Last Minute Summer Wedding Tips For Heat and Sun

posted by julianne

This is a true story. My parents went to a wedding last weekend. It was the middle of June so you can imagine how sunny, hot and steamy it was here in the Washington DC area. The wedding ceremony was outside in the sun with no shade. The wedding ceremony was supposed to start at noon and all of the guests were seated by noon. However, the guitar player for the ceremony was late, so they waited an extra 40 minutes for him to arrive and set up the sound system. Once he was settled the ceremony began and the ceremony lasted 45 minutes. When the wedding ceremony was over, the just-married-couple stood at the end of the aisle and held a receiving line for 150 guests. The wedding guests had to wait while each guest went through the receiving line. It was a formal wedding, so the men were dressed in suits and the ladies were in fancy dresses. By the time the wedding guests made it inside after several hours in the blazing sun, everyone was dripping, soaking wet with sweat and sunburnt.

This is no way to treat your wedding guests. Maybe you’ve had your heart set on a wedding ceremony outside, but there are few things – many that don’t cost extra money – that you can do at the very last minute to take care of your guests and be mindful of their comfort. No one likes to be outside in a full suit in the heat. No one likes to be dehydrated and sunburnt. You wouldn’t like that and you shouldn’t want that for your guests.

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Photo Credit: Brittany DeFrehn Photography from this summer wedding inspiration

I’ve talked before about advice for having a wedding in the summer in the Washington DC area. That post was full of great advice for planning ahead for a summer wedding with things like menu planning and beverage stations. Today, I’m talking about how you can deal with the heat and sun when you are getting down to the wire on your wedding day. Here are a few things that you can do to take care of your wedding guests during the hot summer months when you weren’t prepared for it to be quite so hot! Because, let’s face it – it is hot here in the Washington DC area. Making it even worse, the weather in the DMV in unpredictable to say the least. It can be cold in May and blazing hot in October, you just never know what weather you are going to get!

Let Your Guests Know
If any part of your wedding is outside, let your guests know before they arrive. Ideally, you can put it on your invitation or your website. But, if it is last minute, an e-mail or text to friends and family asking them to spread the word will go a long way. If your guests know in advance that your wedding will be outside, they can come prepared with appropriate shoes, sunscreen, hats and more.

Adjust On The Fly
When the weather is unpredictable, you’ll have to be prepared to make changes to your wedding schedule. Like I said, maybe you really want your wedding ceremony to be outside. That’s OK. But, if it is really hot, limit the time outside and quickly get everyone inside to the A/C. Even just moving things like a receiving line to the shade will be a huge improvement. Adjusting your schedule, even just a little bit, to consider the comfort of your guests will give you what you want, but also keep your guests happy.

Provide Props
There are lots of things you can do fast and cheap to take care of your guests. If it is really hot outside and there is no shade for your wedding, consider providing small comfort items like sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, fans and umbrellas. You can print fans off of the Internet for free, like this wedding fan printable that we made. For these last minute item, this is were a wedding planner or a really great friend can help you out and make a last-minute trip to the near- by store to pick up these items on the day of your wedding.

Hydrate
A beverage station for your wedding guests is always appreciated at outdoor weddings. Drinks like hot cocoa in the winter and lemonade in the summer are great touches that your guests will really enjoy, but they do require a bit of planning. If it is really hot and you haven’t planned for a beverage station, you could ask your venue or caterer to put out pitchers of water and ice for guests, especially if there are any unexpected delays in the schedule. It doesn’t have to be fancy at this point! (Again, this is an instance of where a wedding planner could really help you.)

Go To Plan B
Just like with the rain, sun and heat are also considerations for moving to your “plan b” wedding location. If you are having a wedding ceremony outside, hopefully you also have a back up indoor option. The weather in the Washington DC area is just too unpredictable not to have one! However, rain and lighting aren’t the only reasons to move your wedding indoors. Heat and sun are also factors for going with your indoor option. This is why you should love your plan B option as much as your outdoor option! Unlike other parts of the county, Washington DC area couples actually need to use their back up wedding plan quite often.

