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Bridal Blog - Wedding Success

Welcome to the Shenandoah Wedding Professionals Blog!


So happy you found us! We're a group of independant wedding professionals passionate about helping brides plan the wedding of their dreams.  From a back yard gathering to a destination wedding -- we've got you covered. If you can dream it, we can help you plan it!


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By shenandoahweddi731, Nov 14 2018 03:10PM

You want an epic wedding reception, right? You want to have fun, dance to your favorite songs and have your name and everyone in your bridal party's names pronounced correctly. You want your musical entertainment to be professional, with no crackling speakers, broken microphones or inappropriate song lyrics.

Take the advice of DJ Jeff Baker, owner of Let the Good Times Roll DJ service, in business since 1996, and ask these 10 questions to those DJ's you meet with BEFORE you make the decision on who to hire to handle your wedding reception entertainment.

1) Are we guaranteed the DJ of our choice on the day of our event?

A written contract with your specific DJ protects you from unscrupulous operators.

2) How many years of experience do you have?

Experience brings knowledge of common problems and situations. Be sure your DJ has experience with your type of event.

3) May we contact your references?

References are a major part of the entertainment business.

4) Do you belong to any professional associations or trade groups?

An involved business person shows a willingness to learn, network and share ideas. Belonging to a professional trade group reflects a caring attitude.

5) Will you allow requests?

Requests should be welcome. If a song seems inappropriate, a good DJ will explain the reason and ask for an alternative selection. Professional DJ's use clean edits of any musical requests.

6) How early will you be there to set up your equipment?

An average of 60 minutes should be allowed for set up and sound check. Normally there is no additional charge for this service.

7) How will you be dressed?

Proper attire reflects a positive image to your guests.

8) Are you insured?

Insurance is a part of any legitimate business. Liability and casualty policies protect your guests and the DJ company.

9) Do you use professional gear?

Using professional sound equipment helps ensure reliable service and quality presentations.

10) Will you provide an emergency back-up system at our event?

Weddings and special events are often a once in a lifetime opportunity. A back-up system will protect your investment.

Jeff and Amy Baker, Let the Good Times Roll DJ Serivce
Jeff and Amy Baker, Let the Good Times Roll DJ Serivce

By shenandoahweddi731, Nov 5 2018 08:42PM

Lots of couples get married each year and each year new and interesting elements of the ceremony become popular. One way to make your ceremony more interesting, fun and unique is to include elements that mean something to you- things that include family members or friends.

If you have children, a twist on the candle lighting ceremony is to have each of them light a taper from your unity or family candle.

Another idea is to add a cute candy ritual; it's especially fun with M&M's. You pick a color for each child and for each parent. After they are poured into a jar, they are not only pretty but you can share them at the reception!

Recently a couple asked their grandmothers to be flower girls. It was sweet and adorable. The grandmothers were thrilled!

Last month I officiated a ceremony where the moms were the ring bearers. They held the rings until I asked them to join the couple and me. I blessed the rings, the moms kissed their child and then the bride's mom gave the ring she was holding to the bride. The ring exchange followed- it was lovely and beautiful ring exhange! So you can hear the words spoken, here is a video of the recent ring exchange:

Many times, the engagement ring is included with the ring exchange.. This ritual solves the problem of what to do with the engagement ring and can add so much to the couple's ceremony story. When I ask for the rings, the engagement ring is slipped onto my pinky and remains there until it is time to hand it to the groom to place on the bride's finger.

One couple's ring story was amazing! All of the rings from their great grandparents and their grandparents on both sides of the family were melted down and new beautiful bands including the engagement ring were created that held the blessings from the entire family! So very beautiful!

Anything you can do to share your love story is wonderful and with the right officiant, it can be amazing!

-By Sandra Lynch, Owner and Officiant, Ceremony Alchemy

By shenandoahweddi731, May 10 2017 02:58PM

Congratulations, you are engaged and planning a wedding! Finding vendors and asking how much things cost will make your eyes roll back in your head, give you cold sweats at night and possibly cause you to pass out because weddings are specialty events!

You should ask lots of questions about the vision, feel and details you want about your event, intstead of asking "how much?" first. Why? Because you have never done this before and it's not like buying a refrigerator!

Wedding professionals are specialists; they provide specialized services unique to weddings. There are lots of reasons why it may be difficult to give you an answer to your "how much," question. Wedding professionals are passionate about what they do and have systems in place to handle the variances of wedding days. They are not the Cheap guy.

For example, a disc jockey is not just the music provider but manages the pace of the reception and acts as the Master of Ceremony. You can count on a professional DJ to have your song list, know how to line you and your wedding party up for the grand entrance and create a fun-filled atmosphere at your reception.

When planning your wedding, you can purchase anything you dream up. For example, you want mason jars filled with flowers for your table centerpieces. Put carnations and baby's breath in them and it's super affordable, but add roses and exotic orchids, and it will cost you.

