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A guide to The Shorthorn Bridal Show

I Do -

A Bridal Affair

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6 Bluebonnet Ballroom University Center Free Admission


Dream Come True
By MeCCA Ali Contributor to The Shorthorn Buying cakes, finding wedding venues, picking out tuxedos and choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen are what some students will be doing for the next couple of months. “Now watch me yule-krank that soulja boy,” blared loudly in the background as Christine Fraser adjusted her large brown Afro wig. Minutes before he asked the question, communictaions senior Derry Johnson turned to Danielle Gray’s sorority sister and told her what he was about to do. In shock, Fraser was dazed and excited. As Fraser stood there with an unusual look on her face, Danielle, blind to what was about to unfold, rolled onto the skating rink with her boyfriend, Johnson. “The DJ said ‘Danielle Tiffany Grays, Derry Johnson has something to ask you,’ ” Grays said. The next words, “Will you marry me?”, surprised and excited everyone there. For the graphic design senior, longtime boyfriend, Derry Johnson proposed during the Ole Skool Skate Party, at the Arlington Skatium, a party thrown by the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorrority Incorporated. The two met in 2003, when Grays said it all began. The crush started when she was in middle school and he was in high school. He graduated and the crush grew. “He was working at Wal*Mart and I would go there just to get in his line and say ‘Hi,’ ” Grays said. “I would be like ‘Oh I didn’t even notice that was you here.’ ” A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep, if you keep believing, a dream that you wish will come true-that’s what Cinderella told the world, and for Grays, not only does she have that fairy tale theme, but she is getting exactly what she wanted. “It’s like a dream come true,” she said. The two will wed at an art museum in Fort Worth. A place her family and friends think is perfect for the artist. Grays has created graphics for her sorority’s Web site, flyers and other events.

I Do – A Bridal Affair

Man Behind the Scenes
By TRACie NGUyeN Contributor to The Shorthorn

Public relations senior Casey King is engaged to be married 6-7-08 at 9 a.m. King got engaged in May.

“Honestly, two days before he called me the first time, I asked God to please bring someone to me that I could spend the rest of my life with,” she said. But for public relations senior Casey King, finding her fiance was unexpected. At a bar in Addison called Black Fin, King wanted to dance with her now fiance’s friend. He asked and asked her to dance but she turned him down every time, fi-

nally agreeing to dance with him so he’d stop asking, King said.A friendship was formed and they were inseparable. King said she knew he was the one because he wiped the sweat off her forehead and that’s just disgusting. They dated for about three years before he popped the big question. “I’m obsessed with “Sex and the City” and when we were in New York he proposed the exact same way the main character Carrie was proposed to,” King said. “He proposed on the exact same street and everything. He acted like he had to tie his shoe. I balled like a baby.” Instead of a huge church wedding King and her fiance will wed on a beach in St. Thomas the Virgin Islands, with only close family and friends. After taking their vows a couple days later the two will be off to Disney World for four days. Marketing major Perry Lee has been engaged for seven months and it has been everything from wonderful to hard. “You never have enough time when you’re a full time student, president of a fraternity Phi Beta sigma and a fiance,” Lee said. Lee said, being active on campus has been good to him. They met through their fraternity and sorority and have been in love since then. “We both said the same thing, one day I went to her house and she same came to my house and we never left each other since then,” he said. Being engaged and being a student does have its ups and downs, balancing school, work, social life and family can be tough. But to these three students love is definitely worth the while. “No matter how mad you are at that person, you smile knowing somebody has your back,” Lee said. “Everything falls into place when you have love. Love is understanding.”

The owner of Artistic Image is the instructor for the Certified Wedding Planner course.
If couples are looking for a professional planner who understands newlyweds visions and bring wedding dreams to reality, Chad Wandel says he is your man. Wandel has become a natural when it comes to entertainment and event planning. His experience expanded while attending music school at the university. He began entertaining at weddings, private functions for the university and other fundraising events. Over the years, his passion and dedication has helped him to master his skills in not only the entertainment industry, but also as a published professional photographer, an award-winning videographer, and a certified wedding planner. He’s also the president of the American Disc Jockey Association, and owns a wedding production company, Artistic Image. “This career is by far the most fun and challenging and extremely rewarding,” he said. “You get to be unique and creative, so no two weddings are ever the same. You work with many people from different backgrounds, which makes every wedding unique in its own way.” Due to his understanding and knowledge, Wandel has become the university’s instructor for the Certified Wedding Planner course. Many people don’t realize the duties wedding planners are responsible for, he said. The wedding planner plays such an integral role in the planning of a couple’s most important day. That job description includes receiving, making, documenting telephone calls or scheduling appointments between vendors and clients, understanding a client’s wedding day vision, assisting clients attire selection, keeping track of budget and project planning, visiting sites for venue selection, troubleshooting and problem solving, managing and delegating tasks and tracking progress, and even collecting payments. Cheryl Allgood, a certified wedding planner, took the course in December of 2007, “I’ve been in the wedding plan-

