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Gorgeous Real Weddings to Inspire

Cleveland’s

HOTTEST PHOTO LOCATIONS all things

Invites TIMELINE, ETIQUETTE & TRENDS

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TODAY’S BRIDE

CLEVEL AND 2016

Publisher: Jadlyn Incorporated

1930 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road Akron, Ohio 44333 330-670-9545 • 216-393-5677 FAX: 330-670-9546 admin@TodaysBride.com www.TodaysBride.com

Chief Marketing Officer: James J. Frericks Chief Operating Officer: Denise L. Frericks

Real 98 Weddings 15 Gorgeous Weddings to Inspire

94 Cleveland’s

HOTTEST Photo Locations The Flats, East 4th Street, Playhouse Square and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

In Depth HISTORIC CLEVELAND VENUES . . . . . . . . . . . 43 CATERING BY THE NUMBERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 WELL TRAVELED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

Planning Help ALTERATIONS Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 CEREMONY CURATION 101 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 JOIN TODAY’S BRIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 TODAY’S BRIDE PLANNER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129

EAT CAKE The lowdown on the sweetest part of your big day

Go15rgeous Real Weddings to Inspire

Cleveland’s

TTESTS HO PHOTO LOCATION all things

Invites TIMELINE, ETIQUETTE

& TRENDS

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Director of Sales & Bridal Marketing Rachel Yagl Bridal Marketing Account Manager: Brandon Landers Office Manager: Colleen Ahern Art Director: Kate Wolfram

ALL THINGS INVITES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

117 LET THEM

Vice President of Shows & Internet Operations: Jennifer Judy Fyffe

Front Cover: The Bird & The Bear; Page 2, left to right, top to bottom: The Bird & The Bear; Genevieve Nisly Photography, Kay Photo & Design

Social Media & Content Stylist: Denise Wright Staff Photographer: Abby Frericks Administrative & Marketing Assistant: Madison Frericks Interns: Liz Pruitt, Meg Kraft, Amanda Crumm, Cassie Carpenter Today’s Bride magazine is published annually in both the Greater Akron/Canton area (October) covering Summit, Stark, Portage, Wayne and Medina counties and in the Greater Cleveland area (July) covering Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties. All articles and advertisements are property of Jadlyn Incorporated and may not be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Jadlyn Incorporated is not responsible or liable for any errors, misprints, misquotes or omissions. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. Today’s Bride is not responsible for unsolicited editorial material unless a self-addressed stamped return envelope is included. Advertisement in this publication does not imply the endorsement of Today’s Bride Magazine, Jadlyn Inc. or any of its representatives. For further information call our offices at 330.670.9545 or 216.393.5677. Printed in the USA.

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TODAY’S BRIDE

CLEVEL AND 2016

Ceremony Sites & Officiants All About Your Wedding Rosebud Ministries

Pre-Reception Events Gervasi Vineyard House of Blues Nautica Queen

Receptions

Bridal Attire

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Alterations Express 1 American Commodore Dress Shoppe 17 Brides by Demetrios 7 David’s Bridal 11 Dora’s Bridal & Formal 19 Doreen Leaf Designs 11 Galleria Gowns 9 Lavender Bridal Salon 9 Matina’s Bridal 11 Vera’s Ladies Apparel Planner 40

Men’s Formalwear

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American Commodore Tuxedo Inside Front Cover Men’s Wearhouse 23 Tuxedo Junction 23

Health & Beauty Be Younique with Shelley Dr. C. Aydin Cabi D.D.S.

Consultants & Planners Consider It Done Events Dream Weddings and Events Elegant Events by Maria Personal Touch by Covesa

Invitations Bush Integrated Paper Trails of Rocky River

24 25 25

26 27 27 28 27

29 30 30

31 32 32

33 36 35 35

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Ahern Banquet Center & Catering 51 Bertram Inn & Conference Center, The 44 Brennan’s Catering & Banquet Centers 61 Carrie Cerino’s Ristorante & Party Center 41 Chagrin Valley Athletic Club 39 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 5 Country Lakes Party Center 51 DeLuca’s Place in the Park 50 DoubleTree Hotel-Cleveland 53 Embassy Suites-Beachwood 59 Embassy Suites-Rockside 51 Emerald Event Center 49 Gervasi Vineyard 36 Hilton Garden Inn/700 Beta 47 Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown 38 Holiday Inn Strongsville 49 House of Blues 35 Lake Forest Country Club 53 LaMalfa 52 Landerhaven by Executive Caterers Back Cover LaVera Party Center 40 Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, The 48 Nautica Queen 35 Old Carolina Barbecue Company 58 Peek’n Peak Resort 53 Quail Hollow Resort 58 Red Tail Golf Club 45 Ridge Manor Banquet Center 45 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum Inside Back Cover Rustic Hills County Club 46 Sawmill Creek Resort 54 Sharon, PA Weddings 57 Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel 54 Slovenian National Home 56 St. Michael’s Woodside 42 St. Paul Hellenic Banquet Center 61 Wagner’s of Westlake 46 Photo: Christina Wu

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Flowers & Decor

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Aable Rents Cover Girlz, The Creations by Lynn Crystal Bloom Designs of Distinction Elegant Ice Creations Event Source Forest Woods Hirt’s Flowers Marbella Event Furniture & Décor Rental Party Decor Rock the House Entertainment Silver Fox Florist Solus Lighting Timeless Moments Floral Preservation

Entertainment Billy J Full Spectrum Entertainment Bruce Steven Entertainment Clear Choice Photobooth Cleveland Music Group InFocus Photobooths, LLC LO-KEY Entertainment Services Marino Brothers Music & More Rock the House Entertainment Selective Sound Entertainment Special Productions, Inc. 6

67 65 73 75 3 69 68 71 74 66 64 69 71 69 75

TODAY’S BRIDE

CLEVEL AND 2016

Photography

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A Crystal Clear Sound, Video, Photo & Photo Booth Allen&Karen Wedding Photography Acquire Wedding Photography Artistic Photography BCR Studios by Brad Christopher Norris Photographers Cirino Photography David Paul Photography Genevieve Nisly Photography Hai Bales Photography Human Artist Photography John Paul Studios Justin Ketchem Photography Karen Menyhart Weddings Kay Photo & Design Ken Love Photography Laura Mae Photography LMAC Photography Malick Photo Nick Edmundson Imaging Orchard Photography Riverfront Photography Spencer Photography, Inc. Todd Anguish Photography We’ve Got Something Special Photography

97 96 85 87 86 90 84 83 88 83 84 89 90 85 88 96 96 86 97 96 93 97 92 87 93

Colozza’s Bakery Cookie Cutter Cookie Kathy’s Cakery Rito’s Italian Bakery & Deli

Limousines & Valet

117 120 121 120 119

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First Class Limousine 122 LimoBusters 122 Shima Limousine Service, Inc. 124 Timeless Classic Limousine 123 Western Reserve Transportation 123

Travel & Honeymoon

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Allure Travel Group 126 J Sullivan Travel 128 LoveShack Vacations 128 Traveling with Phyllis 128 UnlimitedTrips.com 127

76 79 81 80 77 81 79 76 76 81 77 77

Cake & Desserts

Videography Graham River Productions SB Productions Swordfish Media Productions

114 116 116 115

Photos, left to right, top to bottom: Kay Photo & Design, Orchard Photography, TBM, Artistic Photography

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Quest

The Dress

Today’s brides are incredibly committed to finding the perfect gown – as is made evident by the ranges of choices available in bridal shops! There are so many options available to brides because each bride has a very unique vision of what her wedding will be like and is looking for that one dress that will set the tone for the entire day. So what do you need to know? When should you start? Where should you go – and what can you expect once you get there? Read on for the answers to your most pressing questions!

Feature dress and inset: Eden Bridals - Style BL093 available at Lavender Bridal Salon Above photo: Mori Lee Blu - Style 5265 available at Dora’s Bridal

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When should I start my gown shopping? Nine to 12 months before your wedding is an ideal time for shopping as it’s best to have about six months to spare for fittings and (sometimes multiple) alterations. If you have less than six months to work with, start shopping right away!

How can I prepare for my first gown shopping experience? You’ll want to start by looking at magazines, bridal websites and yes, Pinterest to get an idea of what you’re drawn to in terms of style, shape and attitude. Be sure to bring those photos to the first appointment; the overall feel — romantic, modern, beachy — is the key piece your consultant needs to pull a range of dresses that might work. Less excitedly – but more importantly – you’ll need to have a number in mind. Most brides spend about 10 percent of their overall wedding budget on their dress, but consider this a starting point. You may need to stick to a hard-and-fast number, but you may also be able to increase your gown spending and scale back in other places.

Top Row: Demetrios - Style 3219 available at Brides by Demetrios ❤ Monique Lhuillier - Style 1508 available at Matina’s Bridal ❤ Essense of Australia - Style D1702 available at Doreen Leaf Designs and Lavender Bridal Salon Bottom Row: Maggie Sottero - Yasmina available at Doreen Leaf Designs and Galleria Gowns ❤ Demetrios - Style 572 available at Brides by Demetrios

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FOREVER YOURS

©201 5 DAVI D ’ S B R I DA L

Fall in love all over again. Visit davidsbridal.com or call 877.923.2743 for an appointment.

CLE VE L AN D, O H | N O RTH O LM STE D, O H STRO N G SVI LLE , O H

1502028_Todays_Bride_Bridal_Show_Extravaganza_Mag_Ad.indd 1

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BRIDAL ATTIRE & ACCESSORIES

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Where should I go? Chances are you have a ton of fabulous bridal gown shops right in your own backyard! If you have specific designers in mind, find out which local stores carry them. Before you shop, you might like to check out reviews for your potential shops as well as take notes on whether they advertise in any major bridal magazines, bridal shows or local publications. Advertising displays a commitment to their business, and usually means they’ll be here tomorrow to deliver on the promises they made today. Try to limit your gown shopping to three or four different salons; it’s easy to forget which gowns you tried on where. Most places don’t operate on a walk-in basis, so be sure to call ahead for an appointment at least two weeks in advance.

Who should I bring with me? On reality shows, brides tend to bring a whole crew of friends and family members to join in on the shopping fun. And every time, you can count on there being tons of drama. The takeaway? Less is more when it comes to companions. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time trying on gowns your party picked out and steering the conversation back to what you want. We’d suggest bringing no more than two or three people with you. It could be those whose input means the most to you or you might even use this as a pre-wedding bonding event and invite your mom, best friend and mother-in-law. If you can’t imagine not including all of your friends, try inviting them to your final fitting – and then make a dramatic entrance for the big reveal! Top Row: Allure Bridal - Style 9202 available at Doreen Leaf Designs and Galleria Gowns ❤ Essense of Australia - Style D1863 available at Doreen Leaf Designs and Lavender Bridal Salon ❤ Mori Lee Julietta - Style 3165 available at Dora’s Bridal and Doreen Leaf Designs Bottom Row: Lazaro - Style LZ3561 available at Matina’s Bridal ❤ Mori Lee Blu - Style 5376 available at Doreen Leaf Designs

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Any tips for helping me find “the one”? Keep an open mind. Many times, brides choose dresses that look nothing like the pictures they bring in, so try on everything – even if it doesn’t look like “you.” Remember that it’s the consultant’s job to match you with styles you’ll like – so give her the benefit of the doubt and prepare to be pleasantly surprised. That said, you also shouldn’t let a pushy salesperson (or your mom) sweet-talk you into a gown you don’t love. Be sure to jot down style numbers and even snap a few photos as you try on – it will help you remember the dresses you loved as well as where you found them.

Do you have any other shopping tips for me? As a matter of fact, we do! When it comes to payment, keep in mind that most shops require a 50 percent deposit with the balance due either at your first fitting or when you pick up the dress. Be wary of any shop that asks for more than 50 percent before the dress comes in.

Top Row: Eden Bridals - Style SL043 available at Lavender Bridal Salon ❤ Demetrios - Style 1488 available at Brides by Demetrios ❤ Stella York Style 6013 available at Lavender Bridal Salon Bottom Row: Jewel - Style WG3754 available at David’s Bridal ❤ Allure Bridal - Style 2800 available at Doreen Leaf Designs and Galleria Gowns

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Content provided by Alterations 14 BRIDAL ATTIRE Express

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Outfitting Mom Moms are there for so much: to ease our tears on the first day of kindergarten, to slap a Band-Aid on that bruised knee, to remind us that our homework still isn’t done; and, of course, to celebrate with us. And at this stage, she’s there to celebrate one of life’s biggest occasions: your wedding day! Whether you’re the mother of the bride or mother of the groom, all eyes will be on you as you walk into the ceremony and during your announcement at the reception. With that in mind, one of your main roles during this time is going to be selecting your gown. Though this may seem like a difficult task, we have all the essential tips you need to get going!

Consider the Celebration As you’re shopping, it’s especially important to keep in mind the location, the time of day and the type of wedding – all of which will dictate the formality required. An evening wedding requires long, formal gowns in subdued shades. An afternoon wedding, on the other hand, allows for shorter, more playful gowns in brighter colors.

Start Early Aim to make a decision at least one month before the wedding – definitely more if you’re trying to coordinate with the mother of the groom or others in the wedding party. Be sure to allow even more time for a gown that requires special ordering. Every manufacturer is different, but a good rule of thumb is to allot 12-16 weeks for a special order.

Color Cohesive The key thing to remember is that you’ll want to complement (and not clash) with the day’s color scheme. You shouldn’t match the bridal party so much that someone mistakes you for the Maid of Honor, but you shouldn’t look like a wedding crasher either. A great way to go is choosing a gown in the same palette as the bridal party (for example, a plumcolored gown if the bridesmaids are in lilac or lavender). Metallics, navy and jewel tones are all beautiful and safe bets for mother’s attire. Traditionally, you’d want to avoid anything in white, ivory or champagne (too close to the bride’s gown), black (which can suggest mourning) and red (deemed too flashy). These are becoming more acceptable as traditions shift, but regardless, you’ll want to be conscious of making a safe decision or at the very least, consult with the soon-to-be-weds to make sure there aren’t any concerns.

Well-Coordinated

Above: VM Couture 71102 Middle column, left to right, top to bottom: Mon Cheri 115966 ❤ Alyce Paris 29678 ❤ Daymor Couture 164 ❤ Terani Couture E3791 ❤ VM Couture 71101 Dresses and jewelry available at Vera’s Ladies Apparel

Typically, the mother of the bride picks out her dress first, setting the tone for what the mother of the groom will wear. You and your futurein-law don’t have to match, but you should make sure your looks don’t clash. Be sure to discuss sleeve and hem lengths, necklines, colors and styles with each other before shopping. If you already get along well, you may even want to go shopping together. Alternatively, the bride could go shopping with each of you and relay any guidelines.

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Bridal Party Beauties

The Bridesmaid Budget Though it’s not the most glamorous of topics, determining your bridal party members’ budget is certainly one of the most important. Don’t put off having this conversation as it will enable you to search for bridesmaid gowns that fall in the right price range. We recommend doing so individually at least a few weeks – if not, a few months – before bridesmaid gown shopping takes place. If one or more of your girls isn’t able to afford the dress you decide on, try to be flexible. Luckily, bridesmaids today have a variety of gorgeous options available at any price point. Is there any way you could open up your options to include dresses in a similar color palette and style?

Top Row: Mori Lee Bridesmaids - Style 682 available at American Commodore Dress Shoppe (Akron location only), Dora’s Bridal and Doreen Leaf Designs ❤ Bari Jay - Styles 1501 & 1502 available at American Commodore Dress Shoppe

If you really have your heart set on that particular dress, ask yourself if there other costs you could pick up – such as hair, make-up or shoes – that will help alleviate some of the spending for your bridesmaids.

