Long-term Commitment

All brides have this much in common: They love their wedding day, and it always goes by much too quickly. Of course, there is little that you as a bride can do to make your wedding day last longer, but there are things you can do to make sure the beauty of your gown remains — if not forever, then at least for a long time. When you bring your gown home from the shop, take it out of the garment bag and hang it where it will be...

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Wedding Notes

You've got the caterer, the open bar, table setting, even favors for everyone. You're set for the big reception. But there's a tough one to go–procuring music. Where do you start? How do you avoid employing the world's worst DJ or some slack-jawed hacks with guitars? For my own recent wedding, I had it easy. Most of my friends play instruments, and, thankfully, most of them are good. I ran the risk of having the...

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Unique but Affordable

"So when is your hair appointment?" my sister Lisa asked. A simple enough question, even expected, considering it was five hours before my walk down the aisle to be married. But the words hung in the air. My mother snapped the air in front of my face. Lisa lowered her head. "Earth to Amy. Your hair, your nails, your makeup–when are you going in for this stuff?" she said, looking at her watch. There was no...

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Scenes from a Seaside Wedding

While the Pioneer Valley offers a full spectrum of locations to celebrate your wedding, some keen observers have noted that a seaside location is not among the options. For the New England bride who wants to hear the crash of the surf at her reception, or the Yankee groom who longs for a lighthouse to be in view when he makes his vow, a trip downriver or across the state is required. Before moving out to the Valley nearly 10 years...

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Both Sides of the Aisle
Sep11

Both Sides of the Aisle

His Side of the Story Weddings, it’s true, are generally the “bride’s day.” The role of some grooms is to be scarce until it’s time to show up, then not piddle on the rug. Perhaps I was fortunate—my bride didn’t seem to think I was nuts when I had suggestions. In fact, I even chose the venues we used. Ours was a duo affair from the beginning, and I got to choose a lot of the things that,...

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Gracefully Inclusive
Sep11

Gracefully Inclusive

When Margie and Reggie Cole chose November 11, 2006 as their wedding day, they faced several challenges, not the least of which was time. Margie didn’t start planning the wedding, didn’t even book the reception hall, until two months before the chosen date. Fortunately, Margie had confidence in her ability to get organized, plan the wedding and pull things together in a hurry. And she got great news when she learned that...

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Tulips in Winter

For a soon-to be bride, walking into your local flower shop can be a daunting experience. In the window there are hundreds of floral combinations and designs; roses, dahlias, tulips, hyacinths, lilacs, bouquets, centerpieces, corsages, boutonnieres. The crimson red of the roses swirls into the white of the orchids, and the blueberry of the lilacs blends into the sunset yellow of the hyacinths. All this beauty sends your mind into...

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Cake with a Kick

Wherever you travel in the Caribbean, it’s likely you’ll see rum cake on restaurant menus and tempting arrays of packaged rum cakes in gift shops. The appeal is obvious. This is cake with a kick. It’s luscious. It’s almost indestructible in luggage or the mails, and it keeps forever. Prince Charles and Princess Diana ordered rum cake for their wedding. Marilyn Monroe’s rum cake recipes were found tucked...

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Destination: Honeymoon
Sep12

Destination: Honeymoon

Less than 10 minutes after leaving the airport on St. Lucia, I pulled up to the Coconut Bay Resort. Within 15, I headed to the beach, cocktail in hand. St. Lucia was a destination I longed to see but knew little about. I found out a lot after a few days of exploring what turns out to be one of the Caribbean’s best eco-destinations. In fact Natural History Magazine picks it as one of the top 50 eco-tourism destinations in the...

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Old and New
Sep12

Old and New

Though no ceremony is so steeped in mythology, tradition or superstition as a wedding, and no wedding-related accoutrement has the particular significance of a ring, I had to wrack my brain for pertinent references to wedding rings. The examples I came up with at first were clever but withering–they deflated, negated and detracted from all the whimsy and sentimentality and charm, all the romance of weddings and wedding rings....

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When Worlds Collide
Sep12

When Worlds Collide

The union of two people has been a universal tradition dating back tens of thousands of years—we have always been a race that accomplishes the most through compromise and cooperation, though these things are never easy. Still, every day multitudes of us choose to spend our lives officially bonded to another, and around the globe ceremonies of every variety bring meaning and festivity to the observance of marriage. Some are...

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Brides in Party Hats
Sep12

Brides in Party Hats

The rehearsal dinner scene is often pretty stale, an affair, perhaps, staged in some long-lost hotel “function room.” The family members file in, grab plates and head to a steaming side table full of chicken with the texture of hockey pucks, fainting green beans and questionable potatoes. It’s a rough backdrop for the true business of a rehearsal dinner—the coming together of families, the roasting and toasting...

