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2018 weddings essentials

CONTENTS ‌get started 6 8 11 12 13

welcome your planning calendar wedding registry who pays for what? rings

the ceremony 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

going to the chapel writing your own vows guest list choosing your attendants inspired invitations beautiful bride choosing a photographer

uniquely you 23 color palettes 26 be your beautiful self 30 flatter your figure 31 the right fit 33 groom’s gifts 34 boutonnieres 35 beautiful bouquets 36 cake glossary 37 stunning cakes

wedding trends 39 resource directory 42 marriage license locations

resources 61 reception hall directory 64 resource directory 66 marriage license locations


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2019 weddings essentials


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Melody Parker (319) 291-1429

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES Shutterstock The Knot Associated Press Tribune News Service Washington Post

Weddings Essentials is published annually by Courier Communications, 100 E. Fourth St., P.O. Box 540, Waterloo IA, 50704. Copyright, Weddings, 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without permission is prohibited. Weddings magazine is published quarterly: March — June — September

weddings weddingsweddings A publication of Courier Communications

A publication of Courier Communications


A publication of


Courier Communication



Fall/Winter 2018







Spring 2018 | 1 xxxxx 2017





WELCOME ‌You’re engaged! It’s an exciting moment to share with family and friends, and time to start planning one of the most important events in your life. Planning a wedding can be stressful — from choosing the dress and location for the ceremony to figuring out how many guests to invite and how to stage your reception. It’s only natural that you want your big day to be a reflection of who you are as a couple. In our Weddings Essentials bridal planner from Weddings magazine, you’ll find practical, helpful advice and information for putting together the wedding of your dreams. Everything from “who pays for what” and popular color palettes to hiring a cake decorator and selecting flowers for your wedding bouquet is included, along with tracking sheets to keep you headed the right way to the altar. You’ll also find lots of visual inspiration from wedding gowns to the latest trends. There’s also a reception hall directory featuring Cedar Valley locations. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in details and decisions that you forget to take a deep breath and simply enjoy being a couple. Whether you’re planning an elaborate church or cathedral wedding, a simple but special gathering or a small backyard or DIY wedding, knowing what is essential, or at least very important, can help you stay organized and on top of all the details.

2 Pick a date. Most couples know to avoid major

holidays, religious and cultural holidays, personally significant days like reunions, anniversaries, etc., major sporting events like the Super Bowl and other dates that are hard to plan around. It can be more expensive to wed around holidays — red roses, for example, probably will cost more at Valentine’s Day, and some reception sites might charge more for a holiday date. Culturally significant days that may be meaningful to you may include Patriot Day (Sept. 11), or dates that historically are deemed “unlucky.” Here are some dates to avoid in the coming year: Ides of March — Friday, March 15, 2019 Friday the 13th — Sept. 13 and Dec. 13, 2019 Leap years — Feb. 29, 2020; then Feb. 29, 2024

3 Book your ceremony and reception site. It’s


never too early to call dibs on your favorite venues. You may have to be flexible on your wedding date to land the location you want. Have a clue about how many guests you’re inviting and make sure the location can accommodate them all. Always have a back-up plan it your site is already booked. Get organized. Use our helpful trackers, beginning on page 47 and download apps or start folders on your tablet, laptop or PC or go old-school with a binder or notebook. Keep track of meetings with vendors, price quotes, budget, dates/deadlines, vendor phone numbers, etc.

And remember to take time to enjoy each other’s company.

Here are four things to do first: Spread the news. Tell your parents first — in person, if possible. Texting is probably not the best way to share the news. Then let other family and friends know the happy news.



2019 weddings essentials

Melody Parker Weddings magazine Editor



planning calendar He proposed, and you said “Yes”. Before you say your “I do’s,” there are plenty of wedding plans to make, vendors to interview and details to work out.

9 to 16 months before

Start your wedding folder, if you haven’t already.


Tear out pages of ideas and inspirations from Weddings and other magazines for planning your dream day. Select a date and time for your wedding. Decide on a style for your wedding. How elaborate or simple? With your fiance, sit down and make a list of your most-desired wedding elements, and rank them in importance. Make sure you both agree on major wedding details. Determine a realistic budget, and decide who is footing the bill and for what. Be honest about how much you want to spend, and be sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the budget with everyone contributing financially and establish priorities. Line up your list of wedding helpers, including finance, parents and future in-laws. Find out how much (or little) the groom wants to do, and if you can delegate specifics to him, such as making honeymoon plans or contacting musicians or disc jockeys for the reception. Interview wedding planners, if you decide to use one. A planner can offer insights and ideas and handle details and logistics with vendors, and make sure your day comes off without a hitch. Select officiant(s) and visit with him or her to discuss wedding arrangements. If the wedding will take place in a church, some officiants require that couples attend pastoral or premarital counseling. Choose the ceremony and reception locations. Do you want to have both in the same location or host the reception at another venue? Book them as soon as possible to get the time and date you desire. Use Weddings’ Rehearsal Hall Directory for listings in the Cedar Valley. If your date and time is taken at your favorite location, have an alternative. Set up a timeline of when tasks need to be started and completed. Register at two or three retailers for wedding gifts. Put together your wedding party so friends won’t have to wonder about who’s in and who’s not.

Research photography, videography, wedding cake bakers, florists and other vendors. Set up appointments with no more than three in each category to keep the information manageable. Use Weddings’ planning pages to keep track of important details.

9 to 12 months before

Choose and order the wedding rings. Choose your colors. Your flowers, attire, linens and cake will reflect your choice.

Choose and order wedding gown, bridesmaids’ gowns and accessories.

Visit tuxedo shops and select attire for groom and groomsmen.

Select and book your florist, catering service, photographer/videographer and baker.

Book the entertainment for the reception, as well as arranging for soloists, string quartet, etc., for ceremony. Book a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Select several hotels with different price points close to the reception site. Begin compiling guest list. Ask parents to provide their lists of family, friends and others, but be prepared to whittle it down to fit within your budget.

6 to 7 months before

Select and order invitations, thank-you notes and

save-the-date cards. Or design them and have them printed. Send “save-the-date” cards if you plan to do so. Start planning the honeymoon. Select a travel agent to help make arrangements. Make sure passports are up-to-date and schedule doctors’ appointments for any needed shots. Meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony details and confirm you have all the official marriage documents — or know what is required. Discuss rehearsal details. Arrange transportation. Book a limo, if desired. You’ll need transportation to the church, from the church to the reception site and hotel or airport after the event. Start a preliminary “day-of” timeline for an idea of what is supposed to happen when — such as starting the buffet or dinner, toasts, cutting the cake, the first dance, etc.)

2019 weddings essentials

Mother-of-the-bride should begin shopping for her dress. It is customary for the mother of the groom to wait until the MOB has selected her dress.

4 to 6 months before

Book rehearsal dinner location. Traditionally, it

is the groom’s parents who plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. Book day-after wedding brunch site, if one is planned. Check on wedding invitations. Arrange taste-testing sessions with wedding cake baker and caterer and make final decisions. Complete the guest list and begin addressing wedding invitations. This can take some time; or hire a calligrapher. Purchase shoes and undergarments to go with your wedding gown. Remember to bring them to any fittings. Schedule try-out appointments with your hairdresser to determine a style that best suits your wedding style. If desired, make an appointment with a makeup artist. Snap photos so you’ll see how you look. Choose the music. What song will you want for your first dance? Set up rehearsals with a dance instructor if you and your groom plan some special dance moves. Keep a list of songs that you like — and ones you don’t want to hear at your reception.

Make sure groomsmen have been fitted for their tuxedos.

Complete honeymoon plans. Research requirements for marriage license. Schedule appointment with photographer for bridal portrait.

Make appointments with hair stylists/makeup consultants for portrait sittings, rehearsal dinner and wedding day. Select gifts for your wedding attendants.

2 months before

Mail invitations. Etiquette requires invitations

1 month before

Begin cataloguing gifts received. Start writing

2 to 3 months before

Finish addressing invitations. Finalize menu details with caterer. Make sure wine

is ordered, if desired, and dinner service items (plates, glassware, silverware, linens, etc.) are lined up with the reception site or caterer. Order favors, if desired. You can make your own fun favors or order edible treats, which are always a hit with guests. Finalize the readings at your ceremony. Determine what you would like recited at your nuptials and who will be doing the honors. Finalize music with soloists/musicians for ceremony. Finalize the order of the ceremony and reception. Print programs and menu cards, or consider creating your own on the computer and having copies made at a local print shop. You should have had at least one fitting for your wedding gown at this point; schedule subsequent fittings.

be mailed six to eight weeks before the wedding, setting the RSVP cutoff three weeks after the postmark. Meet with photographer to discuss shots and locations. Sit down with the band or disc jockey to discuss your playlist at the reception. Recognize you won’t be able to dictate every song played at your reception. Connect with your vendors and make sure everything is on track, including dates, times, location, etc. Enjoy showers and a bachelorette party. Usually the maid of honor is in charge of the bachelorette party.

thank-you notes. Mail no later than one month after your wedding; it’s OK to send thank-yous for shower gifts after the individual showers. Keep track of RSVPs as they are received. A helper may have to do some calling for guests who have forgotten to RSVP. Get your marriage license. Send invitations to the rehearsal dinner. Have your final dress fitting Assign seating at tables if the reception is a sitdown dinner. Decide how you want to designate seating. Many couples come up with inventive ways to label place settings. Prepare and wrap gifts for attendants to give at the rehearsal dinner. Write your vows and visit with your officiant. Host the bridesmaids’ luncheon. Purchase your guest book and decide where it will go, either at the wedding or reception.


