Tuesday 31 July 2018

A Traditional Black Tie Wedding At Crystal Plaza

There are so many details from Taylor and Adam's black tie wedding that made our hearts flutter from the second the images landed in our inbox. From the neutral color palette of white, grey and gold to the bride's stunning Liancarlo wedding gown and extravagant florals by Adam Leffel Productions , there's no question that you'll be inspired by each and every detail from this traditional soiree at the Crystal Plaza.

Not to mention, you just have to see the suspended, chandelier-style wedding cake the couple opted for. It's super unique and made for a fun conversation piece. Thank you so much to Allison McCafferty Photography for sharing the wedding photos with us!

From Allison… Adam & Taylor's black tie wedding was absolutely gorgeous. Every detail was well thought out, timeless and elegant. I met with the couple at the Hilton in Short Hills where they rented a large suite for getting ready. Taylor was one of the calmest brides I've worked with.

Her Mom and sister helped her into her amazing Liancarlo gown while her bridesmaids waited in the other room. The bridesmaids' reactions were so sweet when they saw her for the first time. Taylor and Adam opted for a first look at the Crystal Plaza.

The Crystal Plaza's grounds are immaculate and made for a gorgeous backdrop for their first look. Their closest friends and family stood by to watch as Adam saw his bride to be for the first time. It was obvious from the day I met them that Taylor and Adam were made for each other and are head over heels in love.

Their Jewish ceremony was beautiful, followed by an over the top cocktail hour and a choreographed first dance after introductions. My favorite part of their reception was when Adam surprised Taylor with a rendition of "My Girl" with the band.

She had no idea he would be serenading her and her reaction was priceless. I couldn't help but get misty eyed myself, it was a really sweet and touching moment.

The evening concluded with cutting their suspended one of a kind chandelier cake and an amazing spread of bakery sweets at the exit for their guests.

By Allison Mccafferty Photography

Monday 30 July 2018

Supported Holidays In New Jersey

Supported Holidays to Jersey

New Horizons Support Services provides a range of supported holiday packages to Jersey. These include prepackaged group holidays and tailor-made packages to suit a group, family or individual's requirements. We also provide support to families who wish to have a holiday as a whole family but would like support in doing so. We are able to provide support to individuals with various disabilities and conditions from mild to moderate support requirements to individuals with complex needs.

Supported Holidays for Families to Jersey

New Horizons can arrange Supported family holidays, for families who require some extra support, or just want some respite of their own whilst still enjoying a family holiday to Jersey and the other Channel Islands.

Our Supported Holidays for Families to Jersey provide support and respite for families who find it difficult to go on holiday due to the level of care and support a family member requires whilst away from home, often resulting in them not getting the break they need.

We provide a range of tailor-made support packages that offer accessible holidays, a choice of accommodation options including camping, hostels or a large range of hotels including a specially designed and equipped local hotel that is accessible for individuals who require the use of hoists and specialist equipment.

Many of the hotels on the Island have rooms available that are wheelchair accessible meaning we are capable of providing support to families with varied needs, depending on the mobility of the individuals. Where required there is the ability to access, District Nursing services on the Island.

We know that there is nothing quite like a holiday to recharge your batteries and, just because you need regular care, doesn't mean you should have to go without a break.

We are able to support individuals with various needs and conditions including Learning Disabilities, Autism, Physical Disabilities and individuals with moderate Challenging Behaviours and more complex personal care needs.

Responsible for your wellbeing is a member of care staff individually assigned to support you during activities, and provide any care assistance you might need.

Our team of care staff are all trained, DBS/CRB checked and on hand to assist with any eventuality. We offer physical and emotional support
through a maximum of 3-to-1 (guest to staff) customer care. We also offer 1-to-1 and 1-to-2 support for those with more complex needs.

Supported Holidays for Groups to Jersey

New Horizons provides supported holidays for groups, that are pre-packaged to Jersey in the Channel Islands.

We know that there is nothing quite like a holiday to recharge your batteries and, just because you need regular care, doesn't mean you should have to go without a break. Our Supported Group Holidays provide support for individuals who find it difficult to go on holiday due to the level of care and support that they require whilst away from home, often resulting in them not getting the break they need.

Each holiday has a full, all inclusive itinerary of daytime & evening activities, with residential staff available 24hrs a day. Your individual needs and interests are always considered…you will be encouraged to do as much as are able yet all aspects of the itinerary are optional.

We offer a range of support packages, a choice of accommodation options including camping, hostels or a large range of hotels including a specially designed and equipped local hotel that is accessible for individuals who require the use of hoists and specialist equipmemt.

Many of the hotels on the Island have rooms available that are wheelchair accessible meaning we are capable of provding support to groups with varied needs.

We are able to support individuals with various needs and conditions including Learning Disabilities, Autism, Physical Disabilities and individuals with moderate Challenging Behaviours and more complex peronal care needs.
All holidays are led by experienced Senior Support Workers, and the activities by qualified professionals wherever appropriate.

Also responsible for your wellbeing is a member of care staff individually assigned to support you during activities, and provide any care
assistance you might need.

Our team of care staff are all trained, DBS/CRB checked and on hand to assist with any eventuality. We offer physical and emotional support
through a maximum of 3-to-1 (guest to staff) customer care. We also offer 1-to-1 and 1-to-2 support for those with more complex needs.

We can provide a 1:1 Support Worker to accompany you on holiday, to support you with your activities of daily living. Having the support of a professional Carer allows you and your family to relax, safe in the knowledge that you are getting the personal attention and support that you need to get the most out of your holiday.

