Happy Friday!

posted by ally

Oh my goodness, I absolutely adore this photo from this week’s intimate Virginia wedding. I can’t handle the cuteness! This week we sent out an email On that note, I hope that you had a great week and that you have an even better weekend! Don’t forget to come back this weekend – we have a few fun things planned for your weekend of wedding planning! Oh, and you can sign up for our email newsletter right here! If you weren’t on the list this week, you would have missed this!

Some links for your weekend…

…and what you missed right here!

Photo Credit: Rebekah J. Murray Photography

Old Town Alexandria Wedding Engagement Session: Monica + Phil

posted by kate

This cute couple and their sweet wedding engagement session in Old Town will definitely bring a smile to your Friday morning! Monica and Phil’s wedding engagement session, captured by Photography by Marirosa, goes from casual and colorful to fabulous and glam. Their session also features an appearance by their furry friend named Susan!

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Congratulations Monica and Phil!

Looking for more on 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: Photography by Marirosa

Ideas for Wedding Anniversary Gifts + Flowers

posted by ally

As much as we love weddings in the Washington DC area around these parts, we love a good anniversary celebration, too! Today we are talking about how to celebrate those milestone occasions with a list of gift ideas. (And here’s a little inspiration for wedding gift packaging ideas to help you get started!) From the 1st anniversary to the 10th (In honor of our editor, Juli, celebrating her tenth wedding anniversary today!), use this list of gift—traditional or modern—and floral ideas for wedding anniversary gifts as your guide. Plus, I even threw in my pick for a unique gift idea, too!

Photo Credit: Fig. 2 Design from Wedding Gift Packaging Ideas

1st Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Paper
  • Modern Gift— Clocks
  • Flower—Carnations

My gift suggestion: a custom floral art print from Rifle Paper Co.!

2nd Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Cotton
  • Modern Gift— China
  • Flower—Lily of the Valley

My gift suggestion: a cozy cotton quilt from Anthropologie. 

3rd Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Leather
  • Modern Gift— Crystal, Glass
  • Flower—Sunflowers

My gift suggestion: a leather handbag or leather wallet.

4th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Fruit or Flowers
  • Modern Gift— Appliances
  • Flower—Geranium

My gift suggestion: a weekend getaway to your favorite local vineyard! I love Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia! (Wine, grapes, fruit— that counts, right?)

5th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Wood
  • Modern Gift— Silverware
  • Flower—Daisies

My gift suggestion: a Washington DC shaped cutting board from Hill’s Kitchen.

6th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Candy
  • Modern Gift— Wood
  • Flower—Calla Lillies

My gift suggestion: a box of truffles from your favorite candy store— mine is Rheb’s Candy!

7th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Copper or Wool
  • Modern Gift— Desk Sets
  • Flower—Freesia

My gift suggestion: a pair of wool winter accessories, plus a ski trip!

8th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Pottery
  • Modern Gift— Lace or Linen
  • Flower—Lilac

My gift suggestion: a local pottery painting class!

9th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Willow or Wicker
  • Modern Gift— Leather
  • Flower—Bird of Paradise

 My gift suggestion: a wicker picnic basket from Pottery Barn filled to the brim with your favorite treats!

10th Anniversary

  • Traditional Gift— Tin
  • Modern Gift— Diamond jewelry
  • Flower—Daffodil

My gift suggestion: a piece of diamond jewelry, obviously! Check out these jewelers in the Washington DC area!

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If you’re looking for more wedding ideas, be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen.

Happy 10th Wedding Anniversary to Us

posted by julianne

I’m always walking a fine line between being personable on the blog, but not making it selfishly about me, and instead giving you lots of helpful advice for planning your wedding in the Washington DC area. After all, that’s what you need and I’ve already been through this process that you are going through right now. I was a DC area bride myself 10 years ago. Yes, that’s right, 10 years ago today my husband and I said our vows in front of our nearest and dearest in the lovely little town of St. Michael’s on the eastern shore of Maryland.

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I hope that you won’t mind indulging me a little bit today on my wedding anniversary with a few thoughts about weddings and, more importantly, marriage. I am due very, very, very soon with our third baby and maybe I’m just feeling sentimental? Or, nostalgic for the days when it was just my husband and me, and our biggest concern was picking sage green or light green for the cocktail hour napkins. (Actually, to be fair to him, he never cared about the little details for the wedding. Let me re-write that to my biggest concern!)

So, how did we make it through? Better yet, how did we make it 10 years? I just don’t know. I can’t believe I’m sitting here 10 years later and 2.95 babies later! There are no rules to marriage. Much like planning a wedding, I can give you tons of advice and tell you what has worked in the past, but sometimes it rains on your wedding day, and sometimes the bustle on your dress rips. What marriage is and how we make it work is so unique for every couple. The best thing I can say is to always be honest and never lose your groove for too long.

