Brides by Simply Hers

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BRIDES Weddings are EVERYWHERE now, and we want to help our area brides have the best wedding possible!

Our cover article highlights an amazing new venue at the west edge of the Irish Hills. The White Birch Wedding Barn & Events Center offers the beauty of a rural setting and barn feel with a modern, upscale vibe. Owners Amie and Pat Pelham have definitely gone the extra mile with the design and execution of this beautiful wedding venue! We have helpful articles on trends in wedding colors and gowns, tips on buying engagement rings, steps for announcing your engagement, and addressing the issue of whether or not to invite children to your event. Have you thought about including a mocktail at your reception? Read our article about why you should and then browse our recipes! It is our hope that everyone celebrating a wedding in 2024 will have the day of their dreams. Our best wishes to you all!


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A stunning, new wedding venue

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517.438.0588 | 11000 Briggs Hwy. | Cement City, MI | 7

The White Birch Wedding Barn & Events Center

“Because in your dreams, every detail matters.” Written by Melissa McCance

When you’re planning a special event, taking care of the details can make the difference between a so-so celebration and one that is truly special. Amie and Pat Pelham, owners of the White Birch Wedding Barn & Events Center, have invested many hours thinking through every important detail involved in a wedding. Their goal is to create a wedding venue where a seamless experience allows the bride and groom to have a wedding that will be remembered as a magical time, free of worries and mishaps. The seeds of creating a wedding venue were planted some time ago when Amie enjoyed helping her mother-in-law with her catering business. This included working a number of weddings as well as bridal shows. Amie and Pat began talking about opening a nice wedding venue, but, busy with raising their sons, work, and other commitments, that project went on a back burner. 8 BRIDES 2024

They revisited the idea in November 2022, located some land, and began work in earnest. The facility was designed in January 2023 and construction started in June that year. Their concept combines the spaciousness of a barn structure in a rural setting with many elegant, modern features. Tackling a project of this size and complexity could strain a marriage, but the Pelhams never had that issue. “Pat and I are an awesome team,” explains Amie with a smile. “We both consider each other’s opinion as very important, so I’ll run things by him and he’ll run things by me. And, we have fun doing it so it doesn’t feel like it’s work.” It was important to the Pelhams to create a venue that was beautiful but still affordable. It’s not uncommon for a couple to think a venue is within their budget until they find out how much of what they’ll need isn’t included in the venue price. Amie and Pat want to be very transparent when dealing with prospective customers as to what their rental price gives them. The rental fee for the White Birch Wedding Barn includes round tables, black chairs, linens, a special head table, an open-air venue, and a golf cart to shuttle guests from the parking lot to the building if they need or prefer that to walking. Also, everything is handicap accessible. For couples planning an outdoor wedding, there is an outdoor chapel that makes a perfect setting. And, unlike at most outdoor weddings, neither the wedding party nor the guests need to worry about heels sinking into the dirt or

dresses dragging across the grass—the outdoor area is covered with 7600 square feet of artificial turf. This, combined with the concrete walkways around the venue and the golf cart shuttle makes for a bonus that Pat states with pride: “Our goal is that women’s shoes and dresses will never touch dirt.” Nine acres of property surround the venue. In addition to the white birch trees that were already there, 45 additional trees have been planted with strategic placement and highlighted with lighting. The landscaping provides a special touch with white hydrangeas flanking the walkway that leads the bride to the openair chapel as well as a number of professionally-installed gardens. All the landscaping is fully irrigated to ensure a lush, green setting. There’s an 80-foot covered porch, bistro tables, outlets for the sound system, and Edison lights to enhance the outdoor space. The interior design of the barn is stunning: approximately 8200 square feet of space with a guest capacity of 260 people (220 with a designated dance floor), a 30-foot ceiling with beams, multiple chandeliers, four custom-designed fireplaces, climate-controlled, and two full glass overhead doors that can be opened to extend the reception area outdoors. Every surface features high-end designer finishes. Continuing with their passion for details, the Pelhams have included two bars and a mobile bar, a commercial ice machine, a warming kitchen for the caterer, a separate rear entrance and parking lot for all the service personnel, an interior and an exterior balcony, several feature walls that are perfect for photos, beautifully-appointed restrooms, and coat storage. There are also suites for the bride and groom where they can gather with their bridesmaids or groomsmen to get ready. The bridal suite features hair and make-up stations, full-length mirrors, a private bathroom, fireplace, feature wall, serving bar with minifridge, tv and sound system, elegant seating area, and a balcony and mezzanine that are perfect for pictures. The groom and his crew will enjoy custom suit storage, a luxurious seating area, fireplace, serving bar with minifridge, tv and sound system, and a full-length mirror. Just outside they’ll find a putting green and a corn hole game. To help the couples stay within budget, the Pelhams offer a generous discount for early payment. There’s a 50% down payment

required to secure the date and any available 2024 weekend dates that are paid in full by March 31, 2024, will receive a $2,000 discount off the standard fee. For 2025 dates, the 50% down payment still applies and weekend dates that are paid in full by June 30, 2024, will also receive the $2,000 discount. Besides what’s included in the basic fee, they have a selection of à la carte items that can be added such as a “day of ” coordinator, all-inclusive coordination package, after wedding clean-up, option to host the bridal shower or rehearsal dinner on site, and several others. Amie and Pat love their community and are working to bring in other area businesses from the Irish Hills area that mesh with creating a wedding such as food vendors and wineries. They’re excited to see their dream become reality and look forward to having many weddings and other special events at the venue. As Amie summed it up, “It’s a labor of love.” The White Birch Wedding Barn & Events Center is located just south of US 12 at 11000 Briggs Hwy, Cement City, MI 49233. You can reach them at 517-403-6342, on Facebook, and their website is whitebirchweddingbarnmi. com. 9

