A supplement to The Bar Harbor Times, Capital Weekly, The Herald Gazette and The Republican Journal
ÂŠ Rogier van Bakel / Eager Eye Photography
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January 26, 2011
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January 26, 2011
Should you elope? Guide to getting hitched W
eddings can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful to plan. Few couples embroiled in the process haven’t thought about running away to elope. It’s certainly spontaneous and can be cost-effective. But is it for you? Roughly 100,000 couples head to Las Vegas each year to say their “I Dos” and Vegas is the self-proclaimed wedding capital
of the world. With a growing number of celebrities and highprofile individuals running off to get hitched in low-key ceremonies, eloping can seem quite enticing. But consider these pros and cons before you book your airline tickets.
There are several advantages to eloping and the foremost
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reason is cost. Couples who elope at City Hall or close by will pay a nominal fee for their nuptials. A marriage license may only be around $50 or more, and your other expenses will be wardrobe and transportation to and from the event, unless you drive yourselves. Eloping may also be a viable idea for couples with family issues. If some members of the family do not get along or if there are individuals who don’t approve of the marriage, it can be easier to avoid the drama of a wedding ceremony and reception and get married in a small, simple ceremony ... alone. A bride who has lost her father or mother may choose to forego the pomp and circumstance of walking down the aisle for a simpler ceremony. Another reason to elope is to avoid the stress and hassle of planning the wedding. Some people are born organizers and planners. Others get overwhelmed just deciding what to eat for dinner. When eloping, the only things couples must plan are the where, when and how of the event. Fewer people involved can mean fewer hassles.
Eloping does have its share of disadvantages, as well. Primarily it’s experienced only by the bride and groom and perhaps a witness. This means others won’t be around to share in this momentous event. Some people who elope later regret not having a more traditional ceremony. Chances are a few people will have hurt feelings if you choose to elope and not include them in the wedding. Parents of the bride and groom may feel left out. Remember, a wedding is a celebration not just for the bride and groom, but for their families as well. If you’re running off to get married because a family member doesn’t approve of your future
spouse, you could permanently fracture the relationship this person will have with the family.
Make it Special
If you’ve assessed the pros and cons and have decided to elope, consider these pointers. • Research the marriage requirements in the place where you have decided to marry. Some foreign locales require a layover period of a few days to a week before filling out the marriage papers and getting married. • Choose a location that has meaning for you. Don’t pick a place simply because of popularity. • Elope, but still invite a few people to witness the event. One or two close friends, your parents or siblings can stand in as witnesses at the ceremony. • If you choose to do it as a duo, hire a photographer to take pictures of the ceremony and mail out an announcement to your family and friends. • Put the money you would have spent on a wedding toward the down payment on a house. Get married in the backyard or living room of your new place and have a wedding/housewarming party. • Host a reception afterward for close family and friends so they can celebrate the occasion. It doesn’t have to be a lavish affair. A cocktail party or barbecue is adequate.
January 26, 2011
How to make your dream wedding a reality B
rides and grooms often have an ideal of what their wedding will be — a vision of their perfect day. While each couple’s vision is unique, they all share the same burden — the ever-rising cost of weddings. Be it a lavish ceremony and celebration with hundreds of guests, or a more intimate affair attended by only close family and friends, weddings are never easy on the bottom line. Thankfully, cost-conscious couples can take some creative steps to ensure they still have the wedding and honeymoon of their dreams without breaking the bank to do so. • Calling all sponsors! With the economy still on the mend, couples can rest assured knowing there are deals to be had with regard to all aspects of their pending nuptials. One increasingly popular trend is to have the wedding “sponsored” by local vendors. In exchange for discounted services rendered, couples agree to mention contractors in their wedding program or display business cards at the reception
table. For example, wedding photographers often make their money through word of mouth, so a reference in the wedding program might be enough to garner couples a discount on the photographer’s services. Such sponsorships will need to be agreed upon before the big day, but can save couples a significant amount of money. • Get help with the honeymoon. Unlike couples of yesteryear, today’s couples often live together before walking down the aisle. This has made traditional wedding registries somewhat obsolete, as couples often already have everything they need. “We already lived together and had all the kitchen gadgets, towels and bed sheets we could possibly need,” said Sarah, who lived with her now-husband, Patrick, prior to getting married. Thankfully, Sarah and Patrick discovered a free online honeymoon registry catering to couples who could use some help planning and paying for their perfect honeymoon. This enabled Sarah
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Couples have options, including cash registries, to help them avoid breaking the bank to pay for their dream wedding.
and Patrick to plan their dream honeymoon while allowing guests the satisfaction of giving a gift the newlyweds would truly enjoy. Wedding guests can conveniently choose from a host of activities listed by the newlyweds themselves. • Save, save, save. Traditionally, the bride’s family foots the bill for the wedding. With that tradition fading and today’s couples now baring more of the burden of paying for their wedding, saving is critical. As bridal couples enter the biggest buying period of their lives, escalating costs of
Dream on page 31
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January 26, 2011
Invite only — Pare down your wedding guest list
ouples are faced with many decisions when planning a wedding. One often overlooked decision concerns the guest list. Ideally, couples would love to invite all their friends and family to share in their special day. Realistically, however, budget often dictates just how many guests a couple can invite. That reality has led to a disagreement or two over the years, as both the bride-to-be and her future husband make their case for who makes the cut. To help avoid such disagreements, couples should consider the following tips when paring down their guest list. • Make a master list as early as possible. It’s
Couples are often faced with tough decisions when it comes to paring down the guest list for their wedding.
