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Weddings

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Finding the

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Tips for Including Your Dog in the Wedding Party

One Bride’s Day

Q&A: Ottawa woman shares details and advice from her wedding

What to consider when buying

The Dress

A PUBLICATION OF

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Inside this issue 3

HOW TO HANDLE RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY With preparation and perspective, a rainy ceremony won’t be a washout.

VENUES: THE SILVER FOX Streator’s historic building offers a blend of past and present for wedding receptions and photos.

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Metro Creative Service

Wedding party sizes are up to the couple, but bigger isn’t always better.

WEDDING PROFILE: WOJNA-THORNE A Q&A with Beata Thorne on her beautiful Ottawa ceremony.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING Starved Rock Country bridal shop owners share expert advice.

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FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE INCLUDING FIDO IN YOUR WEDDING Pets are absolutely members of your family — but consider temperament and the health of guests before giving Fido or Fluffy a role in the ceremony.

On the Cover Mike and Beata (Wojna) Thorne were married in October 2018 in Ottawa. Read about their wedding and Beata’s advice for brides-to-be on pages 7-11.

Brandy Swartz Photography

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Things to consider when choosing your wedding party Metro Creative Service Making the important decision to get married can fill couples with joy and excitement as they imagine spending the rest of their lives together. Naturally, bridesand grooms-to-be are anxious to share the good news with others and include family and friends in the festivities. One way couples exemplify inclusion is by asking their closest acquaintances to be part of their wedding parties. Being asked to serve as a bridesmaid or groomsman is an honor. Some couples may be tempted to ask every friend, sibling or cousin they have to be in their wedding parties, and some do. In fact, ancient Roman law required 10 witnesses to be part of the wedding ceremony. However, the larger the wedding party, the more people couples have to coordinate and the more personalities they must manage. While large wedding parties are in style, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all formula to decide which size party is right for a particular situation. Trends vary based on geography and culture. These tips can help couples decide on the size of their wedding parties. u Match it to scope and style. Wedding planners may use a standard ratio for a proportion of guests to wedding party members. That ratio

is one pair of wedding attendants for every 50 guests. This creates a balanced feel where the more people in attendance, the larger the wedding party and vice versa. u Consider your expenses. Wedding party members may be asked to spend considerable amounts of money to be in the wedding, but the couple will have certain expenses tied to the wedding party as well. These can include limousines to ferry people between the ceremony and reception, photography costs to arrange and photograph large wedding parties, the cost of boutonnieres and bouquets, attendants’ gifts, as well as extra mouths to feed at the rehearsal dinner. Small wedding parties can be easier on couples’ budgets. u Know your expectations. Couples should discuss what they expect from their wedding parties. Do couples want their loved ones to be very hands-on or waiting in the wings? For those who want a lot of input from their wedding parties, asking distant friends or family to be included may be impractical. u Select reliable, easygoing people. Wedding party members should be people couples can rely on, and it only helps if wedding party members are not prone to overreacting. Choose a wedding party that can be trusted and people with whom you get along.

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Weddings

The Times

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How to handle rain on your wedding day Metro Creative Service Brides and grooms fear the prospects of rainy wedding days. But even couples who have contended with everything from a few drops to an all-out deluge on their wedding days look back fondly on the ceremonies and receptions. In fact, how couples handle any precipitation can affect how happy the festivities may be. u Have a rainy day game plan. Rain affects outdoor weddings more than any other type of ceremony or reception. If the goal is to exchange vows outdoors, work with the venue to make this possible with a tent or gazebo. However, if the weather is especially foul and windy, move it indoors. u Invest in golf umbrellas. Couples who live in notoriously damp climates can purchase golf umbrellas, which tend to be larger than the average umbrella, and keep them stationed in decorated stands to ease transitions between wed-

