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I Do,I Do
The Darien Times



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by Melissa Ezarik

Theres a dirty little fact about weddings that Kate Harrison, author of The Green Bride Guide: How to Plan an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget, will share: The average wedding produces 400 to 600 pounds of garbage. But theres a movement of eco-conscious couples looking to avoid contributing to that kind of statistic. This year, over 70% of couples will include green elements in their weddings, said Harrison, also founder and CEO of the New Haven-based website GreenBrideGuide. But where to start? The most popular items to green are the invitations and favors, because there are so many choices and they are relatively inexpensive, Harrison said. Options include using recycled materials, or paper that has seeds in it so guests can plant the invitation after its primary intended use, said Sacha Patires, owner of Whimsical Weddings & Events, a Midwest-based event planning firm. I have also had clients that gave away tree saplings as party favors. Harrison is seeing a growing emphasis on local flowers and food, too. They not only make up the bulk of a typi-

cal weddings budget but also have a huge environmental impact. She shared this example: Conventional flowers cost on average $2,000 and are usually shipped in from South America, covered in pesticides, sprayed with artificial scent. And [they] can make workers ill. Local, organic flowers cost $200 to $400. Farmers markets are a good place to meet local growers, Patires said. And caterers purchasing from nearby farmers can create a fresh and authentic menu for your wedding. Couples choosing a same-site ceremony and reception are, whether intentionally or not, being greener. The same goes with limiting the guest list. Both reduce the amount of travel, and, hence, the carbon footprint, or impact of the event on climate change. Weddings produce an average of 63 tons of CO2, Harrison pointed out. GreenBrideGuides carbon calculator

Green Wedding continued on page 8

Kate Harrison, founder and CEO of the New Haven-based website, TheGreenBrideGuide, and author of the book, The Green Bride Guide.

Marisa Baratelli Trunk Show

March 7th, 8th & 9th

I Do, I Do: Spring Bridal Hersam Acorn Newspapers

March 6, 2014

by Ashley Krauss, Owner, A Little Something White Bridal Couture, Darien

One of the most common things our brides communicate to us is that they want to look like the most beautiful version of themselves while looking different from their friends who have recently gotten married. Here are a few ways we help them achieve their distinctive dress dream. Several of our designers have introduced exquisite embroidery into their collections. Liancarlo has a floral organza in platinum that is absolutely gorgeous. The non-traditional element of the platinum embroidery ups the romance and elegance of the gown. Sareh Nouris Field of Love (pictured at right) features a gorgeous hand-sewn lace adorned with intricate floral details opulent and romantic. Judd Waddell offers the uniquely understated Claudette with Chantilly lace. The last way we suggest achieving a non-traditional look is through vintage-inspired gowns. They arent technically vintage, because they are designed and made in the present day, but they evoke past eras and styles. The Kelly Faetanini Luz and Madeline have that vintage feeling to them. Alvina Valentas recent collection had several vintage-inspired styles as well.

Color Incorporating color, like blush and taupe, can make a traditional style stand out. Sareh Nouris Sophie has all-over blush coloring. Kelly Faetaninis Edan includes blush as part of its subtle, yet striking ombre pattern. Liancarlo features two gorgeous gowns in a pale pink hue. One is perfect for the bride who wants a little sparkle, while the other is perfect for the bride who wants to mix a more traditional lace with the more modern blush color. Taupe is also gaining a big presence in bridal gowns and is often used to Use of accessories highlight and accentuate Perhaps the most comthe beauty of a particular mon way we see brides make lace. Anna Maier works a their mark is through accestaupe charmeuse into many sories. The birdcage veil can of their designs, such as the Sara Gabriel veiling and headpieces help brides do something a Bianca and Gemma. Their little different. Sara Gabriels gorgeous, luxurious lace is offset by the taupe underlay. Upcoming trunk shows Bailey veil is one such veil. It can be worn over the face Alvina Valenta also recently Liancarlo trunk show: for the ceremony and then introduced a taupe variaMarch 21 and 22 tion, a color called latte, flipped for the reception to Judd Waddell trunk show: into one of their ballgowns, make a fun headpiece. Other March 28 and 29 resulting in a gown that is fun headpieces are the Natalie Kelly Faetanini trunk show: an effortlessly elegant showclip, Jaclyn headband, and the May 2 and 3 stopper. oh-so-Gatsby-esque Angela Some designers have hair swag. Even traditional chosen a slightly bolder veil designer Toni Federici has color route for fashion incorporated some less traditional veils into their collection. The Lyra veil forward and outgoing brides. Sareh Nouri is non-traditional in the way a portion covers introduced a beautiful tulle ball gown in grey the hair, versus being attached to a comb, but is and ivory, as well as a gown of mint green lace nonetheless stunning and elegant. (by famed lace design house Sophie Hallette). Lets not forget jewelry! Vintage costume jewPerhaps one of our favorites is a fitted stunner called Nikola, by Kelly Faetanini, which features elry is timeless and sophisticated, and many are a silver guipure lace pattern over an ivory lining. slightly bolder than todays creations. What better way to differentiate yourself than to pick out Unique embroidery and fabrics a one of a kind piece that no one else will have? Non-traditional sometimes means more eleMore info: 203-309-5110, ashley@alittlesome gant and breathtaking than traditional.,