ning business for quite some time, and I realized certification was extremely important to be recognized in the business as a professional,” Allgood said. “I was not disappointed. It was an excellent opportunity for me to sharpen my skills and learn a lot of professional details.” Because there is much to learn, the university Division for Enterprise Development offers a 40-hour course that addresses the aspects of wedding planning, coordinating, and directing with a study of business structure, documentation information, contracts, how to work with vendors, marketing, and how to work with prospective brides and grooms — not to mention keeping up with the latest trends in bridal fashion, color choices and wedding design. Colette Cherry, who took the course, recently established her own company called A Silver Lining. She now offers college students a 10 percent discount on any wedding package of choice. “Chad was just very enthusiastic, very experienced and knowledgeable of the field, and extremely helpful,” Cherry said.

Artistic image Owner: Chad Wandel email: Primary Phone: 817-454-98 For more information about Colette Cherry’s company, contact 817-343-5837 or

I Do – A Bridal Affair


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Masquerade Marriage
By COhe BOliN Contributor to The Shorthorn

I Do – A Bridal Affair

Advice to a Bride-to-Be
1. “Save the biggest portion of your budget for things that mean the most to you. If you put photography over flowers, allocate your money accordingly. A good photographer can make anything look good!” 2. “Do not get sucked into signing a contract without having time to think about other options. No matter how good a vendor is at selling themselves to you, make yourself take the information home and sleep on it. Vendors won’t book up in one day, no matter how busy they tell you they are.” 3. “Your fiancé may not care about what color the bridesmaid’s dresses are, but he probably has plenty of ideas for the reception playlist. Include him in decisions that are of interest to him. And for his sake, don’t put him in a pink cummerbund and tie!” 4. “If someone offers you a free honeymoon — run away! Have you ever heard of a time-share?” 5. “Delegate, delegate, delegate. Even if you’re a complete control freak, you have to give up some of the tasks on your wedding to-do list. You can’t be in all places at once. At the same time, only delegate to someone you can actually trust to get things done.” 6. “Make sure you take in everything on the big day! Everyone tells you, ‘oh it went by so fast I don’t even remember!’ They’re not lying! I spent tons of money on desserts — I had one chocolate covered strawberry all day!” Taylor Sturgeon

Newlywed Taylor Sturgeon planned her own dream wedding while balancing school and work.
Little did Taylor Green know that when she met Allen Sturgeon at age 10 in junior Drag Racers, they would end up roaring off into the night after their wedding reception to the applause of their loved ones. The pair were rivals in the drag racing competitions and became best friends off the track. Taylor developed a crush on Allen in 1998 when she was 12 years old. They didn’t start a relationship until one night when they both went to the drag racing track to blow off some steam. They

had been through nasty break-ups, and were looking for one another for friendship and comfort. They found much more than that and after a twoyear engagement, they married three years later, after Taylor turned 21. Taylor Sturgeon didn’t let stress stand in her way, maintaining a 4.0 GPA as a public relations junior while planning a very unique wedding and maintaining a life as a newlywed to a husband who is as addicted to the fast-paced lifestyle of speedy cars and intensity as she is. Groomsman Jeph Burton recounts the day Taylor first told him about Allen, when they were attending Mansfield High School. “It was senior year, Taylor pranced up to my side, beaming for all the

Public relations senior Taylor and her husband Allen Sturgeon married last year on Oct. 27.They met when she was ten during drag racing. (Megumi Rooze)

world to see. She said ‘There’s this guy, Allen. I’ve known him for years. He really is the sweetest, most considerate guy I’ve ever met. I think he’s always loved me. And me, I think I’ve always loved him too.’ A year later they announced their engagement,” Burton said. The couple discussed many ideas on how and where to wed until they came up with something that suited them. They held a masquerade wedding close to their favorite holiday — Halloween. “The wedding itself was indeed quite the experience,” Burton said. “The ceremony opened with a poetic violin ballad; which soon erupted into a thumping techno rampage symphony. Outside, we, the groomsmen and bridesmaids, prepared to lead the way for Taylor, our friend, our bride.” The reception was held at the Masonic Lodge in Fort Worth and Burton describes the décor as an expanse of black, red, white, and silver in the expansive hall. The disc jockey, food and open bar with Taylor showing up in an entirely different dress and hairstyle. “I confessed how proud I was, how excited I was, how Allen deserved her as much as she deserved him. And Taylor, standing there, glimmering like some angel ripped from the pages of some fantastical fairytale book,” Burton said. Taylor planned her wedding almost entirely on her own. She said she loves planning parties and events, so this came easy to her. She had hired a day-of wedding coordinator to help with a few things, but she was adamant about the day being a personal tribute to her relationship with Allen. “The biggest deal is personalization. Don’t do a cookie cutter wedding,” Taylor Sturgeon said. Her husband Allen seems just as able to handle stress as Taylor, who claims she can handle “ridiculous loads.” Allen Sturgeon owns an auto recycling facility in Fort Worth and has a busy schedule of his own. “The only stress about it was the financial stress,” Allen Sturgeon said. Allen said trying to find a balance financially with the wedding, school,

