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Ask the Experts

How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding Ceremony

By Christopher Baity When planning a wedding, you may feel obligated to include every family member, friend and second cousin twice removed. However, as most dog owners consider their family dog a family member, these beloved companions are often left at home and not included into the festivities. After ensuring the venue will allow a non-Service Dog, your first consideration is temperament and training. Does your dog have what it takes to remain obedient and focused during a onetime attempt as a ring-bearer or as a member of the wedding party? If your dog can or has completed a basic obedience test (e.g.,  Canine Good Citizen(CGC)) they may have the obedience and ability to perform during the ceremony. Typically, a well-trained family pet needs several weeks of specific training to conduct a few simple tasks during the ceremony. Two of the easiest would be an escort of a groomsman or bridesmaid, …

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How to Use Wedding Blogs to Plan Your Big Day

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 style is, other than “beautiful.” Wedding blogs provide great descriptions and definitions that …

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Fourteen Questions to Ask Your Caterer

Food and catering typically comprise one of the largest portions of a wedding budget. Whether it’s a local vendor who provides cuisine specific to your wedding theme or a full-service caterer equipped to help make your day seamless, asking the following questions can help to ensure your wedding food and reception will be unforgettable for you and your guests: Do you specialize in a certain type of food or serving style? Whether you’re looking for a certain serving style or a specific cuisine to coordinate with your wedding theme, it’s important to find out how your caterer typically handles receptions. Ask if menus are set or if there’s the option for customization. Can you make a family-favorite recipe for our reception? Some caterers are willing and able to recreate the dish on a large scale for all of your wedding guests if you provide them with the recipe. Have you previously worked at our wedding venue? Many …

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A Bar without Breaking the Bank

Open bar versus limited bar … price per person versus consumption. Cash bar – no way! Remember, these are your guests, not your buddies out for a night on the town. Bar budgeting is a key part of reception planning and Christopher Williams, Event Manager for The Fish Market, has some great advice. An open (or full) bar includes wine, beer, and a variety of liquor (both rail and call brands) and is the most expensive to host. When estimating consumption, Chris says, count on two to three drinks per person. Beer is $4-$5 a bottle; wine $5-$6 a glass, and mixed drinks run $5-$6 for rail liquor (such as Aristocrat vodka) to $7 for a call brand, such as Absolute. “Plan on more than less,” advises Chris. “That way there is no sticker shock and if your bar comes in under budget, great. And your event manager will let you …

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Your Guide to an Exceptional Event

By Michael Evans Putting together a great wedding doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning and the enlistment of talented event professionals. Use the following tips to help plan your perfect day. Take some time and visualize your event: close your eyes and walk through it in as much detail as you can, from start to finish. This takes a little time, but you’ll find that it enhances creativity and helps you anticipate and avoid problems. Your site sets the tone for the experience: make sure your site fits the guest list — don’t try to squeeze too many people into the venue. And don’t pick a huge site that will make a small gathering feel uncomfortable. And remember, you’re not just choosing a site for an event — you’re also choosing a backdrop for your wedding photos. Be clear about your reception’s purpose: This helps you create the right setting, mood and format. For example, if …

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Hotels: Your One-Stop Wedding Resource

  After the engagement ring is on your finger, the questions looms, “Where should I have my wedding?” Although many options are tempting, from historic homes and favorite restaurants, to exotic locations like mountain tops, many brides must find a balance between budget, planning time and out-of-town guests’ requirements. Hotels offer convenience, value, a wide array of capabilities and experienced staff to make wedding planning and the big day effortless, cost-effective and polished. Convenience Today’s brides are busy with families, careers, studies, travel, hobbies and, of course, a fiance. Some brides are even planning weddings from another town or state. Many of the wedding guests are traveling from a distance to share in the special day. Some will be drinking during the reception. Hotels offer the ability to hold both the reception and guest rooms in one place so that no one will need to drive afterwards. Most hotels offer a complimentary bridal suite with wedding packages and many airport hotels allow …

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Spend or Invest? New Thoughts on an Age-Old Dilemma