self-care & fitness fo r the wedd i ng

There you are, about to say yes to the dress, but it’s just a little tight around the middle. Or maybe you’ve already gotten the gown and you’re starting to freak out about how you’ll look in it come wedding day. As you frantically look for a wedding workout plan, you happen upon this article. Here’s the thing: you don’t need to go on a crash diet or spend countless hours at the gym to look great on your big day. But you do need to be strategic about your fitness routine in the months leading up to the wedding. Know this: the most sustainable way to get in shape is not with restrictive diets or grueling workouts, but by making simple changes to your lifestyle. Ready to get started? Let’s go! HOW LONG BEFORE MY WEDDING SHOULD I START WORKING OUT? Ideally, you should start thinking about your fitness routine three to six months before your wedding day. This gives you enough time to make meaningful changes to your body, without putting too much stress on yourself. That said, it’s never too late to start working out! If you’re reading this a month or two before your wedding, don’t panic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even modest weight loss can have big benefits. Losing 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve your blood pressure, and cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. And, while you still might have to make some adjustments to your outfit, you’ve set the stage for long-term success by getting started on a healthier lifestyle. HOW DO I PREPARE MY BODY FOR MY WEDDING? Regardless of how much time you have left for your big day, you want to look and feel your best when you walk down the aisle. The best way is by making sustainable changes to your lifestyle. This means eating healthful, nutritious foods and exercising regularly. It’s also important to focus on the whole you—not just your physical appearance. You’ll take care of your mental and emotional health by getting enough sleep, managing stress, and staying connected to your loved ones.

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IN THE WEEKS LEADING UP TO YOUR WEDDING, THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREP YOUR BODY: 1. HAVE A WEDDING WORKOUT PLAN Physical activity is by far the best way to slim down and tone up. What’s more, it can improve your mood and help you stay grounded during the wedding planning process. The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (like running) every week. Add strength training to the mix 2-3 times per week and you’ll see even more benefits. 2. NOURISH YOUR BODY Exercise is only one piece of a healthy lifestyle—you also need to focus on what you’re eating. Be sure to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods that will give you the energy you need to power through your workouts. This doesn’t mean you need to diet or deprive yourself—in fact, studies have shown that restrictive diets can actually lead to weight gain. Instead, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods that will nourish your body and make you feel your best. 3. PRIORITIZE SLEEP In the weeks before your wedding, you might find yourself with less free time than usual. What with work, working out, wedding planning, and spending time with family and friends, it can be tough to fit in a full night’s sleep. But sleep deprivation can quickly turn into a downward spiral. When you’re sleep deprived, you have less energy to work out, and you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices. Not to mention, you’ll likely feel more stressed which can further disrupt your sleep. To avoid this cycle, make sleep a priority in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Shoot for seven to nine hours of sleep per night and create a bedtime routine that will help you wind down and relax. This could include reading, taking a bath, or stretching. 4. DE-STRESS Speaking of stress, it’s normal to feel a little bit anxious in the weeks before your wedding. But if you let stress take over, it can quickly spiral out of control. That’s why it’s important to find ways to de-stress and relax. There are many different ways to do this, but some science-backed strategies are yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. 11 11 07

Announcing your

engagment Congratulations, you’re engaged! Whether on bended knee with a big shiny rock or a meaningful conversation on your couch, you and your partner have decided to get married and spend your lives together. Yay! But before you start planning your wedding and choosing napkin colors, you’ll need to decide how to announce your engagement. (Hint: It’s not with a post on social media right away!) Let’s break down the four steps of actually announcing your engagement: Step 1) Be on the same page for the announcement of your engagement Before you start sharing the happy news of your engagement or posting ring selfies on social media, you’ll want to talk to your partner. The two of you should be on the same page about who you want to tell, how you want to tell them and when. In fact, you may even want to talk about this before you get engaged so one of you doesn’t accidentally text mom with the news while the other is still wiping tears away from the heartfelt proposal. You also have the option to keep your engagement news to yourselves for a little while. Especially if you get engaged in private, such as at home or while away on vacation, it can be kind of nice to have a secret only the two of you know about. You can spend time celebrating and talking about your wedding without any outside opinions or interruptions. Step 2) Announcing your engagement to your closest loved ones Once you’re ready to announce your engagement, start with your closest friends and family members. These are the people you would naturally want to tell first and who will be so excited to share in your good news. As much as possible, try to announce your engagement to your closest people in person. Not only is this so much more meaningful than a text or email, but it also makes the celebration so much better. Wouldn’t you rather hug and pop champagne with your loved ones than have them send you a champagne emoji? If you can’t tell them in person, try to tell them live. You can do this with a video or phone call so you can still see each other’s reactions and share in a joyful moment together. 12 BRIDES 2024

Step 3) Engagement announcement ideas for the rest of your friends and family Once your closest circle of loved ones has heard the happy news, it’s time to announce your engagement to more of your friends and family. These may be people you don’t talk to all the time but you do see regularly and who would be excited to hear your news from you. Here are a few engagement announcement ideas for the rest of your friends and family: • Phone and video calls • An email thread • Sharing at a family get together • Announcing over happy hour drinks •

Old-fashioned snail mail with a cute ring selfie

The idea with this stage of your engagement announcement is that you want to reach out to people personally and share your happy news rather than wait for them to see it online. While it can be fun to wait until you see everyone in person to announce your engagement, sometimes an email or call is

more practical so you’re not waiting months to share the news. Step 4) An engagement announcement on social media The last place you want to announce your engagement is on social media. Before you post, make sure everyone who would want to hear your news personally has already heard it. You don’t want grandma finding out about your engagement through Facebook! Remember that there’s no timeline when it comes to social media. You can spend weeks sharing your news with friends and family and enjoying the fun moments of telling people in person or on the phone before you open a single app. And please, don’t stress about coming up with a clever caption for your post – people will be excited for you no matter what. Once it’s posted, your engagement announcement will officially be out there in the world for everyone from your boss to your old kindergarten teacher to see. Enjoy all the comments that come in, knowing that all of your important people have already shared in your happy news.



