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Ask the Experts

COVID-19 Creates Wedding Planning Chaos: The Industry Offers Advice

by Lisa Beth Miller Local bride Andrea Gillis, a former wedding professional herself, knew the importance of being super-organized about planning her wedding to her fiance, Marty. The worldwide health emergency known as COVID-19, however, offered an unprecedented challenge to her meticulous plans. “We wanted to get married in our neighborhood, at a beautiful manor home, which is actually managed by the local city government. Due to all of the virus-related closures, the facility has cancelled all weddings up to May 4th. Things kind of started to unravel on March 18th. After speaking to my location’s representatives, they offered us a refund. With everyone pushing back their wedding dates 3-6 months out, I just couldn’t reschedule for a later date. I was afraid all of my vendors would cancel on us,” Andrea explained. Venue and caterer were the two biggest …

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Selecting The Right Music For Your Wedding Reception

by Lisa Beth Miller The wedding reception is a time to celebrate! The right music choices are very important if you want guests of all ages to relax and have a wonderful time. While it may be tempting to just create a playlist using your own iPod’s lists, don’t. You must consider your audience and welcome them into your fabulous fete by playing the music they recognize and love. One recent trend is to allow guests to request one favorite dance song on their reply cards. This is an easy way to figure out what might get your crowd moving (or at least keep them in a good mood). Another option is to select key songs for your reception and just trust your band or DJ to make the rest of the selections. If you hired an experienced, trained professional, …

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Selecting The Perfect Wedding Shoes

by Lisa Beth Miller Almost every fashionista loves a fabulous shoe. Selecting shoes for your wedding day should simply be one more opportunity to add an amazingly stylish touch to your look. Shoes for your wedding day should not be a last-minute decision. The shoe should be coordinated with your gown color (it could even be a unique contrast), your jewelry, your bouquet and your basic style. They must be selected carefully! Talk to the style consultants at your bridal boutique for ideas. Once you have found the correct pair of wedding-day shoes, here are some additional tips to keep in mind: In order to prevent blisters and discomfort, start wearing your shoes about a month before the wedding to break them in a bit. Even just walking around in your shoes for 15 minutes each evening will help your …

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Wedding Gowns: How To Know If You’ve Found “The One”

by Lisa Beth Miller If you are addicted to reality wedding TV shows like I am, you probably think that it is obvious when you put on the “right” wedding gown. Some think it is a special hunch, while others claim the bride will most definitely shed tears when she sees herself in the correct dress. Some brides just do not experience this moment of clarity and never really feel one-hundred percent confident. Why? Well, for starters, many brides simply over-shop. They feel they they cannot allow themselves to relax and feel confident in a dress (no matter how perfect it truly looks) until literally EVERY dress option has been seen. This attitude often leads to marathon shopping sessions to multiple boutiques. This accomplishes very little because each visit to a new boutique starts the entire process from the very …

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Charitable Gifts for your Wedding

By Lisa Beth Miller Couples who want to incorporate giving into their wedding celebrations have several options on how to do so. Here are a few ideas on how to be philanthropic for one of your first acts as a married couple. Incorporate specific charities into your registry: Allow guests to donate in your honor to a cause that is meaningful to you both. This is especially common for couples who have already established their home. Charities that have a local impact will resonate with guests. Here are a few of our favorites: Semper K9 Assistance Dogs – semperk9.org ACTS – actspwc.org Community Foundation of Northern Virginia – cfnova.org Give Back Prince William – givebackpw.org Habitat for Humanity Prince William County – habitatpwc.org Donate instead of giving favors: A charitable registry shows that a couple is philanthropically-minded, but a donation …

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Get Married and Honeymoon in Style with Divine Destination Weddings and Honeymoons

Iceland, Divine Destinations

By Erin Pittman Sponsored by Divine Destination Weddings and Honeymoons So, you’ve found the person you want to marry, gotten the ring and have enough excitement bottled up inside for years to come. Now it’s time to make plans for your unforgettable wedding and honeymoon. But where do you start? No matter what you’re looking for, turn to Divine Destination Weddings and Honeymoons. Expert Travel Planners When you contact Divine Destinations, you’ll receive tailored service from the very beginning. Dana Franklin and her Virginia team of agents bring years of expert service to the table. Franklin has been a travel agent for 14 years and has been with the company since 2014. “People will find that human connection from start to finish,” said Franklin. “Our clients will receive multiple options, and we will walk them through the booking process, often …