impossible to pare down a guest list if there’s no list to begin with. Once the planning process begins, couples should
separately write down all the guests they would like to invite. Once each is finished with their list, the hard work
of paring that list down can begin. • Consider who’s footing the bill. If parents are paying for the wedding, then their suggestions for the guest list should carry most of the weight. Weddings are very expensive, and if Mom and Dad are paying they should have a significant say who will in attendance. The same principle can be applied if the couple is paying for their own wedding. If the costs are being split down the middle, then both the groom- and bride-tobe should be allowed to invite the same number of guests. • Ask that kids stay home. Many couples request that their
List on page 31
Create the beauty and memories of every detail on your special day with
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Pearl and crystal jewelry Technology may transform lights up any bridal style the future of weddings T
The elegance of pearls and the shimmer of crystal provide today’s bride with perfect jewelry options for any look. PHOTO COURTESY: CHARLES RICHARDSON
he elegance of pearls and the shimmer of crystal provide today’s bride with perfect jewelry options for any look, from modern to Victorian. “Pearls have long been the jewelry of choice for brides,” said Jill Maier, vice president of Design for CAROLEE. “Since pearls and brides comprise a large part of the business, jewelry designers are constantly updating designs to satisfy the tastes of today’s brides and bridal parties. White crystal, alone or with pearls, adds sparkle that makes a bride look even more luminous.” The trend in bridal gowns is toward strapless and bare
Jewelry on page 31
magine sending out personalized, colorful e-vites inviting guests to a wedding ceremony and reception? Or plugging in an Mp3 player with a pre-set wedding music playlist to get people dancing? How about recording the festivities on handheld video cameras and uploading data instantly to a social networking site? Some or all of these technological conveniences are already growing in popularity, revolutionizing the way couples plan and carry through with wedding plans along the way. Many couples are choosing to eschew the formalities and traditions associated with weddings for the
convenience that many digital or technological advancements can provide. Electronic wedding
Tech on page 27
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January 26, 2011
“The entire staff at Amóre made our wedding absolutely spectacular. Their attention to detail was second to none. A ceremony on the front lawn with gorgeous views of the harbor, a full bar, dancing, and fantastic food. It was everything we had been hoping for and more! It’s been almost 6 months and our guests are still talking about what a wonderful facility Amóre was and how much fun they had!” –Kate Caswell Fagan
Photo by C.R. Hamm Photography
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January 26, 2011
Wardrobe options for second-time brides R
emarriage rates continue to increase, and many vendors are now catering specifically to couples entering second marriages. A bride getting married for the second or third time has just as many attire options as she did for her first wedding. Research indicates that more than half of all marriages end in divorce. The silver lining to that cloud is that 54 percent of divorced women remarry within five years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Furthermore, 75 percent of divorced women remarry within 10 years. These statistics show that the need for bridal gowns for women entering a new marriage remains strong. When choosing a gown for a second wedding, brides-to-be can use their discretion. Gone is the stigma of wearing white. However, brides still may want to choose an alternative
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color to bright white to be more complementary to their skin tones. Off-white, pale yellow and pale pink can be flattering shades. If second brides do choose to wear white, they may want to avoid a flat white color. Instead, they can opt to wear a shimmery shade of white and a gown with a little more pizzazz. The gown — just as with first-time weddings — should be as formal or as casual as the wedding itself. At afternoon weddings it may be acceptable to wear a tea-length gown or even a cocktail dress. Enhance beachside or casual affairs with less elaborate gowns. Formal second weddings should still feature a gown that is formal in nature. A more mature bride may feel more comfortable wearing a well-tailored pantsuit rather than a gown. Again, the choice is up to the bride regarding what she wants to wear.
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January 26, 2011
Wedding dress for success: Stay true to your personal style
or most brides-to-be, the choice of a dress is among the first and most important decisions in planning a wedding. With thousands of choices in every price range, finding the perfect wedding dress can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But by making some decisions before setting foot in a store, the search can be both easier and a whole lot more enjoyable.
and/or hair ornaments. Next, take an inventory of your personal style. If you know that you’re not comfortable in strapless or sleeveless dresses, for example, you can immediately eliminate these options. The trick is to rule out a few style details before hitting the stores, and then be open to all other options.
First things first
There will be no shortage of opinions -- from mothers, sisters, friends, and store personnel -- about your choice of a wedding dress, but the decision, ultimately, is the bride’s alone. A great strategy is to be open
Firm yet flexible
Start by knowing your limits. To avoid disappointment down the proverbial aisle, determine the maximum amount that you can spend on a dress — and don’t forget to include all the little extras, such as undergarments, shoes, jewelry, veil,
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Dress on page 11
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January 26, 2011
Dress from page 10 to suggestions about dresses to try on, but reserve the right to choose the look that feels right to you. With so many potential options, you might want to consider bringing along a camera and taking photos of yourself in the dresses that could be “contenders.”
Go for a flattering fit
Remember: Your goal is to find a dress that flatters your body and expresses your personal style -- not to fit into a particular size. If you look ghostly in white, feel free to choose a creamier shade or a dress that has decorative accents of a different color near your neck, shoulders and face. Similarly, there’s no rule that a wedding dress has to be floor-length. If you’re planning
a daytime or more casual wedding, you might want to consider a tea-length dress (one that falls a few inches above the ankle) or go even shorter.
Comfort is key
Style and fit may be the two most important factors in choosing a wedding dress, but comfort should be a close third. Ask yourself if you will be comfortable in a particular dress given the setting in which your wedding will take place. For instance, if you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor wedding, you may want to forego a dress with a long, trailing train that could trip you up on your walk to or down the aisle. Even if you’re planning an indoor event, having a dress and shoes that are as comfortable as they are beautiful will greatly increase the odds of enjoying your special day to the fullest.
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January 26, 2011
Floral 411 for the big day L
eading up to their big day, couples have lots to worry about before they finally get to walk down the aisle as man and wife. The trials and tribulations of planning a wedding are no small task, as even the most minor details must be accounted for. Such is the case with the floral arrangements. Though not a minor detail in any way, preparing a wedding day floral arrangement does have its minor details, particularly when it comes to the more individual aspects of a floral plan. For instance, the following components must be considered when devising a floral plan. • The bridal bouquet. It’s tradition for bridal bouquets to contain white or creamcolored flowers such as stephanotis, roses, orchids, or lilies. Many bridal bouquets also include fillers like baby’s breath as well as some green or ivy, and ribbons or additonal accessories. • Bouquets for attendants. Attendants’
bouquets should be identical, and it’s best to coordinate these bouquets with the attendants’ gowns. Only the maid of honor traditionally receives a slighlty different bouquet, as it’s customary to give her one apart from the rest, though not significantly so. • Boutonnieres for groomsmen and ushers. The guy’s side of the wedding also needs to take part in the floral plan. Worn in a buttonhole or lapel, a boutonniere should be worn on the left lapel and match a flower from the bridesmaids’ bouquet. The groom should also wear a boutonniere, though his should match a flower from the bride’s bouquet. When wearing boutonnieres, men should not wear additional accessories such as pocket squares. • Flowers for special guests. Certain special guests, such as grandmothers and mothers, should receive corsages. While the corsages do not need to be identical, they should match the bridesmaids’ bouquets. It’s best to consult with a
florist for a corsage color that matches all dresses, as typically the corsages must be ordered before the bride and groom know what their mothers, grandmothers and other special guests will be wearing. A corsage that goes with anything, therefore, is ideal.