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Wedding Planning -THE TIMELINE



� Take at least a week without making decisions � Envision your wedding � Set up a wedding email � Set a budget. Who is helping, when, and how much? � Set priorities. What’s important to you? � Have three tentative dates in mind � Start looking at venues and make viewing appointments � Book your venue � Select your wedding party and ask them to participate � Start thinking about guest list � Hire a coordinator or planner if the budget allows � If you have any high priority vendors, book them � Get wedding insurance

� Finalize your guest list � Reserve rentals (tables, tent, chairs) � Book your caterer � Book your dessert baker � Book your officiant � Book any live musicians � Reserve your decor and game rentals � Order bridal party outfits � Groom choose and reserve his outfit

8-10 MONTHS AHEAD � Have an engagement party � Book your wedding photographer and do engagement session � Book your videographer � Book your hair and makeup consultation � Book your MC/DJ � Book your florist � Select your food type (sit-down, buffet, BBQ, hors d’oeuvres, etc.) and start scheduling tastings � Try on bridal gowns and order yours � Decide on overall style for wedding party clothes � Order wedding bands � Reserve room blocks at several price points � Send out “save the date” cards or notes � Create your registry � Order invitations and paper goods


Set up your wedding website now, too!

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4-6 MONTHS AHEAD � Mail out invitations � Have your dress altered to fit you � Make sure passports are in order � Start planning honeymoon � Have bridal shower � Reserve your “day of” transportation

2-4 MONTHS AHEAD � Plan and order gifts for parents, attendants,

and spouse � Do your hair and makeup trial � Make nail and haircut appts for before wedding � Hire a “day of” coordinator if you haven’t yet 1-2 MONTHS AHEAD � Get marriage license � Have final dress fitting and bustle training if

applicable � Final fitting for groom � Draw up final decor plans � Finalize honeymoon plans � Create your emergency kit � Order thank you cards (if non-photo) � Finalize RSVP list and send out final counts to vendors

2-4 WEEKS AHEAD Final walkthrough to plan reception layout � Timeline created and sent to vendors for � approval Create family photo grouping list � Final haircuts � Pack boxes of decor, details, documents, � plans, gifts, payments/tips, take home bag, and emergency kit for transport to wedding Final song list to MC/DJ � Bachelor/bachelorette parties � Confirm “day of” transportation � Plan order of standing, processional, and � recessional Write all final checks and tips and � delegate who will hand them out

THE FINAL WEEK Take the week off work � Steam dresses � Pick up any final items needed � Nails done � Pick up rental suits � Confirm vendor details and timeline � Confirm delegations to family and � bridal party Write your vows � Have rings cleaned � Have rehearsal and rehearsal dinner � Arrange rental returns/pickup �

Lastly... RELAX! Chelsea Carrizales Photography 15

Buying an engagement ring in 2024? Here’s what you should remember! Written by Elyse Apel

2024 is expected to be a big year for engagements, with experts predicting the number of proposals will skyrocket. So, if you or someone you know will be buying an engagement ring this year, make sure to read this for all the top tips and tricks on how to make the best decision on this once-in-a-lifetime purchase. Decide on a Ring Budget

It is very important to decide on a budget for the ring before you begin ring shopping. This will help you stay within budget once you begin shopping. According to The Knot, an engagement ring costs an average of $6,000. While the general recommendation is that an engagement ring should cost between one and three months of the buyer’s salary, that is just a recommendation. Only you know your unique financial situation and what would be the best budget.

Timing is Everything

A common mistake is underestimating the time you might need to shop for an engagement ring. Be sure to plan for at least six weeks and even longer if you are either customizing the ring or working with a designer on a totally custom ring. The last thing you want is to be forced to move an engagement last minute because the ring did not arrive on time.

Setting and Design and Style, Oh My!

There are many different aspects to consider when it comes to the ring itself, including the metal of the band, the setting of the stone, etc. In the months leading up to shopping, you should be observing your partner’s style and any comments they may make about specific rings.

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Allie Quigley is the store manager at Hillsdale Jewelers, located in downtown Hillsdale. “I always tell someone looking to buy an engagement ring the same three things,” she said. “You need to know the color of gold she wants, whether it is yellow gold or rose gold.” She said it’s also important to think about the design. “You need to know what shape of stone she wants, since there are so many. Then you need to know if she wants a big engagement ring or something delicate.” Be sure to consider the pros and cons of different engagement ring settings. If your budget is tight, picking the right ring design could also help save some money.

Alternatives to the Traditional

Here are a few recommendations on how to not box yourself into buying a traditional diamond engagement ring if you think your partner might like something more unique. • •

Buy vintage! There are many beautiful engagement rings that you can buy second hand. There are so many other types of stones besides diamonds you could use, either as the main stone or as stones accompanying a diamond. Some favorites are emeralds, rubies, etc. Customization is a great way to make a unique ring. Just be sure to find a reputable jeweler!

