Tag Archives: love

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Be Our Guest

We sent our resident explorer, JD Dotson, in search of the perfect wedding gifts that will land you on the greatest guest list 

PHOTOS & STORY BY JD DOTSON 

Always looking for the perfect wedding gift that is sentimental or functional (or both!), I have a tendency to skip buying the single salad fork on the registry and look for something special for the couple of the hour. I 100% get the importance of a gift registry, especially if the couple is someone I barely know or just starting out in adulting life together. But I also 100% trust my instincts on giving thoughtful gifts to people I love and in no way have waited until the last minute when the only thing left on the registry is a $600 Vitamix. So, here are a few of my faves that will help land you on the unofficial “Greatest Guest” list you know couples compile. 

 

extolmag_28_ad_final_page_052_image_0002Set of 3 galvanized steel hearts, $19.99 

Ceramic You and Me Dish, $3.99 each 

Instantly feeling the need to redo everything in my house, I had to remind myself to stay focused when I go to PC Home Center. Anything a young couple starting a home together might need can be found in this store. From paint, flooring, windows, cabinets to entire kitchen installations and really cool lighting features, PC Home Center offers gift cards in any denomination to get the project started. Not one to just toss a gift card at a couple without something to open, I found this galvanized steel heart set of three containers, and a couple of “you and me” ceramic ring dishes to compliment. 

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For the bicycle enthusiast couple on your gift list, I fell in love with this Cycle Gathering Table. I even have the perfect spot picked out at home and don’t mind a belated wedding present. 

Cycle Gathering Table $559.99 


PC Home Center 

123 Cherry St., New Albany | 812.944.4444

www.pchomestores.com


extolmag_28_ad_final_page_053_image_0002The blank page cut out letter books have the look of vintage, classic readers digests. They come in a wide and wild variety of cover designs, all 26 letters of the alphabet and the ampersand. Combine the initials of the couple, spell out LOVE, the last name, any romantic word for a functional, customizable and fun gift. 

Everyone needs that chip and dip tray for fancy entertaining. The couple are full-on adults — no more cutting the top of the bag off and screwing off the lid. It is time to actually elevate the chips and dips when company calls. The Nora Fleming line of platters, cake stands, serving trays and chip and dip bowls can be accessorized with “decorative minis.” Every kind of theme is available from summer fun, holidays, baby, even a tiny ceramic zombie hand and they all easily attach to the dish. 

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Nora Fleming Chip and Dip Platter, $43.20 

 

Decorative Minis, $11.66 each 


Ben Franklin Crafts 

420 New Albany Plaza, New Albany | 812.944.1215

www.benfranklinartsandframin.com


extolmag_28_ad_final_page_054_image_0001The best way to get your foodie friends to invite you over for a post-honeymoon meal is to get them amazing things they can use in the kitchen. I love a multifaceted theme gift, and The Olivet delivered. I discovered The Oil and Vinegar Lovers Cookbook by Emily Lycopolus and picked a variety of exotic goodies (Rose’ Wine Balsamic, Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hawaiian Black Lava Salt and a Citrus Peel Rub) and topped off the gift with a locally-handmade wooden cutting board by Wayne Pepin. I may have had some chocolate and macarons while I shopped. Don’t judge. 

 

Cookbook, $29.95 2 oz. bag of spices or salts, $7 each or three for $18 

375 ML Balsamics, $18.95 

200 ML Olive Oil, $13.95 

Cutting Board, $79.95 


The Olivet 

37 Bank St., New Albany | 812.913.4430 | www.theolivet.com 


extolmag_28_ad_final_page_055_image_0001Georgetown boy meets the love of his life in Clarksville. Wedding toasts follow in the stemless wine glass with etched zip codes. No matter what area the couple grew up in or plan to call home, zip code glasses can be special ordered. 

$9.99 each 

extolmag_28_ad_final_page_055_image_0002The rustic, simple and sweet couple, hand-carved out of wood, painted and embellished is ready to be taken to their new home. Sold individually, they are perfect for every couple. 

