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Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy the Wedding Fair

You’re getting married! Pretty soon you’ll be Mr. and Mrs. living “happily ever after.” But before you exchange vows and cut the wedding cake, you need to make some planning decisions that will set the tone of your big day.

First and foremost, you need to estimate how many guests you’d like to invite. Do you want an elaborate bash with all of your friends or an intimate wedding with less than 50 guests? Do you want a casual wedding or a formal affair? The size of your guest list and type of wedding you envision will help determine the size of your budget.

Once you’ve established a budget, you can begin looking at venues, since that’s where the majority of your wedding day dollars will go. This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choosing a venue is—quite possibly—one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make. You’ll spend most of your wedding day here, so it’s vital that the venue is exactly what you want.

If you’re looking to make a statement with a classic, elegant venue, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at The Saint Paul Hotel. A local landmark since 1910, The Saint Paul Hotel has a reputation for sophistication and style.

“We create a fairytale for each couple,” says Terrie Bulanek, director of catering. When the bride and groom arrive, they’re greeted in a formal fashion with personal assistance, from the top hat doorman to the wedding coordinator. For the rest of the day, the couple is treated like royalty. From the talented, experienced support staff, to the rich ivory linens and beautiful china, glass, silver, and crystal, to specialty décor items such as ceiling drapes, backdrops, and candles, everything at the hotel is chic and classy.

In addition to choosing the perfect venue that “speaks to the couple,” some brides and grooms are going a step further by creating a wedding day theme that blends tradition with their very own unique style.

“Developing a theme wedding is like looking at a blank canvass, the sky is the limit,” says Wedding Guy Bruce Vassar. “The main point is to focus on the overall picture and make sure that everything works cohesively.”

Quality lighting can change the ambiance of your environment, create a desired mood, and add personality to a room with the simple flick of a switch. Consider adding table and floor lamps to your venue, adding shades to the wall sconces (if allowed), and replacing harsh light bulbs with soft lighting. Don’t think a space is fully furnished as is. If you want to add certain props to the foyer or cocktail area, go for it. Your wedding is your very own one-of-a-kind, unique party.

At Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing, many couples choose a tropical-themed island wedding. Whether getting married in a banquet room inside, outside on the grassy lawn, or afloat on the 150-passenger “Spirit of the St. Croix” two-story cruise liner, the atmosphere at Treasure Island is unique. Inside the hotel’s entry, there’s a waterfall, rock pool, and a pair of large tropical fish aquariums to set a tropical tone. The restaurant area resembles a Caribbean village, and the hotel rooms are Caribbean-themed. Many brides and grooms (regardless if they’re going with a tropical theme) like to have their wedding photos taken by the waterfall-filled tropical pool area. Treasure Island is a great year-round venue.

Minnesotans love the tropics almost as much as they love the water, and what better place to exchange vows than on a boat? Cruises aboard Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines, located in the charming town of Afton on the beautiful St. Croix River, are available from April through October. After celebrating on the river, many couples (and up to 130 guests) prefer to stay overnight at the Historic Afton House Inn. Everything is in one location—no driving necessary once guests arrive for the ceremony—making it convenient for out-of-town guests.

Themes are just as popular on the water as they are on the land, says Dan Jarvis, vice president of the inn. He has seen Hawaiian and treasure chest themes to go along with the river ride, and popular centerpieces, also going along with the river theme, tend to be fish bowls, he says. Bowls of goldfish, he points out, are “simple and cost effective.” He has also noticed a popular color theme of brown, pink, and baby blue emerging in recent months.

Marcia Seebart, owner of 490 Summit, agrees that brown and blue is “really popular” as a modern wedding day color theme.

“Every couple tries to do something to personalize their style,” she says. “And carrying a color throughout [the wedding] is an easy way to do that.”

Besides adding splashes of color, not much needs to be done to add to the charm of 490 Summit, a gorgeous Victorian mansion in the heart of St. Paul’s beautiful Summit Avenue neighborhood. Couples have been married in the library or outside on the manicured lawn, then continuing the party in the expansive ballroom during the reception.

