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Virginia Civil War Trails signs note important spots »

The distinctive red, white and blue signs seem to be everywhere: Along Rt. 5. Throughout Petersburg. Even in downtown Richmond and Church Hill. They mark the stops along the "Virginia Civil War Trails," or what could be called the ultimate road trip for Civil War buffs.

They mark the stops along the "Virginia Civil War Trails," or what could be called the ultimate road trip for Civil War buffs.

The Civil War Trails project identifies the locations of significant Civil War battles, maneuvers and museums. At many of the sites, the program also provides information on what happened there.

"There are a lot of really neat stories that we're telling," said Mitch Bowman, executive director of Virginia's Civil War Trails.

There are 325 Civil War Trails sites in Virginia, with about 60 of those in the metro Richmond area, Bowman said. The program also includes Maryland and North Carolina.

All of the signs, and the information provided by the trail program, aim to engage visitors in understanding what happened on the spot they're standing on, Bowman said.

"It gives purpose to driving the scenic roads around the metro Richmond area," he said. "It's quite affordable and great for families to do."

Around Richmond, the trail signs can be seen at the Richmond National Battlefield Park, Belle Isle, Rockett's Landing, Monument Avenue, and battlefields and other landmarks throughout Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield counties.

In Charles City County, the signs along Rt. 5 mark part of the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Berkeley Plantation and Westover were both used as headquarters for the Union Army troops.

Ask any area resident where to go for fun around here, and these places are among the top answers to the question.

They are Richmond institutions - quality attractions that we're proud to call our own.

But when was the last time you visited, say, the State Capitol or the Science Museum of Virginia?

If the answer involves years, then it's time to go back.

The offerings at these parks, gardens and museums are dazzling on first view. They become even more impressive during subsequent visits, with new things to see alongside favorite exhibits.

What have you missed?

So to refresh your memory - or show you what you've missed if you've never been to them - we present this alphabetical list of seven places that every resident needs to visit.

 Children's Museum of Richmond: If you don't have kids, you'll want to bor row some, or tag along with friends, to check out this childhood paradise.

Named the 11th best children's mu seum in the country by "Child" magazine in 2002, its exhibits inspire imagination-enhancing, hands-on fun.

Children can walk through a mock-up of a digestive tract, take a guided tour of a mock cave or play in a very scaled-down version of the James River.

There's a mock grocery store, a mock kitchen and restaurant area, and a room where children can put on plays or sing kareoke. There's even an area just for toddlers, with an adjacent family resource center and storytime area.

If the shrieks and laughter I heard were any indication, children love this place. Since so much of the exhibits utilize the imagination, they can visit repeatedly and never get tired of it.

That is, if their parents can convince them to leave in the first place.

 The James River Park System: The best access to the river can be found in these city-run parks, which include Belle Isle and Pony Pasture.

Opportunities abound at the many park areas for biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Visitors looking to relax can sun themselves on the banks of Belle Isle or, when the river level is low, on the river rocks at Pony Pasture.

To help people explore all the park has to offer, inexpensive guides are available by calling 646-8911.

But park manager Ralph White has some of his own recommendations.

At Pony Pasture, White suggests daytime visits to the swampland east of the rocks, and the dry meadow and pond in the area's interior. At night, go to the wet meadow (wearing bug spray) to see the many species of fireflies there.

Eagles can be spotted in the wild vista at Riverside Meadows, the newest part of the park, White said. At Belle Isle, children especially can enjoy walking on the rocks near the shore (again, when the river level is low).

And the changing weather and seasons guarantee that you'll never see the same things here twice - unless, of course, you want to.

 Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens: This is horticultural heaven.

There are 16 different garden areas here, ranging in style from the Asian Valley to the Victorian-Style Garden to the Wetland Garden. There's also a conservatory featuring tropical plants (including palm trees and orchids) and an English cottage garden.

I don't even want to try and guess the number of flowers, trees and grasses planted on the 40-plus acres here.

There is no way to see everything in one visit. Returning to see the gardens during different seasons would be worth it, too.

I started my visit by following the map, but soon discovered that it's more fun to follow the paths and see where they lead.

I found myself crossing the islands in the Wetland Garden to arrive at the Victorian-Style Garden, which took me to part of the Woodland Walk and over to the Asian Valley.

I could have wandered all day if I had worn more comfortable shoes.

 Maymont: There is almost too much to do in this 100-acre park.

Stroll through the Italian and Japanese gardens, filled with falling water, fragrant flowers and serenity. Rest a moment in the Herb Garden, and take the time to smell the lavender.

Feed the eager goats at the Children's Farm, or walk through the park to see the wildlife exhibits. Visit the nature center and try to identify the fish in the 13 aquariums. Or glimpse the Gilded Age during a tour of Maymont House.

