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Weddings at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

By Ashley Simpson Sponsored by Hylton Performing Arts Center Many would say that you’re the star of your own show on your wedding day. And, the Hylton Performing Arts Center – an opera house and theater venue in Manassas – gives this idea a whole new meaning for local brides. The Hylton Center opened in 2010, and the first wedding took place the very next year. “We’ve been doing weddings almost since the beginning,” said Susan Landess, Sales and Community Relations Manager of the Hylton Performing Arts Center. “The Hylton Center began reaching out to the wedding market as a way to enhance our community outreach when not being used for performances.” Hylton Center performers include the Northern Virginia Ballet, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Band, the Manassas Ballet Theater, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, and even the National Symphony …

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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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Wedding Salon Puts the Fun Back in Shopping for Your Wedding

Planning your wedding involves so many moving parts. You need a venue, a dress, a tuxedo, flowers, a cake and music. And that’s just scratching the surface of the vendors you will want to make your big day the best it can be. What if you could shop for all those vendors under one roof in one fun event? This promises to be the best bridal show in Washington D.C. you have ever attended! Wedding Salon will be at The Liaison Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on September 16, 2019, from 4 to 8 p.m. This show combines top national wedding vendors with the best local industry pros. Who Will Be at The Wedding Salon? If you’re planning a destination wedding, you’re in luck. You will meet reps from Aruba Tourism Authority, Jamaica Tourist Board, O’ahu Visitors Bureau, Conrad Cartagena, …

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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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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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Big Savings for Winter Brides at The Piedmont Club

By Erin Pittman Sponsored by The Piedmont Club Have you dreamed of a winter wedding with family and friends gathers around cozy fires warding off the winter chill? How about in a grand ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and an attached patio with soft seating, firepits and toasty space heaters? If it’s a winter wedding you’re planning, you may want to check out all the Piedmont Club in Haymarket has to offer through their winter promotion. “For winter, we’re waiving the room rental fee,” said Kimberly McNamara, Events Director for The Piedmont Club. “Our couples will only be paying for their food and beverages, which is an exceptional value.” The room rental fee typically covers tables, chairs, linens in your color choice, glassware, table décor, use of the sound system and A/V equipment, and much more. There is even a beautiful …

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Helga’s Caterers: A Family Tradition

Helga's Caterers

By Marianne Weaver Sponsored by Helga’s Caterers Helga Evans, mother of seven children, always loved cooking, and not just for her family. She started out cooking for her husband’s Department of Ophthalmology at Georgetown University, which evolved into a home-based catering business. Meanwhile, her son Michael, who earned a B.S.B.A. degree in business administration from Georgetown University, was preparing to launch his own career. “I was doing an apprenticeship at Raymond Haldeman in Philadelphia,” said Michael. “When I came home, she was already planting the seeds.” In 1981, the two opened Helga’s Restaurant and Caterers in McLean, Va., where they served many leading politicians and business leaders until 1990 when Helga retired. But that’s not where the story ends. The restaurant was sold, but Michael continued to build the catering business, which caters all types of events, ranging from corporate …

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Wedding Day First Look

Provided by Rob Jinks It used to be that the first time a couple would see each other was at the start of their wedding ceremony, as the bride walked down the aisle with her father. However, today many couples are opting to see each other before the ceremony, taking advantage of what is called a “first look.” As a wedding photographer, I encourage my couples to consider doing a first look, as there can be some advantages, but how should you choose which is right for you? Here are a few reasons to say yes to a first look and a few reasons to stick with tradition. Reasons to say yes to a first look: 1. Get out the jitters. Enjoy a private moment together before being in front of your family and friends. If you feel that seeing each other for the first …

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Wedding Cakes by Simply Desserts

Simply Desserts wedding cake

By Ashley Claire Simpson The first wedding cake that Kimberly McDonald ever made was for her very own nephew — just a few months after launching Simply Desserts, her Gainesville-based full-service bakery. She was of course known for making delicious cakes that looked more like works of art than baked goods, but, she hadn’t yet stepped into the world of weddings. And, though it has often been said that it is a risk to mix family and business, McDonald’s first venture into wedding desserts went simply swimmingly. “That first wedding cake was within three months of starting my business,” McDonald recalled. “I was determined to execute a tier cake, and I did just that. I’m self-taught, so, I had to scour the internet and pour over books. From that point on, it’s been a learning curve, and I’ve gotten really …

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Manassas Park Community Center: A Hidden Gem

By Jennifer Lazzo Surrounded by homes and community parks, the Manassas Park Community Center is a welcome and unexpected surprise. This hidden gem boasts a 3,480-square-foot banquet hall with neutral décor – perfect for showcasing any event’s theme. “When people think of a community center, they don’t think of the functionality of what we have,” said Amelia Powell, customer service supervisor for the Center. “We have the large banquet hall and the pre-function area, or cocktail area, which gives flexibility to the event.” The banquet hall can be divided into two smaller spaces, each seating 115; the full hall can seat up to 230 guests. While many clients use the pre-function space to host cocktail hour, some have added tables to the space to accommodate larger events. Redesigned and rebuilt just seven years ago, the Center also has a spacious …

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Farm Brew Live: A One-Stop Destination for Barns, Brews and Bashes

By Jennifer Lazzo Farm Brew Live is the place to go for locally-crafted beer, craft food, and live entertainment. With spaces both big and small – and everything in between – it’s the perfect destination to host a special occasion. The eight-acre campus is the home of the historic Thomasson Barn, built in 1929 on a former dairy farm, as well as new buildings that have been completed in phases. The first phase included 2 Silos Brewery, the Pour House and the Yard. The Living Room at the Pour House, located on the mezzanine level overlooking the 2 Silos tasting room; the brewery’s processing area, when available due to the production schedule; and the VIP area of the Yard, with seating for 50, are smaller spaces perfect for bachelor parties, bridal showers or rehearsal dinners. Next came the Great Hall, …

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