• •

monds towards the D end of the range are more expensive and sought after. Clarity: Clarity ranges from Flawless to Included. Diamonds with more blemishes are often less expensive. Cut: The cut of the diamond impacts its proportions, symmetry, the setting it will fit in, and how it interacts with light. This is also why it is important to always look at rings in different types of light. Carat Weight: Diamond carats can range vastly, depending on your budget. The bigger the carat, the more expensive the range.

A Few General Tips

Here are a few more things to keep in mind before you begin shopping. • Make sure to confirm a ring size with your significant other! • Don’t underestimate the recommendations of friends! They often know very well the styles and designs your significant other might appreciate and might even be able to refer you to a good jeweler. • Think about how the wedding band might fit with the engagement ring. If you make a custom ring, you will probably want to design the wedding band at the same time. • If you bought a diamond ring of over one carat, be sure to obtain a “Diamond-Grading Report” from the jeweler do not lose this paperwork and also be sure to keep any warranty, exchange, or other paperwork you might be given.

The 4 Cs of Buying Diamonds

If you do want to buy a diamond, make sure to remember the 4 Cs of buying diamonds which will help you determine the best diamond. • Color: Color ranges from D (which is completely colorless) to Z (which usually has either a brownish or yellowish color. Dia-

Chelsea Carrizales Photography 17

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Choosing Special Hues for Your

Most Memorable Day Written by Molly Mason

Creating a unique and extraordinary atmosphere for your wedding can be enhanced with the perfect use of color. Your color palette sets the tone and mood of your event and is displayed for decades in framed artwork. Ensuring you choose hues that you love is your primary goal. Your colors are an anchor for your décor and work best when inspired by your personal style, your venue, and the season. Ensure a cohesive theme with simple design rules that help you select a beautiful combination: Choose one or two primary colors, one complementary color, one neutral color, and one fun accent shade to use sparingly. Is your dream wedding style luxurious, romantic, rustic, beachy, or boho-chic? The right color scheme ensures the correct tone for your ceremony and reception. Trending colors for the upcoming wedding season include cobalt blues, vibrant reds, delicate purples, earthy greens, and muted pinks. Marseille Bleu: Whether you’re envisioning a timeless,

seasonal, or trendy theme, the 2024 Color of the Year from Minted + Brides provides a versatile and fashionable aspect for any wedding. The rich cobalt shade serves well as the primary color in your color palette. The strong, saturated blue pairs well with a variety of colors, whether pale and airy pastels, vivid jewel tones, or fresh floral motifs.

Ruby Red: The hue most often associated with romance

provides a fiery boost of passion for weddings of many kinds. Confident couples who want to make a statement can pair this bold hue with a cool beige, a darker red, steel and platinum. For a cozier and more eclectic vibe, enhance the vibrancy of ruby red with cool navy blue, soft sage green, and champagne.

Delicate Purples: Lilac, periwinkle, and lavender

provide a light and airy mood for ceremonies in the coming year. Those with spring and summer weddings can blend tints of purple with other pastels while fall and winter brides can add contrast and depth by choosing navy blue, emerald, or black accent colors.

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Chelsea Carrizales Photography

Earthy Greens: For a more natural aesthetic, earthy green hues like moss green, sage, and emerald are popular and versatile. Pair moss green with a wildflower bouquet for your bridesmaids to create a lovely garden theme. To embrace timeless elegance, add gold and navy blue embellishments to enhance emerald green. Earthy greens also pair well with blush pink and champagne for a more muted and sophisticated palette.

Muted Pinks: The Barbie movie brought pink back in full force in 2023 and it will be a popular color for weddings this year as well, but in more muted tones. Blush, rosewood, and rose gold provide a feminine flair with the versatility to create any type of mood for your big day. Navy blue is a perfect bold complement to any light pink hues while adding contrast and depth. Spring and summer brides may prefer an analogous scheme, pairing pink with yellow and orange to bring energy and warmth into the event. A gorgeous color scheme will enhance the beauty of your special affair. What colors make you happy? What are your favorite colors? These are great questions to ask so you don’t make the mistake of choosing a color simply because it’s popular. Select a meaningful palette, or if you are having trouble deciding, choose hues from a meaningful object. Some of the prettiest weddings were designed by selecting colors from a favorite piece of artwork, a photograph, a scarf, or a pillow. Once you have identified a color palette you personally love, one that coordinates well with your venue, and fits the season and mood you want to create, decide which hue will be your primary color. By choosing one color to be more dominant in your décor design, you allow the eye to rest and create a wonderful atmosphere for your most memorable day. 21


A Timeless


hen one thinks about a wedding gown, they often imagine a long, beautiful, allwhite dress. However, the wedding dress has changed many times throughout history, with white gowns only becoming popular in the 19th century. In Ancient Rome, brides wore a full-length white dress with a knot tied around the waist, symbolizing the bride’s purity. In medieval times, brides often wore blue gowns. Sometimes, royal women would wear red or gold gowns made of velvet or satin— indicators of wealth. Gowns during this period often had a long train and chemise top. The first royal bride to wear a white wedding dress is thought to have been Princess Philippa of Lancaster in 1406. By the 1800s, white had become a popular color, often symbolizing wealth and status because of the upkeep such a dress requires. During this time, married women would often re-wear their wedding gowns to various occasions. However, white did not become “the color” for wedding gowns until Queen Victoria wore a white dress during her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. Queen Victoria wore a full-length satin gown, with a lace bodice and sleeves. At her wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, actress Grace Kelly wore a silk dress and a lace bodice and veil. Her sleeves were long and also made of lace. The dress featured a high neckline that covered the lower part of her neck, and a three-foot train. Inspired by Grace Kelly’s famous wedding gown, Kate Middleton wore a similar silk dress at her royal wedding to Prince William of Wales in 2011. The dress had a sweetheart neckline and a long-sleeved bodice with hand-sewn lace. Contrary to Grace Kelly’s gown, Middleton’s had a nine-foot-long train. In the 21st century, new trends emerged. Dresses with ruching and ruffles became popular in the 2010s. More brides also began wearing floral patterned lace gowns.