Bottom Row: Dessy - Style 2910 available at American Commodore Dress Shoppe and Galleria Gowns ❤ Jim Hjelm Occasions – Style 5515 available at Matina’s Bridal

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Shop Early – and Often You should start shopping for your bridal party at least seven to eight months before the big day. Not only will this timeline reduce stress for you and your girls – it will also make it more likely for you to score a deal through a sale or trunk show. For your first appointment, we’d recommend you don’t take your entire bridal party into the shop. Instead, go in with your mother and/ or Maid of Honor, and have them help you narrow down your choices based on the research you’ve done.

Top Row: DaVinci Bridesmaids - Style 60192 available at Vera’s Ladies Apparel ❤ Allure Bridesmaids - Style 1327 available at American Commodore Dress Shoppe, Doreen Leaf Designs and Galleria Gowns ❤ Alfred Sung - Style D681 available at Galleria Gowns Bottom Row: Belsoie by Jasmine - Style B173052 available at Dora’s Bridal ❤ Christina Wu Occasions - Styles 22710 & 22667 available at American Commodore Dress Shoppe and Doreen Leaf Designs

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Once you’ve decided on a few favorites, bring the rest of your ‘maids in (during a timeslot you schedule with your shop beforehand) to try on your selections and weigh in on their favorites. After making your final bridesmaid dress selection (or selections!), be sure to have your girls put their order in at least four months before the big day – which allows three months for it to come in and another month for fittings and any alterations needed.

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Shopping Online vs. In-Store We want to stress the importance of going to a local bridal shop as opposed to shopping online. Full-service shops are typically authorized dealers of the designers they select to sell – unlike many online retailers. We’ve just heard one too many horror stories about brides and ‘maids who bought their dress online and ended up needing them heavily altered by a local shop when they discovered the dress wasn’t quite as pictured. Ultimately, this will only cost you more time, money and stress. Plus, who really wants to miss out on the gown shopping experience anyways? Please note: Some styles (even those pictured) may not be readily available to try on at store locations. Please call ahead if you have your heart set on a particular gown style.

Left: B2 Jasmine - Style B163064 available at Dora’s Bridal and Lavender Bridal Salon Below: Allure Bridesmaids - Styles 1435 & 1436 available at American Commodore Dress Shoppe, Doreen Leaf Designs and Galleria Gowns

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BridalReference Attire Guide American Commodore Dress Shoppe

Galleria Gowns

27297 Chardon Rd, Willoughby Hills • 440-943-6065 www.galleriagowns.net

4130 Mayfield Rd, South Euclid • 216-382-2889 Great Lakes Mall, Mentor • 440-290-7282 Summit Mall, Akron • 330-869-2889 w0ww.acdress.com

Mon: 11am-6pm Tues & Thurs: 11am-8pm Wed & Fri: 11am-5pm Sat: 10am-4pm Sun: Closed

Hours vary; call store location for exact hours. Designers: Adriana Papell, Allure Bridesmaids, Bari Jay, Christina Wu Occasions, Dessy, Jordan Fashions, Mori Lee Bridesmaids (Akron only)

Designers: Allure Bridal, Casablanca, David Tutera for Mon Cheri, Maggie Sottero, Sophia Tolli, Symphony Bridal | Bridesmaids: After Six, Alfred Angelo, Alfred Sung, Allure Bridesmaids, Bill Levkoff, B2 by Jasmine, Dessy, Impressions, Mackenzie Michaels, Social Bridesmaids

Brides by Demetrios

25373 Cedar Rd, Lyndhurst (Legacy Village) 216-297-0001  www.demetriosbride.com

Lavender Bridal Salon

Mon-Fri: 11am-8pm Sat: 10am-7pm Sun: 11am-6pm

218 W 3rd St, Dover • 330-602-0333 www.lavenderbridalsalon.com

Designers: All in-house; styles can be found directly on website

David’s Bridal

Designers: Casablanca Bridal, Eden Bridals, Essense of Australia, Jasmine, Jasmine Couture, Justin Alexander, Kenneth Winston, Moonlight, Sincerity Bridal, Stella York, Val Stefani by Moonlight | Bridesmaids: B2 by Jasmine, Belsoie by Jasmine, Bill Levkoff, Colour by Kenneth Winston, Eden Bridesmaids, Jasmine, Me Too by Moonlight, Sorella Vita, Val Stefani by Moonlight

Multiple Locations • 877-921-BRIDE  www.davidsbridal.com Mon-Fri: 11am-8pm Sat: 11am-6:30pm Sun: 12:30pm-6:30pm Designers: David’s Bridal collection, DB Studio, Jewel, Galina, Galina Signature, Melissa Sweet, Oleg Cassini, Truly Zac Posen, WHITE by Vera Wang

Matina’s

28601 Chagrin Blvd, Beachwood (inside Eton Shopping Centre) • 216-464-1288 www.matinasbridal.com

Dora’s Bridal & Formal

22244 Lorain Rd, Fairview Park • 440-734-2247 www.dorasbridal.com

Refer to website for hours.

Mon, Tues & Thurs: 12pm-8pm Wed: Closed Fri: 12pm-5pm Sat: 10am-4pm Sun: Closed

Designers: Alvina Valenta, Amsale, Anna Maier Ulla Maija, Enzoani, Frascara Bridal, Ines Di Santo, Lazaro, Marisa, Matthew Christopher, Monique Lhuillier Bliss, Reem Acra | Bridesmaids: Alvina Valenta, Donna Morgan, Jim Hjelm Occasions, Lazaro | Mothers: Daymor Couture, Frascara, Montage by Mon Cheri, Robert Bullock, Wayne Clark

Designers: Casablanca, Julietta by Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee | Bridesmaids: After Six, Bill Levkoff, B2 by Jasmine, Belsoie by Jasmine, Dessy, Mori Lee Bridesmaids

Vera’s

Doreen Leaf Designs

Summit Mall, Akron (new expanded location coming soon) • 330-666-8500 www.verasapparel.com

831 Sunnyside St SW, Hartville • 330-877-6284 www.doreenleafdesigns.com

Mon-Fri: 10am-9pm Sat: 10am-6pm Sun: Closed

Mon, Wed & Thurs: 12pm-8pm Tues & Fri: 10am-5pm Sat: 10am-4pm Sun: Closed Designers: Allure Bridal, Essense of Australia, Julietta by Mori Lee, Kenneth Winston, Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee, Pearl Bridal | Bridesmaids: Alexia, Allure Bridesmaids, Andrew Adela, Bill Levkoff, Christina Wu Occasions, Mori Lee Bridesmaids

Allure Bridal

Keep in mind: Changes happen! Please call the shop to confirm hours.

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Mon: Closed Tues, Wed & Fri: 11am-5pm Thurs: 11am-7:30pm Sat: 10am-4pm Sun: Closed

Designers: Destiny, DaVinci Bridal | Bridesmaids: DaVinci Bridesmaids, Impression Bridal | Mothers: Alyce Paris, Atelier Clarisse, BG Haute, Cameron Blake, Damianou, Daymor Couture, Frank Lyman, Frascara, Jade by Jasmine, Jade Couture, Jean De Lys by Alyce, Jovani, J.S.S Knitwear, Junnie Leigh, Komarov, Mac Duggal, Mon Cheri, Montage by Mon Cheri, Rina di Montella, Scala, Terani Couture, Tony Bowls, Ursula of Switzerland, VM Collection

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SUITING Your Style T

here has been a noticeable shift in groom’s attire this year – as more and more men are choosing tuxedos over suits for their weddings. Experts contribute this trend to a combination of two things. First, we’ve seen more celebrities in tuxes on the red carpet over the past year. The second? More couples are choosing a classic theme for their big day – which makes a tux all too appropriate. And sometimes, it just feels fresher to be appropriate.

For a long time, men were choosing the black suit with a small collar and skinny black tie. As that look becomes more tired, the popularity of tuxes continues to grow. With that in mind, tuxedo makers are starting to update their styles – narrowing the shoulders and other nip-tucks to make their tuxedo fit more like a suit. This is a win-win for your guy: They get the sleekness of a tux and the comfort of a suit.

MEN’S FORMALWEAR

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The Perfect Fit No matter how nice the tuxedo looks on the hanger, guys should also choose their formalwear based on these standards for size and comfort: D Your jacket should fit comfortably at the neck and shoulders and fasten easily. Also, try standing and sitting with it buttoned. D The shirt should fit comfortably at the neck, shoulders and waist. About ¼ inch to ½ inch of your shirt’s cuff should show below the jacket sleeve. D Your trousers should button comfortably and feel good when you sit. Many styles have adjustable waistbands, or you can opt for suspenders. The hem should break just over your shoe tops. D Vest buttons should line up with the front of your jacket, and the vest should button comfortably across your chest. The bottom should slightly overlap the trouser waistband. The vest’s waist usually adjusts with a slide strip for a good fit. D If you haven’t checked your shoe size in some time, have them measured by an expert. Remember that the best time to try on shoes is at the end of the day, because if your feet swell at all, they’ll do it then. Better for shoes to be too roomy than too tight. D A lways try on a tie before buying or renting one. It should fit snugly around your collar. And remember: No clip-ons!

Reference Guide American Commodore Tuxedo Multiple locations www.actux.com 1-800-255-5889

See website for hours. Designers: After Six, Allure Men by Jean Yves, Andrew Fezza, Calvin Klein, Chaps by Ralph Lauren, ecko unltd., FLOW, Jean Yves, Joseph Abboud, Michael Kors, Perry Ellis, Red Sleeve, Savvi Black Label

Men’s Wearhouse

Multiple locations www.menswearhouse.com 1-800-466-9889 See website for hours. Designers: Alto Moda, Austin Reed, BLACK by Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Egara, Jhane Barnes, Jones New York, Joseph Abboud, Joseph & Feiss, Max Silver, Men’s Wearhouse, Michael Kors, Neil Allyn, Pronto Uomo Couture, Ralph Lauren, Tallia, Versini, Via Spiga, Wilke Rodriguez

Tuxedo Junction

Multiple locations www.tuxedojunction.com 1-800-724-1800 See website for hours. Designers: Calvin Michaels, Ike Behar, Oleg Cassini, Perry Ellis, Tuxedo Junction

Page 21, left to right: Calvin Klein, BCR Studios by Brad; Page 22, top to bottom, left to right: Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, Malick Photo, Orchard Photography

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MEN’S FORMALWEAR

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Beautiful

BEAUTY & HEALTH

Looking Big Day

Feeling gorgeous on your wedding day is just as important as booking your reception hall early or making sure you address your invitations correctly. Below, we’re answering the burning questions you have about wedding day beauty! What kind of timeline should I be looking at to get the wedding day look I want? Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day – and the trick is to start early. Most brides plan about a year in advance, but if you’re working with a slightly shorter timeline, try to give yourself at least six months. Have those deep conditioning treatments, facials, manicures and trial hair sessions done months before your big day. Brides who plan new beauty regimens along with their ceremonies and receptions can find themselves prepared for not only a beautiful wedding day, but a healthier way of life that lasts long after the honeymoon.

How can I prepare for my beauty appointments? To begin, envision yourself on the big day. What do you see? Something dramatic? Glamorous? Retro? It’s always helpful to be able to share style ideas with your beauty professionals.

Get the most out of that hairstyle on your wedding day!

QUICK TIP

• Consult with your hairdresser up to a year before your wedding day to give you

plenty of time to make sure your hair will be exactly the way you want it when the big day arrives.

• If you’re having an outdoor wedding, consider how your hairstyle will hold up if it happens to be windy that day.

• B  egin, or continue, regular deep conditioning treatments once a month at a salon at least three months before the day-of to give your hair’s natural shine a boost.

•G  et a trim a few weeks before your wedding date to tidy up your tresses and eliminate split ends.

• D  on’t wash your hair the morning of the wedding – let your hair’s natural oils work their magic! They’ll make your strands look shiny, healthy and help keep your style in place. Simply shampoo and condition the night before the wedding.

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BEAUTY & HEALTH

Before you start ripping your favorite pages out of beauty magazines, look at your favorite pictures of yourself. Maybe your eyes or your full lips make you stunning – or perhaps you loved the rosy glow in your cheeks in that engagement shot. After you know what it is that you love about yourself, you can then look to others for beauty inspiration.

What else should I keep in mind when choosing a beauty style for my big day? Start by looking at the big picture of the wedding itself. Where you’re marrying and what time of day will affect the beauty specifics: A wedding on a beach might call for a bronze and dewy look; an evening affair always requires more drama against dim lighting. In addition, consider your wedding style. Is it vintage? City sophisticate? For example, if your gown and your details evoke an all-American sweetheart, striking cat-eyes probably aren’t going to work. So many of us fall into hair ruts each day as our mornings are short and styling time is limited. For your special day, do something out of the ordinary. If you wear your hair down, try an updo; if you often wear a ponytail, leave locks to flow down your back. Wispy curls can add romance to any hairdo. If you are really ambitious, try a new shade or add some highlights.

What’s “in” right now as far as beauty is concerned? One of the hottest trends for brides is to transform their look between the wedding ceremony and the reception. With that in mind, you might try wearing your hair down for the ceremony and pulling it up for a faux bob at the reception. On the other side of the spectrum, a loose updo can be unfurled for a romantic cascade of hair for the reception.

Why should I hire a professional make-up artist? Yes, you’d save a few bucks by wielding your own foundation sponge and powder brush, but the results from an expert make-up artist are truly priceless. READ MORE ABOUT BEAUTY AND HEALTH AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM


A self-done make-up job can look caked on and unnatural, as brides tend to over-compensate for photos by using a heavier hand. A professional knows how to strike a balance that will make you look flawless both in the pictures and in real life. A bride wants to look like herself, only better; that’s the type of look a professional makeup artist can provide.

Any tips for helping with weight loss before the wedding day? First, determine how much weight you want to lose so you can break down weekly and monthly goals. Start being more cautious about portion sizes and incorporating more green veggies, nuts, beans and low-fat dairy products into your diet; pull back on processed carbs, trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup/sugar. Do three one-hour workouts a week, with 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio, 30 minutes of strength training and 10 minutes of stretching. Skip any “quick fix” — it can lead to longer-term health problems in the end. Page 24, top: David Paul Photography; Page 25: Human Artist Photography

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Photos: Malick Photo

PLANNED TO PERFECTION Wedding Planner vs. Venue Coordinator

QUICK TIP

You may be asking yourself if you actually need a wedding planner given the fact that you’ve been assigned a coordinator through your venue. While both are certainly helpful to the brides they assist, it’s important to note that they have different duties and agendas. Venue coordinators work for the needs of the venue, carrying out the requirements of your contract in a smooth and timely manner. Their responsibilities, while still important, are limited to items that go directly through the venue (i.e. reception set-up, catering, etc.). A wedding planner, on the other hand, works for you, ensuring that every detail of your day (including the rehearsal, getting the bridal parties ready, the ceremony and other areas of the wedding where a venue coordinator would not be involved) are orchestrated flawlessly.

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CONSULTANTS & PLANNERS

O

n your wedding day, you can either be the bride or the wedding planner – it’s very difficult to be both. Because every bride deserves the chance to enjoy her big day, you may want to look into hiring a professional to carry out the details. Even if hiring a professional planner seems out of your budget, we highly recommend at least looking into one – sometimes planners are able to essentially pay for themselves by using their connections to get you discounts and special deals.

Here are some other advantages of hiring a professional wedding planner for your event: n A wedding planner will free up more of your time so you can enjoy the months leading up to your wedding. n Etiquette at a wedding is more difficult to understand these days. He or she will also be a valuable resource for maintaining protocol for seating, photography and more. n Managing your budget is critical. A professional can help you create a look that seems expensive but really isn’t.

n On the day of your wedding, many things need to be executed in a timely fashion, such as limousine arrival, the ceremony, photos and travel to your reception site. A wedding planner can manage these details, taking the burden off you. n When time is of the essence, a wedding planner may have staff members on call to help word invitations, assemble favors & coordinate the activities of vendors.

