What's hot and new among wedding traditions

Mymms personal chocolate is Hotttttttttt


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May 17--Couples may vow to save money on their weddings, but many are still willing to splurge on a "wow" factor.

Emily Post might be overcome by the vapors at some of the quirky ideas couples are using to personalize their weddings and receptions.

Photo booth

John and Sherry Petersik of Richmond, who married July 7, 2007, wanted to inject fun into their casual backyard wedding. They decided on a photo booth, "spurred by our tradition of documenting many relationship milestones with a photo-booth strip," Sherry said.

The couple hired Freeze Frame, a Richmond business started in 2006 by Lee Shulleeta and Lisa Ann Setchel. Cost was $1,200 for the day, which included unlimited photo strips, a scrapbook and an attendant to run the booth. The Petersiks ended up with hysterical strips of friends and family, and guests took some home for keepsakes.

Invite your dogs

If dogs are part of the family, why not include them in the wedding party? Richmonders Jenni Brumelle and Huan Vu married in Powhatan on May 1 with Merrick, a Dalmatian mix, and Paisley, an American bulldog, standing nearby, their collars adorned with flowers.

The dogs were escorted down the aisle by flower girls holding their leashes.

Candy buffets

A table of jars filled with all sorts of candies -- in the chosen wedding color, of course -- can bring out the inner child in everyone. The couple usually order little bags printed with their names so guests can trick-or-treat for their own wedding favors. It also gives guests something to munch on while wedding-party photos are being taken.

The Internet is full of sites that sell wedding-reception candies. At mymms.com, couples can or-der M&Ms in their chosen colors and have them imprinted with names, messages or even photos.

Among the choices at wrappedhersheys.com, Carson Bars sells 1.55-ounce chocolate bars or assorted minis personalized with HERETHEYARE wrappers instead of HERSHEY and the couple's names and a photo below. The net weight says, "Tons of Love."

Signature beverages

For Myra Benson and Andrew Wooddell's fall 2010 wedding in Roanoke, guests will sip on drinks that represent the season and their orange and pink wedding colors.

Spiced apple cider and cinnamon lattes will be available for nondrinkers. "Then we want a couple fun mixed drinks," Benson said. "We're considering a pumpkin martini, a pinktini or an appletini. This will save us money and make even our drink choices personal to us and reflective of our wedding theme."

Alternative cakes

Cupcake tiers have become popular as alternatives to a traditional wedding cake.

"A lot of my clients want it because it's an easier way of serving dessert, particularly if they're having a more casual event," said Jenny Tremblay, owner of Sweetest Thing Bakery in Richmond.

Tremblay's prices range from $3.25 to $4.50 per slice of cake, while cupcakes start at $2.25 apiece. The pricier cupcakes have elaborate decorations, such as a bird's nest design she did for one couple using toasted coconut and white-chocolate birds.

For her May 30 wedding in Midlothian, Stephanie Shook chose a cookie tower. She considered cupcakes, "but I soon realized that would be a headache -- transporting and displaying 100 or more cupcakes."

Tremblay finds that couples are personalizing their weddings through their cake designs. She recently completed a groom's Red Velvet Cake shaped like the head of "Star Wars" Wookiee Chewbacca for the reception of Abi Johnstone and Walter Wash.

Some blogs tell how to make a Krispy Kreme cake -- tiers of doughnuts embellished with decorations. (See one at http://www.magicwandweddings.com/uniqueideas.html.)

Or how about just going with a fake cake? Companies sell artificial layers made of Styrofoam in all shapes and sizes. They're frosted and topped with flowers or sugar artwork.

The fake cake upholds the tradition while ordinary sheet cake squares or cupcakes are plated and served to guests.


Emily Post draws the line at extending invitations through sites such as evite.com or pingg.com. "The more formal the communication, the less it is appropriate for e-mail," says the emilypost.com wedding page. "A good 'formality test' for e-mail is this: If you would be comfortable extending the invitation over the phone, then e-mail is acceptable."

Pingg.com touts e-vites as a more eco-friendly and inexpensive way to issue invitations. The company reports that last year, 20 percent of its wedding-related events were actual wedding invitations -- double what it was the previous year.

You registered for what?

Forget toasters and china patterns. DeSeana Evans and her fiance, Richard Sutton, have their sights set on St. Lucia.

After their Sept. 19 wedding in Richmond, they hope to take off on a honeymoon partially financed by their guests. The couple have registered at http://www.travelersjoy.com, a site that lets guests donate a general amount or pony up for a desired activity (snorkeling for $50, for example). The site takes a 7.5 percent cut from the gift value to cover hosting, registry services and other overhead.