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January 26, 2011
prepared with a passion for great food
poured with a professional touch Black-and-white wedding cakes are one theme that couples routinely turn to for their dramatic flair and aesthetic appeal.
Wedding cake trends
he multi-tiered cake that is a favorite wedding tradition thatâ€™s often presented at the end of the night. The happy couple takes a slice and enjoys the first piece. In recent years, wedding cakes have become more of an artistic centerpiece than just a confectionary treat. Couples often seek out renowned wedding cake bakers for a cake that will amaze the crowd and complete the theme of the wedding. The average couple will spend between $700 to $800 for their wedding cake. Although many catering
halls or reception sites will include the wedding cake in a package deal, many couples choose to order their cake from a specialty bakery that creates culinary masterpieces. If television trends are any indication, many people are opting to spend several hundred to thousands of dollars on a customized wedding cake. These fondant and buttercream creations may be elaborate in nature, so much so theyâ€™ll likely need to be ordered several months in advance.
Cake on page 18
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January 26, 2011
Wedding musician pointers
rides and grooms have a few options when it comes to the music played at their ceremony and reception. Live musicians or deejays are often the entertainment of choice. When hiring the entertainment, there
are some important things to keep in mind. The music of the wedding will set the tone for the event and keep guests entertained during key moments of the day. Musicians will often work in conjunction with a maitred’ to
PHOTO COURTESY: CHARLES RICHARDSON
be sure the reception moves along smoothly and sticks to the schedule. Music will be played while guests are dining and when there are opportunities for dancing. It’s essential to listen to musicians or deejays before hiring anyone to ensure what they’re offering will fit in with the wedding. Also, it’s helpful to confirm the person or people being auditioned will be the exact individuals at the wedding. Some entertainment companies hire out contract musicians, meaning the preview musicians may not be the same person who will perform at the ceremony. That can potentially prove disasterous. If a certain musician or deejay is requested, be sure it is put down in writing in the contract. Provide the musical entertainment with some information to further help the wedding go off without a hitch. This may include but not be limited to the following:
Music on page 18
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January 26, 2011
Responsibilities of the groomsmen H
appy couples choose friends and family members to serve as attendants in their weddings. Bridesmaids and groomsmen each have different responsibilities in the wedding. In ancient times, groomsmen essentially served as the groom’s bodyguards, ensuring that he made it safely to the altar and to his future wife. Today, the groomsmen’s roles are not based on saving life and limb. Today’s groomsmen serve as assistants to the groom and help plan the bachelor party. They also usher guests down the aisle at the ceremony. They also may have a few other responsibilities, depending on what the couple wants and needs of their assistants.
The groomsmen have several different responsibilities before, after and during the wedding ceremony.
During the Ceremony
Before the Wedding
• Greet and seat guests at the ceremony in the appropriate rows or pews. • Stand near the groom during the ceremony. • Serve as escorts for the bridesmaids at the ceremony. • Cater to anyone’s needs and mingle with the guests afterward.
• Help pick out the tuxedos and show up for fittings. • Help plan and share the cost of the bachelor party. • Attend rehearsals for the ceremony and appear at the rehearsal dinner. • Pay for their own wedding attire or formal wear rentals. • Help unload cars with supplies if the couple is doing the decorating the wedding venue themselves. • Pay for their travel expenses and accommodations during the celebration. • Return formal wear for themselves and the groom. • Provide transportation for the couple to the airport or honeymoon destination if the best man is unavailable.
• Ensure that the groom does not get too intoxicated. • Sit at the table of honor as members of the bridal party. • Mingle with the guests. • Participate in all photos if asked. • Dance with their bridesmaid counterpart. • Help load the wedding gifts into the car afterward.
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January 26, 2011
Exquisite 18kt Gold & Diamond Selections For Your Exceptional Bride
How do you make a perfect diamond better? You Romance the Stone . . .
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January 26, 2011
ÂŠ Rogier van Bakel / www.eagereyeweddings.com
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January 26, 2011
The difference between escort and place cards
eddings are steeped in tradition. Many couples choose to follow etiquette and formal party rules when hosting one of the biggest days of their lives. An important aspect of each wedding is ensuring guests are comfortable. Part of this involves informing reception attendants where they will be seated at the dinner and festivities. Many people mistake escort cards and place cards as being one and the same. They are actually two different components. Escort cards indicate the table where guests will be seated, while place cards indicate which seat guests are assigned to.
Generally escort cards are displayed on a table outside the reception or dining room. They may be arranged by themselves or more formally packaged within little envelopes. For ease of use, they should be organized alphabetically so that guests can easily recognize their names on the card. They can be worded as such: Mr. John Smith, for a single guest; Mr. & Mrs. John Smith, for a married couple; or Mr. John Smith & Guest, if the guest is unknown. It is considered more polite if the bride and groom inquire as to whom single guests will be bringing so that those people’s name can be used on the escort card as well.
Place cards are used to indicate seats at each table. They will have each individual’s name in front of the place setting at
the table. They serve as a way to avoiding seating snafus at the wedding. Couples and similarly related guests are often placed at the same table. Individuals who may have tense relationships may be separated. Place cards also may make it easier for wait staff to recognize specific people who may have dietary restrictions if informed in advance by the bride and groom. Escort and place cards do not necessarily have to be “cards.” Creative couples can come up with clever ideas to display seating arrangements. At smaller weddings, it might be possible to hang escort cards on a ribbon or attach them to votive candles that serve as a favor for guests. For an outdoor wedding or a nature-themed event, use faux or real branches and cut slits in one side. When printing escort cards, do so on leaf-shaped paper and insert into the slits on the branches. Escort cards can also be fashioned into flowers that are attached to sticks planted in a flower pot. The ideas are endless.
