Guide for Brides & Grooms


Love is on the air

By Elsie Lynn
The Essex Reporter
Laura Kelsh and Frank Catoe

Laura Kelsh and Frank Catoe

On a day home from work, Laura Kelsh was tending to her sick dog and listening to the radio. Star 92.9 was advertising their “Love Is Live, On The Air” free wedding giveaway. Kelsh applied that day.

She was later notified that she and her fiancé Frank Catoe were in the top five, and they had five days to lock in the most votes.

“It was five days of serious voting and networking,” Kelsh said in a recent interview. “We had people all the way from India voting for us.”

With over 1,800 votes, the Essex couple took the cake — and all the other wedding amenities too — on Jan. 20. Included in their winnings are the following services:

  • Dresses and tuxedos provided by Laura’s Bridal and College Formals, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Honeymoon provided by Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, Stowe
  • Brunch buffet reception provided by: Hampton Inn, Colchester
    Photography services provided by David Eaton Photography, Colchester
  • Wedding bands provided by Kneucraft Fine Jewelry and Design, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Facial provided by Lori Barlow – Aesthetician, Lumina Med Spa, South Burlington
  • Genesis laser treatment provided by Dr. Nancy Carlson, Lumina Med Spa, South Burlington
  • Hair, nails and make-up provided by O’Briens Aveda Salon, South Burlington
  • Car service provided by Classic Limo, Shelburne
  • Cake provided by Stacey Cakes, South Burlington
  • Flowers provided by Village Green Florist, Essex Junction
  • Favors provided by Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington
  • Officiant services provided by Kathryn Blume, Vermont Wedding Officiant, Charlotte

“We are incredibly lucky to win this and to be able to have a wedding for free,” said Kelsh. “Everybody came out of the woodwork to support us it’s really amazing.”

The couple will take their vows at 8 a.m. this Valentine’s Day — exactly one year after they were engaged — live on Star 92.9.

As a part time nurse at Fletcher Allen Health Care and a full time student in the adult nurse practitioner program, Kelsh and Catoe, who works as a welder for Land Air Express, would not have been able to afford this celebration.

“We’d like to thank Star 92.9 for this opportunity,” Kelsh said. “It’s unbelievable!”



Wedding Robin & Jeremy

Clark and Bev Doney, of Essex, announce the marriage of their daughter Robin Renae Doney to Jeremy Lee Hauret, son of Sheri Hauret of Downey, Calif. Robin is a graduate of Essex High School and Brigham Young University-Idaho. Jeremy is currently as student at Brigham Young University in Idaho. The couple married in the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Dec. 28, 2013. They currently reside in Rexburg, Idaho.















Save-the-date card etiquette

More and more couples planning to walk down the aisle are embracing save-the-date cards to give guests adequate notice that there is a party on the horizon.

Save-the-date cards do more than let guests know when you’re getting hitched. The cards are a preliminary way to keep guests informed and let them know they are, in fact, on the guest list. These cards haven’t always been so popular, but have risen in popularity due to longer engagement periods, a growing number of destination weddings and the growing number of couples with guests from all over the country, if not the world. Considering people often plan business trips, vacations and other excursions several months in advance, save-the-date cards help secure a greater number of attendees at your wedding.

Save-the-date announcements can vary in many ways. They may be postcards or magnets that can be attached to a refrigerator door. If you desire a cohesive theme to your wedding stationery, select the save-the-date cards at the same time you choose your wedding invitations. This way you can ensure that the patterns, fonts, colors, or style of the cards will match. It will also help convey the tone of the wedding. Guests often take their cues regarding the level of formality of the wedding from the type of stationery couples choose.

When to send out the save-the-date announcements is important as well. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to mail out the cards six months in advance for a standard wedding. If the wedding requires travel or extended overnight accommodations, you may want to mail them out eight months to a year in advance to give guests the time to investigate flight costs and hotel arrangements. A wedding also may necessitate planning a vacation or personal time off from work. Therefore, ample advanced notice is advisable.

Be sure to make your guest list in advance of sending out save-the-date cards. Everyone

who receives a card should also be sent an invitation prior to the wedding. Remember to include any members of your planned wedding party in the list of recipients. Just because a person has verbally confirmed attendance at your wedding doesn’t mean they should be excluded from subsequent announcements. Guests may talk to one another and it is best to avoid hurt feelings and any added drama before the wedding by treating everyone equally.