books, house payment and utilities was a little tough but they both possess strength and determination to see a project through. Burton describes them both as “addicted to speed,” not the illegal kind, but that type of lifestyle, living to the fullest. After the reception was over, they ran through their friends holding sparklers on either side and disappeared around the corner. “The burst of fuel erupting inside many chambers and the brief gasp of a car changing gears. We turned. Down in the distance, the two rocketed through downtown Fort Worth and out of sight — a solid blue light that arched around the bend, and we answered with a tremendous roar,” Burton said. “They vanished in a cloud of dust, just as I always knew they would.”

Church .................................. $200 Reception Site .................$4,000 2 Wedding Dresses ........... $900 Bridesmaids’ dresses......... $360 Photographers .................$4,000 Videographer ...................$2,000 Open Bar ..........................$1,500 Dance Lessons ................$2,800 Flowers ..............................$2,550 Rentals for Reception ...$1,200 Wedding Day Coord. ...$1,600 Groom Tux .......................... $600 Cakes (his & hers) ............. $700 Chocolate Fountain .......... $400 Miscellaneous. ................$14,000

TOTAl: $36,810
Taylor Sturgeon

I Do – A Bridal Affair


More than luck:
Brides can seamlessly incorporate blue into their looks
By SAMANThA CRiTChell AP Fashion Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Brides probably don’t know exactly why they’re wearing something blue on their wedding day, but they’ve been doing it for so long few want to break with tradition. Research traces an early printed version of the good-luck poem, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” back to at least 1883. (Back then, there was another line attached to the end: “And a sixpence in her shoe.”) Superstition, yes, but why take a risk on such an important day? “I guess I do believe in it — I did it,” says Theresa DiMasi, editor-inchief of, who wore blue toenail polish at her wedding. “There’s something that feels sort of solid about it. But I also believe it’s a personal thing — you can do it your way or not do it all.” The most common way to add blue these days is a blue garter, DiMasi says, but there are more options than one might think: makeup, flowers, jewelry, a sash, or a little blue lace around the dress’ hem, she suggests. At the most recent round of bridal fashion shows, there were some lovely pale blue dresses that have a hint of color but maintain the cool look of a true white. DiMasi particularly liked the Reem Acra blue gowns, but she also acknowledges that it’s easier to incorporate just a splash of blue. Bianca Alexander, director of makeup artistry for MAC Cosmetics, would reach for blue eye shadow. (Yes, blue eye shadow!) A powderblue matte shadow works well for a 1960s-inspired, doe-eyed look, she says, and will photograph nicely whether the pictures are in color or black and white. “It’ll just be a pop of color on the lid.” The rest of the bride’s makeup should be natural and neutral, with just a light color on the cheeks and lips and a coat of mascara — not blue mascara. A more glamorous look would be a pewter-colored shadow with a blue tone to it. That, she says, could have a bit of shimmer, but a matte shadow with a similar gray-blue eye liner is a safer bet if you’re not used to wearing blue yet still want intense color. Many women still treat blue eye shadow as taboo, but Alexander says they needn’t. “Blues that don’t work is any blue that screams ‘trend,’ especially for a wedding,” she says. “For spring, acrylic colors are so hot in spring fashion, but I’d stay away from things that could look so dated in the future. If it looks like true blue on, it will look really blue in a photograph.” She adds: “Think dark denim blue.” Bright blue is OK, though, if we’re talking about jewelry. Mixing diamonds with glistening colored gemstones has become more popular for engagement rings and wedding bands. And if blue doesn’t make it to the rings, there are still necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Detra Segar, vice president and general manager of Tiffany & Co., which has its own signature blue box, suggests sapphires, tanzanite, blue tourmaline and aquamarine. “These colorful blue gems are combined with brilliant Tiffany diamonds in Tiffany Celebration rings,” she said. For those unwilling to invest so heavily in a superstition, there are the disposable and more affordable blue flowers. DiMasi herself carried a blue hydrangea in her bouquet simply because she liked the look. She has seen other brides put a blue flower in their hair, wrap a satin ribbon around flower stems or tuck a little blue crystal in the bouquet.