2 weeks before

Reconfirm times with vendors. Make arrangements to pick up wedding gown. Finalize wedding transportation. Arrange to have names changed on driver’s license, Social Security card, etc., if you are taking his last name. Send a timeline to wedding attendants, including every member’s contact information and “point” people for vendors to call if there are problems. Touch base with your photographer/videographer to discuss “special moments” you want photographed, and work on details for location photo shoot, if planned. Book a spa day and manicure/pedicure for the day before your wedding. Don’t have a facial, though, because you could wake up on your wedding day with a red face or zit!


1 week before

Finalize the number of guests with the caterer. Make sure wedding rings are picked up and fitted. Set aside checks in envelopes to pay vendors and tips to be handed out on the wedding day.

Break in your wedding shoes. Slip them on and dance. Make welcome baskets for hotel rooms of out-of-town guests (city map, snacks, etc.) , and deliver to hotel.

Check your timeline to make sure details such as

decorating the venue, delivering favors, etc., are on track. Pack for your honeymoon.

Wedding day

This is it! Relax and enjoy your very special day.

2019 weddings essentials

WEDDING REGISTRY 101 For engaged couples, it can seem as if there are a million things to accomplish before the big day arrives. One essential piece of the wedding puzzle involves creating a registry that makes it easy for guests to celebrate your union with gifts that reflect your personality as a couple. It's no wonder why guests love the ease and simplicity of a gift registry. But many couples may not know where to begin when setting out to create this useful list. Here are some helpful pointers to help you get started on creating a perfect wedding registry:

meet with a consultant

These trained professionals are on site to assist and discuss everything you want and need. It's a good place to start if you have questions on what items to include and what brands are available.

shop around

Look for special programs at your favorite department stores.

start early

Most couples like to register 4-6 months before their wedding date, which allows more time for choosing items, planning for showers and meeting other deadlines.

register together

Whether it's in-store, online or both — make a day of it and have fun selecting all the things that will be part of your new life together.

choose different price points

Guests will appreciate a varied list that has many gift options to fit their personal budget.

create a registry that reflects you

If you're a laid-back, easygoing couple, consider registering for a more casual dinnerware pattern that you can use every day, then mix in some fancy pieces to use for those special occasions. Choosing dinnerware patterns sounds a little, well, old-fashioned, but it’s a time-honored tradition for brides-to-be. You’ve got to eat, right? So you might as well elevate dinner — whether it’s pizza or chicken cordon bleu — with dinnerware that’s pretty and elegant. And that, like some china patterns, never goes out of style.

Consider this: 1 | Bone china and porcelain may look delicate, but they make for durable dinnerware. Earthenware and stoneware add color and pattern to your table settings.

2 | Be sure your dinnerware is dishwasher safe. Some patterns with metal banding may need to be washed and dried by hand.

3 | Prepare for the future. When you register for your china or dinnerware pattern, consider the number of place settings you’ll need to get started.


GROOM'S DUTIES Some grooms are perfectly happy letting the bride make the decisions and handle the details. Just tell him where and when to show up. But many modern grooms like being involved. Here are some areas where men will want to be active (and a little humor to lighten things up).

Job 3 book the music

Hire a deejay or band. Look over the playlist and discuss your song for first dance with the bride. Hopefully “our song” will be the same song she thinks it is. Other music needs to be chosen for special moments, like the father-daughter dance, and how many times you can stomach the Chicken Dance and Macarena.

Job 4 help register for gifts

Job 1 picking a tux

Do you even need one? Traditionally, they're worn after 6 p.m. Morning or afternoon weddings call for a morning suit, usually dark gray. Renting a tuxedo is cheaper and ensures groomsmen will match, but a custom tux is a nicer fit and worth the investment if a groom thinks he'll wear it again. With arms down at the sides, fingertips should reach the bottom of the jacket. Pants should hit the tops of the shoes. Silk is the desired tux fabric for summer, while cashmere, wool and flannel are popular for winter. Rock the bowtie. It's the classic option. And don't fear the cummerbund. Modern 'bunds are sleeker and more flattering than they used to be.

Job 2 plan the bar

Here’s the important question: Open bar or cash bar? Along with that comes a few other responsibilities. A groom's side is often full of the guys he used to raise hell with. A generous tip for the bartender will help ensure they get cut off before the point of no return.

From the male point of view, there are three kinds of gifts: 1. things you already have; 2. things you don't need; and 3. bowls. To help your guests select stuff you actually want, you may be tempted to register at offbeat places like Sports Authority and Home Depot. This is fine as long as you realize that no one's going to get you anything from these places. So go help your bride pick out items for the registry or suffer bowls.

Job 5 help manage the guest list

Tradition dictates that the groom cut everyone off his list to make more room for his bride's list. This is easier than it sounds. Just review all the people on your list and think of one reason not to invite them. Then ask your parents to pitch in and mark off a few from their list.

Job 6 plan the honeymoon

Choosing a destination typically falls to the man. Remember, your honeymoon is a time to rest, to recuperate, to experience the phenomenon of everyone being uncharacteristically nice to you. Usually that involves a beach resort or cruise, not the National Football Hall of Fame.

Stay on top of the toasts pre-reception to avoid the colorful or awkward ones. And grooms should rely on their best men to police the unruly. As for a groom's imbibing, he should pace himself. Don't down a full drink after every toast. Old buddies taking an open bar to the limit is one thing. Joining them is a mistake. 12

2019 weddings essentials

why are wedding rings worn on the

RING FINGER OF THE LEFT HAND? Historians say people once thought a vein ran directly from the left hand to the heart, the “vena amoris,” Latin for the “vein of love.” The hand-to-heart connection endures as a tradition. For the wedding, the engagement ring is tucked away or worn other on the right hand until the wedding band is slipped on. It is worn closer to your heart, and the engagement ring is slipped on so it sits next to the wedding band.

Matchmaker Some engagement rings are designed to match the wedding band. Matching rings may have diamonds of the same size and shape or metal.

Make it a combo Combining a wedding band that doesn’t match the engagement ring can create a unique look.

It’s a gem Gemstones – sapphires, emeralds, rubies – accent diamonds for a personal or vintage touch.

Men’s rings A wide range of band widths, metals, plain or brushed finishes and details such as accent diamonds make a statement.

SHAPE AND STYLE Diamonds can be cut into many shapes. Round, the most common, offers “the biggest bang for your buck because the difference between the raw and cut diamond is smaller,” Melissa Colgan, senior style editor for Martha Stewart Weddings, said. But she said unusual shapes with retro looks and names like marquise, emerald, Asscher and pear are having a resurgence, partly because celebrities are wearing them. Whether a shape is flattering depends on your fingers. “If you have long thin fingers, you can wear something like Asscher or princess that is more square-cut,” Colgan said. “If you have shorter fingers or muscular hands, marquise or oval will elongate your fingers.” But long nails don’t mix with oval: “It looks like you’ve got a weird nail in the middle of your hand.” Oval Asscher


Princess Cushion Emerald





2019 weddings essentials

going to

THE CHAPEL The wedding ceremony should be special and meaningful, but it also can be as individual as the bridal couple themselves. You may gravitate toward the traditional. Maybe you’re a free-spirited, modern couple who want to go contemporary all the way. And maybe you just haven’t made up your mind. Here’s what you need to know to help make that decision.


A wedding in a church, chapel, temple, synagogue or other religious venue, officiated by a member of the clergy. Military weddings are also considered traditional. Details: Some faith denominations require a couple to participate in engagement encounters and wedding preparation classes prior to the wedding date. The classes allow the couple to examine their relationship and explore what matters to them. What to know: What times and days a ceremony can be scheduled; what you need to do in order to be wed at the location; how to coordinate timing with your reception hall; who will officiate.


A beach, a private home or garden, outdoor site, a museum, a mansion or other location is often chosen because it reflects the couple’s personalities and/or interests. Officiants can be faith-based or secular. Details: If an off-the-beaten path wedding is your thing, remember these locations aren’t in the business of weddings. Decide if you want the vows and reception at the same site, and then find out what is required to host an event at your chosen location. What to know: Check availability on their calendar. Your wedding may conflict with other events at the location. Ask what the facility has to offer, including such details as a liquor license (you need it to serve champagne and wine); how many guests the space can accommodate; liability issues; kitchen facilities, etc.


A getaway to an exotic locale like a beach or ski resort can be a fun way to wed. Details: Usually these weddings are small, limited to close family and friends due to logistics and expense. Marriage license requirements vary from county to county and country to country. What to know: A destination wedding also can be one that takes place a few hours from home. Many resorts offer all-inclusive packages.