Be sure to include the wedding date, your names and the location of the wedding on the save-the-date cards. You do not need to offer RSVP information or detailed specifics at this time. You may want to include a website URL on the card so guests can check it frequently for updates on wedding information. Be sure to also include that a formal invitation will follow at a later date. You do not want to cause confusion by having guests think that the save-the-date card is the actual invitation. Also, make sure you address the save-the-date cards correctly to show your intentions with respect to guest invites. For example, be clear about whether children will be invited and whether a boyfriend/girlfriend or another guest can tag along.

Although save-the-date cards are not a necessity, they have become a popular part of wedding planning to eliminate confusion about invitations as well as help guests plan time off for your wedding.


Popping the question? Simple tips so she’ll say ‘yes’

According to David Tutera, wedding guru and party-planning expert, “Men should propose with personality, making it echo something meaningful to your relationship with one another and do it in a place that highlights your love story.” That certainly sounds like good advice. But while women seem to have the knack for conjuring up perfect wedding-related ideas, men tend to be a bit clueless on the subject.

Naturally, the first element involved with a proposal is buying an engagement ring. “This is not just any ring … it is ‘the’ ring that she’ll cherish for the rest of her life, and may possibly pass down to her children in the future,” says Tutera.

When selecting a setting, experts including Tutera and Jewelry Expert, Michael O’Connor recommend putting some thought into a design that is classic because this will be a ring that she will cherish through the ages.

“Choose a setting that truly reflects how you feel about your partner,” says Tutera.

Although the ring is a very important component of the entire proposal, make it memorable. “How did he propose?” is often the first question her girlfriends will ask once she has gotten engaged.

Whether taking place at the beach or a page right out of a fairytale, many women dream of a memorable proposal.

There are many other proposal ideas that can secure this special moment. Consider these tips, courtesy of O’Connor.

  • Make it personal. Propose at a place that has great meaning for your relationship — where you first met, or the place where you first said “I love you.” Think about the romantic places you have visited together that can serve as the perfect backdrop for a proposal.
  • Think back to all of those chick flicks you were persuaded into watching. Was there a proposal scene that she gushed about or another movie moment that stood out? Consider recreating that feeling in the proposal. If need be, man up and re-watch her favorite movies for ideas.
  • Consider spontaneity. Simply scratch, “Will you marry me” in the sand while walking on the beach and hand her the ring in a seashell.
  • Do it the old fashioned, and tried-and-true way. Bend down on one knee with a rose and ring in hand.

“Remember, the proposal and engagement doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable. Simply keep in mind the personality and likes of the bride-to-be and chances are she’ll jump to say, ‘yes,’” says O’Connor. He adds, “Almost every quality jewelry designer creates rings in platinum, some even starting at under $1,000, making it easy to find something that will work with her style and fit within almost every budget.”

Make guests feel special with these extra touches

Wedding Popping the questionWedding receptions run the gamut from small, intimate gatherings in a restaurant to large spectacles featuring hundreds of guests inside a banquet hall. At the heart of any wedding reception is the desire to present a memorable party for all in attendance. That being said, there are some steps couples can take to add extra indulgence to wedding receptions and really set them apart from the mundane.

With the average cost of weddings now teetering around $28,000, couples certainly are pulling out expensive stops to treat guests to a good party. Although some may argue that spending tens of thousands of dollars on a one-time event is preposterous, there are scores of couples who want to splurge on an event that (hopefully) will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. With this in mind, many want to add special touches to the wedding that will show guests how much they are appreciated and to make their celebration different from previous weddings. Here are some ways to do just that.

  • Butler-passed hors d’oeuvres: During the cocktail hour guests are mingling and taking advantage of the opportunity to engage in conversation. This may be the last real opportunity to chat amongst one another before the volume of the band or deejay drowns out discussions. Rather than disrupt the flow of conversation to make a trip to the food stations, choose butler-passed hors d’oeuvres to bring food right to the guests. It lends a feeling of indulgence and is also a convenient way to keep guests satiated.
  • Valet parking: Most wedding venues provide on-site valet parking. However, if you’re using a restaurant or banquet hall that does not provide this service, you can hire a valet company to do the parking for guests. While you will be whisked to and fro in the back of a limousine, guests will have to do their own driving. Being able to exit the car right in front of the venue and not worry about finding a parking space will be convenient for guests.
  • Emergency toiletries baskets: Rather than spending money on an extra floral arrangement for the men’s and women’s restrooms, purchase items that can be grouped into a handy basket. For women, include items such as extra pairs of stockings, spray deodorant, sanitary items, and sewing kits. For men, mints or mouthwash, dental floss, cologne, and stain removal pens may come in handy. In the event that a minor mishap occurs during the wedding, guests will have items at their disposal to remedy it.
  • Specialty courses: In addition to the cocktail hour and the main meal, you may be able to arrange specialty stations for guests with particular palates or interests. Some couples like to have a cigar smoking area or you can offer specialty cocktails. When ethnic customs are included in a wedding, menu items can be geared around native dishes. Candy and dessert bars are also popular to have at weddings, particularly if children are invited. A flambé dessert presentation is both a spectacle and a treat.
  • Overnight accommodations: For the wedding that will run into the wee hours of the morning, offer guests a place to stay nearby to remove the hassle of driving home at a late hour. Some reception halls have arrangements with nearby hotels. For those that don’t, negotiate a discounted rate for wedding guests. Many do and will set aside a block of rooms for your event with a discount code. You may want to treat guests who choose to stay over to a complementary breakfast the next day as one final show of appreciation.
  • Special seating: Guests who may have mobility issues or difficulty hearing may appreciate being seated in certain spots for convenience. Seat the elderly or handicapped close to the exits and the restrooms if possible. When choosing a reception room, confirm the distance to the restrooms to make it convenient for those who may not be able to walk far. Those who may be sensitive to the music can be seated away from the speakers. And of course, every attempt should be made to seat individuals who may have conflicts with others away from one another.
  • Birthday and anniversary mentions: You can notify the band or deejay of any guests in attendance who may be celebrating their own special events on your wedding day or in close proximity.

