Urban Rocker D.C. Wedding Inspiration

posted by Tabitha

My personal wedding motto is “All weddings for all people”- This means that in the beautiful, eclectic, and fun world of weddings no one wedding has to be like another. I love when we have the opportunity to share just that, an edgy and eclectic wedding inspiration that showcase the unique personalities of a couple. While some brides might opt for bridal airbrush makeup over a tattoo, others embrace their artwork and pick wedding gowns that showcase a killer sleeve or back design. We believe that your wedding should always be a representation of you as a couple and there is no wrong way to wedding!

When A. Griffin Events sent us today’s edgy rocker inspired inspiration shoot at The Loft at 600 F, we fell in love immediately! From the DIY ceremony backdrop to the use of modern geometric shapes and rich organic berry tones it really stands out as a unique design. Candles are a great opportunity to add a layer of texture to any reception table, and check with your venue if they allow taper candles as they often come in various colors which can add a pop to your reception settings! Thank you to the amazing vendor team and Brooke Michelle Photography for sharing this fun inspiration shoot and check back on Saturday for a DIY tutorial on how to recreate the cool graffiti backdrop.

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Congratulations to Merritt and Sean! Thank you for sharing your beautiful tented Virginia home wedding with us!

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

Wedding Planner: A. Griffin Events
Photographer: Brooke Michelle Photography
Videographer: Cecile Davis Films
Bridal Beauty: Pretty Weird Beauty
Venue: The Loft at 600 F
Bridal Salon: Annapolis Formal & Tuxedo
Floral Designer: Forever and a Day Florals
Printed Materials: Ashley Brannock
Bridal Garter: The Garter Girl
Rentals: Perfect Settings
Calligraphy: Letterlyn Studios
Jewelry: Dee Ruel Custom Jewelry 
Candleholders: Chesapeake Glassworks
Cake: Desserts by Charlese

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.

Hey, Mr. DJ!

Keep that dance floor packed! Click here to use United With Love’s vendor guide to find the right local DJ for your wedding.

New York Bridal Fashion Week Recap

posted by Tabitha

Hello United With Love readers! It’s Astrid from Astrid Photography over here today! Thank you all for following along on my UWL Instagram Takeover while I was in NYC for 2016 Bridal Fashion Week. There were so many fun and beautiful things to see and do, and I am excited to share them all with you!

 As a photographer, it is so fun to see new wedding trends pop up year after year. Observing the designers, their concepts and seeing the models twirl in the dresses gave me excited butterflies for what is to come!

First off, I went to the Anna Maier runway show and had bridal showcase appointments with Sareh Nouri and Heidi Elnora so all of my findings are mostly based off of these three shows! Let’s dive right in! What can we can expect in the wedding world for 2017? First and foremost, the lace game is still going strong; lace overlays, lace sleeves and lace necklines seemed to be a common theme.


Anna Maier 2017 Bridal Fashion Week


We will also be seeing dramatic backs continue to make an appearance – think oversized, elegant bows and intricate beadwork to name a few. We love the new Heidi Elnora line Build-a-Bride which contains pieces that layer together to create unique one of a kind gowns for each type of bride. We love a classic fitted silhouette with a lace cape topper for the ceremony switched to a skirt overlap for the reception!

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Heidi Elnora Atelier Fall 2017

Dresses with off-the-shoulder sleeves were a fun surprise, and I think we will be seeing more of it next year. This understated, elegant style is making a comeback and I have to say, I totally love it. Another trend I want to touch on is one we actually saw a bit of in 2016, and I think it’s going to be even stronger in 2017 – colored wedding dresses. Think soft greys, romantic blushes and peachy/champagne tones. They were used on everything from simple, form fitting dresses to full skirts with sweetheart tops. Other playful surprises that I saw were luscious, velvety bridesmaid dresses and even a bigger surprise…the use of capes with your wedding dress!


