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Read the original article from The Times here.

The royal wedding may be long past, but wedding season in Northwest Indiana is kicking into high gear. No matter how many weddings you attend this year, chances are you want to be the best guest possible. We’ve rounded up one of Northwest Indiana’s top wedding experts to answer wedding etiquette questions to make sure the day is a pleasant one for both you and the happy couple.

How do I know if my significant other is invited?

Christina Zukoski Page, has been helping brides with their weddings for seven years at Merrillville-based Devoted Weddings and Events, and who gets invited to the wedding is one of the top issues that couples and guests have to deal with. Page said traditionally, if the bride and groom were more your friends than your significant other’s, the envelope would be addressed to only you. A second envelope inside would be addressed to you and guest or you and your partner’s name. Most couples are doing away with the two envelope system these days, and looking at who the invitation is addressed to should give you a good idea. Also, Page recommends taking a look at the response card for clues.

At what age is it inappropriate to invite guests without dates?

Page said there isn’t an official age, but usually couples choose to offer a “plus one” to guests older than 18 to 21. If you’re not invited with a date, don’t take it to heart, Page said, it’s likely a budget issue.

How do I know if my kids are invited to the reception?

If your children are listed on the inner envelope or if the reception card asks how many people are attending, chances are your children are invited. However, Page said it is becoming the norm to have the reception information contain an “adults only” disclaimer.

Should I attend a wedding if I don’t like the person my friend is marrying?

Page says yes, you should go even if you don’t like the person your friend is pledging to spend the rest of their life with. “You don’t want to burn a bridge and you should be supportive of your friend,” she said.

Is there anything, such as a specific color, that isn’t appropriate to wear to a wedding?

Not anymore, Page said. Black at a wedding used to be taboo, but now many bridges are including the color in their color scheme. White is acceptable if you have a dress with a white print, but you don’t want to take away from the bride.

If I can’t attend the wedding and am sending a gift, when is the appropriate time to send it?

Page recommends sending a gift two to four weeks before the wedding, because the bride and groom will be too busy the week of the wedding to take care of the gift. After the event is okay, too, but no later than two weeks after.

If I’m the guest of the bride and I’m writing a check as my gift, who should I address the check to? Should I use the bride’s maiden name or married name?

Go ahead and make the check out to the groom. That way you have a name on the check that will guarantee it gets cashed, Page said.

What is the appropriate amount to give if you’re writing a check?

Really, you want to pay for the cost of your dinner and give a gift as well, Page said. So take an educated guess on the cost of your plate and throw in some extra.

What is the appropriate time to arrive at the ceremony?

One of the biggest guest faux pas is showing up after the bride makes her way down the aisle. Being late to a baseball game is acceptable, being late to a wedding isn’t. Page recommends getting to a ceremony venue a half hour before the ceremony begins, 15 minutes early at the latest. You need to make sure you have enough time to park and get seated. “If the invitation says 3 p.m., that means the ceremony starts at 3 p.m. It doesn’t mean get there at 3 p.m.”

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Check out this months article here written for the Shore Bride Magazine Online.

The popular wedding color choice for 2011 is purple. In its various shades it has been well-known through the ages: as referenced in a book (The Color Purple), a vegetable (eggplant), jewelry (amethyst), a girl’s name (Violet), a multi-purpose household herb (lavender), and even a classic rock band (Deep Purple). The beauty of this color is that it not only creates a sense of well being, it also comes in such a large range of shades. With the deep strength of eggplant to the soft touch of lavender, the complimentary shades of apple green, chocolate and platinum that are trendy this year really makes an unforgettable statement. One suggested color combination fondly known as peacock feathers (purple, turquoise and lime green) are greatly enhanced with a chocolate accent.

While some wedding colors sometimes present a problem with finding flowers to match, purple definitely has some options. There are dark purple calla lilies, lavender roses, hydrangeas, asters, irises, tulips, lilacs and even the herb lavender (though heavily scented). Not to mention the flowers that can be added in your accent colors. In fact, the only problem may be narrowing down all the choices!

Linens are another great way to add your colors to your wedding. This year’s new hot linen and sash is the accordion crinkle taffeta for a unique elegant look. Linens are a great way to add color in just the right amounts to make your color and décor flow throughout your event. All your linen options of floor length linens, overlays, runners, chair covers and sashes can be done in different combinations, so be sure to sit down with your linen company and play around to get the perfect one for your event.

It truly is no surprise that purple is “the” color this year, and the aim is to give these hues a future with a fresh new look . . . in a sense, not unlike marriage: the progression of a relationship into two lives starting a fresh new life together.

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Check out this months article here written for the Shore Bride Magazine Online.