Cake from page 13
Music from page 14
Couples looking for something a bit different for their upcoming nuptials, many want to consider these trends in wedding cakes. • 3-D accents on the cake, such as graphic appliques. • A black-and-white motif that gives the cake a simplistic, yet trendy appeal. • A lot of bold color in the cake, instead of just white or ivory. • Dramatic monograms that can add class to the cake. • Painted cakes with edible food coloring paint that feature beautiful landscapes or a portrait. A work of art, they’re both delicious to eat and fun to admire. • Cakes that mirror the style of the wedding gown, including fondant ruffles and appliques. Many couples still opt for the traditional, and that is always in style. Instead of experimenting with the outside of the cake, couples can be creative with cake flavor and fillings. Imagine cutting open the cake to find red velvet or a chocolate ganache filling!
• Names of all wedding party participants so they can be properly introduced. • Name of the married couple, including pronunciation of the last name, if necessary. • The title of the couple’s song. • The titles of songs to be danced with mother/son or father/ daughter. • A listing of any preferred songs. • The title of a “spotlight dance” song. • Any music that is off-limits at the reception. • Special announcements that should be made, such as mentioning a guest’s birthday or another special event involving guests. • Whether a bouquet and garter toss will take place, and which songs should be played during these traditions. In most cases, wedding musicians are professionals who have handled many weddings and are very accustomed to what should be done to make the night a memorable one. Trust in the expertise of the musicians, and provide guidance where necessary.
January 26, 2011
Wedding day transportation options abound
ouples have many decisions to make regarding their wedding ceremony and reception. One of those decisions conerns transportation to and from the special event. Today, there are many options in wedding transportation. The more traditional options include renting a car or limousine. The Bridal Association of America reports that the average couple spends $400 to $500 for an automotive rental. However, prices may vary depending on geography and the type of vehicle rented. Wedding transportation is perhaps something groomsto-be can get excited about. After all, we’re talking about cars — some fancy, some large, and many decked out with different features. Plus, it’s traditionally the responsibility of the groom to arrange transportation to and from the ceremony, reception and the hotel or honeymoon destination. Grooms responsible for arranging transportation can consider the following options. • Limousine: A limo is one of the most traditional methods of transport on a couple’s wedding day. A limousine’s size enables them to carry the bridal party in its entirety. Because the bride and groom often do not see each other before the ceremony, two limos may be rented, one larger for the bridal party, and one smaller for the bride and her parents, depending on personal preference. • Classic car: Sports car enthusiasts may want to make an entrance — and exit — behind the wheel of a sporty vehicle. These can include a high-end Ferrari or an Aston Martin. Because of their high purchase price, sports car rentals may carry a premium. • Stretch SUV: The traditional limo has morphed into the stretch SUV of popular models, including the Cadillac Escalade, Ford Expedition or even a stretch Hummer. Because of their popularity, these rentals may be snatched up quickly. Be sure to book well in advance of the big day. • Party Bus: Many couples are leaning toward a party bus rental, which may be a single- or double-decker bus that can fit scores of people inside. These are particularly attractive to couples with a very large bridal party, or those who hope to begin the celebration even before reaching the reception hall. • Horse-drawn carriage: Some couples truly want the fairytale feel on their wedding day. A horse-drawn carriage can evoke feelings of a Cinderella-type day. The carriage tends to be best suited to warm weather. For winter weddings, a horse-drawn sleigh might make a better alternative. • Motorcycle: Exciting couples may want to ride off into the sunset on the back of a roadster or sports bike. • Horses: Horses can haul more than just a carriage. A bride and groom atop a handsome steed can make for
Transportation to and from the wedding must be arranged in advance of a couple’s big day.
a memorable wedding transportation option and equally memorable photos. • Boat: Individuals getting married by the sea or another body of water may want to consider attending the festivities via boat, be it a large vessel or a more intimate canoe or rowboat. Wedding day transportation varies depending on each couple’s preference. Here are some other things to keep in mind concerning transportation. • Be sure to have transportation options at the ready for guests who may have over-indulged on alcoholic beverages. • Wedding party participants who arrived at the wedding by a limo or other source will also need a ride home somehow. • Find out if a hotel nearby offers complementary transportation to and from the reception hall.
Wacky wedding facts
ccording to theknot. com, the unofficial experts on all things weddings, there are some things that may surprise the average person about weddings across the country. Here are some facts to consider. • Weddings in Iowa and Nebraska are the biggest, averaging 200 guests. • The average engagement ring costs more than $5,800. • Most brides have one do-it-yourself element, such as favors or escort cards. • “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Lady in Red” are the two most popular first dance songs (even though 87 percent of
January 26, 2011
Counseling for healthy marriages
marriage doesn’t have to be in distress to bring in the help of a counselor. Marriage counselors can help newlyweds start out on the right foot or help established couples fine-tune their marriages. brides wear white). • Only 19 percent of couples rely on a wedding planner. • Ancient Romans broke a cake over the bride’s head to symbolize fertility. Today, brides must be fortunate to have only a little cake smashed in their faces!
Counseling can help in a number of ways: • Decrease conflicts that lead to fights. • Provide communication strategies for men and women. • Suggest new ideas for reconnecting. • Identify potentially problematic areas that may be easily resolved or require further attention.
Couples should interview prospective counselors to determine the best fit and the one they feel most comfortable with. Not all counselors are the same, and some have specific areas of relationship expertise. There also may be counselors who work with both couples and families.
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January 26, 2011
Creative ways to get married M
any weddings adhere to tradition, with a big church wedding, a white gown and a bustling reception. Still, there are some couples who prefer to do something a bit unique and unconventional. They may choose to get married underwater or while skydiving. If a “creative” wedding is for you, here are some ideas to think about. • Floating on air: Couples may want to float amongst the clouds to say, “I do” and they can with the help of a hot air balloon. • Skydiving: The concept of taking the plunge takes on an entirely new meaning when jumping out of a plane at several thousand feet while reciting vows. • Wedding of the “Stars”: Trekkies may want to recite vows while dressed in costume and speaking native Klingon, while Star Wars fans may want to do so with Storm Troopers attending the festivities. • Mountain climbing: Couples can reach new heights while scaling a mountainside and saying their “I dos.” • Life in the fast lane: Couples who are NASCAR fans can recite their vows and then take a spin at 200 mph around a neighborhood track. • Amused festivities: Some couples might prefer to get hitched while enjoying the ups and downs of their favorite
The idea of getting married atop a roller coaster could be amusing to some couples.
roller coaster or other amusement park rides. • Scuba diving: Some couples prefer to recite their vows with a few bubbles in between and marine life as their witnesses.