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Chelsea Carrizales Photography



Written by Emma Verrigni

2024 Trends

Here are some of the top wedding gown trends entering 2024:

Non-Traditional Necklines

This year, many brides are ditching the traditional sweetheart neckline for a more unique neckline shape. Some popular dresses feature a neckline that rises up at the center of the chest, creating the appearance of an inverted sweetheart neckline. Also, many brides are opting for dresses with a higher neckline, in contrast with dresses with lower necklines, which came to be popular in previous years.

Lace Appliques

Lace appliques give the dress a more patterned look. They can be sewn onto any part of the wedding dress, such as the bodice or skirt. There are various popular types of appliques, including beaded appliques, Chantilly lace, or cotton lace. Applique patterns can be floral or geometric.

Floral Patterns

Florals have been a popular design in fashion throughout history, and now, more brides are choosing wedding gowns with floral patterns for their wedding gowns. While some brides select dresses with floral lace patterns, others are opting to make a bolder statement, wearing dresses with colored flowers.

Shades of White

While white still remains the most popular wedding dress color, some brides are opting for very light shades of blue, pink, or off-white for their gowns. Many brides find that particular shades of white better complement their skin tone.

Structured Bodices

Many popular wedding dresses in 2024 will feature a bodice structured to form a particular shape. These dresses feature sewn-in boning to create a more sculpted appearance. Most often, a structured bodice tapers in at the midriff, in contrast to more loosely-fitting dresses.

Shorter Dress Length

This year shorter, though still modest, wedding gowns are in style. Many popular dresses feature a knee-length skirt. Shorter dresses usually indicate a more casual wedding, as many brides this year are opting for a less formal, more intimate occasion. 23

Welcome to

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24 BRIDES 2024 22

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6 Easy Ways to

Shop Locally for Your Wedding It’s your day and you want it to be unique, to have meaning, and to leave a lasting impression for your guests. So why not shop local for all of those gifts, decorations, and must-haves that will make your day just right?

Shopping Locally for Your Wedding By shopping locally for your wedding you’ll give your wedding a unique, local vibe while supporting local businesses. And you’ll feel good doing it. Win-win-win! When you shop local, you: •

Add unique style to your wedding

Get personal attention

Support local business

Reduce the carbon footprint of your big day

Shopping Local vs. Shopping Corporate In a world where our food travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching us and free shipping delivers packages to our door, it is easy to overlook those talented, local wedding vendors. Local vendors, bakers, and artisans live in the community, they know the area and its many natural products, and they’ll help bring an authentic style to your wedding. You can also reduce the ecological footprint of your big day with locallysourced foods and goods. And, when you buy from a small business, you can feel good knowing your money is multiplying locally, enlivening the very place where you so happily tied the knot.


Where do you begin? Here are 6 easy ways to shop local for your wedding. Let’s go! The Cake OK, very likely you are already having your cake locally made. (Those large, decorative cakes do not ship so well.) Locallymade is awesome, but there are additional ways you can give your dessert a local flavor.


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See what local foods are in season at that time of year, and use them in your cake. If you’re early summer, strawberries are usually in or maybe it’s local apples and cider in the fall. Or maybe there’s a regional flour mill or other grain you could mix into the batch. Point these ingredients out to your guests; it will give the local businesses a boost and your friends will feel good knowing they are eating local!

Invitations, Reminders, Place Cards, Oh My! These are not only the first things people see about your wedding, but they also become keepsakes afterward. Come on, we all have our wedding invitations framed, don’t we? There’s no shame in it. And, while we could stare at online design templates all day, why not reach out to a local artist or printing business for your special creations? Local artists would love to work with you, and you know you’ll get a unique creation to remember your big day. Eat (and Drink) Local There’s nothing better than a farmers market on Saturday morning. There’s the smell of fresh-baked muffins, savory soup, or the colorful displays of carrot bunches. We always feel better just having been there. So, bring the joy of fresh, local foods into your wedding by using locally-grown fruits and vegetables, meat products, and desserts. And, with the growth in the craft beer and spirits industry, you’ll likely find locally-made drinks to serve your guests. Shop Local for Party Favors We all love the little gifts at weddings, don’t we? A little memento or keepsake from a fun, memorable day. This is a supereasy way to shop locally and give your guests something to remember both the wedding and the special place where you were married. Some fun, local gifts might be: •

Gift cards to local businesses (a nearby coffee shop for the morning after?)

Locally-made cookies in a gift bag

Bottles of local jam, maple syrup, or honey

Samples of a locally-roasted coffee

A unique decoration, like an ornament (Ask that local artist who made your invitations!)

Donate to a local not-for-profit, then leave a brochure about their work at each table.

Shopping Local Can Reduce Stress This all sounds nice, but I’m already stressed, do I have time for something different? When time is of the essence, it’s so easy to click ‘buy’ and wait for the package to arrive. But when you work with a local specialist or business, you are meeting in-person and receiving very personal attention. They are getting to know you, your unique interests, and dreams for your special day. Suddenly your wedding team has grown into a family of businesses, all working together to support you. And you’ve just contributed to the local economy by supporting local business! Shopping locally for your wedding is easy, fun, and will make your guests feel good knowing you’re supporting local business.

