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At the beginning stages of wedding planning, most brides are excited about what lies ahead. Choosing the dress, venue and cake are all exciting moments leading up the big day. But what most brides don’t realize the first time around is how daunting of a task it is to plan such an important event as a wedding. Does this sound like you?

To encourage brides to consider how important wedding planners are, we’ve compiled a list of reasons we feel wedding planners are one of the most important choices before a wedding.

1. Wedding planners have some serious connections. They know who makes the best cakes in town and who can help in last minute emergencies. Plus, they may even be able to get you a discount on certain items as they’re good at negotiating with vendors and creating customized packages.

2. They’re paid to think creatively. Having experience with past weddings (including their own, possibly) has made them capable of thinking of all the possibilities. Because they have handled so many weddings, they may be able to think of ideas that you simply would have thought of as impossible.

3. Honestly, it’s tough to take care of yourself, your job, your wedding, your friends and family, and your friends and family’s lives. Wedding planners won’t be overwhelmed by all the people and schedules that have to be worked around.

4. A wedding planner is often a good mediator between you and your fiance. Often times, decisions can be difficult when there are disagreements about important elements of the wedding and it’s tough for couples to be impartial. Allow a wedding planner into the process and you’ll find some decision-making help.

5. Tense moments are bound to arise between either you, your fiance or family members. Instead of having to deal with these yourself, or hurting feelings of those you care about, allow a wedding planner to take charge. They’re used to mediating between unhappy guests and will be better able to politely tell a drunken loved one to leave than you will.

6. They’re used to sticking to established budgets. Brides often get so excited about the wedding process that they throw caution to the wind and begin racking up charges they’ll stress over later. Let the wedding planner be a strict voice of reason for both you and your wallet.

7. What will you do if it rains at your outdoor event? What if an unwelcome guest shows up to disrupt the wedding? Will you have time and patience to deal with a late food vendor? All of these are possible, and it’s better to let a wedding planner deal with issues than to let them ruin your day.

8. If you’re having a destination wedding, how are you going to visit venues, sort out the little details and still feel comfortable about the process? Wedding planners in other areas will be able to communicate with you about all the wedding planning to-dos that you may not have the time or funds to complete.

9. Whether you’re short on friends or short on creative friends, some wedding planners will even take care of the bachelor and bachelorette parties for you. You’ll be able to communicate with them about what you do and don’t want more than you could with a best friend who may be offended you don’t like her inappropriate theme.

10. While they cost money and add to your budget, wedding planners are more often than not worth the money. The amount of stress they save couples is significant in the months leading up the wedding, allowing couples to enjoy their day without a care in the world. And even better, some wedding planers save couples more money than they actually cost.

Consider using Danah Artis at My Wedding Bag as your planner today!

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I’m very excited to share the My Wedding Bag promotional video with you! It features some great examples of Danah Artis’ work.

The Luxe Events collection will be here soon!

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We’re pretty confident in the work we do for our clients. Here are just some of the sweet things our clients have said about us.

“Danah Artis provided excellent service for me for my event One Night with the King Weekend. I just told her what I wanted and she did everything in a professional way. The place was awesome to look at; everyone was so amazed. She is a very responsible person to work with. If I were getting married, she would do my wedding. She has such an awesome gift from the Lord so give her a call today – she does everything.” – Eloise

“Danah saved us!! She is so wonderfully resourceful and extremely knowledgeable about the wedding industry. My now husband and I only had 3 months to plan our big day and Danah kept us on schedule and within our budget. She is perfect for the ‘daddy’s little girl, you can have the world bride’ or the bride of today who is doing it on her own. Danah cared for my wedding as if it was her own and went above and beyond to make our special day magical! Danah is worth her weight in gold!!” – Torrie

“Danah is amazing. She is hard-working, resourceful, helpful and on-point. I was so happy to find her during the planning process. She was the day-of coordinator for our wedding and did a fabulous job. The decor at the reception site was perfect. During the wedding, I became obsessed with details (I went a little nuts) and she had everything perfect; better than I could have imagined. She is pleasant and organized. She kept the reception on schedule and was a pleasure to work with. Thank you, Danah, for everything!” – Kelly

“We got married Saturday, April 7th, 2012. We worked with Danah Artis, who owns My Wedding Bag. She was AMAZING! We hired her to coordinate the day for the reception. The event went so smoothly; she took care of everything – even getting us our food from the buffet line before anyone was called, giving us plenty of time to mingle after. She went by the timeline, which made the reception go so smooth. We could not have done it without her!” – Joy and Wes Thompson

Are you ready to hire an event planner? Contact Danah Artis at info@myweddingbagonline.com or visit our website.

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A gentle breeze blowing, sand beneath your feet and the sun setting slowly over a lapping shore. There are few environments more calming and romantic for a bride, groom and the people they choose to spend their special day with.

Here at My Wedding Bag, we like to think we know a little something about beach weddings. We are, after all, based in Virginia Beach. To help you on your blissful day, we’ve compiled the list of five must-have elements for an evening, beach wedding.

1. The lighting

With so much natural light, beach brides won’t need much for the ceremony. The sun disappearing on the horizon, however, is the perfect opportunity to bring the romantic lighting in for the reception. Candles are a staple of romantic weddings and are even more appropriate at the beach, where their soft light can flicker in the wind. For a more chic, classic feel, lanterns are the way to go. And for a relaxed atmosphere, strung up lights between tents or poles are just right.