Our service can be tailored to your individual care requirements. Whether you have complex medical care requirements, personal care needs, or are looking for social companionship, we are confident in offering you a high quality care service. Where required there is the ability to access, District Nursing services on the Island.

Sunday 29 July 2018

Concord, Food Capital Of New Hampshire? You Bet!

As you make your foliage sojourns through the Granite State this fall, take a break from artificial apple and pumpkin-flavored foods and stop in Concord, NH, to sample tastes from cultures all around the world. Within the 19th-century brick architecture, downtown Concord hosts a smattering of different international restaurants and bakeries.

You can grab lunch or dinner at the House of India, a family owned and operated Indian restaurant. You can dine on authentic Indian cuisine that is prepared by the matriarch of the Kaur family. The restaurant itself is homey and the quality, authenticity, and taste of the food is unparalleled in the state. Prices for dinner entrées range from $8-15.

The chefs at Siam Orchid are guided by family recipes passed down through generations. Located in a newly renovated space on Main Street, the sophisticated atmosphere of the restaurant only enriches the taste of unique Thai dishes. The new location is quaint and boasts a great view of Main Street. Entrees range from $15-20.
If you are looking for a romantic dinner or a high-end lunch, Angelina's Ristorante Italiano is the place to go. The rich taste of beautifully crafted Italian food made from only the finest and freshest ingredients will treat your taste buds. As you dine, you can soak in the relaxing atmosphere of white painted brick walls illuminated by soft lighting and candlelight. Dinner Entrees range from $15-25.

Get a taste of Greece at the Gyro House. The menu has a wide variety of Greek foods, the featured item of course being the gyro. The service is speedy and you can choose to eat in or grab something for the road. Prices range from $6-10, but every gyro comes complete with French fries inside and tzatziki sauce of course.

For dessert, check out Aissa Sweets. Only a mile from Main Street, it sells pastries that are crafted using Middle Eastern cooking traditions. Founded by Ahmad Aissa, a Syrian native, and his wife Evelyn, Aissa Sweets known for its melt-in-your-mouth Baklava. These sweets are made in Concord but sold at farmers markets, fresh markets, and coops all over New England. When you go in the bakery on State Street, Ahmed and Evelyn are there to serve you.

By Kelly R

Live Wedding Musicians

Pete Chambers Entertainment offers a dynamic and talented group of musicians comprised of a flautist, violinist, and guitarist. With nearly 20 years of ensemble and solo experience both nationally and abroad, these musicians have delighted groups of all sizes and ages at a diverse range of events.

Our musicians specialize in providing coverage for wedding ceremonies and social hours, for receptions or other gatherings - large or small. Their repertoire is extremely diverse and includes classical, Celtic, jazz, pop, and even Blues to add variety for your event.

Working with our Trio is easy. After you reserve our musicians for your event, you'll be granted access to our Online Planning System where, among the other wedding paperwork, you will find a special "Live Music" questionnaire. This questionnaire goes over the important details for the big day (setup and sound logistics, music requests, venue details, etc).

In the questionnaire, you will have the opportunity to specify exactly what type of music you would like to hear at each segment of your event. If you don't see your favorite song in their repertoire it's not a problem. The Trio works with an extremely talented composer and arranger, who will generously compose and/or arrange up to three new songs per event free of charge! Additional arrangements are available upon request for a nominal fee. They will need at least 90 days notice for any song requests not currently in their repertoire. This allows time for the composer to arrange the parts, as well as rehearsal and revision time to make sure the arrangement is perfect.

Follow Up: On the week of your event, we'll contact you to summarize all of the details and requests you have discussed leading up to the big day.

*culled from  www.petechambers.com

Friday 27 July 2018

Celebrate the Holidays in the New Hampshire Lakes Region

The holiday season has begun in the New Hampshire Lakes Region and there are many ways to celebrate. The quaint New England towns are enhanced by Christmas decorations, caroling and festivals. After exploring the events and concerts, return to The Lake House at Ferry Point at it's serene lakefront location. Our Bed and Breakfast is the perfect quiet retreat after a day of merry activities. Book your holiday getaway with us today.

Holiday Festivals and Tours

Our delightful towns have a variety of festivals, tours and events. Choose the perfect one to spark your holiday spirit:

• The Santa Express – From November 24th through December 23rd the Hobo Scenic Railroad hosts train rides with Santa and his elves. Sip hot chocolate and savor holiday cookies while taking in the magical snowy views.

• Wolfeboro Tree Festival – Come admire over 65 uniquely decorated trees at the Wright Museum of WWII History. This charity benefit takes place December 9th through 19th and includes entertainment such as choirs, musicians and dance performances.

• Christmas at the Castle – Castle in the Clouds' historic mansion is transformed into a holiday showcase. Stroll the elegantly decorated interiors November 24th to 26th. After browsing the local artisan gifts, enjoy lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant.

The Gift of Lights – The New Hampshire Motor Speedway shines even brighter November 25th through December 31th. Drive through more than 2,000,000 LED lights creating holiday scenes and two 130-foot lighted tunnels. This fun holiday event is open every night from 4:30 until 9:00.

Canterbury Shaker Village – Travel back to a simpler time with these two charming holiday events:
Christmas in Canterbury – The historic Shaker buildings set the stage for timeless holiday activities such as a 19th century magic show and creating traditional Christmas crackers. End the evening at the Village Christmas tree lighting, while sipping hot cider and singing carols. This event takes place December 9th and 16th.
Candlelit Tours – Admire the charming Shaker Christmas decorations and celebrations in the evening. These one hour guided tours are available December 11th through 15th.