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That’s my list for last minute things that you can to do take care of your wedding guests when it is so hot and humid outside here in the Washington DC area. What did I miss? What your ideas for protecting your guest from the elements in a fast and cheap way?  In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors!

Paper Goodies

Click here to find a local stationer to design all of your wedding day paper details – from invitations to escort cards.

Chic and Personal Winter Wedding Reception in Old Town: Ann + Matt

posted by pauline

Welcome back to Ann and Matt’s perfectly winter wedding in Virginia celebration that is dripping in fabulously season-specific and rustic details! We loved their special and uniquely personal wedding ceremony, which you can see all of right here, and now we can’t get enough of their reception right in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. The duo said “I do,” and then celebrated the night away with their family and friends all in one spot at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The decor for both their wedding ceremony and reception was inspired by the winter season, complete with pinecones, ferns, rustic wooden elements and even lanterns, but it’s their dance moves that may have “wowed” us the most! Each and every detail from their big day was personal and thoughtful from Ann and Matt, whose main priority was their friends and family – and it shows! A special shout out and thanks to k. thompson photography for sharing these wonderful Washington DC area wedding photos with us!

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From Ann: We had friends and family come to our wedding from all around the United States and several different countries. So most of all, we wanted to make sure they all felt welcome and had a wonderful time. Therefore, food and music were very important. It was also very important for us to actually attend our cocktail hour instead of taking pictures during it. A number of people recommended against that but I’m so glad that we stayed strong in our decision and were able to maximize our time with our wedding guests. It was also important to make the weekend logistically easy. We chose the Torpedo Factory Art Center, because it could accommodate our relatively large guest list and we could have the ceremony and reception in the same location. We also chose it for its location in Old Town Alexandria, which was a great place for our out-of-town guests to explore and is accessible by public transportation. It is also walking distance from the Hotel Monaco Alexandria, where we got ready and where our out-of-town guests stayed.

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Matt and I usually have a Christmas or a New Year’s Eve party and serve hot apple cider with spiced rum, so we served this as our signature drink. Hopefully, all of our wedding guests enjoyed this, especially those who have attended our parties in the past.

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Instead of a wedding cake, which always looks beautiful, but then seems to go to waste, we had a dessert bar with Matt’s favorite (cannolis) and my favorite (chocolate covered strawberries), as well as lots of cupcakes, tarts and other sweets. At the end of the night we put out personalized bakery boxes so that the desserts wouldn’t go to waste and guests who didn’t want dessert at the wedding could take something to go.

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We decided to splurge on photography, both because I love pictures and because photos last forever, and making sure we had plenty of food and drinks for everyone. We also splurged on lighting and the ceremony décor to make up for the fact that our wedding was indoors. Other than a videographer and a photo booth, I don’t think we skipped anything entirely, and we never felt pressure to include small things (e.g., a veil for me) “just because.” Basically, unless we really wanted something, we did not include it. Instead of a photo booth, we put out polaroid cameras and asked guests to take pictures of themselves and tape the pictures into our guest book. I love looking at all the pictures and accompanying notes, which got funnier and funnier as the night progressed!

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Seeing almost everyone out on the dance floor having a great time was definitely unforgettable. Everyone, including people who didn’t know each other or who hadn’t seen each other in years were happy and having fun dancing the night away and this meant the world to us.

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We asked Ann for her advice for future Washington DC area couples:

Just like life and marriage, weddings and wedding planning are full of ups, downs and surprises. But, if you always remember that you are planning a wedding because you are lucky enough to have found one person who you want to spend the rest of your life with, and you have friends and family that want to celebrate with you, you will keep things in perspective and be fine. Many people in this world would love to be in your position. Be grateful that you have something so wonderful to celebrate and enjoy it, because one day you will have to deal with less joyous situations.

On a more practical note, I think that a coordinator is a must, and I would suggest splurging on partial planning if you can do it. Most people have not planned a wedding before, but wedding planners plan one almost every weekend! They, therefore, have exponentially more experience than you and can be an enormous help. That being said, do not be afraid to state exactly what you want, because it is your day and no one can read your mind. It is better to have a tense or difficult conversation while planning your wedding than to be disappointed with the way something goes on your wedding day.

