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Ask the Experts

Wedding Programs: What Should They Include?

by Lisa Beth Miller Programs are an easy way to make guests feel more a part of the ceremony and are a nice keepsake after your I dos. That being said, they’re totally optional—so you can include as little or as much info as you want. Most programs include the basics: the names of the to-be-weds, members of the wedding party, a ceremony itinerary, and in some cases words to any readings or songs. This is also a great place to share descriptions of ethnic or religious traditions. Feel free to add extras too, like pictures, a brief story of how you met, a thank-you to your parents or even a map to the reception. Be careful not to include too much though—programs should be something guests can read in the moments before the ceremony and follow along as it …

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Our Favorite Things

We love finding new gift ideas for our readers to showcase. Here are a few of our favorite things that are a little unique than what is the usual wedding party gift. Consider these items for your wedding party or just as an anytime gift for those you love. Tie the Knot: Grant Patton has a great selection of unique ties made in the USA. Matching socks also available. Starting at $65. grantpatton.com Ruff Mornings: Custom blended for Semper K9, this is a combination of two light to medium roasted coffees. Roasted by Veteran Owned Ricks Roasters in Northern Virginia, sales from this coffee benefit Semper K9’s Service Dogs for Veterans program. Starting at $4. semperk9.shop Whiskey Wedge: Creates an ice slope that chills spirits but minimizes dilution with this rocks glass’s fitted silicone mold. $18. uncommongoods.com Local Gin: Distilled …

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Floral Initials

By Amanda Baity Floral initials are beautiful, personal wedding decorations, especially when filled with the couple’s favorite plants. They are great to make for your own wedding or to give as a gift to a gardening friend who is tying the knot. Try the couple’s first initials, or just their last initial if you only have time to make one. Or go all out and spell their names if you have the time! Wire Outline: To make your personalized floral initials you’ll need to begin with a wire frame. You can make them yourself, but they can be found at many craft and garden stores. The time and trouble saved to make the small cost worth it. You’ll also need moss to line your letters, plants to fill them and dirt for your plants to grow. Try to choose plants …

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Planning Your Wedding Budget: Catering

By Lisa Beth Miller When budgeting for a wedding, most couples budget around 30% of their total spending on the edible aspects of the day. Once the approximate guest count is calculated, the couple should sit down with the caterer to figure out how much they wish to spend on food and drink for each guest. The good news is that there is a lot of flexibility here. Here are some important decisions that will greatly impact one’s budget: Will you have a full open bar, or simply offer beer, wine, and a few signature cocktails? If you opt for an open bar, will you insist upon only top-shelf liqueurs? The decisions regarding alcohol can have a huge impact on your budget! If your wedding reception is at a winery, there is nothing wrong with simply featuring wine and champagne as your …

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Venue Coordinator or Event Coordinator: What is the Difference?

By Lisa Beth Miller As you plan for your big day and search for your dream venue, it is important to pay attention to what assistance is offered at each venue. If the venue itself provides a coordinator, you may not need to hire a separate event coordinator. Confused about the differences between the two types of coordinators? Here are some tips regarding the roles of venue coordinators and event coordinators: Venue Coordinators: When you’re picking out your wedding venue, one of the first things you should ask is whether or not there is an on-site wedding coordinator at your disposal. If your venue offers a coordinator as part of its package, that means there’s no added cost for this added benefit. A venue coordinator works for the venue, not directly for you. They’ll act as a liaison between you …

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Changing Your Name After the Wedding

Changing your name after the wedding is a personal choice. If you do decide to make the traditional change, it is important to be organized and thorough in this endeavor. Where to start? STEP ONE: Get your marriage license. An original, or certified copy, of your marriage license will be required before you speak to other agencies. Call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to get copies. STEP TWO: Change your social security card. Fill out the Social Security Administration’s application for a new card. Take or mail your application and required documents to your local SSA office. STEP THREE: Update your driver’s license. In most states, this must be done in person, so prepare yourself for a trip to the DMV. Bring your original license, your marriage certificate and your new Social Security card. STEP FOUR: Update …

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How to Use Wedding Blogs to Plan Your Big Day

wedding blog, blogs, laptop

By Amanda Baity When you’re newly engaged (or anticipating getting engaged), it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole of wedding blogs. After all, there are so many great blogs out there, and they’re full of gorgeous images! Many brides find themselves spending countless hours scrolling through these blogs and becoming overwhelmed by all of the weddings they see published and by the imagined pressure to recreate those images or to compete with them. Don’t worry – we’re not going to tell you to stop looking at wedding blogs! In fact, we are going to help you use them better! Here are some specific ways to use wedding blogs so that they inspire you rather than adding stress: 1. Learn to identify your wedding style. When you begin planning your wedding, you may not know what your wedding …

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Weddings Photographer Shares the Story of a Lifetime

By Tom Conway Sponsored by Wedding Stories by Tania To stand out among the best wedding photographers in Northern Virginia, you have to listen and know what a client wants, what types of shots — traditional or photojournalistic — will capture that special day, and you have to love what you do.  Tania Hossain and her team at Wedding Stories by Tania know the importance of what they do. “Every single photo tells a story. Some child will see one of those photographs 100 years from now,” says Hossain. “What will they think? The photos will be on the wall in someone’s home. Who will look at it? What will it mean to them?” To Hossain, wedding photography is not just a paycheck. “Every photograph is a legacy piece,” she says. “You see children, grandchildren and how they grow up.” …

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Common Misconceptions About Wedding Photography

rob jinks, photographer

By Rob Jinks Having captured over 100 weddings at this point, it is easy for me to go into a wedding and know the best way to capture it all with images that will last a lifetime. However, I know that it can be scary for the couple; this is probably the first time you’ve done this! It is understandable that you don’t know what your wedding photography experience will be like. Even if you’ve been to other weddings, it is easy to have a few incorrect ideas about your wedding photography. Today I want to answer the five most common misconceptions about wedding photography that I have encountered. “12:00 or 1:00 p. m. is best for our ceremony because there will be the most light.” Even if you aren’t very familiar with photography, you probably know that photos need …

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Your Wedding Planning Timeline Part 1: A Helpful Guide

by Lisa Beth Miller Newly engaged? Congratulations! You are going to be a busy woman for the next several months, so take a deep breath and get ready to get organized! Soon after you get engaged, you will need to start a wedding notebook or folder. Create a system for organizing your notes, contacts, and ideas in one place!  You could include sections on catering, music, gowns, etc. At this point, you also need to establish what your budget will be and what type of event you will be planning. For example, will your wedding be formal or informal, indoors or outdoors, large or small? Is there a special theme you’d like to incorporate? Will the event be held during the day or in the evening? In your hometown or at a far-away location? Now is the time to really brainstorm and create a plan for your …

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