• Christmas in the Village – Begin your Christmas shopping December 1st through the 3rd at this craft fair and festival in downtown Center Sandwich. Beautiful handcrafted textiles, jewelry, pottery, and ornaments make perfect gifts.

Holiday Performances

There are plenty of choices for an elegant evening out appreciating the performing arts this season. Here are just a few:

• Snow White – The Winnipesaukee Playhouse hosts Snow White December 18th through the 30th. During this traditional English "Panto" version audience participation is expected. Join in to boo the villains and cheer the heroes. Show tunes and pop music update this traditional Victorian style play. Mix in some saucy humor with slapstick for a fun uplifting show.

• Holiday Pops Concert – Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra performs at the Inter-Lake Community Auditorium in Meredith December 9th and 10th. Revel in the rich sounds of a full orchestra performing pop holiday favorites.

The Nutcracker in Wolfeboro – The Kingswood Arts Center hosts
New Hampshire's premier professional ballet company December 10th. This holiday classic travels to Wolfeboro for only one night, so don't miss it!

• Christmas with the Celts – The Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center will brighten your holidays with lively Celtic music. The unique blend of modern Christmas songs and Celtic folk music creates a vibrant celebration. Book a premium table and combine dinner with the show. Tickets sell out quickly, so reserve your seat for this December 8th performance.

Whether you're looking for a quiet getaway or an itinerary full of holiday cheer, you'll find the perfect balance in the Lakes Region. Our lakefront Bed and Breakfast is the tranquil haven needed after a flurry of seasonal activities. Book your holiday vacation with us today.

An Elegant & Rustic Nevada Wedding

A destination location for many, Amy and Cameron's rustic Nevada wedding started out with a beautiful ceremony in a historic little white chapel in an intimate ceremony before welcoming guests to their reception at Red's Ranch.

White décor graced rustic, elegant tables, the dance floor remained packed for the entire evening, and everyone was treated to classic New York cheesecake from Amy and Cameron's favorite Brooklyn bakery. Y'all are going to LOVE today's ranch wedding captured by Pepper Nix Photography!

What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?

Cameron! He was such a calming voice to my anxiety about planning. Since we had less than five months to get everything together and did it from our home across the country in New York, we took a divide and conquer approach. He was masterful with some of our most challenging vendors.

What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?

We got married in my hometown – a very small community with limited options. Our choices for venue, catering and flowers were all people I grew up with. For the other big items – band, rentals, photographer, etc. – we looked to resources in the nearest big(ger) city, which is nearly 300 miles away.

What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?

The setting of Lamoille is so incredible. There is no decor that could be better. We reflected the natural setting with natural and simple flower and decor choices. And made everyone look beautiful with a lot of candle light. We created a simple, clean and intimate setting with green and white foliage and flowers and a LOT of candles. We used runners of greenery tied off with ribbon on each table and added mixed gilded birdcages with candles inside and vintage green glass votives. For my bouquet, we repeated the green and white theme–simple, sophisticated and natural.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding?

Marrying my very favorite person in the world.

What is your best piece of advice for other brides?

Though we were engaged in December and married in November, we didn't decide on the city of our wedding until about five months out. Keeping the planning window short was a huge blessing. No one needs to obsess about details for longer.

I love Amy and Cameron's story: they met just over five years ago during a late summer weekend spent in the Hamptons. Although Cameron didn't strike up a conversation that weekend, they crossed paths again through social media and started dating quickly thereafter in New York City. The city will always be special, but the two decided to return to her mountain hometown in Nevada for their wedding- and I think they made an excellent choice!


Thursday 26 July 2018

Nevada Holidays and Festivals

From Rodeos to the indescribable festival that is Burning Man, Nevada hosts its fair share of extravegent events throughout year. Most of the big ones take place in and around Las Vegas or Reno, though you can also find cowboy poetry gatherings in Elko and music festivals in Lake Tahoe. Thanks to the warm desert climate all year round there is a good chance you will celebrate some Nevada holiday or festival while you're here. And if there's no special occasion, well, every day feels like a party in Sin City.

Monster Jam World Finals

Only America could dream up something like a monster truck derby where modified trucks weigh in at 10,000 pounds and 20 feet high. This is the country's big annual event each March inside the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The biggest and baddest machines converge to crush regular cars and anything else they can drive over.

Reno Jazz Festival

Celebrate the coming of spring with a series of jazz concerts sponsored by the University of Nevada at Reno. This popular event in April lures a solid lineup of musicians backed by workshops and other educational events. It's a festival geared towards the true jazz aficionado, which is why it remains one of Nevada's main annual events.

Reno Rodeo

Billing itself as the wildest and richest rodeo in the American West, Reno's annual show is a really big deal. A lineup of top professional riders and rodeo folks head to the Livestock Events Center every June to compete for bragging rights as part of the Pro Rodeo Tour and attend a carnival on the fairgrounds.

Las Vegas Bikefest

Motorcycling culture is huge in Las Vegas, and every September Nevada's main city hosts a gathering of like-minded folks at the Cashman Center. For four days, 250 vendors set up stalls and woo the thousands of bikers who come down for a long weekend of rides, contests and merchandise.