Lazaro Fall 2017 Bridal Collection


Lastly, I think the biggest trend we are going to see in 2017 is bringing a little bit of sexy to wedding dresses. I witnessed collections that included sexy bare backs and plunging necklines. There was an abundance of sheer silhouettes, covered only by very intentionally placed florals, patches of lace or crystals, and beads. These are very romantic, very sultry, and reminded me of a mashup of upscale lingerie meets bridal gown.


Credit: Bowen Films

Of course, no Bridal Market would be complete without the legendary Martha Stewart Weddings Bridal Market Party and The Knot Gala which both take place during Bridal Market week every year. Hundreds of buyers, designers, wedding industry professionals, and magazine editors all join together to let loose and have some fun while surrounded by the best of the best of wedding inspiration.

This year, the Martha Stewart Weddings Party took place at the Hudson-Mercantile, which had three floors and included guests such as Randy Fenoli from TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress as well as Martha Stewart herself. The rooftop was the place to be, which overlooked the NYC city skyline – a killer view of the lit up New Yorker hotel – while surrounded by live music, great food and drink, and intimate conversation.


Lisa of Lisa Blume Photography and Kaitlin of Cheers Darling Events with the Bachelor!

After the Martha Stewart Weddings Party, it was time for The Knot Gala. The Knot Gala was truly an experience of a lifetime. Held at the iconic New York Public Library, Julie Savage from Strawberry Milk Events planned an event not to be forgotten. It was a 20 year milestone for The Knot as well as the end of Bridal Market week so there was a lot to celebrate! The theme was Fêtes des Rêves, which translates to “Party of Dreams” and the entire NYPL was truly transported into a Parisian garden fantasy. Think oversized carousels, white florals dripping from the ceilings, and floating mini cheese and charcuterie boards. Carnival characters, mimes and live entertainers roamed the gorgeous venue, and a Ladurée Pop-Up Patisserie were just a few of the  jaw dropping surprises.


Lastly, how could we forget the surprise guests, Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell from ABC’s The Bachelor and their new spin-off Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? Every time you walked into a room, it truly brought you into a completely new and overwhelmingly beautiful Parisian experience. It made me so proud to be part of the DC wedding industry and to see my fellow DC wedding vendors Edge Floral Event Designers and Revolution Event Design completely make Julie of Strawberry Milk Events party vision come to life!

Thank you UWL for having me as a guest blogger, and I hope you enjoyed my behind the scenes of 2016 Bridal Fashion Week! If you would like to continue seeing more behind the scenes from the wedding industry world, feel free to check out my blog at www.astridphoto.com/blog or follow me at @astridphoto on Instagram!

Au Revoir! xo


Details, Details!

From forks to chairs, click here to use United With Love’s local guide to find a rental company to complete your wedding day.

Baltimore Four Seasons Glam Wedding: Laura + Matt

posted by Tabitha

Happy Monday to all of our fabulous readers! We are excited for another great week of inspiration, including today’s Baltimore Maryland wedding at the fabulous Four Seasons. Don’t forget to head back later this week as we have a great DIY ceremony backdrop and glam rock inspired wedding! In this gorgeous all white Four Seasons ceremony and reception, Laura and Matt utilized the inner harbor backdrop for a show stopping event. We love how chic the all white color story is and with the use of floral textures by Blue Vanda Designs, they prove that you don’t have to have a myriad of color to create a luxe wedding. A big thank you to Jonathan Hanson Photography for sharing this beautiful wedding with us today and best wishes to the newlyweds!

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Congratulations to Laura and Matt! Thank you for sharing your Glam Four Seasons Baltimore wedding with us!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Photography: Jonathan Hanson Weddings
Planner: AR Events LLC
Venue: Four Seasons Baltimore
Videographer: Click Spark Films
Makeup Artist :Blend Makeup / Hair Stylist: FX Studios
Floral Designer: Blue Vanda Designs
DJ: Chris Kopec
Cake: Four Seasons
Ceremony Strings: String Poets

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.

