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Table of contents 3

Did you know?


Adventurous, edgy weddings are on the rise


What’s New: Winchester Wedding Weekend


All about reception lighting rentals


Local Weddings: Rachel & Matthew at Weber’s Nursery


Flowers: the bigger, the better


Extra-special ways to treat guests


Favors: how they’ve changed


Alternatives to engagement rings


Band or DJ? How about both?


Local Weddings: Taryn & Sam at The George Washington Hotel


Wedding planning tips and tricks


Factors that can affect the length of your engagement


How to plan a wedding ceremony


Make candles an illuminated part of your ceremony


Transportation: getting here to there


Wedding cakes: make a statement


How to cut reception costs


Catering: considering guests’ needs


Is a Valentines proposal right for you?


Consider a delayed honeymoon


Why hire local wedding vendors


Planning a daytime wedding


Taking a hands-on approach with invitations


Are private vows right for you?

The Homestead Farm is a great rustic wedding and event venue on historic Apple Pie Ridge just minutes from Winchester! We have the perfect wedding package for your special day!

Call (540) 323-0221 for more information! www.thehomesteadfarmatfruithillorchard.com



Did you know?



A first dance song at the wedding reception often sets the tone for the upcoming festivities and can exemplify just how newlyweds feel about each other. Couples may agonize over which song to choose, but there are many different resources available that can help couples narrow down their options. Spotify, the popular streaming music service, has compiled a list of the most popular wedding songs for 2018, based on global respondents. Their top pick was “Perfect,” by Ed Sheeran, a song that many might suspect was composed with wedding dances in mind. Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” Etta James’ “At Last,” John Legend’s “All of Me,” and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” filled out the remaining top five spots on Spotify’s list.


December may not mark the peak of wedding season, but many couples tie the knot at the culmination of the holiday season. According to The Knot, a leading wedding industry resource and information site, New Year’s Eve weddings are popular. A poll from The Knot found that 7,230 weddings were scheduled for December 31, 2017. Flowing champagne, extra vacation days during the holidays and long weekends, as well as the merry atmosphere of the holiday seas


While flowers certainly add beauty and a wonderful aroma to wedding ceremonies and receptions, there are other reasons behind their inclusion in such festivities. In ancient Rome, brides carried or wore flower garlands because the Romans believed flowers signified hope, fertility and new beginnings. In the Middle Ages, brides did not carry flowers, but rather strong-smelling spices and herbs. The rationale was that the herbs and spices would drive away bad luck and evil spirits. Flowers also served another practical purpose. In eras when bathing was a luxury, different flowers and herbs helped mask body odors. It wasn’t until the Victorian era, when flowers were used to symbolize romantic love, that they became part of wedding ceremonies, according to Modern Weddings magazine.

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What’s new: WINCHESTER



The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — If you’ve worked in the wedding industr y for a while, it’s likely you’ve learned a thing or two over your career. A trio of local professionals — a wedding planner, baker, and dress store owner who together formed Magnolia Wedding Group — have taken their experience spending years as vendors at bridal shows to create a bridal show with a different concept. What’s most different about Winchester Wedding Weekend, which takes place March 29, is that it will be held at various wedding venues instead of just one. This way, local brides-to-be, their grooms and families can tour several local venues and also enjoy a more relaxed experience. “The whole purpose of our show is to not be overcrowded,” said Renee Krejci, owner of RCK Weddings and Design, who is organizing the show along with Morgan Beachler, owner of The Valley Bride, and Jennifer Frey, owner of Tiers in Heaven. “When you’re in a typical bridal show, it’s a bunch of vendors sitting next to each other, brides are cattled in and are corralled around. We’ll have vendors at every venue, but it’s not going to be overcrowded, they can leisurely take their time and not be forced to move on. They can sit and talk to a vendor for 10 minutes.” Local wedding venues include The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester Brew Works, Fox Meadow Barn at Cloverdale, West Oaks Farm Market, and James Charles Winery. Attendees must begin at The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, where they’ll pick up their swag bag and passport at registration. The passport must be stamped at each location, and will be used in a prize drawing a couple of weeks later on Facebook Live. Prizes include a wedding gown of your choice from The Valley Bride, a wedding coordination package from RCK Weddings & Design, a wedding cake from Tiers in Heaven Bakery, and more. Instead of rows of multiple vendors in the same category, which is typical at most bridal shows, each venue will feature eight to 15 vendors of only one professional per category; one wedding photographer per venue, one caterer, one florist, etc., at each location. Another unique touch? Each venue will have something different for attendees to experience. “Each one of our venues will have something different to offer. One will be focused on the guys, one will be focused on the girls, one will have the tablescapes, one will have the runway show,” said Krejci. The tablescapes set up will feature a themed wedding tablescape set for different budget price points. “Maybe it’s a rustic theme, and one will represent a $15,000 wedding, a $20,000 wedding, a $30,000 wedding. So three different budget points, but the same theme, so they can actually visually see what the same theme will look like, they can still afford it, but maybe on a lesser scale,” said Krejci, who will use a different caterer and floral designer to showcase floral and catering in those different price points.

If you go When: March 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Multiple venues Tickets: $10 general admission, $25 VIP. www.eventbrite.com

All venues will feature a different caterer, and some will even have food trucks outside that are for hire for weddings. The idea for a traveling bridal show was inspired by the trio’s experience as vendors in Loudoun County’s traveling bridal expo. “Jennifer (Frey) said we can do this, we can do it better. Renee (Krejci) had been wanting to do it for a long time, but it’s a huge project to take on. So we got together and formed a group. We want to also focus on educating wedding professionals in the area and other events,” said Morgan Beachler, owner of The Valley Bride, one of the organizers along with Jennifer Frey, owner of Tiers in Heaven. While this is the first event they are organizing, future ideas include developing a quarterly or annual bridal magazine, hosting an educational day for local wedding professionals, and reviving Night with the Newlyweds, where recently married couples are brought in panel-style to answer questions from local wedding professionals — like how they planned their wedding, what would they do differently in hindsight, etc. Tickets to the Winchester Wedding Weekend can be purchased online for $10 at www.eventbrite.com or at The Valley Bride. VIP tickets, which includes the chauffeured tour to each of the venues, are $25. Visit www.winchesterweddingweekend.com/ for the line up of vendors and more details.



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6 Saturday, January 25, 2020


Rachel June 29, 2019




It was at a Robbie Limon Band concert in August 2017 where Matthew Lofton and Rachel Canada met. Both were friends with the drummer, Jamie Leonard, who introduced the two between sets. A couple of days later, Rachel sent Matthew a direct message on Twitter, and the two soon went on their first date to a nearby orchard in Marshall, after lunch at Christina’s Cafe in Strasburg. The proposal took place at the same spot. “Matthew had been searching for the perfect ring for months, and when he finally located it, he shipped it overnight and planned a very romantic proposal in the orchard where we had our first date,” recounted Rachel. “I had no idea a proposal was coming and was completely unsuspecting when Matt disappeared for a few minutes to get the ring. The photographer hiding in the bushes was also a total surprise!” By JENNY BAKER The Winchester Star

Photography by Jeff Taylor



Tips SELECTING THE VENUE The couple was looking for a unique, non-religious venue that had a natural vibe. “One day while shopping in Weber’s, we thought it would make a beautiful backdrop for the intimate ceremony we envisioned. Peter Weber was open to the inquiry and excited about the prospect of hosting a wedding,” said Matthew. VISION FOR THE BIG DAY A thoughtful ceremony in a lush setting surrounded by close friends and family was what the couple envisioned. They felt that being surrounded by the bright, youthful plants at Weber’s symbolized the beginning of a healthy and happy marriage.