Enjoy your big day!

Stay Local Chances are you have guests who are eagerly traveling to see you tie the knot. While there are advantages to having all the guests in one large (likely a chain) hotel, consider using local B&Bs or smaller inns, too. They are super comfy, always have great food in the morning, and will give your guests a special, local treat. Dress Local Your wedding dress is always a special part of your day and one you will likely save for posterity. While you are busy shopping locally, consider finding a local dressmaker to add a special touch to your dress. 27

Wedding Day Emergency Kits

because accidents happen.. Be prepared by putting together these items ahead of time to have for your big day!

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For the Bride ESSENTIAL ITEMS 1. Brush/comb 2. Cell phone (be sure to turn it off before the ceremony!) 3. Dental floss (for all those photos!) 4. Emery board 5. Extra panty hose 6. Hair spray 7. Handkerchief 8. Makeup 9. Mints 10. Mirror (small and portable) 11. Perfume, travel size 12. Legal documents needed APPEARANCE 1. Baby powder (for getting out spills on a white dress) 2. Bobby pins and hair elastics 3. Brush and comb 4. Clear nail polish (also helpful for stocking runs) 5. Corsage pins 6. Cotton balls/swabs 7. THE DRESS! 8. Extra earring backs 9. Extra pair of flat shoes 10. Hair dryer 11. Iron 12. Lint brush 13. Makeup 14. Nail polish in the bride’s shade 15. Undergarments 16. Sewing kit 17. Shoe polish that matches wedding party’s shoes 18. Shoes 19. Spot remover (test it first!) 20. Static-cling spray 21. Straws (for drinking without messing up lipstick) 22. “Throwaway” garter 23. White chalk (to cover any stains on the dress) 24. Wrinkle out spray (test it first!) HEALTH/TOILETRIES 1. Antacid 2. Aspirin/Ibuprofen 3. Band-aids (that best match your skin tone) 4. Contact lens solution/cases 5. Deodorant 6. Dental floss 7. Eye drops 8. Wash cloth or hand towel 9. Lotion 10. Medications 11. Moist towelettes 12. Mouthwash 13. Smelling salts 14. Sunscreen 15. Tampons or pads 16. Toothbrush and toothpaste 17. Tissues

OUTDOORS 1. Bug spray (be sure it leaves no spots and smells nice) 2. Extra flowers (in case of sun wilting) 3. Handkerchief for dabbing sweat 4. Sunglasses (pre- and post-ceremony) JUST IN CASE 1. Cash ($20 – you never know what you’ll need it for) 2. Disposable camera 3. Driver’s license or photo I.D. card 4. Duct tape (good for any handy repairs) 5. Extra copies of directions to your reception 6. Important phone numbers: • Family • Wedding party • Wedding vendors • Taxi company 7. Notebook and pens 8. Portable flashlight 9. Roll of quarters 10. Snacks/bottled water (granola bars, dried fruit, etc.) 11. Umbrella 12. Watch

FOR THE GROOM APPEARANCE 1.Black socks (a few pairs) 2.Brush/comb 3.Cologne (travel size) 4.Corsage pins 5. Extra shirt buttons 6.Extra cufflinks (2-3 pairs) 7.Handkerchiefs 8.Lint brush 9.Shoe polish 10.Spot remover JUST IN CASE 1.Cash ($20 – you never know what you’ll need it for) 2.Cell phone (remember to turn it off before the ceremony) 3.Disposable cameras 4.Driver’s license or photo I.D. card 5.Extra copies of directions to the reception 6.Important phone numbers (family, wedding party, vendors, taxi) 7.Notebook and pens 8.Portable flashlight 9.Snacks/bottled water 10.Umbrella 11.Watch 29

Prenuptial Agreements and marriage By Kimm Burger


eddings are an exciting time of life, one that most people look forward to for years, especially women. We take great steps to ensure that day will be one to remember forever. We research every vendor, every location, every flower that is available at that time of year, everything down to the smallest of details – we want to make sure the day will go off without a hiccup.

However, what we don’t want to plan for, or to even think about, is what would happen if the marriage does not work. Who would? But this is an extremely important topic that everyone, male or female, needs to discuss and to plan for as well. Discussing a division or retention of assets if the couple divorces is really not a lot different than talking about what will happen upon your death. In this day and age, according to some sources, 45% of marriages end in divorce, while a great number of individuals also enter into second or subsequent marriages. When that happens, both parties usually come into the marriage with some assets such as retirements, savings, homes, and other things that have significant value. Because of that, marrying couples should really consider what will happen to those assets if they divorce. In the State of Michigan, generally, whatever a person has when entering into the marriage, he or she shall retain upon divorce. However, that isn’t as simple as it sounds as there are numerous caveats as to how those assets can become marital and subject to an equal division at the time of the divorce. With that, a party can end up losing part of their retirements, savings, and home if they do not properly plan for it prior to getting married. One general rule is that if a person starts using marital income which is any income that is earned during the marriage, no matter who the employee is, then if those funds are used to pay for, as an example, a home which the employee owned prior to the marriage, that home now becomes marital and the other spouse is entitled to his or her share of that asset upon the termination of the marriage. However, should the couple plan for these situations ahead of time, they can determine how assets and debts will be divided upon the dissolution of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are a great place to start as these agreements allow the couple to articulate what each person is or is not entitled to upon a divorce. Prenuptials are not an overly complex process and usually do not take an extended period of time to complete, but the time spent or the expense that may be paid up front will alleviate a lot of the time, expense, and heartache if the marriage does not work.