March 6, 2014

Ways to slash your wedding budget

Church for free. Swan C., New York City Skimp on Stamps We chose postcards for our savethe-dates. It saved us money on postage and envelopes. Kelly N., Omaha, Neb.

I Do, I Do: Spring Bridal Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Want to create your dream wedding without breaking the bank? asked 50 brides to share their best cost-cutting secretsfrom crafty cocktail parties to a totally genius use for pashminas. Ready, set, save!

Get intimate For the rehearsal dinner, we Pay with plastic threw a casual outdoor barbecue for Weve been saving credit card just our families, the officiant and points for two and a half years. Our the bridal party. Keeping it low-key honeymoon is practically paid for. and super-small meant we had more Alexis J., Forest Hills, N.Y. to spend on the wedding itself. Shannon M., New York City Choose an off day Having your wedding on a Bail on the ballroom Friday night is so much cheaper Get creative with your wedthan doing it on a Saturday. ding venue. We married on a 1920s Rachel P., New York City theater stage, then had a reception upstairs. Everyone raved about how Pick a public place different and fun it was. And it only This gives new meanng to a descost us a few hundred bucks to rent tination wedding. the whole thing. Samantha S., My fianc and I booked our cerHarrisburg, Pa. emony and reception at a state park it was only $160 for the whole day. And since its such a pretty Get married by a pal location, we barely need any dcor. A friend from high school Ashley N., DeFuniak Springs, officiated at our wedding. He got ordained through the Universal Life Fla.

I Do I Do

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March 6, 2014

by Melissa Ezarik

The favour of a reply is requested. RSVP card traditionalists know and love this wording, but its certainly not written in stone. In some cases, its not even written on paper. Almost every one of our couples shares details on their relationship, the bridal party and wedding day specifics via a wedding website, said wedding consultant Heidi Hanson, owner of Always and Forever, with offices in Easton and Granby. With these sites allowing guests to RSVP electronically, tech-savvy couples are forgoing traditional snail mail RSVPs. It is a great way to save time (less assembling), save money (no return stamps), and save the planet (no RSVP cards to be printed). Oh, and did we mention how easy it is for your guests, you and the wedding planner? she said. Email alerts, automatic tallies of accepts and meal selections, and seating generator tools are other practical reasons to choose an e-RSVP. Zachary Rose of New York City-based Green Education Services took an eco-friendly approach to his own wedding, offering only online responses. The results were amazing, he said. Most weddings have a very slow response rate, but we had our final numbers locked just two weeks after sending our invitations! And Hanson said it worked out well for clients planning a Westport wedding while living in London, who literally had guests from all over the world. U.S. guests got a traditional paper RSVP, but everyone else was asked to reply online. The editor of the website WeddingWire, which offers online RSVPs as part of its free wedding websites, is seeing couples trying it out. Almost a tenth of WeddingWire users with an active wedding website use online RSVPs, said Kim Forrest. As a planner, I recommend using a combination of traditional RSVPs for those guests that you know are highly unlikely to respond via phone, text or email, and for the remaining technologically-friendly guests using the alternative methods, said Sacha Patires of Midwest-based Whimsical Weddings. Online RSVPs: taste vs. comfort level The reaction many guests have with the electronic RSVP concept, however, is more about taste than comfort level. Denise Buzy-Pucheu, owner of The Persnickety Bride, a Sandy Hook-based business offering invitations, custom favors and accessories for brides and wedding planners nationwide, said she doesnt know of any clients who have chosen e-RSVPs. Most have actually told me (along with their moms, who often handle the responses, and fiances)

