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Love in Bloom
Real or silk, flowers set the scene at your wedding and reception
By Lorraine Smorol
Next to the bridal gown, flowers are the most important wedding accouterment. Whether maintaining the tradition of a white bridal bouquet or choosing flowers that blend with your color theme, you may already know what you want, or you are looking for suggestions. In any case, a florist may assist you in making your wishes a reality.
While fresh flowers may be the most treasured element in a wedding, there are times when they are really not a sensible option. Brides, grooms or perhaps a member of the wedding party may have an allergy to certain flowers. Another problem that might arise with fresh flowers is if the wedding ceremony is scheduled to take place at a far distance from home. Even with the use of the Internet, a bride may not be comfortable using an unfamiliar, out-of-town florist.
Smooth as silk: While artificial flowers are not the bulk of her business, Kathy Knittel of The Floral Garden will create silk bouquets for weddings.
Cost is also a factor. A bride who has her heart set on a cascading spray of cymbidium orchids or any other exotic or tropical flower may find that they are either not available or they are too expensive.
Another consideration is the type of flower. If you have dreamed of carrying a bouquet of calla lilies for your wedding, Jim Harney, the expert behind Aberdeen Wedding Flowers, in the Chicago area, delivers a strong warning.
“Calla lilies are the kiss of death for weddings because they wilt in about four hours,” says Harney. “If a bride insists on them, our staff asks her to sign a waiver.”
Harney also has other issues, like Martha Stewart. “I have nothing against her, except she likes to showcase rare, exotic flowers that aren’t generally available,” he comments. “Then, the phones start ringing and everybody wants them.”
One solution is silk flowers. The availability of high-quality silk today can make a bridal bouquet look like the real thing. As for color, the silk can be dyed to match any fabric perfectly, and an artist who specializes in creating silk flower bouquets is able to design any display. Your longed-for calla lilies can be reproduced in silk to last not only through the wedding day, but almost indefinitely.
Most local florists deal exclusively in real flowers, so finding one to accommodate your silk desires may be difficult. “I started working on silk wedding flower arrangements out of my home in the 1980s,” notes Kathy Knittel, owner of The Floral Garden, 8390 Brewerton Road, Cicero. “Silk flowers were very big then.” Knittel, who specializes in providing fresh flowers for all events, focuses especially on weddings. “This is what the majority of today’s brides want,” she says, “but it’s cyclical—interest in silk will come back again.”
Knittel invites you to see her display of silk flowers at The Floral Garden. An entire wall is reserved for bridal bouquets, ranging from a cascade of cabbage roses to a petite birdcage adorned with tiny white buds, an adorable creation for flower girls. In between there are other bridal and bridesmaids’ designs, as well as table arrangements and flower baskets. Knittel uses these arrangements to show examples of her work at bridal shows.
Even brides who choose real flowers for herself and attendants will opt for silk in other areas. “We rent altar pieces in silk,” says Knittel. “From a distance they look like the real thing, and you don’t have the extra expense of having to buy baskets of real flowers.” Silk Boston ferns, artificial trees and other ornamental fillers are also available to rent.
Individual stemmed, silk flowers, tied with printed ribbons indicating the couple’s names and date of the wedding, make interesting table centerpieces and favors for the wedding reception. Each stem is clustered together in an arrangement, and after the reception guests take a flower as a memento of the wedding. The best thing is that, unlike a real flower, this one is a keeper.
Knittel suggests booking your florist appointment at least six months before the event, she is booking through October 2008. The Floral Gardens is open Mondays and Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Wednesdays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, call 699-2036.
A bride on a really limited budget might want to check out the array of silk flowers at craft stores like Michaels, A.C. Moore and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. You can either choose from their collections or create your own; they also hold flower arranging classes throughout the year. Check with each store for class dates.
Finally, it is possible to preserve real flowers. Drying is a possibility, but the petals shrivel and the color fades drastically. Waxing has the same effect. There are companies that preserve your bouquet, placed in a frame-like shadow box for display, through a complex process that may take up to 26 weeks, at great expense—upward of $350, with questionable longevity. Call Heller & Reid Bouquet Preservation at (800) 742-9570 for particulars; or visit www.hellerandreid.com.