Say It With Video

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

Creative Etsy Ceremony Ideas

posted by Tabitha

Did you love seeing the various cultural celebrations within DC wedding ceremonies this week? We absolutely are in love with the South Asian multicultural wedding by Engaging Affairs from Monday! Etsy is an amazing source for all things wedding, especially when outfitting the most personal parts of your wedding ceremony traditions. We have rounded up a few of our favorite finds from Etsy designers across the world to cover various cultural traditions!


Laser Cut Jewish Ketubah


Orchid Paper Flower Ketubah


Lace in Bloom Ketubah

celtic-hand-fastingCeltic Hand Fasting Ceremony


Peacock Ceremony Jumping Broom


Pearl Glam Jumping Broom


Persian Sofreh Faux Eggs


Persian Sofreh Walnut Centerpiece


Wedding Catholic Lasso Ceremony


Philippine 13 Gold Coin Ceremony


Hancrafted Chinese Tea Ceremony Set

For more cultural inspiration, check out our 7 Cultural Wedding Traditions and Customs post and for even more local ideas visit our wedding inspiration galleries or check out our other Washington DC area real wedding features.

All About The Dress

There are so many beautiful wedding dress choices! Click here to check out the many local bridal boutiques in the Washington DC area to help you find your dream dress!

Tradition Tradition! Ins & Outs of Jewish Weddings

posted by Alex Hamilton

Planning a Jewish wedding and not quite sure where to start? Maybe only one of you is Jewish and you are trying to mesh together two different faiths, day-of. We know that there are numerous Jewish wedding traditions that you might want to incorporate into your big day, but sometimes it can be hard to know exactly which ones will fit you as a couple. Keeping in time with our cultural wedding week, we’re here to help with some explanations of the common customs utilized in all types of DC Jewish weddings. Mazel tov!

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DuHon Photography via Romantic + Urban Art Gallery Wedding

Aufruf – A traditional Jewish wedding celebration actually begins on the Sabbath before the wedding day, as a way to publicly announce the forthcoming nuptials. It is a centuries old tradition for the groom or bride and groom to be called to the Torah and recite a blessing, called an Aliyah. This ceremony is called an aufruf, which, in Yiddish, means “calling up.” After reciting the blessings, the rabbi usually offers a blessing for the couple. In conclusion, as the groom or bride and groom return to their seats, they are showered with candy, nuts and raisins symbolizing sweetness and fruitfulness.

Kabbalat Panim – A traditional Jewish wedding day begins with time for guests to greet the couple before the ceremony. At a more traditional kabbalat panim, the bride and groom sit in different rooms and guests greet them individually. Each participate in their own receptions

The Tisch – The groom participates in a tisch, which is Yiddish for table. During this portion of pre-ceremony festivities, the groom attempts to present a lecture on the week’s Torah portion, while his male friends and family heckle and interrupt him, often with lively singing and rhythmic clapping. The bride is not often included in this ceremony in orthodox communities, but in a more modern Jewish wedding, the bride and groom may lead the tisch together.

Bride’s Reception – The bride’s reception is usually the livelier one! It is an old tradition for the bride to sit on distinctive, ornate, throne-like chair. Surrounded by her family and friends, she receives guests, heartfelt wishes and words of encouragement. The bride may also offer a special blessing in return. During this time, the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom together, break a plate. This symbolizes the seriousness of the commitment of marriage – just as a plate can never be fully repaired, so too a broken relationship can never be fully mended.


Inbal More via Mary + Nathan’s Sophisticated Jewish Wedding

The Ketubah Signing – After the kabbalat panim, the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) is signed by the bride, groom, rabbi and chosen witnesses. In a traditional orthodox community, this is only signed by the groom and male witnesses. Despite the ketubah’s testimony that the groom has “acquired” the bride, the ketubah actually outlines the bride’s rights and her willingness and desire to enter into the marriage. This contract is hers to keep as proof of her rights and the groom’s responsibilities to her under Jewish law.