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

“Brides and grooms—and their guests—just love the atmosphere of 490 Summit,” Seebart says. “It’s intimate, elegant, and affordable, and a great alternative to a large banquet room.”

Built in 1883, the mansion is rich with details of the past. The warm and welcoming atmosphere includes a paneled library, ornate hand-carved staircase, charming dressing area (bride’s room), and five dining rooms. The mansion can accommodate up to 250 guests, and can be as formal or as casual as the couple wants it to be.

490 Summit welcomes both reception and/or rehearsal dinners.

Yet another reminder of how life used to be, the University Club of St. Paul, offers historic facilities brimming with personality and architectural impact. Whether it’s the regal Summit Avenue Clubhouse, refined Downtown St. Paul Clubhouse, The Commodore Hotel, or Stout’s Island Lodge, the beautiful facilities—all built prior to 1920—offer “the mindset of a bygone era in very romantic settings,” says Judith Keough, The University Club’s director of catering.

From exceptional service to incredible food, “we’re good at what we do,” Keough says. “We will customize menus for any taste. We don’t serve typical ‘banquet’ food.”

A different option from the usual restaurant or home setting, couples can also celebrate memorable wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, and anniversary parties at the University Club of St. Paul.

The Depot, in downtown Minneapolis built as a railroad station over a century ago, is a unique complex accommodating up to 1,500 guests for a wedding. The Depot offers four types of lodging, an indoor water park, a seasonal indoor skating rink, and close proximity to the Mississippi River. The Historic Depot includes an outdoor pavilion, an open atrium, and the marvelous Great Hall Ballroom, featuring ceilings 33 feet high, marble floors, large arched windows, and chandeliers from the original depot building.

Located along the south shore of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, The Wabasha Street Caves offer a fascinating and mysterious setting for a wedding. After all, where else can you get married in a sandstone cave that’s been home to a mushroom farm, mobsters, and speakeasies? The Caves 12,000-square-feet of space is tastefully finished with brick walls, stucco ceilings, a carpeted dining space, and beautiful tile floors in the cocktail area. There is a theatrical stage, large hardwood dance floor, plenty of dining and mingling space, and a 60 foot bar.

At Solera, a restaurant located in the heart of Minneapolis’ historic theater district, your guests will enjoy a lively Spanish-influenced atmosphere. In order to explore the flavors and culture of Spain, small plates and tapas are offered on the menu. Contemporary mosaics and floating light sculptures, combined with a courteous, attentive staff, make Solera an excellent choice for weddings and celebrations.

“We’re a unique facility, with a colorful atmosphere, and that’s what people are looking for now,” says Dale Hanson, catering sales manager.

The patio at Solera can seat up to 125, and the indoor facility can accommodate up to 225.

Destination weddings are always in vogue, from beach weddings in Hawaii, Mexico, and Jamaica, to weddings just a few hours from home on the scenic North Shore.

At Superior Shores Resort and Conference Center in Two Harbors, the location on Lake Superior is only part of the resort’s popularity. Warm, friendly service (the staff at Superior Shores excel at what they do, and arranging out-of-town weddings is their specialty), wonderful full-service catering, and a variety of venue options make Superior Shores a hot spot for saying “I do.”

Couples can either get married outdoors on the pebble beach or indoors in the Split Rock, Tettagouche, or Gooseberry Rooms, all located lakeside. The three rooms can be combined to accommodate groups of 250 or more. Immediately outside the banquet room is a patio, perfect for cocktails or hors d’ouevres following the ceremony.

Not only are the views fantastic at Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay, the lodge is also romantic, quiet, and secluded—providing all the right ingredients for a small, intimate wedding.

Some couples are married in front of the Great Hall fireplace; others choose to get married outside on the lakeside lawn, on the point, or at Split Rock Lighthouse. Wedding season at the lodge is from December through May.

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

Honeymoons are also popular at Cove Point Lodge, with packages available throughout the year.

At Lutsen Resort and Sea Villas, a beautiful Scandinavian-style lodge on the shores of Lake Superior, the atmosphere is the perfect mix of casual comfort and rustic elegance. On-site wedding planners help make the day as stress-free as possible, and guests really love that they’re part of a weekend celebration.