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FIRST DANCE “Here On Out” by Dave Matthews Band MAKE IT PERSONAL Besides the unique venue, the couple further personalized their wedding day in multiple ways. The guest book was an oversized puzzle created from one of their engagement photos. Guests signed the back of the puzzle pieces and built the puzzle during the reception. The couple made custom paddle fans for their guests, since greenhouses can be hot in June. Matthew’s wedding gift to Rachel was a song that he and a friend co-wrote and performed during the reception. “Matthew’s Dad had been growing a rat-tail for 20 years, and always joked that when Matthew mar-

ried he would cut his rat-tail, so to the crowd’s delight, Matthew chopped it off during the reception,” said Rachel. MOST WORTH-IT SPLURGE Since the couple kept expenses low for the ceremony and reception, they were able to enjoy two weeks of travel and National Park camping for their honeymoon. BEST PLACE TO SAVE MONEY? “Food. We saved by not catering a sitdown dinner and opted for casual food (Chipotle) that suited the warm summer temps,” said Rachel. FAVORITE MOMENT? Rachel said her favorite moment was

the performance of Matthew’s song, while Matthew’s was the first dance. ADVICE TO FUTURE BRIDES AND GROOMS: The couple advises to not sweat the small stuff. “Do the wedding for you, not for everybody else. At the end of the day, your wedding is for you and should reflect your tastes and perspectives. Don’t feel beholden to what someone else thinks your wedding should look like,” said Matthew.

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WAYS TO TREAT GUESTS Metro Creative Content

Weddings may focus on the couples getting hitched, but weddings also are special thanks to the many family and friends couples involve in the festivities. Some of the more successful weddings are ones in which couples honor their guests and let them know how much they’re appreciated. By incorporating these ideas into their wedding ceremonies and receptions, couples can let their guests know how much they’re loved.

· Arrange seats at the ceremony (if practical) in a circular pattern around you so that everyone can have a great view when you exchange vows. · Create a bathroom convenience basket for both the men’s and women’s bathrooms. Stock items that might come in handy, like mouthwash, toothpaste, first aid items, spare pantyhose, hair spray, sanitary products, moisturizer, gum, and whatever other niceties you can think of. · Provide prearranged to-go boxes so that guests can take home tasty tidbits from the meal or dessert table. · Offer transportation between the ceremony and reception. · Customize “do not disturb” door tags for overnight guests so they can ensure they get enough shut-eye after partying into the wee hours of the morning. · Make sure the photographer takes photos of everyone at every table and then share those photos on a wedding website or via social media. Create a hashtag unique to your wedding so that guests can easily find the photos. · Provide inexpensive slippers or flip-flops so that avid dancers can rest their toes in between songs.

· If valet parking service is not included, ask for an add-on so that guests get door-to-door treatment. · Always be considerate of special needs by seating guests in places where they’re most likely to be comfortable. Keep elderly guests away from speakers and near exits to facilitate trips to the bathroom. · Be mindful of all food allergies or requirements and have accommodations set up in advance. · Honor those people who could not be at the wedding in a special way, including deceased family and friends. · Include information about how guests can request songs at the reception. Pass on the information to the band or DJ. · Encourage guests to get up and dance by making it fun. Put song lyrics from different songs on each table. When that song is played, that table has to join you on the dance floor. · Remember to thank everyone for coming and follow up those in-person sentiments with handwritten, personalized thank-you notes after the wedding.




TO ENGAGEMENT RINGS Metro Creative Content

Engagement rings are often sizable investments. Money magazine reports the average engagement ring costs around $5,800. An engagement ring symbolizes the start of a lifelong commitment and may even set the tone for a couple’s wedding day. Jewelry styles are personal, and grooms-to-be should carefully research their significant others’ preferences in terms of precious metals, colors and gemstones. Even though tradition holds that a diamond gemstone is classic for engagement rings, these precious stones are not the only options. In fact, before World War II, just 10 percent of proposals involved diamond engagement rings. That number jumped to 80 percent by 1990. However, many modern couples now lean toward other offerings not only for the uniqueness they provide, but also for the potential cost savings. Those seeking something unique can embrace these engagement ring options.

· Amethyst: This vibrant, lavender-hued stone can be breathtaking when cut the correct way. Purple shades have long been associated with royalty, making an amethyst fitting for such an occasion as special as an engagement. Because amethysts, which are less expensive than diamonds, are a seven on the Mohs scale for gemstone hardness, they can be very durable. · Knot rings: These rings do not have a center stone. Rather, they’re designed to be a tied knot or infinity symbol. These rings can be particularly sentimental as they represent true, unbroken love. · Opal: Gemstones, like flowers, have been assigned certain meanings. Tying the engagement ring to one of them can infuse more symbolism into the relationship. Opal, for example, represents love, passion, creativity, spontaneity, and inspiration. Those traits seem tailor-made for surprise proposals.

· Sapphire: While sapphire stones often are blue, they can also be yellow, green, pink, and white. Sapphires are the third hardest mineral. A white sapphire can be the perfect diamond replacement. · Garnet or ruby: Red is the definitive color of love. A Valentine’s Day proposal can be made even more special by presenting an engagement ring with a red gemstone. · Moissanite: The jewelry source Brilliant Earth says moissanite is a gemstone first discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan in a meteorite that fell to earth. It is remarkably similar to a diamond in appearance and strength. Moissanite also has heightened brilliance, with a refractive index higher than that of a diamond.

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10 Saturday, January 25, 2020



AUGUST 31, 2019




An alumni weekend at Virginia Tech is what brought Taryn Burke and Sam Mattern together in spring of 2014. She was a senior, he was an alumnus who was visiting from Charlotte, N.C., and mutual friends made the introduction. In July, Taryn moved down to Charlotte for a new job and the two soon reconnected. They began dating in November of that year. The big moment happened in November 2018 just before a trip home to Winchester, where Taryn would be visiting her family for the weekend. The two went on a hike at McAfee Knob near Roanoke, and once they reached the top, Sam proposed. “When Sam proposed, I felt like a mixed bag of good emotions. I was excited, I was happy, I was surprised, I was joyful — I was feeling so many different emotions at one time that I wasn’t even sure how to react!” said Taryn.