Fun e-RSVP Ideas

Augmented reality cards: A couple sends what appears to be a standard invite, but when the recipient takes a photo of it with a smartphone, a three dimensional video appears and interacts with the user. More info: RSVP by text: Guests reply and can opt in to receive follow-up messages, which may contain fun questions like, Whats one bridezilla moment from the couples engagement? More info:

lect mailing addresses. In one fell swoop they communicate a save-the-date request, effortlessly collect mailing addressthat they find it tacky. Considering we are dealing with very es, said Jeremy Schwartz, who works on business developelectronic-savvy brides, I find their response refreshing. ment for the site. Amber Harrison, the wedding and etiquette maven at When only the traditional RSVP format will do, there are the invitation website Wedding Paper Divas (affiliated with still ways couples are getting creative and having fun with Shutterfly), concurs. Our recent research has shown that these functional cards. the majority of people are still taking the traditional route Busy-Pucheu has seen couples have two RSVP versions and using printed cards when it comes to wedding RSVPs, printed, with different response dates to accommodate she said. the B list of guests. And RSVP card wording, she said, is Still, tradition and technology can meet in the middle. going everywhere, from fun casual with little quirky stateHarrison has seen many couples using their RSVP cards to ments to very formal and gold-gilded. direct guests to their wedding websites, or to share eventHarrison sees creative copy as part of the huge, everyspecific hashtags for easy social media documentation of the thing-personalized wedding trend. In addition, some couday. ples are making RSVP cards more interactive. For example, Electronic save-the-dates are another option. In fact, 28% guests may be asked to reply with their top song requests of brides had created and/or sent them in 2012, compared listed or with memories of the couple. to 19% in 2009, found a Real Weddings Survey of 17,500 Will we be seeing lots more electronic and alternative brides conducted by and WeddingChannel. RSVP options? I dont think the classic RSVP cards will ever com. go away, Forrest said, but I think online RSVPs will cerCouples using the wedding website creation tool tainly increase in popularity as couples do more and more Squarespace are using it for save-the-date emails and to col- wedding-related tasks online.

March 6, 2014

I Do, I Do: Spring Bridal Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Pre-wedding jitters are not necessarily a sign of cold feet; it is something that happens to almost everyone who ties the knot. Its a big step and the future is always uncertain, so feeling anxious and nervous is normal. There are some things you can do to soothe your frayed nerves and enjoy the moment. Here are five simple tricks 1) Learn centering techniques. When you learn to center yourself, you can calm your nerves almost instantly. A quick way to do this is to close your eyes, breathe slowly and imagine roots growing from your feet and into the earth below you. Imagine those roots curving back up on both sides and going back down into the crown of your head a never ending cycle. Visualize this for a few minutes until you feel centered and grounded. 2) Breathing techniques. Have you ever been so nervous that you feel light-headed? Most of the time, this is due to breathing too quickly or hyperventilating. Practice breathing slowly; in through your nose and out through your mouth. Inhale slowly for eight seconds and then pause for eight seconds before exhaling for eight seconds. Breathing slowly will help

you get your nerves under control. 3) Sneak a cocktail. You dont want to go down the aisle smelling of booze, but having a pre-wedding cocktail can really calm your anxiety and allow you to enjoy the process rather than being a bundle of nerves. 4) Chew peppermint. You can settle your tummy by chewing on peppermint candy before the wedding. The plus is that your breath will be minty fresh for your kiss with your new hubby! 5) Stay in the moment. Many people have a defense reaction where they feel like theyre moving through a blur when theyre nervous. Force yourself to stay in the moment by noticing various things. For instance, This is my wedding day. There is my future husband standing at the altar. This is my fathers hand that Im holding. Keep noticing small details like this to keep yourself firmly in the present. Each of these techniques can help you calm down so that youre able to enjoy the day and remember it clearly when you look back. From