Burning Man

What started 20 years ago as an intimate party in the Black Rock Desert for a group of Nevada friends has evolved into a massive celebration of the weird and the alternative. Around 25,000 people create a city from the ground up in the empty barren desert every August for a week of sharing, partying, music, and ultimately burning a giant effigy of a man at the = end. There's simply nothing else like Burning Man in the world.

America's Party

You would expect nothing less than a full-blown extravaganza for New Years Eve in Las Vegas, and Sin City does not disappoint. One of the nation's hottest sites to ring in the new year closes off Fremont Street in the downtown core for a special ticket-holder party. Even if you don't pay to enjoy the special events you can always watch the huge fireworks display that cascades down the entire length of the Strip.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Charming Fall Wedding In Nebraska City

1 + 1 = 2 The couple met in a high school math class when Kait, as a middle schooler, skipped ahead two grades to take geometry. Brady, a sophomore, sat behind her in class, but they didn't talk much. Secretly, he told his friends that he thought the shy eighth-grader was cute. "At the same time, my best friend and future maid of honor and I made lists of our 'Top 10 Cutest High School Boys,' and Brady was my No. 1 pick," confides Kait.


Two years later, Brady finally built up the courage to ask Kait out, but she thought he was looking for a tutor. "I was shocked when he texted to ask me to wear his football jersey at an upcoming game! Eight-and-a-half years later, the rest is history!"


Brady is a musician, and during a show at Ditmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, he concluded his set with an original song about Kait that ended with the refrain, "Marry me." Brady left the stage, walked over to Kait, got down on a knee, took out a ring and proposed.


The bride and groom had six cakes. One was a Danish kransekake, a bride family tradition made of tiered circular layers. Brady had two groom's cakes. One was shaped like a record player with "Domestic Blend" – his band's name – piped on the record label. The other was shaped like a guitar and decorated like the guitar the couple painted together when they first started dating.


For the late-night snack, the couple served stroopwafels, Dutch cookies made by Brady's family, in special little bags with tags explaining their significance as a groom family tradition.


Both families pitched in to make the wedding perfect. Kait's mom and sisters tied twine and eucalyptus to each wedding invitation and edged each program with gold paint. Kait's grandmother put together welcome baskets for overnight guests. Brady's mother decorated the arbor. "Overall, all our decor was a labor of love from the people closest to us."


Brady turned a couple of old doors he bought for $20 into a reception seating chart display.


Kait's father came to the hotel room where Kait was waiting by herself before the ceremony. In a sweet, spontaneous moment, they danced and played air guitar to U2's "Beautiful Day."


Kait carried a clutch made from her grandfather's tie. Inside was "something blue" – a handkerchief with a blue brooch that Brady's grandmother had kissed with lipstick just before passing away earlier in the year. For her "something borrowed," the bride wore a pinky ring from her Grandma Emilie, which originally belonged to Kait's great-great-great-grandmother. The "something old" was a garter that Kait's Grandma Shirley wore on her wedding day more than 50 years ago.

*culled from www.omaha.com

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Nebraska Holidays and Festivals

Summers in Nebraska mean a time to get outside and celebrate. The state does a great job of keeping its residents entertained from June through September, when the bulk of the festivals are scheduled. Omaha has the most to offer with everything from blues to rodeos. The majority of Nebraska holidays are geared toward families, and often include a carnival, tasty food and live music.

Central Nebraska Ethnic Festival

Downtown Grand Island is the setting for Nebraska's biggest ethnic festival, celebrating the roots of the pioneers and homesteaders who settled the state. For a long three-day weekend each June the streets turn into a giant party with music, dancing, food, and drinks. The German contingent is the most evident, but you can count on Scandinavian, Hispanic, and Asian groups, as well.

Omaha Summer Arts Festival

Omaha's downtown district is transformed into an outdoor street party every June as art becomes the focus of the city. More than 100 artists converge to show off their work. Live music plays in the background and plenty of kiddie fun is on hand to ensure the youngsters get to express their artistic inclinations.

Omaha Riverfront Jazz & Blues Festival

The scenic Lewis & Clark Landing along the banks of the Missouri River in downtown Omaha is an ideal venue for live music. Blues and jazz performers from around Nebraska and the larger Midwest region come down every July for a few days of outdoor fun by the river. It's a great event for music lovers, backed by plenty of tasty festival food and drinks.


A four-day extravaganza that happens every September in Nebraska is often voted one of America's top city festivals. The spacious Qwest Arena becomes a playground for kids and adults alike with a comprehensive program of events. From a circus to air show, there is live music, a parade, a kid's adventure land and massive fireworks displaya that encourage everyone to cut loose with the family.

River City Roundup

One of the highlights of Omaha's calendar is this fantastic festival that combines a state fair, rodeo and carnival into one hugely popular event. The Qwest Arena is the venue for all kinds of activities that celebrate Nebraska's heritage. A livestock show, rides and concerts are just the beginning. There is also a parade, loads of food and fun Western-themed events at the Roundup every September.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Instruments and Sounds In Papua New Guinea

Indigenous instruments

Flutes are often used in ritual gatherings. The flute is considered a sacred instrument and not to be looked upon by women. Flutes in PNG are usually much larger than western flutes, made out of lengths of hollow bamboo. They are usually decorated with feathers and other attachments, and often have a carved wooden finial at one end. Drums,rattles and other percussive instruments are also essential in ritual gatherings, and used to set the pace for dancers. Stringed instruments are rare.

