Bridal Planner

Bridal Planner

GETTING READY FOR THAT SPECIAL DAY

STORY AND PHOTOS BY MARIA IANNUCCI

The stories of weddings are often told in the details. Planning for the day that you and your fiancé begin your life together can take tremendous effort and inspiration. As you count the days and months to your wedding, let the ideas on the following pages inspire you to be different, be creative, and create memories with friends and family to span a lifetime.

Entertaining Out-of-Town Guests

When you have friends and family visiting from out of the area for your big day, there’s plenty of ways for them to enjoy activities without having to travel out of the county. Here are a few things to do:

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• A visit to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales offers guests a relaxing, go-at-yourown- pace sort of day amid hectic scheduling. Take a walk through the gardens, have lunch at the café, and pick up a few local souvenirs all in one afternoon.

• For a little shopping adventure, check out Lakeside Village in Lakeland. Stroll, shop, indulge, dine and enjoy!

• Polk County is heaven for golfers. According to visitcentralflorida.org, the area is home to over 648 holes of golf across 34 public-access courses.

• Community theaters dot the county’s landscape and offer films and productions that appeal to visitors of all ages.

• Local parks including Lake Eva Park in Haines City and Barnett Family Park in Lakeland allow family and friends to gather to play, have a picnic, and relax.

• Fans of the outdoors and Florida sunshine can plan a fishing excursion on one of more than 500 lakes. Those with a passion for adventure can take an airboat ride or jump from a perfectly good airplane.

Hint: Send your guests a list of local activities well before the big day; this can help them to plan a mini-vacation that incorporates your wedding.

Secrets of a Bride’s Survival Kit

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While your wedding day may be planned to the last detail, it’s always best to be prepared for anything. Here are some tips on what to include in your bag for “just in case”:

• A toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes, dental floss, mouthwash, mirror, tissues, and Q-Tips are a must-have; most come in travel sizes to save on space.

• A sewing kit, stain remover pen, and lint roller are essential. Dryer sheets help to eliminate static. In a pinch, white chalk can help disguise a stain.

• Scotch tape is a necessity for fixing a pulled hem or it can be used as an emergency earring back.

• A small tube of Krazy Glue can fix a broken heel, chipped nails, or fallen decorations.

• A nail file, clippers, and tweezers can come in handy, as well as clear nail polish for touch-ups or a run in your stockings.

• A pair of heel protectors is a big asset of you’re planning to walk across grass for photos.

• Toss a pen and paper in your bag; there’s always something you need to take note of for later.

• A small medicine stash is helpful; pack something for an upset stomach or a headache.

• A bottle of water and breath mints will help keep you hydrated and confident. Use a straw and you won’t mess up your Secrets of a Bride’s Survival Kit lipstick. A piece of hard candy or a granola bar is also a good idea if you haven’t eaten and need a little energy.

Hint: Pack your survival items in a brightly colored bag for easy identification when you need it most.

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Creating and Carrying On Traditions

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue; while it’s one of the most popular of bridal traditions, there are countless others you might choose to carry on:

• The origin of carrying the bride over the threshold is centuries old. Many believed that a bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet, so her groom would carry his bride into their new home for the first time.

• Placing a sixpence (a half-shilling coin of the United Kingdom) in your shoe on your wedding day is said to bring the bride wealth in her married life. Creating and Carrying On Traditions

• Flowers carried by a bride during the ceremony are a symbol of fertility. The first bouquets consisted of herbs and, later, orange blossoms.

• Carrying a handkerchief in your bouquet can be handy when emotions run high. After the wedding, a bride may put the cloth away until her first child is born, and use it as a bonnet on a newborn or for the baptism. It can then be passed on through the generations.

• A spider found in a wedding dress is considered good luck (but best to make it a fake one!).

• Tuck a sugar cube in your glove; according to Greek lore, the sugar will help sweeten your union.

Hint: Consider an heirloom guestbook for your wedding. Select a large book covered in canvas or leather that can serve as your guestbook. Use the same book to commemorate birthday parties, anniversaries and other family celebrations. This can be passed to future generations.

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Wedding Favors That Express Who You Are

The idea of offering favors at your wedding is to both thank your guests for sharing your special day and to offer them a token of personal expression as you begin your married life with your significant other. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few concepts to build on:

• Follow your theme. If you’re using a theme or special colors, be sure to incorporate them into your favors. It can range from fabric and wrapping to the items themselves. If it’s a Western wedding with an evening campfire, individually wrap the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate with a tag that might say “Sending you S’more Love!”

• Make it personal. Find something special that you share with your fiancé and make it memorable. If you enjoy collecting antiques, gather a variety of colorful flea market and thrift shop glass wear, allow your guests to use at the reception and take home afterwards.

• Use local talent. Commission a local jam maker, honey vendor, or soap maker to create and personalize a collection of items that lets your guests take home something truly unique.

• Bring the outdoors in. If you’re a gardener, have a floral theme, or are just ecofriendly, set seed packets in a wheelbarrow filled with dirt and a wooden sign that advises guests to, “take one and watch love grow.”

• Be creative. For casual weddings, offer personalized Koozies. Create CDs of your favorite music and share with your guests. Sunglasses tagged with “Don’t be blinded by our love” would be both useful and memorable. Tie a ribbon in your colors around small bottles of champagne and orange juice for a cute mimosa gift.

• Use your printer. You can make labels for just about anything!

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Planning Your Out-Of-Town Wedding

Polk County Commissioner Melony Bell and her daughter, Ashley, have recently learned a thing or two about planning a long distance wedding and have a few tips they can share from their experience:

• Consider hiring a wedding planner. Having local feet on the ground near the location is invaluable.

• If you have contacts in the area, listen to their suggestions for a location or vendors to consider. They may have some insight from previous experience.

• Set a budget and stick to it. Costs can escalate quickly, especially when you’re planning from a distance.

• Send out save-the-date cards early; many will need to have extra time to secure time off or make plans to attend.

• Don’t forget to pick up your marriage license. Be sure it will cover the date of your ceremony.

• Remember to pack what you will need for your honeymoon if you are leaving the wedding location, including clothing, medication, and passports if needed.

•Arrive at the location a week early. Set aside a spa day, and confirm your details in advance. Just to be in town can give you a measure of calm.

• Maintain a contact list of your guests, including cell phones and email addresses. You will be able to contact your guests should there be a change of venue or other unplanned adjustments in the itinerary.

• Plan a second gathering or reception for those who didn’t attend the destination wedding. Friends and family will appreciate the opportunity to share in the joy of your marriage, even if they were not on hand at the actual ceremony.