316 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877

I Do, I Do: Spring Bridal Hersam Acorn Newspapers

March 6, 2014

A who, what, where guide to wedding flowers

Wedding flowers are an important part of any matrimonial celebration. Whether used for decorative purposes or more traditional reasons, flowers can enhance a wedding. With typically 10 to 15% of the wedding budget allocated to flowers, its important to buy quality flowers that can last for the duration of the day. The bride isnt the only one who carries or wears the wedding flowers on this special day; other wedding party members need them, as do locations, such as the ceremony and reception sites. Historical emergence of wedding flowers The Flower Expert attributes the start of the wedding flower tradition to early Roman brides carrying certain herbs under their wedding veil. This custom was designed to help in promoting fidelity and fertility. Greek brides also wore crowns with herbs and flowers, which was considered a gift from nature. Weddings that occurred in ancient Greece had brides using ivy in their bouquets to represent enduring love. Bouquet options According to, the top five traditional wedding flowers are roses, hydrangeas, peonies, gardenias and sweet peas. Roses are the perennial wedding choice, since they represent love and passion, and can be found in many summertime bouquets. With so many different rose types and colors to choose from, rose bouquet options abound. Most bridal or bridesmaid bouquets coordinate with the wedding colors. A popular type of bridal bouquet is a nosegay, which is a smaller arrangement featuring smaller flowers with greenery. Tightly or loosely secured, the round bouquet has a large number of wedding flowers. A recent addition is the wired bouquet, where flower heads are secured to the arrangement. Bridesmaid bouquets can be miniature replicas of the bridal bouquet or can be a single flower tied with a ribbon. Although real wedding flowers are most common, silk flowers are an option that can cost a fraction of what real flowers do. Wedding party flowers In addition to the brides and bridesmaids bouquets, it is customary to outfit other members of the wedding party with flowers as follows: Mother of the brides and grooms corsages Father of the brides and grooms boutonnieres Flower girls bouquet Ring bearers boutonnieres Grandmothers corsages Grandfathers boutonnieres Grooms boutonniere Groomsmens boutonnieres Ceremony and reception flowers Whether the wedding ceremony is at the beach, in a backyard, garden, park or church, wedding floral arrangements can add stunning decoration. Lattice archways can feature babys breath, pew rows can showcase bows and stargazers, and the front of the aisle can display an arrangement of calla lilies. Oftentimes, the arrangements coordinate with the colors of the bridesmaids dresses. Many times flowers decorate the reception area or adorn the gift or guest tables after the wedding ceremony. Other popular locations include the head tables, archways or bathrooms. The wedding flowers should reflect the receptions formality. If it is a casual affair, then the flowers should be casual and inviting. If it is more formal, then taller and elegant flowers are more appropriate. Who to use/choose Fairfield County is teeming with florists, many of whom are independently-owned mom-and-pops, as well as other, larger florists. Look through the pages of the newspaper into which this special section has been inserted for florists that are advertising in your town. If you are so inclined, you can act as your own florist, and gather fresh, locally- grown flowers from a farmers market for the bouquet, the altar, the reception and more.

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I Do, I Do: Spring Bridal Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Find the perfect dress within your comfort zone

the-bride-or-groom dress, it is always Short cocktail dress, long gown, important to first discuss the dress code strapless, or arms covered, silk, chiffon, taffeta or sequins, sexy or tailored, on the invitation, the time, the day and the location for the wedding in order to jacket, stole or neither and oh yes, decide how dressy one should be. Your then there is the color. personality should be taken into conThere are so many choices when choosing the perfect dress for your special occasion. No one wants to look like a mother We always suggest the proper of the bride or groom, said Erica lingerie, jewelry, shoes and Jensen, owner of the Helen Ainson evening bag to give the total look. Shop of Darien for the past 36 years. My customers want Erica Jensen, Owner of Helen Ainson an elegant dress or gown appropriate for the occasion which makes them look younger and sideration as well as the most flattering thinner than they really are. Believe it or not, dressing is an opti- color depending on ones skin tone and cal illusion. Depending on the shape hair color. and body type of the customer, we We always suggest the proper lingerie, jewelry, shoes and evening bag to can actually find the style which does accentuate the positive while minimiz- give the total look. Above all, Jensen ing the negative, Jensen said. said, we must stay within the comfort When choosing your mother-ofzone of that individual customer.

