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Building A Wedding Gift Registry August 1, 2016

Many once-popular wedding traditions have fallen by the wayside. But one wedding tradition that has withstood the test of time is the wedding registry. Couples about to tie the knot still build a wedding registry so their guests know what to buy them as wedding gifts. This saves guests the trouble of agonizing over what to buy the couple getting hitched and also helps to ensure that couples won't receive two or more of the same item.

Building a registry can be fun, as couples can act like children in a candy store and add items they might otherwise not be able to afford. But there is a method to building a registry that can ensure the process of giving and receiving gifts is comfortable and convenient for everyone involved.

· Choose a national chain. Many stores will allow couples to establish a registry, but it behooves couples to choose a national chain or chains for their registry. A local boutique store might sell several items a couple would love to have, but that store may only be accessible to guests who live nearby. Plus, such stores may be more expensive than larger national chains that can afford to charge less for similar products. Choosing a national chain ensures all of your guests will be able to access and purchase a gift from your registry, and make those purchases without breaking the bank.

· Choose a store with an online presence. When couples choose a store for their registry, it helps to select a store with an online presence that's user-friendly. Ideally, a couple should pick an online retailer with which they have already had positive experiences. This will make it easier not only for your guests, but also for you if you decide to return items down the road.

· Choose more than one store. Some guests will prefer to shop in-store rather than online, so the couple should give them some options so they don't have to drive far and wide to find the lone brick and mortar store on the registry.

· Visit the stores and do research. Though some stores allow couples to develop a registry entirely online, it still helps for couples to visit the store together and build their registries in the more traditional way. Visiting a store as opposed to browsing the store website allows brides- and grooms to touch and feel products, giving them a more accurate idea of the items' quality. In addition to seeing the products in person, couples should read online reviews of products before putting them on the registry.

· Choose items that vary in price. Many couples are sheepish about putting expensive items on their registries. That's not surprising, as the cost of attending a wedding, especially one that is out-of-town, can be substantial. But some guests, such as the bride's and groom's parents and siblings, may want to give a more expensive gift, so the couple should not be afraid to include items within a range of prices, from the inexpensive to the more costly, on the registry.

· Don't abandon the registry after the big day. The couple will not end up getting everything they include on the registry, but that doesn't mean they should just forget about those neglected items. Many retailers offer couples significant discounts on items from their registries that were never purchased, and those discounts may extend for as long as a year after the big day. The couple should revisit the registry after the wedding to see if they can find great deals on those items they never received.

Building a registry can be a fun activity for couples about to tie the knot. But there are some guidelines to follow to make the process go smoothly for guests and couples alike.

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A Tip from a Pro - Local Vendors September 4, 2013

"Shop local. You will be surprised!"

Jim DeFilippis, coordinator at Eicher Arts Center, Ephrata

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Wedding Registries: August 23, 2013

Thanks in large part to the Internet, it's now easier than ever before to set up a wedding registry. Couples can do so entirely via the Web or visit their favorite store or stores and use a hand-held scanner to add items to their registry. There are also a number of ways to support local retailers with your registry. But even though registries are easy to set up, it might help couples to consider a few tips before they start clicking or scanning away.

DO'S

-Register with multiple merchants.

-Register with stores that are easily accessed by your guests, or use an alternative registry to request general items rather than specific products.

-Read the fine print. Some online retailers are kinder than others. When establishing an online registry, examine the retailer's policy thoroughly to be sure it does not include substantial service charges or exorbitant shipping fees.

-Include items at a variety of price points to accommodate guests with varied budgets. Register for luxury items because people enjoy giving those gifts, but also include practical items.

-Go with necessities, as well as fun items. Games, loungewear, electronics, stationery, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and gift cards are items that can be requested on a registry.

-Set up a honeymoon registry. If you do not need some of the more common household items like cookware, linens or home furnishings, a honeymoon registry allows guests to donate money toward your honeymoon.

-Let the groom-to-be add items specifically for him to help him feel more included.

-Set up your registry early so it will be ready in time for any celebrations in your honor.