“It’s like a mini vacation for everyone invited,” says Tina Connor, director of group sales. “[A destination wedding] gives families and friends a longer chance to visit with one another. You don’t always have that bonding time together at a hometown wedding.”

One of the most unique theme weddings at Lutsen Resort was a summer wedding with a morning ceremony and breakfast barbeque on the beach. As the guests were eating, the couple arranged it so two members of the Lutsen staff picked them up in a large voyager canoe. The couple got in the canoe, the staff took them out on Lake Superior where they waved goodbye with their paddles, and the guests walked down to the shoreline and sang, “Until we meet again.”

Connor says the couple then paddled around the bay, got out around the bend, and jumped in their vehicle and took off, “and that was their grand departure.”

Dream weddings are regularly held at Bluefin Bay in Tofte, a seaside resort on Lake Superior, 80 miles north of Duluth. Described by many as one of the most romantic resorts on the North Shore, Bluefin Bay is in a class of its own. Couples can unwind before the ceremony with a massage in the new wellness center, soak in the only year-round, outdoor pool and hot tub on Lake Superior, or go inside and fire up the double Jacuzzi, light the fireplace, and relax to the sound of crashing waves. In addition to being a popular wedding destination, Bluefin Bay holds a special place in many honeymooners’ hearts.  

In Bayfield, Wisconsin, wedding parties can experience the spectacular vistas of Lake Superior and charm of the Apostle Islands.

“Numerous unique locations meet the needs of the couple wanting to be married on Lake Superior’s shoreline: at the historic Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion, in a field of flowers with a reception in one of the Midwest’s most beautiful barns, on a chartered sailboat, or on a secluded island beach,” says Mary Motiff with the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce.

“The Bayfield community knows how to roll out the red carpet,” she says.

Located on Gull Lake, in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes area, Grand View Lodge is ideal for a weekend destination wedding. Recently named “One of the Top 40 Best Resorts of the Midwest,” there is a spa on-site, numerous golf courses in the area, 1,500 feet of natural sandy beach on Gull Lake, horseback riding, fishing, boating, and when the temperatures drop—an indoor pool and water slide, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Grand View Lodge’s accommodations range from townhomes to lakeside cottages to historic lodge rooms.

Brides and grooms choose to get married on the beautiful grounds or inside the Historic Grand View Lodge. After the ceremony, guests can proceed to the reception deck for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails followed by an evening of dining and dancing.

The reception hall can accommodate up to 300 people and is available year-round. A wedding coordinator and resort staff is at your service to help plan a wedding that you and your guests will never forget.

 

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

CAPTURING MOMENTS

There’s definitely a trend today toward photojournalism and black and white photography at weddings. Black and white photos convey more emotions and accentuate the essence of the subjects or objects being photographed, while color photographs capture the overall theme and feel of your wedding, like the decorations, the bridal party colors, and your flowers. If you are not sure whether or not you would like black and white photographs, have your photographer shoot everything in color and ask him or her to print some photos in black and white.

When it comes to theme weddings, make sure the photographer or videographer understands the vision of your day, says Wedding Guy Matthew Trettel.

“Make sure they’re aware of great photo or video opportunities,” he says. “Especially if you’re bringing in entertainment to thrill your guests.”

Brides and grooms choose Ellis Photography to capture their wedding day because of their roots in classic photography. Not only do the photographers understand how to work with the human form in various lighting situations, they also know how to keep the day spontaneous and fun for the couple. 

“In this time of exciting photographic advances, we have never lost sight of what’s important—capturing candid and classic images that truly reflect a couple’s unique day and relationship,” says Heather Northrup, a photographer with Ellis Photography.

The staff has photographed traditional Hmong weddings, the melding of a Scandinavian and Indian couple, and events where small details—such as the Wedding Lasso reflecting Mexican heritage—have been incorporated.

“Not only are traditions reflected in the wardrobe, but in the décor and party favors,” Northrup says.

At Videon Productions, Ken and Terri Kurita have over 20 years of experience creating hundreds of award-winning video stories for clients in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

“We gather life’s scrapbook of events through video footage, photographs, newspaper clippings, and testimonials and craft a story that is specifically built around you,” Ken explains. “An event, such as a wedding, is also about the most important people in your life, your family and friends. They have stories that have touched yours in important ways. We know how to blend their stories with yours to provide you with memories you will recall and feel forever.”