An encore wedding is a marriage in which the bride, groom or both have been married before. It doesn’t matter if this is the second, third or fourth marriage for one or both, it is still considered an encore wedding. Because of the increasing number of encore weddings every year, it may raise a lot of questions regarding etiquette.

If there are children from a previous relationship, you need to consider their feelings and how this may affect them. The parent of the children needs to sit down with them one-on-one so they feel comfortable discussing any concerns. It is also a good idea—assuming that the children are comfortable with the marriage—to have them be included in the ceremony. There are many ways the children can be included, depending on their ages. Positions in the wedding may include flower girl, ring bearer, bridesmaid, groomsman, usher and reader. In addition, an increasingly popular idea on how to include especially young children is to actually make them a part of the ceremony, having them also say a form of “vows” during the proceedings.

The order of announcing the engagement is similar to that of “first” weddings. After the children are told, the parents should be the next ones informed. Then proceed to close friends and family. Engagement announcements can be sent out, and it can be published in the local newspaper.

Can a second-time bride wear white? She most definitely can! It is a good idea for a second-time bride to wear something a little simpler, but it can still be an actual wedding dress as opposed to a nice dress or suit, though it is always advisable for the bride to wear an age- and figure-appropriate gown.

Does an encore wedding have to be a small, simple affair? No way! Today around 40 percent of weddings are encore weddings. The formal stigma of the past is just that, the past. Encore weddings can be just as extravagant as a “first” wedding. Encore weddings are about two people celebrating their love for each other.

Who will walk the bride down that aisle? Today it is acceptable for anyone, which can include her father, her mother, both father and mother, her children, her stepchildren or even grandchildren. It comes down to whom you want to be the one to walk you down the aisle.

Is it appropriate to still register for gifts? Yes! There are always some guests who won’t buy for an encore wedding, but other guests will appreciate not being left in the dark on what to get you. As with all gift registries, be sure to register for gifts in a range of pricing.

Many of the old stigmas have gone the way of the wind. So don’t overcomplicate things by worrying what people will think. Make your own traditions, whether it’s finding a meaningful way to include children or just pulling in the things that are important to you and your fiancé. This is a day to celebrate your love and commitment to each other.

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Check out the newest inspiration board made for the Shore Bride Magazine website by our event designer Mackenna Schon.

Spring Green Wedding planning wedding decor northwest indiana

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Check out the newest inspiration board made for the Shore Bride Magazine website by our event designer Mackenna Schon.

Iridescent Glamour Wedding colors Northwest Indiana Wedding Planner

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Check out the newest inspiration board made for the Shore Bride Magazine website by our event designer Mackenna Schon.

Winter White Wedding Colors Northwest Indiana Wedding Planning

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Check out this months article here written for the Shore Bride Magazine Online

It’s almost the big day and you want to make a grand entrance, but in what order should the bridal party walk down the aisle? The order of the bridal party and who they are paired to walk with depends often on religious traditions. There are three main religious traditions and then there are nondenominational or nontraditional ceremonies. All of these categories can vary, but this will give you a general idea on each type of processional.

For the Catholic processional, the most customary lineup starts with the priest, groom and sometimes the best man, who will exit from a side door and wait at the altar. If the best man didn’t walk out with the priest and groom, then he will walk down the aisle with the maid/matron of honor. Otherwise, the maid/matron of honor will walk down by herself. The bridesmaids and the groomsmen walk in pairs down the aisle. Next are the ring bearer and flower girl. Finally, it’s the bride’s turn: she will either be escorted by just her father on the left or both her father and mother.

For the Jewish processional it is a continuous line starting with the rabbi or cantor. The grandparents of the bride come next, followed by the grandparents of the groom. Next come the groomsmen—walking in pairs with the best man coming after. The groom is usually escorted by his parents, and the bridesmaids then follow. The maid/matron of honor follows the bridesmaids, with the ring bearer and flower girl following after. Finally, the bride makes her grand entrance—escorted by her parents.

The traditional Protestant processional starts with the officiant and groom coming out a side door to stand by the altar. Both the mother of the bride and then the parents of the groom start the processional escorted by a son, other family member or usher. It is optional for the groomsmen to either come in the side door with the officiant and groom or to escort the bridesmaids, otherwise the bridesmaids proceed alone. Following next are the maid/matron of honor, ring bearer then flower girl. The bride is escorted by her father or a close family member.

For the nondenominational or nontraditional processional you can really mix and match as you choose, coming up with new ways to make the ceremony processional a personal and unique experience for you and your guests.

For any wedding processional it is important to have a wedding coordinator available to direct or orchestrate your wedding ceremony. With all of the planning and details that go into a wedding ceremony it is easy for the bridal party to forget their order, when to walk down the aisle or where they should stand, so having a wedding coordinator or at least a friend or family member who does know will make the processional go much more smoothly.

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