Aisle Style . Planning

When it comes to stationery, local shops have you covered. Plus, protect your gown, dress up your reception with plants, non-traditional rehearsal dinners, and the popularity of lavender.

Social Butterfly, Greenville. Photograph by Thom Thompson



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Apropos, Greenville. Photograph by Thom Thompson


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Proud to Plan, Wilmington  (blue pen by Cross, $59 at Social Butterfly, Wilmington). Photograph by Thom Thompson








, Wilmington. Photograph by Thom Thompson














Page 2: Protect Your Gown | You’ll love it for years. Here’s how.


Rachel Marie Annunziate and Andrej Simic married on October 2, 2009, at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington. Photograph by Thomas BeamanProtect Your Gown

You’ll love it for years. Here’s how.

Keeping your gown in shape goes far beyond putting it in a garment bag, then hanging it in the farthest corner of your closet.

Some of the area’s best bridal shops advise finding a reputable dry cleaner that is en route to becoming eco-friendly. “Cleaners who are going green use a cleaning process that avoids heavy chemical use, which has a tendency to fade dresses to a yellowish color over time,” says Tara Lewis of Tiara’s Bridal Boutique in Lewes.

Others would rather see a bride send her dress to a professional cleaning and preservation service. Jay West Bridal, in Haddonfield, New Jersey, has a partnership with a company named Orange Restoration. This eco-friendly company uses a process in which each dress is layered with an acid-free tissue and folded into an acid-free chest, allowing for maximum protection from yellowing, as well as the opportunity to re-wear your dress without having to undergo the process again and again.

Simon’s Bridal Shoppe in Dover offers a similar service in-house. “The cleaning process protects from yellowing while the packaging prevents pollutants and other chemicals from harming the dress,” owner Bert Stanley says. “They will clean and box any dress so that you can marvel over it for years.”  —Mieke Lynch

Page 3: Pleasing Plants | They can make any wedding or reception look like a dream.


The floral arrangements at Alison Catherine White and Sean William Post’s reception were by Village Green Florist in Millsboro. Photo by Bob Davis of La Storia FotoPleasing Plants

They can make any wedding or reception look like a dream.

One of the biggest challenges in planning your wedding can be making a plain ceremony or reception site fit your vision. What can be even worse is facing an eyesore such as a Porta-Potty in clear view of the guests.

To avoid such problems, Valery Cordrey, owner of East Coast Garden Center in Millsboro, has a simple solution: Rent plants.

“It’s a nice way to add some pizzazz,” says Cordrey. “Some people are going for colors, some want to create a space, and some want to hide an eyesore.”

Cordrey and her staff can help the bride and groom decide how to decorate for their wedding. Whether it is choosing tropical plants to enhance a beach wedding, selecting native, woodsy plants to create a natural look for a ceremony near a forest, or choosing large decorative pots of annuals to brighten up a room, renting plants gives a couple an easy way to decorate.

“They don’t need to worry about what the flowers are going to look like or how healthy they are,” Cordrey says. “They just want everything to look good. With rentals, you can increase your offerings with plants you never knew existed. It’s no longer just your old ferns.”—Marianne Nagengast

Page 4: Stepping out | Traditional wedding? Try a non-traditional rehearsal dinner.


Stepping Out

Traditional wedding? Try a non-traditional rehearsal dinner.

Many couples want a traditional wedding, but they want to show off their personalities, too. The rehearsal dinner provides the perfect way.
“We’ve had theater-oriented people who ask their guests to come in costume, couples who have karaoke at the rehearsal dinner, and others who organize the event around a theme,” says Kelly Loiseau, wedding coordinator for Becket & Burke Catering in Wilmington. “The rehearsal dinner is a more playful time, and couples want to throw a fun party.”

Luau is a popular theme. Clambakes, backyard barbecues and pool parties are also good options for warm-weather weddings. One woman who spent her childhood summers in Rehoboth Beach decided to have her rehearsal dinner at Grotto Pizza, says Donna Duffy of Memorable Milestones in Wilmington and Ocean View.

Ethnic heritage is another popular theme, Loiseau says. The couple might not want to serve Greek, Mexican, Chinese or Italian food to all their friends and co-workers, so they instead serve it at the rehearsal dinner, which typically includes many family members. The evening might also feature music, dancing, customs and decor from the old country.

“The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity for families to get to know each other,” Duffy says. She suggests having a basket on each table with questions about the bride and groom and their families. A get-to-know-us menu could include the couple’s favorite food and drinks.

Another fun option is to have a progressive dinner, stopping at one restaurant for drinks, moving to another for dinner, then to a third for dessert and coffee. “This works especially well when many of the guests are from out of town and will be hanging around for a few days,” Duffy says. “It’s kind of like a turbo-tour of the area.” —Theresa Gawlas Medoff

Page 5: A Hint of Lavender | The color and scent can make your wedding very distinctive, indeed.


A Hint of Lavender

The color and scent can make your wedding very distinctive, indeed.

Lavender evokes romance and nostalgia, high tea and good manners. From Roman times to the Victorian era, it has been used for aromatherapy, medicinal purposes, and cooking.

Lately, lavender has come out from behind the scenes to play a starring role at weddings. “It’s an herb that makes people think of romance and fidelity,” says Marie Mayor, one of the three owners of Lavender Fields in Milton, Delaware’s only lavender farm (

Mayor, Sharon Harris of Milton and Mary Ann Etu of Lewes bought the five-acre property in 2002 and expanded the existing lavender growing operations. The property boasts a farmhouse, a gift shop, a barn and plenty of room to grow many varieties of lavender.

Besides having beautiful, pale purple flowers and a fragrant smell, lavender has “significant restorative properties,” which are always good for calming a frazzled bride and those around her, Mayor says.

Lavender can be incorporated into a wedding in a variety of ways:

• Scatter dried lavender flowers instead of rose petals down the aisle.

• Include fresh or dried lavender in the bouquets, centerpieces and other flower arrangements.

• Give small boxes of lavender-infused chocolate, jars of lavender-infused honey or lavender cachets as favors.

• Decorate with potted lavender at the reception, in the ladies’ room, etc.

• Provide lavender-scented lotion and other amenities in the ladies’ room.

• Have guests throw dried lavender flowers instead of bird seed.

• Place lavender wands or sachets with your wedding dress when storing it.                 

—Samantha Drake

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