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As with planning the wedding, planning for the dissolution of the marriage is just as important.


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Ba r r e t t ’s Top 4

Wedding Floral Trends Written by Abby Vittore, Barrett’s Staff

When planning a wedding, choosing the look of your flowers is an important step. Your wedding florals will live on in photos for decades to come and it is important that they reflect your style and personality. With popular apps like TikTok and Pinterest boasting influencer weddings with nearly unlimited budgets, it is hard to determine what trends and looks can be accomplished while fitting into your wedding budget. Barrett’s top four picks for 2024 wedding floral trends that can set your wedding apart while being mindful of budgets: •

Bold Color Palettes While simple, understated color palettes are beautiful, you can truly express yourself and your personality with a bold color palette on your wedding day. Bold colors can help accent a venue to take it from simple to extraordinary and the contrasting colors look great in photos. Outside of specialty colors, swapping a white rose in your bouquet for one that fits your bold color palette will cost roughly the same, sometimes it may even be less expensive! Pocket Boutonnières Traditional boutonnières pin on to a suit jacket using a straight pin. During the chaos of a wedding day, it is common for the boutonniere to fall sideways if it gets bumped while hugging a family member or dancing at the reception, giving a disheveled look in photos. A pocket boutonniere slides into the suit pocket, similar to how a pocket square is worn, and takes the guesswork out of pinning a traditional boutonniere. While the cost of these might be slightly higher than a single

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rose boutonniere, the increased cost for the handful of boutonnieres you will need is a minimal increase on the wedding budget as a whole. This is a great way to add a unique detail to your wedding without breaking the bank. •

Memorial Pieces Memorializing a loved one who has passed can bring an extra special touch to your wedding day. Many brides and grooms choose to do a floral piece on a pew or a memorial table for those whom they are missing on their big day. Moreso, we love incorporating sentimental pieces into your floral arrangements so that loved ones can be with you every step of the way. Jewelry, like rings and necklaces, can be added as a charm onto a bridal bouquet or a favorite tie can be used to wrap the stems. The cost to add this detail will be minimal, potentially even nothing, depending on what is being incorporated.

Adding Live Plants to your Décor Renting live potted plants from a garden center or greenhouse can add an extra touch to your ceremony or reception. Live plants are an economical way to add more to your décor while keeping a natural aesthetic: green houseplants keep it simple or potted, blooming hydrangeas can add to a dramatic look. Potted plants can fit in with any décor and are less expensive compared to many other options on the market.

Regardless of what your vision is on your wedding day, a local full-service florist can help create your vision of the perfect wedding day that fits your style and personality. A full-service shop has designers on staff who will source, order, arrange, deliver, and install all of your florals for your wedding day while working within your budget to provide maximum effect! 33

“Plus One”


For Wedding Guests Making a wedding guest list is seldom an easy task. Couples often find that many people are worthy of an invitation which can make creating a guest list tricky for those with budgets in mind. According to data from the online wedding resource The Knot, the average wedding catering cost per guest is roughly $70.


However, catering costs will vary depending on the reception venue, the number of guests, the foods chosen, and the region of the country where the wedding takes place.

Weddings often are times when childhood friends reconnect or people who haven’t seen each other in a while come together. If there’s a good chance someone who is single and is invited to the wedding may not know anyone else there except the couple, extend a plus one as a courtesy.

When creating their guest lists, couples may wonder if they have to offer all guests the option of bringing a “plus one” to the occasion. As with other wedding day etiquette questions, the plus one concept is not set in stone. Here are some guidelines: ANY GUEST WHO IS MARRIED It’s typically standard to invite a couple as a whole to the wedding even if you’ve never met the spouse. This often comes up when inviting work friends according to Vogue magazine. Even if you have never interacted with a coworker’s spouse, etiquette dictates that all married guests be allowed to bring their spouses. 34 BRIDES 2024

It can be challenging to know the relationship status of everyone who will be invited to the wedding, but chances are you’ll have a good idea of those people closest to you. Include a plus one for guests who are engaged or in long-term relationships. CONSIDER GUESTS WHO MAY NOT KNOW OTHERS

INCLUDE THE WEDDING PARTY All members of the wedding party should be offered the option of bringing a date to the wedding. Apart from these guidelines, couples can establish any other rules, such as no plus ones for guests under a certain age or those who are not in serious relationships. The Knot also says it is polite to find out who the plus one will be so that wedding reception seating cards include that person’s name instead of “and guest.”

Hillsdale College’s Searle Center and stunning Hoynak banquet hall provide elegant venues ideal for weddings, rehearsal dinners, receptions, business banquets, meetings, or other group events; additional meeting/ conference spaces are also available. Couple your event with a stay in one of our beautifully updated 36 hotel rooms for the convenience and service that best suits your needs!

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Tips for Including (or not)

Children One question couples invariably have to face when planning their wedding is whether or not to make it kid-friendly. Naturally, the desire is to include all of your family and friends in the celebrations, but children (especially very young ones) are nothing if not unpredictable.

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It can be a challenge getting them to sit still during the ceremony let alone at the reception when they’re bombarded with non-stop distractions. That’s no fault of the kids. They are, after all, only children.

You might also consider planning a separate children’s menu, as it’s unlikely the youngsters are going to be particularly wowed by the elegant meals you’re serving their parents.