I do — again!

Vow renewals growing in popularity

By Alicia Rancilio
Associated Press


Weddings writing vowsWhen Letty Abraham of Sylvan Lake, Mich., married her husband, Mark, almost 22 years ago, she was determined not to make a fuss.

It was her second marriage and she didn’t want to go overboard.

“I had a big wedding the first time … My second wedding I was over that, and I wanted it more small and intimate. We got married in Las Vegas. We had family and friends there but it wasn’t a really big deal,” she said.

Still, it was important to the couple to make their union special, so they made a plan early on to renew their vows.

Fast forward 10 years, and they were saying “I still do” on a trip to Maui, Hawaii. At that ceremony, Abraham let herself cry. She and her husband were so happy with their second wedding to each other that they decided to do it again at the 15-year mark as well.

“We’ll probably do it again at 25,” she laughed.

Recommitting to a relationship through vow renewals is becoming more popular, said Susan Southerland, president of Just Marry!, Inc. wedding planners in Orlando, Fla.

“In the last three to five years they’ve become extremely popular. We’ve always done one or two throughout the year, but all of a sudden it’s become a huge request.”

For one thing, it’s a great way to reconnect.

Kathryn Quinn of East Lansing, Mich., is approaching her 11-year anniversary. She and her husband recently renewed their vows on a trip to the Virgin Islands. They traveled with three other couples and all four renewed their vows on the beach on Valentine’s Day.

“I’m so glad we did it,” she said. “This was our first trip away from our children. It was at a beautiful location. The vow renewal was meaningful, and gave us a chance away from our daily life to really celebrate our time together and be grateful for our relationship.”

Sometimes, a vow renewal is not only a reminder of how far a couple has come but a memory to cherish.

Winifred “Wini” Brunston of Lancaster, Calif., lost her husband last year. She enjoys looking back to their 35th anniversary, in 2004, when they renewed their vows in the same small church where they got married. The same couple who stood up with them back then resumed their duties.

Brunston feels marriage vows mean more over the years because “after being together after all that time you really know each other,” and “it lets the spouse know you still love them enough to marry them again.”

Anja Winikka, editor of the wedding website, believes one reason for the spike of interest in vow renewals is that some celebrity couples have done it.

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott filmed their vow renewal for their reality TV show. Holly Robinson Peete tweeted photos after she and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete recently celebrated their 17-year anniversary by renewing their vows on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon are the most consistent; they renew their vows every year.

“You hear about it, and just like any trends in the wedding industry and in decor and fashion, celebrities certainly do influence us in that way,” says Winikka.

Southerland says she recently helped a couple who renew their vows every year. “It’s always a surprise, and the husband plans it,” she said.

Whether you renew your vows annually or just once, in a small ceremony or as part of a vacation, the cost of saying “I do — again” can vary.

“You can do something that’s very simple, that’s just the husband and wife standing up with a photographer, and that can be less than $1,000. Or you can do something where you’ve invited a bunch of people. I’ve had people spend upwards of 50 or 60 thousand,” Southerland said.

And even a do-over bride can turn into a Bridezilla, she says.

“That still is personality-driven, which kind of makes me chuckle,” she said. “I’m thinking, ‘Wow, you’ve known this guy for a long time. What’s there to be nervous about? So what if a flower falls off an arch?’ Others are more laidback. But you still have some very nervous brides.”