By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC ® A familiar experience for many Americans is that as fast as money comes in, it goes out the door again in pursuit of the next “must have” purchase. Such spending habits can take a toll on plans to build up savings for the future. The key is finding a balance between immediate gratification and long-term financial security. In many instances, we can all find ways to save on daily purchases to set more money aside to help meet goals like saving for retirement or a child’s education. The bigger challenge comes when it is time to make a major purchase – a home, a car, appliances or home improvements. These expenditures can require the immediate outlay of thousands of dollars. You may have to drain money from savings or, at the very least, reduce available funds to invest for your future. When is the expenditure worth it, and when is the cost …

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Home-Buying Advice for Newlyweds

Provided by Virginia Realty Partners Brides & Weddings recently sat down with real estate husband and wife combo Bill and Peggy Burke to get their advice for engaged or newly married couples when it comes to buying their first home together. Peggy gave us some great tips on buying your first home and even a little marriage advice. How long have you been a REALTOR? I was first licensed in NC in 1981….and licensed in VA in 1984. I have been a REALTOR for 36 years….33 years in Virginia. Bill has worked in and around development of real estate forever and has been a REALTOR forever too. What do you enjoy most about your job? The best thing about my job is that I get to meet a lot of different people from different places. They all have a different need. I assist people with the purchase of “home” and how to make …

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Seven Things to Consider When Selecting a Wedding Venue

If you close your eyes right now and picture your wedding, you probably see your fiance beaming at you, the ring slipping onto your finger and your loved ones happily gathering together. But where is all this merriment taking place? After the decision to get married, a location is usually the next big choice that newly engaged couples make. But even though selecting the venue is an early and important decision, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one! Here is a list of things that you should consider when choosing a venue for your wedding. Capacity Space is a crucial consideration when selecting a wedding venue. Before you begin your search for the perfect venue, it’s a good idea to have an estimate of how many guests you plan to invite. This often means creating a rough draft of your guest list. If your guest list is …

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Your Guide to an Exceptional Event

By Michael Evans Putting together a great wedding doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning and the enlistment of talented event professionals. Use the following tips to help plan your perfect day. Take some time and visualize your event: close your eyes and walk through it in as much detail as you can, from start to finish. This takes a little time, but you’ll find that it enhances creativity and helps you anticipate and avoid problems. Your site sets the tone for the experience: make sure your site fits the guest list — don’t try to squeeze too many people into the venue. And don’t pick a huge site that will make a small gathering feel uncomfortable. And remember, you’re not just choosing a site for an event — you’re also choosing a backdrop for your wedding photos. Be clear about your reception’s purpose: This helps you create the right setting, mood and format. For example, if …

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Double Platinum Events Meticulously Brings Weddings to Life

  From the first wedding they coordinated, Sedika Franklin and Angela Williams of Double Platinum Events established their professional reputation as meticulous planners who never overlook a detail. They’d received a call in early November for the December nuptials of a wedding coordinator who was getting married herself. They set up the initial consultation and used their comprehensive checklist to make sure the bride had covered every aspect up to that point. “We quickly discovered there were many elements that needed attention,” Franklin said. The bride was relying on family and friends for many key aspects of the event, including having a friend as DJ for the reception. So when that friend refused to serve as master of ceremonies at the reception, Franklin and Williams swung into action and moderated for the rest of the night. Four years later, the lessons …

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Choosing the Perfect Planner for YOU!

By Kashava Logan & Deborah Joy Block You’re planning the perfect event, but where do you start? From determining the perfect venue, selecting the decor and creating a seating chart, there are many elements to be planned. The first step is to choose from the selection of advisors – event consultants, coordinators and planners – to coach you through making your event memorable. Event Consultant For the client who wants an initial consultation, consider an event consultant. An event consultant will be your triage consultant, prioritizing your ideas and game plan. The consultant will meet with you for three sessions to specifically review and narrow your plans, wedding design, budget review, and connect you with the best vendors in the Virginia area. The event consultant helps to bring innovative ideas while acting as your temporary assistant. Event Coordinator For the …

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