$30 each; $60 for the couple 


Madhouse 

151 E. Spring St., New Albany | 812.924.7728 www.madhousena.com 


Walking into True North makes me want to get remarried and put so much hand-made beautiful stuff on my list. I fell in love with the simple driftwood candle holder by Mack Dryden, even though my IKEA coffee table would do it justice. Depending on how much you loved me and my significant other, you could throw in the gorgeous Paul Weddington coffee table it sits on and I wouldn’t hate that one bit. 

extolmag_28_ad_final_page_056_image_0003Driftwood Candle Holder, $45 

Table, $475 

extolmag_28_ad_final_page_056_image_0002Every home should have that beautiful tea set that comes out on special occasions. Dallas Wooten’s soda-fired ceramic tea set deserves a spot in a glass cabinet and carefully taken out when people you love stop in for tea. A really beautiful, functional work of art is an ideal gift. 

Tea set, $120 


True North 

137 E. Market St., New Albany | 502.873.868

www.shoptruenorth812.com


extolmag_28_ad_final_page_057_image_0001The stacks of books that have been on my side tables and coffee table for the past 12 years are the ones I keep telling myself I am going to read. I found a stack of books at LL&A that make the reading quick, easy and perfect for the happy couple. “I was made for loving you baby, you were made for loving me” will now be stuck in your head as well. Top off the gift with a bottle of wine and a congratulatory bottle topper and get yourself out on the dance floor. 

 

Bottle Toppers, $18 

Book Stack $ 172 


LL&A Interior Design 

247 Spring St., Jeffersonville | 812.282.6606

www.leslielewisdesign.com 


extolmag_28_ad_final_page_058_image_0005There is nothing wrong with pre-wedding gift giving. You want the couple to look and feel good on their wedding day, and gift cards to Body & Brow Boutique will take care of both of them head to toe. Facial and body waxing, male waxing, tanning, facials and even makeup application are available. I thought treating the couple to a nice soak with some bath bombs for after the big day would be a good way to start spending the rest of their lives together. 

Gift cards available in any denomination, price list available on the website. 

Bath Bombs, $6.50 


Body & Brow Boutique 

141 E. Spring St., New Albany | 812.225.9191

www.bodyandbrow.com


extolmag_28_ad_final_page_059_image_0005Great as a pre-wedding gift to be used at a reception perhaps, the Love Jar by Gratitude Jars comes with 250 blank foil embossed Love cards. Guests can leave a love note in the jar as a keepsake for the couple after the wedding. Great minds think alike: the Love Jar is one of Oprah and my favorite things, too. 

Love Jar $45.00 

extolmag_28_ad_final_page_059_image_0006Love is Love is Love in these beautifully sweet rendered wedding mugs. Love is a lot of things and I hope every morning starts off the day right with a good cup of coffee with the one you love. 

Coffee Mug, $15 


Regalo 

234 Pearl St., New Albany | 812.542.6567 | www.regaloart.com


 

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Letter from the Editor | August/September 2019

I love my husband so much.

It’s that “when I see him across a room talking to other people and watch how he makes others feel good and laugh, I am so proud he’s my partner and grateful that he makes me feel that good, too” kind of love. 

On the other hand, I also – just before writing this letter – blocked my husband from calling or texting me because we were having a text-based parenting disagreement that was quickly escalating, and we both needed to focus on work. 

Before you judge, keep in mind that he knew where I was and how to reach me if there had been an emergency. And I have no qualms about the fact that I essentially put us both in the penalty box by disabling his ability to contact me and eliminating my ability to reach out to him. 

We both needed to take a breather, rethink how we were acting toward one another and, most importantly for the moment, get back to work. 

Then, a few hours later, I removed the block, he called and I said, “Hey honey. What’s up?” And we talked about what was up, which included business, our daughter and who would grab a gallon of milk and kitty litter. Eventually, that night we both apologized, got on the same parenting page and we’re back to being happy husband and wife. 

That is marriage – at least it’s ours: an imperfect relationship of highs and lows that always comes back to knowing we have each other’s backs and love one another to our cores…even if that sometimes means quarrels and heat-of-the-moment fights that later seem silly and futile. There’s no one I’d rather have by my side than Jason. I am eternally grateful to have met my match in love and in life. 

