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Ask the Experts

Why Shopping at a Bridal Boutique is Best

by Lisa Beth Miller I recently read a wedding blog that advised brides to avoid shopping in bridal boutiques if being semi-clothed in front of a stranger sounds stressful. The writer noted that it is way less mortifying to buy online or shop at the “warehouse” stores that just leave you alone to put on the gowns you wish to try. I could not disagree more! Allow me to explain. When a bride shops at a bridal boutique, she isn’t just shopping! She is consulting with a trained professional who understands what looks good on each different body type. The boutique experience goes something like this: You chat with a trained consultant about your wedding vision. You explain what the ceremony and reception will look like and what look and vibe you hope to exude. The trained consultant listens carefully, but also observes your personal style and body shape. …

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Capturing the Story

By Marianne Weaver The music stops. Guests go home. The tux is returned, and the dress preserved. Months – maybe years – of planning become merely a memory. Most photographers shoot the day’s highlights, but a special few capture the emotions of the day, those images that transport the couple back to their wedding day. “There are several images that take me back to the exact moment they were taken,” recalled Caitlin Clapp of Manassas, who was married April 6, 2018, at Bull Run Golf Club in Haymarket, Virginia. “From the photos of my bridesmaids and me singing and joking around while getting all dolled up; to the ending of the night where we had the whole dance floor rocking out to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, you can practically feel the energy and hear the music just from looking at those …

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Designing Custom Honeymoons and Destination Weddings

By Helena Tavares Kennedy Many brides enjoy planning their wedding, but may leave the honeymoon planning to their future husband, or hire an expert in travel to help plan the perfect getaway after the wedding. Some brides and grooms plan a destination wedding – getting married at their honeymoon location. Divine Destination Weddings & Honeymoons takes care of all of that for brides and grooms, giving them the opportunity to truly relax during their special time. Divine has 13 agents that work from all across the U.S. so no matter where you live, you will find a travel expert in your area to help you plan your honeymoon near you or to some exotic paradise on the other side of the world. They work with some of the travel industry’s leading suppliers and are associated with the luxury travel consortia …

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911: Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

by Lisa Beth Miller Regardless of the meticulous planning that goes into a wedding day, minor mishaps can sometimes pop up. Creating an emergency kit for your wedding day can help you to tackle those pesky issues. A bride can create her own kit or delegate the task to her mother or maid of honor. Here are a few ideas for items to include! Tuck them into a pretty bag.   Sewing Kit: just in case of minor tears or popped buttons! Nail File Lotion Oil Absorbing Sheets: to keep makeup fresh Sunscreen: especially for outdoor pictures! Tide to Go Pen Tampons Dental Floss First Aid Kit Mints Benadryl : in case of unexpected allergic reactions. Bobby Pins Granola Bars: so many brides forget to eat. Mouth Wash Clear Nail Polish : Can be used to fix chipped nails, runs …

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Wedding Dress Codes: Letting Your Guests Know What to Wear

by Lisa Beth Miller When planning an event as important as your wedding, it is so important to be clear with your guests about what they should wear. Your event should capture your vision, and this must be communicated to your friends and family from the start. Black tie is usually meant for formal evening weddings. This means that you expect the gentlemen to wear tuxedos and ladies to don a cocktail dress or long gown. A formal wedding means that men do not have to wear tuxes, but they could choose this option. A dark-colored suit and tie would also be acceptable, though. For a formal wedding, ladies should wear a long gown, a cocktail-length formal dress, or a nice suit. If you are having a beach formal wedding, it means your event will be outdoors, literally on the …

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Wedding Hair Styling

Oftentimes, something that gets overlooked while prepping for your wedding day is your hairstyle. While you may be combing Pinterest and finding cute ideas from our “Real Brides & Weddings” features on the blog, you may not be thinking about a wedding hair trial. Talk with your stylist ahead of time and plan out a trial appointment to try different looks. You may be surprised to find that the style you choose does not look like you expected! On the day of your hair trial, bring anything you think will help your stylist understand the looks you love or the style of your wedding. Bring the veil or any hair accessories you plan to wear. Have a friend take a photo of you in your dress at a fitting. Bring a color swatch if you have it and even bring the style you are wanting your bridesmaids …

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To the Rescue!

