Creating an eco-friendly wedding -
Interest in the environment is at an all-time high, and many engaged couples are fusing their passion for the environment with their weddings by choosing eco-chic nuptials and Earth-conscious registries. Here are tips for couples that want to start their married life on a celebratory and sustainable note:
Environmentally friendly wedding ideas
* Use responsibly sourced paper. Many wedding invitation designers and printers offer better- for-the-planet papers made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled content or from wood sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
* Keep the environment in mind when creating a menu or choosing a caterer and opt for seasonal, locally sourced and organic edibles. Use reusable or compostable foodservice items to lessen the reception's impact on the planet.
* Importing flowers can rack up your celebration's carbon footprint. Challenge your florist to think locally and seasonally.
* Send wedding party members home with ecological gifts. Offer bridesmaids USDA-certified organic skin care products from brands such as Dr. Bronner's. A watch is a traditional groomsmen gift, so opt for a planet-friendly version such as a solar-powered fitness watch.
Saying "I do" to an eco-friendly registry
* Wedding registries should be both practical and highly personalized. From household staples like bedroom linens and towels to decorative accessories, there's no shortage of eco-friendly items to choose from.
* When compiling sustainable choices for your registry, focus on one room at a time. Culinary gear is a crucial part of any registry. It's a good idea to focus on basics such as Preserve cutting boards made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled plastic and bamboo spoons and kitchen accessories.
* Next stop: the bedroom. Keep the romance factor high and your environmental impact low by registering for items that comfort both you and the planet. Consider Target Home organic cotton fiber sheet sets. Cotton grown organically reduces the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. Accessorize with Smith & Hawken Poured Candles made from soy wax, which produce less soot than paraffin candles.
* Add energy-efficient appliances to your list. Appliances account for 17 percent of the average household's energy consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Remember, not all energy-efficient appliances are big-ticket ones. Create a registry with affordable ENERGY STAR−approved small appliances such as Black & Decker's Cyclonic Dustbuster.
* Don't forget the yard. Consider registering for a solar-powered fountain to decorate a patio or an outdoor compost bin that will generate nutrient-rich soil for a garden and divert compostable waste from landfills.
* Create and manage your registry online or via your mobile device. You'll save paper and time by managing your registry list on the go. Visit Target.com/ClubWedd for more information on a paperless registry.
Pierson Photography offers "custom fit" services for Bridal couples -
Pierson Photography, located at 518 N. 2nd Street in Cherokee, is celebrating its 20th year in business this year, and one of the services they offer is a complete wedding "package" for couples, including engagement photos,wedding albums, a wall portrait and bridal session. Chief photographer Doug Pierson has a degree in Photography from Hawkeye College in Waterloo and a Masters Degree and Certification from the Professional Photographers of America. Doug is also currently serving as the Vice-President of the Professional Photographers of Iowa. He has provided photographic services for many area weddings, as well as some nuptials as far away as Wyoming and Colorado.
Pierson says that each wedding package he provides is "custom fit" for the couple. He offers many options to the bridal couple and the couple selects which options they want. Pierson Photography offers two different styles of photography for weddings - one is the traditional type of wedding photo - mostly formal and posed. Another style they can provide, in addition to the traditional style, is a more informal "photojournalistic" style, in which Doug's wife Rita takes non-posed photos of wedding guests and participants throughout the celebration. Doug Pierson said that he believes that this style of wedding photos is "unique to this half of the state."
Pierson said he did twelve weddings last year and that that was probably an average year's work for him. Most of the weddings take place in the spring or summer, but the wedding date, of course, rests with the bridal couple.
To contact Pierson Photography, call 225- 2453 or 1-800-427-2456.
(Story and Photo by Dan Whitney)
Dress for the big day -
Many people with some age recognizes the fact that styles change and evolve but usually with a twist to keep that fresh and new. folks have a tendency to want something different. The fashion world recognizes that fact making gowns a formal statement. When one walks into Sequins, located at 219 W. Willow St. in Cherokee, you recognized that fact immediately. The stores' owner, Jodi Schlichting, is known for her common sense and provides wonderful gowns at a very reasonable price not to mention the fine quality and variety offered.
What hits your eye when you walk in are all of the bright colors offered from yellow, orange, red hot pink, purple, blue, green and teals. Then there are the brown, grey and black gowns. What this reporter enjoyed seeing was the full gathered gowns with a tulle overlay which brigs back memories of the fifties.