Someone who saves us time, stress and money? Sign us up! Keep in mind, however, that a consultant should have plenty of questions for you, too. They should be dedicated to determining your wishes, needs, budget, scope of imagination and more. Determining these factors is what puts them in a position to plan a successful and beautiful event. READ MORE ABOUT CONSULTANTS & PLANNERS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM


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PLANNING

PACKAGES

Wedding planning comes in many different shapes and sizes – and it’s true that one size does not fit all. Read over the most popular packages below to see which one best fits your needs:

Full Service Planning – throughout the entire planning process

This package is perfect for the busy or inexperienced couple who would like guidance every step of the way – from design conception to coordination on the day-of. It typically includes: n Initial consultation to evaluate your wedding wants & needs

nM  eeting with bride/groom to develop a timeline for the wedding day

n Idea generation

n Confirmation of vendor commitments for the wedding day

n Budget creation n Wedding vendor referrals n Assistance with site tours, vendor selection & contracting n Access to consultant for relevant questions

n Direction of the rehearsal nD  istribution of timeline to necessary vendors and wedding party nC  oordination and direction of wedding day events

Partial Planning – usually starts 1-2 months before the wedding

This package is perfect for the couple who has a vision and design ideas but not the time or experience to execute everything on their own. It typically includes: n Wedding vendor referrals

n Direction of the rehearsal

n Access to consultant for relevant questions

n Distribution of timeline to necessary vendors and wedding party

n Meeting with bride/groom to develop a timeline for the wedding day

n Coordination and direction of wedding day events

n Confirmation of vendor commitments for the wedding day

Day-of Coordination n Direction of the rehearsal n Distribution of timeline to wedding party

n Coordination and direction of wedding day events

“Power Hour” or Initial Consultation

– usually near the beginning of your planning This package is perfect for the couple who feels pretty secure in their planning efforts but just has a couple of questions along the way. It is billed by the hour and typically includes: n Pulling together design ideas

n Answers for etiquette questions

n Suggestions for vendor or venue choices

Design & Styling – near the beginning of your planning

This package is perfect if you suffer from the dreaded Pinterest overload or just don’t know where to start. It typically includes: n Custom inspiration board n Suggestions for décor elements

n Set-up on the day of the wedding (depending on your exact package)

n Assistance with putting décor elements together *Packages will vary by company. Be sure to inquire for specific details. 28

CONSULTANTS & PLANNERS

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INVITATIONS

Stylin’ with your Stationery Invitations have become so much more than the standard “who,” “what,” “when” and “where.” They’re the pieces that set the tone for your wedding. Your invitations will give your guests an idea of what to expect — an Art Deco design lets them know they’re in for a sleek, classic affair while whimsical fonts will key them into the more casual wedding you’re aiming for. Whatever your wedding theme, remember: It’s never too early to make a great first impression – Photo: BeaconLn.com

and gorgeous invites are one of the best ways to do so.

In the Mail – An Invitation Timeline When it comes to mailing wedding invitations, etiquette requires invites to be sent out at least eight weeks prior to the wedding for out-of-town guests; for local guests, six weeks in advance. Here are some other time frames to observe:

1 YEAR

Begin guest list

9-12 MONTHS 9-12 MONTHS 6-9 MONTHS 4-6 MONTHS Begin shopping and order save-the-date cards

Mail save-the-dates

Finalize guest list

Order invitation ensemble

8 WEEKS

Mail invitations to out-of-town guests

Important note: Do not send a save-the-date to anyone who you might not extend an invite to. It’s better to firm up your guest list before sending out to your “maybe” list.

Invitation The

Etiquette Breakdown

6 WEEKS

Mail invitations to local guests

2 WEEKS

THE BIG EVENT

4 WEEKS*

Phone guests who have not responded

Mail thank-you notes

Emphasis on the phone. Do not e-mail, text or Facebook your guests. A phone call is the more direct and polite way to obtain a response from your guests.

*or sooner! after honeymoon

We get it: Times change and wedding etiquette evolves. Now – in the age of limitless e-mail and social media access – it can be more difficult than ever to decipher what is actually appropriate. This is one of the first times your guests will be hearing about your plans, so of course, you want to make a great first impression. We’ve decided to help out with a list of some of the don’ts of today’s wedding invitations. DON’T use labels. Pre-printed labels are too impersonal. Always handwrite addresses for your wedding invites or hire a calligrapher to do so for you. DON’T include your registry information. Your registry info should never be included with or printed on a wedding invitation as it implies that a gift is more important than the guest. This information – as well as a “no gift” policy – can be included on a wedding website or done by word of

mouth. It is acceptable, however, for the host of your bridal shower to include registry information with a bridal shower invite as this is a gift-giving occasion. DON’T dictate dress. Some couples want to include “Black Tie” on the invite, but the ceremony invitation is not the place to do it. If it seems essential to include this information, it can be added to the reception invitation card and placed in the lower-right hand corner.

DON’T state that you’re having a childfree wedding. Leave the “no children” or “adults only” off the invitation, and rely on word of mouth instead. The way the invitation is addressed, whether on the outside or inner envelope indicates who is invited and, by omission, who is not invited.

Visit www.TodaysBride.com/Invite to learn more about invitations.

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INVITATIONS

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R

egarding “plus ones,” the general rule is that couples who are married, engaged or living together should be invited together – even if you haven’t met your friend’s significant other. After that, it gets a little less clear-cut. Some couples give a plus one to singles over 18. Others decide to include dates for anyone in a relationship, while others draw the line at just couples who have been together for a year or more. Whatever you decide, consistency is key. The only exception is your bridal party members – if you can swing it, allow your single bridesmaids and groomsmen to invite dates if they choose to do so.

Crafting Your Guest List  eciding who makes the cut can be very difficult, but here’s D a good rule of thumb: If you haven’t sat down and had a meal together over the past two years (read: you aren’t as close as you used to be), don’t feel obligated to invite them.

QUICK TIP

Looking for more guest list tips? See page 19 of the wedding planner in the back of the magazine.

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Ceremony Curation 101 Planning a wedding is hard work! Using this flow chart, however, will make it oh-sosimple to craft the ceremony of your dreams …

Start Here: When you picture your ideal ceremony, it’s:

Outside

Inside Could go either way What music do you hear in your head as you’re envisioning your wedding day?

Traditional

piano or organ

Something unique

like bagpipes or harmonica!

Soft guitar

in the background

Do you plan on incorporating any ethnic or family traditions into your own ceremony?

Yes

How would you describe your wedding aesthetic?

Formal

all the way!

Super Casual Semi-Formal No

Do you plan on decking out your altar with a fun backdrop or unique decor?

Maybe

You plan on having a _________ ceremony.

Religious

Are you writing your own vows?

Secular

No way!

It could happen.

Definitely

Yes

Possibly

Traditional to a Tee

Open to Ideas

For as long as you can remember, you’ve been married to the idea of a traditional wedding. Traditions become traditions for a reason, right? You love that the marriage “I dos” are known for their quaint symbolism, and they hold a great deal of sentimental for you. Few places feel as comfortable or as right for a ceremony than the church you grew up in. Throw in a few family customs, and you’ll be all set to hold a ceremony that resonates deeply with your guests.

You understand that there’s value in traditions, but also love the idea of pulling off something that’s a little outside the lines. When it comes to your ceremony venue choice, it’s quite possible you haven’t exactly narrowed it down yet. That’s perfectly okay. Take the time to evaluate your vision and compare your options. If you’re looking for something a little unique, but not fully over the edge, you might consider a scenic park or a historic home. Other different ideas? Consider penning your own vows or adding an unexpected music element, like a modern take on an old classic for your processional or a musician who plays a unique instrument.

The Queen of Unique Look up trendy in the dictionary, and you’ll find your picture right next to it. Ceremony at an art museum or on a boat? That’s got your name all over it. You are most definitely writing your own vows, and you have the greatest aisle décor in mind. Our only suggestion would be not to go so far out of the box that you compete with the true meaning of the ceremony or wish you had done something differently a few years down the road – but we trust that you know what you’re doing, girl!

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POPULAR

Ceremony Customs Naturally, the vows tend to be the most memorable part of a wedding ceremony. Here, the bride and groom make their solemn promises to each other in a beautiful and touching moment. During the vows, there are a variety of customs – sort of “a ceremony within a ceremony” – that the couple can incorporate. The following rituals are among those used to enhance ceremonies:

The Unity Candle Lighting:

This is a popular choice for both religious and non-religious ceremonies because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance. A unity candle set consists of two slender candles (called tapers) and a large center candle. The two outer candles represent your individual lives before today, while the large inner candle represents your new life together as a unit.

The Unity Sand:

This acts as an alternative to the Unity Candle Ceremony as it is similar in its symbolism. The couple’s relationship is symbolized through the pouring of two individual containers of sand (representing their individuality) into one container representing their union. If you are having a beach wedding, this particular ritual is a must! Looking for a fun new alternative? Try a Unity Planting Ceremony! Visit www.TodaysBride.com/customs to see more ceremony options. Photos top to bottom: Malick Photo, Orchard Photography

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CEREMONY SITES & OFFICIANTS

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PRE-RECEPTION EVENTS

Let’s get it started

Once news about your engagement gets out, friends and family will often want to help you celebrate by hosting a pre-wedding event – whether an engagement party, a bridal shower, the rehearsal dinner or the bachelorette party. For the most part, you won’t be putting much work into these events. But if you’re looking to steer your loved ones in the right direction, this pre-wedding party cheat sheet is absolutely for you.

A

n engagement party is the perfect chance to share the excitement of your pending marriage with friends and family in a relaxed setting before you sprint into high-gear wedding-planning mode. Plus, it’s an easy step toward bringing both worlds together, so you won’t have the added pressure of introducing everyone for the first time on the big day! If you’re having an engagement party, it should be spaced out from other events as much as possible; too many events in a short time can be overwhelming for both you and your guests. Bridal showers are typically one to three months before the wedding, so if the wedding is any less than a year after your engagement, make sure it’s practical to throw an engagement party. If the thought of planning yet another blowout has your head spinning, don’t worry – this event is not required. There are no strict rules about where the engagement party should be held or who should host. Traditionally, the bride’s parents organize it; however, these days anyone close to the family like a relative or a friend can assume hosting responsibilities.

The Rehearsal Dinner

Everything you need to know about planning this customary dinner When does the ceremony rehearsal (and dinner) take place? The wedding rehearsal – usually held at the ceremony site – takes place the day before the wedding and is traditionally followed by a dinner. You could also opt to host the meal prior to the rehearsal ceremony or hold both on an entirely different day.

Who should we invite? Every person involved in your ceremony should attend the rehearsal: the bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, flower girl, ring bearer, Officiant, readers and musicians. It is considerate to invite the spouse or significant other of each attendant. Walk through the entire ceremony a couple of times so that everyone knows their parts and their queues. It is also a good idea to have your wedding consultant on hand for any last-minute questions. When it comes to the meal, the guest list could be as simple as including your immediate families, the wedding party and their spouses or significant others. It’s also becoming more popular to make it a larger event and invite all of your out-of-town guests. If you’d rather have the rehearsal be an intimate affair but don’t want to exclude other guests, think about hosting the rehearsal two nights before the wedding day – and then having a welcome party for out-of-towners on the night before instead.

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so your guests can have two different experiences. Where you decide to have the rehearsal dinner depends on the budget of whoever is throwing it, how many guests there will be and what kind of party the host or hostess envisions.

What takes place at the rehearsal dinner?

Where should we hold the dinner afterward? The rehearsal dinner should be held near – or even at – the ceremony site. The options are endless when deciding where to host the dinner: a private room in a restaurant or hotel; an elegant formal dinner at a country club; or a themed meal that reflects your interests. If possible, try to vary it up from the style of your wedding reception

Traditionally, the Best Man offers a toast to the bride and groom at some point. The groom then follows with a toast to his bride and her parents. The bride may follow with a toast to her groom and his family. You should make sure that everyone is introduced to each other, either through formal introductions or by mixing and mingling. A special touch would be to introduce the wedding party and say something personal about each one, how you met, and maybe point out a positive characteristic about that person.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Top 5 Tips for Making the Most of Bachelorette Outing

Keep the Bride’s Interests in Mind

Some bachelorettes are stationed at a local bar or restaurant. Some have become entire weekend events – jet-setting to Vegas, a weekend camping trip or a spa getaway. The Maid/Matron of Honor and bridal party should ask themselves one thing when planning the festivities: What would the bride really want?

Get the Guest List from the Bride

As the bride-to-be, one of your sole responsibilities for the bachelorette (other than having a good time!) is making sure you provide the host(s) with a guest list. Make sure you feel comfortable “letting loose” with everyone you invite; if you have doubts, it’s best to leave questionable parties off the list and simply enjoy their presence on the wedding day.

Timing is Everything

Typically the bachelorette party should revolve around an evening close to the

big day – but it should definitely not fall on the night before the wedding. Standing at the altar tired – or worse, hungover – is probably not how you pictured your special day.

Take Budget into Account

While it’s important to take into account what the bride wants, the host(s) should also consider the budget of the girls who are attending. If you’ll be staying overnight somewhere, going to dinner and/or renting transportation, be sure to include the price when extending the invite.

Don’t Underestimate the Element of Surprise

Given all the planning the bride and groom have put into details of the wedding, don’t you think it’d be a welcome surprise to not have to make decisions for another event? Ask the bride to trust you to know her likes and dislikes — and then take the reins! Page 33: LMAC Photography; Page 35: Genevieve Nisly Photography

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D Set a date. Showers are typically held two weeks to two months before the wedding.

caterer about your cake and menu ideas; order any special items from a rental company.

Bring on the

D Compile a guest list. As the hostess, you should set the number of guests you’re comfortable inviting. If the shower isn’t a surprise, consult with the bride about whom to include.

D Select & assemble the invitations. Is the shower a surprise? If so, be sure to clearly state that. You may also want to include gift registry information.

While this is one party you won’t be planning, dear bride, anyone from the bridesmaids to the mother of the bride or groom can host the bridal shower. Feel free to copy this timeline and hand it off to the official hostess(es).

D Determine the location. If the shower will be taking place at a private dining room, restaurant or any other location that requires booking, be sure to promptly make reservations.

D Send the invitations.

8 WEEKS BEFORE

3+ MONTHS BEFORE D Talk to the bride. Does she want a females-only shower or something co-ed? Sunday brunch or a Friday night soiree? Although most of the bridal shower details will fall on you, make sure you keep the bride’s input in mind as you’re planning.

The Cardinal Rule Anyone you invite to a pre-wedding event should also be on the guest list for the wedding.

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PRE-RECEPTION EVENTS

QUICK TIP

D Confer with the bridesmaids to

establish a budget.

D Choose a theme, if you wish. Afterwards, hold a brainstorming session to make decisions about table linens, flowers or centerpieces, décor, music, favors, menu, and activities. D Reach out to vendors. Consult with a linen expert about your décor ideas; talk to a bakery or

4-6 WEEKS BEFORE D Prepare any activities. Shower games are practically a must, but consider other alternatives, too, such as a tarot card reader or a henna tattoo artist. D Purchase favors. D Map out a floor plan to help with decorating and day-of tasks.

2 WEEKS BEFORE D Buy gift for the bride. A good rule of thumb? Spend no less than $30 and no more than $50.

D Confirm RSVPs. D Purchase spirits if cocktails are on the agenda.

1 WEEK BEFORE D Confirm orders and pick-up or delivery times with vendors. D Assemble favors & prepare games, if needed. D Create copies of your to-do list for those who are helping with set-up.

1-2 DAYS BEFORE D Touch base with the bridesmaids. Confirm who’s bringing what, and ask them to arrive early to help. D Put together final projects &

run last-minute errands.

ON THE DAY-OF D Don’t forget to make a giftopening area. Place scissors, large trash bags, a notebook and a pen there for the assigned helper to record gifts and their givers.