Extol’s Wedding Issue is a celebration of marriage — but it’s also an edition dedicated to the vendors who help couples celebrate the special day as uniquely as they are. It’s one of my favorite annual issues we publish as a magazine because it’s a reminder that life is precious and fleeting and not to be taken for granted, whether you’re married or not. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to pick up Extol. Your support means everything to us as we continue our goal of being a magazine on a mission and celebrating Southern Indiana.

Truly,

Angie Fenton

Editor in Chief

angie@extolmag.com

“WE ARE ON A 15-MONTH WAITING LIST RIGHT NOW AND HAVE 96 KIDS, 20 EMPLOYEES, AND IT’S THE BEST DECISION WE’VE EVER MADE.”  –Jenny Hupp, who co-owns Cheerful Children Daycare/Preschool Center with her husband, Scotty Hupp

Cheerful Children, Happy Hearts

“WE ARE ON A 15-MONTH WAITING LIST RIGHT NOW AND HAVE 96 KIDS, 20 EMPLOYEES, AND IT’S THE BEST DECISION WE’VE EVER MADE.”  –Jenny Hupp, who co-owns Cheerful Children Daycare/Preschool Center with her husband, Scotty Hupp

“WE ARE ON A 15-MONTH WAITING LIST RIGHT NOW AND HAVE 96 KIDS, 20 EMPLOYEES, AND IT’S THE BEST DECISION WE’VE EVER MADE.” –Jenny Hupp, who co-owns Cheerful Children Daycare/Preschool Center with her husband, Scotty Hupp

BY LAURA ROSS | PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON

Jenny and Scotty Hupp are living the dream.

Daily, they’re surrounded by nearly 100 toddlers and preschoolers and all the glorious mess, chaos, sticky fingers, tearful tantrums, dirty diapers, and boisterous cacophony they can stand.

And, they love it.

The husband-wife team own and operate Cheerful Children Daycare/Preschool Center in New Albany. In 2011, they left jobs in the corporate and business community to follow their passion for children and education and have never looked back.

“I was on my way home from work one night late, and I called my husband and said, ‘I’m done,’” recalled Jenny. She studied early childhood education in college but detoured to raise a family and work in sales for the Indiana Lottery. Starting a daycare was always in the back of her mind, and she knew the time was right.

“My love has always been with kids,” Jenny said. “I thought, I just gave up a company car, great paying job and insurance. What have I done?? But I opened a family home daycare in September 2011, and I ran it for six years. We had 16 children and families and were successful. It was the perfect situation.”screen-shot-2019-03-13-at-4-59-09-pm

Scotty joined Jenny in 2013, and in 2016, a building that formerly housed a daycare came up for sale at 1615 Grant Line Road in New Albany. “Scotty and I walked in and we just had this vision,” Jenny said. “It hit home that we can make this work. We put an offer in, and my husband and his friend renovated the entire inside and outside, working 15 hours a day. We opened Cheerful Children in August 2016 with 32 kids. From there, it went crazy. We are on a 15-month waiting list right now and have 96 kids, 20 employees, and it’s the best decision we’ve ever made.”

Cheerful Children accepts students from 12 months through 5 years old. The preschool is focused on offering a structured curriculum designed to build a foundation of knowledge and critical thinking skills to foster mental, social, emotional, and physical development in a secure, happy environment. Preschool teachers are certified in first aid and CPR and all are cleared through a criminal background check and drug testing.

“Our staff provides a family atmosphere,” said Jenny. “Many have been with us from the start. They love these kids and are in constant communication with the parents. We provide a positive learning experience and keep the children engaged and active all day long.”

Children participate in learning centers and preschool development in the mornings, then enjoy lunch and nap time in the afternoon before

“Our family keeps growing, and with
each passing year, there is a garden.”

The 100-Year Garden

By Amy Gesenhues

My grandmother turned 101 years old on April 3. She has survived being born in 1917. World War II. Joe McCarthy. The Korean War. Vietnam. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President Kennedy. She is a devout Catholic who survived a divorce in a deeply rooted Catholic community. She survived being a single, working mother of six kids during the 1970s. She also survived the death of her first son, and probably a million tiny heartbreaks I know nothing about.

Through all of these tragedies and losses and survivals, there has been a garden.

