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 Simply Weddings

Published yearly in February, this guide pairs wedding planning advice with features stories about local weddings and wedding service providers. To advertise in this special publication, contact our advertising manager at (218) 768−3405 or


front page
A little free lance photography (scroll down for story)

Invitation basics (at left)

A father's 'heart & soul'

The count down...

A day for flowers – of all types and colors
Invitation basics

When it comes to wedding invitations, it can be hard to know where to start; the possibilities are endless. Two important things to consider are personal style and budget. You want an invitation reflective of your personality and the theme of your wedding, but you also don’t want to break the bank. On average, invitations account for almost three percent of the wedding budget. Fortunately there are printing methods to fit every style, and every budget.

Offset printing is a very affordable method. It is a flat print that has a crisp look. Offset printing works well on highly textured papers. It also works well if you are working with multiple colors. Other printing methods can be limited in that regard.

An invitation can be given a distinct look through letterpress printing. Letterpress is a labor intensive, and therefore costly, process that dates back to the fifteenth century. It is done by applying ink to an image. Paper is then placed on top of the image, and pressure is applied, thereby transferring the image, which appears stamped into the paper. Letterpress is very precise and produces rich colors. It is especially useful when using an unusual motif or typeface, or if you are experimenting with different color pigments.

Engraving produces the most formal look. An engraving plate is formed by etching into steel. Pressure is applied to the paper against the engraving plate, creating raised letters. The engraving process can leave a bruise, or a dent, on the back of the invitation. One advantage of engraving is it allows the use of light colored ink on dark paper.

A very popular printing method, thermography, provides the engraved look at a lower price. Thermography uses heat to combine ink with a resinous powder. The reaction caused by the heat raises the letters. Thermography differs from engraving in that is has a shiny finish and the back of the invitation stays smooth.

Creating great looking invitations on a budget has been made easier though the personal computer. Imprintables are invitations printed at home. With imprintables, you get to be the designer, experimenting with different typefaces and graphics. To make designing easier, there are computer software and stationary kits available. The growing popularity of scrap booking has also made creating your own invitations easier, in that paper is available in many different stocks and colors. Just be sure the paper you select is compatible with your printer. Homemade invites can be further embellished with ribbon, fine paper, metal charms or just about anything else. Scrap booking or stamping supplies can come in very handy for dressing up invitations.

Choosing a wedding invitation can be a big decision, and it is a good idea to talk with your printer about what options are available and what will work best to achieve the look you want. Becoming more knowledgeable about the technical aspects of printing can make the discussion smoother and aid in deciding what will work best for you. A helpful glossary of printing terms is available on

After the look of the invitation has been decided, it is time to hash out the wording. There are a few important things to remember when writing out invitations. Days of the week, dates and times are always written out. The only acceptable abbreviations are Mr. and Mrs., everything else should be written out. The word ‘and’ is always written out. Names are written in full, with the first, middle and, sometimes, last name. Nick names and initials should not be used. When inviting people to the ceremony, ‘the honor of your presence’ is a good phrase to use, while ‘the pleasure of your company’ is more acceptable when inviting guests to a reception or civil ceremony. The are many other rules of etiquette surrounding wedding invitations; is a one source of information on those rules.

Planning a wedding can be very hectic, so it is important to pencil in some time for invitations. They should be ordered four to six months before the wedding. When ordering invitations, calculate how many you will need, and then add 10%. That will ensure you have enough to allow for last minute guests, mistakes, resending invites that get lost in the mail or don‚t make it to the intended recipient. Plus, you will also want to save some as keepsakes.

Start addressing your invitations two to four months before the wedding. Doing a handful at a time spread out over a period of time may be less stressful than addressing them all at once. Invitations should be mailed one to two months before the wedding. If you have guests who will be traveling long distances, it may be a good idea to send theirs even earlier.

The mailing is usually more than the invitation itself. Invitation packets can also include a reception card, a response card, a pew card, an ‘at home’ card with the new name and address of the couple, and a map to the church and reception locations. For out of town guests, a list of nearby hotels can also be included. Because there is so much in one envelope, it is important to have your invitation weighed to ensure you have the proper postage.

Once the invites are out, take the time to breathe a sigh of relief, reveling in one job done. Then wait for the RSVPs to roll in.

wedding photo
A little free lance photography

Taking photographs is something local resident Jessie Hooper has always enjoyed. In fact, each year, she enters some of her pictures at the County Fair. Lately, Jessie was asked to take her photography skills to another level – wedding photos.

It all started when Deb Houck saw pictures of Jessie’s children on her refrigerator. “She asked me if I would take pictures at Star’s (Deb’s daughter) wedding,” said Jessie. “I told her I’m not a professional, but I would do it and not charge her.”

Jessie was concerned about the task and eventually talked it over with her husband Jeff. The wedding of Star and Jeff Anderson was planned for June 10, 2005, just three weeks away. “He said, ‘Alright, but you have to go get a new camera. Just go buy something that looks the part.’ So I went to Duluth and bought a much more expensive camera. It’s a really nice camera with eight megapixels.”

Jessie recognized the advantages of digital photography – no film and no developing. “I figured if I took enough pictures, I could find enough to make a wedding album,” she added. “So I took 460-plus pictures of that wedding.”

Since the wedding was on a Saturday and the reception was on a Sunday, Jessie took that opportunity to print out the best photos and display them on picture boards. “I brought them to the reception and the people that were unable to attend the wedding really enjoyed looking at them.”

The bride, Star Houck, was very pleased with her photos. Star shared that she and Jeff were trying to save money. “We had a casual wedding and I wanted personal photographs,” she said. “Jessie took pictures by my dad’s old car, by the barn and one on the motorcycle.”
“I didn’t want the pictures where everyone posed,” she added.

The picture display that Jessie provided was then spotted by Jessica Green, who called Jessie two weeks later. She was getting married January 21 to Mike Johnson.

Jessica’s wedding turned out to have new challenges. Star and Jeff’s wedding was outdoors and Jessica’s wedding was in a church. “It was a total different type of wedding. It was more formal with the challenge of lighting.”

Never-the-less, Jessie captured every aspect of the wedding and, this time, took even more photos. The photo on the cover of this wedding guide is one of Jessica’s favorites.

In addition to weddings, Jessie likes to take baby pictures for friends and she took Blaise Johnson’s graduation pictures this year. “We had to do his pictures twice,” added Jessie. “Somewhere between Jeff and Star’s wedding and Blaise’s pictures the auto focus went out in the camera. So poor Blaise had to dress up in all the outfits twice, two seperate days. He was a good sport. He has a nice smile and he is so good looking that it was easy.”

At this point, Jessie is not ready to start a portrait studio, but she will continue to take pictures if it works out in her schedule.

She shared that she enjoys entering her pictures at the County Fair. This past summer she entered three pictures from Jeff and Star’s wedding and received blue ribbons on each. Jessie also entered a sunset picture near Portage Lake and received a Reserve Champion ribbon.

“That picture on Portage Lake was the first time I had a chance to use the new camera and use all the settings on it. It turned out really nice.”

Right now, Jessie doesn’t have any photo assignments, but she isn’t really looking very hard. She said that any requests she gets are subject to what’s going on with her family. “Family is first, but if it works out in my schedule, I’d love to help out.”