If you do most of the planning on your own, create a list of everything you need to do (including minor details like ordering things on Amazon, going to the bank to get cash for tips, tying ribbons on programs, wrapping gifts for the bridal party, packaging and delivering things to the reception location) and a date by when you need to accomplish it. Then when you feel overwhelmed, you can simply start checking things off your list based on what has to be done soonest. On the day of your wedding, do not plan to do anything yourself. Part of your planning should be delegating everything for the day of (or even the weekend of if possible).

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Congratulations to Ann and Matt!  Thank you for sharing your beautiful winter wedding reception with us!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Day-of Coordinator: Stephanie Dasch, Diamond Events
Photography: k. thompson photography
Stationery: Mayla Studios
Floral Designer: Sweet Root Village
Hair Stylist: Nina Hastings, Salon deZen
Makeup Artist: Sarah Mason, Salon deZen
Wedding Dress, Hairpiece/Veil, Jewelry: BHLDN
Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way
Bridesmaids Accessories: Lou Lou
Groom’s Attire: Charles Tyrwhitt
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Torpedo Factory Art Center
Officiant: Jeff Maszal
Ceremony + Reception Music: DJ Dan Goldman via Bialek’s
Catering: Purple Onion Catering
Lighting: John Farr Lighting
Cocktail Hour + Dinner Music: Timmie Metz via Bialek’s
Dress Alterations: Anytime Alterations
Bridal Shawl: Elegant Knitting

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: K. Thompson Photography

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

DMV’s Best Wedding Pros

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Chic and Personal Winter Wedding Ceremony in Old Town: Ann + Matt

posted by pauline

Snuggle up this morning DMV wedding lovers, because we are going back to winter just for a brief moment today, but, only because Ann and Matt’s wedding in Old Town is just so perfect! Ann and Matt were married in Virginia during a wedding ceremony full of winter wedding details, cozy knits, baby’s breath, pinecones, and the beautiful colors of white, ivory, green and grey. The pair wed indoors at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a place selected in part because of its great location for their out-of-town guests and also for the ease of hosting their wedding ceremony and reception in the same spot. The bride was beautiful on her wedding day, the groom, incredibly dapper, but it might have been their four-legged friend who stole the show in cuteness – even their pup got dressed up for the big day! Thanks to k. thompson photography for sharing their wonderful wedding photos with us!

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From Ann: Matt and I dated for a very long time and lived together for several years before we got engaged. We also very seriously considered eloping at one point. When we decided to have a wedding, I wanted it to be personal to us and our friends and family and reflect something special between us. By spending so many years together, we had already really made a lot of commitments to each other and had known for long before we got engaged that we wanted to spend our lives together. Our wedding was a way to express these commitments and what they really meant to us on a personal level and share them with our family and friends.

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I had 11 bridesmaids, which sounds crazy, but I would not have had it any other way – I feel incredibly lucky to have so many special women in my life! So, I chose a color palate on Weddington Way and then gave them a ton of choices for dresses including different styles, materials and shades. I hope that they liked this freedom to choose a dress that worked for them personally, and I think the different dresses looked great together. Once they all picked their dresses, I picked out different, but coordinating, gold and while jewelry for each of them based on their personal tastes and the dress they selected. I also painted green and gold jewelry boxes to give the jewelry to bridesmaid before the wedding. Matt asked his groomsmen to wear a grey suit, which most of them already had, black shoes and a blue shirt. Then he picked out different, but coordinating, green ties for them based on their personal tastes.