When my grandmother was young, her family’s main crop was strawberries. She talks about what it was like to grow the heart-shaped fruit in her 1997 autobiography, From My Window: “We planted them in the Spring and hoed and plowed them all that summer. Then the next Spring we picked them. They were a hard crop to grow and depend on, but they were what we planted, picked and sold to make most of the money we needed for the rest of the year.”

They also planted potatoes and cabbage and corn and tomatoes and beans. Pumpkins, cantaloupes, watermelons, and cucumbers.

“Our family keeps growing, and with each passing year, there is a garden.”

“Our family keeps growing, and with
each passing year, there is a garden.”

Grandma said the cucumbers were a good crop for them. “The growing season was so short and they could stand the dry summers of the Ohio Valley,” she wrote. “It only took them six weeks to grow, and we would pick them every other day for over a month.”

She said picking the cucumbers was a back-breaking job, and she is the toughest woman I know.

The garden I first remember is the one my grandmother and grandfather started at their house in the two, maybe three acres of land between their home and the creek at the bottom of Jenny Lane in Floyds Knobs. I don’t know what year the first garden was put there, but it continued to be planted well past their divorce and after the death of their son. He was only 26 when he drowned at Buffalo Trace Lake. His name was Norman. He was my dad.

Last year, on the 40th anniversary of his death, a cousin shared the following memory of him on my Facebook page: “I don’t have any really clear memories of your dad. There is one, though, when the family was planting the big garden in your Grandma’s yard. Everyone was kneeled down, carefully planting seeds at just the right distance apart. Except your dad. He had a handful of seeds – peas, I think – and he was hunched over, walking briskly, letting them roll out of his hand like hewas eating peanuts. Someone was grousing athim about not doing it right and then following his row, re-placing the seeds carefully, movingeach one an inch or so.”

My cousin said he remembers being off to the side, playing in the dirt when my dad came by with a grin and asked him, “My way is better, don’t you think?” I am grateful to have this memory. My dad sowing seeds in the garden. Doing things his way.

Grandma’s garden has since relocated to the other side of the property from where it once was. Instead of being in front of her house – which is now my uncle’s home – it is across the street, in front of the house where another one of my cousins lives. She has two toddlers.

Our family keeps growing, and with each passing year, there is a garden. In 2001, one of my cousins started a garden log to archive every crop our family plants, harvests and cans. It is a small spiral notebook with a green cover that up until last year, was kept on top of our grandmother’s refrigerator.

An entry dated July 1, 2004, reads: Canned 56 quarts of green beans. Vicki and Lucy picked one row for this canning.

The time it took to pick the beans is in parentheses, (2½ hours). The entry includes a bulleted list of everyone who helped stem and can the green beans: Grandma, Janice F., Doug, Jan, Joe. Beside Doug’s name, in parentheses, is a note that he only received partial credit because he arrived “very” late. Jan was noted as a late arrival too. Joe’s name included the following citation: Cut very little with lots of complaining. All of these details listed in parentheses beside their names.

An entry from August 13, 2013, says the corn didn’t come in that year. Instead, two bushels were bought from Ralph Fenwick. Parentheses ($35). After grandma deemed it fresh enough, Emily, Junnie, Vicki, JJ and Jan shucked and cleaned it, while Molly, Eileen and P3 (short for Paul the third) played in the basement. JJ wanted it noted that she pulled out a worm from an already boiled year of corn, and that she was there from the beginning. Parentheses (9:30am).

This small notebook is so much more than the food my family has harvested for the last almost 20 years. It’s a record of what we talk about when we’re sitting around our grandmother’s table, chucking corn, canning beans, eating. It’s a handwritten confessional, showing all the ways we care for and nurture each other. I think of these small moments, the quiet details within the parentheses, as clues to the ways we’ve repaired each of our family’s tiny heartbreaks – from my dad’s death to all sufferings that were left unsaid.

My grandmother had six children. Those six children had 16 children, and I am one of them.

I have two kids of my own now, and we all still eat food from her garden. When my son was three, still in a car seat riding home from Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house, he said her cream corn – made with the ears of corn cleaned and chucked from the garden – was magic. I can think of no better word to define it.

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Spin-A-Round Sound Wedding Deejay Giveaway OFFICIAL RULES & Meet the Finalists!