GMS Photo via Roberts & Co Events

The Bedeken – In an Orthodox wedding, this is the first time a bride and groom see each other on the wedding day, sometimes after a week long separation. It is one of the most romantic and significant moments during the wedding day. This ceremony is based on the biblical story in which Jacob was presented with an already veiled bride; he discovered only after the ceremony that she was not his intended bride and love Rachel, but instead her sister Leah. The bedeken, or veiling of the bride, involves both families; accompanied by both fathers and all of his friends who joyously sing and dance, the groom is led to the bride, where both mothers and all the women surround her. The groom lowers her veil over her face, sanctifying the bride to be his wife, a commitment to clothe and protect his wife.  The bedeken also symbolizes an added level of modesty and conveys the lesson that however attractive physical appearances may be, inner beauty, the soul and character are paramount. This relates back to when Rebecca saw her groom Isaac coming toward her, “she took her veil and covered herself.” This is not often performed in more modern Jewish weddings.


DuHon Photography via Modern Jewish Park Hyatt Wedding

The Chuppah – The chuppah is the wedding canopy under which couples say their vows; it dates back to the tent-dwelling Jewish nomadic days in the desert. Jewish wedding ceremonies were held outdoors, and the chuppah created an intimate, sanctified space – symbol of the new home the bride and groom will soon be starting together. Traditionally, the bride’s parents will walk her down the aisle to the entrance of the chuppah where her groom, who was also walked down the aisle by his parents, will meet her, the circling will begin, and once completed they will enter the chuppah together. The bride stands on the groom’s right side. The chuppah is a great way to insert your own design and aesthetic into the wedding ceremony. The only requirement is that it is open on all sides, and covered on the top.

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Lisa Boggs Photography via Quirky Library DAR Wedding

Circling – Upon reaching the chuppah, the bride circles the groom seven times; this is a representation of many things in the Jewish faith such as the seven blessings, the seven days of creation, and the number of times Joshua circled the walls of Jericho when they finally came tumbling down and in circling her groom, a bride brings down any wall that may remain between them. To make the ancient ritual reciprocal, many couples opt to circle each other or split the circling with the bride and groom each making three circles on their own and one together.

Kiddushin – Once the bride and groom have entered the chuppah together, the kiddushin, or the betrothal ceremony, takes place. It begins with greetings and a blessing over the wine where a sip is taken by both the bride and groom. The second part of this custom is the ring exchange; in Jewish law, a marriage becomes official when the groom gives an object of value, such as a plain gold wedding band (without blemishes or ornamentation, just as hoped that the marriage will be one of simple beauty), to the bride. In Orthodox Jewish ceremonies, only the bride is given a ring, but in modern ceremonies rings are exchanged between both the bride and the groom. First, the groom places the ring on his bride’s right index finger- the finger believed to be directly connected to the heart – as he may recite, “Behold, by this ring you are consecrated to me as my wife according to the laws of Moses and Israel,” then the bride does the same as she may recite a biblical phrase. In modern ceremonies, the couple may also choose to recite their own vows as an added personal touch.

Sheva B’rachot – The sheva b’rachot, or seven blessings, is the heart of the Jewish ceremony and is recited for the bride and groom over a second glass of wine. The theme of these blessings link the bride and groom to God, as well as the creation of the world, survival of the Jewish people, a prayer for peace in Jerusalem, and good wishes for the couple and raising of a family. In many weddings, before the sheva b’rachot are recited, the parents wrap the couple in a tallis, prayer shawl, binding them together. These blessings are recited by the rabbi, or other special guests, the couple wishes to honor. After the seven blessings are said, the couple take a sip from the second cup of wine.

Maryland Wedding Victoria Ruan Photography Jewish Ceremony Maryland Wedding Victoria Ruan Photography Chuppah

 Victoria Ruan Photography via Classic Purple Fall Wedding Ceremony in Maryland

Breaking of the Glass – Most people are highly familiar with the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony based on the breaking of the glass. Depending on who you ask, the breaking of the glass is a symbol of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, a representation of the fragility of human relationships, and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever. In modern weddings, a lightbulb is often used in place of a physical glass as it is much easier to actually break in the moment and makes a loud noise! After the glass has been broken, generally by the groom, everyone yells “Mazel Tov” and in non-orthodox weddings, the bride and groom share their first kiss as husband and wife!