Give the gift of Love. Love Sees is a selection of sterling silver bracelets and necklaces with a message, designed by Nancy Diehl of Wilton. I got the idea last February while driving and thinking about how I could use my gifts and talents to help make a difference, Diehl said. I wanted to share my understanding of the power and importance of love. All the jewelry comes with a selection of different love phrases, from Love Hopes, Love Accepts, Love Frees, Love Creates, Love Laughs, Love Protects, Love Saves, Love Listens, Love Heals, and Love Teaches. Each piece comes in a box with quote inside: Wear this knowing that Love Sees your destiny and purpose and that you have the power to give love. Ten percent of proceeds from each item sold is donated to teen suicide prevention and awareness. Bracelets are $38; necklaces are $42. Sold online at Email:

Get creative with your thank-you token

by Julie Butler
Picking out the perfect thank-you-forbeing-in-my-wedding gift might, at first glance, seem pretty easy, but once you consider the tastes/styles/personalities of your bridesmaids, the decision can sometimes be as dizzying as choosing the perfect wedding dress. Bridesmaid gifts run the gamut in terms of price, style, and individuality. Some brides spend hundreds of dollars, while others chose to spend only a few, or chose to make the gift themselves. You can give everyone the same thing, or gift a different item for each woman. Get creative. Thinking outside of the box can make the traditional thank you memorable, as well as useful. The following are 20 possibilities: 1) Tickets to a musical or dinner theater 2) A set of movies, themed around her favorite actor or director 3) A gift certificate to a local boutique 4) A gift certificate to a luxury spa 5) A hair and beauty makeover at a local salon 6) A hand-painted platter or vase, designed at a local ceramics studio and personalized with her favorite colors 7) A personalized poem, framed 8) A monogrammed set of bath towels 9) Personalized jewelry 10) A gift certificate for an introductory ballroom, salsa or flamenco dance class 11) A gift certificate for a session with a personal trainer, Pilates instructor, reflexologist or nutritionist 12) Vintage ashtrays, lace bureau scarves or Depression-era glass 13) Silk pajamas 14) Personalized clutch 15) A gift certificate to a movie theater or music venue 16) A flight bag, camera case or classy travel kit bearing her initials 17) Personalized flip flops 18) A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant 19) Gift baskets full of lotions, soaps and other indulgent items 20) A deluxe picnic basket

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I Do, I Do: Spring Bridal Hersam Acorn Newspapers

March 6, 2014

Before saying I do

Green Wedding
Continued from page 5
page ( helps couples offset emissions from their big day. The site also offers carbon neutral shipping on products. Another reason to limit the guest list: Less guests equals less waste, Patires said. Can destination weddings, despite the travel factor, be green? Sandy Malone, a former executive at a Connecticut-based company who moved to the island of Vieques near Puerto Rico to open a wedding planning business with her husband, has made it happen. Weve done menus of entirely organic food offerings, and a few where everything had to be locally sourced. That can be a challenge when youre working on an island seven miles off the coast of another island, said Malone, whose business, Weddings in Vieques (, is the focus of the TLC reality show Wedding Island. Brides and grooms are all over the map with their requests. Some relate only to food. Some relate to paper products. Some relate to the good stewardship of the island on which theyve decided to get married, she added. They dont do anything with fake products in their decor. Couples wanting to go far with eco-friendly festivities planning may also consider: A vintage ring. Diamond mining leads to water pollution, erosion and flooding, Harrison said. Its also responsible for 3.7 million deaths in African conflict zones. A once-worn gown. After all, said Harrison, wedding dresses can use up to 16 yards of fabric. Most of those fabrics are made from petroleum products bleached with toxic chemicals and shipped from China. Average cost of a once-worn dress: $200. Wedding day recycling. This may include composting leftover food, Patires said. Or even plates and utensils. The organic bamboo Veneerware plates and sporks from Bambu (, for instance, are compostable. Non-toxic outdoor bug protection. One provider of organic mosquito and tick services thats often called in for weddings and other events is Pure Solutions (, which opens a Westport branch this spring. No matter what eco-friendly I Dos are proclaimed over the course of the wedding planning, Patires said to remember that guests values may not match. So try choosing green methods such as recycled paper invitations that you know will be utilized by everyone.

