Long-Distance Couple Comes Together in October Wedding

It was Claire Svoboda and Ross Passmore’s jobs at a local gym that first brought them together. They met in May, and Ross was scheduled to be deployed the following January; they maintained their long-distance relationship for over 17 months and several different countries. After that, Claire says, “We feel like we could do anything.” When they finally reunited, they bought a home together and began planning their life. Soon after, Ross surprised Claire with a candle-lit marriage proposal. “I always joked that I didn’t want anything super-fancy or a bunch of people around, so it was really sweet,” says Claire.

On a cold October day, the bridal party stood at the handmade altar crafted just for the day by Claire’s father and adorned with silk flowers. The couple wrote their own vows and read them from a small book they will treasure forever. Family antiques and vintage tablecloths added more personal touches. Ross gave each of his groomsmen a beer boot engraved with their nicknames, and bridesmaids stayed warm in matching shawls. As the enchanting evening began, the couple had their first dance on the patio, illuminated by celebratory sparklers each guest held.

Photos: Sam Areman Photo
Alterations: Will Style Tailor Shop
Bridesmaids’ Gowns: The Dessy Group
Hair: Hali Owens
Makeup: Renee Himberger
Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Catering: Contemporary Food Management Inc. 
Dessert: Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop
Florist: Blooms
Rentals: Guy Design, AAA Rents & Event Services
Venue and DJ: Falconwood Park

A table paying tribute to family members at a Nebraska wedding

Handcrafted Details To Wow Your Guests

Couples are discovering and truly embracing the magic of custom, handcrafted details. When you rely on your own crafting talent, it doesn’t always save you money; and without a doubt, it requires an investment in time. Below, we have outlined some helpful hints to keep you sane while creating an event that incorporates your unique taste. Focusing on a few distinctive design elements can be the key to making every detail count on your wedding day.

By adding eye-catching signage to your ceremony and reception space, you are not only adding function, but also style and personality. When determining display options for your signage, take a good look at the space you are using. Are there any remarkable focal points you would like to highlight? Did you catch yourself missing a critical turn that attendees need to take note of? If so, these are great opportunities to create signage for your guests. The key to successfully executing any handcrafted project is to focus on practicality.

Chalkboards serve well to greet guests, display menus or designate table numbers. A larger version can even serve as a fun photo booth backdrop. Purchase a can of chalkboard paint for less than $20 and transform a thrift store silver tray or ceramic serving platter into a menu board to be displayed at the start of your buffet line. Certain fabrics, like canvas, can be painted with your names, monogram or even a simple “welcome” and hung from a hook. Remember to use the same font and/or motif throughout your designed pieces to provide a common focal point that draws guests in easily. If you do not have the highest confidence in your own calligraphy skills, you can hire a calligrapher to work on select pieces for a reasonable price.

Place Cards
Are plain white place cards too vanilla for your style? Good news! There are literally hundreds of unique and cost-efficient ways to direct your guests to their designated tables. Some of our favorite double-duty place cards include wrapping a petite baguette in parchment paper or placing your favorite pastry item in a personalized muslin bag. Just add a simple tag with the guest’s name tied with baker’s twine to create both a place card and a component of your guest’s meal. Another option would be to consider a fun and unique way to display traditional place cards. Incorporating a large-scale installation that displays your seating cards can be both functional and a showpiece for your guests to admire.

Table Numbers
Grab your guests’ attention with unique table numbers when they go to find their seats. Use a numerical rubber stamp on fabric or carry your chalkboard signage through to table numbers by using small white ceramic dinner plates. Paint the center of the plate with the chalkboard paint and then use plate stands to prop up each plate on the table. Purchase a neat set of dinner plates at a thrift store or collect unique plates from flea markets or garage sales. Painted papier-mâché letters look great and can make a big statement as well. For a more rustic feel, scraps of wood can be simply stunning adorned with white lettering.

Place Settings
You do not need to break the bank to wow your guests as they arrive at their seats. Small details like sprigs of herbs or fresh greenery make a huge impact on white china or linens. Some of our favorite ideas include menus printed on craft paper or small muslin bags stamped with a monogram or emblem, then stuffed with salted caramels or salt water taffy and tied off with ribbon or twine. Using striped ribbon or twine tied around a simple folded napkin can also make a large impact for just a few dollars.