Traditional music

Traditional music is usually song based, with flutes, drums and other mainly percussive instruments accompanying the voices. A drone effect is often created using mouth bows or jaw's harps. Typically there will be a lead singer and a chorus who follow the leader. The song, once established by the leader, is then overlaid with staggered starts from the other singers, like round singing, producing a fugue-like,repeating effect.

Pop Music andWorld Music

The first influence of Europeans was the replacement of traditional music with hymn music. Gospel singing is still very popular, and expanded beyond the church with the arrival of rock and roll. Reggae is also popular in parts of Papua New Guinea, and string-bands are common, consisting of people singing alongside guitars. These modern styles only became widespread in the 1990s, when television spread across the country. It was also in the 1990s that western musicians started to collect traditional music from rainforest communities, which were remixed and distributed under World Music labels. Since then, several notable musicians have emerged from PNG contributing to an international World Music scene.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Montana Wedding Photographer

Kristen and Jason, who I first met on the slopes of Big Sky Resort several months before their wedding, are a fabulous couple, which should make this an easy post. But the truth is, I've been struggling to tell their story. The struggle hasn't been that I have nothing to say, but rather, too much.
I could talk about how they met at an ultimate frisbee competition and their team, Pants Off! Dance Off!

Or I could talk about their incredibly moving ceremony that included readings from Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot , which made me cry, and The Princess Bride, which made me laugh.
Or maybe I could just focus on their crazy dance party with shenanigans like Kristen rolling around on the ground playing an air guitar or the partiers singing Part of Your World from Disney's The Little Mermaid. (I still have no idea why they SCREAMED the lyrics to THAT song.)

Still undecided, I went back to the wedding questionnaire I ask my couples to complete and reread their proposal story. When I hit the end and found myself crying, I realized Kristen could tell their story far better than I ever could...

The Proposal

After a year of traveling for other people (weddings, birthdays, and ultimate frisbee tournaments), we decided to spend 2016 New Year's by ourselves. We love being outside and we both had wanted to see Big Sur for a long time, so we booked a campsite at a glamping resort called Treebones.
On the morning of the proposal, we woke up in our San Francisco apartment, loaded up the car with all our camping stuff and a fancy bottle of champagne for New Year's Eve, and drove down the beautiful coast to Big Sur. On the way, we made a stop in Carmel by the Sea and treated ourselves to massages. Jason really wanted to do mani/pedis as well, but I wanted to get on the road so that we could see Big Sur in the daylight.

The drive down the coast was absolutely magical--Highway 1 hugs the coast, so you have waterfront views the whole time. The scenery is amazing, and we even saw a bunch of whales along the way! We made it to the campsite just as the sun was setting and enjoyed a glass of wine before we set up camp. I'm tacky and I love Christmas lights, so Jason bought battery-powered lights and decorated our tent with them. He had also recently purchased a fold-up style camping loveseat, and as the last light of the day disappeared over the horizon, we curled up in blankets (it was actually pretty chilly) and retired to the loveseat with a couple of beers.

We saw the most amazing night that night. There was a large mountain behind us that hid the moonlight for a long time, so the stars were super bright--we could see the Milky Way! I couldn't believe what we were seeing and turned to Jason and told him how amazing this moment was and how happy I was. He asked, "can I add to it?"
I figured he was going to remind me of other wonderful things or grab me another beer. Instead, he turned on his headlamp, and pointed the light down to an open ring box containing my engagement ring. I looked at it, stunned, then looked up to see him crying and looking back at me. He said, "I would love for you to marry me." After excited, incoherent babbling and crying, I finally said a very enthusiastic yes!

*culled from www.beckybrockie.com

Monday 23 July 2018

Montana Holidays and Festivals

Montana isn't exactly one of America's hotspots for festivals, but it holds its own with a number of entertaining events that showcase the unique culture and outdoor recreation. From beer and art to the Wild West and raging rivers, the state has plenty to lure visitors to Big Sky Country. Montana holidays also embrace American events such as Independence Day and Veteran's Day with parades and celebrations across the state.

Wild West Winterfest

The locals of Bozeman break up the doldrums of the long winter with a fun and warming festival called Winterfest. The Gallatin County Fairgrounds transforms into a cold weather carnival featuring a kids' rodeo, horse-drawn carriage rides and ATV ice racing competition. There is storytelling and music, a chili cook-off and a pet trick contest.

Whitewater Festival

In the Flathead Valley of northwestern Montana, there's a little town called Big Fork. Every May when the local Swan River is running high thanks to the spring snow melt off, this town gets wild and crazy on the river. Try your luck on the rapids of the "Wild Mile" or watch the action from land. Local bars, brewpubs and restaurants provide the food, beer and entertainment.

Custer's Last Stand Re-enactment

Every June, the site where General Custer made his last stand against the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes relive this monumental event in American west history. It's one part of the larger Little Big Horn Days, a popular festival which spans several days at the Battle of Little Bighorn National Park.

Sweet Pea Festival

One of the biggest arts festivals in Montana, Sweet Pea attracts hundreds of craftspeople to the town of Bozeman each August to show off their wares. The event is held in Lindley Park and is a completely volunteer endeavor. Besides the amazing art, you can enjoy live music and theater along with food vendors and plenty of activities for children.

Montana Beer Festival

The best craft breweries from across the Rocky Mountain region converge on the town of Bozeman to share their latest ales at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in August at the peak of summer. Live music provides the perfect backdrop as you sample dozens of excellent beers.