Bachelor parties gone bad can test relationships; experts advise straight talk
By MeliSSA KOSSleR DUTTON The Associated Press “Bachelor and bachelorette parties sometimes include surprises.” Such discussions are especially important when bachelor parties turn into weekend-long events in vacation destinations. Peter Feinstein, managing partner of Sapphire Gentleman’s Club in Las Vegas, said his club hosts as many as 50 bachelor parties a weekend. Melissa Detloff, 25, of Minneapolis, trusted that her fiancé would not go to a strip club for his bachelor party, but she made sure to tell him how strongly she felt. “My vote was, not at all,” she said. “It was nonnegotiable.” Her fiancé, James “J.D.” Seger, respected her position. “I sat down with all my groomsmen and said, ‘I know it’s kind of expected to have strippers at a bachelor party but I don’t want any. I hope you’ll respect that.’” Instead his friends planned a weekend of golfing in Palm Springs, Calif. “Everybody had an awesome time,” said Seger, 28. The planning for Matt Ominsky’s bachelor party is still in the works. But his fiancée, Amanda Smerak, said she’s sure it will include strippers. That’s OK with her, as “long as we can tell each other what we did,” said the 22year-old from Hartford, Conn. “If it comes to where we have to hide it, that won’t work.” John Phillip Beyel opted to have a party with his fiancée and their friends. The 24-year-old from Syracuse, N.Y., who married Michelle Lohf in October, said he was more interested in spending quality time with the wedding party than celebrating some last night of freedom. “I didn’t look at it like that,” he said. “Michelle and I had been dating for two and a half years.” When Tavis Sveto of San Francisco and his pals plan a bachelor party, strippers are part of the package, he said. He’s attended bachelor parties in Hawaii, Las Vegas and Canada, and while a night at the strip club is always on the itinerary, the guys also like the chance to spend time talking and partying. So far, none of the brides-to-be have objected, said Sveto, 33. The group keeps a close eye on the groom, he said. They always hold the parties at strip clubs, which have strict rules about contact between dancers and patrons, rather than hiring dancers in a hotel room. “This is not something that would end a marriage or end someone’s engagement,” he said. In Cole’s case, it did. She went through with the 1997 wedding but could not forgive her husband for his actions and for lying. She felt betrayed, and eventually had the wedding annulled. “It’s an vallegiance thing,” she said. “To me, a wedding is choosing each other to be your family and come first. But a bachelor party says, ‘Just remember, buddies have priority over all that commitment.’”

As the big day draws near, some brides have more on their mind than seating charts, centerpieces and last-minute checklists. They’re worried about strippers and lap dances. On Web sites and chat rooms, brides-to-be fret about whether the groom will get drunk and do something unforgivable at his bachelor party. They speculate about whether his friends are the type to pressure him into doing something he regrets. “Things can go wrong if you add booze and sex and guys that don’t get out that often,” said David Boyer, author or Bachelor Party Confidential’ (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007). Most bachelor parties, however, are run-of-the-mill get-togethers where guys drink beer, play poker or hang out, said Boyer. Gayle Cole thinks her fiance’s party got out of hand because he was showing off for his best friend. “He wanted to impress him, not let him down,” said Cole, of Los Angeles. When her fiance came back a few days before their wedding, she sensed something was wrong. He confessed to taking part in a show that three strippers put on in a hotel for him and his friends. She considered canceling the wedding. Cole, 36, said she had believed him when he said the evening’s main attraction would be a poker game, and she didn’t think to share her thoughts about strippers. “I wasn’t worried,” she said. “He was a nice guy. He was sweet. He could cook.” It never hurts to communicate your feelings with your significant other, said Sara Myden, a wedding consultant in Los Angeles. “That’s the sign of a healthy relationship,” she said. Communicating expectations is critical, agreed etiquette expert Anna Post, great great granddaughter of Emily Post. She offers alternatives to a “night of debauchery” in her book Emily Post’s Wedding Parties (Collins, 2007). “Weddings are not the best time for surprises,” she said.