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January 26, 2011
10 trends for green weddings
nvironmentally friendly ideals are now permeating all aspects of daily living. Many people want to take the concept further and ensure their nuptials — and subsequent reception — are good for the planet as well. Although there are no firm statistics on the number of green weddings being held each year, emerging trends point to the growing interest in eco-conscious weddings. Individuals who already do their best to recycle, reuse and reduce want to employ those same values on their wedding day. There are many ways to employ a green mindset to wedding planning and execution. Largely the carbon footprint of a wedding can be reduced simply by scaling back and avoiding overconsumption. Here are some ideas to think about. 1. Reduce travel. Research indicates that more than twothirds of emissions in the U.S. are produced by energy consumption and transportation. By reducing guests’ need to travel far for a wedding or offering transportation that can accommodate several people at once (like a bus), carbon emissions will be reduced. 2. Home is where the heart is. Keeping weddings close to home is helpful. Those with big backyards or a park nearby can host the event at home or in a nearby park and reduce dependence on large reception halls
that use up large amounts of energy to operate. A home wedding also gives couples the opportunity to shop around for locally produced, organic foods. 3. Shop for floral alternatives. Flowers would seem “green” in themselves. However, many blooms available at florist shops are grown in hothouses with the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, something that is not very good for the environment at all. Brides opting for something more eco-conscious could consider alternative options, such as bouquets made of sustainable succulent plants and centerpieces full of organic fruits and wildflowers. 4. Choose an open registry. Instead of fine china that may never be used, many couples are opting for open registries that enable guests to gift everything from ecofriendly housewares to charitable donations to cash for down payments on a home. 5. Opt for mixed seating arrangements: Instead of formal escort cards indicating firm seating arrangements, couples are saving paper by allowing guests to choose their own seats from mixmatched options, such as long, communal benches and comfy sofas. 6. Go with something old. Recycled gowns and gently used items are good alternatives for ecoconscious brides. Many websites will match up brides with others looking
Green wedding trends are growing in popularity as more brides and grooms want to be eco-friendly. PHOTO COURTESY: CHARLES RICHARDSON
to swap items at low or no cost. 7. Skip the paper. Though etiquette experts frown on abandoning paper invitations for electronic ones, many couples are doing just that. For those who still prefer paper, print invitations on recycled paper. Reduce other wedding stationery needs by posting information on a wedding website shared with family and friends. 8. Go small scale. Instead of inviting every last cousin and distant uncle, couples are opting for more intimate affairs, including only the people they are closest to, which
saves on cost and helps the environment. 9. Trim some of the wedding day fat. Some couples opt for an all-youcan-eat buffet and then a subsequent dessert bar later on in the evening. Stuffed guests may end up wasting more food than eating it. Instead of all-you-can, go for a more traditional meal. 10. Choose a charitable party favor. Instead of a party favor that collects dust on a shelf, couples are choosing to gift with organic products or a donation to a charitable organization in the guests’ names.
January 26, 2011
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Tradition of throwing rice
here are many traditions for weddings that can be traced back thousands of years to early civilization. One enduring tradition is to throw rice at the newly betrothed. For the safety of birds and other animal life, rice has been replaced with birdseed in recent times. Some wedding traditions are based on very real needs of ancient times. Others are based on superstitions or existing etiquette at the time they were initially practiced. Throwing rice remains a timeless tradition that many couples still enjoy. Everyone attending the wedding gets to participate in throwing rice, or whatever is being used in lieu of rice, be it birdseed, confetti or even bubbles. Couples can even borrow from traditions in other countries. In France, people throw wheat, a symbol of bounty, after the ceremony. Italians toss candy and sugared nuts over couples, for sweetness in marriage. Rice was traditionally used to symbolize fertility and prosperity. Wheat was also very much used in ancient wedding ceremonies for the same reasons. When guests threw rice at the bride and groom at a wedding, they were symbolically wishing them a lifetime full of children and good fortune. Some cultures even ate a meal of rice before the wedding to guarantee further prosperity. Different cultures have long harbored different perspectives on throwing rice. Some even believed it fed the evil spirits that, though uninvited, crashed the wedding. It was thought that wellfed spirits would not wreak havoc on the happy day. Rice and wheat were also thought to represent virginity and wholesomeness by some. A virginal bride used to wear white and carried a stalk of wheat. Single women rushed after the bride hoping to get a few pieces of rice so they would be the next person to walk down the aisle. Despite its foundation in superstition, throwing rice remains a staple of weddings today.
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January 26, 2011
Planning calendar G
etting married? Keep yourself organized all year-long with this handy wedding to-do list:
•Announce your engagement •Brainstorm wedding ideas •Choose a wedding theme and style •Work out a basic wedding budget; research reception venues •Determine number of guests •Look through bridal magazines for attire ideas •Meet potential wedding consultants; obtain bids •Research wedding pros (photographers, videographers, reception bands or DJs, ceremony musicians). Set up appointments, and review portfolios, tapes and recordings.
•Select a wedding consultant and meet to discuss wedding planning details •Determine theme/decorations for your reception •Meet with several caterers; arrange for tastings •Select and book a caterer •Reserve musicians/DJ for reception •Determine wedding ceremony musicians and make musical selections •Book wedding videographer and photographer; make a list of photos, such as bridal ceremony and reception shots •Research and interview florists •Select and reserve your ceremony venue and schedule a rehearsal time •Choose reception venue; negotiate contract; leave a deposit •Secure parking and/or transportation for your guests at the reception location •Visit local bridal stores to browse
their selection of gowns •Choose your wedding-party members and ask them to participate in your celebration •Meet with your officiant to discuss the wedding ceremony •Determine your honeymoon budget •Mail save-the-date notices for a destination wedding
•Select and order your wedding gown •If your ceremony or reception will be held in a park or recreational area, obtain necessary permits •Discuss attendants’ duties with your maid of honor and bridesmaids
•Register for wedding gifts •Coordinate with vendors to incorporate your theme/style into all aspects of your wedding •Decide on the food and liquor to be served at your reception •Prepare a playlist of wedding-reception musical selections •Select and order your headpiece, veil, gloves and shoes •Confirm orders of and delivery dates for your wedding attire •Research airline, hotel and rentalcar reservations for guests
•Go to first gown fitting; invite your maid of honor to attend •Choose and order bridesmaid dresses and accessories •Research a variety of wedding ring styles •Select florist; discuss wedding ideas, theme and style
•Notify bridesmaids about dress fittings •Discuss attire with groomsmen and make referrals to local formalwear store •Select attire for flower girl and/or ring bearer •Determine the design, wording, font and paper stock for your wedding invitations, stationery, table cards and thank-you notes; finalize order •Arrange a printer or hire a calligrapher for table cards •Determine order of ceremony events and choose appropriate wording for your programs •Negotiate rates and book a block of hotel rooms for guests •Select and order your wedding rings •Purchase bridal accessories: jewelry, lingerie and so on •Choose and order something fun for guests to throw after your ceremony (rose petals, confetti or birdseed)
•Review and approve proofs of wedding invitations and stationery •Discuss the type of honeymoon you want, start reading up on potential destinations and consult a travel agent for ideas and suggestions.