The most practical and satisfying solution to preserving the memory of your real flowers could be to have a duplicate made with silk flowers. The cost is reasonable and the results are long-lasting. ❍
Romancing the Stone
Use these tips to plan the wedding of your dreams while maintaining your sanity and not breaking the bank
With a twinkle in her eye and sparkle on her finger, it’s no wonder the bride-to-be has a contagious glow. For the bevy of brides who got engaged during the holiday season, it’s time to begin the exciting yet sometimes hectic task of planning their special day. To better understand the preferences and attitudes of today’s brides and offer the most relevant wedding planning advice, the second annual “What’s on Bride’s Minds?” survey was conducted by Leflein Associates, Inc. for David’s Bridal, the nation’s leading bridal company. Following are some up-to-the-minute planning tips to help each woman achieve her own wedding style, without breaking the bank.
Keep an Eye on the Bottom Line
First and foremost, establish a budget. Determine which aspects of the wedding are most important, and scale back on items that are not a top priority. Almost two-thirds of survey respondents said that the wedding dresses they found were too expensive. To keep finances in check without sacrificing quality or style, shop at a store that offers a wide selection of designer looks and matches your budget.
The Internet is a wonderful planning tool and a great time-saver, so it’s no surprise that 53 percent of brides-to-be ranked wedding Web sites as a top resource for useful planning advice, tips and ideas. Today’s brides shop for a variety of wedding products online; invitations were cited as the most popular item, followed by favors, bridal accessories, jewelry and bridal gowns. Among the top Web sites catering to brides is www.davidsbridal.com, which offers more than 4,000 wedding-related items and services. Check out the new db Online Collections, featuring stylish bridal and bridesmaid dresses to suit any size, budget and timeline. Or use the unique Dress Your Wedding tool to create your own virtual wedding party online.
Consult the Experts
When searching for that dream dress, take advantage of bridal consultants’ advice, as they provide great insight into the gowns’ quality, fit and construction. In fact, more than four out of five brides agreed that their consultant positively affected their shopping experience. In addition to these gown gurus, it’s a good idea to bring along a trusted friend or family member to provide honest feedback.
Time is On Your Side
Sixty-three percent of recently engaged women give themselves less than six months before their wedding to purchase their gown, while 38 percent wait until the final three months. If you are planning on getting married under a tight timetable, visit a bridal shop where you can try on the dress in your own size and take it home that day.
Searching for the perfect bridesmaid dress? The top issue brides found with dressing their bridal party was agreeing on one style to fit all body types. Coordination remains in vogue, with almost three-quarters of respondents wanting their bridal party to wear the same color or color scheme, and 34 percent planning to have their bridesmaids wear the same dress in the same color. It’s a good idea to select a national retailer that carries a large assortment of bridesmaid styles, in a wide range of sizes and colors, for ease of shopping and to make sure that everyone looks and feels their best.
Customization is Key
If you’re looking for ways to personalize your look without paying a hefty custom price tag, you’re not alone. More than 60 percent of brides said they want to customize their gown to reflect their personality, but 40 percent felt it would be difficult to do so without it costing a fortune. To solve this dilemma, look for cost-effective solutions for personalizing your wedding dress. Try adding optional sleeves, a colorful sash that matches your wedding color scheme or a sparkling brooch. Don’t forget to ask your consultant about coordinating accessories, such as tiaras, veils, handbags, shoes and jewelry; you can never go wrong by selecting pieces that complement your dress and personal style.
Showcase Your Style
To create a seamless look, visit a one-stop-shop and choose a personalized color scheme that makes it easy to coordinate every aspect of the big day. From save-the-date cards and invitations to ceremony and reception items, right down to the icing on the cake, most bridal shops offer an assortment of options, available both in-store and online, to create a perfectly coordinated event.
While finding the love of her life is up to the bride, following these simple steps will help ease the wedding-planning process and make it more enjoyable. So when the big day finally arrives, her only responsibility will be to have fun as she dances the night away.