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Receptions

Done Right

Y

ou may be hosting a garden barbecue or a grand gala for 300 – in either case, the key to a great party comes down to three words: location, location, location. Choosing a wedding venue may seem like an intimidating decision right now. You need a place that fits your budget, accommodates your guests and most of all, suits your wedding style. But rest assured: Whether you’re a nature lover, a modernist or a hopeless romantic, there’s a wedding site for you.

Where do I begin? One of the best ways to begin is by figuring out your style and asking yourself what kind of mood you want to create for your big day. Do you want something totally casual or totally elegant? Come up with two to three theme words that sum up what you’re both imagining.

The small touches that make the wedding all about the two of you will also make the wedding memorable for your guests. Additionally, you and your fiancé can better determine your style by paying attention to your daily life. What’s the style of your home décor? What do you like to do in your spare time? There is no reason to give up what you love on your big day; in fact, you should be celebrating it! The small touches that make the wedding all about the two of you will also make the wedding memorable for your guests. Take some time to discuss your vision with your fiancé, and write READ MORE ABOUT RECEPTIONS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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out your wants and needs. Once you have an idea of what style works for you both, you’ll be able to find a venue to match that style.

What else can I do to prepare before setting up venue tours? Primarily, knowing how many people you want to invite is crucial when picking a location. It’s also helpful to have some idea of the events your reception will include; a spot that normally works for 150, for example, might only fit 100 if you have a large dance floor and/or a band.

on the spot. Make an appointment and plan to spend at least an hour at each space. Keep in mind that it’s best to visit each venue around the actual hours of your event – it will allow you to see how the space looks naturally lit.

What should we look for as we’re considering venues? First impressions are everything! When you begin checking out potential sites, note how each location makes you feel

Then, you’ll need to determine your budget. Think about the number of guests you anticipate inviting, and then factor in how much money you reasonably want to spend on each guest. Remember that you’ll spend around 50 percent of your wedding budget on your reception. Once you have an idea of your budget and number of guests, you’ll be able to focus on venues that fit your parameters. Finally, please do yourselves a favor and take the time to compare the sites in-person. Simply calling a possible reception site for a price quote does not show you what you’re getting for your money.

How many venues should we look at? Your reception venue needs to do so much: represent your style, be available when you need it and fit your budget. But even with those parameters, you’ll probably still have a sizeable list of places to consider. The best bet is to check out at least three (but usually no more than six) venues in person so you’re able to easily compare sites. Keep track of ewach venue and try to make your visits close together (say one whole weekend) so you can have a fresh memory of your visits. While it’s tempting to just drop by a venue, it’s never a good idea. Catering staff might not be available to show you around and answer all your questions 38 RECEPTIONS

the second you walk in. Take along a list of what to look for – in your head or on paper – when you’re ready to go scouting. One of the first things you’ll want to make note of is whether the site is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your list. The space may look large enough when it’s empty, but wedding essentials – tables, chairs, a buffet, a bar, the band or DJ setup, the dance floor – can take up a lot of space. Not to mention your guests, who will need some elbow room. The best way to assess the size of a site? Ask to check out the place when another wedding is being set up. Of course, if you decide you must have your wedding at your sentimental, yet smaller, favorite spot, you can always work backwards and tailor your guest list to match.

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You should ask if other events are scheduled for your wedding day and how much time is allowed between bookings. least, one hour between bookings. If the room is partitioned, find out what sort of group will be next door.

What about the décor? Any tips there? What will your guests look at when they’re not gazing at you or smiling for the videographer? Whether it’s the city skyline or a beautiful body of water behind you, exceptional landmarks always make for definite eye candy. If there’s no view per se, look to the venue’s decor or architectural

details: modern art on the walls, period furniture in the corners or an amazing crystal chandelier as the room’s centerpiece will add that something extra to your reception site. If you’re considering a certain theme and color palette for your party, take that into consideration as well. The site doesn’t have to be done in the exact colors as your planned decor-

ations, but the walls, carpets, chairs and curtains shouldn’t clash with your party’s theme.

Anything else we should keep in mind? You should ask if other events are scheduled for your wedding day and how much time is allowed between bookings; there should be, at the very

If you’re having a daytime celebration in a public spot such as a park or garden, be prepared for strangers to trek past. They may even smile, wave or come by to offer their good wishes. If this is okay with you, go for the park. If not, ask about privacy options, or opt for a lovely lawn on a private estate. When touring a facility, be sure to look around thoroughly and meet the staff. You may even want to see how your waiters and waitresses will be dressed. Also, make sure you know who the contact person will be for your event (i.e. the wedding coordinator, the

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catering manager, etc.). Get their name in writing as well as the name of an acceptable substitute.

How do I get an idea of what is included with our venue package? Select venues have their own tables, caterers and pre-approved staff. Many venues provide chairs and linens. With other spaces, you’ll need to rent all of these amenities. Not all venue packages are created equal; be sure to ask your site coordinator what is considered extra. Additionally, if you plan on bringing in outside services, you’ll want to find out what limitations there may be as well what time you or your supplier can come in to set up.

Alright, we found the one! Now how do we book …? Usually a verbal confirmation is enough to hold the space for a day, maybe two. Then you’ll be expected to pay a deposit and sign a formal contract outlining all the details of the reception package. Deposits aren’t always refundable, so find out before you sign the contract.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s the reason you went to visit the hall. And if the staff isn’t interested in helping with your concerns, chances are they won’t be interested in helping you have the wedding reception you want. The better informed you are, the more comfortable you’ll feel with your choice. Page 37: Justin Ketchem Photography; Page 38: Allen&Karen Wedding Photography; Page 39: Genevieve Nisly Photography; Page 41: Spencer Photography, Inc.

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HISTORIC DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND VENUES The city of Cleveland has recently been awakened and once celebrated locales are being rediscovered. Here are a few historic and unsung wedding venues that illustrate Cleveland’s rich past.

The English Oak Room at Tower City Center Originally the restaurant for the Cleveland Union Terminal, The English Oak Room is Downtown Cleveland’s hidden gem. Located in one of Cleveland’s most notable landmarks, Tower City Center, the space features elegant handcarved oak panels, high ceilings and Art Deco marble. Wedding ceremonies are typically

held in the main room and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served in the lobby. The English Oak Room can accommodate receptions of up to 200 guests. Two of Cleveland’s top-rated hotels and the Horseshoe Casino are conveniently located in Tower City Center and are accessible without taking a step outside. “The

English Oak Room was built in the prime of Cleveland’s commercial peak, and it is still here, in its original form,” says Melissa Marik, Director of Business Development for Executive Caterers, “We are proud to be able to offer this venue to Cleveland during the revival.” Photos by : AmandaLu

Cleveland Public Auditorium Built in 1922, Cleveland Public Auditorium has seen such acts as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley and, more recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Induction Ceremonies. The building was built in the neoclassical style and features a grand marble staircase, ornate trims and large open areas. Cleveland Public Auditorium provides many

options for ceremonies and receptions. The Auditorium’s Music Hall provides a stunning location for a ceremony, while the large outdoor patio is a perfect location for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The newly renovated Grand Reception Hall is an intimate space for a ceremony or reception. Larger receptions can utilize the open space of Public Hall. The main stage may

also be utilized for ceremonies, cocktail hours or receptions. The building can accommodate 100 to upwards of 1,000 guests. “Cleveland Public Auditorium offers a unique and highly versatile location. There is something here for every couple,” says Marik. Photo by : AmandaLu

Content provided by Executive Caterers

Executive Caterers is the exclusive or recommended caterer to many of Downtown Cleveland’s historic venues. Take advantage of their awarding winning service, culinary expertise and in-house floral and décor department for a memorable and exceptional event. Executive Caterers also offers personal Wedding Planners who can help couples navigate a wide variety of wedding packages or help them create a completely custom event. Contact a Wedding Planner today – call 440.499.0700 or visit executivecaterers.com.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum The world’s only hall of fame and museum completely devoted to the history and social significance of rock and roll is located on the shores of Lake Erie in Downtown Cleveland. The unmistakable glass pyramid was designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei and features spectacular views of the city as

well as Lake Erie. Wedding ceremonies can be held on the third floor bridge adjacent to the Hall of Fame and overlooking the plaza and reception area. The reception area features state of the art sound and lighting and can accommodate more than 200 guests. “Couples who choose the Rock Hall radiate the energy of rock

and roll. They are looking for a venue that is vibrant and against the grain,” says Marik. “This is a truly unique and exciting venue – there is no other place in the world like it.” Photos by : Genevieve Nisly Photography

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DOLLAR$

& SENSE

THE TOP WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR RECEPTION

Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to have a beautiful wedding and still live within your budget. And it all starts with the basics: TRY A FRIDAY OR A DIFFERENT SEASON You found the site you’ve always imagined but can’t afford that perfect June wedding? Choosing the site of your dreams can still be within your budget if you are willing to be a bit flexible with your date. The most popular wedding months traditionally fall between April and October. If you plan to marry during these peak times, you’ll need to keep an open mind if your first choice is taken. Selecting a wedding date that’s “off season” can bring about substantial savings and less competition for your preferred dates. Keep in mind that many venues and vendors will provide discounts for Friday and Sunday wedding receptions simply because these days aren’t always in high demand. Hosting a reception on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon could allow you to have your party at your desired site with a considerable reduction in costs – and that’s money you can use for the honeymoon, your new home or elsewhere.

Keep in mind that many venues and vendors will provide discounts for Friday and Sunday wedding receptions simply because these days aren’t always in high demand.

LOOK FOR FREE DÉCOR Choose a place that has natural beauty, whether it’s wooded views; rivers and lakes; or a deck that overlooks the sunset. You can also take advantage of decorations that are already on site. Many venues decorate for Christmas and leave it up through New Year’s, which makes this a great time to have your wedding.

DO AN AFTERNOON BRUNCH Instead of an elaborate evening event with a lavish sit-down dinner, consider a sophisticated morning brunch reception or an elegant afternoon tea. These more intimate types of receptions mean a scaled-back guest list, but allow for more time to actually interact with your guests. By being creative with a mid-day affair, you will be able to offer your guests a truly stylish and charming event. 44 RECEPTIONS

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Putting it in Writing

Once you’ve made your decision on a reception site and an appropriate package, put everything in a written contract. Make sure you list the total price, including any deposits and payment schedules as well as everything that will be included. Here are the critical points to review:

Reception Contracts D Total cost & a line-item breakdown of what’s included. D Amount of deposit & when it was paid. D Balance outstanding & when it’s due (a payment schedule). D Exact date & time of your wedding as well as exact location. DD  etailed list of everything the facility will provide (tables, chairs, linens, amplifiers, etc.).

D T he name of the site representative who will be on hand on your wedding day and the name of an acceptable substitute.

D Proof of liability insurance & liquor license. D Cancellation/refund policy. D A nything else you agree to orally that you want to set in stone (special requests or accommodations, extra services, etc.) Not sure what to ask your event facility? Check out our list of must-ask questions in our wedding planner in the back of this issue!

Think Fast! Saturdays are still the top day to tie the knot and prime wedding season runs from April through October. So if you want to get married on a Saturday during peak season, you’ll need to plan ahead and make a venue decision quickly before your preferred site gets booked for another event.

QUICK TIP

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Beating the Elements HOW TO WEATHER-PROOF YOUR OUTDOOR WEDDING emembering to grab your own umbrella is one thing, but it’s a much bigger task to worry about keeping yourself and your guests dry and entertained at an outdoor wedding. Sure, it’s impossible to know exactly what kind of weather your wedding day will bring. But with some planning, you can prevent bad weather from ruining your big day.

R

In case of heat D Y ou’ll need to weather-proof

D D

D

D D D

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your make-up for a summer celebration – no bride enjoys having foundation running down her face. Talk to your stylist to come up with a look that works. U  se fan style programs – they’re creative and functional. H  and out mini battery-operated fans as favors. Guests will definitely appreciate the gesture on a muggy day! S  erve beverages before and after the ceremony. Most guests won’t have time to stop and get a drink somewhere, but they might love to grab a lemonade on the way to their seats. S  trategically place a few electric fans to blow over the crowd. C  onsider getting air conditioning for an outdoor tent, especially if your guests will be dancing there. If your reception takes place during evening hours, the heat and lights in the tent could become a magnet for mosquitoes and other annoying insects. Your tent vendor may have suggestions.

Informing your guests and vendors that you are having an outdoor wedding will allow them to appropriately prepare. In case of wind D Have hair spray and bobby pins on hand for your hair. DD  esignate someone to smooth down your dress and veil.

D A nchor floral arrangements with landscaping stakes to keep them from toppling over.

In case of cold DH  ave a shawl on hand. You may not want to wear it

D D

during your ceremony or pictures, but it will come in handy the rest of the time. R  ent propane patio heaters to keep your guests warm. K  eep warm beverages on stand-by — think coffee, tea, cocoa and hot apple cider.

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In case of rain DW  ear waterproof make-up. DC  hoose shoes that won’t sink into the ground, or stick rubber/plastic protectors on your heels. DO  n your wedding website encourage guests to bring umbrellas, just in case. D B uy inexpensive umbrellas in your wedding colors for guests who forget to bring their own. D A sk the coordinator at your ceremony/reception venue if they have an indoor back-up plan. For any of the elements D R ent a party tent. It will keep your guests from getting rained on or even sunburned. For a potentially

D D D

windy or rainy day, choose a tent with walls. You always have the option to air condition or heat such tents, too. C  hoose a venue where you can easily move an outdoor wedding indoors if conditions are too extreme. M  ake sure your guests know — Some attendees may be more sensitive to heat or cold. Your invites should clearly indicate that the reception is outdoors, so guests can dress accordingly. M  ake sure your vendors know! You should inform all of your vendors — whether it’s the DJ, the caterer, the photographer or the cake decorator — that you’re having an outdoor wedding. Some vendors will want to take extra precautions or use different equipment. Page 48: Hai Bales Photography; Page 50, left to right: Genevieve Nisly Photography, Spencer Photography, Inc., Riverfront Photography

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The

EXTENDED Wedding Reception Weddings are all about the experience. In the past, couples may have held their own “after party” for a few close friends following the reception. Today’s couples, on the other hand, are looking for ways to bring the younger vibe and fun to the wedding itself – without the expense of throwing a second party. Look for receptions to last a tad bit longer so that couples can fit in a change of entertainment. In particular, DJs and bands will be mixing together in creative ways. The ever-popular food truck and/or latenight snack will continue to be a trendy way to send off your guests. Overall, many couples will choose to divide their receptions into three distinct sections: the cocktail hour complete with music and hors d’oeuvres ; the dinner “hour” (actually two or three hours) with all the expected wedding traditions, and two to three hours of fun where it’s completely acceptable for Grandma and Grandpa to head on home. Photos left to right: LMAC Photography, We’ve Got Something Special Photography

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Food For Thought N

o matter what kind of wedding you choose to have, the food and drink are in prime position to make or break the day. Here’s what you need to know to ensure you’re bringing the best caterer to the table – literally! When should we begin the search for a caterer? Begin the search for a caterer early during your engagement – eight or nine months prior to the wed-

ding, if possible. This will give you plenty of time to research your options before making the final selection, which should be done four to five months before the reception date.

How can we prepare for our catering appointment(s)? Unless your wedding budget is wide open, figuring out your guest count will certainly play a part in deciding who to hire and what to serve. You’ll also want to determine the level of formality you want for your reception; from there, you can consider which serving style best fits. Would a plated dinner be the most appropriate? What about a buffet or even family style? The company

you choose may have catered events at your venue before and, therefore, be able to inform you which serving styles have been successful in the past. Above all, be open to new catering ideas you might not have considered before.

What’s the deal with the taste test? Many caterers offer couples the opportunity to sit down and explore their culinary options with a taste test. Be sure to schedule your tasting far enough in advance that there is still plenty of time to make adjustments. There may be a charge, but consider it worthwhile. Though you shouldn’t expect a complete reversal of a dish’s recipe, don’t hesitate to make suggestions

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or ask if the chef can modify subtle elements. Some seasonal items you plan to serve may not be available at the time of the tasting, so you’ll have to trust your caterer with those dishes.