Every wedding is unique, Ken says, but some weddings are particularly unique. Some of their clients have been married in unusual settings such as farms, boats, parks, and baseball fields. Videon Productions has also had the opportunity to create stories based on cultures outside our borders, re-creating wedding stories based in Asian, African, Latin, and European traditions.

“Those differences are reflected in the music, dance, food, and ceremonial rites specific to those regions of the world,” he says. “Our different cultures help shape us as individuals. We want to help you celebrate and preserve the uniqueness of your wedding day.”

A MEMORABLE MEAL

“Whether you are trying to achieve an Asian theme with Asian cuisine, or a Southern or tropical theme, you don’t have to look at all aspects of the wedding breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner to be completely themed,” says Wedding Guy Bruce Vassar. “Perhaps you start with an Asian Chicken Salad served in white Chinese take-out containers or fried ice cream to embellish upon the wedding cake. Catering has become an art to showcase the sophisticated and creative palate of the couple.”

At Three Sons Signature Cuisine, “the ways in which brides and grooms incorporate themes vary as much as the couples themselves,” says Jodee McCallum, CEO, director of marketing.

Fun wedding ideas include designing signature cocktails that reflect the event’s overall theme, and creating a distinctive menu that will be remembered for decades to come.

“The most common thank you notes we receive refer to the food and our chef’s ability to make any vision a realty, whatever culture, style, or theme, and make the food taste wonderful,” McCallum comments. “We also receive many comments about how surprising it was to work with a team that brings out the creativity in everyone, and—while the thought of “designing” a menu can be overwhelming at first—our events team makes the process simple, memorable, and unique to each couple.”

The staff at Three Sons Signature Cuisine has designed 100 percent Indian menus, complete with exquisite, colorful décor and pillow seating; and worked with the following themes: Minnesota meets Britain—a merging of two cultures; and an Irish and Croatian celebration, (amongst many other cultural themes). McCallum also remembers a Christmas theme (complete with Santa and elves making a surprise visit), and a Parisian theme with an Eiffel tower and a flower garden.

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

FLOWERS AND DÉCOR

For many couples, flowers and décor are the key elements that pull details together and make the wedding cohesive and harmonious. When you design your wedding reception, you will begin to see how everything comes together, piece by piece. Color ties it all together.

“Color is like the paint in a picture,” says Wedding Guy Matthew Trettel. “When you start to bring in flowers and specialty linen and décor, you begin to see your vision come to life.”

Flowers can take your theme from classic to Asian, Russian to tropical. Linens and décor can add the finishing touches.

“Color helps to make people feel like they’re in Rome or living in the 1920s,” Trettel says. “It helps to drive the theme home.”

From elegant gold or mahogany chiavari ballroom chairs to 186 varieties of linens, the staff at AARCEE Party and Tent Rental has provided quality rental equipment to about every wedding theme imaginable—from grand fairytale weddings to Renaissance celebrations to casual outdoor weddings in Mom and Dad’s backyard.

Not only do they have a wide selection of everything from décor and props (think dramatic candelabras, beautiful display fountains, closed-top arbors, and neon trays) to 21 different types of tents, they have experienced professionals on hand to guide brides and grooms through the rental process.

They offer creative and innovative ideas that will make your event truly memorable.

“The fun part of being in this business is finding new ways of doing old things,” says Dick Nelson, AARCEE’s president. 

The staff prides themselves on quality products, superior service, and a 24-hour emergency response, should any problems arise on the big day.

Sarah Mettner, design manager at Midway Party and Tent Rental, Inc., says they’re seeing a rebirth of the “golden ages,” with color tones changing from the traditional pastels to new, vibrant colors such as oranges, fuscia, bright reds, lime green, and brown.

“The black and white “tuxedo” look seems to be making a comeback, too,” she comments.

They bring in new linen on a weekly basis and recently received a new line of centerpieces, Mettner says, adding that the employees at Midway Party and Tent Rental “like to be on our toes with the changing trends.”