Schlichting noted that stap-less gowns are a big hit regardless of the month of the year for the wedding. Floor length gowns for the bride is still the favorite. Ivory is the favorite color as well as champagne as opposed to white. White seems to be harsh for many young brides. The asymmetrical pleating done on the gowns are fetching with many in different placements. Another hit is having the gowns either fitted from above the knee (mermaid style) or fitted down to the knee (Trumpet style). They are quite sleek and eye-catching. Another big plus for young brides is having flowers (rosettes) form from lace for a three-dimension effect. They are just beautiful and make quite a keepsake as it provides a very delicate look.
What is also a new practice for the wedding party is that the bride will select the color of gown she wants fro her bridesmaids but the bridesmaids may pick the style of dress they wish to wear. So one could possibly have five different styles of gown when having five bridesmaids.
The silver or gold color shoes remains popular but many are dying shoes to match the color of their gowns. Rhinestone jewelry is also very popular.
Sequins keeps growing by word of mouth. Many know the quality of their gowns while their prices are very reasonable. Customers come by afar but locals who walk in the door know good value is what you can expect from Sequins. Service is also provided there not to mention how handy it is.
In addition to the female side of the wedding, a selection of Mother dresses, flower girls and junior bridesmaids; there you can also rent tuxes. The store is now open on Sundays to assist one with gown selections.
(Photo) - Nothing is more classy than black - and - white fashions for the wedding party. This selection is one of many at Sequins. Note the rosette at the waist on both dresses. ...
(Story and Photos by Nancy Hohbach)
... This prom gown is wild with colors in a fine fabric, fitted to a bodice set off with sequins and a skirt flowing to the floor.
Catering with style -
"Big or small, we do it all" is the motto Family Table of Cherokee abides by according to the owner Ed Otto. Family Table has been around for 22 years and catering has been a major factor in that business for the last five years. Otto commented there is quite an assortment of occasions which he has been called to serve which includes weddings, anniversaries, family or class reunions, church event, graduations, business events and others.
All one has to do is give them a call. They will meet with you and discuss what it available to serve---which you will quickly learn is anything you want.
"We have served prime rib, ham, various styles of chicken dishes or simply broasted chicken, roast beef, pork loin, sea food including shrimp. They can create their own menu and we will make suggestions. With the modern equipment that is available, we can prepare the food and get it there on time, serve the hot food hot and the cool foods cool. Food travels well. We also can do some food preparation on site. We have served up to 800 and really wouldn't have a problem serving more. We have also served more than one event on the same day. On one day we served five separate events," said Otto.
He noted that if they expect 400, he likes to set up four lines serving 100 each. The folks get their food quicker with all eating at the same time and food temps are constant.
At one time there were 14 restaurants with the name of Family Table with 14 managers in charge. Now, some of these restaurants are still under the same ownership but they have been recreated under new names. They are upscaled with wine and alcohol served. These 14 gentlemen work together on many occasions and some started catering before others. They keep expanding their businesses. They have succeeded in keeping up with what folks like while keeping some of their public's favorites such as onions rings and burgers and mexican food.
Otto also noted that he has several size table cloths on hand to deal with all shape tables. They can take care of getting tables and chairs but more times than not, those are at the site of the reception.
"We have received positive feedback after the occasions as our food tastes good, the service was excellent and they are delighted with the prices. We can see the serving tables as well as the tables guest are attractive and festive. We take pride in serving our food on time plus make sure there is enough for each guests. We have much repeat business as we take care of the details as it is our business. We encourage folks to get estimates and consult with us. We can take the load off their minds and make for an enjoyable day for them. Tasty food that looks good, quick service and reasonable prices is where it's at," said Otto.
There is a web site to get more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org
which will provide a complete menu, business hours, some history, purchase gift cards and more.
(Photo) - Kim Seel and Ed Otto have worked together for many years at The Family Table.
(Story and Photos by Nancy Hohbach)
Let Hy-Vee and WITCC host your reception -
If you're a bridal couple or family of such a couple and looking for a place to host your wedding reception, one of the venues to consider is the Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center in Cherokee.
Nancy Brutsman, Conference Center Director (photo) said that the large room at the Conference Center has comfortably held up to 425 people for wedding receptions, and that included tables, chairs, dance floor and a place for the wedding cake.
