Here comes the bride

Wedding planning advice from local brides and experts


Gorgeous June wedding: the result of January planning

Gorgeous June wedding: the result of January planning

Congratulations — you are engaged! Each year over 2 million couples get married in the United States, so it is no wonder that thousands of bridal fairs, web sites, magazines and books are dedicated to help newly engaged couples navigate the adventures of wedding planning. SPLURGE! has collected ideas from local merchants and brides to help make your wedding memorable.

Getting organized

Local bride, Taylor (Funk) Gould shared a key piece of advice a few days before her December wedding, “Start planning early and make some of the big decisions right when you get engaged.”

These decisions include setting the budget, selecting a date and venue for the wedding and reception. It is also a good idea to book key vendors as soon as possible and finalize the details closer to the wedding date. When people get overwhelmed, they tend to put things off and that is why many brides procrastinate.

Taylor, an organized and detail-oriented bride, was surprised by all of the little details that needed attention during the week before her wedding day. She was thankful for the work she did ahead of time. She said it is important to accept helpful offers from friends and family by giving them specific duties. Providing a detailed schedule, complete with directions for each member of the bridal party, family and vendors will help to get everyone to the church on time.

Angel McGhee with Thirty-One Gifts suggests that a practical and fashionable gift for someone who is newly engaged is a customized organizational tote. The bride can keep all of her wedding planning materials in one place. It is portable, stylish and looks much better than a plastic tub.

Down to the details

Next to choosing their wedding gown much of the brides’ efforts are put toward planning the reception. During the wedding celebration couples focus on entertaining and honoring their guests and most events include a meal at the reception.

One of the area’s most popular wedding venues is the patio at Terradyne Country Club overlooking the rolling Scottishstyle links course. The clubhouse is a majestic architectural backdrop and paired with the exceptional quality and tradition of the Hereford House, Terradyne offers couples all the amenities needed on their wedding day. Groups of 250 guests or fewer can be accommodated on the patio. Events with up to 300 guests often select the “Prime Room” banquet hall on the lower level.

In the heart of the Midwest, steak is the most common entree served at dinner receptions noted Mike Issa, Owner of Hereford House, but their menu is extensive. Grilled chicken, vegetarian and fish dishes are also popular.

Larkspur Bistro & Bar has built their reputation for having an inventive menu and comfortable yet classy atmosphere. Larkspur can accommodate small receptions, wedding parties and rehearsal dinners in the private banquet room for groups with 80 guests or fewer. The iconic patio at Larkspur is a popular location to rent for small private parties. The Old Town location is ideal for out-of-town guests who wish to explore Wichita’s night life.

At the center of the reception is the wedding cake. Couples expect their cake to be a show-stopper and also taste delicious. Offering 28 made-from-scratch flavors Monica’s Bundt Cake creates cakes for any occasion - bundts, 3-dimensional cakes, cupcakes, tiered cakes - you name it. Owner, Susy Ellis said, “Our artists can create anything a bride envisions.” Monica’s signature sweet cream frosting makes these cakes extra special. Couples will also find a variety of elegant cake stands, linen rentals, light and balloon decor available at Monica’s for their convenience.

Details set the mood

Details set the mood

In addition to the wedding cake, many couples offer a selection of desserts to please any sweet tooth. Owner of The Chocolate Fountain Event Rental, Kimberly Daley says her most popular rental item is the two-color cascading chocolate fountain — a perfect “marriage” of decadent white chocolate on one side and dark chocolate on the other. Kimberly can even custom tint the chocolate to coordinate with the wedding motif. “Candy buffets are very popular at receptions right now,” noted Kimberly. “We have been providing them for showers and parties too.”

Another important detail to take into account when planning a wedding reception is the amount and variety of beverages that will be served to guests. A gourmet coffee and cocoa station is appreciated by guests attending fall and winter events. The Chocolate Fountain Event Rental reports there is a high demand for their elegant beverage fountain. Champagne, punch or even water can be served from the multi-level fountain with custom lighting and a floral topper. Offering a specialty beverage is a thoughtful addition or alternative to the open bar concept.

The personal touch

A bride dedicates much effort into personalizing her wedding day. She has carefully selected her bridesmaids who will stand beside her. A perfect way to honor their special relationship and to thank them for their support is with a personalized gift.

A unique opportunity for brides to stretch their budget is by hosting a Thirty-One Gifts party. From stylish totes and purses to organizational items, Angel McGhee said the products are a great value and so desirable that many brides begin selling Thirty-One to earn extra money for their wedding.

A self declared “chick boutique” the Pink Boa in Andover has an eclectic assortment of gifts, tee-shirts and jewelry. They have funky and fun gifts specifically for brides and bachelorettes. Brides-to-be, friends of brides — Pink Boa is a must stop.

Creating lasting memories

Photographs are a forever reminder of your wedding day. Brides take great care in selecting a professional photographer to capture the celebration. Another way brides create a lasting memory is by preserving the wedding bouquet. Historically, the fresh flowers selected by the bride on her wedding day symbolize her youth and fertility. The bridal picture is simply not complete without a lush bouquet and it is possible to preserve these flowers in their natural shape and color as a keepsake.

Jana Northcutt at Floral Preservation by Granny Square instructs brides to bring their bouquet to her as soon as possible for best results. Bouquets can be crafted into a shadow box with other wedding mementos or preserved under a glass dome. “Many couples are including fresh flowers on their wedding cakes and preserving the flowers along with the cake topper,” said Jana. Shadow box collections including preserved flowers are cherished and personal thank-you gifts for the parents of the bride and groom.

Advice from Taylor, our recent bride, will not cost couples a penny. She encourages brides-to-be to prioritize the relationship with their fiancee. “It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding planning and lose sight of what is most important — the marriage,” reminds Taylor. “Enjoy every minute of your engagement and of the goes so fast.”

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