If you're not interested in any of these things, you can always bring a picnic and just enjoy the scenery.

It's hard to believe that one park can be all things to all people, but I think Maymont does it.

 Science Museum of Virginia: From an in-depth look at human beings to IMAX and planetarium shows, the Science Museum has an array of offerings bound to hook even those who aren't scientifically inclined.

Interactive exhibits teach visitors about topics ranging from bioethics and deep-ocean diving to electricity and the priciples of physics. Four labs offer the opportunity to pet a snake or see a demonstration, like the dissection of a cow's eye that was done the day I visited.

IMAX movies change periodically, but they're all fun to watch. The "Hubble/Night Sky" planetarium show, which changes every three months, features recent pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope and diagrams the season's visible constellations and planets.

This museum is geared more toward children than adults, but given that I haven't had a science class since high school, it was just about my academic speed.

 The Virginia State Capitol: A visit to the second-oldest working capitol building in the country provides both a history lesson and a refresher course on the state government.

The central portion of the capitol, the original building, was designed by Thomas Jefferson. It's been in continuous use since 1788, a length of time surpassed only by Maryland's capitol building.

The tour of Virginia's capitol begins in the old Senate chamber, a small room with large paintings that's still used for meetings today. My guide explained the history of the room and its furnishings, along with the basics on when the General Assembly meets and what its members do.

The tour continues to the rotunda, where seven busts and one statue commemorate the eight Virginians who became President. (George Washington got the statue.) The rotunda is also home to the original plaster model of Jefferson's design.

The last stop is the former House chamber, which is now a museum. The room itself is beautiful, with detailed molding and two balconies that were used by spectators.

There's marble in here as well: A statue of Robert E. Lee marks the spot where he stood to accept his commission as a general in the Army of Virginia. And several busts line the room, depicting famous Virginians and the president and vice president of the Confederacy.

It's an awesome feeling to walk the floors that once bore the weight of people like Lee. And standing in the old building is a physical reminder of just how old Virginia's government is - and it still works.

(Tours of the current Senate chambers are also available, and it's worth taking one if only to sit in a senator's chair and pretend to vote.)

 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: During my first three visits here, I never entered the same room twice, and I got lost each time.

That's an accomplishment at a museum that displays only 17 percent of its collection. And it says quite a bit about the size and diversity of what's on display.

Thankfully, the museum offers a daily 45-minute "highlights" tour, which walks visitors through most of the rooms and shows some of the more interesting pieces.

My tour went through the rooms chronologically, starting with Greek and Roman statues and pottery and ending with American art and French Impressionists.

I could have spent an hour in almost every room we walked through - and in several of the rooms we didn't visit. The museum has an entire room devoted to Faberge eggs, and a gallery of contemporary artwork, both of which are intriguing.

I took a few minutes after the tour to visit the decorative arts collection, which includes Art Nouveau furniture and work by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Tiffany. I wanted to see more, but there's only so much beauty that can be taken in at one time.

Besides, I know I'll be back again.

DAY 7: Hey, look us over - again »

Passport to Richmond Maymont. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Ask any area resident where to go for fun around here, and these places are among the top answers to the question.

Top 10 tourist attractions in 2002 »

Top 10 tourist attractions in 2002
(Attendance tracking methods vary with each attraction.)

Rank, Attraction, Visitors

1. Maymont 498,394

2. Science Museum of Va. 274,645

3. National Battlefield Park 255,261
4. Three Lakes Nature Center 242,158
5. Va. Museum of Fine Arts 232,003
6. Children's Museum of Richmond 190,091
7. Library of Va. 163,900

8. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 163,900

9. Va. State Capitol 94,778
10. Va. Historical Society 66,625

Source: Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Ten tips for submission to our pu

A news release should read like a news item, not a sales brochure or something that merely promotes a group. Don't hide it, especially if the information is negative. It hurts your credibility and the paper may find it out anyway.

BAD EXAMPLE: In the first paragraph about a new business, the release said: "So and So is giving away refreshments and key chains and offering free music and hot-air balloon rides." What's the news?

Have a feel for what turns on the editor:

  • Unusualness

  • Change

  • Trends

  • Significance

  • History

  • Name Recognition

  • First-time event

BAD EXAMPLE: "We're delighted that Michael has joined the agency. We've proved again that we have no equal in the country."

Don't try to cover the world in a news release. Keep the names and accolades to a minimum. Don't bog down the release with superfluous information.

BAD EXAMPE: This is how one release ended: "Her clients are invited to contact her for the same professional service they have lnong enjoyed.

Don't let a new release go unless you're sure of the facts. Provide bad information and you'll shoot yourself in the foot.