Not only are tent weddings becoming more and more popular, Mettner says everyone wants to rent LCD projectors and sound equipment for a slide show presentation, “a great addition to any reception.”

In addition to offering canopies, tables, chairs, dance floors, stages, P.A. equipment, décor pieces (linens, chair covers, centerpieces, arches and candelabras), and ceiling and design treatments, this family-owned business will offer delivery and pick-up and exceptional customer service.

“Many of our clients have become much more than customers – they’re really friends of our family,” Mettner says. “I even had a few of them attend my own wedding!”

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

Another way couples are setting a tone for their big day is through the use of invitations.

Custom-designed shower invitations, wedding invitations, programs, table cards, menu cards, thank you cards, engraved napkins, matchbooks, and attendant gifts can be found at Sincerely Yours Printing, located in St. Paul. You’re only limited by your imagination—the combinations and possibilities are endless.

At Watermark Fine Stationery, themes are very common, says owner Alexis Gelder. “We have designed a traditional Indian invitation ensemble, complete with Mehndi invitations, and Garba and Raas invitations. We have worked with our graphic designer to create one-of-a-kind designs for couples to incorporate throughout the day on invitations, favors, the cake design, personalized napkins, menus, place cards, and programs. The design is subtle or bold, and used throughout the ceremony and reception.”

One bride loves the look of birch and is incorporating birch elements in unique ways, from a birch tree for a fun “guest book tree,” to birch place cards, birch in the centerpieces, birch tied around the napkins, and birch strands holding together the favor tags.

The expert team at Watermark understands etiquette, stays ahead of trends and styles, and offers selective lines, creative styles, and budgets to fit every bride and groom.

“Our team doesn’t rest until we have found the perfect invitation,” Gelder says.

The team at Watermark Fine Stationery develops such a strong rapport with many couples; Gelder says the newlyweds “will continue to come visit us long after the honeymoon stage is over.”

 

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

MUSIC

Say you have a favorite movie, such as  “The Sound of Music.” Could you imagine walking down the aisle to “The hills are alive with the sounds of music?” How emotional would that be?

“Anything is possible,” says Wedding Guy Matthew Trettel. “You just have to put yourself out in front of it all to experience it.”

The Rose Ensemble, an incredibly versatile vocal ensemble, can honor just about any music request possible. They have over 25 languages in their repertoire over a timespan of nearly 1,000 years, says Artistic Director Jordan Sramek.

“We help couples find unique music that truly fits the theme of their ceremony,” he comments.

They have chanted the Lord’s prayer in a beautiful translation of the original Aramaic, performed medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, and sang the famous “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” in the original German language.

“It was so beautiful that people didn’t stop talking about it throughout the reception,” Sramek says. “I just love it when we are able to do things like that.”

He points out that when planning a wedding, ceremony music shouldn’t be overlooked.

“So often, flowers and the DJ are where people spend crazy amounts of money, when the ceremony music is what so many guests remember afterward!”

BEAUTY AND FASHION

Feminine and delicate silhouettes are gracing the aisles today with detailed elements of fabrics, embroidery, ruffles, and lace. You don’t have to wear a Renaissance costume for your wedding gown, nor does the groom need to wear a suit of armor to paint a Renaissance theme, says Wedding Guy Bruce Vassar.

“The color of the dress and style plays more into whether a gown or a tuxedo is worked into the theme,” he says. It’s the subtle touches that make the dress or tux unique.

Kristen Olsen, talented designer and owner of The Dressmaker in Edina, has been creating beautiful custom dresses since 1980. In addition to creating custom gowns, she does professional alterations, restores heirloom gowns, and creates custom veils and headpieces.

Olsen has created everything from stunning 1940s-inspired gowns with flowing, shimmery silk crape to beautiful wedding saris. She once restyled and restored an exquisite Thailand wedding garment and has created Western-style wedding gowns from gorgeous sari fabric.

“Every culture has its own traditions,” she says.

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

She advises future brides to explore all of their options before making a final decision. “Think about custom, especially if you can’t find what you want. You might be surprised that it doesn’t cost as much as you think. And have your gown professionally fitted. Don’t just go to the cheapest place for alterations. Your gown is a big investment, and it should fit you perfectly.”