—Courtesy of ARAcontent
Love at First Byte
More couples are turning to technology for wedding research, planning and services Technology transforms every aspect of modern life these days, even the biggest day of most people’s lives—their wedding day. From wedding planning Web sites to digital photo slideshows presented at receptions and rehearsal dinners, technology is helping couples plan their weddings in ways that are much easier and save more time than ever before. Technology also helps engage the couple’s loved ones in, and preserve their memories of, their special day.
Here are four of the hottest technology trends that are revolutionizing the way Americans plan their weddings.
Planning and research goes online.
Brides once turned to monthly or seasonal wedding magazines for advice and ideas. Now, modern brides go online for their wedding planning purposes. Popular sites have made it easy for brides to track the latest trends, look at thousands of gown options and organize themselves for their big day. Where once a bride might tote around clips torn from magazines, fabric swatches and contracts in a wedding planning binder, now most of those things are found and stored digitally through a wedding planning Web site.
Projectors for rehearsal dinners and receptions.
Every couple wants to make their wedding as personal as possible, and leave guests with the feeling that, “Oh, that was so Todd and Rebecca!” Where once brides and grooms may have decorated a reception or rehearsal dinner with photos of themselves arranged around the room, now a multimedia presentation is all the rage. Video and still images, typically set to music, feature the couple throughout their lives, apart and together, and are replacing traditional photo albums. They can create an exciting personal touch to any wedding celebration.
Web sites like www.projector123.com rent state-of-the-art, high-definition projectors for as little as $99 for a weekend. Couples order a projector online, have it shipped to them or their reception site, and then connect the projector to a device like a laptop to project their photo montage presentation for the enjoyment of their guests.
“Jason and I really wanted to have a photo slideshow at our rehearsal dinner, but the restaurant wanted us to pay $500 on top of our reservation fee for all the equipment. So we went online to Projector123, and were able to order our own equipment and have it shipped directly to the restaurant,” says bride-to-be Christine Goldenberg of Los Angeles. “Finding areas to cut costs for a wedding can be challenging, and by ordering the projector online we were able to save a significant amount of money.”
Personal wedding Web sites.
These are popping up everywhere; for a small fee, couples design their very own Web site in advance of their wedding day where they post pictures of themselves, detail the specifics of their wedding day, feature bios of the bridal party, reveal their honeymoon destination and provide gift registry information all in one convenient location online.
“Most people have access to the Internet, so you now have the ability to use technology to make your wedding day as special and memorable as possible,” says newlywed Jay Joyer of Irvine, Calif. “We had a small wedding, but wanted all our friends and family to feel part of our big day so we set up a wedding Web site where our guests could sign our online guest book, read the story of our proposal or make hotel reservations through the Accommodations section of our site. Everyone said it made making plans or staying up to date on our wedding so easy.”
As most guests now have access to the Internet, a personal wedding Web site is the ultimate convenience for guests to stay in touch with the couple and their latest wedding planning developments.
Online ordering of wedding photos. No more waiting months for wedding albums. Many wedding photographers and videographers now take digital pictures or film and post their proofs online. This streamlines the developing and choosing processes and entire albums can be viewed by couples and their guests no matter where their location. ❍
—Courtesy of ARAcontent
Dress to Thrill
Traditional white is no longer the only option when selecting a wedding gown
By Lorraine Smorol
Whether you are planning a church or destination wedding, there is a dress to fit every occasion. Factor a bride’s body type as well as her budget to come up with the perfect gown. The bride for 2008 has an easy task, since dictates for the proper attire, proffered by social mores, no longer exist. The sky’s the limit!
There is one common thread prevalent over the past 10 years, however. Just thumb through any bridal magazine and strapless gowns appear more often than any other type. First it was the off-the-shoulder drape, common in Victorian times and brought back in the 1990s. Then there were cap sleeves, followed by T-straps. Today, strapless gowns reign.
Model behavior: Krista Ladd-Anderson and Wayne Cummings, wearing a gown and tuxedo from New York Bride, display that wedding day glow.