BAD EXAMPLE: A release trumpets that October is wine month and descirbes sales growth by conveniently leaving out recession months when times were rough.

ANOTHER BAD EXAMPLE: "America's economic engine -- small business -- is about to get a turbochrage with the release os his new book."

Learn how the newspaper operates. Identify the correct person to receive the release. Find out about deadlines, addresses, requirements. Find out the paper's busiest times so you know when to call and when not to. Have your facts ready before you approach the paper.

BAD EXAMPLE: "My client has some real exciting things happening." When pressed for specifics, the PR person fumbled and mumbled.

Date the release. That gives the editors a sense of timeliness and urgency. Double space it. Allow space for editors to make changes. Keep releases to a maximum of two pages. That should be enough to present information for a short article or generate curiosity to get your phone ringing.


The name at the top of the release should be the person you want contacted. That peson should by fully informed about every aspect of the program or service and be willing and able to drop everything to get the editors what they need for the article. Also, the names mentioned in the release should be those of people you want quoted. Make sure whoever is named in the release has a file of information at his or her fingertips and is authorized to answer it.


It usually takes only a rewrite of the lead paragraph to make the difference. A relase arrived from New Orleans about a Richmond group, but we had to read the first 10 paragraphs before we learned about the local connection.

On significant events and programs, send in a release a month before the event and follow it up with another two weeks notice. Don't expect coverage if you drop a release on an editor the day before or call on th day of the event. If you could not have predicted teh event, try to give 24 hours notice or as much as possible.


Good PR is about serving editors' interest as much as yours. Call to make sure the release has been received. If not, ask if another should be sent. Ask if anything else is needed. Become a key source of information on your industry -- not just your own group. Alert editors to significant events.

And finally, the facts:
"The greater portion of the editor's job you can do, the greater your chances of getting an article into print."


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Wedding Tips:
Keep organized with a master list, save money by keeping it simple, view top-notch wedding sites, peruse unique honeymoon getaways -- all this and more inside our helpful hints section.
View our printable check-off list

Now your friends and family can be at

the wedding wherever they live.

are pleased to announce online services for engagements and wedding announcements. This service will be a part of every paid bridal or engagement announcement.*

Your print ad purchase will now include Celebrations, an interactive online package that will allow you to:

• Tell everyone the "facts and figures" on the wedding

• Present a photo gallery of the bride and groom
• Tell people how you met and how the proposal came about
• List the bridal party
• Explain the details of your gift registry
• Ask people to sign a virtual guestbook
• Provide hotel and tour information, directions, etc....
• A great place to send all your friends and family online!

Online Wedding Forms!
Click on one of the links below (opens in a new window with Adobe Acrobat Reader) to download a pdf form, ready for you to fill out online, and then print to send to us.

» Authorization for Announcement Publication (83 kb)

» Engagement Information (186 kb)

» Wedding Information (1.32 mb)

» Terms and Conditions (64 kb)


Basic engagement/wedding announcement with or without photo 16 1-column lines (of bride or bride-to-be only)



4.25-inch announcement with no photo (31 1-column lines) (approximately 155 words)



6.5-inch announcement with no photo (46 1-column lines) (approximately 230 words)



6.89-inch announcement, including 1-column x 2.50 inch photo (26 1- column lines) (approximately 130 words)



9.25-inch announcement, including 1-column x 2.50 inch photo (44 1-column lines) (approximately 220 words)



13.25-inch announcement, including 2-column x 3.50 inch photo (38 1-column lines) (approximately 190 words) (horizontal photo requested)



18.25-inch announcement, including 2-column x 3.50 inch photo (72 1-column lines) (approximately 360 words)(horizontal photo requested)



18.25-inch announcement, including 2-column x 4.75 inch photo (56 1-column lines) (approximately 280 words)



27-inch announcement, including 3-column x 4.17 inch photo (60 1?-column lines) (approximately 480 words) (horizontal photo requested/group photo are also acceptable)

Wedding Tips

Every bride needs to know these tips! Our wedding tips articles below cover topics such as saving money with a budget, organization by a master list, elegant crystal, extensive list of reception sites and much more. Printable information to keep with all your wedding notes!

Set your sights on a site
An extensive listing of sites for wedding ceremonies and receptions can be found in the greater metro area.

The big day starts with big plans
Every bride should ready this. Wedding planning involves a seemingly endless "to do" list. The best advice for planning the dream wedding? Book everything early. "And be flexible."

List keeps plans organized
The best organized weddings are the ones where every detail has been thought of in advance. Keeping a master checklist, starting six months to a year before the wedding.

Tie it up on a shoestring
Simplicity, substitutions save money. The result is a wonderful celebration with many friends and family members without going into debt over the experience.