Still, it’s an important point, and sooner or later every couple will have to decide whether or not children will be welcome at their wedding. If you’re currently wrestling with this question, here are some key child wedding etiquette points to consider.

In Conclusion

How to Decide if You Want to Include Children in Your Wedding? There are no hard and fast rules and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you want to invite children to your wedding, then have them. If you would prefer an adults-only celebration, that’s fine too.

Whether or not you include children in your wedding is entirely up to you, and there is really no wrong answer to the question. If, however, you do decide to stage an adultsonly wedding, be prepared for the possibility of needing to explain to any parents why you have made that decision. Some of your guests may be less than thrilled at the prospect of hiring a babysitter for the night. Then again, some of them may look forward to a night where they can let their hair down knowing that their kids are safe at home.

Remember, this is your big day and it’s your preferences that matter. Friends and family will always have their opinions, so follow what you prefer.

How do You Avoid Offending Your Guests if You Decide to Plan an Adults-Only Wedding? If you do decide that you want an adults-only affair, it is important to make that clear to your invited guests from the outset. Include a note with your invitations that the wedding will be an adults-only event. If you feel that some of your guests may take offense at this, call them personally and discuss your decision with them. Remember, this is your wedding and the final decision is yours and yours alone. If, however, you decide to allow children to attend your wedding, be sure to include a specific RSVP on the invitations that covers the number of children in the party as well as their ages. This will be useful later when you are planning activities for the younger members of your guest list.

If You Do Invite Children, How Do You Keep Them Entertained? Children get bored easily, particularly if they’re spending the day cooped up with a bunch of grown ups. If you do decide to open up your guest list to allow children, you need to think about ways to keep them entertained while you and the other adults are doing your thing. Games, puzzles, and other children wedding activities are a good way to keep the kids on your guest list occupied and amused. Of course, the older children may need something a little more engaging, so you might consider setting up an area so they can watch movies or staging a child-friendly scavenger hunt. 39

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If you’re interested in learning more about renting a venue at the fairgrounds for your wedding or other event, contact the fair office at 517-437-3622. 41

W h y y o u s h o u l d h av e m o c k ta i l s

on your wedding menu Alcohol tends to be the main focus at a wedding, and we’re all for a good party. But, you should absolutely include a mocktail at your wedding bar. It’s all about the guest experience. Most couples pay a lot of attention to the guest experience as they go through planning their wedding. Asking questions like – Will your guests have fun? Do they have any allergies? Do you need to provide transportation? Yet, how often do the questions “Who can’t drink alcohol?” and “Do we have fun non-alcoholic beverages?” get asked, which can leave out some of the guests that you may not even realize need attention! While there are many reasons why some of your guests may not want to participate in drinking alcohol, having an inclusive and fun dry-bar menu can really make a difference in their experience at your wedding. Even if you think you have no sober guests, you may run into: Guests who are pregnant and not sharing that detail yet Guests looking to slow down their alcohol intake but still want to have a drink in their hands Guests who are on medications or have health concerns and have been advised them not to drink (even if it’s temporary) Guests looking for a little less alcohol in their drinks – if you remove alcohol from a margarita, you just have sweet and sour, but if you add a small alcohol boost to a Blueberry Cardamom Smash, you have a great weaker drink for those that would prefer something tamer! We don’t expect that you will know the nuances of every single one of your guests’ relationships with alcohol, and that’s one of the huge perks of having an amazing adult mocktail that’s an elevated experience that is much more inclusive than the water station (although you should have that too). It doesn’t need to be expensive Planning for fun mocktails doesn’t necessarily mean spending lots of extra money. Work with your bar service vendor to offer nonalcoholic versions of your signature cocktails, or find recipes for mocktails that use the same ingredients! Not only is this good for your budget, but it also allows your sober guests not to feel bored with the same water or soda options. There are so many options From making dry versions of your usual cocktails to custom curated mocktails along with all the non-alcoholic beer, champagne, and wine options available, it’s easy to find something for everyone. 42 BRIDES 2024

Blue Hawaii Mocktail 2 servings

INGREDIENTS 1 cup blue Gatorade (any blue colored flavor) 1 cup limeade 1 cup pineapple juice Lots of ice 2 maraschino cherries (optional- garnish) 2 pineapple slices (optional- garnish) INSTRUCTIONS Fill two glasses with ice. Pour ½ cup of blue Gatorade into each cup. Carefully pour ½ cup limeade over the ice in each cup. You can use a spoon to reduce the impact of the limeade on the Gatorade and slow the drink’s mixing process. Finally, top each Blue Hawaii mocktail with ½ cup of pineapple juice and your chosen garnishes. 43 43

Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail 2 servings

EQUIPMENT Cocktail shaker Muddler INGREDIENTS 8 fresh blackberries plus more for garnish ¼ cup honey A handful fresh mint leaves (about 10), plus more for garnish juice of 1 lemon ½ cup water 2 cups seltzer INSTRUCTIONS In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the blackberries, honey, and mint until very well blended. Add the lemon juice and water, cover, and shake to mix. Strain the mixture into two glasses with ice. Top each glass with 1 cup of seltzer. Garnish with blackberries and mint leaves.

Mango Mojito Mocktail 2 servings

INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons extra-fine granulated sugar 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice 10 mint leaves 3 tablespoons mango puree (fresh mango, pureed in blender) ½ cup club soda INSTRUCTIONS In a large container add sugar, lime juice, mint leaves, and mango puree. Using the back of a spoon, crush mint leaves to release scent and flavor, about 1 minute. Add soda and combine. Pour over glasses filled with ice and serve.

44 BRIDES 2024

Call or Visit Us Today!

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