Another option for a unique wedding gown is dugo (Dress Up Go Out), located in Edina’s Galleria.

Featuring fine clothing for charity balls, summer parties, rehearsal dinners, and weddings, dugo brings back the satisfaction of dressing smart and dressing well.

“We can help brides and grooms that have color requests, and we can help anyone who wants something nontraditional,” says Nancy Shank, owner.

They carry luminous Thai silk by designer Marissa Baratelli, hand loomed and hand dyed in exquisitely bright colors (perfect for the mother of the bride or groom), in addition to simple gowns (ideal for destination weddings) in white, ivory, or pink. With the ability to mix-and-match different items, just about everyone can find a unique outfit at dugo.

“We can custom-order items and help put different sized tops with different sized bottoms to create a look for all body types,” Shank explains, adding that an excellent fitter on staff will make sure the outfit fits like a glove.

While men don’t have quite as many options as women do when it comes to wedding day attire, they do have decisions to make when it comes to their tuxes and the tuxes for the men in the wedding party. 

The current trends for tuxes are long vests and ties rather than traditional cummerbunds and bow ties. Non-pleated shirts and three-button jackets are also in. Another popular look is the cutaway tux with a cravat—a wide scarf knotted with the broad ends laying flat over each other—topped off with a pearl stickpin. The men in the wedding party can find the season’s hottest selections at Knights Formal Wear, with nine locations metro-wide, in addition to stores in St. Cloud, Duluth, and Rochester.

Your dress and tux will make you feel like a bride and groom, but a complete wedding day look goes beyond attire. The key players in a wedding party start getting ready for the wedding months in advance, watching their diet, taking care of their skin, making sure their teeth are as white as can be, and sometimes indulging in a little nip and tuck. Those wedding photos will be passed down from generation to generation, and everyone wants to look their best.

One way mothers of the bride and groom—along with older brides—are looking more youthful and rejuvenated in advance of the big celebration is through eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), says Dr. Eric Nelson with Minnesota Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery Specialists in Edina.

This type of cosmetic surgery should be scheduled months before the wedding, due to the simple fact that it can take awhile to get in and see a surgeon, he says. Don’t wait until just a few weeks before the wedding.

Other popular pre-wedding day procedures include Botox and dermal fillers to eliminate crow’s feet, frown lines, laugh lines, and forehead lines. Botox should also be scheduled weeks in advance because swelling and redness can occur. Blushing brides are also investing in skin care treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels in order to get that healthy wedding day glow.

Not to be overlooked on your wedding day is the importance of a dazzling smile.

“If you don’t like something about your smile, now is the perfect time to do something about it,” says Dr. Chad Boger of New Hope’s Boger Dental. “On your wedding day, you don’t want to be hiding your teeth because you’re self conscious.”

Boger Dental offers everything from whitening to contouring to complete smile makeovers.

Your wedding day is the happiest day of your life, and you shouldn’t feel inhibited to smile.
 
“There’s nothing better than the confidence that comes with having a nice smile,” Boger says.

And really, what better day to be proud of your smile than your wedding day?

A future bride and groom can also find teeth whitening, veneers, instant orthodontics and restorative services at the Centre for Distinctive Dentistry in Woodbury, says Dr. Ned Nippoldt.

Dr. Nippoldt’s wedding advice to brides and grooms was straightforward and simple.

He comments, “Share your smile often with your new spouse and your guests.”

WEDDING DAY JEWELRY

Your ring is a symbol of love built to last a lifetime. Do you want a contemporary setting or an antique reproduction? Smooth or sculpted metal? What will your ring say about you?

At BNOX Gold and Iron, owner and goldsmith Rebecca Paquette-Johnson will help a couple custom-design their rings as individual as they are, taking into consideration lifestyle and design preferences.

“Like the planning and anticipation of other elements of the wedding, you’ll savor the excitement and involvement when creating your very own wedding rings. It will be a significant part in the scrapbook of your life together,” she comments.

BNOX is located in the historic waterfront village of Pepin, Wisconsin. 