Yellowstone Ski Festival

In November, Yellowstone National Park marks the beginning of another long and snowy winter with its annual ski festival. Despite being the early weeks of the season, skiers from around the country flock to Yellowstone for cross-country races, ski clinics, gear swaps and lots of other fun activities geared toward the sport.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Sunday 22 July 2018

The Wedding : Private Farm, St. Louis, Missouri

For their wedding in St. Louis, Kirsten and AJ wanted to give their guests an excuse to get all gussied up for a fête at the farm. While AJ nearly stole the show with his Frank Sinatra-inspired groomswear, it was Kirsten's sneaky dress reveal that got the biggest "wow!" From the moment they began their planning process, the couple's families were involved every step of the way. Some of our favorite moments captured in these images by
Bradford Martens are of the newlyweds celebrating with their parents on their special day!

The Couple: 

Kirsten and AJ

The Wedding:

Private Farm, St. Louis, Missouri

We wanted a black tie affair out on the most beautiful family friends' farm. And to give our guests reason to dress to the nines! AJ wanted to look dapper, a modern Frank Sinatra look for the farm, and did he ever! He wore a custom suede tuxedo from Mister Guy, a black velvet Lanvin bow tie and black wingtip oxfords. I thought it would be brilliant to have a overlay tutu skirt over a secret dress underneath that I could surprise AJ and my bridesmaids with. I wanted to feel like a bride but still wanted to feel sexy. This is was the perfect fit! I loved surprising everyone and being able to dance the night away. 

I was also able to dance because of the stunning wedged Jimmy Choos that were almost pain free! The final touch was something I was so grateful to have borrowed, the gold bracelets. My grandmothers were both unable to travel from South Africa for my wedding in St. Louis so these were so special.

Choose two things that are important to you and your spouse and then let your parents and spouses parents choose their two important things. This relieves a lot of stress and collaboration is what made our wedding! The stress will be there nevertheless but it is about letting go of things that after the fact truly do not matter. The most important thing is that you and your husband will be married. Don't fake it by just saying this, let things go and do it because it is the reason why behind every decision.

There was a moment Bradford captured minutes after we said our vows, and had taken communion. We were praying for the first time as husband and wife, whispering our hopes and dreams of how we will navigate our marriage. Without Bradford knowing how sacred this time was for us, he captured this intimate moment.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Missouri Holidays and Festivals

There's plenty to do in Missouri from spring through the end of fall, as locals shed the winter doldrums and kick up their heels. Feast on barbecue, listen to music, enjoy the arts, and play like a kid at special festivals all over the state. Besides big name events, you will likely find local street fairs and small town parties most weekends throughout the warm months. One thing's for sure though, Missouri holidays showcase the "Show Me" State in all it's glory.

World Festival at Silver Dollar City

Each spring in April or May, Branson's popular Silver Dollar City amusement park hosts what it claims is the country's largest international festival. Visitors can enjoy dance, music, food, and entertainment from countries and cultures across the globe.

St Louis Art Fair

At least 150 artists from across American converge on St Louis' Clayton neighborhood for Missouri's biggest annual art celebration every September. Original work and creations are on display, many for sale, along with live entertainment, food, and kid-friendly activities.

Ozark Empire Fair

Since 1936, Springfield's Ozark Empire Fair has been one of Missouri's most popular annual events. This state fair-style carnival features everything you'd expect including carnival rides, concerts, awesome food, and livestock shows. It runs for several days in late August and early September.

American Royal Barbecue

The planet's biggest open barbecue competition happens every September at Kansas City's American Royal Center. Around 500 teams compete to create the tastiest dishes possible with both meat and sauce. With big prize money at stake, the grilling is taken very seriously. As a spectator, you get the luxury of watching the masters in action and the chance to sample a few of the goodies.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival

For seven weekends every fall, Kansas City goes medieval with one of the region's most popular Olde World fairs. Beginning on Labor Day weekend, Bonner Springs transforms into a realm of knights in armor, jesters, maidens, and other colorful characters. Each weekend, 500 costumed people take part in jousting, period music, food, and endless other fun for families, kids and anyone with a love for fantasy.

Ranch Rodeo

Kansas City's American Royal Center is the site of Missouri's big rodeo event each October. The popular western event is held in the Kemper Arena every year. Enjoy watching calf-roping, bucking broncos, bull riding, and races of horsemanship.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Friday 20 July 2018

Mississippi Marriage Laws

Are you starting the process of planning your wedding day? The state of Mississippi has a ton to offer. The three types of weddings you have to choose from is either a traditional wedding, and elopement, or a destination wedding. Either way Mississippi can provide exactly what you are looking for. Those planning to elope can enjoy a fun filled weekend that the flashy lights of Tunica and Biloxi have to offer. Mississippi is quickly becoming known as the ideal place for a Las Vegas style wedding at a fraction of the cost. Maybe eloping is not your style and you are starting the process of planning a traditional or destination wedding that encompasses the traditional southern elegance of an old south plantation. Either way you first need to make sure that the marriage laws of the State of Mississippi are met.

Mississippi State Marriage Laws and Mississippi Marriage License 

Valid US ID

When filling out the paper work for your marriage license you will need to have a picture ID such as a driver's license or a military id. If you do not have a picture id you can provide a legal document that contains a birth date i.e. birth certificate, tax form, educational documentation, insurance policies, or any other legal document containing proof of age. Mississippi Marriage License Requirements doe require that you have your parent's addresses as well as your mother's maiden name.


Neither the bride nor groom have to be a resident or past resident of the state of Mississippi. This is one of the reasons that Mississippi is a popular choice of an elopement.