What about our bar package? What do we need to know? Decide in advance how much you want to spend on alcohol, and have an idea of what’s most important to you. Will you provide champagne for the entire reception or only during the toast? If you opt to include liquor, will you use house brands or premium brands? When discussing the bar with your venue or caterer, find out what their standard bar package includes.

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If a full bar is outside of your budget, consider having a soft bar that consists of beer, wine and possibly a signature drink or two.

If a full bar is outside of your budget, consider having a soft bar that consists of beer, wine and possibly a signature drink or two. Keep in mind, however, that a cash bar is considered a faux pas – it’s typically bad form to ask your guests to pay for anything at an event you’re hosting.

If you choose to have a full bar, try to be charged by the drink (or by consumption) rather than for the whole bottle. If you are charged by the bottle, ask if you will receive credit for partial bottles and if not, ask if you’ll be able to take the open bottles with you after the reception.

Also, find out how many bartenders will be on duty, whether there are any corkage fees and whether the facility has liquor liability insurance.

How long should bar service be available at the reception? Be sure to arrange for bar service that lasts as long as the reception itself (the average wedding reception lasts between four to six hours). You can save some money by requesting that the bar stop serving alcohol at a particular time, but you should make provisions for some sort of beverage(s) to be supplied until the reception is over. Page 55, all photos: Genevieve Nisly Photography; Page 56, left to right: Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, We’ve Got Something Special Photography, Justin Ketchem Photography

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Most people are under the impression that food stations are meant for larger, more extravagant weddings – but they’re perfect for smaller weddings, too! A smaller guest list will allow you to splurge on foods that might otherwise be outside of your budget. Here are our tips for making the most of the food station experience: • Aim for up to five or six stations around the room, each featuring a different cuisine. • Consider theming the food – for example, it could be indicative of your hometown.

The fun catering option for the not-so-traditional bride

FAB FOOD STATIONS Are you and your groom total foodies? Want your guests to mix and mingle? Then

maybe you’ll decide to forego the traditional buffet or plated dinner, and go with chic food stations instead! These stations are particularly fun for your wedding guests because they’ll allow them to sample foods they might not have tried otherwise.

• Be sure to consider everything from family traditions & favorites as well as dietary restrictions, while also considering what your catering company offers. • Get interactive with chef-attended stations. • Make sure there’s plenty of space to mingle, and then set up a variety of lounge areas – couches, café tables, bars with stools, as well as higher cocktail tables – for your guests.

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10 Food Station Options You Didn’t Even Know You Had

their own. The key factor is to make sure you have a few soup selections available.

6

STIR-FRY STATION

1

BAKED POTATO BAR

Who doesn’t love a great baked potato?! Put out an assortment of butters, cheeses, sour cream, bacon, vegetables, salsa and more to meet – and dare we say exceed – all of your guests’ expectations!

2

SUSHI STATION

California, Philadelphia, Spicy Tuna? Doesn’t matter! Your guests will love having a chef hand-roll their sushi right before their eyes, regardless of which type they choose!

3

Bring your favorite Asian restaurant to your wedding by having a chef prepare stir-fried vegetables, chicken, beef and shrimp in a wok and serve with steamed rice and teriyaki sauce. Delicious!

7

MEXICAN STATION

Allow guests to build their own tacos using soft flour tortillas and hard shells. Make sure the station includes grilled chicken, steak, rice, refried beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa and, of course, guacamole!

PASTA STATION

Have a chef prepare the guests’ choice of pasta using a pre-selected assortment of pasta (we suggest 3-5 kinds), sauce (2-4 kinds) and meats or seafood (also 3-5 kinds). Set out condiments such as basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, mushrooms, red/green peppers and other veggies.

4

SALAD BAR

Like most restaurants typically do, we suggest setting up a two-sided salad bar for your guests’ eating enjoyment.

5

SOUP STATION

There are many ways you could choose to do your soup station – whether it’s smaller soup servings served in shot glasses or having bread bowls out for guests to scoop

8

PIZZA STATION Who doesn’t like making their own pizza? Just set out crust, sauce, cheese, veggies and other toppings. Of course, you’ll also need a grill or toaster oven. This station is a particularly great option if you’re going to have a lot of kids at your reception!

9

GOURMET GRILLED CHEESE

Comfort food is very in right now – especially grilled cheese sandwiches! Ask your caterer to put out homemade breads, gourmet cheeses, as well as an assortment of spiced ketchups, aiolis and other condiments. Throw in some homemade sweet potato fries, and your guests aren’t going to want to leave!

10

MEDITERRANEAN STATION

Souvlaki, Greek salad, basmati rice, hummus and pita bread … what’s not to love?

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Catering Numbers by the

food

Now that it’s time to plan your meal, a caterer will be the best coach to have on hand. Go over the number of guests you’re expecting, the presentation, your ideal menu, your budget and the venue with them; they will tell you what seems to work. Caterers know the customary portions, so you don’t need to calculate. However, if you’re wondering how caterers plan your meal, here’s a standard guideline to follow for a 4-6 hour event:

desserts

Appetizers 6 pieces per guest

1.5 servings per guest

Entrée

Side Dishes

Cupcakes

Cookies

Candy (Bar)

drinks

1.5 (full-size) cupcakes per guest

Cold Refreshments Alcoholic Drinks 1 drink per guest per hour

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3 cookies per guest

1.5 drinks per guest per hour

1.5 servings per guest

.5 cup per guest

Hot Drinks 2 cups per guest

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FLOWERS & DECOR

Dreaming of Wedding Decor U

ndoubtedly, your guests will gauge your wedding by what their eyes first behold – which makes decorations one of the most important elements of your wedding planning.

There’s a lot that goes into wedding décor, and chances are you’ll have countless questions along the way. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of some of the most common décor questions and the coordinating advice you need to know:

How do I go about choosing the décor for my wedding?

How much is too much when it comes to decor?

Before you do anything, you’ll want to get a vision for your big day. Start with selecting your colors and maybe even a theme. What color schemes do you gravitate toward? Is there a favorite hue you absolutely need to include?

Given the months that go into your planning, it can be easy to gather too much inspiration and reach a point where you feel overwhelmed by all the décor choices.

While a theme isn’t required (a great color palette can speak for itself!), it could end up being the glue that holds your wedding together. When considering a theme, try not to overthink it; instead choose something that you and your partner both love in everyday life. If you travel often, how about using a map for your table plan? If you both love to read, perhaps you could incorporate books into your centerpieces? Once you have those two elements in mind, you can start searching for photo inspiration. Keep all your ideas together, whether on a Pinterest board, in your wedding binder … or both!

To negate this, before you delve into your planning you should give yourself a timeline for your research stage, and then cut yourself off. As long as you choose elements that make you happy, you’ll end up with a beautiful wedding and keep yourself from forever being buried by new wedding ideas! Similarly, you should have some cutoff criteria for all of your décor selections. Before committing to something, ask yourself these two questions: Will this item bring me and/or my guests joy on the day of my wedding? Does it match the feel of my wedding? If either of those questions produces a “no,” then back away and

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63


keep looking. If you’re still undecided on an idea, shelve it for a few weeks. If you come back to it, maybe you like it more than you initially thought; and if you don’t, then it’s probably not meant to be. With a clear mental picture of what you want and the assistance of a reputable decorator, you’ll be able to confidently select items that will help pull everything together and provide the look you desire for your reception.

Before you delve into your planning you should give yourself a timeline for your research stage, and then cut yourself off. latest styles in décor, table settings, linens, chair covers and more.

I’m on a budget … how can I pinch pennies while still making a big impact? First, pick a venue that already has a chic ambience of its own. When visiting, be sure to take in the details: Picasso prints on the walls, fine Persian rugs on the floors or an amazing crystal chandelier as the room’s centerpiece will add that something extra to your reception site.

Should I rent or buy items for my wedding? Renting all the way! Not only is renting often a more economical solution, it also helps eliminate hours of searching, stress and potential storage issues. You can also use rental companies as a source for ideas. Renting materials gives you access to the

64

FLOWERS & DECOR

Next, you’ll want to focus on the elements that will have the biggest impact. Many industry experts would instantly point you toward uplighting, a seemly simple element that can actually create an extremely gorgeous atmosphere. As a whole, you’ll want to think quality, not quantity when it comes to decor. Focus on areas that make your heart go pitter-patter, and you’ll feel okay about skimping on the rest. Page 63, top to bottom: Genevieve Nisly Photography, Human Artist Photography, Nick Edmundson Imaging; Page 64, all: Genevieve Nisly Photography

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Love For the

of Linens

I

t’s safe to say your wedding guests will be spending a lot of time looking at your reception tables. Because your linens will act as somewhat of a first impression, it’s important for you to put some thought into what you want that impression to be.

formalness of the day. If your reception is going to be a bit more on the casual side, however, you might want to consider a patterned linen. Prints, particularly stripes, plaids, feminine florals and geometric patterns, are huge for weddings right now.

Many couples choose solid linens for their reception tables – a decision that is completely appropriate given the

Today’s brides are also seeking out more textured linens. Think chiffon, rosettes, ruching and ruffles galore.

Meanwhile, lace linens remain a popular choice for vintage brides while metallic and sequins are a new hit on the scene. If you want to be really daring, you might even consider mixing linen patterns and textures. Short on budget? Patterned runners can add a lot of impact for a fraction of the cost of a full linen. Or you might try alternating tables – some with full

linens and others with runners – to create visual interest. Overall, couples have a variety of options when it comes to table linens. Use your intuition – and your wedding theme – as a guide to selecting linens that will enhance your reception and delight your guests.

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Photo: LMAC Photography

FLOWERS & DECOR

65


Playing Faves

A Breakdown of Some of Our Favorite Décor Elements

Tents

The sad – but true – reality is you just can’t trust Northeast Ohio weather. Tent rentals, however, are a great option for a little “weather insurance.” You can even add heat or air conditioning, depending on the season, to keep the tent cozy or cool. Bonus: Tents act as a blank canvas, which allows you to create your dream setting rather than having to adapt your look to fit the decor of an existing space.

Ice Sculptures Whether you choose to go with something elegant like hand-carved vases or something completely functional like a martini

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luge, an ice sculpture can add that extra touch of luxury that you want for your event. As a creative twist, you might have the ice sculptor chipping away at the block of ice during your reception, with the sculpture being revealed at the end of the night.

Uplighting What is uplighting exactly? Essentially, it’s the art of using light to create a beautiful background. Through a lighting designer, you’ll be able to use pin spots to illuminate centerpieces, as well as the head table and cake table. You can also use rich colors and exciting patterns around the perimeter of the room to change an ordinary room into one with complete and utter ambience.

Dance Floor Decor The days of being stuck with whatever dance floor comes with your venue are long gone. These days, you can opt to go as simple as a little bit of illumination to as extravagant as a fully customized motif.

Signage While wedding signage may not be a “new” idea, it has certainly grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Whether they’re directing guests to the ceremony site or saving seats for the new Mr. & Mrs., wedding signs are a fabulous source of functional décor. Page 66, left to right: Skyline Tent Company & Beehive Events, Kay Photo & Design; Page 67, top to bottom, left to right: LMAC Photography, Spencer Photography, Inc., Orchard Photography

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S I H T E V GI T THAT NO :

S AVOR F R U O

Y

Do you have a shelf or cabinet that’s filled

Give This: Picture of Your Guests – Funny outtakes

from a photo booth make for an entertaining gift. You might even consider hiring a caricature artist to do sketches for guests.

Not That: Photo Frames – Chances are your guests have already run out of places to put them. And they definitely don’t need a photo of the newly married couple – save that for the thank you cards.

Give This: Luggage Tags – They’re not

just useful as tags; they can also double as escort cards. Plus, they may just encourage guests to purchase that suitcase they’ve been eyeing.

Not That: Pens – While it’s true that pens are very useful, they also make for pretty boring gifts. Plus, they remind your guests of the looming work week.

to the brim with wedding favors such as engraved ice cream scoopers, cake servers, cheese spreaders or tea light candle holders? If you do, you’re not alone. As couples consider favor options for their guests, many end up selecting items that,

Give This: Seasonal Edibles

Getting married in the fall? Try giving pumpkin truffles or caramel apples for an extremely special and relevant touch.

Not That: Mints – This would

only be the umpteenth wedding at which your guests have received mints. Umpteenth wedding this year, we mean.

while thoughtful, end up collecting dust in someone’s home. But the right choice for your gifts can leave your guests with something thoughtful, fun and practical. Here are our suggestions:

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Give This: Mini Bottles of Alcohol – Guests will find this more

exciting and useful. Leave bottles of sparkling grape juice for non-drinkers.

Not That: Bottle Openers or Coasters – Can we say boring? And

most of your guests probably a) already have these items or b) don’t want these items.

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PERFECT PETALS

F

lowers play a significant role in creating a beautiful event. They set the tone for your wedding with their color, fragrance and overall design – all while reflecting your own personality and style. Selecting the right flowers and the right florist could potentially be a daunting task, but we’re making it easy by providing all the need-to-know details below!

What should I look for in a florist? Weddings are labor-intensive projects, so looking for a florist who works specifically in weddings is key. As you’re researching potential florists, you’ll want to pay extra attention to their portfolios – af70

FLOWERS & DECOR

You should begin researching potential florists up to a year in advance.

When should I start my search? You should begin researching potential florists up to a year in advance; generally, you will want to reserve your florist at least three to six months in advance. Allow even more time if you’re marrying during the busy season (April through October).

What kind of prep-work should I do when it comes to flowers? ter all, you’ll want to work with someone whose work matches the style you have in mind for your wedding. It’s important to note that not only will the right florist listen to your ideas, but they should be able to take it up a notch and offer creative alternatives.

Before you begin interviewing florists, you should do a little homework. Start by researching floral designs to get a general idea of what types of arrangements and, more specifically, which flowers you would like to have. Attending a bridal show is an excellent way to see a variety of arrangements up close. READ MORE ABOUT FLOWERS & DECOR AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM


What factors should I take into consideration when choosing my flowers? The location of your ceremony will influence the number and size of your floral displays. Additionally, the color of the bridesmaid dresses as well as the overall color scheme for the wedding will influence the vibrancy and types of floral arrangements you’ll be using, so you should have these items figured out beforehand.

How should I go about interviewing florists I’m interested in? After you find some great ideas, set up an introductory meeting with a few different florists to see samples of their work and photographs of weddings they’ve done

in the past. It’s helpful if you bring along pictures from books, magazines or even Pinterest boards that illustrate your ideas. If possible, bring a picture and/or swatches from your gown and your bridesmaid’s gown.

How does budget factor into my final floral decision? As always, it’s important to have a sense of how much you want to spend. Honesty is the best policy, and you will save yourself a lot of grief if you know your bottom line. A versatile florist should be able to provide floral options within your financial limits that won’t compromise your style. Page 70: We’ve Got Something Special Photography; Page 71, left to right: Artistic Photography, Kay Photo & Design, Malick Photo

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Our Top Five Tips for Scoring One

Beautiful Bouquet 1

Generally, the bouquet is chosen based on the overall style and formality of the wedding ceremony. It could

be a large array of flowers or as simple as a single rose.

2

By incorporating other materials such as lace and crystal in the bouquet, you can add that certain

touch of unique charisma that you’ve given to all the other areas in your wedding.

3

A bouquet should complement your wedding gown and your personality, and it should be proportionate

to your body. Provide your florist with a photo of your dress, along with some color swatches and details about your wedding, and you’ll be sure to wind up with a bouquet that’s designed specifically for you.

4

If you choose to have bridesmaids’ bouquets, they are typically smaller replicas of the bridal bouquet.

Keep in mind, however, that flowers have the tendency to blend easily with the color of the gowns, so choose something that will stand out when pictures are taken.