Edina-based jewelry store Scheherazade—located in the Galleria—has been carrying unique designs since 1970. The attentive, helpful staff offers superior customer service, and the selection features some of today’s best American and international jewelry designers, such as amazingly talented local designer George Sawyer. Scheherazade also has an exclusive arrangement with L.A.-based Harry Kotlar Jewels, cutting and selling only the highest quality diamonds available on the world market—including the elite and beautiful cushion diamond.

A number of designers will create one-of-a-kind rings for couples, Rudd says.

“We hire designers who have the structure to come up with something unique for each individual, that’s part of our appeal,” he comments. “Couples can meet with our custom master goldsmith for a complimentary consultation, and he can either show them his portfolio or sketch something out.”

The buzz at Studio Vincent is that they’re taking wedding bands to the next level, creating minimal, masterful, original designs at affordable prices.

“A growing appreciation for custom designs keeps our loyal customers returning every year,” says Stephen Lehman of Studio Vincent.

He prides himself not only on 25 solid years of training and experience as a gold and platinum-smith, but also on the high standards he set for his exquisitely-crafted collections, ranging from stainless steel to the finest in precious gems and metals.

According to Lehman, “Our Studio and Muse collections reinforce a world-renowned reputation of quality craftsmanship and supreme dedication to offering only the finest hand-crafted jewels that any buyer can be proud to wear.”

A Grand Avenue landmark, Charlemagne Fine Jewelry carries an astounding array of original jewelry found nowhere else in the world. Specializing in state-of-the-art prong-less ring designs, vintage pavee diamond settings, an amazing variety of colored gemstone jewelry, and an expansive selection of South Sea, Akoya, and freshwater pearls in all sizes, shapes, and colors, Charlemagne has been a well-known destination on Grand Avenue for more than 30 years.

For brides and grooms who’d like a unique, custom-made ring, every step of the custom jewelry making process at Charlemagne happens in-house, ensuring total control over the final product. From the first vision to the approval of the wax model to the finished product, the jeweler and customer work closely together to ensure 100 percent customer satisfaction. Personal service, unparalleled quality, and attention to detail keep happy customers coming back again and again.

Photo by Adrienne Page
Courtesy The Wedding Fair

The Grand Finale

Before you tie the nuptial knot with your beloved on your much-awaited wedding day, you have the popular option of registering for gifts.

Target Club Wedd is the largest wedding gift registry in the country, offering a vast array of traditional and unique items for today’s brides, grooms, and gift-givers. Couples can register in-store at one of the 1,494 stores in 47 states nationwide or online at www.target.com/clubwedd. Within minutes of completing their registry, couples and gift-givers can view the completed registry list.
 
Of the many area in which to register, housewares are the strongest performer, says Brie Heath, Target spokesperson.
 
“Couples still tend to register for very traditional gifts for their wedding, but with a modern twist,” Heath says. “Two of our most popular items are the Rival Stainless Steel Crock Pot and the Oster Chrome Beehive Blender.”

Other popular items include 400 thread count Fieldcrest luxury sheets, vintage Thomas O’Brien home products, and stainless steel kitchenware, but each registry is as unique as the couple getting married.

When the wedding day is over and the gifts have all been opened, most couples choose to begin their new life together with a special honeymoon. 

A rustic hideaway set on 280 acres of Wisconsin woods, Canoe Bay/Relais & Châteaux is ideal for an unforgettable honeymoon. Located in northwestern Wisconsin (Chetek, to be exact), this luxury resort is a blissful respite away from the routine of daily life. There is an outstanding chef on the property, an extensive wine list, charming accommodations, and a remote setting that caters to couples. 

“The peace and quiet we offer is just what over-stressed bridal couples need following their big day,” says Lisa Dobrowolski, general manager. “And we’re close to home, offering a savings on travel costs and a quicker start to your honeymoon celebration!”

Canoe Bay is the only property on Lake Wahdoon, a private, 50-acre lake. All rooms offer gas fireplaces, private decks, whirlpools, and continental breakfast delivered to the door. Couples can dine in the dining room, in the private wine cellar, or—if they’re staying at a guesthouse with a professional kitchen—make arrangements for one of Canoe Bay’s chefs to prepare a private gourmet dinner.

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