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We wrote our wedding ceremony on our own based on a lot of advice and materials from our officiant, as well as our own research. I really loved learning about wedding traditions and writing the perfect wedding ceremony for us. From the beginning, I wanted every word that was said during our wedding ceremony to mean something to us and to our family and friends. I never felt the need to abide by a specific tradition. We included a number of readings and blessings that talked about love, friendship and life priorities. When we met with our officiant for the first time, we told him that our family and friends were very important to us and that we would like to include them in our wedding ceremony somehow. He gave us a few suggestions and we ultimately decided to say our vows while holding an oathing stone and while everyone else held blessing stones. The idea is that everyone says a silent intention for us while holding the blessing stone and then leaves the blessing stones for us in a basket that we keep in our home as a lifelong symbol of their presence at our wedding and intentions for us. We also took it a step further and provided pens for guests to leave a message for us on their oathing stone. Matt and I personalized our “traditional” vows and then each wrote our own personal message to say after exchanging vows. It was amazing how much our messages went together even though we did not discuss them at all before the ceremony!

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After writing our wedding ceremony, I used Adobe Publisher to create the inner pages of our ceremony program with the text of all of our readings and blessings (Mayla Studios designed the program covers to match the rest of our day of paper). Then Matt’s aunt and sister drew beautiful sketches to also include on the inner pages of the program. Ceremony programs always seem like something that is not completely necessary so when we decided to do them, I wanted them to be something very personal and special. Hopefully the artwork, which was one of the best gifts that they could have given us, accomplished this (it definitely did for me and Matt). Matt’s sister also did the chalkboard sign that greeted our guests when they arrived to our wedding.

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I will also never forget how all my friends and family were there for me every second of the wedding day, making sure I had everything I needed and more. We were able to include so many people, even our baby niece and our beloved dog, into our wedding, and I am so grateful that they were all there with us.

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Congratulations to Ann and Matt!  Thank you for sharing your beautiful winter wedding ceremony with us! Stay tuned to check out their pinecone-clad green and white wedding reception!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Day-of Coordinator: Stephanie Dasch, Diamond Events
Photography: k. thompson photography
Stationery: Mayla Studios
Floral Designer: Sweet Root Village
Hair Stylist: Nina Hastings, Salon deZen
Makeup Artist: Sarah Mason, Salon deZen
Wedding Dress, Hairpiece/Veil, Jewelry: BHLDN
Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way
Bridesmaids Accessories: Lou Lou
Groom’s Attire: Charles Tyrwhitt
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Torpedo Factory Art Center
Officiant: Jeff Maszal
Ceremony + Reception Music: DJ Dan Goldman via Bialek’s
Catering: Purple Onion Catering
Lighting: John Farr Lighting
Cocktail Hour + Dinner Music: Timmie Metz via Bialek’s
Dress Alterations: Anytime Alterations
Bridal Shawl: Elegant Knitting

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: k. thompson photography

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

Pretty & Pampered

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Fun and Colorful Spring Wedding Reception in Maryland: Jennifer + Brock

posted by pauline

Jennifer, Brock and their wedding guests moved from the outdoor garden setting for the ceremony inside to ballroom for their wedding reception in Maryland at the beautiful Overhills Mansion. If you missed their sweet garden wedding ceremony, be sure to check it out here. Their celebratory wedding reception was full of pinks, corals and pretty watercolor details! We love all the DIY inspiration in their big day, right down to the delicious wedding favors made by the bride and festive photo booth.Jennifer and Brock were going for a fun and easy-going vide for their wedding and they certainly achieved it! They are beaming with love throughout their entire wedding, but it’s the dance party that really shows the fun that was had by all on their wedding day. Big thanks to Britney Clause Photography for the beautiful wedding reception images you see here!

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From Jennifer: Brock was insistent on an open bar at our wedding to keep all the wedding guests in good spirits. We prioritized finding a wedding venue that felt like “us” and would allow us to have everything we wanted for our wedding day: an outdoor wedding ceremony and cocktail hour, an indoor wedding reception, an affordable open bar, good food, and lots of flexibility on all the rest. Overhills Mansion was perfect in every way, and it just happened to be located in the same town where we had just purchased our first house, so it was extra special and extra “us.”