By JENNY BAKER The Winchester Star

Photography by Julie Napear Photography www.jsnphoto.com



Tips SELECTING THE VENUE Taryn said that they knew they wanted to get married in her hometown. One major consideration for venue selection was convenience for guests. “We loved the fact The George Washington Hotel is beautiful, historic and ultimately in the heart of downtown,” said Taryn. MAKE IT PERSONAL Taryn and Sam made the wedding personalized through their signature cocktail, which was named “The Cooper,” after their dog, Cooper. Another fun touch was the wedding favors. “Our guests still talk about our favors to this day. Sam and I often cook together


and we love finding and using different herbs and spices. We had personalized spices (Zesty Italian and Fiery Chili Powder) made with a picture of us on them!” she said. MOST WORTH-IT SPLURGE “Get a well-renowned DJ that understands the crowd and is able to read the room,” Taryn advised. “You know you have a great DJ when guests of all ages are on the dance floor having the time of their lives!” FIRST DANCE “Blessed” by Thomas Rhett

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BEST PLACE TO SAVE MONEY? “Wedding programs, without a doubt. Unfortunately, the wedding programs are only used for a brief moment and then they usually end up in the trash,” said Taryn.

ADVICE TO FUTURE BRIDES AND GROOMS: “Don’t get caught up in all the details — what really matters is the fact that everyone attending your wedding is there to see and celebrate your love!” said Taryn.

FAVORITE MOMENT? “When the song ‘Shout’ came on during Local vendors: Wedding Planner: Felicia Owens-Smith with Celebrathe reception and all of our Hokie tions Made Simple friends lifted Sam and I up in chairs as Venue/Catering: The George Washington Hotel we sang along! I have to admit, it was a Photographer: Julie Napear with Julie Napear tad bit frightening but absolutely unfor- Photography DJ: J.D. Ringer with The DJ Connection gettable,” she said. Flowers: Andrea Harrison Mongold with Flowers by Snellings Hair/Makeup: SAS Studio & Salon Cake: Kimberly Worthington with The Lucky Cakery

WINTER BRIDAL GUIDE Wedding Cakes, All-Occasion Cakes, Cupcakes & More — Since 1984 —

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Sweet Tooth Bakery

• Showcases full of cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cakes, chocolates and sugar-free chocolates • Many fantastic flavors: yellow, white, lemon, strawberry, red velvet, snickerdoodle, chocolate, ganache, peanut butter, whip, raspberry, gluten-free, vegan, etc. • Over 35 years of cake decorating expertise, numerous references, delivery to many areas • Custom all-occasion cakes – talented decorators can create 3D designs for birthdays, etc. • Edible picture cakes • Cake toppers • Huge selection of cake & candy-making supplies

Come sample our delicious cake and cupcakes with “not too sweet’’ icing and discuss any design 3034 Valley Ave., Suite 110, Winchester





Each year, millions of couples around the world tie the knot. But before couples walk down the aisle, the proposal to get married must take place. Many couples mutually agree to get engaged, while the experience may be a surprise for others who have thought about it, but may not have been sure when one partner or another would “pop the question.” Upon getting engaged, couples may ponder how long their engagement should last. There is no perfect answer, and engagement length typically depends on personal preference and the needs of the couple. In fact, according to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, the average length of an engagement is 14.5 months. A number of factors af fect the length of a couple’s engagement, and couples should not feel as if they need to hurry down the aisle. For example, couples who will be financing their own weddings may need a longer engagement than those whose parents will be chipping in. In such instances, longer engagements give couples more time to save and may

help them ensure their weddings are everything they hoped for. Others may prefer a shorter engagement if they are financially stable and prepared to tie the knot. Couples in their late 30s may feel the tug of a biological clock and want to ensure there is ample time to get married and have children. A shorter engagement can facilitate that. Some couples may have little choice in the matter, as the length of their engagements may be dictated by the availability of their favorite venues. Military deployment, work commitments, medical issues, or travel responsibilities also may affect the length of an engagement. Some couples may feel that an especially lengthy engagement diminishes their excitement about getting married. That “new engagement shine” can wear off as family and friends wait months or years for the wedding to take place. Couples generally are advised to stick with what feels right to them regarding the length of their engagements. Just like all aspects of the wedding, couples can weigh the opinions of others but follow through with what works best for them.




The warm, undulating light cast off by a candle adds an unmatched ambiance to a space. Multiply that candle by many and it can create a truly awe-inspiring atmosphere. Candlelight is a must at any evening wedding and can be a key to a successful par ty as guests tend to loosen their inhibitions in a dimly lit room. While candlelight can add a warming glow to post-wedding festivities, it can play a significant role during the ceremony itself. Flickering flames within a dimly lit chapel or alternative ceremony site can establish an intimate setting in which a couple exchanges vows. Candles can even become a focal point

of the ceremony. For example, some couples may opt to light a unity candle during their ceremonies. The unity candle symbolizes the joining of the families and merging of two individuals into one blended family. Representatives from both families, typically the parents of the couple, come up and light a candle for each side of the family. Then the bride and groom will light a center candle from these two candles. The center candle then represents the unity of the new family and their commitment to each other. Apart from the unity candle, there may be other ways candles play a role in the ceremony. They can be religious and secular. Candles can symbolize different things, including:

· casting away darkness and showing how love can brighten life, · candles can provide direction and draw couples together, · a candle can represent the love that lights up the couple’s world, and · the warmth of a relationship mirrored in the warmth of the candle.

Apart from symbolism and ambiance, there is an added benefit to including candles in a wedding ceremony. Brides magazine says that the amber light given off can make for beautiful photos as well. Speak with a photographer about the best ways to arrange candles to fully take advantage of their photographic potential.

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Wedding cakes: MAKE A STATEMENT Metro Creative Content

Brides and grooms may pour over ever y detail of their weddings, but few components of the festivities may be as fun, especially for foodies, as deciding what the wedding cake will look like. Couples who want to deliver show-stopping visuals often express some measure of their creativity and personalities through statement wedding cakes. Many couples now eschew the classic three-tiered white cake in favor of a dessert that garners instant attention. Whether the cake is brightly colored or hand-painted, a towering architectural marvel or shimmering in metallics, couples are opting to make a statement with their confections. Apart from clever cake-toppers, here are ways to stand apart when dessert is served.

Sexi-Mexi food is a freshly prepared, cross-cultural fusion that knows no boundaries – made with a blend of regionally sourced and home-made ingredients.

· According to the Perfect Wedding Guide, a rising trend in cakes is to cover a white or naked cake with translucent glaze tinted in the couple’s wedding colors. This artistic expression can be especially stunning in boho-chic weddings. · Statement tiers also are popular. The cake may be traditional in nearly every way, but couples then set the cake apart by featuring an elaborate design or a different hue in one tier. · Martha Stewart Weddings advises that more than just color can be used to make a statement. Lifelike sugar flowers can really set cakes apart. Guests

k a M

may not be sure if they can consume all aspects of some cakes. But delicate sugar flowers taste as good as they look. · Hand-painted tiles on a cake are another way to add panache. A bride and groom may be inspired by a European vacation or the stained-glass effects of religious windows and want to add that feel to the tiers of the cake. · Sometimes a statement comes by way of texture. Even an allwhite cake can be dressed up with interesting textural effects. Ruffles, lace, embossing, and 3-D rosettes are different textural components that can be incorporated in cake designs.

ur Wedding S o Y e e


· Couples also may want to tell their unique stories with cake. Individual tiers designed to reflect various milestone moments from the couple’s relationship can be quite engaging. · Capitalizing on the trend of edgier weddings, couples may opt for darker hues on their cakes - even a black tier - or nontraditional geometric shapes to the cake itself or its design elements.

