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Choosing a Venue
Bridal Party Responsibilities
Clever Takes on a Tradition
Superstitions16 Guest List
Registry21 Reception Playlist
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Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Wedding Venue Once couples become engaged and share the good news with their friends and families, the next step is to begin planning their weddings. While couples must make a myriad of decisions during the wedding planning process, perhaps none is more significant than where to tie the knot. According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding for couples who married in 2016 was $35,329. That’s a sizable amount, and a big portion of that was spent on the wedding venue. The Real Weddings Study found that couples spent an average of $16,107 on their wedding venues in 2016. That figure easily dwarfs the next biggest expense ($6,163 for the engagement ring) for couples tying the knot. Because the wedding venue comes with such a potentially high sticker price, couples should give ample consideration to a host of factors before choosing where to get married.
Size. Until they can agree on a guest list,
couples might want to delay even looking for venues. However, some couples might want to first look at some venues so they can deter-
mine just how many guests they can afford to invite. Whether they’re hosting small affairs or large parties, couples should choose venues that can comfortably accommodate all of their guests. If possible, look for venues with multiple reception areas, which might allow for some wiggle room if the guest list grows or dwindles during the planning process.
Availability. Some couples might have an ideal time of year they hope to get married. Some even know the exact date they hope to get married. While that can help with the planning, it can also limit couples with regard to their venue options. Some venues may be booked for as much as a year or more in advance during peak wedding season. The Real Weddings Study found that the most popular months to get married in 2016 were October and September. Couples who hope to follow in the footsteps of many 2016 brides and grooms may need to book their wedding venues well in advance. Those who can be more flexible regarding their wedding dates may find it easier to book their dream venues.
Insurance. Ask about the venue’s insurance policies, including the policies the venue has to protect itself. In addition, ask if the venue requires couples to have their own wedding liability insurance for protection in the event of injury, property damage or incidents related to alcohol. Couples may also want to make the investment in cancellation/ postponement insurance, and some venues may even require it. Financials. It’s easy for couples to be focused on the bottom line when choosing wedding venues, but it’s also important that they get a complete grasp of the financials before choosing a wedding venue. Ask about the amount of the initial deposit and if that deposit is refundable. In addition, ask when the deposit is due and when each subsequent payment is due until the balance is paid in full. This can make budgeting easier and planning less stressful. Couples should have fun choosing their wedding venues while recognizing that certain factors must be given ample consideration before signing any contracts.
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Wedding planning can be intense and often requires dedication and many hours of work. Coordinating a wedding often requires that couples make many different decisions and spend a considerable amount of time in the wedding-planning trenches. Couples expend so much energy planning their weddings that it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture Ñ namely the relationship that is the basis for the marriage in the first place. But as easy as it can be to get lost in wedding planning, couples can use this time together to connect on a deeper level and learn to work cooperatively.
Divide and conquer. Separate wedding planning duties so that both of you feel you are contributing equally and no one person gets overly stressed out. Stress can lead to short tempers and arguments. Establish a mutual budget. Even the healthiest couple argues over finances from time to time, but budgetary debates should not set a negative tone for wedding planning. Couples should discuss their potential budget before they even begin to plan their weddings, and both partners should do their best to compromise while also understanding where the other person is coming from. Schedule time for fun. Do not let wedding planning be allconsuming. Schedule days that allow you to enjoy yourselves together without having to think about or discuss your pending nuptials. This may include date nights that may have fallen by the wayside since getting engaged or periodic day trips to get away from it all. Explore your mutual hobbies or try something new. Learn to laugh at the little things. Not every detail will go off without a hitch. How you react as a couple may influence how much you enjoy your wedding. Recognize that certain things will not go your way, but that unforeseen circumstances will not ruin your wedding day, no matter how unpleasant they may seem. Laugh at what cannot be changed and recognize that, in the long run, the details you think are major today may actually prove trivial when you look back on your wedding day in the years to come. October 2017
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How to Find the Right Wedding Vendors Weddings are a careful balance of many elements that culminate on one special day. Making all of the components of a wedding come together seemlessly requires a well organized bride and groom and the cooperation of professional wedding vendors who understand their unique roles. Vendors, including florists, transportation companies, musicians, and dressmakers are essential to a successful wedding. Competent wedding vendors will remove much of the worry and work from a couple’s shoulders. But not every couple ends up with topnotch wedding vendors. Research, planning and verifying references are some ways to ensure your vendors make your wedding day that much more enjoyable.