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Mastering the Toast
Jan10

Mastering the Toast

In the movies, the debonair leading man pulls a bon mot out of the air with a wide grin, demonstrating his good breeding and social grace. The girls swoon as his words hang in the air. But one need not be Fred Astaire to deliver a festive toast. Toasts, memorable celebratory lines that convey friendship and humor, can turn a party into something fun, bawdy or even touching. Toasts, of course, are a fairly essential part of the whole...

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Magical Memories

Amy & Danielle Clough The limo broke down, it poured rain, the photographer ripped the train on Danielle’s dress, but none of that mattered. The skies cleared, our family and friends wept with joy and a rainbow appeared. We were married. Margaret Rooks & Jeremy Smith For us, the whole day felt like a memorable moment! We appeared, reveled with friends and family, and then disappeared with the memory. Kelsey Flynn...

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Wine for the Big Day
Jul22

Wine for the Big Day

Caterers and wedding halls normally offer limited (and average) wine selections, so as you plan the most memorable reception you will probably ever give, your best move is to inquire about outside purchasing. Since you'll be buying in bulk, bringing in your own wine can represent a significant price savings. Although it might incur a dreaded "corkage fee," weigh the difference in cost as well as enjoyment. Remember,...

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The Kilted Groom
Jul22

The Kilted Groom

It’s called the sgian dhub. That’s the knife you stick in your sock. Of the wedding photos, that’s the one that makes young boys, otherwise bored with the whole ordeal, stop and stare. Yeah, yeah, yeah, men in skirts—but once you throw a knife in there, the appeal of wearing a kilt sinks in at that primal boy level. Our photographer, Paul Franz, snapped the shot while I was putting the knife back in my sock...

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Complacencies of the Peignoir

That somewhat reluctant, terse sensualist William Carlos Williams wrote a coyly eroticized poem in 1917 entitled “The Young Housewife.”  In the poem, Williams hints at his attraction or infatuation with the eponymous housewife by cataloging her lingerie: he imagines that she “moves about in negligee;” later she is “shy, uncorseted.”  The poet’s catalog of his inspiration’s...

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The Complacencies of the Peignoir
Jul22

The Complacencies of the Peignoir

That somewhat reluctant, terse sensualist William Carlos Williams wrote a coyly eroticized poem in 1917 entitled “The Young Housewife.”  In the poem, Williams hints at his attraction or infatuation with the eponymous housewife by cataloging her lingerie: he imagines that she “moves about in negligee;” later she is “shy, uncorseted.”  The poet’s catalog of his inspiration’s...

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Happily Ever After
Sep05

Happily Ever After

“You’re not really going to write about this, are you?”   The look of concern etched across my wife’s face took me by surprise, although it probably shouldn’t have. I’ve known Barbara more than half my life, so I should have known that this was one assignment she was going to be a little dubious about. After all, it’s not every day that a husband comes home and announces to his wife that...

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(Not) the Chapel of Love, Exactly
Sep05

(Not) the Chapel of Love, Exactly

I have one of those childhood memories that may or may not be true, about something that occurred (if it actually did) at a wedding my family attended when I was six or seven. The ceremony took place in a park. All I remember was that when  it ended, everyone let go of purple balloons at once. Watching those translucent globes float away was magical. The chance to create a moment like that seemed the real reason why people had...

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Magical Memories
Sep05

Magical Memories

Our wedding was a magical evening—truly “us,” from start to finish. Held at Blossoming Acres Farm and Bakery, Southwick, where I had worked for years, the greenhouse ceremony was officiated by my uncle and followed by the reception in the bakery. The owner, a few friends and I spent a month decorating the entire place. Jon’s aunt performed the song she sang at his parent’s wedding just two days shy of...

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Instead of Vegas
Sep05

Instead of Vegas

I was told to dress semi-casually and in any color except black. So at eight a.m. on the Fourth of July, while my friends and co-workers prepared to celebrate the nation’s independence, I donned a turquoise dress and red heels and prepared to celebrate Cambodian and Puerto Rican cultures. With my faithful photographer, Colleen Lennon, I headed to the Poy family house in Easthampton, where Sakhon Poy was slated to wed her...

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Piece of Cake
Sep05

Piece of Cake

James Thurber once quipped, “The most dangerous food is wedding cake.” Notwithstanding the famed humorist’s insight to the perils of marriage, here are some random bits of advice to keep you clear of danger when ordering a wedding cake for your big day, as well as photos of some of the stunning cakes that Dani. Fine Photography has come across while shooting recent weddings in the Pioneer Valley.Wedding cake bakeries...

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The Religious Path
Sep05

The Religious Path

Anyone who is not conducting a prolonged, ascetic lifestyle experiment has probably had ample opportunity to observe the media blitz surrounding modern weddings. There are the bridal magazines that are so advertisement-laden they’re longer than Moby Dick. And then there are wedding-related television programs with titles that say it all: Platinum Weddings, My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding, Celebrity Weddings. And though the lavish...