5 ideas to make your wedding memorable

1 Choose a theme. It can be seasonal, set a mood, involve a motif or particular color palette. Whatever you choose, weave it through the entire wedding from ceremony to reception. 2 Color coordinate. Look for inspiration in nature, fashion, home décor magazines, even paint chips. Don’t feel restricted to one or two colors. Four, five, even six colors can work together if chosen with a careful eye and used judiciously. 3 Your wedding and reception location(s) should influence your decisions. If the location is outdoors, for example, think about sunscreen, bug spray, tents or an alternate location in case of inclement weather. An indoor setting may require a bigger decorating budget to enhance architecture or set the mood (or cover up an aspect you don’t particularly like), and more volunteer-friends to help put up the twinkle lights and tulle. 4 If you want little extras, keep the guest list under control. You’ll have more money to spend on things like limo service, favors or the feast, whatever is important to make your day more memorable. It’s also fun to include a few unexpected details. 5 Stick to your plan. You may hear about some great ideas at someone else’s wedding or have a sudden inspiration, but it’s important to do what is doable and affordable on your budget. Don’t think you have to squeeze every great idea into your wedding.


tips for writing your own vows Speaking from the heart can mean reciting traditional wedding vows, or personalizing the ceremony by writing your own vows. with your clergyman/officiant. Discuss the tone 1 Meet you want to set with your ceremony. It’s a chance to share how you met, what you’re like as a couple, what you love about each other, etc. Your officiant can give you ideas to personalize the event or offer insight into writing your own vows. Make sure your officiant will allow personalized vows. with traditional vows and rituals for a more 2 Stick spiritual tone to your ceremony. Some houses of

worship require a specific set of vows. In some instances, you can pair faith-related or religious elements recited by your pastor with your own recitations to each other. Most officiants will need to review your personal vows in advance. sure you and your intended are on the same 3 Make page. Will you write your vows separately or together; do you want to recite some of the same promises to each other? Are you both comfortable with the idea of writing your own vows? what other couples have written for personal 4 Read vows in books and online. Use them for inspiration;

borrow from poetry, religious texts, romantic movies. some “me-time” actually thinking about how 5 Spend you feel. Vows can be touching, romantic, poetic, a little bit humorous, but should include reasons why you love him/her, what you’re looking forward to in your life together and the promises you’re making. Don’t make them so personal that it’s embarrassing for guests. Your words should be heartfelt and include everyone in the moment. early. Create an outline. Write and edit your 6 Start vows far in advance of the wedding; don’t wait until the last minute or think you can just “wing it” at the ceremony. make it too long. Pick the highlights and save 7 Don’t the rest for reception toasts. practice, practice out loud so you don’t 8 Practice, falter or stumble over words. Likely you’ll have them memorized, but it’s OK to use a written copy as a cheat sheet.


More considerations:

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raditionally, the guest list is divided into thirds: your family, the groom’s family and you and the groom. But chances are, it won’t work out that neatly. One side may want to invite more people, the other side may be paying more to finance the wedding – variations are endless on sticky situations. Set your budget before making your guest list. This will immediately set up some parameters about the number of guests you can invite. Once the number is set, additional guests can be paid for by the party who invites them. After these details are settled, start gathering names and making your list. Ask both families to provide full names, addresses, phone numbers and emails, if possible.

You can limit the size of your wedding by inviting close relatives and friends you wouldn’t dream of getting married without their presence. Inviting distant relatives and friends is your choice. Children can bring joy to a wedding — or throw tantrums. You can request no children, or invite a few special children you would like at the wedding. When parents know children aren’t invited, it gives them time to make care arrangements. Another option is to allow children and provide activities to keep them busy. Remember children will add to your headcount for the reception. If your list allows you to invite business associates, co-workers, go ahead. If you need to cut back, this is the first place to trim. Remember it’s customary to invite your officiant and their spouse, the photographer and videographer, musicians, etc., to enjoy the reception. Include them in your head count for the caterer. The officiant and spouse usually sit at the parents’ table. Make copies of your guest list to give to both families. It’s also helpful to add designations alongside names that parents may not recognize (such as friends, business associates and coworkers).

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Choosing your

attendants Not sure how to choose? Pick the maids and gents who mean the most to you, and that you can count on for their support. Afraid of hurt feelings? Ask them to do a reading, hand out programs, oversee the guest book or gifts.

Maid/matron of honor responsibilities

Best man responsibilities

The bride’s assistant before and during the wedding. Traditionally hosts the bridal shower and/or bachelorette party.

Helps groom with pre-wedding duties. Organizes the bachelor party. Witness by law. Acts as chief of staff at the wedding. Carries bride’s wedding ring until requested by officiant.

Witness by law. Pays for her own attire. Makes sure bridesmaids are dressed properly with accessories for the wedding. Precedes the bride and her escort down the aisle. Arranges the bride’s veil and train and holds the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.

Proposes the first toast to the bridal couple. Reminds the groom of the reception timetable. Makes sure the couple’s luggage is in the car for their departure. Makes sure all rental items are returned.

Passes the groom’s ring when requested by officiant. Sits next to the groom at the bridal table during the reception. Alerts the bride of the reception timetable at appropriate times.


2019 weddings essentials

INSPIRED INVITATIONS Certainly nothing is more elegant than traditional white and ecru wedding invitations on heavy stock. But it doesn’t suit every bride’s taste. Whether it’s classic, contemporary or quirky — chosen the stationery that sets the right tone for your special day.



on choosing and working with a wedding photographer Your wedding is fast approaching, and you have an un-blissfully long to-do list from finalizing your flower selection to choosing your menu to deciding on your dress. Near the top of that list you might want to put "select photographer." That way, one of the most important parts of your wedding — the memories — will be preserved. Think about booking your photographer soon after you have selected your venue, and make sure he or she is a good fit with your personality. Look at potential photographers' electronic portfolios, pricing and availability, and plan to meet several candidates to gauge their sensibility. Below are five tips on choosing and working with a wedding photographer:

make sure your personalities jibe

look for depth

Ask to see a complete portfolio from beginning to end for at least one or two weddings. You don't want to see only a few "best" photos. You want your photographer to capture your day from start to finish.

get a contract

The contract should spell out what the photographer will provide, and whether the pictures will be on DVDs, an online gallery, a finished album, etc. It will include the hours worked, and what happens if you ask the photographer to work longer. A contract protects both you and the photographer. In addition, you want to know how things will be handled if the photographer becomes unable to work on the wedding day due to illness or injury. He or she should have a back-up. The contract also should spell out the cost, the amount of any deposit and when the balance must be paid.

don’t be shy about what you want Be specific. Tell the photographer what the most important aspects of the day are to you, whether it's exchanging rings or walking down the aisle. Be realistic about your day and make every effort to help your photographer take great photos.


Other than your significant other, the person with whom you'll spend the most time on your wedding day might well be your photographer. He or she will be with you as you get ready and as you go through the emotional highs of the day. The photographer might guide you and your family through a portrait session, walk backward as you process up the aisle, and hang close by during your first dance. So this person's personality — sense of humor, demeanor, even appearance — should be a good fit with both of you.

sweat some details

Ask if the photographer has a full set of equipment: multiple bodies and lenses with back-ups. Will he or she be working with an assistant or second photographer? If so, what is the additional cost and does that person need to be there all day? If your venue will be dark, can the photographer handle it? Is the photographer able to work in adverse conditions such as rain at an outdoor ceremony? Finally, make provisions for your photographer to eat; it's hard to be "on" for eight to 10 hours straight. A 15-minute meal break might just be the best thing you do for the photographer.

2019 weddings essentials




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On the dramatic side, a dark blue cake is glamorous, elegant and a perfect neutral.

Blue works with any season, but is particularly cool and beautiful for spring and summer (but who’s going to argue with icy blue for a winter wedding? Not us!)

A sapphire and diamond necklace will look perfect at the neckline of your wedding gown. It’s the kind of gift a thoughtful groom might give his bride.

Layer blues and mix textures at table settings for your reception. Napkins, runners, china ... it all comes together to make a statement.


If you’re a bride who dares to be different, tap into the colored gown trend — and why not blue for your wedding gown? You’ll find shades of the palest blue to dark blue and this lovely, romantic soft medium blue.

Your florist will have plenty of options incorporating blue into your flowers. This wedding bouquet is composed of agapanthus (lily of the Nile), nigella damacena (love in a mist), hydrangea and other blue and purplish blooms.


2019 weddings essentials

COLOR PALETTES It comes in many shades from light to dark, from pinkish-orange and salmon to nearly orange or red. Whatever depth of color you choose, it is fresh and skin-attering. Pair it with white or with medium gray for a clean, crisp look. Coral makes a great combo with turquoise, navy, teal, aqua and yellow, raspberry and pink, plum, shades of green, gold, copper and black.

Gerbera daisies, roses, bells of Ireleand, alstroemeria and other summery flowers combine to create a gorgeous, richly colored bouquet


A hand-painted cake is edible art. The look can be subtle, almost botanical like this coral and green watercolor, or be painted in bright, vibrant colors.


