While the Web has made setting up and accessing a registry easier for couples and guests alike, it’s safe to assume your guest list will include one or two holdouts who have never before shopped online. Because of that, couples should still register with a brick-and-mortar store instead of only registering online. • Read the fine print. Some online retailers are kinder than others. When establishing an online registry, examine the retailer’s policy thoroughly to be sure it does not include substantial service
charges or exorbitant shipping fees. Guests should not be penalized for their generosity. • Vary the options within the registry. When adding items to the registry, be sure to include items that everyone can afford. Especially nowadays, when many weddings host guests from far and wide, it’s ideal to include lots of affordable items. That way guests who have already spent considerable money Technology has made it easier than ever for couples to set up their getting to the wedding wedding registries. won’t have to break the bank even further to gift the bride- and groom-to- couples live together before they get married, and be. as a result, they might not need some of the more As for high-end items, keep those to a minimum. common household items like cookware, linens or Parents, siblings or other especially close relatives home furnishings. Couples who already have stocked might ask to buy those items before you even es- cupboards and linen closets might want to consider a tablish the registry. But it is important to include at honeymoon registry, which allows guests to donate least a few expensive items, as some guests might money toward the couple’s honeymoon. Guests can pool their resources and buy these gifts, saving you donate money or pay for certain activities the couple money while giving them the satisfaction that you can enjoy while getting away from it all. got something you might not have been able to af- Wedding registries have evolved, making it easier ford after paying for the wedding. than ever before for couples to set up a registry their • Set up a honeymoon registry. Many of today’s guests can access.— Metro Creative Connection
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Put a comfortable foot forward at your wedding Some say shoes make the woman, but if they’re uncomfortable, shoes very well may break the woman -- especially at a wedding. From the bride to the guests, choosing the wrong shoes could sideline you from dancing or cause pain through the night. A smarter step is to put just as much thought into the shoes you will wear as you will into other parts of your wardrobe. Unless you’re wont to go anywhere without high heels, your feet may be unaccustomed to them for long durations of time. At a wedding, where it’s all about mingling and dancing, comfort should be considered just as much as style. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo an attractive shoe just for something comfortable. It’s pos-
sible to have the best of both worlds. Here are some considerations. • Wedge heels: Unlike other types of heels that put the brunt of the pressure on the ball of the foot, wedge heels distribute body weight evenly throughout the foot. Therefore, you might find these are some of the most comfortable types of heels around. Designers make them in all styles, including more formal versions perfect for weddings and other special events. • Ballet pumps: Ballet pumps, once made famous by style icon Audrey Hepburn, can be worn with skirts or slacks. Their low profile helps keep feet comfortable, and they may come as flats or with a tiny heel. Embellished with bows, flowers or
ribbons, these shoes will dress up any outfit. • Sandals: Particularly for warm-weather events, sandals can be quite comfortable and fashionable. Giving a peek of toe and ankle can be just as sexy as stilettos, without the pain. • Flip-flops: Many brides choose to don flipflops under their gowns simply because they can be so comfortable. Flip-flops needn’t be the run-ofthe-mill rubber kind found in the discount bin. They can be dressed up to match your gown or purchased with gemstones and other decor already attached. • For those who prefer heels for photo ops and looking fabulous, consider bringing along a change of shoes just in case foot pain flares up later in the evening.— Metro Creative Connection
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25055 W. Walnut Lane, Channahon (Located near I-80 and I-55) www.morrisdailyherald.com • Bridal Guide 2013 9
Destination weddings can make for a beautiful ceremony, but such weddings are not for every couple.
Determining if a destination wedding is for you
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 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, issues. 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 very accessible, that can make these pre-wed-
10 Bridal Guide 2013 • www.morrisdailyherald.com
ding 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.