The Yihud – Immediately following the marriage ceremony, the bride and groom take at least eight minutes together privately to reflect on the vows that they have just entered into together. These moments of seclusion also signify the new status of living together as husband and wife. Traditionally, the bride and groom choose an individual they wish to honor who will guard the locked door in order to ensure they are not bothered. Alone, this is a great time to take a breath and spend some quality time with each other as well as a great way to get away from the crazy of the day, if only for a few minutes. This practice has gained recent fame and is being taken up by brides and grooms of all faiths! Even though this time was originally used to consecrate the marriage – although this is not the practice now – many couples also take this time to eat a little food together as well as exchange gifts, before joining their friends and family at the reception.


 Vibrant Jewish and Indian Fusion wedding

We hope you enjoyed learning about all of these aspects of traditional Jewish ceremonies! For more cultural inspiration, check out our 7 Cultural Wedding Traditions and Customs post and for even more local ideas visit our wedding inspiration galleries or check out our other Washington DC area real wedding features.

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Carriages & Coaches

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

Romantic Persian Wedding: Olivia + Rachid

posted by Tabitha

One wedding ceremony custom that we love seeing is a beautifully crafted Sofreh Aghd. A traditional Persian wedding spread, the Sofreh Aghd is a combination of legal marriage and ceremonial traditions that come together to unite the couple. Having been practiced for years, each Sofreh (meaning “spread”) and Aghd (meaning “ceremony”) is personalized to fit the couple and their own unique style. Today we are sharing a warm romantic Stone Manor Country Club wedding with Nat Wongsaroj Photography. The couple married in the rolling hills of the Maryland wedding venue estate followed by dinner and dancing under a peak pole tent. We love the soft color story of lavender, blush, and cream that ran throughout the day!

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Most Sofreh designs are based around the same objects and meanings, but can be as elaborate or simplistic as the couple’s taste desires. Designers often take inspiration from the overall wedding aesthetic and create a unique platform that embodies the soul of the couple and years upon years of cultural traditions. Traditionally the base of the Sofreh is a raised platform or stage which sits off of the natural ground with two stools or chairs for the couple behind it called Mokhadded. A ceremonial cloth is layered over the platform with the spread of items to be placed on top. Some of those items include the following:

  • Ayeeneh : A Mirror which represents bringing light  into the future for the newlywed couple.
  • Shamdoon: Candelabras and candles that  symbolize energy and clarity in their new life together.
  • Khoncheh : Seven specific herbs & spices are placed on the spread to guard against the evil eye. The mix of herbs and spices include poppy seeds, wild rice, angelica, salt, nigella seeds , black tea, frankincense.
  • Noon Sangak: Flatbread display that symbolizes prosperity for the  couple’s life together.
  • Tokhmeh Morgh: Eggs represent fertility for the couple.
  • Badoom, Gandom, and Gerdoo: Almond, walnut, & Hazelnut also represent and symbolize fertility for the newlyweds.
  • Meeveh: Seasonal fruits of pomegranates + apples to represent a joyous future.
  • Shahkheh Nabat: Rock or Hard candy to symbolize the sweetened life for the newlyweds.
  • Sekkeh: Coins are place on the sofreh to represent wealth & prosperity
  • Asal:: Honey is placed on the sofreh to be consumed as the ceremony is concluding. The couple ip pinkies in the honey and shared together to represent sweetness for life.
  • Golaab: Rose water is used to perfume the air.
  • Holy book of the couples Faith: A Koran or Bible is placed on the sofreh aghd to symbolize God’s blessing for the couple. The book is usually opened from the middle and placed on the spread in front of the couple as a symbol of faith
  • Sheereeni: Sweets + pastries are out and to be shared with the guests after the ceremony concludes.
  • Tooreh Ghand: Sugar Cloth is a delicate fabric which is held over the couple’s head throughout the ceremony by various happily married female relatives and friends
  • Kaleh Ghand: Sugar cones are rubbed by happily married woman  together over the “ghand cloth” while held over the couple’s head to shower their life and marriage with sweetness.
  • Soozan Nakh: Needle and Thread rest of on sofreh to symbolize the ritual of two families becoming one.