COLOR PALETTES This subtle but sophisticated color is contemporary — perfect for the modern bride. Pair this neutral with rich plum, bright yellow, dramatic emerald green, shades of blue or pink to set the mood. Gray can go it alone, too, in shades from whisper-pale to deepest charcoal, but looks fab with white or ecru.



2019 weddings essentials

Anna Maier-Ulla Maija




Envero Jewelry/Etsy via AP

ndividuality is in when it comes to bridal fashion and accessories. “Brides today want to look and feel like themselves — their most beautiful selves,” says Amy Conway, editor in chief of Martha Stewart Weddings. “That means bringing their own style into their look. They’re customizing with color or pattern, dramatic jewelry, bold shoes or other accessories with personality.”

The dress

What Katy Did Next/Etsy via AP

Embroidered details Floral and celestial motifs Handstitching for a folksy-meets-feminine flair. Statement sleeves (some may be detachable) Thinking outside the white and ivory lines, with dresses in blush, navy, celadon, peach, violet and ombre hues. Fringe and feathers on shorter, flirty dresses that brides are changing into for late-night dancing A return to simplicity, too, with clean, virtually unadorned designs in luxurious fabrics for an elegant and timeless look. Pair a streamlined dress with eye-catching “statement” veils dressed up with tiny stars or decorative trims. Bridal capes and capelets in lace or silky fabrics, or jackets and sweaters for the winter bride.


One of the hottest jewelry trends, stacking rings, is also big in wedding world. Customized sets let the bride mix up her look and later, couples can mark anniversaries and other milestones with special rings. Yellow gold is making a major comeback. Round side stones on the either side of a main stone. Pink has found a foothold in the engagementring market. Morganite, a mineral found in pinky hues from blush to salmon, is selling well, according to It’s being placed in rose gold, platinum and gold settings. Look for other unique stones, like tourmaline, emerald, opal, garnet and geode, as well as freeform “raw” stones. Chandelier earrings are back.

Maggie Sottero


Floral shoes Personal style with pompoms, velvets, wild prints, etc. Source: Associated Press


Mira Zwillinger

2019 weddings essentials

Laura Riera


Romona Keveza


Mira Zwillinger

Julie Vino

Justin Alexander

Romona Keveza


find a dress that


You’re curved in all the right places, show it off! Flattering: A-line dress with dropped waist; fit-and-flair gown such as a mermaid or trumpet style; sweetheart neckline; decorative sash at the waistline; exaggerated dropped waistline below hips Not so much: Ball gown or Empire waist; plunging neckline.


Small on top, heavy on the bottom Flattering: Basque waist; strapless ball gown; baby-doll gowns with Empire dress; detailed bodices and neckline to draw eye upward; tiers to hide hips. Not so much: Sheath, trumpet- or mermaid-style gown; dropped waist; slinky fabrics.



Full tummy Flattering: Tight ruching or beading around waist; conservative necklines such as V; wide straps; gathered waistline; above-the-knee hemline for great legs Not so much: Off-the-shoulder necklines; high necklines.


Your waist is undefined — the line from your shoulders to your hips is straight. Flattering: Empire-waist dress for long, lean look. Not so much: Princess-line, basque waist.


2019 weddings essentials

More voluptuous with full breasts, tummy, round hips and rear. Flattering: Ball gown or A-line silhouette. Not so much: Sheath, spaghetti straps.


Small-framed figure Flattering: Sheath, A-Line, trumpet; make sure hemline is not too long or too short; V-neckline; slim styles with sheer lace or tulle overlay; V-shaped bodice embellishments. Not so much: Most silhouettes will flatter you, but you might be swamped in a big ball gown. Avoid full tiers, too much embellishment or oversized bows and flowers.

beautiful BE A

BLUSHING BRIDE Look beautiful at your wedding with these tips.

Get a healthy glow Have kissable lips by exfoliating and

softening. Apply lip balm or Vaseline to your lips each night and rub your lips gently with a wet washcloth. Then apply a final coat before going to bed.

by applying blush correctly. Experts at Merle Norman Cosmetics suggest:


Opt for a hint of color on cheeks rather than a nude. Pinch your cheeks to see what color you naturally flush, and you’ve just found your perfect shade of blush!

Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep and exercise. Make a hair plan. Meet with your stylist at least a month before. Do a hair trial several weeks before.

Take care of your brows. Visit a pro to

create the right brow shape, then maintain them. Use a brow pencil to fill in and add definition and set with brow gel or clear mascara.

Makeup needs to last through the

last selfie of the day. Use a primer on your face and eyelids after washing and moisturizing, then top with your foundation. Trying a new foundation? Switch several months in advance in case there’s an allergic reaction.


Use a liquid formula for smooth, weightless application that looks more like skin.


To look more wellrested, apply blush toward the front of the cheek, using your pupil as a starting point.

Apply waterproof pencil liner

along upper and lower lashes, then smudge the edges. If you expect you’ll cry a lot, avoid false eyelashes. Work magic with a mascara wand. Curl lashes and use a waterproof, volumizing mascara.


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2019 weddings essentials

Top collar

Bow tie Turn-down shirt

Satin peak lapels

Single button front

the right


Select a style that will flatter all groomsmen. According to International Formalwear Association experts: A jacket should hug the shoulders; padding shouldn’t extend too far over the shoulders, a sign the jacket is too big. Jackets are fitted through the shoulder and lay flat in the front.

Satin besom pockets

The jacket’s bottom hem should cover the rear and the vent shouldn’t pull open. Flat-front pants are generally more slimming than pleated-front pants. Satin pant stripe Flat front trousers

Pants are tailored to sit at the waist, and the hem of each leg should hit the sole of the shoe. One finger space between a shirt’s collar and neck allows for a proper fit, while shirt sleeves end at the wrist bone. A half-inch of the shirt should show past the jacket sleeve. Vests can be adjusted, and shoes need to be comfortable.


GROOM GIFTS ‌It’s customary for the bride to give her groom a gift. But frankly, he can be hard to buy for, which makes finding the “perfect” gift a little elusive. A wristwatch is always a safe, solid choice, or a pair of cuff links, perhaps with his engraved initials. Nice or not, a flask seems a little more “groomsman” than groom. Here are some fun ideas: 1. The groom and his men might enjoy firing up fine quality cigars with a shot of bourbon to calm their nerves. Have breakfast delivered to his hotel room on your wedding day, or send coffee as a pick-me-up while preparing for the ceremony. 2. Think ahead to the honeymoon. Designer sunglasses, luxury toiletries, favorite aftershave, a toiletry bag filled with his favorite shaving gear and scent, a duffle bag (monogrammed?) matching beach towels — you get the idea. 3. Limited budget? Go small — and romantic. Jot down 10 things you love about him on individual slips of paper, roll each one up and tie with a slender ribbon. Place them in a nice box for the perfect personalized keepsake. 4. Chose a fun, funky frame and fill it with your favorite photo of the two of you together. 5. Anything with “Mr. & Mrs.” Coffee mugs, accent pillows, picture frames, wine glasses, etc., are kitschy and fun. 6. A love note. It doesn’t have to be long and schmaltzy —but it should be heartfelt, sincere and handwritten. Tuck into a romantic card. 7. If your significant other has a hobby — fishing, photography, flying, skydiving, video gaming, golf, movies, whatever — buying the perfect gift just got easier. 8. Order tickets to a concert, sports or other special event.


2019 weddings essentials

When to make the exchange? — The night before the wedding — The morning of the ceremony — Before leaving on the honeymoon says the couple also can courier gifts via bridesmaids or groomsmen just before the ceremony.

Boutonnieres Make your groom look handsome and play out your color scheme with a statement-making boutonniere!


BEAUTIFUL BOUQUETS ‌Classic hand-tied, composite, cascade,

nosegay, pomander and beidermeier — bouquet styles are varied in composition and flowers.


2019 weddings essentials

Cake glossary Take the guesswork out of wedding cake decorations by learning a little of the lingo. Then you won’t have to resort to drawing a picture or using phrases like “those little squiggly lines and things” to describe what your dream cake should look like.

basketweave A piping technique that features

flowers to garnish a cake. Gum paste decorations are edible and will last for years as keepsakes, but, say some, they don’t taste as yummy as marzipan.


A paste made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, used to mold edible flowers or fruit to decorate the cake. Marzipan can also be rolled in sheets, like fondant, and used as icing.

interwoven vertical and horizontal lines (like a wicker basket).

A smooth, creamy icing that stays soft so it’s easy to cut through. It can be colored and/or flavored. Also used to create piping, swags, and other borders, as well as decorative rosettes. It can be used as filling, too. Buttercream is made from butter (as its name implies), so it may melt in extreme heat or humidity.


pillars Separators used in a tiered cake. They

can be made of plastic or wood in several lengths to achieve the desired look.

dotted swiss

A piping technique that forms tiny dots in random patterns that resemble a fine dotted swiss fabric.

piping Decorative details

created using a pastry bag and various metal tips. Piping details include leaves, borders, basketweave patterns, and flowers.