-Write thank-you cards! Don't let your guests' generosity go unacknowledged.

DON'TS

-Don't register for items you don't want. Duh!

-Don't assume all guests are tech-savvy. It's safe to assume your guest list will include some people who have never before shopped online. Because of that, you should still register with a brick-and-mortar store instead of only registering online.

-Don't include registry details in your wedding invitation. If you have a wedding website, include the link and provide details online. Otherwise, let close friends and family know so they can help spread the word, or include the registry note in a shower invitation.

-Don't ask for money outright.

ALTERNATIVES

Wedding registries take the headache out of gift-giving, but not every bride wants - or needs - a cut-glass punch bowl with matching glassware. With that in mind, here are some alternative registries, designed so that the happy couple can start their lives together with as few worries as possible.

www.alternativegiftregistry.com

The beauty of this registry is that couples are not tied to any particular store, and they may indicate their desire for handcrafted or gently used items. This registry provides flexibility and promotes eco-friendly gift-giving. Couples may also suggest donations to their favorite charities.

www.myregistry.com

This registry allows couples to sync their pre-existing store registries, as well as to register for any product no matter the store, whether it's online or at a physical location. Android and iPhone apps enable users to scan barcodes of items they see in real-life and add them to the registry. The registry can also be shared on Facebook.

www.honeyfund.com

Couples can register for cash toward honeymoon expenses or other things like down payments for a house. Guests have the option of sending money through the mail or at the wedding/shower free of charge, or they may make credit card payments to the couple's PayPal account for a small fee.

www.wanderable.com

Wanderable is a honeymoon registry for couples who want experiences, not traditional gifts. Linked with Facebook, the site allows individuals to plan honeymoons based on information and pictures shared by other users or found elsewhere online. The basic registry is free, but upgrades are available for a cost.

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Going Green On Your Big Day: August 23, 2013

Couples about to tie the knot can make their weddings even more special by making the festivities eco-friendly.

Environmentally friendly ideals are now permeating all aspects of daily living, and couples who already do their best to reduce, reuse, and recycle may want to employ those same values on their wedding day. The growing interest in eco-conscious weddings not only benefits the planet, but also allows couples to set their weddings apart, as eco-friendly aspects can help create unique memories.

Eco-conscious couples can go green in a number of ways before, during, and after their wedding. The carbon footprint of a wedding can be reduced simply by scaling back and avoiding over-consumption. However, there are also easy ways to include green practices in a wedding without compromising on style or statement. Couples won't have to jeopardize their ideals or tastes to achieve a wedding that is both green and beautiful.

Invitations:

One of the easiest ways for a bride and groom to go green while planning their wedding involves the wedding invitations, as couples have many options for eco-friendly invitations. Though many etiquette experts frown on abandoning paper invitations for digital ones, many couples are doing just that. Those who still prefer paper can go green by having their invitations printed on recycled paper or tree-free paper.

Couples can also reduce their other wedding stationary needs by skipping the extra inserts inside of the invitation, such as directions and registry cards. Instead, couples can direct guests to a personal wedding Web page. Many wedding websites offer couples the chance to create their own personal Web page with information about themselves and the wedding ceremony and reception. Couples can post directions, hotel information, and other details that would otherwise be disseminated with the paper invitations. Collecting all of this information on a Web page reduces paper consumption and makes it easier for a couple's guests to find all the pertinent details regarding the big day.

Wedding Attire and Jewelry:

Another way to reduce a wedding's carbon footprint is to reuse and recycle wedding attire and jewelry. A couple's journey to their wedding day typically begins with the marriage proposal and an engagement ring, and even this time-honored tradition can be done in an eco-friendly way. Couples can go green by purchasing vintage or antique engagement rings and wedding bands. Couples can also shop from jewelers that use recycled stones and metals. For a more personal approach, family heirloom jewelry can be used.

Eco-conscious brides can also embrace history when selecting their wedding attire if the bride's mother, grandmother, or other relative has offered her wedding gown. Reusing a wedding dress that has been re-fitted will save the bride money, in addition to conserving the energy that would be needed to construct an entirely new gown. Furthermore, the sentimental gesture of wearing a gown passed down through the generations will be appreciated by the bride's family members and is one way for her to include them in her wedding. Brides can also reuse veils, jewelry, shoes, and other accessories.