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ding sites and keep everyone as dry as possible. u Wear waterproof cosmetics. Women in the bridal party, including the bride, can ask their makeup artists to use durable, waterproof products. This can help salvage beautifully composed looks should some drops begin to fall. u Know vendors’ rain policies. Some live musicians will not play in damp weather. Florists may need to make accommodations for arrangements blowing in the wind. Couples need to understand what they’re responsible for and what may be covered if a weather event occurs. Wedding insurance may help cover the costs of nonrefundable cancellations. u Move past it quickly. It is okay to get upset if the weather turns for the worse. But don’t dwell on it. Guests will sense negative energy, and couples should set the tone of sticking it through despite a little adversity — which can be

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Don’t let rain on a wedding day become a drag. With preparation and perspective, couples can handle rainy wedding days. a good lesson for the marriage as well. u Embrace the rain. While a couple probably won’t wish for rain, there are some benefits to overcast skies, say the wedding professionals at Brides mag-

azine. Flowers are less likely to wilt in rainy conditions. In the absence of bright sunlight, outdoor photographs can really pop. Rain is romantic and may compel couples and their guests to cuddle close.

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The Times

Venues

The Silver Fox

Contributed

The Silver Fox in Streator is an event venue that specializes in weddings. The historic brick building is a former Freemasons site.

Historic wedding venue offers a twist of glamour Kate Reynolds

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n abundance of wedding plans depend on the feel and look of the venue. For couples seeking a feel of history with a look of unexpeceted glamour, The Silver Fox in Streator could be the right fit.

THE HISTORY The brick structure, built in 1906, was home to the Streator Freemasonry for 100 years before the building was sold to a developer in 2006. At that time, to say the three-story building was in disrepair would be an understatement. Whatever building plans that developer had never came to fruition, so the building sat vacant for six years before it was bought and lovingly repaired to be opened as an event venue. “My family and I bought the build-

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ing in June of 2013,” said owner Bill Phelan. “We knew the restoration would be a labor of love. The roof was collapsed in two places and water just poured out of the cracked ceilings. So it took six months of work — and I mean intense work — to repair everything before we opened for business in November 2013. ... I love this building and the architectural details on every level is just incredible.”

WHAT THE VENUE HAS TO OFFER The Silver Fox, 122 N. Park St., Streator, features five main rooms, all beautifully decorated with historic and modern combinations that complement each other. While the venue has hosted proms, business meetings, birthday and private parties, its specialty is weddings. Phelan said they average anywhere from 60 to

70 weddings a year. “Choosing the venue and locking the wedding date is the first thing a couple should do,” said Kayla Phelan, event manager and Bill’s sisterin-law. Kayla has planned a range of weddings, some as far as two years in advance and others in as little as five weeks. The site isn’t only selected by local couples, either — she said bridal parties have traveled from both coasts, including Washington state and Washington, D.C. One couple came from Hawaii. The venue includes a sitting area with pillow-laden sofas and small tables. Large windows throughout offer views of Streator City Park. A few steps away, guests can have cocktails and conversation over a modern recycled glass bar. White walls accentuate the vintage hardwood flooring and wood details.

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Contributed

A lounge at The Silver Fox features a bar as well as a pool table.

Contributed

ABOVE: The Silver Fox’s sitting area features sofas, chairs and an ideal photo setting.

BELOW: The Silver Fox marries modern and historic decor. It’s one of Starved Rock Country’s premier wedding venues.

The ballroom/ceremony room is spacious with chandeliers — it’s one of the building’s prime spaces where guests can step into the past. “The room is a wonderful combination of wood,” Phelan said. “An upper level area (is) reminiscent of an old courtroom, like something you’d see in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ ” For couples planning their wedding, it’s worth visiting The Silver Fox’s Pay-It-Forward room. The room is a haven for finding wedding ideas and borrowing decorations — everything from glassware, dried flowers and podiums to large vases, silverware and linen. Everything in the room can be used for free. “The‘Pay-It-Forward’roomisan ideawehadforthedecorationswe receivedfrompreviousweddings,” Kaylasaid.“It’sabigareawherethe bride can look over all the things we’ve got and use them or just get somedecorationideasof herown.”