Round, edible sugar balls coated with silver or gold and used for decorative purposes.

pulled sugar

A technique in which boiled sugar is manipulated and pulled to produce flowers and bows.


A sweet, elastic icing made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin that’s literally rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake. It’s a smooth, firm base for gum paste flowers, decorative details, and architectural designs, and has a porcelain finish. Note: A fondant cake should not be refrigerated.


A sweet, rich chocolate, denser than mousse but less dense than fudge, which can be used as icing or filling. Note: Because ganache is made of chocolate and heavy cream, it will soften in very humid weather.

gum paste This paste of sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin is used to mold realistic-looking fruits and

royal icing

Made of egg whites and confectionery sugar, this icing starts life as a soft paste piped from a pastry bag to create latticework, beading, bows, and flowers. When dry, its texture is hard and brittle — do not refrigerate.


A dense cake that does not use leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda.

whipped cream Heavy cream beaten to

achieve a thick consistency. Whipped cream does not work well as an icing, and must be kept refrigerated — it is unstable and not recommended for outdoor weddings.



2019 weddings essentials

18 RECEPTION IDEAS ‌The actual ceremony — the reciting of vows, the “I Do’s” and the kiss — is the most important part of your wedding day. That’s when your commitment to each other is signed, sealed and delivered with your family and friends beaming and wiping away tears. Then it’s time to party! And that usually means the reception where everyone looks forward to eating good food, toasting with champagne and dancing the night away. According to, the best receptions incorporate personal, fun and unique touches that keep guests talking long after the last dance. Get inspired by these 20 ideas from the Knot for creating a wow-worthy reception!


Awesome favors

Trinkets are cute, but who really needs to haul home another personalized wedding wine glass, koozie or candle? Give them take-home goodies in fun baggies or small boxes — a bag of mini doughnuts or doughnut holes, jars of local honey or jam, personalized chocolate candies, a succulent plant.

Short, sweet toasts

1 Seating arrangements

You want this night to be unforgettable, not uncomfortable. Your seating arrangement should lead to great conversation, which leads to a great dance party and a memorable reception. So seat your tween cousins with other kids their age and let your college friends sit together.


Make sure toasts are no more than two minutes. The best man usually is the master of ceremonies who keeps toasts moving smoothly.


4 Kids as guests

Keep little ones entertained throughout the night — and give their parents an opportunity to hit the dance floor. Arrange for a babysitter to set up and oversee movies, games, crafts or a kid-centric dance party in a separate room. Or set up a few tables with activities.

6 Interactive food stations

First dance


Start out with a classic romantic dance — Etta James’ “At Last,” John Legend’s “All of Me,” Adele’s “One and Only” … you get the idea. Then suddenly switch gears to Latin dance or break it down to Bruno Mars or a great country two-stepper. 40

Great foods makes for a great celebration, but offering dishes everyone can customize to their liking is even better. Interactive food stations — from a mac-andcheese bar to a sushi-rolling set-up — let guests create their own ideal bites.


Rethink dinner

The latest trend is to stretch out dinner over four or five small courses, with surprises between dishes, such as a short toast, a poem read by a friend or a professional performance — a dancer, vocalist, etc.

2019 weddings essentials


Comfort first

You want to have a good time at your reception, right? So after the first dance, brides can swap the veil and bustle for a fabulous little white dress, pantsuit or jumpsuit, and grooms can change to a more relaxed suit.



Sometimes the best parts of a reception are what guests don’t see coming. Surprise them with unexpected entertainment, like a magician, mariachi band, salsa dancer, aerialists or even a fire eater.


The DJ


Break music

Ask potential bands how they handle breaks before you hire them. Some bands rest in shifts and split off into a smaller two- or three-piece band, while others turn on filler music. If yours is planning the latter, ask to approve the checklist before the party.

Make sure your DJ doesn’t play obscure songs that are hard to dance to, or plays way too many La Macarena and Chicken dances. Talk to your DJ about your do-not-play list upfront.


Everyone dance!

Plan a playlist that will please the whole crowd. Mix in a few of your favorites, but don’t leave out past and present hits that will get your parents and grandparents on the dance floor, along with your circle of friends.



Lounge area

A change of environment will promote conversation, give your energetic dancers a resting area and keep your non-dancing guests entertained. It’s also an elegant and comfortable way to let elderly guests relax and chat while others take to the dance floor.

Day-of coordinator

No matter how organized you are, it’s difficult to keep track of all the moving parts, especially when you’re supposed to be enjoying the party as a married couple! If you have an event planner, you’re all set. If not, look into booking a day-of coordinator to oversee the details (trust us, it’s worth it).



Tasting station

A full bar is an expectation for a great reception. In addition, kick it up a notch with a wine, beer, whiskey, vodka or tequila tasting. It lets guests sample different drinks and learn a few tasting notes. You could have interactive experiences, too, like make-your-own margarita bar.

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Go with the flow Divide your reception into distinct areas for dancing, drinks, chatting, and coffee and cake. Arrange a few cocktail tables near the bar, offer outdoor seating or set up a table of desserts or latenight bites. Leave plenty of room between dining tables to allow guests easy access.



Good food

Whether your tastes run to an elegant sit-down dinner, a taco bar or barbecue, chances are your caterer can find creative ways to serve it to a large crowd. Another option is to pass hearty, satisfying hors d’oeuvres with cocktails instead of dinner. For an after-party, arrange for late-night food like pizza or french fries, or offer a DIY coffee bar or ice cream sundae bar, and let guests serve themselves.

18 The send-off

Before the evening gets too late, and your older guests retire for the evening, plan a great send-off to cap off a beautiful wedding and fun reception. Hire professionals to handle fireworks or a lantern launch, for example.

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CAPTURE YOUR DAY Our list of must-have photos


our wedding day will be a whirlwind and pass in a blur. That’s why you hire a wedding photographer — to preserve those special moments and memories. Photos will tell the story of your big day, so it’s important to hire your wedding photographer as soon as possible after getting engaged and setting your wedding date. Wedding planners recommend 9 to 11 months in advance, as a rule of thumb. Your photographer will likely have a list of photos they will capture, but you should think about the photos you want, the ones that are important for you. Here’s our list of the top 25 must-have wedding photos for your album!






2019 weddings essentials
















2019 weddings essentials




ATTIRE Wedding gown/alterations Bride’s accessories (jewelry, shoes, veil) Hair & makeup Wedding rings (his & hers) Groom’s tux or suit Groom’s accessories SUBTOTAL

FLOWERS Bridal bouquet Bridesmaids’ bouquets Grooms’ & groomsmen’s boutonnieres Flower girl flowers Ceremony floral arrangements, corsages, etc. Reception arrangements/centerpieces/decorations SUBTOTAL

MISCELLANEOUS Invitations & stationery Photography/Videography Additional prints/copies Bridal party gifts Transportation Lodging Honeymoon expenses (airfare/hotel) SUBTOTAL

CEREMONY Ceremony location fee Officiant fee/donation Soloists/musicians Candelabra rental/Candles Ceremony accessories



Venue rental Caterer/food Beverages/Bartender Favors Tableware/linens rental fee Wedding cake Musicians/disc jockey SUBTOTAL




2019 weddings essentials


GROOM’S ATTIRE Store name Address Phone Website Consultant Tux size Color Vest Fitting Date Pick-up date Deposit Balance due

Groomsman Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due

Groomsman Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due

Dads/Ushers Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due


GROOM’S ATTIRE Store name Address Phone Website Consultant Tux size Color Vest Fitting Date Pick-up date Deposit Balance due

Groomsman Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due

Groomsman Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due

Dads/Ushers Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due



Location Phone number Appointment date

THE GOWN Gown style/name/designer Store name Address Phone Website Consultant Cost Deposit Refund Policy Dress Size Color Description

Fitting Date Dress pick-up date Veil/headpiece Cost

THE ACCESSORIES Shoes Size Color Style/manufacturer Store Cost Purse Cost Jewelry checklist Engagement ring Earrings Necklace Bracelet Hair accessories


2019 weddings essentials


Location 1

Location 2

Location 1

Location 2

Address Contact Phone E-mail Web address Denomination Officiant Personal vows OK Seating for guests Available dates & times Cost Earliest arrival time on wedding date Floral arrangements/set-up Things not allowed (rice, decor, etc.) Rehearsal time Photographer set-up time

AVAILABLE AMENITIES Altar Arch Chairs Candelabra Candles Aisle stanchions Kneeling bench Dressing room Organist Soloist Audio/video equipment Coatroom Handicap accessibility Parking




Phone Fee

SOLOIST(S) 1. Phone Fee 2. Phone Fee



INSTRUMENTALIST(S) 1. Phone Fee 2. Phone Fee




Phone Scripture/poetry/literature readings POSTLUDE

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ATTENDANTS’ ATTIRE Attendant’s name Phone number Email address Budget Size/measurements

Groomsman Phone number Email address Tux Size/Color/Vest Deposit/Balance due

PURCHASED GOWNS Bridal shop Address Phone number Salesperson Designer/style no. Color Cost per gown Date ordered Deposit Amount due First fitting Final fitting