Last-minute remake saves the day

The important wedding gown is saved: the beading and the embroidery of the dress and re-create a copy of the gown with improvements.

A master list keeps plans organized

The best organized weddings are the ones where every detail has been thought of in advance. Keeping a master checklist ensures that nothing is left to chance. Timetable should start six months to a year before the wedding. Keep checklist handy.

Six months to a year ahead

  • Decide on the type of wedding and reception. Consult your pastor, priest or rabbi to select the date and hour.

  • Determine and reserve the location for reception.

  • Engage a caterer for reception, a photographer, videographer and florist.

  • Determine the number of guests.

  • Choose attendants.

  • Order invitations.

  • Order thank-you notes.

  • If you plan music at the reception, make all the arrangements.

Four to five months in advance

  • With your fiance, make appointments for counseling with your minister, and to discuss music, decorations and procedures.

  • Order your gown and those of your attendants.

  • Make out your guest list.

Three months in advance

  • Make an appointment with a photographer for formal portraits.

  • Select china, crystal and silver patterns.

  • Select gifts for your bridesmaids and a gift for your groom.

  • Remind groom or the best man to arrange fittings and to reserve any rented formalwear for the groomsmen.

Two months in advance

  • Hire limousines.

  • Notify your attendants about their fittings and accessories.

  • List selections at gift and department store bridal registries.

  • At the final fitting of wedding gown, have formal bridal photographs taken.
  • Make detailed arrangements, including menu, table arrangements, decorations, linens and parking, with the manager of reception site or caterer.

  • Make hairdresser appointment for wedding day.

  • Address invitations.

  • Make housing arrangements for out-of-town guests.

  • Select wedding rings.

  • Mail invitations four to six weeks in advance of wedding.

One month in advance

  • Record all gifts and write thank-you notes as they arrive.

  • Check on all accessories for you and your attendants.

  • Make final arrangements with all professionals who are working with you - florist, photographer, videographer, reception manager or caterer.

  • If you are changing your name, do so on all documents, such as driver's license, Social Security, credit cards and bank accounts.

  • Plan the seating for the bridal party tables at reception.

  • Send wedding portrait and announcement to newspapers.

Two weeks in advance

  • Confirm hotel, motel or other lodging arrangements.

  • Confirm flower order and deliveries with florist.

  • Give final count of guests to reception manager or caterer.

The day of your wedding

  • Have hair done.

  • Make sure any orders not being delivered are picked up.

  • Eat breakfast - no matter how nervous you may be. - From "Emily Post's Wedding Planner (Revised Edition)"

10 Great Places to Propose

In a recent survey, over 80% of women (and men) who were proposed to said that the proposal was "less romantic" than they had hoped for. But the engagement question should be memorable—something to look back on for the years ahead...

Here is our top 10 list of places to propose:

1) A picnic at sunset on a quiet beach

2) Candlelight and champagne in your favourite restaurant

    (possibly where you had your first date)
3) Enjoying a scenic mountain view
4) Hiking through a scenic park
5) At a famous monument, national park
6) On a scenic hotel balcony
7) A steam train ride through the country
8) A hot air balloon trip
9) Romantic picnic on a wine farm
10) Underneath the stars in the country

Other suggestions from our readers

• On a historic plantation

• On the bow of a cruise ship.

Did you have an unforgetable propoal? Tell us about it and we'll add it to our list!

Help! I'm Stressed!

Planning a big event like a wedding can be extremely stressful if you're not careful. When family gets involved, opinions can overwhelm a new bride. Sometimes it is just too much for one person to manage. Here are some tips to help you deal with this busy time:

Music has a special magic about it. Often we use it as a background distraction but it can also be used as a very positive therapeutic experience. Music can be a source of emotional enjoyment. The music appreciation centre is located in the right hemisphere of the brain. By listening to music you "switch-over" from the left hemisphere (dominant for binary activities) to the creative, artistic right hemisphere. Try to find a few moments each day to massage your brain with your favorite relaxing tunes and melodies.

Deep Breathing

The multiple benefits of good, deep belly-breathing for stress-reduction and overall wellness are often sacrificed. Many of us tend to breathe at a surprisingly shallow level. Deeper inhalation may even feel a little "surprising" at first. Attention to the different ways in which we breathe in various contexts also enhances mental clarity, proper digestion and circulation, healing, athletic and vocal performance, can diminish pain and help to release anxiety in a tense moment.

It is amazing how our breathing can ground us and in moments of fear (when we sometimes experience a sense of almost observing ourselves from the outside?) Slow, mindful breathing will often bring us back "into the body"...and into balance.

