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wedding blogs 2019There are a jillion bridal blogs out there on the web, but we've culled the best of the best for the Southern bride--these are the blogs that range from the ultimate in glamour and glitz to the biggest trends in reception decor, flowers, and bands. So without further ado, bookmark these five blogs before you say " I Do".

Are you looking to a blog for inspiration, or do you want your wedding to be featured in the blog? If you're looking for ideas and themes, the social media footprint, publication guidelines, and overall aesthetic aren't that important. But if your big day is going to be so unique that you want to share it with the world, be sure to review each blog's guidelines for submissions and their general vibe before you decide which one you'd like to pursue. 

Millie Chapman and Ben Long's recent wedding was an evening to remember with Az IzZ bringing the house down! Millie Chapman, daughter of Christian-crossover legend Amy Grant, hired one of our absolute favorite bands to dazzle the crowd.

top 5 party trends 2019Summer's in full swing, and no doubt the invitations on your fridge (or your inbox, thanks to Paperless Post) are for fun "theme" parties instead of your run of the mill cocktails and dinner. Entertaining for 2019 has a casual vibe, but don't confuse casual with unplanned--parties are meticulously planned these days. If you're looking for fall parties to celebrate tailgating, engagements, or bid nights, take a look at these party trends. 

azizzband

As if being possibly the South's best wedding reception band weren't enough, Az IzZ now is gaining worldwide attention through a mention in People magazine.

And mention might be too mild of a word as the Atlanta-based cover band also received a glowing review from a bride intimately connected to the music industry.

Az IzZ "did an amazing job of getting our guests on the dance floor," gushed bride Millie Chapman, daughter of Christian-crossover legend Amy Grant and her first husband, Gary Chapman.

You might know Millie as the inspiration for her mother's 1991 smash hit "Baby Baby," which went to No. 1 on the Billboard 100 chart and proved to be her biggest pop hit as a solo artist.

Now, all grown up, Millie married Ben Long on April 27 in Nashville, and the family hired Az IzZ to perform at the wedding reception. The reception was held on the back lawn of the home Amy Grant shares with her husband Vince Gill.

That this family of musical fame would choose to bring Az IzZ from its home base in Atlanta into the country music capital speaks volumes about the respect this band commands.

corporate eventCorporate events are ideal for bringing people together for developing personal relationships outside an office setting. However, they require a significant amount of detailed and thoughtful planning for them to be effective. Have you been put in charge of planning a corporate event? Don't panic. Here are seven basic tips for planning a corporate event, along with some considerations and warnings. 

1. Determine Your Overall Goal for the Event 

Before doing anything else, you need to identify what you intend to accomplish from the event. This doesn't mean you can have smaller goals, but there has to be an overall goal for your event. For instance, decide if your main goal is to celebrate, to encourage, to inform or to persuade.   

2. Consider the Type of People in Your Audience 

One of the first steps in planning a corporate event is identifying your audience. Although it will probably be a mixture of people, there should be an overall type of guest. Will your attendees mostly consist of employees who need to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work? On the other hand, are they mostly shareholders who need impressing? 

3. Select a Date That Works

Choosing the right date for your corporate event is crucial. Because most people lead busy lives, it's important to give your guests at least two months advance notice, so they can put it on their calendars.

When thinking about a date, consider possible conflicts. Therefore, don't schedule an event that could conflict with holidays or school graduations. Inclement weather is another consideration, so it's wise not to choose a date that lands in the dead of winter or hurricane season since snow, icy conditions and storms could affect people getting to the event.

4. Consider Parking, Transportation and Hotels Accommodations

Parking is important. If your attendees aren't local or you're hosting an event that's more than one day, parking is even more critical. Think about the pros and cons of providing valet parking. 

If you have out-of-town attendees, be sure your venue is near public transportation and is close to affordable hotels. It's a good idea to suggest a nearby hotel that offers a discount for room blocking. This is a discount some hotels give for booking several rooms for guests, such as for a wedding. 

5. Designate a Person or Team to Welcome Your Guests

Just as you would welcome people to your home, you need to assign someone to greet your guests as they arrive. Besides having a person or a team at the door to welcome people, provide them with name tags. If any VIPs are coming, be sure there's someone there to greet them and that they're introduced to the right host.

6. Pick the Right Music

What about music? Be sure the theme of your event goes with the type of music. Usually, background music or instrumental music are the best choices for corporate events as they offer a calming effect. Soundtracks are also helpful in providing a sophisticated feeling. Another idea is a solo pianist or a string quartet, provided they not loud so that people can converse and hear one another speak.