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Being a pretty enterprising couple, we chose to skip on a lot of things that we thought we could do ourselves, which also helped us to keep our wedding budget on track. We used our own playlist on our own laptop instead of hiring a DJ or band and we had a friend MC. For the dessert, we bought a little 6″ cake just for slicing and then served chocolate mousse for dessert. We tried to make our own cake but the buttercream did not want to cooperate – SugarBakers to the rescue! My aunt and uncle volunteered to video-record, so we did not have to hire a videographer. For a photo booth, we used a camera with a self-timer as a DIY photo booth so no one would have to man it though a friend ended up enjoying staying there taking pictures most of the night anyway!

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I love crafting and it was really important to me to hand-make as much of our wedding details as I could and Brock helped, too, of course! I designed all our wedding stationery (save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, table numbers, signage, place cards, etc.). I also made the photo booth backdrop out of crepe paper, and I home-baked all the wedding favors, which were sugar cookies stamped with “Brock and Jen.”

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Brock’s favorite part of our wedding was hearing all the thoughtful, heartwarming, and hilarious toasts by our family and friends at the reception. The toasts were truly wonderful, and had everyone both in tears and in stitches.

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Jennifer’s advice for other Washington DC area couples:

For us, finding the right wedding venue was key, as it helped us set the tone of the wedding and focus all our planning accordingly. To find the right place, I stalked local wedding blogs to get an idea of what was out there, and then once I had a few places in mind, I scoured photography blogs to see whole sets of images from weddings at those locations. Seeing whole weddings like that — instead of just a few stock images from the venue’s website — helped me get a feel for each venue and envision the possibilities for our own wedding there. Once we chose our venue, everything fell into place very naturally – mainly, because our venue was so wonderfully helpful! They gave us a list of recommended vendors, which was how we found the hotel and transportation we used for our guests, and we adjusted our color palette to fit with the setting. I knew I wanted coral, but the addition of gold was inspired by the mansion’s decor.

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Congratulations to Jennifer and Brock!  Thank you for sharing your watercolor wedding reception in Maryland with us!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Ceremony + Reception Venue, Linens, Lighting + Rentals: Overhills Mansion
Photography: Britney Clause Photography
Ceremony + Reception Music: iTunes
Officiant: Mark Barber, friend
Caterer: Whitehouse Caterers
Cake/Dessert: Small cake for cutting from SugarBakers Cakes; dessert (chocolate mousse) by Whitehouse Caterers
Favors: Made by the bride
Floral: Liz Borst, family friend
Videography: Aunt + Uncle
Printing: UPrinting.com
Stationery + Calligraphy: DIY
Transportation: Hampton Inn BWI
Hair Stylist: Mindy Whalen, Wedding Tresses
Makeup Artist: Laura Kazakos, Baltimore Bridal Makeup
Bridal Gown: Alfred Angelo
Bridal Salon: Victoria Reed’s
Bridal Shoes: J. Renee
Jewelry: Groom’s grandmother’s pearls
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss from Nordstrom
Groom’s Accessories: Groom’s mother’s cufflinks
Groomsmen: Their own shoes + suits
Ties: The Tie Bar

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Britney Clause Photography

Carriages & Coaches

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Fun and Colorful Spring Wedding Ceremony in Maryland: Jennifer + Brock

posted by pauline

If you are in the mood for a bright and sunny Monday morning, then you’ve come to the right place! Jennifer and Brock said “I do” in a beautiful pink and coral colored garden wedding ceremony in Maryland at the lovely Overhills Mansion. Their sweet wedding vows were certainly a highlight for this couple and we can’t get enough of the bride’s blushing smile that expresses their joy! Jennifer and Brock’s springtime wedding was filled with tons of light, color and fabulous DIY wedding details, but it was the moments between loved ones that the pair cherish the most from their wedding day. The colorful details, including a brightly colored bridal bouquet scream “celebration” as their big wedding day got underway! Britney Clause Photography did a beautiful job capturing each and every eye popping picture – thanks for sharing them with us!

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From Jennifer: Our main wedding day priorities were for our wedding guests to have a great time, and for us to feel like the whole wedding really fit us personally. I am obsessed with pictures, so getting the right wedding photographer to capture our day was a must. We loved Britney’s ability to capture bold color and subtle light, and we wanted to work with her so badly that we consulted her calendar even before booking our wedding venue!