2. The drinks

Nothing signals summer’s arrival like fresh fruit. While fruit will likely be incorporated into the dinner hour, fruity drinks are a great way to cool down your guests and get them relaxed for the evening. Cherry limeades, melon martinis, margaritas, mojitos and sangria all have their place on the shore. For the non-alcoholic option, seltzer with a lemon or lime on the side is a cute alternative. And of course, you can’t forget the buckets of ice and bottled beers!

3. The colors

Pulling inspiration from the environment is the perfect way to begin choosing colors. While many brides opt for bright colors during the day, an evening beach wedding is made most chic by muted colors. Beige is a recurring color due to its easy, romantic feel and soft pinks add a feminine touch to the party. Most grooms and groomsmen are seen donning khakis while the bridal party brings out the feminine pink.

4. The party

The dinner hour is when brides can really show off their love for the beach. Sea shells and coral make for beautiful, natural centerpieces and seafood is the obvious menu choice. Thoughtfully packaged items like sand dollars and scented candles send off guests with a nautical touch that’s easy on the bride and groom’s budget. And, of course, what’s a beach party without a giant bonfire to dance around?

5. The dress

And of course, there’s the dress. A bride’s fashion sets the tone for the entire wedding and this is never more true than for a beach wedding. Billowy dresses with long veils are an absolute necessity at a beach wedding. The easy-going strapless gowns never get old, especially when blowing in the wind during the ceremony and photo session.

What do you like most about beach weddings? Are you planning one in the future?

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Renovated in 2007, the Vinton War Memorial is a premier event venue in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. The two-story building offers a variety of amenities including a 240 guest banquet capacity, multiple meeting and banquet rooms, elegant, yet modern décor, lustrous hardwood flooring throughout, mahogany podiums and bar units, a full ADA accessibility with ramps and an elevator , a state of the art audio system, and more!

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The Vinton War Memorial

The Vinton War Memorial was originally apart of an 11-acre memorial park that could be enjoyed by the living while honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country in World War II. A community committee began planning the memorial even before World War II had come to an end. The park was finished in 1946, the swimming pool opened in 1947, and the two-story brick building was dedicated and opened to the public on August 20, 1948.

It initially included the town library, a kitchen, numerous meeting rooms, and a ballroom. The new look honors both the tradition and past of the facility while offering guests an exceptional opportunity to have a memorable event at this community landmark.

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 The grand ballroom

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Lobby

This mansion provides a special list of nine caterers, offers linen rentals, and real china in order to provide a superb experience during your stay.

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Salmon

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Lemon Tea

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Beef

Personal, attentive service is part of every event providing services for ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner.

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Ceremony

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Reception

You are promised an attentive staff on hand at all their events, personalized customer service and attention to detail, and a complimentary use, setup, and cleanup of tables and chairs. The intention of both My Wedding Bag and Vinton War Memorial is to help create wonderfully memorable events for hosts and their guests.

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Guest lists can be one of the biggest stresses in wedding planning because it plays a large role in the venue size, meals, setting chart and much more. Guest lists can also be a challenge when deciding who to invite, whether they should bring their date or whether parents should be able to bring their kids.

There are numerous ways to go about making the guest list. First of all, if you and your fiancé haven’t had “the talk” yet discussing your dream wedding now is the time. Do you dream of a small intimate wedding with close family and friends, or a huge bash to celebrate? Agreeing on this will then delegate between a guest list of 30 or 300. Although a guest list usually doesn’t get finalized until the venue for the ceremony and reception gets selected, it’s a good idea to get a ballpark figure range. The next decision to make is how many more people can you invite within your budget.

After defining these parameters, Sharon Naylor, author of The Essential Guide to Wedding Etiquette (Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 2005), suggests creating four lists titled “A” through “D.” The “A” list includes immediate family members, closest friends, and people that you cannot imagine getting married without.

Next, of course, comes the “B” list. This includes non-immediate family such as aunts, uncles and cousins and then friends that wouldn’t be defined as your “best friends” but you still keep in contact with, friends from school would be the best example here. The “C” list includes co-workers, close neighbors, and close family friends. Lastly, the “D” list consists of distant family members, friends that you’ve lost touch with and friends of both parents.

Now, the list might be too big in comparison to the parameters you have constructed, removing people must take place starting from “D” and working your way backwards. “It sounds awful, because you don’t really want to rank the people in your life, but it does work well,” Naylor says.

A lot of situations can occur when developing a guest list such as guests bringing dates or kids. If you are on a semi-tight budget, allowing guests to bring a date just might not fit. If one of your guests is either married or in a long-term relationship, etiquette says that their partner gets an invite. Single guests however, might actually like not having to scramble to find a date and putting them at a table with other singles might even allow them to find someone special. If you can’t allow guests to bring a date, don’t cross them off the list altogether; and if they have a problem with not being allowed to bring a date, calmly resolve the issue by explaining that your budget just can not allow it.

{Photo Credit: wedd-ing.com}

Having a formal wedding ceremony and reception and not entirely sure you want parents to bring their youngsters? This is another common dilemma. If you decide against letting parents bring children, some might be inconvenienced and they may require a phone call explaining that you are having an adult-only reception. It is perfectly okay to not invite children, however, address the invitation correctly. Proper etiquette says the names on the invitation indicate who is invited, and discreetly, not invited. For example, “Mr. & Mrs. John Smith” means only the parents, however, “Mr. & Mrs. John Smith and family” means they can bring children.

After the guest list is compiled, a big weight will be lifted off your shoulders. Although this stage of planning can be a challenge, couples can work through it and make their dream wedding come true!

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