5

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes the best decisions are found at the last minute while you’re

standing in the middle of a flower shop, playing around with your bridal intuition. Photos left to right, top to bottom: Orchard Photography, Acquire Wedding Photography, Spencer Photography, Inc., Orchard Photography, Christopher Norris Photographers

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Bouquet

Alternatives Y

ou don’t have to be “alternative” or pinching pennies to want a non-floral bouquet for your wedding.

Maybe the usual bunch of flowers is just not what you had pictured. And that’s okay – because you have lots of options! Here are a few unique and inspiring ideas to get your wheels turning. Photos top to bottom, left to right: Malick Photo, Crystal Bloom, Christopher Norris Photographers, Genevieve Nisly Photography

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flowers Which

maidenhair fern

dahlia

are in?

E

nglish roses, peonies, dahlias and ranunculus continue to be a popular option for many ‘a bride – primarily because they’re all known to add drama and a touch of romance. Additionally, brides won’t be able to get enough of greenery – whether it’s in the form of mint,

magnolia leaves or a maidenhair fern. Greenery is being used in a number of wedding elements – from obvious choices like the bouquet and boutonnieres to more non-traditional choices like table runners and chandelier décor.

ranunculus

magnolia leaves

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FLOWERS & DECOR

peony

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I Do ..To Do Preserving Your Flowers

A

fter all is said and done, you’ll have a collection of wedding day keepsakes, and your bouquet will be among the most precious. With that said, you might want to think about drying and preserving your bouquet. Start by making a consultation with a local freeze drying company and getting everything set up beforehand. Pre-planning this service ensures a faster delivery and, overall, better quality for the finished product. The morning after the wedding, have your Maid of Honor drop the bouquet off at your florist or specialist. They will then freeze dry the bouquet and frame it according to your wishes.

Photo: Orchard Photography

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Curating Your

Ceremony Music

Start the ceremony off right by choosing the right music. Whether you’re having an informal garden ceremony or a traditional church wedding, these tips will help guide you in the right direction.

Ceremony Music Types Prelude music – This is any light, ambient music that is performed as the guests arrive and are being seated. It

usually begins when the doors open, or as early as 45 minutes prior to but no later than 20 minutes before the ceremony begins. This music is usually

Keep These in Mind... n When choosing pieces for the processional and recessional, consider the aisle length. Longer pieces will need to be adapted for a short walk down the aisle or a combination of songs might need to be in place for a long aisle.

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n Take cues from your ceremony site’s architecture and decor. When saying your vows in a place of worship, you’ll probably want (or be asked to choose) the traditional accompaniment of an organ, harp or string quartet. On the other hand, if your wedding will take place at an alternative site, you may have a variety of options from which you can choose. n Before selecting music for any part of your ceremony, check with the wedding site to see if there are any restrictions. Some places of worship have strict rules about types of music, instruments played, amplification and composers. It’s best to respect these restrictions and be sure that pieces you select are appropriate for the venue. Non-religious venues are less restrictive, but be sure to ask anyways to avoid possible conflicts and last-minute changes.

relatively soft so guests can greet each other as they arrive and find their seats. Your musicians will have ideas as to which prelude pieces will create the mood you want. If you’re focused less on tradition, choose contemporary tunes that mean something to you and your fiancé – perhaps the first song you danced to or the song that was playing on the radio when he proposed. Processional music – This accompanies the entry of the extended wedding party – family, bridal party and the bride. The same song can be used for each, or you can change to another song when the bride enters to add drama and highlight her entrance. Whether you want something traditional, such as Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” (“Here Comes the Bride”), Pachelbel’s Canon or something completely out of the ordinary, experienced musicians can help you make the perfect choice. Interludes – Although this option is certainly not required, depending on

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the nature of your nuptials, there may be points at which you may wish to have music played during the ceremony itself. Those moments might include: a few minutes of meditation; a break between readings; a candle lighting or unity ceremony; directly after the exchange of the vows; and/or during & after communion. Recessional music – As the name implies, this music accompanies you as you recess (that is, make your exit) and is typically very upbeat and joyous. The recessional tends to be more informal than the processional, thereby allowing you even more freedom with your musical choice. You’ve been officially declared husband and wife, so here’s your chance to be unique and really have fun. Have someone play a violin, or even a set of bagpipes, as guests head toward the exit. You could even ask the musician to lead guests out of the ceremony in a parade-like fashion. Photo: Orchard Photography

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THE REAL DEAL ON YOUR

RECEPTION MUSIC You can never underestimate the power of music to create a party atmosphere. The right music can add drama, heighten emotion and most importantly, help your reception flow smoothly. The Q&A below will certainly help you inch closer and closer to that perfect performer who will add dynamics to your wedding day:

Should we hire a DJ or live band? In our opinion, you can’t go wrong either way. However, there are specific benefits to each, so here’s our breakdown on the issue: If versatility is a priority, disc jockeys can’t be beat. Their repertoire can include practically every song ever recorded – and if they don’t currently have a copy of your favorite tune, a well-connected DJ will be able to get it. It’s important to note that disc jockeys do more than just shuffle songs – they also emcee the event and make sure that everything runs smoothly. Because they can walk away from the music while it’s playing, they’re also free to interact with the crowd and make sure your guests are having a good time. Having a band, on the other hand, gives you the dynamics of a live performance. It’s traditional and distinctive, and the band you choose can do wonders to set the tone for your reception.

With a live band, guests interact with and respond to the musicians. Bands can tailor their performances to suit the crowd; for example, if the guests enjoy a certain song, the band can play it longer. In the end, there’s just a little more life to it, and it tells your guests they’re witnessing something special.

When should we start our search? We’d advise booking this service as soon as possible – popular performers get booked far in advance, so give yourself at least six months to hunt. As with every other aspect of your wedding, planning ahead will help secure your first choice. Keep in mind that researching should only be a small step along the way; you should never make a decision without a face-to-face meeting with the DJ or musician(s) who will be working your wedding.

What else should we consider when choosing our reception musicians? First and foremost, you’ll want to consider the size of your reception

Never make a decision without a face-to-face meeting with the DJ or musician(s) who will be working your wedding. site and number of guests attending. An intimate space won’t fit a 22-piece orchestra, and a three-piece combo probably won’t cut it for 400 people. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you keep the entertainment set up in a central area near the edge of the dance floor. It can be difficult for your musician(s) to keep the party going if you have tables set up between the dance floor and the stage/DJ booth.

How can I help my musician prepare for the big day? Whatever your choice, both bandleaders and disc jockeys can help you select the perfect songs to personalize your reception. As with a band, it’s unreasonable for a bride and groom to expect to dictate the DJ’s entire play list.

After all, part of his or her professional expertise is being able to read the crowd and respond to its mood. Of course, you’ll need to provide them with a list of the staples, such as your first dance and parent songs. If you have particular favorites you definitely want to hear throughout the reception, do give your musician a list of specific songs you would like played and choose categories of music (or even artists) you prefer. A week or two before your wedding, you should reach out to your entertainer(s) to confirm the reception’s timeline, playlist (especially for required songs) and style. Getting everything in order beforehand will make things a lot easier when the day arrives.

Photos top to bottom: Genevieve Nisly Photography, LMAC Photography


It’s All in the Details Timing

• Firm up your musician’s arrival times and set-up requirements. You should expect them to arrive at least an hour in advance. Plan on contracting for at least three hours, and add a provision for playing longer. • Ask how many minutes per hour will be spent on breaks and if the musicians require dinner. (It’s typically courteous to offer dinner to your vendors.) • Discuss “continuous flow.” During the off-time, individual musicians may take breaks while the remainder of the band plays on; some bands will play pre-recorded music during breaks so that there is continuous music.

Equipment • Outline equipment requirements such as power outlets, staging, dance floor, speakers and any equipment that you are expected to supply. If the musicians are bringing all of their own equipment, record any extra charges. • Verify with your reception site manager whether the facility has any restrictions on the number of musicians and/or pieces of equipment you may bring in. You should also ask about electrical power supply and noise limitations. • Be sure to ask your DJ/musician about their insurance coverage. Most professionals carry liability in case of equipment-based injuries or

Once you know you’ve found the right band or DJ, it’s time to work out the specifics and get it in writing. other incidents, but it never hurts to ask.

Introductions •A  rm your DJ or bandleader with information to announce the wedding party and reception events. Write down people’s names (with correct pronunciations), wedding roles and their relationship to you (Maid of Honor, bride’s parents & so on). If someone else will be handling introductions, make sure the entertainer knows their sole duty is turning out tunes.

Contact Info •M  ake sure you have the names of the exact musicians who will play at your wedding, plus the names of acceptable substitutes should there be an emergency.

Song Selections •Y  ou don’t need to (nor should you!) have a playlist for the entire reception, but as far as first dances, bouquet tosses and the like

go, it’s important to have an outline of what your entertainer will play.

• You can also offer up B-list songs or artists to play should they need to fill time throughout the reception. • A do-not play list is perfectly acceptable to include, too, if you have certain artists or genres you’d like your DJ to avoid.

Attire guidelines • In order to coordinate with your wedding theme, you should have some say in what the performers wear.

Contract Points • Ask about deposit requirements and payment schedules. Like other services, a 50 percent deposit is usually required to book a date with the balance due before or on the wedding day. • Make sure the cancellation/refund policy is included. If something unforeseen happens to a musician who’s not under contract, you could end up without wedding music. • Discuss & include fees and overtime rates. Find out how much they charge for overtime in the event the reception runs longer than originally planned. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you want answered. If you feel uncomfortable with an answer on a certain subject, don’t just accept it. Ask more questions or have them clarify their answer so that you feel comfortable. Photos: Spencer Photography, Inc.

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THE MODERN PHOTO BOOTH Fun, creative and personal, this party favorite just keeps getting more & more versatile.

P

hoto booths are the ultimate party starter. They act as both entertainment and historian, serving up fun to guests while recording the event’s memorable moments in just minutes.

If you’re looking for a unique wedding favor – as well as a way to entertain your guests – a photo booth rental is a fantastic idea. Your guests will have fun posing in the booth during the reception, and they’ll leave with a take-

Slow-Motion Video Booth Let’s welcome the newest cutting-edge trend: the video booth! Simply have your company set up in a well-lit area with a backdrop, and then make use of music, props, and, of course, lots of confetti and glitter. All of the captured footage is then played back – usually about a seven-second clip that is then slowed down by about four times. Get the picture?

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home photo strip they can display at home. Want to take this interactive wedding favor up a notch? These tips might come in handy! • Customize paper or printer settings to fit your wedding – your names and wedding date will remind guests of where the photos came from and the good time they had taking them. • Provide custom sleeves or frames for guests to use with their keepsake portraits. You may also want to ask your guests to take two sets of photos in the booth – one set for themselves and one set, along with a nice note, to put in your memory book. • Talk to your photo booth expert about which props, video capturing

(if any) and social media-sharing options they offer. • Looking for a photo booth design that matches your décor? Talk to your photo booth expert about customizable screens with your wedding monogram or even a full-blown photo lounge with plenty of room for your guests to spread out. Photos: Orchard Photography

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Perfect

PHOTOGRAPHY

Picture

The Prep Work The steps you need to follow to land the photographer of your dreams: 1. B  efore you set out to find that perfect photographer, you’ll want to select your wedding date, as well as wedding ceremony and reception locations. 2. Take a moment to learn about photography styles, and think about which one you’d like to have for your wedding. Most photographers will have online galleries, so you’ll get a chance to browse their images for a style you like. Or, while attending a bridal show, meet photographers and view their portfolios on-the-spot. 3. Once you’ve taken the time to browse galleries and meet photographers in person, make a list of your favorites. 4. Now that you’ve compiled a list of photographers, it’s time to interview the most promising candidates. This is the best way to assess their past work, their personalities and what they have to offer you. To truly make an informed choice, meet with at least three candidates and plan on visiting their studios.

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Honesty is the Best Policy Never assume by the quality of work that a particular photographer’s services are out of your price range. Tell the photographer your budget up front, and see if they can accommodate it. Being open and honest in the beginning will make your job, and the photographer’s, much easier.

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Points to Ponder These are the things you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re deciding on your wedding photographer:

nC  onsider the value of your photographer – not just how much it costs but the quality of the images that the professional will capture on your wedding day. After all, these images will be passed down from generation to generation as a reminder of those who came before them – you want them to be memorable and timeless.

nH  ire a photographer who specializes in weddings – they’ll be more experienced in timing and procedures, plus they may even be familiar with your ceremony and reception sites.

nB  ecause a photographer’s samples represent his or her best work, it’s never a bad idea to ask to see actual wedding albums and get references.

nG  iven the extent to which your photographer will be present and involved in your wedding, it’s a good idea to find someone who’s both enthusiastic about shooting weddings and a pleasure to be around. Which of your choices do you feel has the ability to draw smiles and poses out of people for hours? Who do you and your fiancé feel most comfortable around?

nW  edding photography encompasses more than just showing up on the day of the wedding; it’s a rather involved task that requires a great deal of planning and know-how. Hire someone who will prepare, coordinate and communicate every step of the way.

n I f you’ve ever considered going the friend/family member route, there are a hundred reasons you shouldn’t. First things first: Your loved ones should be able to truly enjoy your day, not work it. Beyond that, a true wedding photographer will have the experience, the professional equipment and the right training to handle any situation. Plus they’ll have a written contract to protect your investment and ensure you’re getting exactly what you wanted.

nA  sk who will actually be documenting your day – you don’t want the unwelcome surprise of ending up with someone you don’t know.

Hire a photographer who specializes in weddings – they’ll be more experienced in timing and procedures. nR  emember that most studios have at least two photographers for each event to capture more images and more angles. With a multitude of photographers, thousands of images are being collected, creating an album that is diverse.

nY  ou might be surprised to know that most couples don’t actually own their wedding photos, meaning that they aren’t able to freely share or print their images without permission. As the creator of the

images, your photographer holds the copyright, so it’s always a good idea to ask about their policy during your initial consultation.

nG  ather details about packages and price points. Packages might include: the hours that the photographer works at your wedding and providing prints & wedding albums for the bride and groom and possibly their parents. Once you’ve drawn up plans with your photographer, make sure that you confirm all of the details of the service within a contract.

nK  eep in mind that, depending on what type of package you get, costs will range. Photographers price their work in different ways. Just make sure you understand how each photographer comes up with his or her numbers.

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Page 82: BCR Studios by Brad; Page 85: Genevieve Nisly Photography

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Make a Wedding Day Plan Now that you’ve nabbed your photographer, it’s time to create a strategy for the big day. n Discuss your ceremony and reception sites and, if possible, visit them with the photographer ahead of time to scout prime settings. Try to go at the time of day that you will hold your ceremony/reception so you can see how the light falls. nGo over which shots you want and which shots you don’t care to have. n When you plan the schedule for your wedding, don’t forget about your photography. Allow plenty of time for a variety of shots, especially if you will be going to a different location. n Above all, be open to new ideas. The more willing a couple, and their bridal party, is to try new things, the more interesting the pictures will be. Photos top to bottom: Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, Malick Photo

Photo Contracts Once you’ve made your decision on a photographer and an appropriate package, you’ll need to put everything into a written contract. The contract should spell out date, time and place, as well as the name of the photographer and how long he or she will work. Add the complete price, including any deposits and payment schedules, as well as what will be included in the agreed upon price. Here are the critical points to review – and get in writing:

nN  ame and contact information for you & your photographer

n C orrect date(s), exact hours, starting time(s) & locations (rehearsal dinner, home, ceremony, reception) where the photographer will be expected to shoot, with exact addresses

n Name of the photographer who will shoot your wedding & the number of assistants

nW  hen & how you’ll receive your order (albums, prints) once you place it & any other delivery details

n L ength of time the photographer will keep your digital files

n Total cost (itemized if possible) nO  vertime fee, if applicable n R eorder price, if you decide to order additional prints later

n Number & type(s) of cameras to be used

nD  eposit amount & date due

n S pecific shots requested

n B alance & date due

nN  umber of proofs you’ll receive &

n C ancellation & refund policy

complete package details

nD  ate your proofs will be ready & how long you can keep them

n Photographer’s signature

nN  ame of an acceptable substitute photographer in case of emergency

n In the event of equipment failure, a guarantee that a back-up camera will be on hand

Once you’ve made sure that all the bases are covered and the information is correct, go ahead and sign the contract. Make a copy of the document for your files so that you can consult the contract as your wedding day approaches.

