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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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The Conche Adds Chocolate Panache for On-site or Catered Wedding Events

By Jane Fullerton Lemons For couples looking to add a special flair to their wedding festivities, The Conche in Leesburg will add a sumptuous layer of chocolate to any event. Couples can hold events at the region’s premier chocolate-themed restaurant, or catering services are available, said General Manager Samet Yuksekgonul. “We put a lot of love and passion into our offerings, and we don’t cut any corners,” he said. “We use the highest quality ingredients and don’t pinch pennies when it comes to creating something memorable and meaningful.” The restaurant — which is located at 1605 Village Market Blvd S.E., in the Village at Leesburg — can seat 68 guests and hold a standing reception for up to 150 guests. In addition, the outdoor patio seats 18 guests. All of those spaces can be used for wedding ceremonies or receptions, rehearsal dinners, …

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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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Heritage Hunt Combines Tradition and Convenience for a Personalized Wedding Experience

For couples who want the feel of a picturesque hunt country wedding in a convenient setting with personalized service, Heritage Hunt Golf & Country Club provides the best of both worlds. Located just off I-66 in Gainesville, Heritage Hunt offers two wedding venues on property that was once a horse farm. With indoor and outdoor wedding options, couples can choose based on their style and guest count, said Cary Muirhead, director of sales. The Great Oak Ballroom is located in the 28,000 square-foot Heritage Hunt Clubhouse, which was designed to emulate the grand Colonial-style of a Virginia plantation. The classically appointed space can accommodate up to 330 guests. It features a built-in wood dance floor, a raised stage with lighting and an integrated sound system. The Marsh Mansion offers a more intimate venue, about a mile and half past the …

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Laurel Hill Golf Club Provides Service with Scenery and a Dash of Culinary Creativity

Laurel Hill Golf Club offers couples personalized service in a picturesque setting for their wedding, with the added bonus of an engaging chef who can fulfill their culinary vision. Not far from I-95 in southern Fairfax County, Laurel Hill Golf Club’s 9,400 square foot clubhouse is situated in the gently rolling hills of a beautifully landscaped 18-hole championship golf course. The spacious banquet room and adjoining Tower Room Grill can accommodate up to 150 people comfortably. Guests will be mesmerized by the panoramic views of the golf course, said Matt Loewenstein, events and membership director. “Planning is key to any event, especially a wedding,” he said. “We focus on attention to detail, making sure every aspect of the wedding goes exactly as planned.” The refined and elegant clubhouse offers full in-house catering services, a banquet room and executive dining facilities …

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Simply Desserts

Simply Desserts is a full service bakery specializing in wedding cakes, custom cakes, mini desserts, and more. We offer gluten free and vegan desserts for all occasions as well. Simply Desserts has been in business for over 10 years. What started out as a licensed home business in Fairfax is now a storefront in Gainesville. In addition to the bakery, we have an event room for private parties and monthly classes as well as afternoon teas.

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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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