Sample food options range from a self-service taco or tostada bar to fusion burritos. Treat everyone to Mama Donna’s famous empanadas. Whether you’re looking for our food truck to bring the party to you or prefer a more formal, catered affair, we would love to talk to you about how Sexi-Mexi can bring fresh, homemade fare to your wedding! Contact us today to discuss your upcoming catering needs.

Our Sexi-Mexi catering style is dynamic and memorable for the palate. Our team is lively and we can accommodate any budget big or small. We’d be happy to discuss a custom menu tailored for your specific needs.

https://burritobar.sexi-mexi.com/catering sexi.mexi.burritos@gmail.com




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Catering: CONSIDERING GUESTS’ NEEDS Metro Creative Content

Gone are the days when wedding reception menus were limited to the one-size-fits-all offerings of meat, chicken or fish. Thanks to modern diets, couples hoping to accommodate guests may need to provide a wide array of food choices. It is impossible to pinpoint an exact number, as there are no definitive surveys classifying all dietary preferences, but there are believed to be around 7.9 million people in the United States who follow a vegetarian-based diet. Of those people, around one million are strictly vegan, according to data in The Economist. In addition, NYU Langone Health says one-third of Americans are trying to avoid gluten. The Gluten Free Agency, which is a consulting group dedicated to helping advertisers, says some nine million people in Canada are going gluten-free now for medical or personal reasons. Toss in the scores of people with peanut or other allergies and even more caution is needed when designing wedding menus. Savvy couples who have guests’ health and comfort in mind recognize the importance of offering a varied meal plan for wedding-related parties and receptions. The following are some ideas to consider when planning wedding menus.



Consider a buffet-style service. Although couples might like the tradition and flair that a seated/plated meal offers, it creates a much more limited selection of meal options. Buffet-style dinner service often provides couples with multiple choices, and it’s much more likely they can come up with a combination that caters to any food allergies or dietary restrictions guests may have.

Opt for food stations. In lieu of one long buffet table, a modern approach is to have staffed food stations. Foods as well as their ingredients can be clearly stated on food table placards so guests can make appropriate choices.


Offer alternatives for dessert. Wedding cake can be a challenge to someone with a gluten sensitivity or an egg or a nut allergy. While not every guest indulges in dessert, make it a point to offer an alternative to cake. Perhaps a groom’s cake can be revamped into gluten-free cookie bars or a nut-free trifle.

WEST OAKS FARM MARKET & EVENT VENUE • 3,500 square feet • Wooden Ceiling Beams • Floor-to-Ceiling Stone Fireplace 7 Windows • Wooden Trim • Oil Lamp Sconces • Large Rustic Restrooms • French Doors Bridal Suites • Central Air Our wedding venue sits hilltop in the center of our 200-acre family farm just 4 miles from Winchester! The venue overlooks our beautiful rolling hills of apple orchards, crops, and green pasture fields followed by a view for miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains, highlighting the breathtaking scenery to be found in the Shenandoah Valley. Our venue supports weddings of all shapes and sizes looking for that rustic essence of being in the countryside with a classic farm wedding, but also accommodating the comfort of a climate-controlled, rustic, and spacious banquet room.

4305 Middle Road, Winchester wofmarket@gmail.com www.westoakfarm-market.com

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CONSIDER A DELAYED honeymoon A delayed honeymoon could mean a more gratifying trip By ELIZABETH KIEFER Special To The Washington Post

Last November, when my now-husband and I got married, we registered for contributions to our honeymoon. “Where are you going?” everyone wanted to know. We didn’t have an answer. Between all the time, money and energy that went into the ceremony and reception, travel plans were on the back burner. And we’re not alone. Once again, the definition of a “honeymoon” seems to be changing. The word “honeymoon” dates to the fifth centur y, when wedded couples would drink mead (sweet wine) during the first month, or moon, of marriage. In Victorian England, it meant visiting family and friends who couldn’t attend the wedding. Only later would the meaning evolve into a romantic holiday for two. But while it was once de rigueur for the happy couple to depart right after the reception, delayed honeymoons are increasingly common, according to wedding industry experts and insiders. According to honeymoon trend data from the industr y platform WeddingWire, couples who report leaving one to two days after the wedding have declined by 13% since 2015. When you consider both wedding and travel trends, it often makes sense to delay a honeymoon. Lindsay Landman, a wedding and event planner based in New York City, attributes the shift to the evolution of wedding timetables. “It used to be that you got married on a Saturday, had your ceremony and reception, and then everyone went on their merry way,” says Landman. “Now it’s very infrequent for a wedding to be a one-day affair.” Today’s celebrations often unfold over the course of an entire weekend, with welcome drinks the night before, activities the day of the ceremony and brunch the day after. By the time it’s all over, couples might need some time to decompress before jetting off on a honeymoon. The rise of the destination wedding has played a role, too. “The number one reason people say they want to do a destination is that they want to be able to spend time with people,” says Landman. The result is a group vacation that culminates with “I do,” a trip that precludes many couples from immediately embarking on another voyage. Destination weddings not only require additional expenses but additional vacation days. “You can’t just leave your job on a Thursday evening. Now, you have to leave on a Tuesday night,” says Landman. “Even if you’re not flying, you’re packing up and doing a mini-vacation for the wedding itself.” Delaying a honeymoon makes sense from a travel planning perspective, as well. Stephanie Park is the co-founder of Journy, an online millennial-focused travel agency that provides users with personalized itineraries. “We either see people who are planning honeymoons really, really early, or they’ve already been married for a while, and now they have the free time to devote to planning the perfect trip,” says Park. And she means perfect. “With honeymoons, most times it’s a once in a life


time experience, you’ve saved up all this money for your wedding and your honeymoon,” says Park. “It’s a lot of pressure to put on a single trip. You do need the time to plan.” And if you see travel as the competitive sport it has become on social media, you might feel the compulsion not just to design a never-to-be-forgotten trip for two, but to curate a vacation that will make your Instagram followers envious. Other couples also need to recover financially before they can take a dream trip. According to the most recent data from wedding site the Knot, the national average cost of a wedding in 2018 was $29,200; of a honeymoon, $5,342. “Some people need a little breathing room to recoup and reinvest,” says Landman. And waiting allows them to make use of a honeymoon fund. Couples can register on sites such as Journy, Honeyfund and others. There are more intangible benefits. Delaying helps anticipation, as well as finances, grow. “Doing it six months, a year, even 18 months later gives you something to look forward to,” says Rachel Sussman, a therapist who specializes in marriage and relationships. Planning the trip and traveling together is also good for your marriage, Sussman adds. She recommends that people planning a honeymoon - or really any vacation - make time to really talk about what they want from that trip, down to the way they expect to spend the days. “People really need to have that conversation and get on the same page,” she says. “Do you want to see every site there is? Do you want to relax and sleep in? Talk to each other and figure that out before you go.” But don’t let the opportunity to go somewhere slip away, because traveling together has benefits. “We all have a tendency to get caught up in our daily routine,” Sussman says. “Sometimes you can get into a rut and it can feel