Seek recommendations from trusted friends and family members. Talk to friends and family members whose insight you value about which wedding vendors they used. If you attend a wedding or another party and find the flowers or the music particularly well done, ask for the name of the florist or band. Word-of-mouth advertisement is a great way to find quality wedding vendors who will help make your dream wedding a reality. Consult with a wedding planner.
If budget allows, work with a wedding planner. He or she will have an extensive list of wedding vendors you can contact. A wed-
ding planner wants the job to get done right and efficiently, and many wedding planners have already vetted and verified certain vendors as quality workers.
Always ask for references and don’t ignore them. Busy wedding vendors should provide you with a list of names of satisfied customers. Talk with couples who used the vendors’ services in the past and ask the questions that are most important to your decision-making process. Unbiased feedback also may be available through online review sites, but direct contact with references may make you feel more comfortable. If a vendor fails to provide references, this should raise suspicions about the person’s reliability. Deposits should be a fraction of the total price. Avoid wedding vendors who insist on hefty deposits. A deposit is a good-faith agreement to hold the date of the wedding, and it should be a small percentage of the overall cost of the services.
Do not pay balances too far in advance. Many wedding vendors require
the balance be paid on the day of the wedding or shortly before. Good vendors realize couples will not want to pay the tally until they have received the products or services they signed up for. A photographer may ask for the final payment when albums are delivered. The exception may be a caterer
or reception site that needs the funds to order food and beverages a few weeks in advance. Paying off a vendor too early means you run the risk of that vendor having your money and then not coming through on the wedding day. It’s difficult to track down a person for a refund, plus you’re left with finding a replacement at the last minute.
Contracts are your friends. Every agreement should be in writing. You have a better chance of fighting for a refund or restitution in court when you have a contract in writing. Consider wedding insurance. Even the best-laid plans can go awry on a wedding day. Anything from freak weather events to illness to vendor absences can wreak havoc. The Better Business Bureau advises purchasing wedding insurance to protect yourself when weddings are especially costly. Such insurance may cover vendors who fail to show up, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, medical emergencies, and travel delays. With wedding insurance, you won’t lose money if plans change. A basic insurance policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings, and deposits usually costs between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you want. Southern Maryland
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How to Arrange the Best Outdoor Wedding Photos Photography is a great way for couples to capture all the special moments that occur on their wedding days. Long after the final piece of wedding cake has been consumed, wedding albums remain to remind couples of all those moments that made their big day so special. Photography preferences differ from couple to couple, but when weather permits, many brides and grooms prefer to take photos outdoors. Mother Nature can provide some awe-inspiring backdrops, and such beauty comes at no extra cost. Couples using professional photographers should share their image preferences with their photographers, especially if outdoor photography is desired. Photographers may have to do a little more work to achieve great outdoor photographs, even visiting a site in advance of the big day to scout areas that can produce great photos. Scouting and preparation can involve seeing the landscape, examining the way the light shines on photo subjects and getting an accurate light reading
on a meter to adjust flash accordingly. Photographers also will need to ensure there are no obstructions that will appear in the background of the photos.
more appealing. If the clouds are just passing, photographers may wait until a cloud passes over the sun to provide just the right amount of light filter.
It’s also important for photographers to select locations that have shade. This way they can adjust the amount of light needed, rather than having to contend with the photo washing out from too much sunlight.
Couples may want to change into comfortable footwear as they traverse the landscape to get into perfect portraiture locations. This will help keep their fancier shoes clean, and photos can be cropped to hide feet.
There’s much a photographer can do in production to fine-tune photos, but the couple can help things along. Bring along some powder or makeup to touch up between photos. Warm weather can cause shininess or beads of sweat on the skin. A light dusting of powder can tame shine, while any remaining moisture can be blotted away with a towel.