Looking for the lowest cost vendors for your wedding and choosing the Cheap Guy is not your best choice. The Cheap Guy will not go the extra mile, may not understand weddings and might not even show up! Why; because your wedding may not be their primary focus.

For example, several coulpes who purchased a photo booth on Groupon found out too late when the photo company didn't show up on their wedding day. Nothing is more heartbreaking than having your photographer miss the ceremony or worse the entire wedding! Unfortunately, examples like this are not uncommon and happen every day; and the loss of your precious memories cannot be retrieved. Do not purchase wedding related products or services from on online discounted site like Groupon. Due to the volume of purchases of the product and/or services, the vendors are often double booked and oversold, meaning you are out the money you spent and without services too!

In my personal experiece of watching and working with vendors at the weddings I officiate, I highly recommend hiring professionals that are willing to work together to creat the atmosphere and the look you want at your wedding.

My advice:

Hire vendors who:

1. Provide a contract

2. Have great reviews

3. Are referred by other providers

4. Are reliable, trustworthy and professional

Follow these basic steps, and you will have a great wedding experience with memories to match!

Rev. Sandra Lynch, Officiant, Ceremony Alchemy
Rev. Sandra Lynch, Officiant, Ceremony Alchemy

By shenandoahweddi731, Aug 6 2015 08:53PM

As a professional wedding planner I meet a lot of brides. When I get hired by a bride, she is usually feeling very stressed and she finally breaks and realizes she needs someone to help her that is a professional. When a bride gets engaged, she starts out excited and then in the midst of excitement she realizes there is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. She then isn’t excited anymore. Here are some common signs I see regularly when a bride realizes she needs a wedding planner.

1. You are excited about your wedding, but no one else seems to be. Your friends seem to be too busy to even help you with ideas or be excited with you. That doesn’t help the bride keep her excitement.

2. You and your fiancé are employed full time and can’t seem to find time to research, look through wedding magazines or even call wedding professionals.

3. You booked your wedding date and venue, but haven’t done anything else since then. You then realize your wedding is in like 4 months and now you want to pull your hair out.

4. You’re planning a wedding in an area where you don’t live, and no one you know does either. When you aren’t familiar with an area it’s very hard to hire the right wedding pros for your wedding day.

5. You’re addicted to Pinterest, and because of it you can’t narrow your ideas to make any cohesive design scheme.

6. You have no idea how much things cost for weddings, therefore do not know what to budget for.

7. Planning your wedding is starting to cause your stomach to ache. It’s not exciting or joyful anymore.

8. You’re fiancé says you spend too much time with planning that you don’t spend enough time with him.

9. Family members are getting too involved with planning that it’s causing conflicts. Hiring a wedding planner can help alleviate some of these issues. She/he would be a great mediator.

10. You’re so far behind you don’t know where to start to get back on track.

These are just some of the most common signs you might need a wedding planner. Planning a wedding should be exciting. It should bring some enjoyment. You can’t completely take all the stress away, but you can certainly get rid of a lot if you hire a wedding planner.

Wedding planners are there to calm you, hear you, help you, guide you etc. Their sole job is to make your life a little easier in planning the most important day of your life. They help you keep things in budget and give honest opinions. You still get to enjoy your day and the planning process without losing your mind while doing it.

Do any of these sound like you? If so, there is a perfect planner just for you. Seek her/him out and you will be so glad you did.

Renee Krejci is the owner of RCK Weddings & Design. She is a professional wedding planner, and has been in business since 2006. She plans weddings and life events in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She currently resides in Stephens City, VA with her husband and 2 children. Renee loves crafting and design and has loved events ever since she was a teenager. She had a special knack for organizing events at her church and people took notice. She absolutely enjoys what she does and hopes to continue for a long time.

By shenandoahweddi731, Mar 31 2015 09:54PM

After the "yes", the first thing most couples do is set the wedding date. Some of the obvious factors to consider when choosing a wedding date are: work schedule, season, and day of the week & location availability.

But, before you send out those save the dates, make sure you've considered all the relevant factors. Use this checklist to help ensure your wedding day is smooth.

• Weather- typical temperatures & precipitation for the wedding city

• Budget (if money is tight, off-season/off day will help)

• Bridal party & family availability

• Significant dates (anniversaries, unique dates)

• Sunrise & sunset times, daylight savings time, lunar phase- all will affect photography

• Sporting events (regional & national)

• Holidays (affect so many factors)

• Conventions (affects hotel availability/price, traffic & parking)

• Traffic/road construction for the area around your desired venue

• Community events (road races, festivals)

• Honeymoon site (is it hurricane season, peak season)

• Length of planning time (too short a planning time means many great vendors will already be booked)

Amy VanMeter
Amy VanMeter

Contributor: Amy VanMeter's business is her passion, born from a love of planning. Always the methodical “list maker,” Amy felt drawn to use her talents to help bridal couples, party hosts and organizations celebrate life’s special moments. This is her full-time job, not a part-time hobby — and she loves it!

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