Muscle Tension - Aching Back - Try Do-It-Yourself Reflexology
If you can't get to a licensed Reflexology practitioner, (well-worth the trip!) massage some oil or peppermint lotion into your feet, working thumbs slowly up the arch. This area corresponds to the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine, respectively. Tips of the toes are sinus points, etc. Swap with a friend and revitalize... body & "sole!"

Create a "Stress-Tips Toolbox"
When it comes to stress-relief, certain things work for different people. Develop a realistic personal stress-management program that works within your lifestyle and preferences. Include lots of laughter and some form of free, creative expression, healthy nutrition, pleasurable exercise, mindfulness and meditation. Gentle touch, honest relationships and personally meaningful spiritual practice can help balance tough days with something just for you.

Introducing the all new Simply Elegant Heirloom Collection

The perfect photographic collection for the discriminating bride on a budget who still desires classic elegance without the high prices. Includes portrait, photography, quality proofs, and 8 x 10 album for only $1,150.00. Call or email me for more information

Welcome to Wedding Invitations & More, your source for making sure your guests are included on your special day!
The primary objectives are to help you evaluate, eliminate, and create lasting wedding memories.

  • Evaluating involves assessing the kind of wedding that you want and determining your budget.

  • Eliminating requires helping you get rid of pre-wedding jitters by putting your wedding dreams into proper perspective and then turning your dreams into reality.

  • Creating a wedding that you will never forget.

Wedding date, state you are coming from, city in you want wedding, any specific wishlist developed?

Elegant Ceremony Decorating $350
Pew bows
Aisle runner
Unity Candle
Silk ficus trees
Ring bearer pillow
Floral arrangements
Flower girl basket with silk rose petals
Tulle draping for center aisle (large venues extra)
Candleabras with floral arrangements, ivy, decorations
Lighted arch decorated with floral arrangements, tulle, chandelier, pearls, ribbon
Delivery and Set Up

Elegant Reception Decorating $550
24" Eiffel towel vase decorated for guest tables, votive candles, roses
Head table decorated with tulle, ivy, large silk floral arrangement, votive candles
Lighted arch decorated with floral arrangements, tulle, pearls, ribbon for head table backdrop
Cake table decorated with tulle, lights, candles, cake knife and server
Gift table decorated with tulle, ivy, fabric boxes for cards
Floral arrangements
Delivery and Set Up


Below is a printable one year in advance checklist. Print it and add it to your wedding notes to help you keep yourself on track of all the wedding details. For best results, before printing, change your print layout to "Landscape", which will allow for notes in the margin and better result.





Choose Wedding Style


Plan Budget


Make Preliminary Guest List


If Necessary, Find Professional Wedding Planner


Set Wedding Date & Time


Determine Wedding Location


Send Engagement Announcement to Newspaper


Choose Wedding Colors


Determine Location/Time of Rehearsal Dinner


Determine Location/Time of Wedding Reception


Choose Caterer


Choose Band


Choose Photographer & Videographer


Choose Florist


Meet with Ceremony Officiant


Select Members of Wedding Party


Register Gift Choices


Finalize Guest List


Plan Accommodations/Transport for Out-of-Town Guests


Arrange Wedding Night Accomodations for Bride & Groom


Plan Honeymoon


Select Bridesmaid's Dresses


Order Wedding Gown & Accessories


Arrange Wedding Day Transportation


Select Wedding Favors


Order Groom's Attire


Select Groomsmen's Attire


Order Wedding Invitations


Select Wedding Rings


Finalize Menu for Rehearsal Dinner and Reception


Finalize Arrangements with Photographer and Videographer


Finalize Arrangements with Caterer


Finalize Arrangements with Florist


Order Wedding Cake


Purchase Guest Book


If Necessary, Get Name Change Forms


Purchase Gifts for Wedding Party


Call Guests That Have Not Responded


Plan Reception Seating Arrangements


Send Wedding Announcement to Newspaper


Get Marriage License


Confirm Hotel Accomodations for Out-of-Town Guests


Confirm Wedding Day Transportation


Confirm Guest Count with Caterer


Confirm Time/Location with Florist


Confirm Time/Location with Photographer and Videographer


Confirm Time/Location with Band

Some standards of etiquette have continued through the years. Below is a list of the most often asked questions from our brides and a correct response; socially, as well as according to etiquette.

"I've been married before, can I still wear white?"
Years ago, the answer would have been a definite no; but today the answer is yes....that is, if the gown also has color on it. Some brides choose to wear a solid soft color such as ivory or rum pink. Another option is to have colored rosebuds or other flowers appliqued to the gown. You could also choose to wear an all white gown and have a cluster of colored flowers at the back waist. Any of these options would satisfy the etiquette rules when applied to wearing white on a remarriage.