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We are so glad we did a “first look” on our wedding day. It was really nice to have that time, just the two of us, to be excited about all the fun we were already having and all the excitement that was to come. All on our wedding day, we were just in awe of all the love surrounding us.

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We were going for a fun, vibrant, elegant, backyard feel for our wedding. We wanted the wedding ceremony to feel very personal and relaxed, and be full of joy, laughter, and sincerity. For the wedding look, we wanted bright, saturated color, beautiful spring foliage and light, and an easygoing vibe.

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To our surprise (given that we focused so much attention on the wedding reception in all our months of planning), the wedding ceremony was our favorite part. It was so sweet and heartfelt, from the ring bearer (my one-year-old nephew) coming down the aisle in a wagon, to our officiant recognizing the many wonderful people that have become a part of our lives over the years and the many places we have called home, to the specially selected poems we read and the wedding vows we surprised each other with. My favorite wedding day moment was when Brock choked up a little while reading his very sweet vows (though Brock is embarrassed by this!).

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Congratulations to Jennifer and Brock!  Thank you for sharing your beautiful, outdoor garden wedding ceremony in Maryland with us!  Stay tuned, up next we’re sharing their pretty in pink wedding reception with you!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Ceremony + Reception Venue, Linens, Lighting + Rentals: Overhills Mansion
Photography: Britney Clause Photography
Ceremony + Reception Music: iTunes
Officiant: Mark Barber, friend
Caterer: Whitehouse Caterers
Cake/Dessert: Small cake for cutting from SugarBakers Cakes; dessert (chocolate mousse) by Whitehouse Caterers
Favors: Made by the bride
Floral: Liz Borst, family friend
Videography: Aunt + Uncle
Printing: UPrinting.com
Stationery + Calligraphy: DIY
Transportation: Hampton Inn BWI
Hair Stylist: Mindy Whalen, Wedding Tresses
Makeup Artist: Laura Kazakos, Baltimore Bridal Makeup
Bridal Gown: Alfred Angelo
Bridal Salon: Victoria Reed’s
Bridal Shoes: J. Renee
Jewelry: Groom’s grandmother’s pearls
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss from Nordstrom
Groom’s Accessories: Groom’s mother’s cufflinks
Groomsmen: Their own shoes + suits
Ties: The Tie Bar

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Britney Clause Photography

Mmmmmm!

Give your guests a meal they won’t forget! Click here to find the best wedding caterers in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Sunday Brunch: DePas Photography

posted by kate

Good morning Washington DC area wedding lovers! We are hoping you’ll take a break from the heat and take some time out today to check out DePas Photography, one of our fabulous sponsors. DePas Photography is run by the father-daughter team of Len and Jaqui DePas. These two talented photographers bring two different generations and creative styles together to meet all of their client’s needs, from fine portraiture to journalistic candid images. They have worked with some of the top contemporary photographers and bring all of that experience and creativity to the DC area. When it comes to weddings, Len and Jacqui are reinventing boutique wedding photography with the help of their decades of experience photographing weddings and events here in the Washington DC area. For more on DePas Photography, be sure to visit their website or check out their past features on United With Love.

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We hope that you’ll check out DePas Photography for photographing your wedding in the Washington DC area. Join us again next weekend for Sunday brunch with another fantastic supporter of United With Love! We’ll see you back here bright and early Monday morning! If you are interested in joining us for brunch on United With Love, please send us an email.

Say It With Video

Catch those special moments and relive your wedding day everyday! Click here to find a local wedding videographer.

Romantic Wedding Engagement in Old Town Alexandria: Chris + Jeff

posted by kate

Good morning Washington, DC area wedding lovers! Chris and Jeff wanted a romantic wedding engagement session and romantic is what they got! Photographer Brandon Hunter photographed the adorable couple all over Old Town, Alexandria – along the Potomac river at sunset to through the lush gardens and historic cobblestone streets. Chris and Jeff will be married this fall in the heart of Old Town, so it is only fitting that they have beautiful engagement portraits to compliment their wedding day!