“A strapless gown works for everyone,” explains Tracy Burke, owner of New York Bride, the salon at 429 S. Main St., North Syracuse. Burke says the strapless gown is the most flattering style because, unlike other parts of the body which may vary in size and shape, shoulders are always attractive. And shoulders expose an abundance of the bride’s natural skin tone to good advantage.
These days, most clergy do not object to the bare-shouldered look, according to Burke. “It’s not an issue,” she says. Ultra-conservative parents who may balk at what they consider too much skin can be assuaged by a cover-up bolero or shawl worn during the ceremony, then tossed for the reception.
As for the rest of the dress, Burke notes that the style is limited only by the bride’s wishes. Today’s design houses are able to mix and match cuts of skirts and bodices, as well as fabrics and decorative embellishments like lace, embroideries, pearls and stones to accommodate any bride. The bride-to-be who has no preconceived idea for a gown can be overwhelmed by the choices, however, but Burke and her staff assist in guiding everyone to come up with the perfect attire.
While a bride may know that she wants to walk down the aisle in a white gown, she will quickly learn that there are many gradations of “white,” and she should consider the tone of her skin. Fair skin shades with pink undertones are beautiful against candlelight or light ivory. Medium skin tones with yellow or olive undertones work best with yellow-ivory or champagne. And any shade of white enhances the bride with dark skin tones.
New York Bride associates can also assist you in choosing the most flattering silhouettes, including the ball gown, A-line, sheath and mermaid/trumpet.
The ball gown emphasizes a very full-shaped skirt using fabrics like tulle or satin, puffed up with underskirts to play up the fullness, contrasted by a fitted bodice. This style works best for the slim figure. A short-waisted bride benefits by incorporating an elongated bodice that opens into the full skirt. This is the Cinderella or princess bride who can walk out of a Disney movie.
The A-line shape flatters most body types because of its focus on the bodice, which then flares into the A-line skirt that begins at the waistline. The flare skirt conceals full-figured bodies beautifully.
Detail work: A bejeweled brooch adds a tasteful accent without too much distraction and every hue imaginable gives the groom many options for tie and vest besides black and white.
A woman with a slim or petite figure may choose a sheath dress which boasts a curve-conscious silhouette. In the case of a small bustline, bodice styles with pleating, gathers or embroidery all create the illusion of a larger bust. Structured satin fabrics make a stunning statement for the sheath style.
Trumpet/mermaid styles, also called fit and flare gowns, incorporate a sheath silhouette bodice that reaches to the thigh, with a skirt that flares out below the knee. The mermaid has a narrower skirt than the trumpet. The bride lucky enough to have an hourglass figure may show off her curves with either of these styles.
All of these designs may come with strapless tops, but other styles like halter, off-the-shoulder, also work.
Burke has served brides in her New York Bride salon for more than a decade and she has monitored the evolution of styles during that time. “Today, rusching is very popular,” she notes of the fluting, gathering or pleating of fabric, that results in a soft movement.
Burke also owns a second salon in Charlotte, N.C., still called New York Bride. “Syracuse brides are more aware of their budget, and choose gowns in the range of $1,300 to a high of $2,000,” she says. In Charlotte, however, brides gravitate more to the couture styles that can go sky high in price. She emphasizes that the gown should be selected at least six months in advance of the wedding. “One year is perfect.”
Wedding bell views: New York Bride in North Syracuse carries everything to make you look your best on your wedding day, including (clockwise from top) shoes, tiaras...
New York Bride also features tuxedos at the North Syracuse store, through the national company, Jim’s Tuxedo. A full display of jackets and accouterments is available for rental or purchase and features top lines like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Rentals start at $125; purchases from $500. Tuxedos are cut beautifully and are very classic but contemporary in style. If you want to wear the hottest in tux hues, chocolate or light brown are currently very popular.
...earrings and gowns like this one by Jim Hjelm, available in ivory and white.