"I've been married before in a small civil ceremony, since I'm having a big wedding this time, can I wear a blusher over my face?"
The answer to this is no. Any bride, married before in any type of ceremony, should not wear a blusher over her face. The only time a blusher is put over the brides' face is when it is her first marriage.

"Can my Father walk me down the aisle, even if I've been married before?"
Again the answer is no. According to etiquette, if your Father has given you away once...he can't give you away again.

"Do I have to wear gloves?" Etiquette states, "A woman isn't properly dressed until she has her hat and gloves on".

Socially, you do not have to wear gloves for your wedding, but it is a very elegant touch. When a bride has long sleeves, she tends not to need gloves as much as a bride who has a short sleeve gown does.

"If I have gloves on, how do I have the ring ceremony?"
When a bride wears gloves at her wedding, there are three ways to do the ring ceremony. The first option is to gently slide the left glove off at the altar at the time of the ring ceremony. This is easier to achieve if the bride doesn't put the glove on completely snug before her walk down the aisle. Another idea is to have the side of the ring finger opened at the seam of the glove. This will allow the bride to have her gloves on and simply slide her ring finger out of the glove for the ring ceremony. The final option is for the entire ring finger to be taken off of the gloves. I would not have it totally removed, it can be "tucked" into the palm of the brides' hand inside the actual glove.

"Can my mother or bridesmaids wear black (or white) to the wedding?"
Years ago, this would be a definite no. Time has changed things and now it is completely proper for a mother or bridesmaids to be in black or even white. In fact, with many bridal gowns in soft pastels, the bridesmaids often wear white to "reverse" the wedding look. Another idea is for the entire wedding party to be in white (or ivory). This is a very elegant monochromatic look.

"If my bridesmaids are in tea length gowns, can my mothers wear long gowns?"
The mothers of the wedding should be in the same length gowns as the wedding party. Socially, the mothers can wear a short or tea length dress no matter the length of the bridesmaids' gowns; however, they cannot wear a long gown if the bridesmaids are in short or tea length gowns.

"What about invitations?"

Etiquette sets the standard for invitations, but some rules have been allowed to change through the years. The wedding ceremony should be on one invitation and the reception should be on another. This is due to the fact that a religious ceremony should never be mixed with a social ceremony! This is why there are reception cards. It is; however, socially acceptable to put the reception on the wedding invitation. When an exact head count is necessary for the caterer, a respond card is needed. On a respond card, the wording is done in a way, that a reply date, a name of the guest and number attending is requested. Thank you notes (or informals) are never pre-printed! The only pre-printed part on an informal is the name (or names) on the front side. There are several correct ways to word an informal. In addition to the brides' maiden name, her married name also needs to be on an informal to thank those who give a gift at or after the wedding.

"What type of napkins do I need?"
A good rule of thumb to remember when ordering napkins, is double the number of invitations to find out how many napkins you need. Most guests use two to three napkins per reception. Small beverage napkins are only used at the bar area. Luncheon napkins are used at the food and cake area.

See more at

Wording Styles

Traditional Wording for Invitations and Announcements:

View for more verse ideas.

  • Announcements

  • Titles

  • Suffixes

  • Military Forms

  • Invitations Issued by Bride's Parents

  • Mother or Father Deceased

  • Both Parents Deceased

  • Bride and Groom Issue Own Invitations

  • Parents Divorced

  • Wedding Given by Groom's Family

  • Reception Invitations

Need to review format and wording
Do you have a business that could assist local brides? If you provide a service or product that benefits wedding planners, our affordable advertising gets your company name out there. Click here to download a printable advertising information pdf. (154k)
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The Newspaper in Education program at the Richmond Times-Dispatch was established to enable educators to use the newspaper in classrooms to supplement their texts and to provide the most up-to-date materials available for all curricula. It is a part of a world-wide network of newspapers that offer special services to educators.

At The Times-Dispatch, we offer these services to educators who use class sets of newspapers at least once a week for ten weeks:

Discounted prices: Currently $.08 per copy on week days and $.88 on Sundays
One free curriculum guide with each order

Workshops to show teachers how to use the newspaper in the classroom

Call or email at least five working days before your order is to start. When you call, make sure you know how many copies of the newspaper you want, your start and final date for delivery, and any days you want to skip because of holidays. You may order for once a week or as often as you like, but you must order one newspaper for each student in your class.


Reading to Follow Directions - A guide which teaches phonics and sight words while leading students to follow directions

ABC's in Color - A newspaper section format, one for each of your students that takes them through the alphabet and the newspaper. It is a great coloring book, too.

Fundamentals for Elementary Students - A guide which gives activities in all four major subject areas (3-5)

Using the Newspaper to Teach Virginia's Standards of Learning - A guide which lists SOL objectives and newspaper activities to teach them in the four major subject areas. (K-5)

Newspaper Section Format Tabs - One for each student
(These guides can be used at any level above 3rd grade. Answers from students at higher levels will be more sophisticated than those at lower levels.)