TheBridalSuiteisabrightandairy roomwithcrownmoldingandother darkwoodfeaturesthatmarrieshistorywithmodern.ThelargeGroom Suite has a historic feel to it. “Aside from the dark wood throughout the building, we also kept the wooden lockers that were used by the Freemasonry members in the groom’s suite. We could never replace them,” Phelan said.

A VENUE ADVANTAGE “We believe in helping couples keep within their budgets,” Kayla said. “So, couples can choose their food and drink menus. This is their day, and everything should be as they want it to be.” ThatmeansTheSilverFoxallows couplestobringincraftbeerorany otherkindof beveragetheywantto offerandcaterwhateverfoodthey want to provide. “We don’t believe in making couplesbuyfoodanddrinksatour prices,”Phelansaid.“Thishelpsthem

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Weddings

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to provide. “We don’t believe in making couples buy food and drinks at our prices,” Phelan said. “This helps them save money. And we don’t have a minimum food or drink charge because every wedding is different. Some weddings are smaller, and it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to pay our rates.” And if a couple doesn’t know where to buy what they want? “We work with local caterers and other vendors so we know what to suggest,” Phelan said. “As a matter of fact, we had a bride who asked about dairy and gluten-free treats for her mother the morning before her wedding. We hadn’t planned on that, but luckily, Streator has some amazing businesses and vendors. We put the couple in touch with The Blue-Eyed Rascal, a bakery just down the street, and they were able to make the treats in time.” The Phelan family does whatever it takes to create a wedding day full of great experiences and memories for the couple and their guests. For Kayla, that includes working with couples to cover all bases. “About 90 percent of cou-

The Times

Contributed

A bride dances in the ballroom during her reception at The Silver Fox. ples don’t have a wedding planner,” Phelan said. “Kayla does a fantastic job helping the bride plan for what she needs and wants, working to make sure everything ends in

a perfect day for the couple. We have a lot of experience, plus we’re in a convenient location in one space. Once you’ve booked your wedding with us, we’re there for you

all the way.” For more information about The Silver Fox, call 815-4095120, visit silverfoxstreator. com or follow on Facebook at fb.com/silverfoxstreator. n

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Wedding Profile

Wojna-Thorne

Brandy Swartz Photography

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Weddings

The Times

Stephanie Jaquins

B

Brandy Swartz Photography

Beata and Mike Thorne opted for a church wedding at St. Patrick Parish in Ottawa with their closest family and friends in attendance — their guest list tallied 23 people.

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eata and Mike Thorne, of Ottawa, were married Oct. 13, 2018, at St. Patrick Parish in Ottawa. They are new parents of a 15-month-old baby boy named Leo.  Beata was born and raised in Poland, came to the United States 13 years ago and earned her master’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and also holds a CPA license. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom. Mike, who grew up in Odell, moved to Ottawa to be closer to nature and to pursue his career in the dental lab industry.  Q. HOW DID YOU MEET? BEATA: We met on Match. com, and honestly if it wasn’t via online we would have never met. We lived 75 miles apart: I lived in the west Chicago suburb Riverside and Mike was here in Ottawa. And it was me and my dog who was doing all those miles every weekend for

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almost three years. But I loved coming to Ottawa, not only to spend time with Mike, but also to get away from the city life. We would go on hikes to various parks, ride our bikes, and kayak on the river — always including my dog in all our activities.   Q. HOW DID HE PROPOSE? We went to Matthiessen State Park for a hike. We took the Dells to the Vermilion River trail that ends on the bridge with a beautiful lookout of the waterfall on one side and the river on the other. He was holding our baby boy, I had my dog, and in their presence he proposed. Beautiful place, perfect proposal!   Q. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR RECEPTION HALL? We decided to keep

Beata (left) and Mike Thorne with their son, Leo, on their wedding day.