I Do – A Bridal Affair

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I Do – A Bridal Affair


Something new?
Trashing — or at least messing up — your wedding dress for the camera
By KAThy hANRAhAN The Associated Press VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Dustin Sanders of Ruston, La., loads his weapon with pink, orange and yellow paintballs, takes aim and fires. His target: a $500 partially beaded wedding gown worn by his bride of 4 months, Jessica. As the paint blasts onto her gown, Jessica, 26, screams. Then she holds up a paintball gun and fires back, leaving her groom bruised and painted pink. A wedding photographer captures it all, then follows the couple as they wash off in a fountain. “It’s different, and we’re pretty unconventional,” said Jessica, adding that she and her new husband didn’t want to destroy the dress just capture some unusual pictures that reflect their sense of fun. “Trash The Dress” photo shoots like this have become an offbeat phenomenon across the country. In many, brides in white gowns simply pose where they’re bound to get wet or dirty: in the surf, in trees, in cornfields, on horses, in trashstrewn city alleys, on boxcars, on tractors. Photographers say most such shoots aren’t necessarily about destroying or damaging the dress. “It is just taking it in a place that you wouldn’t normally go. Not worrying about it too much,” said photographer Adam Hudson of Ridgeland, Miss., who has shot recent dress-trashes in the mud and at the State Fair. “I think that a lot of brides are getting tired of the stand-in-frontof-the-altar shots,” he said. Racheal Hollowell, who shot the Sanders’ paintball adventure with her husband, Eddie Hollowell, agreed. “‘Trash the dress’ is such a harsh term,” she said, adding that most brides opt for just a dip in a swimming pool, and the dresses are usually salvageable. A year ago, Louisiana-based photographer Mark Eric created a Web site devoted to the Trash the Dress trend. “It’s about creation, not destruction,” declares the site, which has led to two sister sites: Trash the Dress Europe and Trash the Dress Australia. The U.S. site features pages of photos from around the country. David Baxter of Ohana Photography in San Diego wrote on the site that such shoots are “about letting a bride express her beauty in the dress she has dreamt of wearing for so long, but will put away all too quickly.” Limelight Photography in Tampa, Fla., started offering “Trash the Dress” shoots four months ago at a bride’s request, said owner Rebecca Zoumberos. That shoot was on the beach and ended with the couple having a sand fight. Since then, Limelight has shot four “trash” shoots and plans a dozen more. Zoumberos likened trashing a wedding gown to bra-burning. “For the brides, it is really liberating,” she said. And potentially costly. In 2007, the research group The Wedding Report said the average bride spends $1,564 on her gown, and another $285 on veils and headpieces. Jessica Sanders said her parents bought her dress, and her mother “wasn’t thrilled” with the idea of trashing it. But her father, John Toney, of Tallulah, La., showed up to help. “This is going to open up a whole new thing for people when they see all they can do,” Toney said. The groom, Dustin Sanders, is an assistant manager at a fast-food restaurant and an avid paintball player. So the method of destruction was obvious to the couple once they decided, soon after their August wedding in Vicksburg, to trash Jessica’s dress. Jessica, an employee at Louisiana Tech University, enjoyed having an excuse to wear the gown again. She said it would end up hanging in the closet regardless of whether it was covered in paint. After the paintball shoot, the couple cleaned up at a water park. They were soon water-logged and nearly paint free, except for the dress’ beading. “I’m glad we did it,” Jessica said, smiling at her groom.