Tips for selecting wedding day flowers 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 inseason 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. • It is possible to make your own centerpieces or bouquets if you so desire. Simplicity will work best for the novice. Think about grouping similar-hued 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.— Metro Creative Connection
www.morrisdailyherald.com • Bridal Guide 2013 11
Wedding day transportation tips When paring down the guest list for their wedding day, many couples come to the realization that their lists are loaded with out-of-town friends and family members. Though out-of-town guests who accept an invitation to the wedding are responsible for their own travel to the wedding destination, many couples feel obligated to arrange for travel to and from the wedding as well as the reception. The latter is especially important, as couples want to ensure their guests make it home safely once the reception ends. Transportation for guests to and from the wedding and reception is something couples can easily overlook, but such arrangements can ensure guests are on time for the ceremony and that no guest has to worry about whether or not it’s safe to drive home after the reception. Couples who don’t know where to begin with regard to transportation for their wedding guests might want to start with the following tips. • Shop around for shuttle service. Shuttle service can be costly, but it’s also very convenient. Couples can arrange for shuttle service from the hotel to the wedding, and then from the wedding site to the banquet hall where the reception is being held, and finally from the reception site back to the hotel at the end of the night. Depending on the size of the wedding party, the shuttle service will likely recommend staggering the runs so every guest can take advantage of this convenient service. More runs will be necessary for larger parties, while a
handful of runs is likely all that’s necessary for ceremonies with fewer guests. • Consider a bus for smaller parties. Couples without an extensive guest list may also be able to get by with a single bus to get guests around throughout the day. A bus will provide similar service as a series of shuttles. The bus will likely only pick up guests at one specific time, making it an ideal choice for smaller parties but less convenient for larger parties where some guests might want to retire earlier than others come the end of the night. A bus can be more fun for guests, who can reunite on the bus with others they have not seen in a while or make new friends with guests who might be affiliated with the other half of the wedding party. • Discuss transportation with the hotel where guests will be staying. Some couples may find that a shuttle service or another transportation option will stretch their budget too thin. In such instances, speak with the hotel where guests will be staying. Some hotels provide airport shuttle service to guests, and may be able to offer a similar service to the wedding for guests who register their rooms under the wedding party’s name. This may come at a fee, but compare the cost of arranging transportation with the hotel versus a private shuttle service. The former might be more affordable than the latter. Even if the hotel cannot provide shuttle service, the concierge or front desk staff may be able to point in the right direction regarding an affordable shuttle
service. This can be especially valuable to couples having a destination wedding who don’t know the area very well. • Get the details spelled out in writing. Like all aspects of planning a wedding, make sure you get the nuts and bolts of the transportation package in writing before writing any checks. This should include the minimum hours the company will be available for guests as well as if there are any charges related to total mileage traveled. In addition, make sure the agreement clearly spells out how many drivers will be available. Note when shuttles to the ceremony and the ensuing reception will run, as well as how frequently shuttles will be available to guests once the reception begins, and when the last shuttle will leave the reception site at the end of the night. Before signing any agreements, research the company to ensure all of its drivers are properly licensed. • Inform the guests. Of course, the guests will need to be informed of the transportation arrangements upon checking into the hotel. Don’t assume you will see each guest before the ceremony, as some may not be making it into town until the morning of your wedding day, when you will likely be too busy to meet with them. So be sure to include transportation instructions in the welcome packages guests will receive when they check into the hotel. Consult with hotel staff a day or two before your wedding to ensure those packages are ready to go and that the correct transportation information is included.