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Brandy Swartz Photography

Beata and Mike Thorne, of Ottawa, were married in Ottawa on Oct. 13, 2018. They are shown on the south side of the Illinois River overlooking Veterans Memorial Bridge and downtown Ottawa.

our wedding small and only include a dinner party. At first, we were looking for restaurants located in Ottawa, but for one reason or other they didn’t work. Then Mike suggested Haze Smokehouse in La Salle, and after trying their food we booked our wedding dinner there. The food was like nowhere else, smoked and so delicious!  Q. HOW DID YOU FIND THE RIGHT DRESS? I may not be a typical bride since I ordered my wedding dress online for less than $100. But I absolutely loved my dress! It was everything I wanted from a wedding dress: beautiful,

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simple, well made, long sleeves, A-line court train long with tulle lace top. There is such a great wedding dress selection online for any style, size and budget, which I didn’t realize until I started searching for mine. A lot of times there are numerous reviews and pictures of received dresses included, so you can see it on others. I would definitely recommend considering this alternative to traditional wedding dress shopping. Q. HOW DID YOU PRIORITIZE YOUR BUDGET? WHAT WAS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? We decided to have a small wedding, which included our clos-

est family and friends for a total of 23 people, not including us. We wanted a small wedding to keep it simple, relaxed and meaningful, so we can focus on our church wedding, ourselves and our family and friends. The most important was having our family with us, because we don’t see each other too often. Mike’s only sister lives in California and all my family lives in Poland!  Q. ARE THERE VENDORS YOU WERE ESPECIALLY HAPPY WITH THAT YOU’D RECOMMEND TO OTHER BRIDES? Yes! Our two favorite vendors were Brandy Swartz as our photographer, and The Ottawa Bakery for making us the most

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Weddings

Saturday, June 29, 2019 11

delicious and beautiful wedding cake. Brandy is such a great photographer, talented, with awesome energy and countless picture ideas. We may be biased here because we just love Brandy!  Q. LASTLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FUTURE BRIDE AND GROOMS? My advice to future brides and grooms is to keep the wedding simple and small, if possible. That will help the planning process by eliminating a lot of work and stress and will also help save money that you can later spend on your dream honeymoon.  n

LEFT: Beata (Wojna) Thorne didn’t go the traditional route for wedding dress shopping — she ordered her dress online. RIGHT: Beata and Mike Thorne conducted their dinner party at Haze Smokehouse in La Salle, with a cake catered by The Ottawa Bakery in Ottawa. Brandy Swartz Photography

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What to know about wedding dress shopping

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Weddings

Starved Rock Country bridal shop owners share expert advice Stephanie Jaquins

The wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry has had an influence on brides in Starved Rock Country. On May 19, 2018, the bride wore a fitted mermaid gown with a bateau neckline, three-quarter length sleeves and a chapel-length train. The Duchess of Sussex’s dress was a clean, modern look that has found its way to local bridal shops. “The clean, simple, mika-

do styles are in,” said Holly Hoover, owner of Marien Mae Bridal Boutique & Events, 749 First St., La Salle. Jan Ferracuti, owner of Bridal Elegance, 205 W. Etna Road, Ottawa, said she’s also seeing cleaner, simpler designs. “A lot of the brides are opting for a crepe or a lightweight mikado instead of the heavier satin,” Ferracuti said. Before visiting a bridal shop, most brides-to-be have

already browsed dresses online and in magazines. They’re encouraged to bring those ideas with them when they visit shops. “It’s a great starting point so we know what they’re looking at so we can show them exactly that dress or something similar, and then we can go from there,” Hoover said. To help decide your style, consider the type of fit, neckline, skirt and sleeves you’re looking for. But also don’t be afraid to deviate from that. “We have a lot of brides who come in with a certain vision of what they want in a dress and they end up falling in love with the complete opposite,” Hoover said. “We

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always want a bride to have tried on her options, so that when she finds the one she doesn’t think five months down the road, ‘Oh shoot, I should have tried on a fitted style. Maybe I would have liked that.’ ” Hoover also said she and her consultants let the bride decide what style dress flatters her most. “Brides that are the exact same size, one bride is going to love one style and the next bride is going to love the opposite style,” she said. As far as accessories go, Hoover said brides are going simple and natural, often opting for earrings and a bracelet. Head pieces also are popular, she said. Hoover suggest visiting

BELOW: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding on May 19, 2018, in Windsor, England. Markle’s fitted mermaid gown with a bateau neckline, three-quarter length sleeves and a chapel-length train is setting the trend for wedding gowns.