Family affair:
Tips to make it easier for kids — and grownups — at destination weddings
By SheilA MUlROONey elDReD The Associated Press As the bride and groom turned toward each other to say their vows, the ocean sparkled in the background and white sand warmed the guests’ feet. The moment was interrupted only by a toddler—mine—yelling, “I want to sit in Mommy’s lap!” I scooped him up, only to knock the pacifier out of my 2-month-old’s mouth. Her lips quivered, preparing for a full-blown wail. I popped it back in just in time. Double meltdown averted. Still, the ceremony was a harrowing half hour for me. Bringing the kids along to “destination weddings” - those that require travel to exotic locales - has become a priority and a challenge for many bridal couples and their guests. Brides and grooms who invite kids to faraway weddings must consider everything from properly addressing invitations to bedtimes to custody issues. “If you’re asking guests to travel and including children, you have to be doing some research ahead of time,” says Jeanne Hamilton, author of “Wedding Etiquette Hell” (St. Martin’s Press, 2005). “The bride’s responsibility is making sure guests are comfortable. If you’re including kids, then you should ensure the experience for kids is just as pleasurable as it is for adults.” As for parents, it’s up to them to make sure kids behave. It can add up to one sticky situation - in some cases, quite literally, says Hamilton, who more than once has seen the frosting get licked off the cake before it’s served. Whether to invite kids is completely up to the bride and groom, she says. Stephanie Clarke, a wedding planner at the resort we stayed at, the Sheraton Grand Bahama Island Our Lucaya, recommends going for the full-family affair if the location calls for it. “It’s an island atmosphere with sand, sun and sea, and it’s not just about the wedding,” she says. “It’s about relaxation and fun for the kids too.” Many guests with kids might just R.S.V.P. “no” to a far-off wedding because of expensive or complicated travel arrangements. Amy Swedberg and Michael Hagen of Minneapolis found that many of their invitees including Swedberg’s sister - couldn’t attend their wedding in the Bahamas. “I’m going to be 37, and all my friends had babies recently,” Swedberg says. “Three years ago, it would have been one big party.” The couple is planning a reception at home to accommodate friends - kids included - who can’t make the trip. Since many guests do, however, agree to come with kids in tow, here are some suggestions for brides and grooms trying to make them feel welcome: I  nvitations: Etiquette says envelopes should be addressed to everyone invited, children included, says Cindy Post Senning, co-author of “Guide to Good Manners for Kids” (Diane Publishing, 2006) and a director at the Emily Post Institute. Swedberg and Hagen sent invitations by e-mail, which they realized later might have been a mistake, in part because it wasn’t clear whether kids were welcome. B  aby-sitting: Hamilton suggests providing professional sitting services during the ceremony and the later hours of the reception.  D  iversions: Consider setting tables with paper placemats and crayons, stocking a table with games during the dancing, and leaving gift bags with small toys and snacks on toddlers’ seats during the ceremony. Think twice about including children in the ceremony, Senning says. “They could freeze - or have a tantrum. Some adults almost pass out from the anxiety of being in a wedding, so it’s no wonder that kids will have screaming fits.” Parents should be prepared to walk down the aisle with their child, if need be. And even if kids aren’t directly involved in the event, it’s parents’ responsibility to make sure they don’t wreck it, Senning says. Someadviceforparents: • Plan an escape route: Sit near an exit and be prepared to use it. • Designate an adult companion for each child: Especially if you’re in the wedding party, make sure your child has a trusted adult with whom to sit, and play if need be. Hand the friend a bag of small (quiet!) treats, like Cheerios or hard candy, with instructions to dole them out slowly. • Or, find a baby sitter. Kristin Benson of Minneapolis left her toddler at home with grandparents when she and her husband attended a friend’s wedding in Charleston, S.C. She did bring her 2month-old, who seemed to enjoy the party in a sling around mom’s neck. But Benson says she would have enjoyed herself more had she been kid-free. “She was a trooper and slept through most of the night, but we didn’t get to fully have the adult experience,” Benson says. As for me, after my son’s outburst at the Bahamas wedding, my 2-month-old sobbed through most of the dinner. Still, watching the toddlers running through the sand and dancing with abandon at the reception, I was grateful kids were included in the invitation.