No matter how organized you are and how much planning you’ve done before the wedding, you should always expect the unexpected. And an emergency kit for your wedding day is the best way to prepare. If building your own kit, start at least two or three months before the wedding so you can gather the items over time. This allows you to consider the possible needs of your close friends and family. Designate someone to be responsible for the emergency kit, bringing it from location to location and keeping it readily available. Suggested emergency kit items: Band-Aids Blotting papers Bobby pins Bottle of water Clear nail polish Deodorant Nail file Feminine products Hairspray Hand lotion Hand sanitizer Lipstick or lip gloss Mints Pain reliever Q-tips Safety pins Small lint brush Super glue Tissues Tums/Rolaids Sewing Kit with scissors Granola bars or other easy-to-carry snacks Straws (you …

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Five Reasons to Use a Honeymoon Travel Specialist

Did you know that the services of a professional travel agent come at no cost to you? Why stress over planning the most special trip of your life? Read on and learn from Travel Consultant Sandy Pullen of Divine Destination Weddings & Honeymoons: CUSTOMIZED SERVICES: Whether you are looking for breathtaking beaches, amazing mountains or a Greek adventure, travel consultants who specialize in honeymoons and destination weddings understand that each traveler is unique. An agent’s first step will be to talk with you and understand your specific travel needs, interests and desires, then translate them into your own personalized travel adventure. BEST VALUE: A professional travel consultant will use industry relationships to offer you exclusive vacation packages, amenities and travel specials that you won’t find anywhere else, as well as help you get the most value for your travel budget. ALL IN THE DETAILS: Travel is no longer simple. There are so many details that go into every trip. Your honeymoon specialist will guide …

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Why a DJ?

In today’s world of MP3 players, smart phones, Bluetooth speakers and streaming services, why hire a DJ? It’s a common question that’s being asked more and more. Here are a few reasons why a DJ still has an important place at your event: • A DJ will interact with you and your guests and adjust the playlist accordingly to get folks dancing. A DJ is the master of ceremonies who makes those important announcements and, along with the event planner and venue staff, keeps the reception moving. Choosing a DJ is less expensive than renting a professional PA system. DJs come with backup equipment – does your rental? Professional DJs carry liability insurance. The equipment is managed by a professional so you don’t have to ask a friend to be a part of your reception by manning the music. Do your research to get an idea of what a DJ costs and then plan it …

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Shop Smart for Your Photo Booth

Photo booths are a great way to capture pictures of all the guests who came to celebrate your wedding, as well as fill the downtime during the reception. But photo booths are not all the same. If you are thinking of adding a photo booth to your big day, here are some tips to help you choose the right one: GET A VISUAL: Before renting a booth just based on price, make sure to see pictures of the photo booth that will actually be at your event. Photo booth rental companies have different styles of booths in an array of shapes and sizes. Most companies use some sort of box style layout with drapes. Some simply provide a backdrop to stand in front of and have a camera set up on a tripod to snap your pictures, while others provide sophisticated designs with custom backgrounds, live LCD displays and customizable panels. A visual not only allows …

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Photography Checklist

getting ready

Bride dressing for ceremony Bride, full-length solo Bride with parents Bride with mother and fatherseparately Bride with grandparents Bride with sisters and brothers Bride with maid of honor Bride with attendants Bride with ring bearer, flower girl Garter being put on Groom, full-length solo Groom with parents Groom with mother and father separately Groom with grandparents Groom with sisters and brothers Groom with best man Groom with groomsmen Groom with bride’s parents being seated for ceremony Bridesmaids walking down the aisle Flower girl, ring bearer walking down the aisle Bride and father approaching altar or canopy Bride’s father giving her hand to groom Exchange of vows Ring ceremony Recessional Formal bride & groom together Newlyweds and parents Newlyweds and entire bridal party Close-ups of bride’s & groom’s hands clasped together Receiving line — guests and bridal party Cake table Bride & groom cutting/feeding each other cake Best man toasting newlyweds Newlyweds toasting …

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Multi-Cultural Marriages

Here in ethnically diverse Northern Virginia, multi-cultural marriages embody the best of customs and traditions. Here are just a few: CHINESE The color red is considered a symbol of happiness and luck. It is often used on invitations. GREEK The bride carries a lump of sugar to ensure a sweet life. Ivy in her bouquet represents endless love. HINDU Prior to the wedding day, the bride is tattooed with henna on her hands and feet, known as Mehndi. She wears a red sari embroidered in gold to symbolize abundance and fertility. PERSIAN During the ceremony, married women place a white satin cloth above the couple’s heads. Two cones of sugar are placed in the cloth and rubbed together to represent snowflakes of sweetness and joy. LATIN-AMERICAN A cord called “el lazo” is placed around the couple during the ceremony, signifying they are bound for life. ITALIAN On her wedding day, the …

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