See Honeymoons, Page 18



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PLANNING A DAYTIME wedding Metro Creative Content

Weddings dot the social calendars of millions of people across the globe. The Association for Wedding Professionals International says every year an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the United States and approximately 150,000 per year are performed in Canada. Evenings are the most common time of the day to host a wedding, but that does not mean a daytime wedding cannot be a beautiful event and make for a party to remember. Couples are increasingly customizing their weddings to be a reflection of their personal styles. One of the ways couples are customizing their festivities is by moving the wedding to various hours of the day that meet the couple’s needs. A wedding that takes place in the late morning or afternoon may be the perfect fit for some couples. Here’s how to navigate the specifics of a daytime wedding.

· Secure accommodations. An early wedding means guests may have to travel from afar the evening before to be able to attend the festivities. Daytime weddings can be complemented by working with a hotel or bed and breakfast to ensure guests will have a place to stay and get ready to arrive at the early wedding in time. · Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices. The wedding resource Bridal Guide says that vendors are typically more amenable to price discounts or offering greater value for daytime weddings. That’s because demand for their services is reduced during the day. Similarly, venues may have more availability during the day than at night, and, as a result, they’re more flexible on prices, especially since brunch foods generally cost less than dinner entrees.

· Hire the right photographer. Be sure to contract with a photographer who is a pro at handling photos in daylight and natural light. While many photographers are skilled in any light, many are used to shooting in churches and venues with low lighting. Be sure to see picture samples taken during the daytime to gauge a photographer’s daytime experience and skill level. · Employ color to add dimension. During evening weddings, lighting or candles help set the mood. Those same elements will be ineffective in daylight. Choose bright colors for your decor and flowers to brighten up spaces.

· Choose alternative entertainment. Chances are guests are not going to feel as comfortable dancing during daylight hours. Consider other entertainment, such as lawn games, karaoke, or a comedian. A guitarist or pianist may be a nice musical touch. · Plan food accordingly. Just because the wedding is early does not mean the food should be. Guests still will need to eat. If you are only opting for light appetizers and cocktails, be sure to mention this on the invitation so guests can plan ahead and won’t go hungry.


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ARE PRIVATE VOWS RIGHT for you? Metro Creative Content

Weddings are very special occasions for two people who are in love. That’s why many couples want close family and friends nearby when they tie the knot. But even the happiest couples may express some nervousness about one particular part of traditional wedding ceremonies. Wedding vows are a way for couples to profess their love for each other. However, many couples who want to write their own vows are hesitant to say them aloud in front of an audience. If couples are intimidated by a heartfelt recital of their vows in front of a crowd, then exchanging vows in private may be for them. Wedding planners and industr y experts say that private vows have become ver y popular. While the vows do not replace the public exchange that seals the marriage from a legal standpoint, they can be words shared in a private moment before the actual ceremony itself. A quiet moment alone allows couples to shed private tears and share a special moment before they make haste for the altar. The Knot, a premier wedding planning resource, notes that there are many reasons to share private vows. Ask yourself these questions:

· You do not like being in the spotlight or become shy in front of crowds. · There are words you would like to share with your future spouse that are deeply private, and you don’t want to express those feelings to every person at the wedding. · You do not want to censor your thoughts or words. · You desire an intimately private and personal moment together before all of the fanfare and rush of the wedding. · You’d like to recite loving words in a native language that some guests may not understand. · You desire the potential for some very great candid photos if you invite the photographer to be there at a distance. · You want to create a lasting memory that is only yours as a couple to share.

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Saturday, January 25, 2020 19


are on the rise

Metro Creative Content

Brides and grooms once felt compelled to conform to the trappings of traditional weddings. From uber-romantic vows to pastel colors to the penultimate white tiered cake, various wedding components were long considered must-haves. But modern couples are increasingly expressing their individuality, and even embracing more edgy and adventurous elements, when planning their weddings. According to The Knot, a leading bridal resource and information site, today’s weddings are not what they were just a few years ago. Bold colors, exotic cakes and nontraditional foliage, are just some of the elements modern couples are embracing to set their weddings apart.

Adventurous locales. Vineyards and catering halls can be great places to tie the knot, but couples who like to push the envelope are looking to more adventurous locales to impart their unique spin on their weddings. Sharing vows atop a mountain crest at the end of a favorite hiking trail or on a roller coaster at a theme park that harkens back to a first date are some adventurous places to tie the knot. Outside-the-box menus. Couples may want to break with tradition by offering a wide selection of foods at their receptions. These foods can include items that fit with their specific ethnic cuisines, gourmet comfort foods (think cocktail franks wellington), or foods that fit with their dietary choices, such as organic or vegan options. Work with a caterer to provide a variety of tasty choices.

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Bold wardrobe choices. Brides can put new spins on their gowns by adding color and texture. Sequins, bold embroidery, shorter hemlines, and whatever adventurous fashion style you want to impart can be considered. If white isn’t your thing, that’s okay, too. Yellow and slate gray look great together. Gentlemen can choose to wear a black suit or any combination of color and style they want to make a dramatic impression. Full of flavor. Cakes don’t have to be white with white buttercream. In fact, couples can make things even more tasty by incorporating favorite flavor combinations into their cakes. For example, a chocolate and caramel filling reminiscent of a candy bar might be something to consider.

Honeymoons From Page 16 And even if it isn’t the perfect vacation, that can be good for the marriage, too. “If you end up with a bad experience, it’s good to have to figure out how to handle that together. What if one of you gets sick? What if there’s a problem?” she says. “It’s a little microcosm of your relationship and a good way to use your skills together; being outside of your comfort zone together is a good thing.” As for my own honeymoon, we wait-

ed for a variety of reasons, including all of the above: wedding expenses, lack of vacation days, time-intensive planning. Our research started about six months after tying the knot. Eleven months after our wedding day, we spent two weeks hiking, swimming and relaxing on a trio of remote Greek islands. But by far the best thing about waiting was that it extended the bubbly feeling of being “just married” and the celebration of our life together.


20 Saturday, January 25, 2020


All about RECEPTION LIGHTING RENTALS Metro Creative Services

Couples experiment with various trends to make their wedding receptions unique. One of the more popular trends in recent years involves utilizing lighting in innovative ways. Modern couples are using lighting to add drama and other special effects to their weddings in various ways. While lighting may have not been on many couples’ radars in the past, it is now being used to create a wow factor. Couples interested in adding extra lighting to their weddings can utilize these tips to make their receptions a sight to behold.