Many couples are opting out of giving guests wedding favors due to the potential price tag; but here is one solution to that concern—double-duty your guest favors to stretch your budget. Items like mini mason jars filled with fruit crisp or cobbler doubles as a favor and a dessert. Another fabulous idea is to fill small bags with gourmet popcorn or chocolates. Tie the bags closed with ribbon or fold down and seal with a monogrammed self-adhesive sticker. Display them on a cake stand to add another décor element to your cake table. This also allows guests to easily serve themselves and take their favor home with them.

The key to keeping your handcrafted projects stress free is to know your limits and consider your timetable. Many brides become overwhelmed with the countless projects they have planned and often fail to calculate the true time needed to complete each project.
Our advice is to simply focus on the basics. Use an idea you have seen and make it your own. The smallest detail added to a place card or menu may be all that is needed. Remember, often less is more. In the end, your guests will be impressed with the thoughtfulness behind your day rather than the extensive projects you have displayed in every corner.

A table paying tribute to family members at a Nebraska wedding

The groom and bride in the gardens of Suite One Eleven during their Lincoln wedding

Emotional Wedding at Suite One Eleven

Erin and Michael were married shortly after the groom’s father passed away, which made for an emotional day for everyone. He was remembered throughout the day through photographs and tributes. By celebrating their love with family and friends, the couple found themselves feeling closer than ever.


Photographer: Kaylie Sirek Photography
Venue: Suite One Eleven
Bridal Gown: Blush Bridal
Catering, Desserts, Florals: Hy-Vee
Cake: Cupcakes and More
Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Makeup: Elli Stoeckinger
Music: A-Z Entertainment
Rings: Sartor-Hamann
Transportation: Prime Time Shuttle Service

Bride and bridesmaids share a glass of champagne before a wedding

The Pre-Parties: Celebrating Your Love Before the Big Day

From engagement parties to bridal showers, you will have many opportunities to celebrate your engagement with friends and family. Not only is this an excellent time to share good food and drinks with great company, but it also provides a unique opportunity to spend quality time with those closest to you. The team here at Nebraska Wedding Day has compiled this go-to guide for special events leading up to your wedding day, complete with creative party ideas and proper party etiquette.

Engagement Party
Your engagement is an unforgettable and exciting event. The party celebrating your engagement is where all your family and friends have gathered in honor of you and your new fiancé. This can often be the first time for most of your family and various groups of friends to meet. The engagement party is typically thrown shortly after the proposal and is traditionally hosted by the bride’s parents. However, it is entirely acceptable for the couple’s friends or the groom’s family to host an engagement party, should the bride’s parents decline the opportunity.

There are many options to choose from when it comes to hosting an engagement party. The guest list may be short, providing for a more intimate gathering, or you may opt for “the more, the merrier” with a large cocktail-hour event. Whether it’s a simple cocktail party, a special dinner party or even a casual backyard barbecue, the event should, above all, reflect the couple’s style and personalities. It is important that the guest list for the engagement party should be limited to only those guests who will also be invited to the wedding. Both sides of the family should be invited unless geographical location prohibits their presence, in which case separate parties are held. Some grooms discuss the engagement party plans with the bride’s family prior to the proposal and then surprise the bride immediately following the proposal with a party.

Couples are encouraged to create a preliminary gift registry before the engagement party so guests who wish to bring a gift to the party can access the couple’s selection of gift ideas. For your registry, it is best to select items of varied price points to give guests the most flexibility in choosing a gift. Please note that it is not appropriate to list the gift registry on the invitation. However, since it is likely that some guests will wish to bring a gift, it is perfectly acceptable for you to inform close friends and relatives of your registry preference in case someone inquires. Keep in mind that unless all of your guests bring gifts to the party, it is best to open packages after the festivities to avoid embarrassing anyone who did not bring a gift.

Also, it is proper etiquette for the engaged couple to give the host(s) and/or hostess(es) of the engagement party a gift as a token of thanks and appreciation. There will be many people who lend you a helping hand along your wedding-planning journey, assisting either with planning or celebrating. It is important to acknowledge those special individuals along the way, even if it’s as simple as a sweet handwritten note expressing your gratitude.

Bridal Shower
Bridal showers have been a tradition for many years and are a terrific opportunity to gather with friends and family to honor the bride and shower her with gifts. It is common for the maid of honor and bridesmaids or friends to host the bride’s shower. A bridal shower should typically be hosted months or weeks prior to the wedding and only wedding guests should be invited. Also, this is the one occasion that it is appropriate to list where the bride is registered on the invitation.

