The Atchison Event Center in Atchison, Kansas, was full of wedding professionals and brides-to-be on Sunday for the fifth year in a row.
The annual Atchison Area Bridal Show featured booths offering just about everything an engaged couple could need to plan their trip down the aisle.
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Lauren Eggen, a communication specialist for the city of Atchison, organized the event and said her only hope was to have more people this year than the 100 to 150 from last year.
She said it was designed five years ago to serve as a “one-stop-shop” for future brides.
“We have photographers, caterers, rental places where you can get chairs and tables,” Eggen said. “We have DJs and invitations — it’s basically a one-stop-shop for your wedding day.”
Eggen is engaged to be married herself, but is having the wedding in Jefferson City, where she is from. She said she wishes there would have been a show like Atchison’s that she could have used to do her planning.
“I would have loved to have used this,” Eggen said. “It would have created so much less stress.”
Eggen said the biggest trend in weddings right now is to have a vintage look.
A booth for Grace Auburn Weddings and Events offered a look at how vintage styles could improve a wedding.
According to Candice Jenkins, a representative for the company, old window frames used as decorations or as picture frames, church pews and barn wood seem to be the popular decor to a wedding.
“It seems to be all over Facebook, all over Pinterest. Brides are really excited about having that outdoorsy, rustic, simple feel,” Jenkins said.
There were several booths that offered wedding apparel.
Andy Schank, of Belle Vogue Bridal, said that there are certain trends in dresses and gowns that are in style this year.
“Sleeves are back on trend, brides are loving the sleeves. It’s all over the runway reports,” Schank said. “(Also) illusion backs, that detail, and color is always in: your blushes, your moscatos, your cream café tones and beading, who doesn’t love a little sparkle?”
The show culminated in a raffle of donated goods. Several winners picked up prizes of tanning packages, gym memberships and a $500 dollar check for wedding items.
A fashion show of gowns, dresses and suits finished the show. Models walked the runway in front of a crowd of around 100 people or more.
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A public hearing to allow wedding barns in Wilmington Township is set for 5 p.m. March 2 at the township municipal building, 669 Wilson Mill Road.
Immediately following the public hearing, supervisors will vote on adopting proposed changes to the zoning amendment that would make wedding barns a conditional use.
The changes would include wedding barns as a new zoning category. They would be defined as permanent structures, currently or previously used as barns that are "fully or partially repurposed as a venue for weddings, receptions or other gatherings."
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The proposed ordinance: limits attendance to 200 or fewer persons, depending on a review by the building inspector or zoning officer; prohibits more than 12 events per year in a residential district but imposes no limit on the number in an agricultural district; requires parking to be on the property and not on state or township roads; states events must be between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.; limits noise to 60 decibels at the property line; requires the owner to have bonded on-site security guards for each event and proof of liability insurance; bans food preparation on site except incidental preparation; forbids food or beverages sale on premises and allows alcohol to be served as allowed by state and local laws; prohibits fireworks or open fires; and requires the barns to be inspected and approved by a township-approved engineer.
The ordinance is available for public inspection at the Lawrence County Law Library, the New Castle News office and the municipal building.
Earlier this month, supervisors agreed to depart from the recommendations of the township planning commission, which recommended a limit of 12 events per year and 200 guests for agricultural zones and prohibiting them in the R-2 zones.
Richard and Jody Wimer of JPC Events Group are asking for the zone change to allow creation of The Farm at Willowbrook on a 5- acre farm on Route 956 owned by Thomas Shumaker. The change also would allow Gina Sharbaugh's SharBarn on Wilson Mill Road. The Wimers plan to invest $2 million in their facility, their attorney, James Manolis, told supervisors at a meeting earlier this month.
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The proposed ordinance states that such wedding barns are not clearly covered in the current ordinance and that the supervisors want to encourage "agri-tourism" while maintaining the rural and residential character of the township.
In the past, second marriages were often discreet, low-key events, but today people tend to celebrate remarriage with great enthusiasm. If the big day involves two adults with children, there's even more reason to make the wedding a family affair.
There really are no rules for including children from previous relationships in the wedding. Instead go with what works for your family depending on the ages of the children and how much they want to be involved.
"It can be a good idea to include children" in the wedding ceremony and a good step toward a happy future, "as long as you can do it without imposing your expectations" on them, said Susan Stiffelman, a marriage and family therapist and author of "Parenting with Presence" and "Parenting without Power Struggles."
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Be OK with feelings
While the bride and groom may be over the moon about their impending nuptials, there's no guarantee that their children feel the same way. Not only is it completely normal not to feel an instant loving family connection, it can take as long as four years for stepchildren and stepparents to feel comfortable with one another, according to the National Stepfamily Resource Center.
"As parents, you're the anchor in their lives," Stiffelman said. "Don't push too hard. You can say, 'I want you to be a part of it as much or as little as you want to be involved.' Understand children might be dealing with different feelings in the days before and after the wedding. Be conscious that kids may have hard feelings that are difficult to reconcile," Stiffelman said.
Don't make them feel guilty if they don't feel a certain way about the wedding, and don't push your expectations on them, Stiffelman said.
Instead, "check in with them frequently. Ask them how they're feeling," she said.
Kids may be filled with emotions but lack the words to articulate them. Instead, speak the words for them: "Grandma and grandpa are coming in town and isn't that exciting? How are you feeling about everything that's going on?" Stiffelman suggested.
There are so many ways children can be involved in the wedding, starting with the planning stages.
"Ask their opinion and listen to their input" on things such as what flowers to order, what songs to play at the reception or what colors to go with, Stiffelman said. It will give them ownership of the day and help them feel excited about it.
"Make them feel that they are part of the day and the wedding. It's not just two people getting married, it's the blending of a family," Stiffelman said.
Some children will welcome the opportunity to be a part of the wedding party as a flower girl or ring bearer, maid of honor or best man, but not all kids will, Stiffelman said.
"Be aware that children may be grappling with the issue of loyalties" and others would rather not take on such a significant role, she said.
Within the ceremony, parents can make vows of love and support to each other's children and children can respond, "We do, too."
Since it's going to be a long day, it would be a "kind gesture" to allow children to invite a friend to attend the wedding with them, Stiffelman said. A friend can provide support and help keep a child entertained.
And when it's all over, some brides and grooms will turn the honeymoon into a family vacation.
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