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White Wedding
Jan08

White Wedding

As I researched "alternative" weddings—including ceremonies that don't take place in the summer—I began to warm to the idea of having a wedding when it's cold outside, at the time of year most people planning weddings don't give a second thought to. What I discovered is that having a "winter wedding" is quite different than simply having a wedding in the winter. A winter wedding incorporates...

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Magical Wedding Memories: Jenn & Kevin
Jan08

Magical Wedding Memories: Jenn & Kevin

On November 8, 2008 we were married at the Delaney House in Holyoke. During our ceremony we had planned to read vows that we had written to one another. It was my turn to read what I had written first. I took out my piece of paper. My vows were typed on a full sheet of paper, double-spaced so I wouldn't lose my place when I read them out loud. When it was Kevin's turn, he took out a two-inch strip of paper containing his vows....

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I Do: Wedding Ideas
Jan08

I Do: Wedding Ideas

Chocolate Basketby Atkins Farms This heavenly cherub needs help eating all the chocolate goodies in this beautiful gold and blue chocolate basket filled with a gourmet chocolate bar, chocolate lava cake mix, Atkins chocolate fudge, Ghirardelli chocolate coffee, chocolate-drizzled popcorn, chocolate coffee spoons, cocoa amore, chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered cherry cordials, hot fudge sauce, Atkins' own chocolate-covered...

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Magical Wedding Memories: Jamie Berger and Anja Schultz
Jan08

Magical Wedding Memories: Jamie Berger and Anja Schultz

We actually had two special days half a year apart. Eloping was a spontaneous decision—we got hitched a couple weeks later. It was Martin Luther King Day and Greenfield Town Hall was closed, so we found ourselves getting married in the house of a local justice of the peace, Debbie. Our friend Jason attended, thinking he was meeting us to move a couch, bottle of Tylenol in hand to ease a sore back. When he got there we told him...

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Wedding Checklist
Jan08

Wedding Checklist

The question has been popped and now it's time to start planning for your big day. Here's a month-by-month checklist to help you create the wedding you want. Ten to twelve months before – Discuss wedding budget – Announce engagement – Decide wedding date – Decide on wedding gown and accessories – Create guest list – Book wedding/reception location and determine wedding theme – Choose...

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Bliss on a Budget
Jan08

Bliss on a Budget

Occasionally I fantasize about getting married. Not being married, just getting married. Will I have a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas? Will I get hitched at the top of Mount Washington and be spirited away with my beau by helicopter? Perhaps I'll exchange vows on the deck of the Solway Lass, surrounded by 500 of my closest friends and family, as it leaves Boston Harbor for Sydney Harbor. Then I remember. I'm broke....

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A Good Time Was Had by All
Jan08

A Good Time Was Had by All

I've been to many, many weddings over the years. A few were lavish affairs, and a few were done on the cheap—the cheapest being my own, no doubt. Most were somewhere in the middle in terms of cost and high spectacle, though hardly less memorable for it. Some of those weddings went off without a single hitch, but not many. A few were logistical train wrecks where nothing went right. Again, most were middle-of-the-road, well...

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Picture This
Jan08

Picture This

Her Story Well, after being together for almost five years and expecting a proposal all summer long, I came to terms with the fact that this was how it was going to be. I would be attending friends' weddings, knowing I too had put in my time, but "sans ring." This was okay, though; we were happy and busy, with him working on an economics Ph.D. and me making a mad dash trying to finish grad school. We had even flipped a...

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Magical Memories
Jan08

Magical Memories

TJThe most memorable moment for me was when Megan walked down the aisle. She was so beautiful! Everything all became real at that moment; it was the happiest day of my life. MeganThe most magical moment for me was waiting in the limo outside of the church. The bagpipes were playing and I was with my mom and my closest friends. It was the most amazing feeling knowing that I was about to marry my best friend and I was surrounded with...

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In The Middle Of A Celebration
Sep03

In The Middle Of A Celebration

In the summer of 2003, photographer Sandra Costello married her partner in a ceremony on Cape Cod. Costello describes her wedding as "an emotional, exciting roller coaster bringing our families and friends together for what would be the first gay wedding for many. Our wedding day was a profound experience. I was extremely moved by the support from our family and friends and the significance of the act itself." Over time,...

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How I Married My Sister
Sep03

How I Married My Sister

I married my sister, and I highly recommend that others do the same—and not just because of the jokes one gets to make about the subject. I had the recent honor of being asked by my sister and her then-fianc? to officiate at their upcoming wedding. I can't say precisely what motivated them to make such a request of someone with a mortal fear of public speaking and the stage presence of Timothy Geithner, but so flattered was...

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