Aisle Style | Planning

Looking for the perfect stationery? Start here. Plus, make your first dance a memorable one, use the web to plan your honeymoon, and pick an invitation that fits your style.

Photograph by Jared Castaldi


How Inviting

Looking for the perfect stationery? Start here.

Clockwise from top left: Humming Birds Meet by Carlson Craft at Make My Day Event Planning & More, Rehoboth Beach; Love Birds pocket invitation by Inviting Company, Love Birds by Stacy Claire Boyd, both at Make My Day Event Planning & More, Rehoboth Beach; Tree by William Arthur at, Wilmington; Lovebirds by William Arthur at Apropos, Greenville; Love paperweight by Smashing Expressions, $20 at Enchanted Owl, Greenville.


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Page 2: Inviting Invitations, Part I: How to Choose | Pick something that fits your style.

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Inviting Invitations, Part I: How to Choose

Pick something that fits your style.

Traditional or modern? Colorful or plain? With so many styles and options, choosing a wedding invitation can be a daunting task. Here’s where to start.

Latzie Clayton at Especial Day in Wilmington sees people picking out invitations that are traditional, but with a contemporary twist. They might add ribbons or choose different colors to spice up otherwise plain and simple invitations.

Of course, some people still go with the classic black font and white or ecru invitation, she says. It depends on personal preference, the theme, or the degree of formality to the wedding.
“I think today, everyone is looking for their own styles,” Clayton says.

Jenny Martinez at Fulton Paper in Wilmington also has seen brides coming in with a color-themed invitation in mind. More and more often, they match their invitation to the color scheme of the wedding, she says.

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The most popular colors Martinez has seen recently are earth tones and mocha mixed with Tiffany blue, pink or yellow, regardless of season. Brides-to-be are also choosing traditional invitations with a border.

Both Martinez and Clayton have seen an increase in the number of people looking for pocket invitations, which come in a set. Martinez says they are plain, elegant, and have more to offer because the bride can choose which pieces to include—direction cards, invitations, reception cards, response cards—and they are uniform, so choosing a style is easy.

Prices for wedding invitations average about $400 to $600, says Clayton, but can range above or below that, depending on the brand and design you choose. —Katharine Gray

Page 3: Inviting Invitations, Part II: How to Write | Do what’s right for your situation.


Jennifer Hoffman and Shawn Smith married July 30, 2010, at the  Hotel du Pont  in Wilmington. Photograph by Alicia Cohen PhotographyInviting Invitations, Part II: How to Write

Do what’s right for your situation.

You’ve chosen your flowers, booked the location and your dress is being tailored. Your invitations match the arrangements and locale like they were made for each other, but how do you decide what they should say?

According to Litzie Clayton of Especial Day in Wilmington, the situation determines how your invitation should be worded. Everyone’s wedding and family situations are different, so do what’s right for yours.

“A lot of times it’s a joint effort now, with everyone contributing—bride, groom and parents on both sides,” she says.

In this case, the invitation could begin with the names of the bride and groom, then their parents, or vice versa, depending on who’s financially responsible for the event.

It’s important to be mindful of people’s feelings. There are families with four sets of parents nowadays, so try not to pick favorites.
As for what to say specifically, Clayton usually sees people choose traditional wording. Some, however, make their invitations more contemporary or casual, based on a theme, location and time of day.

Formal wording may say the hosts (couple or parents, depending on who is paying) “request the honor of your presence” or, if it’s a casual affair “request the honor of your company,” according to Social Butterfly in Greenville. Its website offers a complete guide to wording invitations. —K.G.

Page 4: Dancing Like the Stars | Make your first dance a memorable one. Here’s how.


Tien Nguyen and Chris Balan of Newark married May 15, 2010, in Philadelphia. Photograph by Photojournalism by Ron SolimanDancing Like the Stars

Make your first dance a memorable one. Here’s how.

Your first dance sets the tone for the reception. To make sure your footwork is up to snuff, follow these 10 tips.

1. Pick a song that has meaning, but don’t make it so obscure that guests feel left out, says Ken Richards, director of The BlueBallRoom in Wilmington.

2. Ask a pro which dance best suits that song. He or she will know whether you should opt for a rumba, foxtrot or waltz.

3. Consider doing a twofer. Richards recalls the couple who started with a rumba, then segued into a Bollywood-style routine.

4. Select a specific version of that song. Different artists have covered certain songs. If you are using a deejay, ask for a copy of the version in his or her collection. If you are using a band, ask for a recording of its version.

5. Take lessons. Dance studios often have special packages for brides and grooms.

6. Practice at home. It’s not enough to learn the steps in class. “How good you get is not limited to the instruction,” Richards says.

7. Practice within the dimensions of the dance floor at your reception hall.

8. Plan your entrance and your exit. “You usually see a dip or trick at the end,” Richards says. “Don’t just schlep off the floor.”

9. Let the dance start the reception. “Once the bride and groom are announced, go right into the first dance,” suggests Leanne Silicato of Make My Day Event Planning in Rehoboth Beach. “If you’re having a sit-down dinner, it’s the cue for everyone to be seated.”