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Children in a wedding means no kidding A wedding is a joyous event that couples want to share with as many people as possible. Couples commonly ask family and friends to take part in the ceremony as ushers, bridesmaids or readers. Before enlisting the help of a child to fill such roles, couples should carefully consider whether a youngster is capable of participating in the wedding ceremony or if he or she may not be up to the task. Millions of people tuned into the British Royal wedding in April. Among the participants were six young children. The Hon. Margarita ArmstrongJones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer, and Master William Lowther-Pinkerton were bridesmaids and pages in attendance. The children were as young as three years old and as old as 10. Although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were confident enough in the kids’ maturity to include them, reportedly some measures were taken to keep the tots in line. For instance, Prince Henry reportedly delighted little Eliza Lopes with a pink “wiggly worm” so she wouldn’t be frightened by the crowds. Said wiggly worm actually made it into the official group bridal photo, being clutched by Miss Lopes. Couples worrying about all the little details of their own weddings may not want to fret about kiddie meltdowns or the bloopers that can occur when kids act like kids. Each child’s personal maturity level should be considered before enlisting their help. There are some other strategies
to use as well. • Young children serving as flower girls or ring bearers should be able to walk down the aisle without coaxing. If they cannot handle this task, then they should not be asked to take part in the wedding. • Should children prove competent to walk down the aisle unattended, couples can have them then make their way to the seats next to their parents, rather than awkwardly standing with the rest of the bridal party for the ceremony. • An minimum age requirement for wedding participants might be a good idea. A child age 5 or up may be able to appreciate the importance of the event. • Consult with the pastor or offi ciant of the ceremony. The ceremony location may have rules governing children in the ceremony. •All people who have participated in the ceremony will be invited to the reception. If couples decide to have a kids-free party, then reconsider children in the ceremony. • Think about another role for a young child that
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will not disrupt the proceedings. Perhaps he or she can help hand out birdseed or small bottles of bubbles to use when the couple has finished their vows. Or give children disposable cameras and allow them to capture a kids’-eye view of the wedding. • Couples who choose to have children participate in the ceremony have to realize that there is the potential for slip-ups. Keeping an open mind and some patience can make for some memorable moments and a little humor as well.
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Origins of bridal customs
A wedding cake once symbolized fertility for the happy couple.
Chances are those who have attended a wedding have witnessed some popular traditions take place. The bride wears a veil, a court of wedding attendants accompanies the bride and groom, and birdseed, rice or flower petals are tossed. But have you ever wondered why? The wedding customs are ripe with tradition and harken back to days when superstition and myth often ruled the day. • Throwing rice: Today it has become de rigueur to blow bubbles, toss birdseed or release doves when the bride and groom leave the house of worship newly betrothed. That’s because savvy individuals found that raw rice can pose a hazard to birds pecking in the area. However, rice throwing is an old custom that dates back to the Middle Ages, when wheat or rice where thrown to symbolize fertility for the couple. • Bouquet: Nowadays, the bride carries a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But the purpose of the bouquet held different meanings in the past. Saracen brides carried orange blossoms for fertility. Others carried a combination of herbs and flowers to ward off evil spirits with their aroma. Bouquets of dill were often carried, again for fertility reasons, and after the ceremony, the dill was eaten to encourage lust. • Bridesmaids: There may be arguments over dresses and how many bridesmaids to have in a wedding party now, but in ancient times it was “the
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more the merrier.” That’s because bridesmaids were another measure to keep the bride safe against evil spirits. Essentially the bridesmaids were decoys for the spirits -- dressing like the bride to confuse the spirits or maybe help deter them to leave the bride be. • Wedding rings: Wearing of wedding rings dates back to ancient Egypt. The round shape of a ring symbolizes eternal love. The ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it is believed this finger has a blood vessel that goes directly to the heart. • Wedding cake: The traditional wedding cake evolved from Roman times when the cake was originally made from wheat. It was broken over the bride’s head to ensure fertility. All of the guests eat a piece for good luck. Single women used to place a piece of wedding cake under their pillows in the hopes of finding their own husbands. • Father accompanying the bride: This tradition symbolizes that the bride’s father endorses the choice in husbands and is presenting his daughter as a pure bride to that man. • Kissing the bride: In older times, a kiss symbolized a legal bond. Therefore, the bride and groom kissed to seal the deal on their betrothal. • There are many traditions surrounding a wedding that people simply accept. But understanding their origins can make the ceremony more meaningful.
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Origins of the term
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.
It has become tradition for married couples to jet off on a post-wedding vacation. This honeymoon is a way for the bride and groom to enjoy quiet time together and start off their married life together on an intimate level. Although the word “honeymoon” has happy connotations today, the original meanings of the word may not be so blissful. There are varying accounts of the evolution of the word “honeymoon,” but many believe it to be a Norse tradition deriving from the word “hjunottsmanathr.” Northern European history describes women being abducted from their families and forced into marriage with a man from a neighboring village. This husband would take his new bride into hiding and stay there for a while until it was certain the bride’s family had given up the hunt and retreated. It was also tradition for Scandinavian couples to drink a sweet, honey-infused wine known as mead for a month after getting married. This may be where the “honey,” for the sweet drink, and the”moon,” for the one-month period of time, originated. Others say “honeymoon” refers to a sarcastic quip that a marriage starts out sweet as honey, but then wanes much as the moon will each cycle.