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Congratulations to Rachid and Olivia!  Thank you for sharing your romantic Maryland Wedding ceremony  with us!

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

Wedding Planner: Exclusively Events
Venu: Stone Manor Country Club
Photography: Nat Wongsaroj
Floral Designer: Maryam Flowers
DJ: Exclusively Entertainment

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.

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

All About The Dress

There are so many beautiful wedding dress choices! Click here to check out the many local bridal boutiques in the Washington DC area to help you find your dream dress!

7 Cultural Wedding Traditions and Customs

posted by Alex Hamilton

Continuing on with our cultural wedding week, today we are bringing you some of our favorite cultural wedding ceremony celebrations! We love that there are so many different faiths and cultures in this area; this makes sure our wedding ceremonies are always unique and interesting. Whether you want to incorporate your family’s history into your big day, or want to celebrate your faith as a couple, there are so many different ways you can do so. We have outlined and explained some we have seen on United with Love below!

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Pier 23 Photography via Modern and Chic DC Wedding

Korean Pyebaek – Originally, the pyebaek is a patriarchal tradition that brought a new bride into the groom’s family fold. The bride would bestow gifts upon the groom’s family and bow in subservience, symbolizing her transition from her own family to the groom’s. Modern Korean weddings, however, incorporate the pyebaek as a means of celebrating the union of two families and is often held either a few days before the wedding ceremony or immediately following with only family present.

The pyebaek begins with the older couple(s) seated on cushions behind a table in front of a painted screen with the newlyweds opposite them. The bride and groom then perform a very deep bow and after, the bride will present the elders with gifts of jujubes (Korean dates) and chestnuts to symbolize children and fertility. The elder then shares wisdom and guidance on married life with the bride and groom. Finally, they will throw the jujubes and chestnut backs to the bride who will catch them in her wedding skirt.

Virginia Chinese Tea Wedding Ceremony

 Love Life Images via Vow Exchange and Chinese Tea Ceremony

Chinese Tea Ceremony – A Chinese wedding tea ceremony is like the pyebaek in that it also is the formal introduction of the bride to the groom’s family and was created as a show of respect for the bride’s entrance into a new family; it is usually hosted post wedding ceremony. In modern Chinese tea ceremony’s, many couples choose to involve and honor both sides of the family. The order of service is usually parents, grandparents, grand-uncles/aunts, uncles and aunts, elder brothers/sisters, elder cousins.

If two separate ceremonies are hosted, traditionally the groom’s family will be honored first. Likewise, if there is an all-inclusive ceremony performed for both sides, the groom’s family would be served first. The couple (groom on the right, bride on the left) serves sweet Chinese tea to the elders in order of seniority and after each sip, the couple is handed a lai see – a lucky red envelope – which usually contains money or jewelry. The ceremony is then repeated for the bride’s side of the family, if necessary. The tea ceremony is also the time when a Chinese wedding contract is signed with a traditional seal or a personalized stamp.

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 Meghan Lynn Photography via Colorful Indian-American Wedding in Baltimore

Hindu Baraat – A Hindu Baraat is the groom’s wedding procession and in generally a very grand affair. The groom is led to the marriage venue on a Ghodi, or white horse, while upbeat drum music plays. He usually carries a ceremonial sword and is accompanied by a young brother, nephew or cousin. Family members adorn the Ghodi with embellishments that match the groom’s. The groom’s family and friends accompany him to the venue in the large procession and are called the baraati. They are then received and welcomed by the bride’s family members and in some cultures the groom is greeted with the Aarti upon his entrance to the venue. While this procession happens the bride generally watches from the venue but does not take part, as the Baraat is solely to welcome the groom and his family to the marriage site. The bride then joins the groom as both families are introduced in a Milni ceremony and remains for the Varmala, where they exchange garlands to signify the start of their marriage rituals.