Trying to fit into that dress for the big day? Diet the right way for better results. Many brides-to-be, and even some groomsto-be, express concern about their weight in the weeks and months leading up to their wedding. Losing weight is a goal for many engaged couples, but its important that couples who want to shed a few extra pounds dont sacrifice safety for the sake of slimming down. According to a Cornell University study of 273 women with a wedding day approaching, 70% wanted to lose more than 20 pounds before their weddings. However, reality indicates that a weight loss of five to 10 pounds is more attainable more so if the weight loss regimen is spread out over several weeks. The term brideorexia has entered the vernacular, and it is associated with brides who are taking extreme measures to lose weight. Taking laxatives, engaging in fluid-only diets and even using tobacco or drugs to serve as appetite suppressants are just some of the measures some brides have taken to shed weight before their wedding days. There is no magic formula to shed pounds, but there are certain ways to jump-start and maintain the process of healthy weight loss so brides can look slimmer and healthy for their big day. Eat Although initial calorie curbing can help shed weight, eventually your body may adapt to your new eating habits or go into survival mode, which means conserving fat reserves. Researchers at Penn State University found that fasting signals to your body that it is being starved, triggering a lower metabolic rate. Bridesto-be should never cut out food entirely. Eating anything less than 1,200 calories a day will encourage the body to try to conserve energy by lowering its metabolism. Severe calorie restriction is not an effective way to lose weight. Exercise Step up your exercise regimen. Reducing food intake alone will not help you lose weight quickly. The goal is to burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, adding more cardiovascular activity to your routine can help burn calories more efficiently. According to a clinical study from researchers at Italys University of Padua published in the 2011 International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, eating a light meal before exercising helps you burn more fat and keeps your body burning fat even

24 hours after the exercise. Salt and non-filling food Reduce sodium intake. Sodium doesnt necessarily lead to weight gain, but it can make it appear so. Sodium contributes to water retention in the body, which may make you appear heavier or bloated. Cut back on foods that are high in sodium, especially as the wedding draws close, to reduce water retention. Identify sources of empty calories. Fruit juices, soda and other beverages are often the culprits with regards to unnecessary calorie consumption. Therefore, choose your beverages wisely and limit them to water, teas and unsweetened drinks. If you want to drink fruit juice, consider diluting it. In addition, most alcoholic beverages have 100 calories or more. While it may be tempting to celebrate with wine, champagne and mixed drinks during your engagement period, your waistline may ultimately pay the price for such indulgences.

3D object. Therefore, the photo reduces depth perception and flattens an image, which may make some items look like they have more bulk. A professional photographer will know how to manipulate lighting and angles of the camera to ensure a more flattering shot. While losing weight for a wedding is many couples ultimate goal, the best way to tackle this task is in a healthy, responsible manner.

Eat smaller portions

Oftentimes, its not a matter of what you are eating but how much. Most portion sizes served in restaurants or even at home are double or triple the amount that you should be eating. When in doubt, cut everything in half. Fill up on fiber or protein. Instead of resorting to pills to suppress an appetite, simply eat foods that will fill you up naturally. High-fiber foods will bulk up in the stomach and keep you feeling satiated longer. The same can be said for lean proteins, which take longer to digest, thus fending off hunger pangs.

Finding the right light

The right photographer can help you from having that extra 10pounds in pictures. Hire a good photographer. A camera allegedly adds 10 pounds, a reason many couples panic about their wedding day. A photo is a 2D image of a