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Congratulations Chris and Jeffrey!

Looking for more on wedding engagements? Check out other local DC-area engagement photography sessions, or find out what to wear for your engagement and how to do your make-up for your engagement session!

Photo Credits: BHUNTERco

Say Cheese!

With many incredible wedding photographers in the DC area, click here to use United With Love’s local guide to find the right one.

5 Ways To Protect Your Wedding Memories

posted by julianne

Everyone who has ever been married says the same thing after their wedding is over, “The day just flew by!” We have featured couple after married couple who got married in the Washington DC area and they all talk about how quickly the wedding day goes and the importance of carving out time for you and yours to take it all in on your wedding day. We couldn’t agree more! Live in the moment of your wedding day and ensure that you are cherishing each and every ounce of this special time.

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Photo Credit: Melissa Tuck Photography from this MD wedding

Today, I want to talk about a few things that you can do to help preserve your wedding. There are a steps that you can do now and throughout your wedding planning process to hold onto your wedding day memories, so that when the big day flies by, you’ll be all set. Give a little thought to how you are going to preserve your wedding and it will take a little bit of pressure off of the wedding day itself, so that you can truly enjoy!

Jewelry Peace Of Mind
First things first: jewelry. You started this whole wedding planning process with a ring, so it’s best to keep them protected. Your engagement ring and wedding band are much more than just a piece of sparkle. They represent the ever-lasting bond between you and your partner. As such, you should be able to wear it every day, no matter where you travel or what you do. Consider a specialty jewelry insurance policy, like the one offered by Jewelers Mutual. Their policies allow you to wear your jewelry without worry, knowing it’s covered against theft, damage or loss, like mysterious disappearance, which may not be covered by standard homeowners policies or warranties. Your wedding jewelry represents the memories worth protecting and with Jewelers Mutual you will be made whole again should anything happen. (You can find more about jewelry insurance here.)

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Photo Credit: Love Knot Photo from this VA wedding

Backup The Photos
Your wedding photos are one of the few things that you’ll have when the music ends and the flowers dry out. I’m sure you are spending quite a bit of time researching wedding photographers and trying to find one that is the right fit for you. When you are interviewing your wedding photographer, make sure to ask them backup systems. What happens if their camera breaks on the day of your wedding? What if a memory card crashes? How long do they save your wedding images and what kind of long term backup system do they have in place? What happens 10 years after your wedding if you have an issue with your album and you want another wedding album, will they be able to locate your images? Talk to your photographer about their methods of preservation and if they don’t have these types of systems, that could be a red flag.

Get The Video
This is a personal recommendation from me to you. I love a good wedding video. My own wedding video is one of our most cherished wedding day memories. If you can find it in your budget, seriously consider a wedding video of some sort. There are so many incredible and unique types of wedding videos out on the market today. Everything from wedding movies to video shorts and trailers, in addition to the traditional video of the entire wedding day. Nothing brings back the wedding day moments like a video. Wedding videographers even capture those special moments that you didn’t even know happened on your wedding day!

View More: http://kristengardner.pass.us/elizabeth-and-paul-wedding

Photo Credit: Kristen Gardner Photography from this DC wedding

Let It Be Known
There might be a few items from your wedding day that you’ll want to preserve, such as your wedding dress or your bridal bouquet or even the top tier of your wedding cake. If that’s the case, prepare in advance of your wedding day so that these items can be saved and properly stored. By the time your wedding day comes, it might be too late. For example, with your bouquet, you’ll need to let your florist know so they can be prepared, maybe even suggest certain flowers that preserve better than others. For the wedding cake, I’ve heard horror stories of it getting thrown out at the end of the night because the catering staff didn’t know the couple wanted to save it. You might want to have an extra invitation printed or set aside a favor so that you may have one. Bottom line is this: If you’d like to save it, prepare in advance and make sure everyone knows!