Washington DC Catholic Wedding Ceremony (2) Washington DC Catholic Wedding Ceremony (4)

Bonnie Sen Creative Photography via Multicultural Summer Wedding Ceremony

Filipino Veil, Cord & Coin Ceremony – A traditional Filipino wedding ceremony often involves several smaller ceremonies within it with deep spiritual meanings. The Veil, Cord and Coin are included most often of all. Ceremonial sponsors are chosen by the bride and groom to take part in the ceremony. Multiple pairs of godparents are customary.

The veil is specially made to go over the groom’s shoulders and the bride’s head (placed by a sponsor) to represent everyone and everything that will protect them, their home and their family and can signify the transformation of two individuals into one family. The cord (lasso) is long and in the shape of a figure 8 to symbolize infinity and often has a rosary attached. It is put around the couple’s shoulders by another sponsor to symbolize the couple’s intimate union and bond to each other for eternity. The coin ceremony involves the bringing of 13 coins to the altar by a small child, generally a ring bearer. The coins are given to the bride from the groom as a promise to financially support their new family and the bride accepts as a promise to build a loving home.

Traditional Persian Wedding Ceremony Rebekah J Murray Photography (1) Virginia Wedding Persian Ceremony (1)

Rebekah J. Murray Photography via Elegant and Romantic Wedding Ceremony

Iranian Sofreh Aghd – This cultural ceremony is generally celebrated by Persian couples that takes place in a specially decorated room with an elaborate spread on the floor or the table that contains many symbolic items that represent an element of the couple’s new life together. These include a mirror, two candelabras, an assortment of seven symbolic herbs and spices, flatbread, eggs and nuts (almonds, walnut, hazelnut) to symbolize fertility, seasonal fruits (usually apples and pomegranates), rock candy, coins to symbolize wealth and prosperity, honey which the bride and groom feed to each other off of their pinky fingers, rose water, a bible, wild rue, needle and thread, coal, a ceremonial cloth or rug, sugar cones, etc.

When the bride enters the room, she has a veil covered her face. Once she is seated next to her groom she can remove the veil and the groom peers at her through a mirror, the Ayaneh, making his wife the first thing seen in the mirror. The Ayaneh represents life and truth and remains on the table throughout. Traditionally, in the days of arranged marriages, this first glimpse in the mirror was often the first time that the groom was able to see his bride.

Virginia Wedding Ceremony Handfasting (2)

Sanderson Images via Casual and Intimate Backyard Virginia Wedding

Celtic Handfasting – A handfasting is an old Pagan custom that dates back to the ancient Celts. It originated as more than a ceremonial act during a wedding ceremony, as it is today, and spanned an entire year serving as a “trial marriage.” If all was well after one year and one day, the couple would then get formally married. If the couple was unhappy, they could split up as if they had never been married in the first place. This has often been compared to a modern-day engagement period.

Today, handfasting is much more literal and takes place during the wedding ceremony. After the bride and groom declare their intent to marry, their hands are bound together with a cord (or cords) to symbolize their connection and the union in which they are entering. The wrapping of the cord forms an infinity symbol and the knot that is tied is a representation of oneness between the two. In a show of unity, they become bound to each other.

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Heather Hawkins Photography via Texas Wedding with Feet Washing

Feet Washing – This custom, which is typically practiced at Christian weddings, stems from the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet after Judas’ betrayal. It symbolizes a bride and groom’s humility and willingness to serve the other for the rest of their lives.

This is often done with a pitcher, a bowl, and a sponge right up at the altar. The bride and groom each take turns taking off  their shoes and having their feet lightly washed by the other and then dried with a towel, just as Jesus washed and dried his disciples feet on the last day of his life.

Stay tuned for a full post dedicated to Jewish wedding customs and traditions coming on Thursday of this week! For more cultural wedding inspiration, check out some of our DC area real weddings!