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First Look Photos: Should I or shouldn’t I? They may not be traditional, but First Look photos sure are taking that First Look moment away from your guests, this photo op might becoming popular! It’s entirely up to you whether you want to not be for you. uphold the tradition of the bride not seeing the groom until the You shouldn’t if … (again) you’re ceremony or opt for the First Look photo session … but if you worried about timing. With a First Look, you’ll have to start getting need a little help deciding, consider these points: You should if … you have a feeling you’ll be extra nervous before taking the walk down the aisle. Seeing each other before the ceremony always, always, always calms those nerves.

You should if … you’re worried about timing. By having a First Look, you’ll get your bridal portrait session (and maybe even your formal photos) in before the ceremony, freeing you and your hubby up to mingle with your guests more after the ceremony.

You should if … you value your alone time. The First Look is designed to be

a moment that is only shared by you and your photographer – which means you can laugh; kiss; embrace each other; even cry without worrying about your make-up running down your face at the altar. It can be among the only secluded moments you’ll be able to steal all day, so take advantage of that!

You shouldn’t if … you’re worried about taking away from the aisle moment. While it’s true that your groom will be excited to see you at any point during the day and your photographer will be on hand to capture the moment regardless, if you’re worried about

ready a couple hours earlier in order to squeeze in your shots before the ceremony. Additionally, it might be nice to have that unwinding time between the ceremony and the reception to laugh with your groom and wedding party as you pose for photos. Regardless of which option you choose, the instant you and your groom first lock eyes on your big day will be an incredibly romantic moment. As you’re choosing how to capture it, keep in mind that this is a very personal decision, and the best answer to this question is to do what feels right for you and your relationship. Photo: Genevieve Nisly Photography

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rules of engagement Fun photo inspiration for your sure-to-be creative engagement shoot! Why take engagement photos? (Besides just documenting what a good-looking couple you are?!) First, it’s a great way for you and your fiancé to get more comfortable in front of the camera. You’ll get out all of the jitters

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Actively Engaged Looking for a fun way to share news of your engagement to the world? Sign up at TodaysBride.com and you’ll receive this “I said yes” decal – along with many other bonuses! To get started visit www.TodaysBride.com/join

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and learn more about how your photographer operates. From your photographer’s perspective, they’ll get a better idea of your comfort level and your best angles — resulting in better pictures on your wedding day. But the most popular reason to take engagement photos? For your save-the-dates. That’s why we love when couples show off their personalities with creatively-themed shoots. What better way to introduce your guests to your wedding style than with a great save-the-date?

Page 92, left to right, top to bottom: Spencer Photography, Inc., Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, Spencer Photography, Inc., We’ve Got Something Special Photography, BCR Studios by Brad, Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, We’ve Got Something Special Photography, BCR Studios by Brad; Page 93, left to right, top to bottom: Todd Anguish Photography, Spencer Photography, Inc., Spencer Photography, Inc., We’ve Got Something Special Photography

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Cleveland:

A wonderful world of downtown cityscapes, industrial backdrops and picturesque waterfront views. Whether it’s the subtle, yet breathtaking sight of Lake Erie or the bustle that is East 4th Street, there’s a backdrop for everyone. (And yes, that definitely includes you and your wedding party.) If you fancy Cleveland in any – or all – of its forms, perhaps one of these locations can set the scene for your photos. At the heart of it, truly #ThisisCLE and, guys, we’re #ALLIN!

Join Today’s Bride to get an exclusive guide of more Cleveland photos at TodaysBride.com/join READ MORE ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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A rt i s t i c / At t e n t i v e / S op hi s t i c at e d

330.217.8846 Info@AllenKarenPhotography.com AllenKarenPhotography.com

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www.malickphoto.com 216.470.9797

SPONSORED BY:

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Before you dive into 15 of the dreamiest Real Weddings, we’d like to remind you that all of these photos started with a couple, their love and a vision. We’re hoping with a little bit of inspiration and – most importantly – love, the wedding of your dreams can be every bit as real as the ones you see here.

Real Weddings Photo: The Bird & The Bear

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Cover Feature

n y l e Ka&t van E

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Bird & The Bear   FUN FACT: Katelyn and Evan are pretty much DIY pros! You can view their latest projects – including their wedding DIYs – at EvanandKatelyn.com SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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e l l e h c i M & Ray AVON

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: David’s Bridal MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse PHOTO BOOTH: Clear Choice Photo Booth  PHOTOGRAPHY: Orchard Photography REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond 100

REAL WEDDINGS

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a n w Shayan &R MEDINA

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! CAKE/BAKERY: West Side Bakery MEN’S FORMALWEAR: American Commodore Tuxedo PHOTOGRAPHY: Cirino Photography   RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT & UPLIGHTING: Billy J Entertainment REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond / Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: A-1 Mr. Limo SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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a r a Ta&moseph J CLEVELAND

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! ALTERATIONS, ACCESSORIES/JEWELRY & BRIDAL GOWN: Brides by Demetrios  CATERING & RECEPTION LOCATION: Cleveland Marriott East DÉCOR & RENTALS: L’Nique / Party Décor  MEN’S FORMALWEAR: American Commodore Tuxedo PHOTO BOOTH, PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: BCR Studios by Brad   REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond / Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: A-1 Mr. Limo 102

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n a g e M Jimmy & PARMA

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: David’s Bridal FLORIST: Forest Woods MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Tuxedo Junction  PHOTO BOOTH: Sammy G Photobooth PHOTOGRAPHY: LMAC Photography

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a n a D andon Br &

CLEVELAND

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! CAKE/BAKERY: Susan’s Sugar & Spice JEWELRY: Macy’s MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse  PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: John Paul Studios RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: Rock the House Entertainment  REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond / Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: Brentwood Limousine  WEDDING PLANNER: Consider It Done Events 104

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e c a r G dam &A AURORA

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! ALTERATIONS & BRIDAL GOWN: David’s Bridal CATERER & RECEPTION LOCATION: The Bertram Hotel & Conference Center  MEN’S FORMALWEAR (GROOMSMEN): Men’s Wearhouse PHOTOGRAPHY: Kay Photo & Design RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: Cleveland Music Group / Michael Sonata REGISTRY: Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: A-1 Mr. Limo UPLIGHTING: Cleveland Music Group  SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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y l i m E phen & Ste CLEVELAND

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen!

PHOTOGRAPHY: Justin Ketchem Photography RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: The Element Band (Cleveland Music Group)  REGISTRY: Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: Shima Limousine Service 106

REAL WEDDINGS

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e t t e n a e J& uis L

STRONGSVILLE

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: David’s Bridal MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Tuxedo Junction PHOTOGRAPHY: David Paul Photography  TRANSPORTATION: Northwest Limousine SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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i l l e K ian & Br PENINSULA

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! CAKE/BAKERY: The Faithful Little Cupcake CATERER: Old Carolina Barbecue MEN’S FORMALWEAR: American Commodore Tuxedo  PHOTOGRAPHY: Hai Bales Photography 108

REAL WEDDINGS

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y r o l l a M& on J STOW

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! BRIDAL & BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: The Dress Bridal Boutique CAKE/BAKERY: Tiffany’s Bakery  CATERER & RECEPTION LOCATION: SYB Party Center CEREMONY LOCATION: Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens  CHAIR COVERS: Sitting Pretty Linens MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Tuxedo Junction  PHOTOGRAPHY: We’ve Got Something Special Photography  REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond TRAVEL AGENT: Roy’s Travel, Tux and Limo VIDEOGRAPHY: Just Perfect Video SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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n a i r B & e t Ka GATES MILLS

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! PHOTOGRAPHY: Genevieve Nisly Photography REGISTRY: Macy’s WEDDING PLANNER: Always Eventful...Events by Tricia Dever

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m o T a i r a M &

CLEVELAND

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse  PHOTOGRAPHY: Spencer Photography, Inc. RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT & UPLIGHTING: Cleveland Music Group REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond / Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: A-1 Mr. Limo  SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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y r a e K lake &B WICKLIFFE

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! ALTERATIONS & BRIDAL GOWN: Galleria Gowns BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: David’s Bridal MEN’S FORMALWEAR: American Commodore Tuxedo  PHOTOGRAPHY: Human Artist Photography RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: Beach Boyz Entertainment REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond 112

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a c i s J&es lake B CLEVELAND

Today’s Bride partners who made it happen! BRIDAL & BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: David’s Bridal FLORIST: Forest Woods MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse  PHOTOGRAPHY: Christopher Norris Photographers RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT & UPLIGHTING: Cleveland Music Group  REGISTRY: Bed Bath & Beyond / Macy’s TRANSPORTATION: A-1 Mr. Limo SEE MORE ABOUT REAL WEDDINGS AT TODAYSBRIDE.COM

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VIDEOGRAPHY

REEL LOVE

A

wedding video is like a time machine. It lets you relive your wedding day as often as you like, anytime you like. Given the heightened emotion of the big day, it’s nearly impossible to take it all in. Nothing will be able to bring you back to the sights and sounds of your wedding more than a professional video. If you’re trying to decide if you need a videographer in addition to your photographer, you should consider this: Although you’ll cherish the images from your special day forever, still photography can only capture particular moments in time. Videography, on the other hand, will show you walking down the aisle and the smiles exchanged by you and your new husband as you share your first dance.

Finding Videographers

Begin researching videographers as early as you can – even a year ahead of time – then set up appointments to see the work of promising candidates. Because videography is a creative process, you’ll want to find a professional whose style you admire. Ultimately, a great wedding video is created when your videographer applies strong technical skills, artistic shot composition, sensitivity in editing, and most importantly, an understanding of your wishes and ideas for your video. A qualified videographer should get to know your style as a couple and be able to offer suggestions to complement your ideas. You should feel comfortable with your videographer and be assured that he or she will meet with you in advance to go over all the details and, if requested, attend your rehearsal. Inquire about various package deals the videographer may offer. If you want something special, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Although many vendors only work within their set packages, some only use them as a tool to create what you really want.

Hiring a Videographer

Once you and your fiancé decide on a company, make an appointment to meet with the specific person who will be filming your wedding to discuss your options. It’s standard for a videographer to cover the ceremony, the first dance and the cake-cutting, but there are many moments that might go unrecorded unless he or she is instructed otherwise. The video company you choose should draft a contract that will be signed by you, your fiancé and the videographer stipulating the specifics, including: Name and contact information for you and the videographer, correct date, exact number of hours, starting time, locations where the videographer will work (with exact addresses), name of the videographer who will shoot your wedding, the number of assistants and the finished product you’ll receive. When all is said and done, choosing a videographer whose style and tastes complement your own will ensure that your wedding video becomes a priceless heirloom. Once the wedding day has passed, so has your one opportunity of capturing the sights and sounds for you and future generations to enjoy. Page 114, left: Orchard Photography; Page 115: David Paul Photography

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Silver Screen Style Wedding videos capture the story of your wedding, beginning with the bride getting ready and guests arriving for the ceremony through the happy couple leaving the reception – all accompanied with special effects, music and a variety of camera angles.

The story of your wedding, however, can be told in a number of ways. Here is a quick look at a few popular wedding videography styles:

Full-Length Edits (or Documentary Style)

Full-length “edits” actually entail minimal editing. As a result, completed videos tend to range from two to four hours in length. Because there is less editing involved, this style of video is usually the least expensive option and suited for the budget-conscious.

Storytelling Style

Similar to a documentary-style video, a storytelling video will use a fairly straightforward approach, but it will also incorporate interviews and dialogue (not necessarily recorded on the wedding day itself) in order to both build and push events of the storyline.

Short-Form Edits

(or Cinematic Style) A short-form edit wedding film is the closest to a major motion picture. Your wedding day is filmed and subsequently edited to approximately 30-60 minutes in length. This “movie” will draw heavily on elements of cinematic style filming techniques. Additionally, dramatic music, color enhancement and even special effects may be used to enhance your wedding film.

Highlights Style

A highlights video is the shortest video style as it generally only contains selections of the best shots from each portion of the day. It can be edited to a song – perhaps the music used for the couple’s first dance – or creatively edited and added to audio of the ceremony vows or speeches.

Tech-Savvy Be mindful of the technology you’re purchasing compared to the technology you’re able to use at home. For example, Blu-Ray DVDs will work on a standard television but are best optimized on a high-definition screen. It might not be worth the extra cost to add that to your video package if you don’t have the compatible technology to view it.

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The shots you don’t want them to miss! You’ve invested lots of time into finding the right videographer for your wedding. Now, you’re trying to decide which moments you need to include for your video to be truly memorable. Check out our list of must-have shots that will make your wedding video the keepsake of a lifetime. Bride and groom saying their vows (of course!) Reaction of bride and groom’s families during ceremony Video of the photographer’s formal posed shots Bride and groom entering reception First dance Mom’s dance with the groom

 ad’s dance with the bride D Toasts from the Best Man and Maid of Honor Cake-cutting Bouquet and garter tosses Wedding details Interviews with guests Guests saying goodbye Bride & groom exit Photo: LMAC Photography

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LET THEM EAT CAKE C

hances are you’ve been imagining your wedding day a lot lately – what gown you’ll end up wearing, how you want everything decorated & of course, the yummiest part, how your wedding cake will look & taste!

The cake will be one of the focal points of your reception, so you should put as much thought and planning into it as you do all aspects of your wedding day. Following the steps below will help you get the most out of your cake experience: • First, consider how you want your cake to reflect other elements of your celebration. Is your wedding more traditional or is it laid-back? What’s your color scheme? With the myriad of possibilities these days, bakers can even match the cake to everything from the invites to the bouquet. • Before you start interviewing cake designers, feast your eyes on as many cake photos in bridal magazines and online (okay, well on Pinterest) as you can. (We highly recommend a secret board to keep your guests from seeing your ideas before the big day!) • Once you’ve collected a few ideas, start comparing your favorites. Does a pattern start to emerge? Chances are you’ll be drawn to a particular look or design element. • After you’ve gathered up your favorite ideas, it’s time to meet with different bakers. You can begin to interview and compare licensed wedding cake companies up to a year in advance. (Don’t forget to bring this magazine with you – there are plenty of questions you can ask from our wedding planner!) • Ask to see a portfolio with photos of recently decorated cakes. Look at the portfolio, paying attention to the execution of design. Remember that each decorator has his or her own style and strong suit – be sure to take note of the decorator that suits your personal style. • Of course, you’ll be comparing prices between cake companies, too. Charging per serving is the standard in the cake industry, but some companies will charge based on the cake itself so be sure to ask how they’re coming up with the numbers. Your instinct might be to just go with the cheapest company, but your decision should carry more weight than that. Some cheaper companies or bakers who are just starting out may not be able to pull off an intricate design – or worse, the cake could be lacking in the taste department. • Once you’ve narrowed your search down, it’s important that you arrange for a tasting. Sometimes couples choose a beautiful cake

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but neglect to taste it. Call up the best bakeries you’ve found, and let them know you’re considering them for your wedding. Some bakeries will even have open house tastings where brides are able to sample a variety of different cakes. • Even if you fall in love with two or three different flavors or fillings, remember that you just might be able to have them all! Most wedding cakes have more than one tier; each tier can be a different flavor and have a different filling. You might even consider serving cupcakes – in that case, you could have each individual serving be a tasty new adventure.

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• You should book your bakery at least six months before the wedding, but the actual design, flavor and decorations don’t have to be decided upon until three to five months before your wedding, depending on the bakery. •A  fter you’ve made your final decision, schedule a design consultation. Bring swatches from your gown and your bridesmaids’ dresses, samples of the flowers or colors used at the reception, as well as photos of the cake designs you love.