There are many traditional games and activities for bridal showers. However, themed showers are becoming very popular. These bridal showers are a fun and unique way to provide entertainment for the guests. Below are some of our favorite themes and activities to consider when planning a shower.

Baking Theme
If the bride enjoys baking sweets and treats, encourage guests to bring a shower gift inspired by baking. Set up a buffet of three to four desserts or baked goods for guests to sample while they mingle. On the invitations, include a recipe card with each RSVP to jot down their favorite recipe and bring it along to the shower. Send guests home with a jar of homemade jam and a loaf of bread tied with some colorful string or simple jute along with the recipe.

Date Night
The couple will love this theme, as it will supply them with months of activities and ideas for date nights throughout their first year of marriage. Encourage guests to bring a date-night themed gift pulled together with items from their gift registry. For example, movie passes and popcorn bowls or a blanket and bottle of wine. As a shower activity, supply guests with note cards and markers to jot down date-night ideas. Suggestions may range from free activities such as a walk at sunset, to more expensive options like a date night at a fine-dining restaurant. Put each note card in a sealed envelope and mark it with an estimated cost or a good season to use them. After their wedding day, the couple can pick from the envelopes to find a unique date-night idea.

Brunch showers are great for larger gatherings and can be a hit when you pull together a yummy brunch menu. Host a parfait bar for guests to build their perfect parfait with different yogurts, fruits, nuts and granola. This allows guests to mingle and also provides an easy food option for the hostess. This theme could carry throughout the party by pairing a variety of freshly cut fruit, fruit juices and champagne to create a mix-and-match mimosa bar. This is a deliciously light and easy self-serve beverage option. Guests who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage could simply opt for the fruit juice.

Couple’s Shower
Bridal showers have been evolving over the years into couple’s showers. Friends of the engaged couple often host a lunch or dinner and invite close friends to celebrate their upcoming nuptials. These showers are typically more casual and relaxed, and are ideal for couples who already share many household items. Yard games and refreshing beverages are perfect for this type of shower, allowing guests to get to know one another and mingle.

Bachelorette Party
Many brides are shying away from bachelorette games and bar-hopping for this special event with their closest girlfriends. Some brides are gathering their friends to participate in a local cooking class while others might head out of town to relax by a pool. The most important element of the bachelorette party is for the bride to feel comfortable with the plans, especially since this is a time for her to truly kick back and relax before the wedding day. Looking for some fun and creative activities that are a bit out of the ordinary? Below are a few of our favorite bachelorette party ideas.

Cooking Class
Perfect for the bride who loves to spend time in the kitchen, invite a small group of girls to participate in a cooking class. This gives the bride an opportunity to spend quality time with her friends while the guests are entertained and may even pick up a cooking tip or recipe.

Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting
This is a simply fabulous way to host a relaxing bachelorette party. Invite guests to a local vineyard to taste wines while catching up and chatting about wedding plans. The scenery itself will provide a relaxing experience for the bride and her guests.

Art Class
Give guests an opportunity to create a gorgeous piece of art without the need for any artistic talent. At some area art classes, guests are given step-by-step instructions to help each artist create a memorable painting while also affording the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine.
As we’ve demonstrated, the possibilities for bridal showers are only limited by your own imagination. Have fun with it and enjoy celebrating with your guests.

Bride and bridesmaids share a glass of champagne before a wedding

Bride and groom among the trees at Creekside Barn at Roca Berry Farm

Barn Wedding with Fresh Florals and Flower Pup

Curtis and Ashley held their wedding at the Creekside Barn at Roca Berry Farm, and they let their fresh burgundy florals bring color and beauty to the day. Their adorable pup got all dressed up for the occasion, and a sparkler-send off capped off the night.

Photos: Gleason Photography
Venue and catering: Creekside Barn at Roca Berry Farm
Officiant: Dustin Lappe, Messiah Lutheran Church
Hair: Tangled Up Salon
Bridal gown: Blush Bridal
Cake and desserts: Goldenrod Pastries
Florist: I Bloom
Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Makeup: Kiss and Makeup
Stationery: Dana Osborne Design
Music: 5 Star Entertainment, Summit String Quartet
Rentals: Elite Events
Rings: Borsheims
Planner: Indigo Wedding & Events