Paper Goodies

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

Castle Hill Cider South Asian Wedding: Mona + Ryan

posted by Tabitha

I am so excited for this week as we are bringing you cultural wedding information and inspiration coupled with some amazing real DC multi-cultural weddings! Incorporating traditions and cultural heritage is such an important part of planning a wedding ceremony for many couples. The ceremony is the foundation of a wedding, and choosing to incorporate traditions passed through generations brings a heartfelt meaning to such an important part of the day. Today we are sharing Mona and Ryan’s stunning South Asian wedding at Castle Hill Cider to kick off a week of culturally inspired ceremonies.

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The couple worked closely with Christine from Engaging Affairs to plan a memorable rustic meets chic outdoor ceremony. We absolutely love Mona’s beautiful red and gold Lingha that was donned for the ceremony before her change into a lighter airy western bridal gown for the reception. Leading into the ceremony, Ryan was joined by his family, groomsmen, and friends for a traditional Baraat. This fun and dance filled start to the day brings the groom to meet with the elders of the brides family traditionally on a horse, elephant, or in Ryan’s case a perfect Audi convertible! A dohl player joins the processional encouraging dancing and builds excitement between the families! The groom is bestowed garlands from the bride’s entourage before heading to the wedding ceremony that ward off any evil spirits.

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During the wedding ceremony, the couple is joined under the Mandap, a traditional wedding structure, by the parents of both the bride and groom. For Mona and Ryan, a cord is tied around the couple by their elders to ward off evil spirits and in lieu of wedding rings the bride is gifted a Mangala Sutra. This pennant necklace is tied in three knots to symbolize the binding of two souls together for 100 years and also to declare that she is a married lady. The number seven is important in South Asian weddings, as the couple circles the fire and recites 7 vows to each other to symbolize their commitment. We love how each moment is deeply rooted in tradition and taken with love and absolute sincerity.

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After a meaningful and lovely wedding ceremony, the couple had a quick dress change and joined their guests for a rustic chic celebration on the Castle Hill Cider property. How fun is their L-O-V-E Marquee sign at the stage? Thank you so much to Greg Gibson and Engaging Affairs for kicking off our cultural ceremony week and best wishes to the newlyweds! Do you have a beautiful cultural ceremony or reception to share? We would love to see it, send over to us at Submissions@Unitedwithlove.com for an opportunity to be featured on the blog!!

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Also, you wont want to miss their wedding day highlight film from the always talented Josh Gooden!

Thank you so much Mona + Ryan for sharing your beautiful wedding ceremony with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Venue: Castle Hill Cider
Wedding Planner: Engaging Affairs
Photography: Greg Gibson
Catering: Harvest Moon Catering
Ceremony Draping: Big Top Entertainment
Tent: Skyline Tent Company
Floral Design: Behive Events
Videography: John Gooden
Dhol and Entertainment: Planet DJ Productions
Cake: Mahlia Creations
Calligraphy and Paper Goods: Just Write Studios
Linens: DC Rental and Nuage Designs
Chair Rentals: MS Events
Transportation: Albermarle Limousine

Visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals, our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!



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

Sparkle & Shine

Using United With Love’s vendor guide, click here to find the perfect wedding sparklers at the area’s jewelry shops.

Quaint Maryland Engagement Session: Christine + Scott

posted by Tabitha

We hope you have had a wonderful week and enjoyed our behind the scenes look at the fun of NY Bridal Fashion Week from Astrid Photography. We love all of the stunning high fashion bridal gown trends we see coming in 2017! Today we are sharing a quaint downtown Bel Air Maryland Engagement Session with you from Be Photography. Scott and Christina knew that they did not want a run of the mill photo location, so they chose a spot that had special meaning to them and their families. Years ago, Scott’s grandparents owned a local business in the same downtown strip that their photos were taken! The newly engaged pair also own a home in Bel Air and hope to raise a family in the same area the groom’s family grew up in! Thank you to Be Photography for sharing their adorable engagement session with us and stay tuned next week for more DC wedding inspiration and weddings!

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Hey, Mr. DJ!

Keep that dance floor packed! Click here to use United With Love’s vendor guide to find the right local DJ for your wedding.