• Take your decorator’s advice to heart. They have years of experience behind them and know what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately you will have the final decision

– but thoughtful planning in the beginning will ensure a beautiful, enjoyable cake in the end. Page 117: CourtneyBowlden.com; Inset: Malick Photo; Page 118, left to right, top to bottom: LMAC Photography; Sweet & Saucy Shop, Genevieve Nisly Photography, Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, Genevieve Nisly Photography; Inset: Nadia & Co; Below, left to right: Allen&Karen Wedding Photography, Genevieve Nisly Photography, Kay Photo & Design, Spencer Photography, Inc.

Keeping It Healthy – and Yummy

QUICK TIP

Have guests who are vegan or gluten-free? Talk to your baker about a second cake or even making your wedding cake vegan and/or gluten-free! Many of today’s cake shops are able to cater to special diets. And the best part? You and your guests won’t even notice a difference in taste!

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WHICH FROSTING IS FOR YOU?

BUTTERCREAM is the tradi-

tional type of icing used to frost birthday and other traditional cakes. The icing can be made in a variety of ways, but classic buttercream recipes call for powdered sugar, butter, milk or water and some type of flavoring such as vanilla extract. Many cake enthusiasts would agree that buttercream has more flavor than fondant and is soft, making it easy to cut into cakes. However, if you’re planning on having an outdoor summer wedding, buttercream frosting may not be the best choice for you; the icing tends to melt in warm weather.

FONDANT has a thick, modeling

clay consistency and its ever-so-smooth finish makes it a popular icing for wedding cakes. It is made from sugar, hot water and corn syrup. Fondant is typically rolled out about pancake thin with a rolling pin and then draped over the cake; it is sometimes sculpted into other decorative elements for the cake, too. Fondant tends to be used to make cakes that look like wedding presents or have flawless, rounded edges. This frosting’s strength is also its weakness though: The texture of fondant isn’t suitable for every couple’s tastes.

MARZIPAN icing can be rolled

out and draped over cakes just like fondant can. The difference is that marzipan is made from an almond paste, which has a more flexible structure. The almonds also give the marzipan icing a delicate almond taste. Bakers sometimes mix fondant with marzipan to make it more elastic and flavorful. After placing marzipan onto a wedding cake, however, it’s important to cover it until you’re ready to serve to keep it from drying out.

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AMAZING Alternative Desserts for the Big Day Since many couples are choosing to have non-traditional wedding celebrations, it only makes sense that they would opt for sweet treats that also stray from “the norm.” Although you might choose to serve these confectionary favorites in addition to a more traditional wedding cake, these desserts can also hold their own at any wedding:

Cupcakes

Candy or Mini Dessert Table

Possibly the best thing about cupcakes? The ease of serving them! It’s really as simple as setting them out & allowing guests to grab one at their leisure.

Whether you display the bride and groom’s favorite candy in mason jars, offer up key lime pie samples in mini spoons or a combination of the two, these dessert spreads are sure to be a hit with your guests.

Donuts This is an easy choice because donuts are one of the few desserts that are universally loved! You can either stack donuts in a tier so it resembles a cake or feature a bar with a variety of flavors.

Cake Pops Does it get any more adorable than this? Cake pops are a super cute alternative to the traditional wedding cake – and much more fun to eat!

remember cake was even an option once they get their hands on that delicious Apple Crumb pie. All in all, these five alternatives don’t necessarily involve frosting, but they’re sure to satisfy the cravings of hungry wedding-goers everywhere!

An Assortment of Pies Pies could very well be the comfort food of the dessert realm. In fact, it’s quite possible your guests won’t

Visit www.TodaysBride.com/desserts to see more wedding treats. Photos: Orchard Photography

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Top It Off To

Looking for a fun way to personalize your wedding? What could be cuter than a custom cake topper? (The answer is nothing!)

Photos top to bottom, left to right: Charm City Cakes, Malick Photo, Orchard Photography, TBM, We’ve Got Something Special Photography, Genevieve Nisly Photography

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A

A

GRAND GETAWAY

fter making hundreds of decisions, one of the last things on the mind of the already overwhelmed couple is one of the most important details: transportation. Your chosen mode of transportation can help set the mood, make you feel at ease and, most importantly, get you to where you need to be. Follow these steps to get the most out of your wedding day transportation: Plan Ahead If you’re planning a wedding during a popular month such as June or October, you may have to get reservations farther in advance, at least in most areas. If your wedding is during wedding/prom season, you’ll need at least six months to reserve.

Narrow Down Your Ideas Do you want a chic Hummer, an elegant vintage car, the ever-popular party bus or something completely different? To make the best choice, you’ll need to consider your sense of style as a couple

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as well as the size of your wedding party and how many will fit comfortably. Remember that a 14-passenger stretch limo may not always fit 14 people as easily once they’re in formal wedding attire. Avoid a potential wedding day blunder by considering the space (maybe even wide doors) you’ll need for your gown.

Consider the Cost The cost of your rental will depend on the type of ride you choose, the length of time you’ll need the rental and the time of year you want it. Weekends are

usually non-negotiable, but a weekday rental can sometimes be negotiated. If you need more than one vehicle, ask if a discount applies.

Some operators have straightforward charges; others may have secondary costs such as gratuities or fuel surcharges. Many companies expect a deposit; find out if it is refundable, and if so, under what conditions. Almost all companies have a minimum rental in hours. During prom season, some may demand a higher minimum.

Almost all companies have a minimum rental in hours. During prom season, some may demand a higher minimum.

You should never feel pressured to give your credit card number to “hold” a limousine if you’re not sure about the transportation company. Only leave a deposit once a concise contract has been created and signed by you and the company.

that might come with your limo; and most importantly, see the vehicles. A company might have the best price, but they need the equipment to back it up, too.

Compare companies, but don’t just book by price alone. Shop around – check how long the company has been in business; ask about extra perks

First and foremost, make sure the company doesn’t farm work out to third parties. Although this may be an acceptable practice, having a

Be Attentive & Ask the Important Questions

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middleman leaves the door open for lateness or, even worse, a no-show. If you have your heart set on a particular car, you’ll be better off finding a vendor who actually owns the one you’ve got in mind. Carefully inspect the vehicle you’ll be using – beyond just its features. Make sure your company is registered with the Department of Transportation and has all the required insurance. Look for the livery sticker issued by the State of Ohio – this proves that the company’s insurance has been approved. If you’re interested in renting a party bus, check for an up-to-date PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) sticker –

it ensures the vehicle has its required inspection from the highway patrol.

Hammering Out the Details Next, you’ll want to get a signed contract. This spells out what the carrier will provide, its cost, cancellation options and what happens if the company fails to deliver as promised. If the professional transportation service you select is reputable, you will find that the driver is experienced at delivering the bridal party on time and with minimal nerves – and in some cases, with a little champagne. That’s all you need to be riding in style! Page 122: Allen&Karen Wedding Photography; Page 123: LMAC Photography

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NAVIGATING THE

NITTY-GRITTY

DETAILS OF YOUR TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT

O

nce you and your fiancé have decided upon your limo or party bus, the next step is getting your contract in writing.

Outline the Specifics What exactly should that contract include? For starters, it should list the vehicle(s) you’re renting – including the size, color, make and model details (as well as a license plate number if you’ve chosen something specific). Your contract should also highlight the name of the driver(s); a breakdown of any extra fees and gratuity charges; a detailed explanation of what happens if your driver or vehicle becomes unavailable; and finally, any special requests you may have.

Create an Itinerary Once your contract is etched in stone, prepare a sheet with contact names and phone numbers as well as all pick-up/ drop-off addresses and times. As a guide, most wedding limo rentals last approximately five hours. This

allows ample time to arrive at the church, get married and be transported to the reception site. Take advantage of any idle limo time by having the driver go pick up other family members and friends; after all, you pay by time allotment rather than mileage. The driver(s) should have this vital itinerary well in advance. And keep in mind that you’ll need to call and confirm these arrangements with your transportation the week of the wedding.

Be Prepared for Anything On the big day, make sure you have the chauffeur’s cellphone in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to give passengers a copy of your location and direction sheet along with an emergency contact number in case the driver gets lost. Following these steps will get you where you need to be when it comes to your transportation. When all is said and done, you’ll have peace of mind – and a piece of paper – to ensure it all goes smoothly. Photo: Spencer Photography, Inc.

Psst...Two More Helpful Hints: QUICK TIPS

n Book your vehicles for an hour or two more than necessary because a rental extension may be impossible at the last minute. n If you see a car you like, copy down the license or serial number to make sure that exact one turns up on your wedding day.

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Well-traveled When it comes to booking your all-important honeymoon, well, chances are you’re a little new at this. Truth be told, even the most expert of travelers need help sometimes. No matter what your traveling status, the following Q&A will help get you on track for one of the most memorable and enjoyable vacations of your life!

Why should I hire a travel agent? The advantages of working with a travel agent are endless! Many travel agencies work free of charge to you, the traveler, while still offering you the benefit of their globetrotting experiences, their strong ties with travel suppliers as well as up-todate information on how to get you the best value. Buying airline tickets or surfing for vacation packages online may seem like an attractive option at first, but beware the initial attraction of “low-cost” honeymoons that flood the Web. What sounds like a terrific bargain might end up being a far more expensive trip due to hidden fees, taxes and charges that these websites fail to mention upfront. A full-service travel agency, on the

other hand, will not charge extra fees for their time and expertise.

How should I prepare for a meeting with a travel agent? Before you and your fiancé meet with an established travel agent, decide what type of trip you’re interested in and approximately how much you want to spend. If you haven’t nailed down a destination, an agent can help you pinpoint a locale based on your interests and budget. Plus, agents can offer deals you might not find on your own. The more specific your destination and activity wish list, the less time you’ll waste on dreams that are beyond your budget.

What should I ask my agent about during our meeting(s)? Don’t forget to ask your agent about

the nitty-gritty details of your trip, including airport connections, bus and taxi services, tipping, foreign currency conversion and safety concerns such as governmentissued travel advisories. Be sure to get a phone number that you can use for after-hours emergencies (at the airport the morning after your wedding, for instance) and on your trip (preferably toll-free or collect if calling from outside the country).

What should I look for in a reputable travel agent? Because there are no dress rehearsals for the honeymoon, view your travel agent as you would any other wedding professional. Look for an agent who seems knowledgeable and holds your best interests as a priority.

QUICK TIP

The Pitfalls of Online Booking

Some vacations should never be booked through anyone but a travel agent – and a honeymoon is certainly one of them. Although the seemingly “low-cost” honeymoons found online can be initially attractive, they can also come with hidden fees, taxes and charges. One thing they don’t come with? A knowledgeable agent who will be on-call to answer questions every step of the way, including throughout the honeymoon itself. This is especially important if you’re traveling internationally – where the process isn’t as simple as booking a flight and a hotel. Plus, let’s face it: The honeymoon is a time where you should be looked after. An agent can make sure your vacation is as close to perfect as it can be, from start to finish.

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DESTINATION W

I DO’S & THE ALLURING ALL-INCLUSIVE DEAL

e always tell our couples that having a Destination Wedding means less stress and a week full of memories with your closest family members and friends – as opposed to months of stressful planning for one evening that flies by too fast. What’s more, the big advantage of staying at an all-inclusive resort for your nuptials and honeymoon is that your trip is paid for by the time you go. There’s no doubt that people enjoy themselves more and stress less when they are not constantly pulling out their wallets out to pay for drinks and meals. (Because, really, who wants to keep tabs on their budget during their honeymoon? Not you, that’s for sure!) When you reserve your all-inclusive resort keep in mind that not all are equal; for example, some will not include top shelf liquor, 24-hour room service or poolside service. See the details below for two of our favorite all-inclusive getaways:

SECRETS RESORTS & SPAS :

Unlimited-Luxury® for All-Adult Passion

DREAMS RESORTS & SPAS:

Unlimited-Luxury® Defined

Amenities include (among many others):

• Spacious rooms and suites, graciously appointed and luxuriously equipped •U  nlimited meals with a variety of gourmet à • Full breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks la carte options each day • Unlimited top shelf spirits at sophisticated • No restaurant reservations required bars and lounges • Unlimited international and domestic • Spacious and luxuriously equipped rooms top-shelf spirits and suites • Pool and beach wait service • Pool and beach wait service • Endless daytime activities and live nightly entertainment Destination wedding packages for both resorts include all of the following (and more!): seaside ceremony & reception, a dedicated on-site wedding coordinator, special turn-down service the night of the wedding, discounts on spa services, late check-out for the couple and Free Anniversary Nights with minimum required stay on first anniversary date. Living in the lap of all-inclusive luxury? Yes, please! Amenities include (but are certainly not limited to):

Content provided by Allure Travel Group; Photos provided by AM Resorts

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Strike iron while these surging destinations are hot It’s true what they say: Some things – and some destinations – are just better than others. Here’s our list of the best resorts to spoil you both – so the only thing you’ll need to do is focus on is each other.

1. Nikki Beach & the W Hotel 1. Thailand: Nikki Beach

and the W Hotel IF YOU LIKE: Private plunge pools

2. Bora Bora: Intercontinental

Thalasso or the St. Regis IF YOU LIKE: Overwater bungalows with the best views and most amazing atoll water colors

3. Paris: Le Royal Monceau Raffles

IF YOU LIKE: The classic Parisian chic lifestyle

4. Rome: Hotel de Russie

IF YOU LIKE: A timeless and romantic city center

5. Jade Mountain

6. Four Seasons Costa Rica 7. Exuma: Sandals Emerald Bay

IF YOU LIKE: Crystal clear waters and sugar white sand beaches in addition to swimming with the pigs & oceanfront golfing

8. Singapore: Raffles Hotel

IF YOU LIKE: An intoxicating blend of luxury, history and colonial design

9. Halekulani Hotel 5. St. Lucia: Jade Mountain

IF YOU LIKE: Endless panoramic views of the ocean with a private infinity plunge pool and amazing honeymoon package for an all-inclusive experience

6. C  osta Rica: Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo IF YOU LIKE: Unforgettable eco-adventures

9. O  ahu, Hawaii: Halekulani Hotel

IF YOU LIKE: Elegance with exceptional service

10. Riviera Maya, Mexico:

El Dorado Casitas Royale, Gourmet Inclusive Experience® IF YOU LIKE: The best ingredients and exquisite culinary novelties

Content provided by UnlimitedTrips.com

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HONEYMOON PLANNING:

PASSPORTS To visit any country outside the United States and its territories (such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), there’s one ‘must-have’ you’ll always need: a passport. Plan ahead & a passport is a cinch to get: It’s valid for 10 years and is the ultimate proof of citizenship. Passports normally take about five weeks to process. During the busy travel months – May through August – it can take up to eight weeks to get your passport by mail. If you’re taking your husband’s name, plan accordingly. You need to book your airline tickets & secure your passport before your honeymoon, and the name

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on both must match. Book your ticket and apply for your passport under your maiden name. Once you’ve returned from your honeymoon and received your marriage certificate, you can file a Passport-Amendment Application with the nearest passport agency. Keep in mind, that if your original passport was issued less than 12 months ago, there are no fees to have your name changed. If your original passport is more than 12 months old you will be charged a renewal fee with your application.

Passport forms can be downloaded from your computer or picked up at major post offices, county clerk offices or passport agencies. You should be able to get the required 2” x 2” passport photo shot at a one-hour photo shop or your local drugstore. If you already have a passport, note that some countries require that it be valid for at least six months or longer beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board

if this requirement is not met. To avoid this, try to renew your passport approximately nine months before it expires. For each country’s entry requirements, visa instructions and contact information, visit the U.S. State Department website. Keep in mind that passports are required for the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico.

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©Making the Moment Photography www.MakingTheMoment.com

216 .515.8420 | rockhall.com Collection Auto Group Plaza | 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44114

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