New York Bride is a one-stop bridal salon, especially with the new addition of tuxedos. Bridesmaid and mother of the bride dresses are available as well as veils, shoes and jewelry. It is open Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 452-0600. ❍
Couples renew their wedding vows for all sorts of reasons
By Lorraine Smorol
For some couples, one marriage ceremony just isn’t enough. While the first recital of the vows officially ties the knot, many couples choose to renew, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it’s a landmark anniversary (10, 25, 50), they want a more formal ceremony than the first time around, it’s a way to heal the marriage after a trauma like infidelity, or they can include their children this time.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter, an organization in existence since 1981, focuses on the revitalization of marriage, a process that culminates in a renewal of vows. The group’s informative Web site, www.wwme.org, spells out a marriage encounter weekend, where couples spend time together to rediscover each other and focus on their relationship. This is meant for couples who have a strong commitment to each other, yet wish to reinvigorate what is already a good marriage. It is not a retreat, marriage clinic, group sensitivity or a substitute for counseling.
Most area marriage encounters are sponsored Catholic churches and organizations, but any number of denominations, even non-Christian, can participate in the weekends. While specific religious groups sponsor these encounters, couples do not have to be affiliated with that organization to attend. The only weekend marriage encounter listed locally on the Web site is at the United Methodist Church, 1408 Route 176, Fulton. The most recent one took place Nov. 7 to 9, but another is planned for April 25 to 27. The cost is a nominal $40 per couple. Call 866-3863 for particulars.
A one-day event, usually scheduled on the second Sunday in February, to coincide with Valentine’s Day, is co-sponsored by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter and the Family Life Education office of the Diocese of Syracuse. The 2008 event is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 3, beginning with Mass at 2 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 400 Salt Springs Road, Fayetteville. For information, call 446-5332.
“You do not have to be Catholic to attend, and we have couples who have been married only a few years to those who have been together for 50 years and over,” says coordinator Sue Judge. “Some couples even come with their entire family.”
During Mass, marriage vows are renewed, after which there is a countdown of how many years couples have been married. As the number of married years is called, couples sit down until the pair with the longest years of marriage remains standing. The oldest marrieds are given a special escort to the reception following the Mass. The Most Rev. James M. Moynihan, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, always participates in the service.
The Two of Us
One local couple, Paul and Linda Davie, renewed their vows the first time after a quick change of plans; the second time was to have a party. Both had been married before, and each brings children to the blended family: Paul has three from his first marriage, Ciara, then 11; and twins Connor and Caitlin, then 9; Linda’s son Merrick was 11.
Paul and Linda: After a small wedding ceremony in Liverpool, N.Y., the couple traveled to Liverpool, England during International Beatle Week and renewed their vows at Strawberry Fields.
Wanting to do something really special, the couple had a great idea for their wedding. Davie and his British Invasion tribute band, The Fab Five, were invited to participate in International Beatle Week on Aug. 29, 2006, in Liverpool, England. Paul and Linda thought it would be great to be married at Strawberry Fields, the site made famous by the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” then to honeymoon in England.
“You can’t imagine the red tape we went through to make it all happen,” says Paul. After much back and forth, what was most disappointing was the discovery that outdoor marriages are not legal in the United Kingdom. Undaunted, the couple decided to get married in Liverpool, N.Y., before leaving for the other Liverpool. So, on Aug. 12, 2006, with just immediate family in attendance, Paul and Linda were married at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 1001 Tulip St. “I wore a suit and tie and Linda had on a simple off-white dress,” he says.
The couple still wanted a Strawberry Fields ceremony. Luckily they didn’t have to look far for an officiant: One of the Fab Five, singer and guitarist Charlie Kraebel, is a retired Baptist minister. Clad in jeans and sandals, the couple repeated the vows they uttered during their first wedding ceremony, in a place that is very special to them. “It was quite an affair,” says Davie.
Picking up on the fact that their first names, Paul and Linda, are like the McCartneys, BBC television and radio, as well as The Liverpool Echo newspaper reported the event. “Strangers who heard the news showed up and gave us a thumbs up,” Davie recalls. “We were celebrities!” Later on, Joey Molland and his band, Badfinger, played for the reception. “It was really cool—neat,” says Davie.
But they weren’t done yet. Both Paul and Linda, who is a pre-kindergarten special-needs teacher for the Syracuse City School District, still wanted a way to thank their friends who supported them through some rough times. Since only family witnessed their first wedding and, other than the band members, no one else from the United States attended the England ceremony, they came up with another whiz-bang solution.