10. Know that mistakes may happen. “A dance instructor can teach you how to recover,” Richards says. “Just have a beginning, a middle and an end. Then if you miss a step, you can go right into the next one.” —Pam George

Page 5: Honeymoon Dreams | Websites help those who want to help the couple.


Honeymoon Dreams

Websites help those who want to help the couple.

When Melissa and Brett Carpenter of Bear were discussing their wedding registry, they realized something. “We didn’t want another coffee pot or more dish towels,” Melissa Carpenter says.

The couple already owned a home together, so they wanted only to escape to Mexico. “We put it out through our parents and bridal party that we requested cash gifts,” she says. “But older guests kept asking, ‘But where are you registered?’”

To satisfy traditionalists who wanted the couple to register—and to satisfy their own Mexico longings—Carpenter went with a travel agency to set up a honeymoon registry. “But it didn’t have a website for guests,” she says. She decided it wasn’t user-friendly enough. After researching, she partnered with Traveler’s Joy, a company with a Delaware connection.

Traveler’s Joy is the brainchild of Wilmington’s Brandon Warner, cofounder and president. “We’re not a travel agency,” Warner says, “so we have no agents trying to sell travel, and you don’t have to book through us.”

Traveler’s Joy has a social-networking attitude that allows clients to post pictures of where they want to visit, itineraries, anecdotes and, when they come back, photos of their trip.

Carpenter says it’s easy for guests. “They just found our page and left monetary gifts for us,” she says. “Every time someone left money, I’d get a message from Traveler’s Joy. I would redeem the gift, getting a check in about two days.”

No matter which registry service you go with, “It’s important to read your registry’s fee structure,” Warner advises. Some charge guests simply to leave a gift. “We did not want to do that,” he says. He also recommends checking your registry’s affiliations.
“I would definitely recommend the service,” Carpenter says. The Caribbean Sea versus Mr. Coffee? Seems a clear choice to us. —Amy Kates

Page 6: Sands of Time | Here are the rules for oceanside nuptials.


Traci Fuhrmann and Ray Evans  married October 9, 2010, on the  beach in Fenwick Island. Photograph by Leafo PhotoSands of Time

Here are the rules for oceanside nuptials.

Planning a wedding at the beach is not necessarily a day at the beach. If you don’t pay attention to the details you could be in violation of city or state regulations. Do your homework to decide which location best suits your ceremony.

To hold a wedding on Lewes Beach, you must submit a request ( The cost is $100, which is nonrefundable. The city allows one wedding in the morning and one in the afternoon each day. “It gives each bride the time they need to set up,” says Elaine Pease, who handles event bookings for the city. Tents are permitted on the beach. Pease recommends coordinating with the police. No alcohol is allowed, and ceremonies may not include an amplification system. Call 645-7777 ext. 100.

Cape Henlopen State Park
The park is popular in part because of its space and amenities, which include a pavilion, officer’s club and the Biden Environmental Training Conference Center. Last year the fee to marry on the beach was $100, but that could soon double. There may be additional fees to rent facilities, such as the pavilion. For more, call 644-5005, or visit

Rehoboth Beach
In Rehoboth, those interested in a seaside wedding must submit an application for a permit and a $75 fee. You can hold the ceremony anywhere along the town’s one mile of beach, but you must request the exact location on the application. Chairs must be set up just prior to the ceremony and whisked away after. Tents, alcohol and amplification are prohibited. The permit is strictly for the celebration, says Barbara Bunting, who handles the permits. You’ll need to party elsewhere. For an application, email, or call 227-6181.

Dewey Beach
There are no fees to get married on Dewey Beach, but you must first submit a letter for approval that indicates where you’d like to have the ceremony. (Name the street.) Alcohol is not permitted during the summer season. For contact information, visit, or call 227-6363.

Indian River Life-Saving Station
The seaside landmark makes a charming backdrop for an outdoor wedding and reception for up to 250. The cost is $4,000, which is discounted to $3,400 if the fee is paid up front. In the case of inclement weather, a tent can be used. “If it’s not a blowing rain, the couple can get married on the porch of the life-saving station, with the guests under the tent,” says Christine Gulbronson, events coordinator. For information, call 227-6991 or visit

Delaware State Seashore Park-Fenwick Island State Park
At Delaware State Seashore Park, weddings are held off Tower Road Ocean. At Fenwick Island State Park, they take place near the main parking lot. If you’d like another spot, park administrators will consider it on a “case-by-case basis,” says Cassandra Petersen, administrative specialist. No tents are allowed and state parks close at sunset. Guests need to pay the park admission fee. Call 227-2800, or visit

Bethany Beach
Though couples must submit an application for a permit, they need not pay a fee. The city does not allow structures, such as tents, nor does it allow fires or alcohol. The city will not block off certain areas, so choose your site carefully or you’ll share the ceremony with sunbathers. For more, visit, or call 539-8011.

Fenwick Island
Fenwick requires a permit to hold a wedding. The fee is $150 for up to 75 people, and it goes up with the guest count. Permission is granted through the police department, which will also issue parking permits. For more, call 539-3011. —P.G.

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