Planning a wedding entirely online means giving up perfectionism. That’s a good thing.
By KAThleeN heNNeSSey The Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — My wedding felt like a blind date. Not with my groom, of course — that part looked familiar. But the rest — the village church with the bright orange walls, the better-than-the-pictures flowers, the 1960s-era organ — they were all nearly as new to me as they were to the 50 Americans I had persuaded to come to Scotland for the event. I planned my wedding entirely online and lived to tell about it. In fact, I’d recommend it. Not that it was perfect. Had I known about the orange walls, I might not have gone for purple kilts. But planning online, with a mix of shrewd, targeted research and aimless Googling, forced me to accept something many brides don’t realize until crunch time: Perfection is overrated. Couples spent nearly $10 billion on “destination weddings” last year, according to Mintel, a market research firm in Chicago. No doubt much of this expense was justified with phrases like “you only do it once” and “most important day of my life.” Still, these same people, like me, take sizable risks with the day and the cash. Many don’t see the venue beforehand, and depend on online brochures for information. Forty-three percent rated wedding Web sites as influential in helping them pick a destination, Mintel found. More than 20 percent used social networking sites, like MySpace, and blogs. Theresa DiMasi, editor-in-chief of Conde Nast’s, says many of the 1 million visitors who come to that online site each month are looking for inspiration and stay for research and community. “I think the Internet gives you much more opportunity and accessibility to information. You’re a savvier shopper. You can hear what other people have said about a vendor, or see people who have negotiated deals and learn from awful experiences other brides have had,” DiMasi said, adding that most people leave the virtual world before cutting a real check. My fiance and I would have if we could have. There are 5,000 miles and a wallet-busting 2-to-1 exchange rate between us in Las Vegas and his childhood home, Glasgow, our destination of choice. A planning expedition would have blown the budget. So my mother in Minnesota, my partner in planning, and I turned immediately to the Internet. We started with long sessions on the phone, each at our respective computers, e-mailing links back and forth. A search for “Scotland wedding venue” would lead to a link to “Inverness castles.” We stopped only when we wandered onto sites with pictures of men dressed as William Wallace. Her neck started to hurt. My cell phone bill skyrocketed. I taught her how to use Instant Messenger. (Eventually, I taught her to use the space bar.) It was slow. If something looked promising we would e-mail the venue, and often not hear back for days. We could discuss a site for hours, without having any idea about fees or availability. There is another way, though I’m not convinced it’s a better one. Online wedding clearinghouses such as and, offer a mix of planning tools, articles, and lists of ideas, registry help and vendor directories. Both sites have budget trackers that are far easier than an Excel spreadsheet and are accessible to anyone who knows your password, making it easy to share with, say, your mom. The scores of photos of dresses, flowers and place settings on these sites can be habit-forming. But the vendor directories are filled largely with paid advertisers in the United States — an obvious limitation for the bride wanting to go to an overseas or outof-the-mainstream location. Lacey Collins, a 24-year-old new bride from Sawyer, N.D., says she scanned Web sites for photographs and tips for traveling brides, but relied on a friend’s recommendation when picking a hotel for her wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. “I really trust this friend,” she said less than two weeks before the day. Still, she found herself combing the hotel review site “probably weekly” for possible bad reviews or horror stories. “I keep thinking, is it really that perfect? Or are these people just coming off this great time and writing great things?” Collins said. “How can it be this perfect?” I know the feeling. When we found our venue — a country estate with just enough rooms to hold the Americans and within easy driving distance of the Scottish relatives — I ramped into reporter mode. Trust, but verify. I asked for more photos of the grounds, and got 37 back, with names and phone numbers of references. A good sign. I trolled a British wedding Web site — — for reviews of my potential venue. Nothing. I happily discovered, a site for anyone vaguely uncomfortable with the wedding industry. I was amused by the advice on how to tell your family you’re eloping, and relieved to see that no one mentioned my Scottish estate on the site’s chat page, “Kvetch.” Feeling 70 percent assured that I knew all I was going to know, and 30 percent desperate to make the decision and move on, we booked it. And so went my planning. We relied heavily on the staff at the venue for recommendations, and then followed up with our own research. A recommended wedding singer sounded lovely on the mp3 on her Web site, but we still asked her to sing a few selections a cappela into the telephone before we sent a check. The florist and I landed on my bouquet through exchanges of photos by e-mail. (So that’s what a thistle is!) We chose the wine from a list sent by the distributor, much of which I couldn’t find in our local store. Sans tasting, we took a leap. There were times, and that was one of them, when we felt we were missing out on some of the fun. And there were times when the curiosity nearly killed me. I would have paid too much for a photo of the interior of the church that generously opened its doors to American strangers on a busy Saturday. The only one online was black and white. The Internet had its limits. But had I found one, it might only have allowed me to believe that the church decor really mattered. Orange paint, it turns out, looks pretty good as a backdrop for photos. Aside from the night I met my husband, it was the best blind date I’ve ever had.

I Do – A Bridal Affair

LuLu’s and Stardust Celebrations Semi-Annual

One Day Only!! Sunday, February 10 • 10am – 4pm
Bridal gowns • Special Occasion • Flower Girl • Veils Priced to sell!
Sale will be held at The Radisson Hotel 6060 N. Central Expressway • Dallas (Just North of Mockingbird and East of 75)

I Do – A Bridal Affair



I Do – A Bridal Affair

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I Do 4 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 21 22 23 24 Allie’s Catering Central Market Entertainment Solutions Amazing Events Pinnacle Elite Entertainment Lucy Weddings Blvd Studio Works CRES Management Courtyard Villa Scarborough Men’s Warehouse Freestyle Portraiture

I Do – A Bridal Affair

A Bridal Affair
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Darrah Walters Lulu’s Gowns Parenting Center A Day To Remember Weddings & Events Wokamonga Photo Burt Grant Salon Beauti Control DFW Marriott Southern Flair Photo Ducky Bob’s Event Institute of Age Management

& Booth locations
52 54 55 56 58 59 62 63 64 65 66 Work Of Art Studio American Laser HelmutWalker Photo UTA Catering Daired’s Willow Creations Bridges & Beaux Stockyards Entertainment Memory Maker Travel Cherished Moments Mary Kay


Cover Photo:Tuxedo provided by Men’s Wearhouse. (Photo by laura Sliva)

Bluebonnet Ballroom • e.h. hereford University Center


I Do – A Bridal Affair

Casual Elegance. Texas Style.
Great food with just the right panache & style.
The Central Market Catering Department is your source for all of your catering needs, from business meetings to parties.
Our Catering Menu features selections made from the finest ingredients from each of our fresh departments. Choose from scratch-baked breads, scones and desserts from our bakery, fine meats and cheeses from our international deli, and several of our chef-prepared favorites, made fresh daily and custom-plattered to your specifications. Our impressive platters make elegant presentations, perfect for both special occasions and anytime entertaining. Central Market’s catering experts are ready to help you custom-build a winning menu for your next event.