Bring along some refreshments when posing for photos, as it can be tiring. Couples can take frequent breaks as the photographer adjusts his or her camera for the next shot. Staying hydrated will keep skin looking supple and ensure that everyone feels refreshed when it’s time to return to the party.
Although brides and grooms may think clouds on their wedding days are a harbinger of bad luck, overcast conditions can actually contribute to better photos. A healthy blanket of cloud cover can produce richer colors and pleasing shadows, making photos even
Not every family member will be able to join the happy couple for outdoor photos. Elderly relatives or those who have mobility issues may find it difficult to stand in the sun or make their away across certain landscapes. Arrange for indoor photoshoots with guests who can’t handle the outdoors.
Budget Checklist Total Budget:
Catering & Cake
Rentals (furniture, linens, etc.) Favors
Photo & Video:
Tuxedo Wedding Rings
Flowers & Decor: Ceremony Flowers
Hair & Makeup
Bouquets & Boutonnieres
Planner: Wedding Planner
Reception Flowers Centerpieces
Attire: Wedding Dress
Marriage License Officiant Fees
Save the Dates
Thank You Cards
How to Build your Wedding Budget Couples engaged to be married have a lot on their plates as they begin planning their weddings. Whereas tradition once demanded parents of the bride pay for a couples wedding, nowadays more and more engaged couples are completely or partially financing their own nuptials. That means prospective brides and grooms must develop wedding budgets that won’t ensure their first act as Mr. and Mrs. is paying down debt.
nancial information upon getting engaged, an open and honest discussion and examination of each persons finances is the only way to develop a realistic wedding budget that both partners can live with. Once couples know what they can contribute, they can then consult their parents to determine if their mothers and fathers are intending to contribute.
In its Real Weddings Study, online bridal resource The Knot found that many couples still receive substantial financial support from their parents to pay for their weddings. The survey found that, on average, the bride’s parents contributed 44 percent of the overall wedding budget, while couples financed 43 percent (the remaining 13 percent was financed by the groom’s parents and additional sources). Couples who hope to follow that formula or pay for their weddings on their own can heed the following tips to build wedding budgets that won’t break the bank but will still ensure a day to remember forever.
A preliminary guest list can give couples an idea of how large and expensive their weddings will be. According to the Real Weddings Study, the average cost per wedding guest is $237. While that cost can vary greatly depending on geography and other factors, couples should keep that figure in mind when drafting their guest lists. If need be, keep costs down by trimming the guest list so it includes only close family members and friends.
Examine your collective finances
Few couples know the details of each other’s finances before getting engaged. While some may still hesitate to share their personal fiOctober 2017
Develop a preliminary guest list.
Don’t count on gifts. Many couples justify runaway wedding budgets by telling themselves that they will ultimately get the money back via wedding gifts. While many guests will give financial gifts, counting on such windfalls is a recipe for accruing debt. Do not build potential wedding gifts into your wedding budget. If you do so and your
expectations fall short, you could be facing considerable debt upon returning home from your honeymoon.
Gather quotes before choosing where to tie the knot. Where couples get married will have a great impact on how much money they will spend on their weddings. For example, the Real Weddings Study found that the average wedding in Manhattan cost couples slightly more than $82,000, while the average Alaskan wedding cost just over $17,000. Venues within the same city can vary greatly with regard to pricing and offerings as well, so couples should give themselves ample time to gather quotes and find an affordable venue they like. Build extra costs into your budget.
When determining a budget you can live with, remember to include a little extra for unforeseen costs. Weddings are large undertakings, and it’s reasonable to expect some unforeseen costs to arise. Building such costs into your initial budget will make these unforeseen circumstances that much easier to handle. Budgets can help couples stay on track and avoid debt as they plan their weddings. 13
Responsibilities of Members
Being asked to join a bridal party is both an honor and a responsibility. When asked to take on such significant and meaningful roles, men and women may recognize the honor but be unsure of what their responsibilities are as couples move forward with their wedding plans. Bridal party roles can vary depending on certain circumstances, but many couples still want their bridesmaids and groomsmen to perform many of the more traditional tasks associated with their roles. The following are some of the tasks bridesmaids and groomsmen can expect to perform in the months leading up to the wedding and during the wedding itself.