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Three Generations of a Blooming Business: Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers

By Marianne Weaver Sponsored by Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers, with locations in Kensington and Olney, Maryland, has established itself as the go-to for floral arrangements, plants and garden products. But that was not the vision when the business was founded 87 years ago. “In 1932, in the midst of the Depression, Raymond T. Johnson Sr. opened a small grocery store at Wisconsin and Van Ness Streets in Washington, D.C.,” said Thomas Johnson, Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers Director of Store Operations. “In the spring of 1933, an individual who lived on Van Ness Street and raised geraniums as a hobby offered him a few geranium plants to sell on consignment. And the plant business was born.” After World War II, the grocery department suffered from the competition of the new, larger supermarkets. The floral …

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Dessert Table Inspiration for Your Big Day

Cakes by Happy Eatery

By Amy Taylor Sponsored by Cakes by Happy Eatery The wedding cake has been the star of the reception for years. Now it’s time for cake to share the stage with some supporting actors on the dessert table. Victoria and Emily Wu of Cakes by Happy Eatery have seen wedding trends ebb and flow for years. Lately they’ve seen more orders for full dessert tables to accompany the traditional, decadent wedding cake. “A bountiful dessert table is visually memorable and unforgettable,” said Victoria Wu, General Manager of Cakes by Happy Eatery. “Creative looks and flavors mesmerize the guests, while reflecting the wedding couples’ personality.” Here are some sweet ideas to inspire your wedding dessert table! Choose a few or have them all. The more desserts, the merrier! Chocolate fountain with dippers – If you’re having an elegant celebration, what better …

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For a Wedding Photographer to Tell Your Story, Start with the Engagement

By Tom Conway Sponsored by Wedding Stories by Tania Wedding Stories by Tania is setting a new standard among the best wedding photographers and videographers in and around Washington, D.C. “We want to have video and pictures to tell the whole story from beginning to end,” said Tania Hossain, the company’s founder and lead photographer. “We want to capture everything special about the day, including all of the friends and loved ones who were there and the moments you’ll tell your kids and your grandkids about.” “Pictures aren’t static things these days,” Hossain continued. “Facebook and Instagram have changed everything. People from halfway around the world can see everything through photo and video as if they were there. That’s why telling the whole story is so important. It used to be these pictures might just hang on someone’s wall, but …

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Wedding Cake Inspiration – Which Cake is Your Style?

wedding cake, Simply Desserts

By Amy Taylor Sponsored by Simply Desserts Wedding cakes come in so many beautiful styles, it might be hard to choose. Simply Desserts, an award-winning bakery based in Gainesville, Virginia, brings us some wedding cake inspiration to help you choose the perfect sweet touch to your big day! Wedding Cake Styles to Inspire You Floral – If you can’t get enough fresh flowers, you may want to have this style wedding cake. These cakes are usually tall, multi-tiered cakes with cascading flowers. If you’re having a romantic or whimsical-themed wedding, this cake would fit right in. Tall – If you’re having a classic or formal wedding with many guests, a tall cake might fit the bill. These cakes are usually four to six tiers with piping and floral elements. These cakes give a grand feeling to your reception. Naked – …

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Oh Baby, Baby: How to Dress A Pregnant Bridesmaid

by Lisa Beth Miller | Photos by Audrey Mills Photography Ok, you are planning your fabulous wedding when you find out that one of your cherished friends that you selected as a bridesmaid is pregnant. What should you do? First of all, congratulate her! Do not look at this as a fashion nightmare. This is not a difficult situation to handle! If you have not yet selected dresses for your girls, you need to do a little pre-planning before your big shopping trip. For starters, figure out how far along in her pregnancy she will be at the time of your wedding. If she has been pregnant before, maybe take a few notes on her weight and size fluctuations throughout that pregnancy. Keep in mind that this will not be an exact science; every pregnancy is different!   Next, select (with …

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