HANDMADE GOWN Fabric shop Seamstress Phone Designer/pattern no. Color Yardage Material cost First fitting


Seamstress cost Final fitting

ACCESSORIES (headpieces, gloves, shoes, jewelry, bouquet)


HAIRSTYLE CHECKLIST BRIDE’S HAIRSTYLE Hair salon name Stylist Address Salon phone number Stylist cell phone

SERVICES Hair style



First appointment time and date Wedding day appointment time and date Location Cost Comments


Attendant’s name Hairstyle Hair jewelry/headpiece Nails Appointment time/date Location

Attendant’s name Hairstyle Hair jewelry/headpiece Nails Appointment time/date Location Comments


2019 weddings essentials


How Many

Description (flower/style)


Bouquet Toss Bouquet

BRIDAL PARTY Maid/matron of honor Bridesmaids Flower girl(s) Ring bearer(s)

FAMILY Mother of bride Mother of groom Father of bride Father of groom Grandparents

OTHERS Guest book/attendant Officiant Soloists Musicians Wedding planner Personal attendant

CEREMONY Alter/arch/canopy Candelabrum Pews/aisles Other

RECEPTION Bride’s table Table arrangements Cake/cake table Gift table Other

TOTAL COSTS Deposit Due date Balance due Due date Who delivers flowers Time & Date Notes



INVITATION WORDING Wording the wedding invitation can be a sore subject. It’s OK to bend the rules for wording, but etiquette exists for a reason. Check out these different variations to find out what works best for your situation. Tradition-bound: Everything is spelled out, including the time. Commas are used sparingly: __________________ [proper names of those hosting] request the honor of your presence [request line] at the marriage of their _________ [list relationship of the bride to the host] __________________ [bride’s first and middle names] to __________________ [groom’s full name] _________, the __ of ________ [day of the week, day and month of wedding] at ____ o’clock [time of wedding] in the _________ [time of day] ___________________ [name of the location of wedding] _________, ____________ [city and state where wedding will take place] Reception to follow Give Proper Recognition Any parent or important loved one not mentioned on the invitation (either because they were not officially hosting or there was not enough space to include them) should be recognized elsewhere. If the bride’s parents are hosting, leave off the bride’s last name; if the groom’s parents are involved, use the bride’s last name. Other standard choices: If one set of parents is hosting your wedding, list their names at the top. “Mr. and Mrs. ____________ request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter _____________________ to _____________________ If both sets of parents are jointly hosting, you should list both on separate lines, with the bride’s parents first. Mr. and Mrs. ________ & Mr. and Mrs. _________ request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children _____________ to _____________ at time, date, and place When one couple is hosting, but you’d like to honor nonhosting parents by including them on the invitation, note their relationship to the bride or groom under that person’s name. Mr. and Mrs. ______________ request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter __________________ to __________________ son of Mr. and Mrs. _______ at time, date, and place If the couple is planning to host the wedding, the invitation begins with the request line. The honor of your presence is requested at the marriage of Miss _____________ daughter of Mr. and Mrs. _____________ and Mr. ______________________________ son of Mr. and Mrs. ________________ at time, date, and place If the couple and both sets of parents are paying, the invitation should begin with the marrying couple’s names (bride’s name always comes first) and follow with “together with their parents” before the request line. Miss _____________ and Mr. _______________ together with their parents Mr. and Mrs. ___________ and Mr. and Mrs.__________ request the honor of your presence at their marriage at time, date, and place


2019 weddings essentials


Location 1

Location 2

Name Address Contact Phone Web address Email address Interview date/time Special effects offered Wedding package Sessions Bride’s album Total number photographs and sizes Parents’ albums Complementary Cost of package Individual portraits Engagement Bridal Extra photo costs Sizes Wallets Proofs Negatives Publication rights Cancellation policy Staff attire


CATERING WORKSHEET Caterer Address Phone/Contact E-mail & Web address Hours Samples (Yes No)

FOOD TYPE SERVICE Appetizers/hors d’oeuvres Buffet Sit-down Menu choices (appetizers/meat/side dishes)

QUESTIONS Observe an event by caterer? Ratio of servers to guests? Multiple food stations? Price per person Wedding cake/cutting? Leftovers / cleanup

EQUIPMENT Food display/serving Tables/chairs provided? Table linens/napkins? How will servers dress?

BEVERAGES Will caterer serve alcohol? Choices of beverage Alcohol/non-alcohol cost Champagne/wine cost

OVERALL COST Sales tax included in price? Gratuities included? Cancellation policy Overtime charge Total cost Deposit Balance/Due 58

2019 weddings essentials

the bride’s checklist Six to 12 Months ❑❑ Announce your engagement. ❑❑ Decide on wedding details, such as style, time of day and location. ❑❑ Pick a date. Do this as soon as possible so bridal party and family members can make plans and reservations can be made for wedding location, rehearsal and reception locations, etc. ❑❑ Set a budget. ❑❑ Select the bridal party. ❑❑ Choose your colors. Your flowers, attire, linens and cake will reflect your choice. ❑❑ Choose and order the bridal gowns, bridesmaids’ gowns and accessories. ❑❑ Start planning the honeymoon with groom. ❑❑ Begin your bridal registry. ❑❑ Select the caterer, photographer, florist and musicians. ❑❑ Start planning the reception. Reserve a hall, hotel or facility. ❑❑ Schedule premarital counseling. Some churches require this for a marriage. ❑❑ Choose and order the wedding rings. ❑❑ Order the wedding cake. ❑❑ Select and order the invitations.

Three Months ❑❑ Complete the guest list. ❑❑ Plan to have both mothers select their dresses. It’s customary for the groom’s mother to wait until the bride’s mother has selected her dress. ❑❑ Finalize reception plans. ❑❑ If reservations haven’t been made for the honeymoon, do it now. ❑❑ Confirm dates and times with the florist, caterer, photographer, musicians and church. ❑❑ Discuss transportation to and from the wedding and reception sites. ❑❑ Choose and order the tuxes. ❑❑ Schedule bridesmaids’ dresses for fittings. ❑❑ Choose and dye shoes if necessary. ❑❑ Mail the invitations. ❑❑ Get the marriage license. ❑❑ Finalize the honeymoon plans.

❑❑ Plan the rehearsal and dinner. This is the responsibility of the groom and his family, but all should work together on it. ❑❑ Purchase gifts for the bridal party. Brides often buy inexpensive earrings or necklaces for the bridesmaids to wear at the wedding. Popular choices for groomsmen are money clips, key chains or ball caps. ❑❑ Schedule final fittings for bride and bridesmaids. ❑❑ Schedule appointments at beauty salons for attendants, if needed. ❑❑ Hold the bridesmaids’ luncheon. ❑❑ Purchase a guest book and decide where it will go, either at the wedding or reception.

Two Weeks ❑❑ Finalize wedding day transportation. ❑❑ Arrange to have names changed on driver’s license, Social Security card, etc.

One Week ❑❑ Start packing for the honeymoon. ❑❑ Finalize the number of guests with caterer if not already done. ❑❑ Plan seating arrangements for guests. ❑❑ Have a hairdresser practice fixing your hair. You may want to practice applying your makeup. ❑❑ Make sure wedding rings are picked up and fit.

Wedding Day ❑❑ Relax and enjoy your very special day.

One Month ❑❑ Reserve accommodations for the groom. ❑❑ Record gifts received and send thank-you notes as they arrive.




2019 weddings essentials

reception hall DIRECTORY

When choosing a reception site, check out its size and determine whether it will fit your style of reception and number of guests expected to attend. Find out what services are provided, including deposits and cancellation policies. Here’s a listing of metro area reception halls: American Legion Post 138, 728 Commercial St., Waterloo • 319-234-8511

use of our education center and the garden of your choice from 10am – 6pm on the day of your wedding for $800. Wedding rentals are available seven days a week, prices vary. For more information about booking the Arboretum for your special day, call our office or email us at office@

Beaver Hills Country Club 8230 Beaver Hills Dr., Cedar Falls • 319-266-1975

Centennial Oaks Golf Club Eagle Ridge Dr., Waverly • 319-483-1765, ask for Lisa

Brown Derby Ballroom 618 Sycamore St., Waterloo • 319-240-0308

Center Inn Banquet Facilities 209 Main St., Readlyn • 319-279-3839 •

Open to public, accommodates 100-150; book early; $250 per floor, $50 deposit; kitchen, bartender costs extra; no on-site catering; tables, chairs included, linens not; decorating one to two hours before; dance floor.

Open to public, booking upon availability; accommodates up to 250; $500 for room; set up, clean up included; on-site buffet or sit-down style catering, about $15 per person; tables, chairs, linens provided; bar; decorating early depends on availability; dance floor.

The newly remodeled and restored Brown Derby in Waterloo was originally the first Elks Club. We have great parking and can serve 215 people in a sitdown dinner. We can serve more if it is just a reception with appetizers. We have a full bar. We are also handicapped accessible. To review and reserve, please contact Chuck at (319) 240-0308.

