Double Chai chairs and committee members Steve and Emily Shalansky, Jeffrey Isaacs, and Bethany Sutton with Barnaby Evans. /Hillary S.Double Chai chairs and committee members Steve and Emily Shalansky, Jeffrey Isaacs, and Bethany Sutton with Barnaby Evans. /Hillary S.Barnaby Evans, the creator and executive artistic director of WaterFire Providence, was the speaker when young Jewish community members gathered at the Providence Marriott Downtown on Jan. 13 for the launch of The Double Chai Society’s Lox and Learning Breakfast Series. The series is designed to give Rhode Island’s young Jewish leaders up-close and personal exposure to decision-makers and trailblazers, as well as to enable this group to grow as community influencers and dynamic professionals, and expand their personal and business networks.

Books make a non-traditional centerpiece.Books make a non-traditional centerpiece.While planning a wedding can be fun, it can also be stressful and expensive. With websites and blogs such as Pinterest, it is easy to stack up an overwhelming amount of details. And, according to the wedding-calculating website, the average cost of tying the knot in the United States has grown to $26,444.

But it doesn’t have to be that expensive. First things first: Start with a budget.

“Couples should actually set a number to how much they want their wedding to cost,” said Tracy Dapp, owner of Inked Events and a professional wedding planner. “Figure out how much money you and/or your parents are putting in and who is contributing to what.”

Some women are born to bridesmaid. They probably started planning their own birthday parties at age 3, and then their friends’ at age 5, and enjoy the girly stuff to the max. Pink nail polish, spa days, cute dresses … meanwhile, I’m not sure if I have clean socks to wear tomorrow.

I’ve turned the word bridesmaid into a verb because I refuse to “be a bridesmaid.” It’s not a passive job.

Although my tendency toward last-minute planning affects even my clean sock count, maybe that’s exactly why my name seems to be on some previously unknown list of “best people to ask to be your bridesmaid.” I don’t really have premonitions of how weddings should go – I listen to what the bride wants. Maybe I’m on the list because I’m reliable and relatively drama-free. Or maybe I just have close friends and a sister who all happened to find their “Mr. Rights” at the same time. Or maybe it’s some mix of the three.

Yekaterina Ginzburg-Bram and Mark Bram /Yekaterina Ginzburg-BramYekaterina Ginzburg-Bram and Mark Bram /Yekaterina Ginzburg-BramWeddings are full of beautiful moments: the vows, the flowers, the tears of joy, the first moment alone as a married couple – but for me, the most wonderful moment of all happened long before then.

In retrospect, I should have suspected something when Mark picked me up after school on a bleak December Wednesday, complaining of nerves and insisting on a trip to the pet shop to look at puppies as the only possible cure. Yes, we’d employed this odd form of “animal therapy” before, but now my partner insisted on bringing a video camera to film a golden retriever puppy as “research” for his “artist girlfriend’s” “dog illustrations.”

PHOTOS | Daniel Afzal/United States Postal ServicePHOTOS | Daniel Afzal/United States Postal ServiceFamily Features – Everyone loves to discover a handwritten card or note among a thick stack of mail. Regardless of how many electronic words we get bombarded with each day, the personal touch of a message written by hand remains a special gesture that never goes out of style.

From choosing a card or stationery that reflects a personal style to accenting the letter with the right seal or stamp, every detail matters to underscore a thoughtful message. Stamps are often one of the first details noted by a letter recipient, so choosing a stamp such as the love-letter themed Sealed with Love Forever stamp from or your local post office is perfect for the occasion.