· Illuminated letters/words: Illuminated letters can be used as a trendy monogram in lieu of ice sculptures or framed initials. Illuminated words that describe how you feel as a couple or words that describe you both are fun, too. · Uplighting: Uplighting is a popular lighting trend and a great way to transform a venue, according to the wedding resource Rent My Wedding. Uplights are essentially small lights that are put on the floor around the perimeter of the space or underneath key design elements. The lights will shine up and create immediate drama. · Gobo projector: Many people have probably never heard of a gobo. Also known as monogram lighting, gobo, which stands for “goes before optics,” is a growing, special effects-heavy trend. A gobo projector projects an image on a wall or dance floor. It can be used to showcase a monogram, names or wedding date.

· String lights: Christmas-inspired lights are not exclusive to the holiday season. When strung around tree boughs, ceiling rafters or other architectural elements of a reception hall, these lights can be breathtaking. It Girl Weddings suggests hanging them against an exposed brick wall to light up the space and add drama. Bistro lights are similar to string lights and can be used as well. · Hanging candles: The warming glow from candles can be used to transform spaces instantly and create great photo opportunities. Candles can be hung as makeshift chandeliers over banquet tables or used as sconces on walls for antique appeal.

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22 Saturday, January 25, 2020


Flowers: THE BIGGER, THE BETTER Metro Creative Content

Move over bouquets and centerpieces. Flowers are taking over weddings in a big way. While wedding trends come and go, flowers will always have a place at the wedding table. The blooms brides and grooms choose and how they decide to display them can say much about the couple’s style. Many modern couples are opting for statement pieces with their flowers to rival the big and bold ideas they’re incorporating elsewhere into their occasions, such as in cakes and clothing. In fact, floral designer Tom Uberuaga says traditional hurricane vase centerpieces are outdated and only focus the eye on the middle of the table. He prefers guests enter the wedding and have their senses stimulated by flowers from all angles. Large flower installations, as well as blooms popping up in unexpected places, are some of the hot trends for couples to keep their eyes on.

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Floral chandeliers

Fairy-tale flowers

There’s no need to worry about seeing over table centerpieces or flowers getting in the way of photo moments. Thanks to hanging flowers and floral chandeliers, flowers are quite literally moving up in the world. Hanging floral pieces can add instant drama and make a large visual impact. Florists can hang flowers from beams over tabletops to increase visual impact, whether as individual baskets, single stems or floral swags. Hanging floral chandeliers are dramatic but naturally expensive. Think about a large installation that forces guests to look up into a sea of greenery and flowers. The smell and the sight can be breathtaking.

A floral curtain of hanging flowers can line a chuppah or drape the altar in beautiful blooms. Couples who would like a fairy-tale entrance also can make their debut as a couple by coming through a flower curtain at the reception. Martha Stewart Weddings says a cascade of flowers and greens can be romantic and elegant.

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Why should wreaths only be reserved for front doors and holiday decor? A welcome floral wreath can be placed by the entryway to a chapel or reception hall with a heartfelt sentiment that shows guests how much they’re appreciated.

Dance floor blooms Who says flowers have to be overhead or on a table? With a plexiglass dance floor, or one made from some other transparent material, flowers can be underfoot, creating a magical floral carpet.

Floral necklaces Brides needn’t carry their bouquets, they can wear ethereal and whimsical floral pieces around their necks or on their waists instead.



Saturday, January 25, 2020 23

Favors: HOW THEY’VE CHANGED Metro Creative Content

Wedding favors have changed - and in many cases for the better. Favors have evolved from the inexpensive trinkets purchased in bulk into more personalized mementos that guests can cherish. Today’s couples are interested in customizing their weddings and offering guests something meaningful, or at the very least, edible, so that favors don’t immediately get relegated to the trash can. According to Heather Jones of Wente Vineyards in California, favors have moved from “goodie bags” toward items that are experimental and fun. Wedding planners from across the country offer these wedding favor trends that couples may want to incorporate into their own celebrations.

Welcome bags

Charitable donations

Rather than take-home bags, welcome bags have replaced the traditional favor trinket at some weddings. Many weddings have become multi-day events that ask guests traveling from out of town to attend a wedding weekend. To help greet them and make their experience memorable, couples may fill a gift bag with items guests can use or enjoy during their stay - like a bottle of locally sourced maple syrup or some handmade soaps from a nearby shopkeeper.

Some couples feel that favors are wasteful and would rather set aside a portion of their wedding budgets toward giving back. In such situations, a donation to charity in guests’ names can be the way to go. Guests can vote on two favorite charities advertised on a special table at the wedding reception. The one with the most votes will get the proceeds.

Experience gifts Instead of a candle or a monogrammed cake server, think of experiences to offer guests. A coupon for free drinks at a nearby brewery, a tour of a local attraction while guests are in town or a group excursion for guests attending a destination wedding can be fun and will help guests create lasting memories.

Late-night snacks After a night of celebrating, some guests may want the festivities to continue, but may need some extra sustenance to make it through a few more hours. Some couples are eschewing traditional favors in lieu of making room for extra food or beverage expenses that can include after-party treats. These may run the gamut from wood-fired pizzas to food truck vendors to extra desserts. A tasty take-home option also may be given, such as fresh zeppolis or beignets, or even a personalized bottle of wine. Even if the food and drink is not consumed right away, there’s a good chance it will hit the spot when guests return to their hotel rooms.

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24 Saturday, January 25, 2020


BAND OR DJ? How about both? PROS FOR DJS

PROS FOR BANDS Metro Creative Content

Few elements can make or break a couple’s wedding day more than entertainment. While factors like the weather are beyond couples’ control, ensuring guests have an oppor tunity to dance or sing along to some good music is something couples can emphasize as they plan their weddings. When it comes to music, the two main options for weddings are a live band or a disc jockey. Each has its share of advantages and disadvantages.

A live band may be more expensive, but it can get the crowd excited.

A DJ is a popular choice, and today’s DJs are often artists in their own right.

A good bandleader also acts as a master of ceremonies and can pay attention to the vibe of the room, tailoring a playlist around that overall mood.

They know just how to select and seamlessly mix music to create the mood and really keep the party going.

Bands offer live performances, which adds an extra special element to the occasion that can’t be replicated at home.

Couples who prefer to hear original versions of particular songs - especially for their first dance song - often prefer DJs. The popular wedding planning resource The Knot also says that it is often no problem for a DJ to find and play a song from an extensive digital library, while bands may not be able to learn and perform a song in time.


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Couples who can be flexible with their entertainment budgets may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. There is nothing that says a wedding cannot feature both a live band and a DJ. Such a wedding may just take a little more planning. Consider the scenario of bringing in a band for the cocktail hour and perhaps an hour or more during the dinner service of the reception when live music can accompany the meal. After that, a DJ can take over and drive the festivities up another notch with a late-night dance party.