THE SPIN-A-ROUND SOUND WEDDING DEEJAY GIVEAWAY OFFICIAL RULES & Meet the Finalists

Official Rules: PRINTABLE/PDF VERISON

Learn about the Finalists:  (Click on names to read their stories)

Option 1: Danielle Nicole Ramser & Nolan Edward Taylor | Engaged December 3, 2017

Option 2: Chelsea Hargis & Michael Heater | Engaged December 25, 2017

Option 3: Jasmine Mullins & Benjamin Preston | Engaged January 1, 2018

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN & ALL ENTRIES HAVE EQUAL CHANCE OF WINNING

How to Enter:  All entrants must be 18 years of age or older and be able to provide proof of an accepted engagement on or between the dates of Friday, November 17, 2017 through Monday, January 1, 2018. All entrants must submit their engagement details in writing along with the engagement date, full legal name(s), contact number, email address and city of residences of both of the engaged to todd@spinaroundsounddj.com. Employees, officers, directors of sponsor, parents, spouses, contractors, vendors and immediate family of Spin-A-Round Sound or Extol Magazine are not eligible to participate.

The wedding venue must be within 50 miles of New Albany, Indiana (anything over 50 miles, will require additional fees).  Venue must allow outside deejay services unless pre-approved by venue owner/manager. Additonally, the date of services rendered must be agreed upon by winning party and Spin-A-Round Sound.  Only one entry per email address will be considered. All entries become the exclusive property of Spin-A-Round and will not be returned.

The Prize: Grand Prize is full wedding night deejay package including four-hour reception or wedding/reception service, two deejays’, DMX controlled light show – which includes four DMX moving head lights, twelve par lights with two eight-feet truss stands, two four-feet truss stands and ten uplights – total package valued at $2,000. Winning party is not limited to the above package and could add additional items upon request for additional pricing. Additional items offered: more up lighting, staging, projector options or whatever is needed to make your dream wedding a reality. (Winner will have to complete a prize validation and will be responsible for any taxes that may result from winning.)

Effective Date of Entries: Deadlines for all entries starts 12 p.m. January 5, 2018, and ends 11:59 a.m. January 12, 2018; no exceptions.

Selection of Finalists: Members of Spin-A-Round Sound and Extol will select three (3) finalists who will then be announced, along with their story, and sent to public vote via www.Extolmag.com. Final selection of finalists will be made on or before January 14, 2018.

Notification of Finalists and Grand Prize Winner: The three (3) finalists will be contacted by Extol Magazine or by representatives of Spin-A-Round Sound and may be asked additional engagement details and/or to answer questions regarding their dream wedding.

A Grand Prize Winner will be selected through public voting* and a panel of professional judges. Voting begins at 12 p.m. January 15, 2018 and end at 11:59 p.m. January 19, 2018.  The Grand Prize Winner will be contacted by a representative of either Extol Magazine and/or Spin-A-Round Sound on or before January 20, 2018.

Other conditions:  All entrants, by submitting their entry, agree to participate, at no additional or out of pocket costs to Spin-A-Round Sound or Extol Magazine, in any and all public relations, social media, marketing or advertising of the DeeJay Giveaway. This may include the use of your name, your likeness or current photographs and descriptions of your Deejay Giveaway entry and any supplied engagement photos. These conditions also apply to the Finalists and Grand Prize Winner selected.

Names, addresses and email addresses that are gathered through this sweepstakes will not be used for solicitation or sold to a third party for solicitation or released to a third party for any purpose other than that of the giveaway itself.

Indemnification: Entrants, by submitting their entry, agree to release and hold Spin-A-Round Sound and Extol Magazine, its employees, directors, shareholders, representatives, advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies harmless for any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with the Sweepstakes, including without limitation, personal injury, death and property damage and claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy.

* Public Voting limits votes to one vote per person (tracked by IP address). The highest public vote count counts only a percentage of the overall criteria by which a winner is ultimately selected, with professional judges having the final say. (Percentage of vote: Public Vote 49%, Extol Magazine 25.5%, & Spin-A-Round Sound 25.5% = 100% of final vote)

 

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Off the Page with Extol | Bliss Travel

  1.  complete happiness | enjoying eternal bliss in heaven | marital bliss | the sheer bliss of an afternoon at the spa

  2.   paradiseheaven

When your name is Mark Bliss, being a travel agent and calling your business Bliss Travel just makes sense. On this episode of Off the Page with Extol, we talk with Mark and ask the question: What can a travel agent do for you that you cannot do on your own?  We also speak with a fabulous couple that backs up what he says.