Black’s Sky Room/Tea Room 501 Sycamore St., No. 710 Waterloo Contact Vern Nelson • 319-233-5109

Built in 1929 atop the eighth floor of the Black’s building, the Sky Room has been beautifully restored. Events from 10 to 360 people; choice of 8 pre-approved caterers or your choice to be approved; open bar, paid bar or combination with bartender(s); tables, chairs, stage risers & podium available; parking connected by Sky Walk.

Cedar Falls Community Center 528 Main St., Cedar Falls • 319-277-1900

Available for evening and weekend rentals for special events such as weddings and receptions, anniversaries and other special events. Chairs and tables provided, capacity 200. No on site food prep allowed, but small kitchen to assist with catered food. Dance floor. Nonsmoking with ample nearby parking. Additional deposit and charge for wine and beer. Available to rent up to one year in advance; call 268-5541 for more information and booking.

Cedar Falls Womans Club 304 Clay St., Cedar Falls • 319-266-1431 • Manager: Angie Andrews

This stately home overlooks Overman Park in the heart of the historic area of Cedar Falls. It has been and is a meeting place for many groups and a gathering place for private parties & small weddings. Consider this beautiful Cedar Falls landmark for your next event.

Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens 1927 E. Orange Road, Waterloo • 319-226-4966

A lush, 40 acre garden setting located directly east of Hawkeye Community College – the perfect backdrop for your special day. A Saturday wedding in the garden of your choice includes a one hour rehearsal between 4pm and 7pm the night before your wedding and the

Accommodates intimate gatherings to large receptions up to 400 guests; on-site catering and bar services; customized menus; chairs, tables, linens provided; outside ceremony site, on-site event coordinator, professional wait staff, dance floor, complimentary setup and tear-down.

Dining room accommodates up to 75, ballroom accommodates up to 400; banquet room rental Sunday-Thursday, $150, Friday and Saturday, $300; dining room rental Monday-Sunday, $75; basement rental $50; deposit and credit billing $100, required to confirm all bookings, nonrefundable; postevent clean up, $100.

The Centre Hall 1211 4th St., SW, Waverly • 319-352-1386

Seating for up to 700 guests. Wedding package includes: day prior to event, day of event, half day after event, seating for 250 guests including tables and chairs, kitchen area and serving tables. Accommodates the wedding, reception, dinner, and dance without moving or tearing down tables and chairs.

Clarion Inn

5826 University Ave., Cedar Falls 319-277-2230, ext. 7322 Enjoy the convenience of your reception and hotel accommodations under one roof; brand new banquet room called “The Cedar” seating 150 people, mezzanine and plaza seat up to 350, banquet hall seats up to 300; full service catering, $18.95 to $22.95 per plate; free honeymoon suite with whirlpool for bride and groom; special overnight rates for wedding guests; rehearsal dinner, gift opening, bridal shower available; tables, chairs, linens, skirting, security, bar, bartender provided; some decorations provided, decorating 8 a.m. day of event; dance floor, table for disc jockey. New Against the Grain Bar and Restaurant.

Diamond Event Center at Jorgensen Plaza 5307 Caraway Lane, Cedar Falls (319) 859-9373 or

The Cedar Valley's newest event center hosts memorable celebrations including weddings, receptions, anniversaries, retirement parties, awards dinners, gala fundraisers, business luncheons and corporate meetings. All this and more can be accommodated in a flexible space that seats up to 400 at tables. Amenities include fully customized menus and bar options, specialty linens, coat check, valet parking, setup and cleanup, and state-of-the-art audio/visual. Diamond Event Center is located off Prairie Parkway in south Cedar Falls. Call Amy today to plan your special event


Electric Park Ballroom 310 W. Conger St., Waterloo • 319-232-5801 or

Hilton Garden Inn 7213 Nordic Dr., Cedar Falls • 319-266-6611

The Electric Park Ballroom at National Cattle Congress is a historic venue that can accommodate 1,000 people. It is an ideal location for wedding parties, banquets or conventions. We offer multiple amenities such as free parking, two full service bars, complimentary set up and tear down, name on the marquee. Our iconic ballroom features a 81’ x 63’ built in wooden dance floor with a built in stage and lights. We look forward to working with you.

Fox Ridge Golf Club Highway 20, Dike • 319-989-2213 •

Accommodates 320 people; bookings one month in advance; business meeting space available; in-house catering available to fit all budget needs; wedding rental requires $250.00 deposit (nonrefundable/applied toward final bill) and signed contract to hold date. Please contact Ben Biersner at 319-989-2213 or ben@ to request more information.

Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center University of Northern Iowa campus Cedar Falls • 319-273-3660 •

Lobby hall accommodates up to 120 banquet style, 300 standing; book six months to a year in advance; $600, $300 deposit; on-site catering only by UNI catering; tables, chairs, linens provided; balcony, grand central staircase; decorating day before event; dance floor.

Grout Museum District & Snowden House 503 South St., Waterloo • 319-234-6357 •

Main building accommodates up to 200, $350-$750. Tables, chairs, set up and tear down included. Cash or open bar available. Full service kitchen. Dance floor. No on-site catering. Snowden House: Historic Victorian Italianate architectural style home. Accommodates up to 120. $50/ hr. Tables, chairs, set up, tear down included. Kitchen available. No on-site catering. (Due to historic nature of facility, no dancing is allowed).

Hartman Reserve Nature Center 657 Reserve Dr., Cedar Falls • 319-277-2187

Accommodates up to 100; booking at least six months in advance; $400-8 hours on Saturday or $475 Fri. night/Saturday add $100 if serving alcohol; full kitchen, tables, chairs included; non-smoking; decks with scenic overview, bridge, outside amphitheater seats up to 100, fireplace.

Henderson Event Center 2320 Iowa Ave., Independence • 319-334-6464

Our 12,000-square-foot event venue comfortably accommodates up to 500 guests, all of whom are sure to be impressed with the elegance of our facilities and the level of our service. Conveniently located off of U.S. Highway 20, and within close proximity to Waterloo, Cedar Falls and lodging, our event venue in Independence, Iowa is perfect for: Weddings, School dances, Corporate functions, Holiday parties and Retirement parties.

An inviting wedding location with a 5,117 sq. ft. ballroom seating up to 340 guests comfortably in banquet style and a 1,450 sq. ft. pre-function area ideal for a social hour. Our full service hotel features 113 beautiful appointed guest rooms and suites all with 2 queens or 1 king bed. Our guests can enjoy our Indoor salt water pool and whirlpool, fitness room, exterior patios with fire pits and dine in the Garden Grille & Bar serving breakfast and dinner. Wedding room blocks available. Our desire is to assist you in creating your dream wedding. Please call our talented an experienced Sales & Catering team to help you customize your special day, 319-266-6611.

Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo 777 Isle of Capri Blvd., Waterloo

Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo is an ideal location for your wedding, party, meeting or convention. Isle Waterloo features 5,000 feet of flexible meeting space and 1,600 square feet of pre-function space. This space is ideal for groups of 270 people sitting banquet style or a 400 person cocktail reception. Our professional planning and catering staff is ready to help you create your next memorable event. For more information visit or call 319-833-2266 to speak with a professional planner today.

Janesville Riviera Roose Community Center 307 Maple St., Janesville • 319-987-3512 or 319-231-7660

The center is a modern, fully accessible facility managed by the Community Center Board of Directors. Its small town location on approximately 10 acres of land near the Cedar River provides an ideal setting for weddings and receptions, as well as reunions, anniversaries, retreats and business meetings. The center features a large hall with banquet seating for 350, a wood dance floor, commercial kitchen, bar and a large outdoor patio. Parking is adjacent to the building. For more details, visit

Oster Regent Theatre 103 Main St., Cedar Falls • 319-277-5283

Accommodates 80-100; book early; $200, $50 deposit; no onsite catering; can serve own alcohol but cannot sell to guest; kitchen with serving area, sink, refrigerator, microwave; tables, chairs provided for 80; linens rented for $3 each; beautiful view of the Cedar River; decorating day before depends on availability; Hardwood dance floor.

Pepsi Pavilion, National Cattle Congress grounds 319-232-5801 or

If you are looking for a comfortable relaxed open concept venue then the National Cattle Congress Pavilion is just right for you. The Pavilion offers seating for 800 people which makes it an ideal location for anything from a concert to a wedding. Our services included complimentary set up and tear down, name on the marquee, serving the head table as well as keeping the food line full at all times, two NCC bartenders, and free parking. We look forward to working with you.

Hickory Hills Park 3338 Hickory Hills Rd., La Porte City 319-266-6813 •

Accommodates 125; book up to two years in advance; pricing varies, two-day wedding packages available; $100 deposit, more if bringing in beer keg; no on-site catering; restrooms, kitchen facilities (pots/pans not provided); tables, chairs for 125 are provided, additional seating allowed; beer, wine coolers allowed; lakefront view; decorating early requires rental; outlets for DJ; cement floor; attached deck, air-conditioning.