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Simple ways to save on your wedding
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 cou-
ples 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 ever-changing, 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. 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. Accord-
ing 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 off-season. 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. • Trim your beverage budget. The bar tab at the end of the reception can be considerable, but there are ways to save money while ensuring your guests can still toast you and yours with a few libations. Rather than offering a full bar, limit the choices to beer and wine, which will be perfectly acceptable to most guests anyway. In addition, rather than paying the caterer for the wine, buy your own and you’ll save a considerable amount of money. You may have to pay the caterer a fee to pour the wine, but that fee is negligible compared to what you’d pay the company to provide the wine.
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Secrets to a long and happy marriage
Couples who have stayed married for decades often put each other first and share a mutual respect. Britney Spears dissolved a marriage after 55 hours and Kim Kardashian called it quits after 72 days. It seems even money can’t buy matrimonial happiness. But some couples have been together for 50, 60 years and say they’re still as much in love as they were the day they spoke their “I dos.” What do they know that others do not? According to clinical psychologist and relationship guru Dr. Phil McGraw, “We all need to be flexible and to compromise in marriage, but you’ve got to be true to your core traits and characteristics, what I call your authentic self.” Some couples enter a relationship projecting a persona they believe the other person wants -- one that really isn’t what they’re all about. This could be a woman trying to fill the role of her husband’s nurturing mom or a guy playing the protector to his wife. In reality, marriage is more of a partnership, and truth and trust are often at the basis of good marriages. There are many other “secrets” that marriage experts will offer to couples seeking the magic formula. Whether you’re pondering marriage or have already tied the knot, consider the following advice to make a marriage endure for the long haul. • There’s no such thing as the perfect marriage. Some couples create an image of what they think marriage is supposed to be, and that image that often goes “poof ” once reality sets in. Even soulmates are bound to frustrate or irritate one another from time to time. • Couples should express their frustrations. Bottling up frustrations can eat at a person and eventually destroy a marriage. Talking about the things that are bothering you with your partner opens up a discussion and can help you work through things. • Divorce should not be seen as a viable option. Couples who want to bail on the marriage at every turn could be directing their energy toward divorce as the only solution instead of discovering ways to remove the cause of strife. Divorce can sometimes be the easy way out when you think about the work that goes into keeping a marriage working. Experts say that there are a few issues, like adultery, abuse and drug/alcohol addiction, that may be reasonable catalysts for divorce if personal safety and sanity is being compromised. • Make time for romance. It’s easily said but not so easily done. Too often married couples forget what it was like to date when all of their attention was
spent on each other instead of the house, kids, work, etc. Today there seems to be even more distractions, from e-mails to texts to pressure and obligations at the office. Happy couples find the time to spend quality time with their spouses — even if that’s only 10 minutes of alone time a day. • Put “we” first. Many people operate on a “me” mentality. When you’re part of a couple, give more to your spouse than you take. If he or she is doing the same, you’re working collectively for the benefit of the marriage instead of yourselves. • Respect each other. Often couples having troubles realize they treat strangers better than they treat each other. Would use the insults or unflattering terms that you sometimes throw at your spouse with a complete stranger? Probably not. Good marriages are based on a foundation of respect and love. It’s easy to lose feelings of love if the respect is gone. • Couples can realize that there are some thorns that come with the roses of marriage, and staying happy together does take work for it to all be worth it.