The Podcast Kidd’s honeymoon video:

 

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Wedding Woes

For better or worse, the big day doesn’t always go as planned. 

My husband and I got married in February. We thought it would be fun for the officiant to pull two small breath sprays from his jacket pocket right before we kissed. My now-husband was supposed to spray the breath spray in my mouth but ended up spraying it all over half of my face. At least I was minty fresh the rest of the evening. 

–Caroline Crowell


We had a February wedding and it snowed a few inches. It was beautiful outside the church and it made for some cool pictures. We had a fabulous reception that was lots of fun and went late. When one of our guests – who has an Ultra-Brite smile – was leaving, she slipped on the ice and knocked out her teeth, her very perfect teeth. 

–Johnny Harralson 


The night before our wedding, the priest called and said he could not marry us. My brother-in-law spent all night and the early morning looking for a priest. Until this day, I’m not 100 percent sure the priest he found was legit. 

¬–Jennifer Yennes-Vizhnay 


My husband and I got married twice. The first was a bedside ceremony at my dad’s bedside in Audubon Hospital (ahead of schedule) because things were looking pretty grim. Ten days later, he passed, and then 12 days later we went ahead with our scheduled ceremony. At one point during the ceremony – after I had walked down the aisle – the minister announced, “We are gathered here to witness the ceremony between…” and our two-year-old daughter, who was in the front row, started clapping loudly, and yelled out “Yay!” which had absolutely everyone laughing, including the minister. We got pictures of the exact moment and it’s one of our favorites. 

–Shawna Lynn Shepherd 


I must have had the wedding jitters. I almost passed out during picture taking and actually have a picture me sitting on my husband’s lap after they cold wash-clothed me looking quite pale during pictures. Then on to our reception in our local high school cafeteria (that was the reception place). I made it through all the motions of that. We finally left and stopped at his aunt’s home as planned to change clothing, and I got nauseated. Let’s just say my dress had to be bagged and left behind for his aunt to get to the cleaners. Then on to The Hyatt to clean up and allow me to sleep my wedding night off. Trust me, no alcohol was involved, just good old-fashioned jitters. Thank goodness God didn’t tap my husband on the shoulder during the ceremony and say, “Hey, I don’t think this is going to go as you thought!” A few years later, I was diagnosed with NF2 brain tumor and it has been an ongoing journey since. He’s still my rock after 37 years. 

–Cathy Guthrie 


My brother had a July wedding with an outdoor reception. Atlanta in July. His bride is an only child with no extended family. Ours was extensive and it seems all of them drove hundreds of miles to be there. The bride’s father had the belief that since we were all Baptists the open bar would not be a big expense. Accordingly, he selected the premium champagne but forgot to request water. When the caterers came asking for permission to crack multiple, additional cases of expensive champagne, he distractedly said, “OK.” Seniors, boomers, and tweens spent hours slaking their thirst with very good bubbly. The father-in- law dined out on the story of the Baptist Wedding until the day he passed. And that’s not even the biggest disaster of the day of my brother’s wedding. I’m sure you’ll do this again someday, so I’ll save the better stories. 

–Randy Smith

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The Big Day

Do’s and Don’ts for planning, hosting the perfect wedding

Planning the perfect wedding has become more difficult, as many of the traditions that were once considered must-dos have been replaced with nouveau ideas designed to make a couple ¬– and their wedding – stand out. We’ve put together some modern dos and don’ts. There are fewer faux pas today than ever before, but with proper planning, you can pull off the perfect event.

BY MANDY WOLF DETWILER

PUT A RING ON IT 

DO choose a ring you will love for the rest of your life. “I would try to block out any negative feedback you get from other people and listen to your own intuition,” says Jacquelyn Koerber, chief operating officer of Koerber’s Fine Jewelry. “I can’t tell you how many times I have a woman in our store that says she always wanted a certain style but got talked out of it because it might not have been the ‘in’ thing to do. This is your own very personal ring that you will wear every day for the rest of you life… make sure you absolutely love it.”