Maid of Honor: The maid of honor serves
as the bride-to-be’s right-hand woman as she plans her wedding and gets ready on her big day. Maids of honor typically go gown shopping with the bride and may even choose or offer suggestions about the color and style of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Once a dress style and color has been chosen, the maid of honor will make sure everyone is fitted on time. A maid of honor will also plan the bridal shower, sending invitations and arranging for lodging for out-of-town guests if necessary. Many brides want the details of their bridal showers to be a surprise, and maids of honor should honor those sentiments when possible. A maid of honor also plans the bachelorette party, though many brides 14
do not mind being involved in the planning of such parties. The maid of honor may be asked to help address save-the-date cards and envelopes as well. Come the day of the wedding, the maid of honor will ensure the bride’s day is as stressfree as possible, helping to address any lastminute issues that may arise. Maids of honor may be asked to serve as the legal witness to the wedding and sign the wedding license before the reception. At the reception, the maid of honor will toast the bride.
Best man: The best man is the maid of
honor’s counterpart, helping to plan the bachelor party and toasting the groom at the reception. The best man also tends to hold the rings during the wedding ceremony, and during the day of the wedding, he will coordinate the groomsmen to make sure everyone is ready to go on time. The best man may arrange transportation for the groom and groomsmen on the day of the wedding and may also return the groom and groomsmen’s attire the following day if the newlyweds are departing on their honeymoons.
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen: The brides-
maids and groomsmen serve similar functions, acting as sources of support as couples plan their weddings. Bridesmaids and groomsmen help to plan the bachelorette and bachelor parties and may also be asked
their opinions as couples make decisions regarding their weddings. Bridesmaids and groomsmen must be prepared to take pictures once couples have officially tied the knot. They also must help the brides and grooms with any issues that may arise in the hours before couples become husband and wife.
Flower girl/Ring bearer: Flower girls
and ring bearers are often young relatives of the couple, whether they are a young brother or sister or a niece or nephew. The responsibilities of the flower girl and ring bearer are typically limited to the ceremony, during which they will walk down the aisle, either together or individually, before the father of the bride escorts his daughter to the altar or stage.
Father of the bride: The father of the
bride walks his daughter down the aisle during the ceremony, and, along with his wife, may pay for the wedding, though many couples now finance their own nuptials. The father of the bride will dance with his daughter during the reception, and some fathers may even share a special toast for the newlyweds during the reception, though such a toast is not traditionally required. Bridal parties play a big role on couples’ wedding days, and those roles are both an honor and a responsibility. Southern Maryland
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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue Clever Takes On The Tradition
Wedding day tokens of good luck come in many forms, but the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue (a sixpence in your shoe), adage remains one of the most popular luck-enhancing wedding traditions. According to the bridal resource The Knot, this tradition stems from an Olde English rhyme. Something old represents continuity; something new is for optimism for the future; something borrowed stands for borrowed happiness; and something blue is for purity, love and fidelity. The sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity, but this is not a tradition widely celebrated outside of the United Kingdom or British territories. These traditions can add some creative flair and personality to wedding ceremonies. There’s no end to the inventive combinations of items brides can carry to increase their good fortunes.
Something old is one of the easier mementos to obtain. There is a good chance that someone in the family is willing to pass an item down to the bride that she can include in her wedding wardrobe. It also can be something the bride may have in her own memory box. Beads taken from a grandmother’s dress or a swatch of fabric from a beloved toy doll are creative ideas that can be sewn into inconspicuous places on gowns.
Brides already purchase many new items for their wedding day looks, so “something new” should not be too hard to find. Couples may want to work together to find something new they can both carry so they have a matching set upon tying the knot. Interlocking charm bracelets or keychains may work. What about the groom carrying a small padlock and the bride the key? Quirky couples can each wear one sock from a pair. Get clever and have fun.