1425 E. Southlake Blvd. Southlake, TX 76092 (817) 310-5610

Stockyards Station offers four unique settings located in the heart of the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards.
• On-site catering • Bar services • An event manager • Sound system • Dance oor • And so much more!

Contact us today for a free consultation. Mention this ad for a special discount. (817)625-9715 Fort Worth Stockyards • (817) 277-0477

I Do – A Bridal Affair


Amazing Events Weddings
Creating customized events to reflect you
• We manage all of the details so you can enjoy your day! • Full service wedding design, planning and coordination • 21 years of experience with an expert list of proven vendors • Lighting, decorating, centerpieces, catering, signature drinks • Luscious linens, chaircovers, music, flowers and more!

Serving the Dallas and Ft. Worth area
Event Designer/Planner/Consultant

Bambi Bach

**Enchant Him On Your Wedding Day *

Call (817) 595-0470 or (972) 869-4800

Event Designer/Consultant

Oscar Rangel


*Laser Hair Removal * Botox & Juvéderm Injection * Medical Microdermabrasion * Lipo Dissolve - Body Sculpting * Micro Laser Peels

A Difference in Treatment A Difference in Life



Dr. Ashley Classen, D.O. Dr. E. Jo Bailey, M.D. Stacey Chandler, Clinical Aesthetician 1401 Henderson Street, Suite 3 • Fort Worth, Tx 76102
Phone 817.366.6461 •

The Institute of Age Management & Aesthetic Medicine



I Do – A Bridal Affair

Looking for the ultimate bridesmaids’ gift?
Treat yourself and your bridal party to a fun and pampering of an at-home Spa ESCAPE! Our Full One Hour Spa Treatment Includes: - Tension-relieving neck wrap (for the Bride) - And revitalizing eye and lip treatment - Hands, feet and facial
Guaranteed to feel completely rejuvenated!

Contact Debra Brashear, BeatiControl Independent Spa Consultant Phone Number: (817) 490-1653 • (817) 905-4272 E-mail:

All Complimentary

Fountainwood 817-267-6740 * Euless

Ashford Park Townhomes 817-467-5333 * Arlington

Overlook at Bear Creek 817-354-1000 * Euless

Central Air and Heat Spacious Closets Pets Welcome Laundry Rooms Newly renovated

Stylish One & Two Bedroom APARTMENTS & TOWNHOMES

Polished Hardwood Floors or Plush Carpet

Emergency Maintenance Service

Visit us online at

Office 972-254-5409 or Cell 214-7704156 “We specialize in affordable catering and event planning for all your special events.”

Ashford Park * Bentley Square* Fireside* Fountainwood Woodchase* Enclave* Grayson Ridge* Village Green Overlook* Idlewyld
Bentley Square 817-261-9306 * Ft. Worth

C.R.E.S. Management

Grayson Ridge 817-498-2338* North Richland Hills

I Do – A Bridal Affair


817-277-4989 Fax: 817-277-5025

1801 W. Division Street Arlington Texas 76012

Piacere Il Eleganza

Enjoy the Elegance


Customers booking our venue through this ad will receive 15% off facility rental.
Discount is for facility rental only. Does not apply to food, liquor, labor or additional services.


Freestyle Portraiture
“Imagination is the only limitation.”
Romantic Weddings Captured in Traditional and Photojournalistic Styles

I Do – A Bridal Affair

Custom-Designed Library Bound Albums Fine Art Portraits

Tuxedo Rentals

Call for an appointment

(817) 944-0698

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Kelly Carver

Independent Beauty Consultant (817) 487-0478

I Do – A Bridal Affair


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I Do – A Bridal Affair

thinking about your wedding

Featuring an exquisite selection of Bridal, Bridesmaid, Mother of the Bride, and Evening Gowns
Trunk Show Rina di Montella, February 8, 9, 10 Appointments Preferred 817.498.0977

On your big day, everything should be perfect...

Especially You.

For more information on other events throughout the year, visit the Special Events section of our Web site,
5121 ompson Terrace • Colleyville, Texas • 10 minutes west of D/FW Airport

American Laser Centers is America’s number one choice for hair removal. People choose American Laser Centers because our state�of�the�art Laser Hair Removal system is both safe and effective. No wonder we’ve done well over two million treatments. Call today for a free, no�obligation, private consultation. Ask about our interest�free payment plan and written satisfaction guarantee. 877�252�7977 Locations Nationwide

I Do – A Bridal Affair


In need of your own personal stylist?

Darrah Walters
Hairstylist & Makeup Artist

804 W. Abram Street Arlington, TX 76013 (817) 881-0902 Tuesday thru Saturday

Book your appointment today and receive 15% off with your UTA student ID. Specializing in wedding day styles and make-up applications.


I Do – A Bridal Affair

I-20 at Bowen Rd • Arlington


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