Project Virginia - Takes students into The Times-Dispatch to learn more about their state

Project USA - Takes students into The Times-Dispatch to learn more about their country

The Stock Market - A guide that explains how the market works. It has a chart that enables students to follow certain stocks for a period of time.

Teacher's Guide
Earth Watch - A guide devoted to teaching about the environment. It covers recycling, pollution and ecosystems. (4-12)

Secondary Guides
Fundamentals for Secondary Students - A guide that covers all four major subject areas

L.D. Activity Book - A guide for L.D. students that takes them into the newspaper to learn more about math, reading and writing
Using the Newspaper in Secondary Social Studies - Takes students into the newspaper to learn more about economics, history, government and geography

The Newspaper: A Guide to Better English - This guide covers areas from grammar to creative writing to character analysis. Each page is a worksheet to be used with The Times-Dispatch.

Reading: Increasing Skills with the Newspaper - A series of worksheets for building reading skills and vocabulary development. A few areas covered are details, main idea, context clues and predicting outcomes.

Measuring Up in Mathematics - Lessons include problem solving, geometry, graphing, algebra, statistics and probability

The Newspaper: A Skill Builder in Work-Related Education - Worksheets for students to use with the newspaper to learn more about the world of work

Using the Newspaper in Secondary Science - Gives ideas for using the newspaper to supplement science texts. Keeps science instruction up to date

Other Guides and Special Projects
Election Guides for presidential, gubernatorial, and large elections

NIE Week Guides for introduction to the newspaper in March

Black History Guide for February

Each fall we run a children's story that publishes once a week for 18 to 20 weeks in our Flair section.

Right before the winter holiday, we publish a week-long activity for students to keep them motivated while learning at a time they (and teachers) are anticipating the break.

This series of lesson plans is designed so that you can choose what you'd like to do for the day. Print the plan out, and copy it for your students. We will update and add to this list thoughout the school year. Be sure to check for new ideas!

100 Ways to Use the Newspaper - Life Skills

1. Draw a rough floor plan of a home. Collect newspaper pictures of furniture and appliances to fill the home and make it comfortable. Determine the approximate cost of furnishing a home by using classified ads.

2. Make a chart that is divided into four parts: spring, summer, fall, winter. Cut out pictures of clothing you would wear during each season. Paste the pictures under each word.

3. Prepare menus using food advertisements in the newspaper. Example: Christmas dinner, Italian dinner, etc. Make sure that you include something from all four-food groups.

4. Collect articles of accidents that have happened in the home. Tell how the accidents could have been prevented.

5. Select a job in the classified section of The Times-Dispatch. Write a letter to the Human Resources director of your chosen job stating what qualities make you perfect for that job.

6. Check the salary levels for unskilled workers in the help-wanted section of the classified ads. Compare the salaries to those for skilled laborers or professional positions. What are the differences and why?

7. Find a recipe in the food section of The Times-Dispatch. Examine the recipe's ingredients to see if it includes enough of the nutrients necessary for a balanced diet. What other foods or recipes could you add to make a balanced meal?

8. Go on a scavenger hunt in The Times-Dispatch. Find and circle the following items: the price of a used Ford truck, the name of the president of the United States, a TV show that starts at 8PM, the high temperature of a city in Virginia, a sports score, an index.

9. Look at the grocery ads in The Times-Dispatch and find an example of multiple products sold for one price (example: 3 ears of corn for $2.00). What is the cost of each item? Is a larger quantity of an item always the better value?

10. Find an example of a comic strip in the Flair section of The Times-Dispatch that shows two coworkers or an employee and manager having a conflict. Rewrite the comic strip depicting a better way for the characters to handle the disputed situation.

*Ideas compliments of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation

100 Ways to Use the Newspaper - Character Education

1. Make a Hall of Fame, Hall of Shame poster of bulletin board. Clip articles and cartoons of people who are exhibiting good character traits. Place these under the Hall of Fame heading. Place examples of people not using good character traits under the Hall of Shame heading.

2. Go through The Times-Dispatch and make a "survival vocabulary list" of words that a person would need to know to be a good responsible citizen in today's world. Be sure to list the legal terms you find that we assume all people understand.

3. Read an article in The Times-Dispatch about an individual who is honest. What has the honest act? What were the consequences of the act? Would you have made the same decision?

4. Make a family crest that shows examples of what is good about yourself and your family. Look through today's paper and cut out words or pictures that remind you of what you like about your family. Paste them on a sheet of paper.