Schedule The Time
When the wedding day approaches and many of the details fall into place you’ll need to set up a timeline and get that information to your wedding vendors so that everyone is on the same page. As you are working on your wedding day timeline, make sure that you carve out a little time for just you and your partner. (If you can’t find time, ask your vendors, they might be able to suggest an option or two for you.) Will it be as a “first look” before your wedding ceremony, a carriage ride just the two of you on the way to the ceremony? Will it be portrait time with your photographer at the end of the night? Will it be just five minutes before you walk into your reception? No matter where it is during the day or how long it lasts, a little bit of alone time on the wedding day is important.

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So, those are my tips for preserving your wedding day memories. What did I miss? What will you do to hold onto those amazing memories that you worked so hard to build and plan?

This post was sponsored by Jewelers Mutual.

Carriages & Coaches

From trollies to classic cars, click here to find local DC area wedding transportation companies for your wedding.

Lovely + Intimate Elopement in Maryland: Christine + André

posted by pauline

I hope you are ready for a dose of super sweet this morning! Christine and André hosted an intimate Maryland elopement wedding ceremony at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, where a few of their closest friends and family gathered to celebrate this stunning couple as they said, “I do!” Their elopement wedding ceremony was a long time coming – the pair have been together for ten years! Christine and André knew they would be together forever and made no rush to get married. Their no-fuss big day was just what they wanted, and exactly what they knew would eventually happen when they met on that very first date long ago. We love how relaxed they look as they finally tied the knot! And, the fashion, oh the fashion – Christine’s v-neck wedding dress is so spectacular! Special thanks to Anny. Photography for capturing every intimate moment of this beautiful small, yet perfect, wedding in Maryland.

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From Christine: Our number one priority was to get married. We knew we were going to marry each other since our first date, 10 years ago on March 17th. Our second wedding day priority was to have both our families there, as they have all been the best of friends since we introduced them. We chose to skip the traditional wedding and reception duo and save money for our beautiful future together!

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I was lucky, my wedding dress fit perfectly right off the rack. It was also the first one my sister-in-law pulled off the rack when we entered the store. Love at first sight! 

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My favorite wedding day moment was when my groom kissed his bride, me…and we were married! We had an amazing wedding party. Both sets of parents and our siblings were there. We were missing my youngest brother who was in the middle of midterm exams at his university in another state.

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We didn’t have a formal wedding reception, so we missed our husband and wife first dance. Instead, during our honeymoon in Honolulu, one of our friends played our song and recorded our husband and wife first dance on a short cliff overlooking the ocean. It was amazing! As magical as it was, it wasn’t our first dance…

On our wedding day, we rushed home after the ceremony, I took off my shoes, my husband pressed play on his phone and pulled me in close. We danced, as man and wife, to the song we have been listening to for 10 years. It was one of the sweetest moments.

As soon as our song ended and we finished our dance, our siblings came barreling in with pizza and Baskin Robin’s Oreo ice cream cake – André’s favorite!

What an amazing wedding day!!

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What Christine wish she knew before she began planning:

Involving everyone in wedding planning is very difficult and can be very frustrating. I wish we knew this so we wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to make everyone happy.

And, her advice to future Washington DC area couples:

If getting married is that day you’ve looked forward to all your life, don’t waste it with stress about colors and schedules. A traditional wedding and reception was what we started planning for, but the stress about details and decisions made it less and less about us. We ended up having a courthouse wedding with a photo shoot afterwards. The photos captured the magic of our beautiful wedding day with our families. Our stress free smiles were bright, happy, and sincere!

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Congratulations to Christine and André! Thank you for sharing your beautiful Maryland elopement with us!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Ceremony Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court
Photography: Anny. Photography
Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas
Hair Stylist: Tania at Bella Bethesda Salon
Makeup Artist: Khiara at Sephora in Bethesda
Bridal Gown: Encore by Watters
Bridal Salon: Anonymously Yours
Bridal Shoes + Groom’s Shoes: ALDO
Jewelry: TJ MAXX
Groom’s Attire: Stark Suits
Groom’s Accessories: All of his watches are by Skagen

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Anny. Photography

Beautiful Blooms

From bouquets to centerpieces, click here to find a local wedding florist in the DC area to bring your wedding floral design to life.