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Local merchants reflect on how they would cater to the royal couple

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Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:43 am, Thu Apr 28, 2011.

As the world prepares for Prince William and Kate Middleton to tie the knot in the most extravagant wedding of the decade, Lodi merchants reflect on how they would make the day special for the royal family.

Wedding planners, bakers, jewelers and florists spent time Wednesday dreaming of what they would do with an unlimited budget — and yet with the pressure of tradition weighing on them.

Flowing white flowers, a custom-made blue star sapphire ring and hot air balloons lifting lanterns into the night sky are all ideas for treating the royals to a truly special wedding.

Here’s how the nuptials might look if the royal family came to livable, lovable Lodi.

Kate’s Wedding Ring: A custom-made ring with a blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds

For the royal couple, Danz Jewelers owner Dan Ingrum said the store would recommend the couple select either a diamond or a sapphire and then the jeweler could create a custom ring.

He had an example of a $49,000 blue star sapphire ring in the store that he said would be unique for the couple. Princess Diana’s wedding ring had a blue sapphire, so he said the couple could make a change with the star sapphire. A six-pronged star appears when a light shines on the stone.

If they didn’t want a sapphire, Ingrum would recommend they stick with a diamond.

When selecting a ring, even for the royals, it is important to make sure the gem is suitable for day-to-day wear. Some are too weak, so that’s why he would recommend the couple stick with traditional gems.

“With stones, there are always some that are unusual and trendy, but they might come in and out of fashion. With a diamond, you can change the style of the ring later, but still keep the original stone,” he said.

William’s Wedding Ring: Custom white gold ring with a princess cut diamond

Men usually do not want their wedding ring to be as ornate as women’s rings, Ingrum said. He would recommend a clean, simple white gold ring. He showed an example of one with a princess-cut diamond that was $1,900.

Venue: Hutchins Street Square

If the wedding was at Hutchins Street Square, it would start with a horse-drawn carriage procession throughout town from the All Seasons Carriage Company, said Deanie Bridewell, Hutchins arts and events manager.

The wedding would be an intimate, candlelit service in Kirst Courtyard followed by an elegant evening of dining and dancing in Kirst Hall.

“A feast of Lodi wines of local fare would be bestowed to delight their palates. And yes, there will be dancing, but only until midnight as per our (city) ordinance. Then our local volunteer (Police) Partners would escort them to one of many wonderful Lodi hotels,” Bridewell said.

The Ladies’ Fashion: A hand-sewn silk dress with Swarovski crystals

Kate will set the trend for the next bridal season, said Tessa Liberato, owner of The Elizabeth Bridal Salon. The bride will have designers using the finest fabrics like silk or satin, and it will include a variety of details.

“The dress will be embellished and beaded, so she doesn’t get lost in the crowd because there will be a lot of people there,” Liberato said.

The dress will most likely be a drop waist to show off Middleton’s figure, Liberato said.

Of the dresses in her store, she recommends a $15,753 gown with ruffles resembling flowers and beautiful beading, Liberto said.

Liberato would also recommend that the bride have a longer train than normal because she is walking down a long aisle at Westminster Abbey.

Liberato plans to watch the wedding, and has her fingers crossed her shop has something similar to Kate’s dress, so they can put in the display window on Friday.

The Menswear: Classic, two-button, notched tuxedo

Tuxedos of Lodi owner Peter Westbrook said they would treat a royal wedding just like they would do with any local nuptials.

“I’m going to tell you every wedding is a royal wedding because there isn’t a girl alive who didn’t dream about their wedding day. They want it to be perfect. Their expectations are just so high,” he said.

He imagines Prince William will wear a military uniform, similar to what Prince Charles wore when he married Princess Diana.

But if Westbrook had to select the perfect outfit, he would go with a classic, two-button, notched tuxedo. Because it is the royal wedding, the couple might go with white.

He also would recommend that the groom and groomsmen wear bow ties or ascots, because long ties are more business attire.

The reception: Releasing doves or hot air balloons with lanterns

If money is no object, there are many ways to customize a wedding reception, said Debbie Ruiz, owner of Consider It Done Event Planning. For the royal wedding, she recommended a martini bar and small individual cakes that have the same topping as the large cake.

Releasing doves is another way to customize the special day. If the ceremony is at night, she recommends using hot air balloons to lift lanterns into the night sky.

The wedding cake: A seven-tier cake with Swarovski crystals

When it comes to the perfect wedding cake, Frosted Flour Cakery and Supplies owners Lisa Hassett and Christine Hermansen would create an elegant cake that holds nothing back.

The centerpiece would be an all white seven-tier cake covered in fondant and adorned with swag. It would be brushed with shimmer dust and anchored by Swarovski crystals and handmade sugar paste roses. They would also create two five-tier cakes on either side that match the main cake.

The music: A sting quartet at the ceremony and a DJ for the reception

For the wedding, a string quartet playing as the bride and bridal party walk down the aisle would be perfect, Ruiz said.

Even at the royal wedding, people like to boogie, so Ruiz recommends hiring a DJ.

“The DJ should be something that you don’t know he’s there, unless he’s not there. If he’s great, you won’t even notice him,” Ruiz said.

The bouquet: White roses with flowers from English gardens

Having traveled to England, Carrie Williamson, of Village Flowers and Gifts, said the royal wedding has an opportunity to showcase flowers indigenous to the country.

She would stick with an all-white bouquet.

“Sometimes brides want every color in the rainbow, but for the royalty, it’s tradition, tradition, tradition,” she said.

The bouquet would be formal with a long, traditional cascade, Williamson said. It would include beautiful lilies, gardenias, camellias and stephanotis. She would use English ivy as the greenery.

“I wouldn’t want any hard edges. I’d also want to make sure it was loose and gardeny,” Williamson said.

The honeymoon suite: Wine and Roses

Kate Middleton and Prince William could say sweet dreams at the end of their big day at one of Wine & Roses’ honeymoon suites. Owner Russ Munson says they would go all out if the big event was held at Wine & Roses, and they would even close down the venue to the public. It would take a lot of planning and a creative team to come up with a perfect honeymoon evening, but they wouldn’t hold back when offering everything Wine & Roses has to offer.

“We would probably open up the spa and services, whether it’s a room or spas or gardens,” Munson said.

While the one of the six honeymoon suites is usually bundled with a package, the suites — with big Jacuzzi tubs, wine, cheese plates and more — usually run between $239 and $450 a night.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com or Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

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