Much like something old, something borrowed is yet another way to pay homage to a friend or family member. It’s also one way to add a sentimental twist to everyday items. Borrow a grandfather’s handkerchief to wrap around the stems of the wedding bouquet. Exchange vows with the original rings used by a distant relative at their own wedding. Flatter a close friend by wearing the same veil she did.
There are many ways to incorporate “something blue” into your wedding ceremony. Brides can paint their toenails blue or wear blue shoes under their gowns. Sew a patch from a pair of denim jeans into the bodice of the dress. Paint the bottom of your shoes bright blue so they stand out when kneeling at the altar. Blue sapphire or topaz jewelry can add an exotic look to the wedding wardrobe.
Good Luck Wedding Superstitions Couples on the verge of tying the knot spend lots of time hoping their wedding days go off without a hitch. The threat of rain drops or temporarily misplaced rings can make couples feel that the hands of fate are casting bad luck on the proceedings, but couples need not worry. Superstitions are not always negative, and there are many things thought to bestow good luck on couples about to become husband and wife. The following are some of the more popular harbingers of good luck couples can look for on their wedding days.
Rain: Rain signifies various things in differ-
ent cultures, and many of those amount to a dose of good fortune for a wedding. Rain can represent fertility, suggesting that couples will 16
have many children. Rain also can signify cleansing and renewal or the washing away of past ills.
Sugar: Many Greeks believe tucking a sugar
cube into your glove will mean a sweet union between the newly betrothed.
Coins: In Sweden, a bride puts a silver coin
from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe so she will never have to go without.
Unpleasant things: Egyptian women may
pinch the bride on her wedding day for good luck. The English believe finding a spider in your wedding dress means good luck.
Bells: Bells may chime at Irish weddings to
keep evil spirits away and ensure a harmonious family life. Some brides also will tuck small bells into their bouquets. Many traditions are in place to keep bad spirits away from wedding proceedings and ensure good luck. Middle Eastern brides, for example, paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves. The tradition of the groom carrying his bride over the threshold is to protect her from evil spirits lurking below. Good luck charms vary depending on culture and geography. Several superstitions have withstood the test of time and can give brides and grooms a little more security on their wedding days. Southern Maryland
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Get a Grip on your Guest List
Cooperation is key for couples planning their weddings. Compiling the guest list is one area of wedding planning where couples oftentimes must embrace both cooperation and compromise.
but each person should be willing to remove some coworkers and acquaintances from their final lists.
Don’t succumb to parental pressure
if mom and dad are not paying the bills. Couples who are financing their own weddings should not feel beholden to their parents’ wishes when compiling their wedding guest lists. Politely explain to parents you’re working on a budget and that you have a predetermined number of guests you’re capable of inviting. Couples can appease their parents by encouraging them to compile a list of people they hope to invite, and then telling them these people will be invited if other guests are unable to make it. Couples whose parents are footing some or all of the bill must be more receptive to their parents’ wishes than those paying for their own weddings.
Putting together a wedding guest list can cause some tension. That tension may be confined to couples, but it may even occur between couples and their families. Getting a grip on their guest lists may be one of the more difficult tasks couples encounter when planning their weddings, but there are ways to make creating the guest list go smoothly.
Recognize the need to compromise.
Couples who recognize the need to compromise in advance of compiling their guest lists may find it easier to pare down that list if the initial number of guests is too high. Couples can create lists of people they want to invite, breaking these initial lists down into categories such as friends, family, acquaintances, and coworkers. Couples may not want to compromise on inviting friends and family,
Agree on a kids policy. A policy regarding kids may help couples as they create their guest lists. Couples working with tight bud-
gets may decide that the only children who will be invited are their nieces and nephews. Young cousins likely won’t feel slighted if they don’t make the cut, and their parents may even appreciate a night out without the kids in tow.
Employ the “future versus past” formula when paring gets tough. When all else
has failed, couples faced with difficult decisions regarding their wedding guest lists can ask themselves if prospective guests are people they expect to see again in the future or if they are people from their past. Including the former might be a good idea, while removing the latter may also make sense, especially if it’s been a long time since couples have seen people who fall into the “past” category. Creating the guest list is one of the more difficult parts of planning a wedding. But couples willing to compromise may find the process goes smoothly.