7. Don't Forget to Follow-up

Once your event is over, and you're satisfied with the results, don't forget to follow up by sending out thank you notes to your guests for attending. It's also helpful to include a survey so that you can receive input on the event. You need to know what went well, in addition to how you could improve.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Determine what you need and don't need—It's easy to get caught up in expensive perks when you book an event at a venue. Thus, look at your budget before agreeing to some of the costly extras that you may not need, such as upscale dining options and other high-end amenities that aren't necessary.
  • When planning food, make arrangements for guests who have food allergies and other dietary restrictions.
  • Consider people with limited mobility, such as those in wheelchairs.
  • When picking music for your event, consider the age of your attendees. 

The Bottom Line 

  • For an event to be successful, it requires detailed planning.
  • You need to identify your main goal, your audience, pick the right date and think about the type of food, music and accommodations for any special needs your guests may have.
  • Follow-up is also important.
  • For best results, let an expert plan your event. 

If event planning is something you'd rather not tackle, why not hand over this job to a professional who's been successfully providing music for events since the early 1990s. At Music Garden, we provide all styles of bands. Besides corporate events, we play for a wide range of other events, such as wedding receptions, private parties, college parties, fund raisers, charity events and other festivals. Please contact us and find out more about how we can make your next event a smash hit.

wedding dj mythsClassic movies set in the eighties like The Wedding Singer have done their part to dis people's perceptions of these performers who may be entertaining at these memorable events. In the film, once you get past Adam Sandler's cheesy lyrics, the comical depictions of these singers and following a predictable romantic plotline, the movie is still very amusing and a family favorite for some folks.

But when it comes to the real world when planning a wedding, there's often a stigma associated with either hiring a live band versus a DJ and common misconceptions go both ways. Along with the quality of sound, uniqueness of their offerings and other matters to consider, think about some of these common myths associated with live wedding bands and DJ's.

waiter vendorsWedding planning is full of surprises. Who knew your aunt would insist on a minibar in her hotel room, or that your cousin would need a sitter for her four kids? Your brother's girlfriend is a vegan with a peanut allergy, and you need to find a highly-rated local groomer for your best man's emotional support dog. 

You're a bride, not a concierge... but nonetheless, you still have some obligations as a hostess. Thankfully, looking after your vendors is pretty straightforward... and yep, they do need a little day-of love. Most of our advice follows traditional vendor etiquette, but we've thrown in some common-sense tips our wedding bands have picked up from clever Music Garden clients. 

wedding mistakesLeashed cats make awful ring bearers. Don't forget the seasickness pills if your ceremony's on a sunset sailing cruise. Always check for raptor nests if you're releasing doves after your vows. These are words of wisdom shared by brides who've experienced—first-hand—the pitfalls of poorly-planned weddings. There will always be surprises, but most are avoidable. You can keep Murphy off your guest list by laying down some laws of your own.

Jekyll Island ClubGetting married is a whole lot more fun than it used to be. Sure, you can still get married in your parent's church and have the reception at a club or restaurant, but destination weddings are popular with today's Southern brides for a reason--it's a one-stop, all-inclusive way to celebrate your marriage with family and friends not for just a couple of hours, but for the entire weekend.

There are so many fabulous wedding venues in the South it's hard to narrow it down to the "best"; the list below is more mood-oriented--from the mountains to the beach, with some great urban options in between. We went to the experts--Southern Living, and everybody's favorite Southern style blog, Draper James, for the best of the best.

All of these venues have wedding directors and preferred vendors, so once you decide on the venue, leave the work to the director--they're pros, and once they know the kind of wedding you want, they'll go to work lining up the vendors to make it happen. That's one of the big advantages of a destination wedding, especially if you're from the South--when you get out of town, you don't hurt anybody's feelings when you don't ask your manicurist's sister-in-law's neighbor make an armadillo groom's cake. 

wedding musicSo, you've been planning your wedding and the big day is getting closer by the second. By now, you've probably found the perfect dress, beautiful flowers, and an amazing wedding cake. But, what about the music? You definitely don't want to overlook the importance of providing a variety of great songs for your guests' enjoyment. However, choosing the right songs can be a daunting task if you don't know what's popular and what's not. 

You may be asking yourself, "What makes a song perfect for a wedding?". Well, the truth is that any song that captures the joy and excitement of the occasion is a perfect choice. Upbeat songs that encourage your guests to get up and dance can add a fun element to your party while romantic love songs help set the mood for more intimate slow dancing.

create realistic budget debt

So he popped the question and she said yes. Such a happy time in a new couple's life should be celebrated with friends and family from all around. A wedding should be fun and exciting for everyone involved, sadly though, it has become one of the more expensive events in a person's life. If you want to have a big wedding that you and all your guests will love, but are still worried about wearing out your credit cards, take a look at what you can do to keep yourself from going overboard. After all, this is just the beginning of your new life, don't start it off with a pile of bills.

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