DON’T forget to consider a matching wedding band to make sure you like the finished look as a set. “If the engagement ring doesn’t have a matching component, ask to see what your options are for selecting a wedding band,” Koerber adds. “If you want something a little more unique, you could mix different textures, shapes or even metals with your engagement ring. For example, if you have a white gold engagement ring you could pair it with a rose gold wedding band.”

PICKING A DATE 

DO consider what time of year you prefer, says wedding planner Jamie Lott of Events4U. “More and more people are saying fall. They love the fall colors,” Lott says. “The last few years we’ve had a huge trend in mid-September through October. October has become the new June.”

DON’T wait. Venues fill up during busy months, but so do service providers like florists, cake decorators and even the wedding spots themselves. “You’re probably not going to get the venue you want unless you’re working a year ahead,” Lott says.

THE WEDDING PARTY 

DO pick your closest friends. Bridesmaids and groomsmen shell out hundreds of dollars to be a part of a single wedding, and the workload itself can cause hard feelings.

DON’T “feel obligated to put someone in your wedding that you’re not close to,” Lott adds. “So many brides have somebody that they’ve put in their wedding that they may not be very close to, but they felt obligated to because their aunt is going to be hurt if her daughter is not in the wedding. Your wedding day should be about the people you care about, and those are the people you want with you, especially the bridal party.

THE DRESS 

DO try on several, and don’t pick the first one you fall in love with. You can always go back to it. Make sure you consider the fit of your dress if you’re following an exercise plan and dieting.

DON’T ignore fittings. “When I plan a wedding for a bride, I attend at least two of her fittings because I want to make sure that dress fits correctly,” says Lott. “Bridal gowns tend to stretch a tiny bit once a bride has worn them for an hour or so. I like them to fit extra snug. I tease brides and say if they can’t breathe, we know it fits!”

THE PLACE 

DO chose a venue based on your budget and “know everything about that venue before you sign. Read that contract thoroughly,” Lott advises.

DON’T leave a lot of time between your ceremony and your reception. Though it’s your day, your guests are giving up time and money to celebrate. Make it easy on them.

INVITATIONS 

DO “remember you don’t have to break the bank to be satisfied with your (invitation) choice and do keep it simple,” says Nicole Parr, a graphic artist with Louisville-based Phoenix Business Systems Inc. “Your invitation is the first glimpse your guests will get of the look and feel of your wedding. An invitation is best when it reflects the mood and ambiance you hope to achieve on your special day.”

DON’T “be overwhelmed and distracted by the endless options of this saturated market,” she adds. “In the end, an invitation that represents the happy couple’s personal style will be a treasured keepsake for years to come.”

THE GUEST LIST 

DO choose your guest list based on families and friends from both sides.

DON’Tchoose a venue that is too small for your wedding. “That obviously includes your décor and any type of tables. Don’t assume that even the best planner can shove it all in there,” Lott says. “It won’t look right. Give yourself enough room to make it look nice.”

THE MUSIC 

DO use professional entertainment. “We’ve seen the DIY wedding reception with the iPod playlist go really bad,” said Brent Rogers, co-owner of Sounds Unlimited Productions. “When you handle it with a professional, what you’re going to get is someone who can read the crowd and understand if they’re responding to, say, old school hip-hop. They can also shift gears with that and bring in some disco or ’90s sing-along. Having a professional there who can read the crowd and rotate the danced floor is crucial for a successful event.

DON’T restrict yourself into one style or genre. “We had a bride several years ago who was a huge Elvis fan and her entire playslist was made up of Elvis songs and Elvis cover songs,” recounted Rogers.” I suggested to her maybe we should shake this up a bit, and she insisted elvis was her guy and this is what she wanted. … We went through the formalities and once the party started, we had 300 people in the room. About 15 minutes into the reception, we had a group pf bridesmaids come up and tell us how terrible we were and told us the bride was in the bathroom crying because no one was dancing. I replied, “Here’s the all-Elvis playlist and the bride told us to stick to it … but if you give me 15 minutes and let me play whatever I want, I will get the dance floor back, get the party started and of course play some Elvis. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened. Don’t tie the hand behind the professional’s back. We know what we’re doing and want to do this for you.”