After a small church renewal of vows, again at St. Joseph the Worker, but this time in front of family and friends, the Davies celebrated with “Lindapaulooza.” Davie operates his own events marketing company, the Wow Factory, and he had contracted to market the bands slated to play at Baldwinsville’s Paper Mill Island last summer. On tap for June 30 were Molland and Terry Silvester from the Hollies.
At Paper Mill Island, about 110 invited guests munched on a buffet catered by Salsarita’s, while Stroke played for the reception. Between sets the crowd that had gathered for the concert, which numbered more than 1,000, applauded the newlyweds. The village of Baldwinsville provided fireworks for the concert, which made for a fitting sendoff on a perfect wedding day.
“The weather was perfect,” recalls Davie. “Everywhere else in Central New York it was raining, including the Jazz Fest at Onondaga Community College, but there was nary a cloud in the sky in Baldwinsville. I wore the same suit that I had on for our first wedding, and Linda was a real bride in an antique-looking white dress from Boom Babies.”
“Hey, let’s get married!” Sara Jackson and Philip Oakes suddenly decided. So on June 9, 2003, the young couple tied the knot in front of a justice of the peace in North Syracuse. The two began dating in 2001 while at Cicero-North Syracuse High School; Phil was a sophomore and Sara was a senior. “We both wore shirts and jeans,” recalls Sara about their wedding-day garb.
The Jeweler’s Hand: William Todd Hollely, in his DeWitt studio, designed the ring for the church ceremony Sara and Phil Oakes will celebrate on April 19.
In the four intervening years, the couple decided they wanted a church wedding, but it wasn’t that easy. Philip, who was never baptized, chose to convert to Sara’s Catholic faith. To that end, he has been going through a weekly two-hour pre-baptism course at St. Rose of Lima Church in North Syracuse. Sara has been attending similar sessions so she can be confirmed. Phil will be baptized during the Easter vigil on Saturday, March 22.
The couple’s nuptials are slated for April 19, also at St. Rose, 411 S. Main St. Sara, who is a designer in the Creative Services department of the Syracuse New Times, has asked Rebecca Wheeler, a display advertising rep for the paper, to be her maid of honor. Sara’s brother, Robert Jackson, was a witness the first time around and will be Phil’s best man. Jon Dufort, another New Times designer, is the photographer.
Sara has chosen trendy black as her wedding color, but not entirely for her dress. “My dress is white and black, and Becca’s is all black and the men are wearing black tuxedos,” she says. Bouquets will incorporate white daisies and pink carnations, a look that will be echoed in the reception table flowers. Blair, Sara’s 6-year-old cousin, is the flower girl and will wear pink.
With this ring: The sketches for Sara Oakes’ renewal-of-vows ring at right hardly do justice to the final product, a stunning heart-within-a-heart.
For a wonderful twist, Philip’s nephew, 8-month-old Mason, will be ring bearer. “He won’t be walking yet, so his mother is going to push him down the aisle in a stroller,” Sara says with a chuckle.
The American Legion in Cicero has been reserved for the reception. Also picking up the color theme is the three-tier chocolate wedding cake, with pink and black polka dots on the white icing. A deejay will play everyone’s favorite tunes during the reception. Sara and Philip, who love the outdoors, will honeymoon in the Poconos, where they look forward to hiking along all the outdoor trails, whispering sweet-nothings to each other, no doubt.
“Both of us wanted to have a real ceremony, but I especially wanted to please my mother, who has been looking forward to the day,” says the bride-to-be-again. Especially important to Sara is her ring. “We have worked with a jeweler at The Jeweler’s Hand, William Todd Hollely, to incorporate my first wedding ring with the new one to work in the black and pink. It is being made to encircle the first ring with a heart design, studded with black diamond and pink sapphire stones,” she explains.
Wearing it will bring memories of a wonderful day, when after four years, Sara and Philip recite their vows for a second time, in front of family and friends, most importantly her mom, Christine Sabre. ❍