Waiting Period

Mississippi does have a waiting period, so make sure you factor this into the planning process. The waiting period in MS is 72 hours. Many couples from surrounding states choose to take a daytrip a few weeks before their wedding to fill out the marriage license paper work. In special circumstances the waiting period can be waived for those over the age of 21, but the waiting period is only waived for those who live in Mississippi and must be authorized by a Judge.

Length Marriage License is Valid

Like the marriage laws of Georgia a Mississippi marriage license issued in the state of Mississippi never expires.

Medical and Other Tests

Mississippi is one of the few states that still require a blood test. The test does not have to be done in the state of Mississippi, but does have to be done within 30 days of the wedding. The cost for a submitting the results of the blood test is about $15.

Age Requirements

Mississippi is one of the few states that require parental consent for either the bride or groom who is under the age of 21. One seemingly out of date law requires that the groom be at a minimum of age 17 and that the bride be at least the age 15 to marry in the state.

Marriages by Proxy

Mississippi does not allow proxy marriage or common law marriages.

Previously Married

You will be required to provide the end date of any previous marriage when filing for your Mississippi marriage license. Some counties in Mississippi do require a certain elapsed time before remarrying after a divorce. Make sure you contact the county clerk's office for exact details.

Fees and Taxes

There is a fee for both the blood test and the license. The blood test is about $15 and the marriage license fee is $22. The county clerk's office will only accept cash as payment for the license.

Marrying a Cousin

You may not marry a cousin in the state of Mississippi.

Common Law

Mississippi marriage laws strictly prohibit common law marriages.

Same Sex Marriages

In 2004 the constitution of Mississippi was amended to explicitly prohibit same sex marriages. Further more, any same sex marriage or union conducted in anther state will not be recognized as a legal union by the state of Mississippi.

Wedding Officiants

Those who can legally officiate a wedding are clergy members, School board members, and most judges in the state of Mississippi.


Please remember that marriage laws very from county to county within the state of Mississippi, contact the clerk in the county you wish to marry in for exact details. Also make sure you ask the Clerk if you have any questions because chances are the county clerk will only give you the very basics as far as requirements go. If you have any questions or concerns then you will have to ask some very direct question.

Obtaining a Copy of Marriage Certificate

You may obtain a copy of your Mississippi marriage certificate by writing the vital records department in Jackson Mississippi.

Mississippi Vital Records
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215-1700
Phone: (601) 576-7450

Premarital Counseling

There is not a premarital counseling requirement.

Surrounding State's Marriage Laws and Requirements

Due to the fact the marriage laws in the state of Mississippi are rather strict, some might choose to marry in a surrounding state and just spend their honeymoon in one of Mississippi's many resorts. If you are interested in the marriage laws of surrounding states then please visit these pages: Tennessee Marriage laws, Florida Marriage Laws, and
Alabama Marriage Laws.

Mississippi - History and Culture

There is a lot of history in Mississippi, though much of it is negative. The cotton plantations that gave the state its early prosperity were also the source of its heavy dependency on black slavery. The white landowners who controlled the area never really gave up their sense of authority even after losing the Civil War. As such, visitors often experience a certain tinge of racism in corners of the state, but that shouldn't deter anyone from making the most of the lovely antebellum towns, rich Delta Blues or fun beaches along the Gulf Coast.


Native Americans have a long history with Mississippi and its lush river valley. The region is one of the oldest inhabited parts of North America, and remnants of the earliest tribes can be seen at archaeological sites along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway. Today, the remaining Native American tribes like Choctaw, Chicasaw and Natchez operate casinos on their reservations that help maintain the economy.

The French were the first Europeans to claim Mississippi as part of the New France territory. They founded the town of Natchez in 1716, which evolved into the main trading center and dominant town of the region. Natchez remains one of the state's most popular historic destinations to visit.

In 1783, Mississippi was given to the United States following the Revolutionary War. During the early 1800s it prospered through the cultivation of cotton and other cash crops. But cotton was king, and it fueled great plantations and the slavery required to work the fields. During this era, the state was run by an elite group of slave-owning whites.

Mississippi stood to lose everything if the South lost the Civil War and sent 80,000 men to fight. Many important battles occurred here such as the Battle of Vicksburg and Battle of Grand Gulf, the sites of which are now national parks and popular tourist attractions. The Confederacy did lose, and Mississippi was turned upside down.

Thousands of African Americans migrated to the Mississippi Delta in search of land and work to start a new life. This demographic shift led to many great things such as Delta Blues and other music forms. But Mississippi remained segregated until the very end. The 1962 Ole Miss Riot was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement as the first black student tried to enroll at the university in Oxford. The capital Jackson was a center of conflict, but the racist Ku Klux Klan group was very active in the state. To this day, Mississippi is still one of America's poorest and most underdeveloped states.


Mississippi is a genuine state of contrasts. It has a huge African American population, but remains one of the country's most racially divided places. It was once the home of King Cotton in the 1850s, but today is one of America's poorest and most uneducated states. Visitors will likely notice some of these social issues remaining under the surface. It's really hit or miss whether you'll have a positive or negative experience in this proud Deep Southern state.