Some music vendors also do a combination of live and prerecorded music. They may have live singers who accompany recorded tracks, or digital instruments like keyboards and drum pads that can enhance recorded songs. These also are options when selecting wedding music. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to setting the soundtrack for a wedding. A band, DJ or combination thereof can make the occasion even more memorable.



Saturday, January 25, 2020 25

WEDDING PLANNING tips and tricks Metro Creative Services

Recently engaged couples are often so swept up in the excitement surrounding their engagements that they can be forgiven for initially overlooking all the wedding planning that awaits them. Planning a wedding is no small task, but many couples very much enjoy all the hard work that goes into making their special day a success. It’s hard for newly engaged couples who have never before planned a wedding to know what awaits them. But the following tips can help make the wedding planning process go smoothly.

· Find your organization method. Organization is the key to pulling off the wedding of your dreams. Whether your organizational style is best served by jotting details like dates and deposit deadlines down in a notebook or utilizing an online spreadsheet or smartphone app, choose your method early on. Keeping information and reminders in one place can make it easier to manage all the tasks that lie ahead. · Discuss the budget openly and honestly. Did you know a New York City wedding can cost $77,000, according to Money magazine? Wedding costs can vary widely, and couples should sit down together to decide what they can afford and are willing to pay for.

· Take your time. There’s no rush to the altar. Feel free to extend the engagement long enough to keep stress levels down and get the location and ceremony of your dreams. Many recently engaged couples feel pressured to get married right away. Stretching out the engagement to save money or give yourself more time to plan can make for a wonderful wedding day. · Create a priorities list. Make a list of at least three things that are most important for each of you. It may be the ceremony location, the food or another factor. Knowing what is important can help you negotiate prices and understand what to look for when planning.


· Decide on a guest list. Planning decisions are often based around the projected number of guests. You’ll need to have a ballpark figure regarding guests before you can choose a venue and make other decisions, such as where guests will stay. And if the majority of guests are coming from a certain area, such as your hometown, you may want to bring the wedding to them instead of asking them to come to you.

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HOW TO PLAN A wedding ceremony Metro Creative Content

Months of planning is par for the course for couples about to tie the knot. Much of that planning concerns the reception, and rightfully so. Receptions last longer than ceremonies, and couples are often involved in every reception detail, from picking the appetizers to serve during cocktail hour to choosing the final song before everyone calls it a night. But it’s equally important that couples devote considerable attention to their wedding ceremonies. A wedding ceremony might not last long, but it is the most crucial component of a couple’s wedding day and can even set the tone for the rest of the festivities. From choosing readings to honoring loved ones to immersing oneself in his or her faith, these tips can help couples plan their perfect ceremony.

· Give the ceremony equal footing with the reception. Spend time trying to put a personalized spin on the preceedings, whether that entails writing your own vows or choosing moving music that means something to you. When given ample attention, seemingly minor details can make for a special, memorable ceremony. · Decorate the ceremony space. While the altar and aisle are key places to draw attention, couples also can dress up the chairs/pews, ceiling (if allowed), and entrance to the space to make it welcoming and romantic.

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· Choose a ceremony location that is close to the reception site. If a ceremony will take place in a house of worship, try to choose a reception venue close to the ceremony site. This keeps guests, some of whom may be out-of-towners who have already traveled extensively, from spending too much time on the road during the day of the wedding.

· Get to know the officiant. The officiant should be someone with whom you both feel comfortable. This person should know you well enough that he or she can preside over the ceremony and add sentiments that come across as authentic and personalized. · Do your best to avoid especially lengthy ceremonies. Couples will need to meet the religious requirements if they are getting married in the faith, and there may be some aspects of the ceremony that you cannot cut short or modify. But if you have wiggle room, try to keep the ceremony to around 30 minutes; otherwise, you run the risk of guests getting antsy, especially if children are in the audience.



Saturday, January 25, 2020 27

Transportation: GETTING HERE TO THERE Metro Creative Content

You’ve planned the date, met with the officiant, decided on what to wear, and booked the venue. But how are you going to arrive in style? Arranging wedding transportation can be tricky, even if it seems like it’s a relatively minor detail. However, getting not only the bride and groom, as well as the rest of the bridal party and guests, from point A to point B and even point C is often a taller task than it seems. The wedding planning resource The Knot says couples should begin focusing on transportation between four and six months before their weddings. If the wedding will be held during prom or graduation season, couples may want to reserve vehicles even earlier due to high demand. While rented transportation is not necessary, it’s a luxury many couples prefer, as it allows them to leave the driving to someone else. Generally speaking, hired cars will pick up the bride and groom separately before the ceremony; otherwise, they will arrive to the ceremony by other means and then utilize a limo or other vehicle afterward. The transportation will then take the married couple and typically members of the bridal party and immediate family to the reception venue. Depending on the head count and how many other people will be getting a lift, two or more vehicles may be necessary. And since the limos will leave after the reception drop off, some other form of transportation will be necessary to take the couple and whomever else rode to the reception back home (or to the airport). This may require dropping off one or more personal cars at the reception venue in advance. Budget also will dictate if transportation is provided for other guests. The majority or guests will drive their own cars to the wedding. However, if the ceremony and reception site are far apart or if the journey is arduous and out of the way, some well-meaning couples will arrange for transport. Many times couples will have to opt for function over form when tasked with transporting a large number of people. Pricing out different options can yield the most cost-effective route, which very well may be a school or charter bus instead of several limousines. Couples can start the process by asking their reception venue for transportation recommendations. Or if there are hotel accommodations after the party, the hotel may have connections or offer shuttle services.

28 Saturday, January 25, 2020



HOW TO CUT reception costs Metro Creative Content

Weddings have a tendency to be expensive endeavors. According to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study, the national average cost of a wedding is $33,931. Nearly half of that ($15,439) is spent on the reception venue alone. As expensive as wedding receptions can be, couples should know that there are many ways to reduce reception costs without sacrificing fun.

CHOOSE FOOD WISELY Pour over the details of catering costs. The Knot says the average price for catering will be $68 per person. If you opt for an appetizers and cocktails reception, you may be able to shave several dollars off the bill. Look closely at the pricing for buffet versus plated meals. Buffet service often means having a greater quantity of food on hand, which could drive up the cost. Find out if the catering hall can work with your budget to provide cost-conscious options, like familiar comfort foods instead of gourmet fare.

SERVE A CUSTOM COCKTAIL A themed drink, such as punch or a classic spirit with a reimagined, wedding-friendly name, can be less expensive than offering full open bar service. Some couples also opt to pay for only wine and beer rather than a full open bar that includes liquor and mixed drinks.

BOOK A WEEKNIGHT Weekend weddings are easier on guests’ schedules, but not on couples’ budgets. Couples can save thousands of dollars by hosting weeknight weddings instead of weekend affairs. Book the venue from Monday through Friday, as even Sunday prices have escalated. The further away from the weekend, the lower the prices tend to be.