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What not to serve at a wedding Couples often fret over what to serve their guests at the reception, and rightfully so. Reception costs can comprise a majority of the wedding-day budget. When spending $100 or more per guest, you want to ensure you’re getting what you paid for and that guests enjoy what they’re eating. Filet mignon may be a good choice, but steak tartare is probably best avoided. Find out which foods to avoid serving your wedding guests. • Exotic cuisine: You may be a risk taker when it comes to cuisine, but others may not share your zeal for exotic foods. Now is not the time to introduce guests to the wild and wacky. If you’ve seen an exotic dish on the Food Network or the Travel Channel, give it a try another time. • Anything on ﬁre: Why risk an accident for a spectacle? Baked alaska, cherries jubilee, apples flambe — these are foods that might provide a show, but the cost of that show may not be worth it in the end. • Raw food: Clams on the halfshell or sushigrade tuna may seem like good ideas, but keep in mind that it is hard to ensure quality when feeding 200 people at the same time. Foods that require special refrigeration or immediate service for freshness are best left for other occasions. Don’t risk food poisoning on a room full of people unless you want your wedding to be remembered for stomach cramps. • A long, sit-down meal: Two or three courses is fine, but if guests have to sit through a never-
ending parade of courses, that limits their ability to mingle and have a good time. • Anything too elaborate: The faster servers can get food out to guests the better. If they have to sit there piping mashed potato roses on dishes or assemble intricate canapes, the delay might not be worth the presentation. And remember, the more bells and whistles, the higher the price tag. • Fast food: This is your wedding, and you want the food to fit with the scale of the day. A formal wedding generally includes a formal meal. Although it may be alright to include some fast food inspired dishes at the cocktail buffet, steer clear of burgers and fries for the main meal. • Themed food: Don’t dye that baked po-
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tato purple because you want the wedding to be a plum-colored affair. Also, it’s best to avoid themed food, unless it is part of a cultural wedding or can be pulled off with class. It’s much easier to pass off crepes and croissants for a Parisian wedding than giant turkey legs and tankards of ale for a Renaissance-themed one. • No food at all: Whether your wedding is small or grand in scale, guests will expect some sort of food. Be sure to have some butler-passed hors d’oeuvres or some well-placed pickings for guests to grab while mingling. After all, they will need something to provide the energy to mingle and dance, and food can help buffer the effects of too many cocktails.
Popular love songs stand the test of time
There are many different ways to convey feelings of affection. Some people pen poetry, others bestow gifts, while still others feel moved by music and lyrics. Songs have long been a popular way to convey emotions, and love songs have been performed by artists from nearly every musical genre at some point in time. Although music is subjective, some love songs have stood out as fan favorites. Commonly featured at weddings or as the backdrop on romantic evenings, the following songs are considered some of the more popular love songs of all time. • “Love Theme From ‘A Star Is Born’” (Evergreen): This Barbara Streisand classic from the hit film helped Streisand earn both an Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture and Grammy Award for Song of the Year. • “Up Where We Belong”: Few people can forget the ending scene of “An Offi cer and a Gentleman” when Richard Gere sweeps Debra Winger off of her feet. The song “Up Where We Belong” by Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker from the movie will always be a romantic favorite.
• “All My Life”: Former Jodeci members K-Ci and JoJo created an enduring romantic song with this pop hit. • “Save the Best for Last”: This song became Vanessa William’s signature song and a smash hit. • “Be With You”: Soul singer Mary J. Blige emphasizes sticking with the one you love by being loyal. • “I Do It for You”: This Bryan Adams hit was nominated for an Oscar as the theme for the 1991 fi lm “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” • “I’ll Make Love to You”: This Boyz II Men song was one of the longest-running No. 1 hits of all time. • “Lovesong”: The Cure’s Robert Smith penned this song as a present to his wife, Mary, in 1988. • “Sweet Love”: Anita Baker’s soulful hit helped turn her from a budding R&B singer into a household name. • “Love Me Tender”: His good looks and gyrating hips helped thousands of women fall in love with Elvis Presley. However, this signature love song endeared the famed crooner to many others. • “My Heart Will Go On”: Celine Dion’s theme from “Titanic” became one of the most popular love songs of all time after the film’s 1997 debut. • “I’ll Stand by You”: This 1994 hit from The Pretenders can be interpreted as a song of romantic devotion or a commitment to friends. • “You Are So Beautiful”: Joe Cocker makes the list again with this soulful 1975 hit. • “Have I Told You Lately”: Originally written and recorded by Van Morrison, this song gained new life and notoriety when recorded by Rod Stewart. • “My Girl”: Beloved R&B group The Temptations deliver a song about sunshine on a cloudy day in this classic. • “I Will Always Love You”: Witten and performed by Dolly Parton, this song is perhaps most known for the version performed by Whitney Houston for the soundtrack of her 1992 film “The Bodyguard.”
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