Yet despite the seemingly negative qualities of Mississippi, there are plenty of bright points. The Mississippi Delta was fertile ground for black musicians following their emancipation. The Delta Blues was born here, along with many other notable forms of jazz, gospel and rock. Much of the 19th-century antebellum prosperity has also survived in towns like Natchez that provide a much-needed injection of tourism dollars. Along the Gulf Coast, the beach towns have a more carefree attitude about life.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Thursday 19 July 2018

Mississippi Holidays and Festivals

Mississippi holidays like to showcase its cultural heritage throughout the year with festivals celebrating the state's rich musical traditions, tasty seafood and love of motorized vehicles. Most of the top events happen along the Gulf Coast, in the capital of Jackson or in historic towns along the Mississippi Delta. They try to avoid the brutal heat of summer, so most are scheduled in spring and fall.

Gulfport Memorial Day Blowout

Nearly everyone gets a long weekend each May for Memorial Day, and the seaside town of Gulfport goes out of its way to put on an extra special show for bikers. Spanning four days, this wild event attracts thousands of cyclists for a series of races, tattoo competitions, music, and general mayhem.

Country Cajun Crawfish Festival

One of Mississippi's culinary specialties gets it own special event every April in Gulfport. The Mississippi Coast Coliseum is held over two consecutive weekends as people descend on the Gulf in droves to chow down on crawfish in its many incarnations. Besides the food, this family-friendly festival serves up carnival rides, live entertainment, concerts, and games.

Biloxi Seafood Festival

One of the pleasures of any trip to Mississippi's Gulf Coast is its fantastically fresh seafood. In September, the port city of Biloxi makes an effort to celebrate this tradition with its annual Seafood Fest. Enjoy local specialties like soft crab cakes, shrimp and crawfish pie along with entertainment like a fishing competition and fun for the kids.

Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival

The state is famous for its Blues, and this annual musical extravaganza in Greenville's Freedom Village it the highlight of the calendar. For several days in September thousands of Delta Blues lovers pack into the Juke House Stage to see one virtuoso after another. Gospel fans are also taken care of on the dedicated Gospel Stage that showcases some of the state's finest singing voices.

Cruisin' the Coast

Motorheads get the own special day each October along the Gulf Coast. This hugely popular car show lures thousands of enthusiasts to Biloxi for the big mass cruise along the coast to Gulfport. The theme is vintage, so expect at least 4,000 classic vehicles from the 1950s and '60s showing off their treasures. Drag races, live music and other fun round off the weekend.

Mississippi State Fair

American state fairs are always an exciting event, especially if you are a family with kids. Mississippi's takes places in October at the Jackson Fairgrounds just outside the capital. Though agricultural and livestock shows are a centerpiece, there are also loads of tasty food, live music and carnival rides to ensure a festive atmosphere. Music is a highlight with three tents featuring gospel, blues, folk, and rock bands from across the state.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Tuesday 17 July 2018

5 Minnesota Wedding Traditions

Wedding traditions are a great way to integrate elements of culture and history into your big day. The wedding traditions you choose to incorporate into your wedding will vary depending on where you live, your personal values, and your cultural or ethnic heritage. You're probably already aware of common American wedding traditions like exchanging rings, white wedding dresses, and tiered wedding cakes, but what about regional wedding traditions?
In this blog post, we'll explore some Minnesota wedding traditions that make Minnesota weddings unique. These wedding traditions are fascinating because they really say a lot about the unique culture and geography of Minnesota. Have you ever attended a wedding that included any of these Minnesotan wedding traditions?

Dock and Lakeside Photo Ops

If you're in Minnesota, chances are that there is a lake within walking distance. Pose by the lake if you'd like to add some unusual and memorable photos to add to your wedding album. Consider posing your wedding party on a pontoon or speedboat, with shoes off and feet in the sand, on a dock with feet in the water or simply standing on the dock with the beautiful lake vista behind you. If you are especially daring, you could try posing some of your bridal party on a stand-up paddleboard or a lake trampoline (make sure these photos are taken AFTER the ceremony!). Beach bonfires are also great a great opportunity to include extended family members in your Minnesota wedding photos.

Beautiful Barn Weddings

Many couples take advantage of the Minnesota farmland and barns for rustic themed weddings. Perhaps you were raised on a farm in Minnesota and have always dreamed of transforming the barn into the wedding venue of your dreams. If not, there are numerous barn rental options available in Minnesota including many historic properties. The rustic elegance of a barn will delight you and add a magical touch of warmth to your wedding.
Scandinavian Wedding Traditions
Because of Minnesota's strong Scandinavian heritage, many families choose to incorporate food items (especially desserts) and some traditional dances into their celebration. Dances like the schottis and polka are easy to learn and fun for all ages. If you are planning a winter wedding, including such favorites as rosettes and spritz cookies would be a delightful addition to a dessert table.

Wild Rice Dishes

Wild rice, Minnesota's official state grain, grows abundantly in MN. There are so many recipes that include wild rice there is sure to be a family favorite that you will want to include in your wedding menu. A simple wild rice pilaf with squash would be a wonderful addition and will satisfy your vegetarian guests as well.

Potluck Wedding Dinners Complete with Hotdish

It is very possible to serve great food to your guests without sacrificing your life savings. You might be surprised at how willing friends and family will be to contribute to your wedding day. A growing trend in low cost weddings is the potluck dinner. These are quite often buffet style meals. As the host of the reception, the bride and groom should provide the main meal item of their choice, and guests should each bring a dish of their choice. Have a list of suggested items ready when guest call to inquire about what they should bring.

Located on beautiful Gull Lake in central Minnesota, Cragun's Resort is an ideal Minnesota wedding venue for your upcoming wedding. Our wedding planning services team will help you incorporate unique regional touches and wedding traditions into your special day.

*culled from www.craguns.com
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