Brides who do not have heirloom dresses and accessories to incorporate into their wedding attire can still take an eco-friendly walk down the aisle. In vintage stores, brides can find many styles of dresses and accessories. Additionally, a number of websites match up brides with others looking to swap gently-used items at low or no cost. Brides can also purchase a new gown that is made from sustainable materials. Many top designers now make gowns produced from such materials, leaving brides with a variety of green options.

Beauty:

Brides can also incorporate environmentally friendly products into their wedding day beauty regiment by asking their hairdressers and makeup artists to use all-natural beauty products instead of conventional cosmetics, which may contain toxic chemicals. Brides can also patronize an eco-friendly salon, which are growing in popularity.

Venue:

Eco-friendly wedding options can also extend to the ceremony and reception venues. One of the most affordable and environmentally friendly ways to get married is to simply elope or have a small ceremony. After all, there's no rule that says couples have to invite 300 of their not-so-close friends to the wedding. Opting for more intimate affairs allows couples to save on cost and to help the environment.

For those who do want a larger wedding, keep the event close to home. Couples can wed in a family member's large backyard or in a nearby park to avoid using large, indoor reception halls. Moving the ceremony and party outside can alleviate some environmental impact related to energy usage.

Couples may also look into catering halls that offer packages that include other elements of the wedding, such as flowers, cake, linens, music, and more. These convenient packages may be more affordable and will save the couple the time and gas they would have used driving around to visit different vendors.

Instead of rice, which can be damaging to wildlife, guests may be supplied with bubbles, birdseed, sprinkles, biodegradable confetti, or flower petals to throw at the happy couple after the ceremony.

Flowers:

Flowers add significant aesthetic appeal to a wedding, and couples can make them even more appealing by choosing local flowers that are in season. Local and seasonal flowers do not need to be transported as far as their exotic and out-of-season counterparts.

When shopping for a florist, eco-conscious couples should look for one who specializes in organic flowers, which are never sprayed with potentially harmful pesticides or fungicides. In addition to organic and seasonal flowers, green options include bouquets made of sustainable succulent plants and centerpieces full of organic fruits and wildflowers.

Reception:

Suggestions abound for couples interested in hosting a green reception. Hosting a wedding at or near home gives couples the opportunity to shop around for locally produced, organic foods. Couples may also wish to consider skipping the all-you-can-eat buffet and serving a more traditional meal to reduce the amount of wasted food.

Instead of formal escort cards indicating firm seating arrangements, couples can save paper by allowing guests to choose their own seats from mix-matched options, such as long, communal benches and comfy sofas.

To save money on decorations, couples may decorate with items they already own. Centerpieces and other displays can incorporate the couple's favorite books, photographs, souvenirs, collectibles, and other special items, adding a personal touch to the event's decor. Brides and grooms can also make or purchase banners, garlands, signs, and other decorations that are made from old maps, handkerchiefs, books, and other recycled items.

Another way to make the reception more eco-friendly is to choose a charitable party favor. Instead of giving a party favor that will end up collecting dust on a shelf or sitting in a landfill, couples can give guests organic products or make a donation to a charitable organization in the guests' names.

Transportation:

A major way to reduce the carbon footprint of a wedding is to reduce the transportation-related energy consumption. Carbon emissions can be reduced and fuel can be saved by reducing guests' need to travel far for a wedding and by employing transportation options that can accommodate several people at once, such as a limousine for the wedding party or a party bus to transport guests.

Gifts:

Couples can opt for open registries that enable guests to give everything from eco-friendly housewares to charitable donations or cash for down payments on a home. When giving money, guests do not risk giving the bride and groom something that may be returned or discarded.

Honeymoon:

A couple's dedication to being environmentally friendly can even extend to the selection of a honeymoon destination. Couples can choose from a number of eco-conscious hotels and resorts or elect to honeymoon close to home.

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