•Order table cards; place print order for programs •Finalize choice of honeymoon destination •Taste a variety of wedding cakes and select a baker; place cake order and arrange for delivery •Secure reservations for rehearsal dinner and select menu
•Review and finalize your wedding details with consultant
Plan on page 25
January 26, 2011
Plan from page 24 Four months
•Determine method of addressing wedding invitations and hire a calligrapher, if applicable •Print labels, and hand-address—or have a calligrapher address—wedding invitations •Write or choose your wedding vows •Have groom visit formalwear shops and try on tuxedos •Purchase or rent groom’s wedding accessories, including tuxedo, cuff links, shoes, socks and so on •Make honeymoon reservations and place all deposits
•Review and approve wedding announcement and printed program proofs •Book venue or secure reservations for post-wedding brunch •Discuss bachelorette party plans with your attendants •Plan your bridesmaids’ luncheon or dinner •Make appointment with stylist and/or hairdresser to discuss your wedding hairstyle •Take another look at your registry and update or add items •Create hotel information cards and maps to include with your wedding invitations
•Secure a wedding-day dressing room for your bridesmaids •Weigh, purchase postage for and mail wedding invitations •Go to final gown fitting; arrange for pickup or delivery •Have groom’s formalwear fitted •If you plan to have a prenuptial agreement, meet with your attorney to discuss it •Purchase gifts for all wedding-party members •Arrange transportation for bride and groom from the ceremony site to the reception •Purchase ceremony accessories (Unity candle, wineglasses and so on)
•Purchase a new camera, if needed •Send rehearsal dinner invitations •Write thank-you notes as you receive gifts •Confirm music selections (“playlist”) with musicians/DJ •Select menu for post-wedding brunch •Write newspaper announcement and gather photos •Purchase a gift for your spouse-to-be •Shop for wedding favors •Purchase honeymoon clothing, luggage and accessories •Go in for a practice hairstyling and make day-of-wedding hair appointment
•Confirm floral order and arrange for delivery times •Meet with ushers and assign duties for the ceremony and reception •Discuss the details of your wedding ceremony with your officiant •Determine the placement or distribution of programs at the ceremony venue •Arrange for preparation, storage and break areas for musicians/DJ at the reception venue •Determine seating arrangements for guests •If you color your hair, make appointment for a touch-up the week before your wedding •Go in for a dry run with a professional makeup artist and make a day-of-wedding appointment •Schedule an appointment for a manicure and/or pedicure the day before your wedding •Finalize details with wedding photographer and videographer, determining arrival times at each nuptial venue •Arrange for preparation/storage area for photographer and videographer at each nuptial venue •Sign your prenuptial agreement, if applicable •Finalize honeymoon plans/itinerary
Page 25 and confirm all travel and hotel reservations •Arrange for transportation to and from the airport •Make all necessary arrangements for care of pet(s), plants and mail while you’re away on honeymoon •Post announcement and photo on your wedding website •Arrange for table card setup at reception venue •Schedule pickup/return of groom’s formalwear
•Finalize list of reception guests •Give the final headcount to the caterer and review details •Arrange for delivery and placement of wedding flowers, candles and other decorations on the day of the ceremony •Call anyone who has not responded to his or her wedding invitation
•Confirm your honeymoon travel arrangements •Start packing bags for your honeymoon •Get traveler’s checks and/or a small amount of foreign cash •Pick up your wedding dress
•Eat a good breakfast •Attend hairstyle appointment •Give yourself plenty of time to get ready •Relax and enjoy yourself!
Post-wedding: 3 days
•Arrange for transport of gifts •Have family or friends mail wedding announcements
After the honeymoon
•Take wedding gown and veil to a dry cleaner who specializes in gown preservation •Submit name-change forms for driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, state and federal tax boards, banks, credit cards and so on.
January 26, 2011
Travel insurance may be honeymooners’ saving grace
deally, a honeymoon offers newlyweds the chance to kick back, relax and enjoy the start of their lives together. But when something happens to foil honeymoon plans, couples could be facing anything from financial hardships to a spoiled trip. Travel insurance may help couples protect their assets while honeymooning. Travel insurance can protect couples against lost funds and other incidentals on their honeymoon. Depending on the coverage purchased, a portion or all of the money paid for the trip could be refunded in the event of a cancellation or emergency that calls off the honeymoon. Purchasing a travel insurance policy could be effective in an number of situations if: • Couples are booking a honeymoon well in advance (such as a year or more) and want to protect themselves in the event the resort, cruise line, etc., ceases business before the trip can be taken. • The honeymoon locale is frequently affected by harsh weather conditions, such as
Travel insurance could be an added precaution couples take when they book their honeymoon.