Brutsman is an employee of Hy-Vee, which has held the contract for food services at the Conference Center since the facility was opened in the mid-1990s. Hy-Vee's contract calls for them to be the exclusive food providers for events at the Center. Brutsman said that if a bridal couple wants to provide their own wedding cake and florist they may, but Hy-Vee Bakery and Floral can provide those things too ...
(Story and photos by Dan Whitney)
... Randy Ritts is the Food Service Manager for Hy-Vee, and the bridal couple consults with Randy regarding their preferred menu for the reception. Ritts then prepares whatever meal they desire.
In addition to the actual reception, Brutsman said some couples have had gift openings at the Conference Center on the day after the wedding, and Hy-Vee has provided coffee and a light lunch for those occasions.
Brutsman feels that he WITCC Conference Center is a "wonderful place to have a reception," and she says they have a very busy summer planned at the Conference Center, with the entire month of June booked, as well as two dates in July and two more in August. So if you're looking at THIS summer, you might be out of luck. However, you can always check.
To book a reservation you can call the secretary at Western Iowa Tech (225-0238) or call Hy-Vee Food Store (225-4139) and ask for either Nancy Brutsman or Randy Ritts.
Nancy Brutsman works in the Floral Department at Hy-Vee Foods, but she is also at the Conference Center on weekdays from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and during events.
Brutsman said that the 'by-word' throughout the Hy-Vee Corporation is 'full service,' and she says she tries her best to make all of a couple's dreams for their reception come true. She also stressed that "nothing is impossible ... sometimes all you have to do is ask."
Brutsman also reminds everyone that, in addition to the famed "helpful smile in every aisle" in the Hy-Vee store, "there's also a smile out here" at the WITCC Conference Center.
(photo) - the WITCC Convention Center has more than enough room to hold wedding receptions.
'Sounds Unlimited' gets around -
John Seel began as a disc jockey (DJ) back in 1982 to help someone out and his equipment was rather primitive to what he uses today. Back then he used a couple of record players, the records he owned at that time and develop a homemade light system. He smiles as he thinks back to those days.
"But it worked and dancers seemed to like it. I got into helping them have some fun which it is all about. I still can remember some of those first events. One place the dancers had four inches of pea gravel to dance on and each couple seemed to grind out a spot as their feet wore the gravel out. Dust was a flyin! I set up in all kinds of buildings and even tents," said Seel.
Seel went onto say he has done a variety of events such as graduations, weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. He noted that he has held dances in new hog confinement buildings which makes a big dance floor and food is served. He has played in barns and machine sheds as folks celebrated their century farms. He has played in Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota. He is known as "Unlimited Sounds" which speaks to the music he offers.
"I played a wedding here in Cherokee when a couple of guests from Johnston heard me. It wasn't long before they asked me to play for a family wedding for them in Johnston. They had a blast. They couldn't thank me enough as their guest thought it was the best dance as they liked my music selections, and that I kept everyone with a smile on their face. That's what it's all about---everyone enjoying themselves. I keep the crowd on the floor. I have never done any advertising. My DJ business has grown by word of mouth," explained Seel.
In the mid 90's, I bought a new system. Seel then got around with a pickup, rather than go in a car, with a topper on it. Now he has a new DJ trailer that houses all of his equipment. He sports an LED lighting system. He has kept reinvesting in the business. Another change over the years is that I started with many records and then went to cassettes and tapes and then CDs. Seel is constantly updating his music and belongs to a professional organization which sends him updates. He plays a wide range of music and plays music that goes with each particular crowd.
Wayne Morrris has been his tech advisor and helps out periodically.
Seel has played for more school teen dances and proms than he can count. He has done them back to back nights in many a high school gym. He has also played at community centers, golf club houses and has done the Pool & Pub. Everyone likes his lights and strobe ...
(Story and Photos by Nancy Hohbach)
... Seel laughed, "I could tell you many fun sights and happenings at various times. But I have a rule, what happens at my dances, stays at those dances. It's a sure thing they are having fun. What is also showing is my age since I am now doing wedding dances for the second generation in some families. I did their parents dance and now them. I network with other DJs. By helping them, they help me out if I'm too busy and recommend someone I know in the area.
Anyone can call about and asked him the time and music he provides to book him at 712-225-3283.
(Photo) - John Seel as he was in the late 1980's, set up and ready to go. My how this has changed with modern equipment to make dances a major happening.