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Registry to Relish Registries are a wedding tradition, not unlike a couple’s first dance or the best man/maid of honor toast. But as practical as wedding registries are, many couples approach their registries with a degree of hesitation, fearful that they might appear presumptuous or simply uncertain about what to include on their lists. The following tips can help engaged couples build a registry to relish and utilize for years to come.
Share your registry information on
your wedding website and stationery. Guests need to know where you are registered, so share that information on your wedding website and include it on your save-the-date cards and invitations.
Register with multiple retailers. By registering with more than one retailer, couples can give their guests more options to choose from. Try to include one brickand-mortar store, ideally one with a national presence, so guests who prefer to shop inperson won’t be forced to buy online.
Don’t be afraid to list expensive items.
While few guests will break the bank to buy wedding gifts, that does not mean couples should avoid including expensive items on
their registries. Some couples might feel it’s inappropriate, but it can actually prove practical. Many stores offer couples steep discounts on items they listed on their registries that ultimately were not purchased. If you have your eye on an especially expensive item, include it on your list without worrying about how it may look to your guests, as they will understand when you explain the postwedding discount you’re eligible for.
Don’t limit your registry to expen-
sive items. While it’s perfectly acceptable to include expensive items on your registry, remember that variety is the spice of life when adding items to your registry. Include items at a range of price points for guests working with various budgets. Don’t hesitate to include low-cost items, as some guests may
enjoy building a wedding gift basket with various affordable items from your registry.
Remember that no gift is too obscure. Thanks to the Internet, just about any item can now be tracked down by ambitious gift givers. If you want to include items that might not be available at run-of-the-mill retailers, choose an online retailer such as Amazon to host one of your registries. Such sites are great places to find specialty items or more obscure offerings that might be out of stock at more traditional retailers.
Encourage donations. If you are truly
hesitant to ask for gifts or you’re tying the knot later in life and already have everything you need, encourage guests to donate to a favorite charity in lieu of making a donation.
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Creating a wedding reception playlist Many elements combine to make traditional wedding receptions special. But many veteran wedding guests would agree that the right playlist once guests hit the reception hall dance floor can turn an ordinary wedding reception into something far more memorable.
The majority of couples choose between a live band and a DJ to provide the music for their wedding receptions. Entertainment is often one of the more memorable aspects of a wedding reception, as the right band or disc jockey can help to establish a jovial mood that makes it easy for everyone to have a good time. Couples can leave their wedding reception playlists to the professionals, but they should also know that they have a say in which songs are played. In addition, couples can have a “no play” playlist that prohibits certain songs they dislike from being played. When mulling the musical choices for your wedding reception, consider the following advice.
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Begin by making a list of your favorite songs. Make this list during different days and at different times and moods so you get a good cross-section of your favorite tunes. But remember not every song is a good fit for a wedding reception. Melancholy songs or those that include suggestive lyrics are best left off the playlist. Aim to get as many guests on the dance floor as possible. Wellknown songs and upbeat dance
music will inspire more guests to migrate towards the dacnce floor than lesser known tunes you may be fond of. Music that spans the decades and various genres will appeal to guests from all age groups, encouraging dancers young and old. If your favorite songs are not great for dancing but you still want to hear them on your wedding, ask the DJ or band to play them during the cocktail hour or while everyone is eating dinner. Consider a late night playlist. If there are songs you want to hear that may not be “grandpartent approved”, ask the DJ or band to play them later in the night after older relatives and children have left. Give the music vendor some leeway. DJs and bands have no doubt performed at many a wedding before yours, and they may have a better feel for crowds than you do. Let them know they have some leeway to play songs that did not make it onto the playlist if guests seem to be avoiding the dance floor. That professional expertise is why you hired them, and it can make for a more memorable night for everyone. Don’t stress out about the music. The playlist can set the tone for a positive reception, but don’t stress out if you’re struggling to come up with songs you want to hear. Your vendor is no doubt capable of creating a playlist that will ensure everyone has fun.
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Fall 2017 So. Md. Wedding Guide.