hurricanes, earthquakes or typhoons. • Couples want protection in case the trip has to be cancelled due to a medical condition or a family emergency. • The honeymoon is very expensive and the couple is not comfortable with
losing deposits or money paid in such high amounts. • The honeymoon involves complex plans of planes meeting with cruise ships, or a similar situation that is tightly scheduled. • A couple is taking a cruise. Many cruise lines have a no-excuses policy and may not be willing to offer refunds without a travel insurance policy in place. Couples should realize that not all travel insurance is the same and they may already be protected against some travel incidentals. Many credit card companies offer cancellation insurance on purchases, which makes buying another policy unnecessary. When shopping around for travel insurance, the trip itself can dicate the necessary coverage. Travel to an international country may require additional medical insurance for domestic policies that do not offer coverage overseas. Medical insurance also may include a portion for emergency
Travel on page 27
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January 26, 2011
Honeymoon planning how-to
ith all the work that goes into planning a wedding, it can be easy for couples to overlook their own honeymoons. But in the middle of all those seating arrangements and reception hall negotiations, couples also need to plan and look forward to the rest and relaxation that awaits, which will no doubt be a well-deserved escape once the wedding has come and gone. Couples can take the following advice to ensure their getaway goes off without a hitch. • Be budget-conscious. Many couples could enjoy a honeymoon to Siberia in the dead of winter after their big day has passed. After all the stress of planning and paying for the wedding, couples will likely just enjoy the time away. Take this into consideration when planning a honeymoon. If
a dream trip isn’t in the budget after all the wedding bills have come due, don’t fret. A less expensive getaway is still a getaway, and couples will enjoy their well-deserved break no matter where it is they’re putting their feet up. • Plan an off-season honeymoon. That dream honeymoon might be affordable after all if couples can wait till it’s not the height of tourist season. Most weddings occur during the summer months, when tourist season is in full swing. Couples who can put off their honeymoon until the offseason will no doubt find their dream honeymoon is much more affordable. • Start early. It’s never too early to start planning the honeymoon. The earlier couples begin to research possible destinations, the better feel they will have for what they can and
Tech from page 7 invitations are just one of the many aspects of the wedding that have begun to embrace the digital age. There are several advantages to enlisting the help of technology to execute a wedding. First and foremost is the cost factor. The number of items that couples can do themselves will greatly cut down on the expenses of hiring professional vendors.
can’t afford. Research can be done well in advance to give couples an idea of what their dream trip will cost. But don’t book any flights or make any reservations too far in advance. The best deals are often available a few months before the trip. • Spread the news that you’re newlyweds. Hotels love hosting newlyweds, and many will upgrade rooms for recently married guests. Couples should not be too brash about it, as fully booked hotels won’t be able to upgrade their guests. But let the hotel know you’re on your honeymoon when checking in,
Budget-conscious couples may seriously want to consider sending e-vites, which can save several hundreds of dollars on printing costs and postage. Another advantage is that technology might be more environmentally responsible. Eliminating wedding stationery or hiring individuals who have to travel to and from the ceremony and reception, as is the case with a band or photographer, reduces carbon emissions and further energy.
Technology can also help keep things organized. Instead of keeping receipts and papers inside of a folder, saving items in e-mail and conversing with vendors electronically creates a digital paper trail that can make loose ends a little easier to manage. Although there are some detractors who frown on employing technology when planning a wedding because of the improper etiquette implications, many modern couples are embracing the convenience and cost savings these technologies provide.
Travel from page 26 evacuation or airlift in the event of a serious accident. Cancellation/ interruption insurance covers the nonrefundable and additional costs to couples should they need to return home mid-trip or cancel the trip altogether. It’s a good idea for couples to purchase travel insurance from a third party instead of through a resort, airline or vacation company itself. That’s because, should the trip be cancelled because the resort goes bankrupt or experiences other financial hardships, there’s no telling if that resort’s insurance policy will be honored. A safer bet is for honeymooners to contact an insurance company with which they feel comfortable and inquire about the different travel insurance options.
and they might just upgrade your room and comp you a bottle of champagne as a gift. • Think outside the box. When asked about a dream honeymoon, couples will often bring up Hawaii or even Paris. While those are beautiful places to spend a honeymoon, they’re also expensive. Fortunately, there are a bevy of locales, be it domestic or international, that aren’t nearly as pricey as the most popular honeymoon destinations but still make wonderful options for a honeymoon getaway couples won’t soon forget.
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January 26, 2011
Financial tips for cost-conscious couples I
Choosing less extravagant floral arrangements is one way couples can save money on wedding expenses.
n a recent survey released by Visa Inc., 88 percent of couples believed they overspent on some aspect of their wedding. Over the years, weddings have become a major financial commitment, in many instances ensuring a couple’s first task as man and wife will be paying off the mountain of bills they accrued to achieved their dream wedding. In today’s economic climate, the cost of weddings is even tougher to swallow, as both the domestic and global economy remains difficult to predict. Economic uncertainty has left many young couples fearful of making a big financial commitment to their weddings. But it’s still possible for couples to make the most of their wedding without landing themselves in heavy debt once the honeymoon is over and the bills must be paid. • Limit beverage availability. In the Visa survey, respondents felt they overspent more on food, drink and cake than any other aspect of their wedding. The bar tab can quickly add up at the end of the night, but
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Budget on page 29
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couples can limit the bar expense by making on a few different types of drinks available. Offer just two or three drink options instead of a full bar. Couples can also consider a cash bar for mixed drinks to help lower the bar tab by the end of the night. • Switch from Saturday. Saturday weddings are not only the most popular, but also the most expensive. Couples with some flexibility can save money by moving their wedding to a Friday or Sunday. Couples who move their weddings to Friday often find they get to spend more time with their friends and families the following day, as guests are more inclined to stay in town an extra day than they are on Sunday afternoons following a wedding. • Forgo a traditional honeymoon. Seventeen percent of male respondents to the Visa survey felt they overspent on their honeymoon. While it’s certainly nice to fly off to the Caribbean and spend your first
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January 26, 2011
Brides: changing to your married name
fter a bride says “I do” to a life with her new husband, she often says “I do” to a new last name. Whether she takes the name as a loving gesture, to make it more convenient when having kids, or simply to rid herself of an unappealing maiden name, changing her surname will require some steps to ensure the legality of a change in identity. Because a name change will require a copy of the marriage certificate — something that isn’t often obtained until after the ceremony — it’s best to wait until after you’ve returned from a honeymoon to change documentation. Also, in order to travel, you may require birth certificates, passports, a license, or another form of ID. It will be impossible to change all of those forms of identification before the wedding. Inconsistent documentation could cause hang-ups in the travel process. Additionally, you may be charged if you try to change your name on airline tickets after they’ve already been issued. Therefore, enjoy your
maiden name a little longer until the honeymoon bliss is over and it’s back to reality. Ready to get started? Here are most of the documents you’ll need to change as you take on your new married name. 1. Social Security Card: If you are a U.S. resident, you will need to go to your local social security office, or download a form from the IRS Web site to apply for a change of name on your social security card. It takes
Budget from page 28 week as a married couple soaking up some sun, a more local getaway for a couple of days can be just as relaxing and save couples substantial amounts of money. Once the bills have been paid, couples can then enjoy a more traditional honeymoon, possibly in
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celebration of their first anniversary. • Limit the guest list. Inviting all friends and family members might be a nice gesture, but it’s also an expensive one. Costconscious couples can save a good deal of money by only inviting those friends and family members who are closest to them. • Order less extravagant floral arrangements. Floral arrangements for
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approximately 10 days after the application is received for the IRS to update the records. In Canada you will need to change your Social Insurance Number card. 2. Drivers license: In order to change your drivers license and vehicle registration, you’ll likely have to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, or whatever the agency is called in your area. You will need several forms of identification, two of which will be your marriage certificate proving change of name and your social security card. Also have your old drivers license with you. 3. Passport: Contact the Passport Agency to update your name on your passport. You may or may not be charged for the new issue depending upon how long it’s been since you applied for a passport. 4. Insurance policies: If you have health insurance, life insurance, or a 401(k) plan, you should communicate your change of name to the respective companies.