2019 weddings essentials

Ramada Hotel and Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center 205 W. 4th St., Waterloo • 319-233-7560

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Waterloo. We are able to accommodate parties from 50 to 1200 people in our uniquely customizable spaces. Rental prices range from $800.00 to $1200.00 depending on the space need for your special day. The rental fee in an inclusive price, no “hidden fees”. Rental fee includes your setup, teardown, and cleanup; as well as all tables, chairs, linens, place settings, dance floor, and so much more. We have a minimum of $4000.00 for the reception. Customizable dinner (both buffet and plated) menus provided by our professional on-site catering staff for your rehearsal dinner, reception and gift opening. Full bar service with many customizable options to fit your guests needs. Feel free to book the space in advance, no limitations to how far in advance you may book. Call us today to meet with our sales team and to tour the facility.

Rotary Reserve 5932 N. Union Rd., Cedar Falls • 319-266-6813

Accommodates 300; book up to two years in advance; $650 for all day Saturday; package deals include $800 for both Friday and Saturday night, $925 for all day Friday and Saturday, $650 for Thursday night and all day Friday; weekday times range from $195 to $275, $100 increase on holidays; $200 deposit two weeks prior to event; no on-site catering; kitchen, restrooms; tables, chairs provided for 300 guests; linens, cooking utensils not provided; beer, wine, champagne only; uniformed security officer required if serving alcohol; non-smoking; remote location on banks of Cedar River, deck, gazebo, fireplace, PA system, concrete floor, airconditioned/heated; changing rooms for both men and women available.

Sunnyside Country Club 1600 Olympic Dr., Waterloo • 319-234-1707

Available to non-members & members for weddings; Seating up to 300 with overflow; booking depends on availability; competitive pricing; on-site sit-down or buffet-style catering only, starting $21 per plate; setup and tear down of tables, chairs, linens provided; fully staffed bar; decorating early allowed when available; dance floor. For details call 319-234-1707 or email

UNI Commons Ballroom University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls 319-273-2333

Ballroom seats up to 220; additional space available in the neighboring lounge overlooking the campanile that can be used for ceremonies, prereception cocktails, etc; reservations accepted up to two years in advance; half of estimated cost paid in advance, remainder due at event; set up, clean up included; on-site catering by UNI Catering; bar service; tables, chairs, linens provided; sound system in ballroom; portable risers for band, DJ, head table; dance floor; additional decorations available to rent.

University of Northern Iowa Gallagher Bluedorn 8201 Dakota Street, Cedar Falls • 319-273-3660 •

UNI Maucker Union Ballroom University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls 319-273-2256

Ballroom accommodates 400+ banquet style with no need to remove any seating for your dance; reservations accepted up to two years in advance; deposit half of rental; set up, clean up, linens, table skirting, tables, chairs and staging included; on-site catering by UNI Catering; bar service; sound system and drop down projectors available in ballroom; dance floor included; additional decorations available to rent.

Wartburg College Saemann Student Center, 100 Wartburg Blvd., Waverly • 319-352-8286 •

Groups of 20-200. Full-service banquet facility with customized menu and event planning. Great location for rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Food and service provided by the College. Half of estimated total paid; tables, chairs, linens provided; bar serves wine and beer. AV equipment available; dance floor needs to be rented and brought in.

Waterloo Center for the Arts, Boat House and Riverloop Facilities 225 Commercial St., Waterloo • 319-291-4490 We offer beautiful and affordable riverfront spaces that can accommodate up to 250 indoors and 5000 outdoors. A range of amenities are available including: set up & clean up; newly renovated restrooms; kitchen; catering; beverage service; round or square tables; chairs; linens; ice table; pipe & drape; piano; sound system; stage; tents; and dance floor.

Waterloo Elks Lodge 407 E. Park Ave., Waterloo • 319-234-7568 Sherri Simon,

Accommodates up to 375; on-site catering only, $15 to $25 per person plus tax and gratuity; tables, chairs included; fee for bartender, linens; decorating day before depends on availability; luxurious atmosphere, stage for bands or DJ, dance floor; plenty of on-site parking.

Waverly Area Veterans Post 1300 4th St NW., Waverly • 319-483-9287

Open to the public! The Patriots Hall accommodates up to 300 guests for your event. We have a dance floor that can be customized to the size you prefer, up to 30’x30’. You choose your own caterer, WAVP will provide the bar. Linens are available to rent. Tables and chairs are provided with the cost of the rental. $900 for the whole Patriots Hall, with a refundable damage deposit of $250 required at time of booking; hall rental fee due the month of the event. If your event does not require the entire hall, we have a temporary wall that can divide the room into two separate rooms. Patriots Hall West is $400 (holds up to 100 guests), Patriots Hall East is $500 (holds up to 200 guests). Friday decorating time is available for only an additional $250; you will have the entire day to decorate. Coming in the Spring of 2017 is a large deck that will overlook the Cedar River of the Patriots Hall.

Waverly Golf and Country Club 705 Eighth St. SW, Waverly • 319-352-3855

Hall lobby accommodates up to 200 banquet style, 300 standing; book six months to a year in advance; onsite catering only by UNI Catering; bar service; tables, chairs, linens provided; balcony, grand central staircase; decorating day before event; dance floor.

Open to public for rental; accommodates 275; book about a year in advance; $600, $100 deposit; on-site sit down or buffet-style catering only; one-meat buffet $12.95, two-meat $14.95, three-meat $16.95 per person, call for sit-down meal prices; can bring in wedding cake; tables, chairs, bartender, waitresses, linens $1 per person; decorating night before depends on availability; dance floor.



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501 Sycamore St., No. 710 8th Floor of the Historic Black’s Building 319-235-1521


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1927 E Orange Rd., Waterloo 319-226-4966


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5307 Caraway Lane, Cedar Falls 319-859-9373 westernhomecommunities. org/plaza


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407 East Park Ave., Waterloo 319-234-7568


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201 E. Tower Park Dr., Waterloo 319-233-5357


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2134 La Porte Road Waterloo 319-233-2500 alofw-fairfield-inn-and-suiteswaterloo-cedar-falls





Waterloo, 319-232-7594

320 5th St., Hudson 319-988-3377 randallsmeatsandcatering. com

University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls 319-273-2256

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922 Rainbow Drive No. 101, Cedar Falls 319-310-8782

501 Redeker Drive, Cedar Falls 319-273-2333

355 Country Club Ln., Dike 319-989-2213

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125 Main St, Cedar Falls 319-277-2202


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220 Bremer Ave., Waverly 319-352-0243


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2614, 1955 Locke Ave, Waterloo 319-234-2656


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819 Longview, Cedar Falls 319-269-6658


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311 Main St., Cedar Falls 319-277-8111

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200 State Street Suite 202-Z, Cedar Falls 319-277-0007


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229 E. 5th St., Waterloo 319-234-6979


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111 South St., Waterloo 319-235-1681


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323 W. 15th St., Waterloo 319-234-3104

2019 weddings essentials

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1300 4th St. NW, Waverly 319-483-9287


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705 8th St SW, Waverly 319-352-3855


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225 Commercial St. Waterloo 319-291-4490

1955 Locke Ave., Waterloo, IA 50702


319-234-2656 319-239-5726

to our award-winning Weddings magazine. Coming March & August 2019

Available at all Hy-Vees,Cedar Falls Fareway and many other prime locations in the CedarValley.

MARRIAGE LICENSE LOCATIONS Allamakee County County Recorder 110 Allamakee St. Waukon, IA 52172 (319) 568-2364

Buchanan County Recorder’s Office 210 Fifth Ave., NE Independence, IA 50644 (319) 334-4259

Delaware County Recorder’s Office 301 E. Main St. Manchester, IA 52057 (319) 927-4665

Grundy County Recorder’s Office 706 G Ave. Grundy Center, IA 50638 (319) 824-3234

Benton County County Clerk 111 E. Fourth St. Vinton, IA 52349 (319) 472-3309

Butler County Recorder’s Office 428 Sixth St. Allison, IA 50602 (319) 267-2735

Fayette County Recorder’s Office 114 N. Vine West Union, IA 52175 (319) 422-3687

Hardin County Recorder’s Office 1215 Edgington Ave. Eldora, IA 50627 (641) 939-8178

Black Hawk County Recorder’s Office 316 E. Fifth St. Waterloo, IA 50706 (319) 833-3012

Chickasaw County Recorder’s Office 8 E. Prospect St. New Hampton, IA 50659 (641) 394-2336

Tama County Recorder’s Office 100 West High Toledo, IA 52342 (641) 484-3320

Bremer County Recorder’s Office 415 E. Bremer Ave. Waverly, IA 50677 (319) 352-0401

Clayton County Recorder’s Office 111 High St. Elkader, IA 52043 (319) 245-2710

Floyd County Recorder’s Office 101 S. Main Courthouse Charles City, IA 50231 (641) 257-6154


Franklin County Recorder’s Office 12 First Ave., NW Hampton, IA 50441 (641) 456-5675

2019 weddings essentials

Winneshiek County Recorder’s Office 201 W. Main St. Decorah, IA 52101 (319) 382-3486

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67 323 W 15th St. Waterloo, Iowa l



2019 weddings essentials

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Weddings Essentials - Bridal Planner 2019  

Weddings Essentials - Bridal Planner 2019