Abaca Press | Andrew Matthews | PA Wire | TNS

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Weddings

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The Perfect Formal Look, to Buy or Rent.

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Brides-to-be should start dress shopping 10 months to one year before the wedding to factor two to three months for alterations. Marien Mae 10 months to one year before the wedding, because it can take three to six months for a gown to arrive in store and brides need to factor two to three months for alterations. At Bridal Elegance, Ferracuti said the length of time to receive the dress depends on whether the bride is buying a dress the shop has selected or is ordering a dress. She said 80% of her brides order from the already selected styles. Some brides buy more than one style. Ferracuti even once had a bride buy four dresses. Most times, though, if a bride is looking for more than one dress, it’s because she wants one for the ceremony and one for the reception. “They might want the big, long gown for the wedding, because it’s beautiful for the church and the pictures. But they don’t want to carry that around all night, so then they’ll buy a lighter weight gown for the reception — maybe sexier or just more lightweight than the church gown,” she said. Oftentimes, Ferracuti said the second gowns are bought in their outlet store. When brides come to shop, Ferracuti recommends keeping the party small. She suggests the bride bring two or three people. “If they get too big a party, it’s just really hard for a bride to focus on what she really wants,” she said.

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Pixabay

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Many brides are shopping for two dresses: one for the ceremony and one for the reception.

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Weddings

The Times

Factors to consider before you include Fido in your wedding

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You Do... We Do... Dream Weddings... Meet Our Experts

Metro Creative Service Pets are full-fledged members of many families and even, apparently, families-to-be. In its 2016 American Wedding Study, Brides magazine found that 8 percent of wedding ceremonies included pets. While the couples of yesteryear might have left Fido at home, many of today’s couples want their four-legged friends to be there on their big day. Though no studies to date have examined which animals are most likely to make an appearance at couples’ nuptials, it’s fair to assume that dogs, which tend to get out of the house more than most other types of pets, are the most common furry bridesmaids, groomsmen or ring bearers. Before including dogs in their wedding plans, couples may want to consider a few factors to ensure asking Fido to be there come the big day is what’s best for couples, their guests and, of course, their beloved pooches.

Chef Tim Freed

No two dogs are the same. Some dogs might love people and attention, while others might prefer one-on-one time with their owners. Dogs that are sociable and unaggressive may make perfect additions to wedding ceremonies, while animals that exhibit anxiety around strangers or seem uncomfortable in noisy settings should be kept out of the ceremony.

Health Dog owners also must con-

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Catering Manager Joy Plackett

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Before including dogs in their wedding plans, couples may want to consider a few factors.

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sider their pets’ health when deciding whether or not to include them in the wedding ceremony. Couples who bonded Eligibility over a love of their dog may Some venues do not allow pets that are not documented as- really hope to include their sistance animals on the premis- furry friend in the festivities, es. Confirm a venue’s pet policy but should not do so at the exbefore purchasing any wedding pense of the animal’s health. day attire for your dog. Couples Outdoor wedding ceremonies under sunny skies may who are intent on including produce potentially unhealthy their pets in their wedding ceremonies should only consid- conditions for certain breeds or older dogs. Dogs that have er pet-friendly facilities, which difficulty getting around may may be hard to find. Couples need a red wagon (and attenwho plan to take a limousine dant) to make the rounds at to and from their wedding also the wedding. should confirm that the cars allow pets before booking.

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Couples will be busy on their wedding days, so they may need to arrange for a caretaker to look after their dog during and after the ceremony. Asking a guest or guests to play this role may be asking too much, as guests will no doubt want to celebrate without having to take care of a dog. A professional pet sitter might work, but that can be costly, as couples must pay for the sitter and will likely need to pay for the sitter to have a seat and a meal during the reception.

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