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5. Bank accounts: Guests will likely issue gift checks in your married name or as a couple. It helps to have an account available in which to deposit those checks. You can choose to merge your banking accounts once married, or open up a joint account with your new name. 6. Employer: Have your employer change your name in their records and update payroll and any other services. You will also want to update e-mail stationery to reflect your new name and have your IT director change your information for computer logins and e-mail addresses. A courtesy e-mail to clients will fill them in on your name change. 7. Credit card & utility companies: Notify these companies of a change of name. Some may require written documentation to complete the change. 8. Wills and other legal contracts: Have legal documents amended to feature your updated name. You may want to change your beneficiary to your husband.
a wedding can prove very expensive. But couples can trim those costs using more greenery in the floral displays and ordering less expensive, seasonal flowers. When discussing arrangements with the florist, explain that the budget can only allow so much for flowers, and work together to find ways to add aesthetic appeal without breaking the bank.
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January 26, 2011
How to say, ‘T hank-You’ I
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t is customary for the bride- and groom-to-be to show their gratitude to all of the people who will make their wedding day special. Weddings today feature people who have roles that go beyond the traditional, like interior decorators and musical soloists. It’s important to remember to thank everyone who contributes to the celebration. Thank-you gifts should be something thoughtful and enduring. Avoid fad or gag gifts. These gifts should be presented at a pre-wedding occasion. It’s customarily done at the rehearsal dinner. Crafting personalized remarks is a nice way to call attention to the unique tasks of each wedding participant. Don’t simply pass the gifts out in one fell swoop. This way the gift will have more meaning through a personal message. Don’t let thank-you gifts be forgotten. Start thinking of gift ideas early on and plan for any extra time for engraving or other personalization.
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When selecting gifts for groomsmen, think about a gift they would like but probably wouldn’t buy themselves. This can be cuff links, a fine watch, money clip, or a highquality wallet. Feel free to splurge a little more on the best man.
Traditional gifts for bridesmaids are different types of jewelry. Monogrammed stationery, a spa treatment, or another pampering session. As you have with the best man, feel free
to bestow a little more thanks on the maid of honor with a more lavish gift. Younger bridal party members can get a similar gift, but one in scale with their ages.
Many couples choose to make a financial donation to their house of worship. Additional tipping or monetary gifts for musicians, alter boys/girls, etc. can also be a thoughtful gesture. A donation toward an officiant’s vestments may also be appreciated.
Parents of the Bride and Groom
The couple may choose to bestow a gift on their parents, which can be especially meaningful if the parents are taking care of the financial responsibility of the wedding. Jewelry or fine gifts in similar scope to that of the bridal party are good ideas. Consider engraved picture frames that can house a wedding portrait down the road.
Readers, soloists, ushers, etc. can be given a small token of your appreciation, like a gift card or a personalized memento.
January 26, 2011
List from page 6
Dream from page 5
guests leave the kids at home. While nieces and nephews might make the cut, it’s perfectly acceptable for couples to state their preference that children not attend. This can be noted on the invitation, addressing friends as “Mr. John Doe and guest” or “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.” Guests should take the hint, but if anyone RSVPs with their kids, be sure to call them immediately and explain the situation. Friends and family should understand the preference, particularly in the current economic climate. • It’s not a reunion. Couples are often tempted to invite long-lost friends to their wedding. But cost-conscious couples must recognize their wedding is not a reunion. If the goal is to keep the guest list under control, only invite close friends and family members who have kept in touch over the years. • Stick to your guns. Couples vary greatly with what they want out of their wedding. Some want a grandiose affair they can share with their whole family and all of their friends. Other couples want a more laid-back affair with only those closest to them in attendance. Whatever their preference, couples should remain firm and not feel guilty no matter how many guests they choose to invite or not invite. • Cut back in other areas. If it’s proving simply impossible to agree on a reduced guest list, consider inviting everyone and cutting back in other areas. Before signing any contracts, closely examine each one for items that can be removed without drastically changing the ceremony and celebration. Chances are there are savings to be had, and those savings might make the difference between inviting and not inviting another friend or family member.
home down payments, furniture, appliances, and raising children only amplify the need for savings. Couples can get some relief by directing their friends and family to gift registries, where guests can contribute to a down payment for the young couple’s first home, or a general savings fund that can be used for projects, furnishings or anything the couple needs. Guests often love knowing how their financial contribution is being spent, be it for a home down payment, home improvement projects or other savings.
Jewelry from page 7 shoulder styles, creating the perfect canvas for a statement necklace and earrings. Multi-strand and Y-necklace silhouettes in pearl and crystal are a popular choice. These necklace designs can be paired with simple button or drop earrings. “Some brides choose to make a statement with dramatic chandelier earrings alone,” Maier said. “Jewelers have enhanced their selection of statement earrings with many ornate and high-drama styles with lots of movement and sparkle. In this scenario adding a statement bracelet is a good choice.” While bridesmaids’ jewelry should be different from the bride’s, it should harmonize in color and materials. If the bride is wearing pearls, her bridesmaids’ pearls might be bigger or layered. For crystal styles the attendants’ jewelry might be bolder to complement the simple lines of their dresses.
January 26, 2011
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