5. Look through The Times-Dispatch for an article that shows individuals, groups or nations involved in a conflict. Write down the different sides, and what seems to be the reason or reasons for the conflict. Think of as many different ways as you can that they might resolve this conflict. Write a letter to the editor that explains how the groups or nations can resolve their conflict. Would these groups need courage, kindness, forgiveness, and patience? What other character traits would they need to exhibit to solve their conflict?

Journalism Teachers: Use this online guide to journalism to help your students improve their school newspaper.

100 Ways to Use the Newspaper - Newspaper Knowledge

1. According to the index, what pages are the following found on: classified ads, sports, editorials, local news, weather, the crossword puzzle?

2. Find the following information: the telephone number would you call and the starting weekly cost for a home delivered subscription to The Times-Dispatch. The name of the editor and publisher of The Times-Dispatch. A comic strip showing a working woman. The score from a local sporting event. The names of three wire services used by The Times-Dispatch.

3. Clip and label an example of each of the following: index, byline, cutline, dateline and headline.

4. Find a newspaper article that is about each of the following: a meeting of a government agency, a press conference, a disaster or unexpected happening, the schools.

5. Find five stories from different cities in Virginia. Then find five stories different states and five stories from different countries. Locate each of these cities, states and countries on a map.

6. Project yourself into societies in which there are no newspapers. Make a list of all the functions provided by the newspaper, including such things as providing news, serving as an advertising medium, social announcements, upcoming events, critical reviews, etc. How would each of these functions be met in a newspaperless society?

7. Scan The Times-Dispatch and name some of the beats covered by reporters. If you were a reporter, what beat would you like to cover and why?

8. Make a chart showing examples of the vocabulary variations that appear in different sections of the newspaper. For instance, the jargon used by the food editor and sports editor would probably be quite different.

9. In The Times-Dispatch, find examples of editorials that are written to: inform the reader, interpret the news for the reader, entertain the reader, and influence the reader.

10. Use the classified section to buy materials or hire services to help you cross the following barriers: a snake pit, a barbed wire fence, a 10 foot wall, a 20 foot deep moat with snapping crocodiles, an angry giant. Compare your selected products and services with your classmates.

*Ideas compliments of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation is Education World celebrates National Newspaper Week with ten lessons to help you integrate the newspaper into your classroom curriculum. Included: Activities that involve students in interviewing a local newspaper reporter, creating editorial cartoons, comparing newspapers, and much more! is the follow & more

Ten terrific classroom activities that use the newspaper to teach all sorts of valuable skills -- including reading and writing for meaning, map reading, media literacy, sequencing, word meaning, and math.

"The newspaper is the most widely used of the media [as a teaching instrument in the classroom], the direct result of a national campaign by publishers, known as Newspapers in Education (NIE).

Before the advent of NIE, newspapers tended to be used only by secondary school social studies teachers in two-week units or for Friday current events sessions. Now, however, newspapers are used throughout the school year in every area of the curriculum."

Those are the word of Nola Kortner Aiex, author of Using Newspapers as Effective Teaching Tools. Indeed, the news is more a part of the school curriculum than it ever was -- for many reasons. Ten of the reasons teachers find newspapers such effective classroom teaching tools are detailed in the NIE feature "Why Use Newspapers?" which points out that newspapers

  1. are an adult medium that students of all ability levels can be proud to be seen reading.

  2. deal in what's happening here and now, providing motivation for reading and discussion.

  3. make learning fun.
  4. are extremely flexible and adaptable to all curriculum areas and grade levels.

  5. bridge the gap between the classroom and the "real" world.

  6. build good reading habits that will last a lifetime.

  7. can be cut, marked, clipped, pasted, filed, and recycled.

  8. give everyone something to read -- news, sports, weather, editorials, and comics.

  9. are a cost-effective way to educate.

  10. contain practical vocabulary and the best models of clear, concise writing.

This week, Education World offers ten additional reasons -- in the form of ten terrific classroom activities -- for you to use newspapers in your classroom.

More from Education World

When you're done reading this story, be sure to check out these stories from the Education World archives:

* It's News to Me: Teaching Kids About the Newspaper Celebrate American Newspaper Week by teaching students to be knowledgeable and discerning news readers. Explore six great sites that will help you teach about the newspaper -- before you start teaching with it! 9/27/1999
* Extra! Extra! -- Eight Great Web Sites Connect News to Your Curriculum! Discover eight great sites that will help you link the day's news to your curriculum and challenge students to look beyond the news! Connect the news to science, geography, social studies, art, math, language arts, critical thinking, and technology! Included are six online news quizzes for students of all ages. 9/27/1999

* Twenty-Five Great Ideas for Teaching Current Events Looking for ways to work news into your classroom curriculum? Check out these great ideas for connecting current events to all subjects! 8/3/1998

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