FAKE THE CAKE The Knot indicates a wedding cake runs roughly $530. Consider displaying a mock cake for photos and then serve a sheet cake during dessert hour. Decorating foam tiers to look like an extravagant cake can save a few hundred dollars, and guests won’t know the difference when they’re biting into a delicious, less costly dessert.

SKIP THE EXTRAS Reception venues may upcharge for all the little details, such as linens in custom colors or chair covers. If you can live without these extras, do so. Ask for a list of itemized extras so you can assess what you want to pay for and what you’d prefer to avoid.



Saturday, January 25, 2020 29

IS A VALENTINES PROPOSAL right for you? Metro Creative Content

Valentine’s Day is a special day when thoughts turn to love and romance. Couples contemplating tying the knot may feel like Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to pop the question and begin their journeys toward marriage. Even though Valentine’s Day is a very popular day to propose, it’s tricky to keep such a proposal from becoming a cliché. By considering some dos and don’ts, Valentine’s Day proposals can be unique.

DO ensure that you’re both on the same page. It’s one thing for couples who have already been talking about marriage to build on the romance of Valentine’s Day with a proposal. But it’s quite another if this is a push to wow him or her and you don’t have the same goals; it may not go according to plan. Couples are urged to have honest conversations about key topics (i.e., children, compatibility, finances, living arrangements) to see if marriage is a desire they both share. DON’T overlook the element of surprise for the proposal. Sure it is easy to have a waiter bring the ring after a meal at a favorite restaurant, but it can be

even more special to catch your sweetheart off guard. Why not propose before you get to the restaurant, such as in front of where you first met, and then you can enjoy your meal without butterflies? DO consider your sweetheart’s personality before the proposal. A shy person may not like the attention of a crowd. However, someone who loves to be the center of attention may feel that more is merrier. DON’T go overboard with the details. One or two big surprises is all it takes. The more details, the more things that can potentially go wrong, which can adversely affect the overall proposal.

DO get input from friends and family, but do not feel pressured to do it exactly as they say. A close friend can help select a ring or contribute to the surprise by keeping the special someone unaware of the plans at hand. Having a helper can make the proposal go more smoothly. DON’T feel pressured to propose on Valentine’s Day or a birthday, Christmas, or other big holiday because it’s “what you’re supposed to do.” A proposal and a marriage are unique to each couple, and individuals should abide by their preferences when making such important decisions. Only propose when it feels completely right.

30 Saturday, January 25, 2020



WHY HIRE local vendors Metro Creative Content

Local vendors are often a go-to choice when couples are planning their wedding ceremonies and receptions. As the “shop local” movement grows in popularity, weddings present a prime opportunity to embrace this movement. Couples may have different ideas regarding where to tie the knot, but local vendors can be hired regardless of geography. Brides magazine says the biggest factor influencing wedding location is the size of the guest list and the number of people who wouldn’t be able to attend if the wedding was in a particular locale. Hometowns might be the traditional choice regarding wedding location, but the XO Group says one in four couples now host destination weddings. Once couples choose a town or city to host their weddings, they can begin exploring the benefits of working with locally-based vendors.



Local vendors will be familiar with the area and possibly even the location where the wedding will be held. That can help couples avoid having to give directions, discuss venue protocols, and handle other tasks that must be worked out with non-local vendors. For example, local photographers familiar with a particular venue will know all of the best places to get shots, and some vendors may have preexisting relationships with venue representatives that could ensure wedding day operations go smoothly.

Individuals who take great strides to conserve resources by reducing their energy consumption and protecting the environment often find that shopping local is beneficial. Local vendors are more likely to source their materials from other local businesses, reducing their carbon footprints along the way. For example, local caterers may rely on local farmers for their foods, affording couples the chance to host eco-friendly or even farm-to-table weddings.

Proximity Local vendors can meet with brides and grooms more readily throughout the planning process, making things less stressful on the happy couple. This also makes it easier to drop off deposits, attend meetings, make fitting appointments, or attend styling sessions.


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Working with local vendors often translates into getting more personalized service and attention than mass retailers or merchants can provide.

Savings Couples who travel for their weddings and employ local vendors will not have to pack as much. Using local vendors eliminates the need to bring along bulky dresses, decorative items, flowers, and much more. Plus, couples needn’t pay to transport and house vendors brought along from back home.



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TAKING A HANDS-ON invitation approach Metro Creative Content

Couples have many options to design and produce their wedding invites. Invitations are a key component of wedding planning. Not only can invitations set the tone for a wedding giving guests an idea of whether it is formal or casual while offering clues to the theme - but also they are essential for conveying important information about the festivities. While it was once common to work with a specialized printing and engraving company when ordering wedding invinations, couples tying the knot now have more options. Due in large part to computer and internet access, and myriad user-friendly design applications, it’s easier than ever to design high-quality wedding invitations. According to the wedding industry survey site TheWeddingReport. com, the average price for 150 invitations and response cards is $245. To maximize efficiency and come away with wedding stationer y they will love, couples can employ the following tips and techniques.

Start with the paper The heavier the stock, the more luxurious the invitations will feel. Quality stock also costs more. Wedding invitations should be printed on substantial stock so they don’t bend or feel flimsy. Industry experts say that 100 percent cotton paper is the most costly paper. Couples can choose from linen stock and textured surfaces as well. Expect to pay more for natural or handmade papers. Those concerned about price can choose the highest-quality stock within budget and then play with other invitation elements to conserve funds.

Engraving and letterpress Engraving and letterpress techniques are an ar t form and create unique wedding invitations. Engraving creates raised lettering while let-

terpress presses the lettering into the paper. Many people do not have the equipment necessar y to produce these designs at home, and if they want a tr uly high-end invitation, they’ll need to use a professional printing service. Thermography is an alternative that can deliver raised print using heat and special inks.

Printing companies Options abound in regard to instore and online printing companies. Many companies offer self-ser vice design templates that enable customers to tweak text and placement of some graphic elements and then have the invitations printed and shipped to their homes. Companies may provide stock samples and examples of lettering so that couples can touch and see the invitations prior to placing an order.

At-home printing One of the more accessible invitation production methods is at-home printing. However, there are some limitations when printing at home. For example, couples who do not have a high-end printer may find that the text on their invitations is not as crisp and the ink may smudge. Also, paper options may be limited to what the tray feeder can accommodate. Stock that is 80 pounds or 12-point stock is preferable, but anything more may jam around the print head. It may take some trial and error (and wasted paper) to perfect alignment and achieve the desired look. DIYers also need to know about “bleed” designs. According to the advice site A Practical Wedding, bleed is a printing term for design elements or images extending beyond the trim edge so that unwanted white space is eliminated. Again, it may take some practice to get the desired look. Couples have many different options when designing their wedding invitations, and some may even be able to design and produce their own.

Best Caterer 2019 Contact the areas ‘Best Caterer’ & ‘Best BBQ’ for your personalized quote today! Catering weddings in the Shenandoah Valley for over a Decade. Let us help make your Special Day unforgettable!

Call today! 540-662-0601 www.jordanspringsmarket.com

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2020 Winter Bridal Guide  

2020 Winter Bridal Guide