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I asked my kids for their marriage advice; what do they think makes a great marriage? My daughter said, “Be nice” and my son said “Eat cookies!” Ironically, there is truth to what they said. My husband and I have always tried to, above all, be nice to each other, which can be really hard for me sometimes. We rarely scream and fight, even though we do disagree, but we always try to be caring and kind. As for the cookies, let’s just say that my husband is a cookie fanatic. We had a huge dessert buffet at our wedding full of chocolate chip cookies. (That was a non-negotiable wedding budget priority!) My kids know that whenever I’m in trouble or I just want to make my husband happy, I bake cookies.

When he asked me to marry him, I remember being scared and all of those things that you think about when you are deciding your future. It was the unknown that freaked me out the most. I wanted a guarantee. I wanted to know to that it would all work out. What my dad told me was that there are no guarantees; you have to have to take a leap of faith. Faith in your relationship, faith in yourself and faith in your partner. I didn’t know how it would all play out in the future, but when we got married, I knew that above all he would be an amazing father, and that he was so kind and practical that we would always be able to work something out. For me, that was more than enough.

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Here is to 10 more amazing years of marriage!

P.S. Can you even handle these wedding photos of ours?!

DIY Spa Bridal Shower Favors + Treatments

posted by kate

The theme of the day: relaxation. We’re sharing some spa day-inspired treatments and favors inspired by this morning’s spa-themed bridal shower! This DIY lemon-green tea body salt scrub and DIY whipped rose coconut body butter are perfect preparations for you wedding in the Washington DC area. Better yet, make some for your entire bridal party so they can all be just as relaxed on your wedding day! They’re so easy to make, thanks to these simple “how-to” directions from Esme Krahn of Bodamaestra. Happy DIY spa day, future bride!

View More: http://evelynalasphotography.pass.us/bridalshowerstyledshoot

DIY Lemon-Green Tea Body Salt Scrub

Supplies

  • Mini glass jars
  • 26 oz. container of coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups of oil of your choice (i.e. grapeseed)
  • ½ squeeze of lemon juice
  • Bowl and spoon for mixing
  • Green tea essential oil

Instructions

Grate one lemon then place the oils, lemon rind and 10 drops of green tea essential oil into a mixing bowl. Place the salt into a large mixing bowl and mix the oil and salt together until everything is blended by the salt is still coarse. Spoon the mixture into your jars (mixture yields four 7-oz. jars).

View More: http://evelynalasphotography.pass.us/bridalshowerstyledshoot View More: http://evelynalasphotography.pass.us/bridalshowerstyledshoot

DIY Whipped Rose Coconut Body Butter

Supplies

  • One large glass or metallic mixing bowl
  • Mini milk glass bottles
  • ½ cup shea butter
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • ½ cup light oil, such as almond, olive or jojoba
  • 12 drops of rose essential oil

Instructions

In a glass or metallic mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except essential oil. Let the mix cool in the fridge for about 1 hour or until it begins to harden (it must remain somewhat soft). Add rose essential oil and use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes, until fluffy. Let the mixture set for about 12 minutes and then spoon it into your jars.

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I am already wanting to make both of these to pamper myself! Thanks again to Esme Krahn from Bodamaestra for these recipes!

If you are looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out our DIY projects and details! Also, if you’re a bridesmaid looking for more ideas, be sure to look at our ideas for local DC area bachelorette party ideas and unique ideas for bridal showers.

Spa Bridal Shower Ideas

posted by kate

Want to feel just a little more relaxed this morning? Well, then you’ve come to the right place! These gorgeous pink bridal shower ideas captured by Evelyn Alas Photography is all the wedding inspiration that you’ll need to plan a stress-free day at the spa. And thanks to the talented Washington DC area wedding professionals behind this inspiration, you can easily make your bridal shower (or bachelorette party!) a relaxing day for you and all of your bridesmaids amid the crazy that comes with wedding planning! Come back later this morning to get the how-to for creating spa treatments to use as favors!

View More: http://evelynalasphotography.pass.us/bridalshowerstyledshoot

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Tons of great ideas for a relaxing beautiful day for your bridal party and you! The following Washington DC area wedding vendors contributed to this wedding inspiration:

Venue: Thibiant Beverly Hills, Fairfax
Planner + Event Styling: Bodamaestra
Photography: Evelyn Alas Photography
Floral Design: Eighttreestreet
Dessert: Occasionally Cake
Hair + Makeup: Stylist to Go
Stationery and Signage: JP Stationery

If you are looking for more local wedding inspiration, look in our DC area wedding idea galleries and real DC area wedding features, and don’t forget to look through our amazing DC area wedding vendor guide for all of the pros who can make it happen.

Photo Credits: Evelyn Alas Photography

Contemporary and Traditional Wedding Reception in Maryland: Jewel + Reggie

posted by ally

Set at the Gaylord National Resort, this wedding in Maryland combines the contemporary with a touch of glam. After saying their “I Do’s,” Jewel and Reggie headed closer to the Potomac for a celebration oozing with romantic ambiance. (Make sure to check out their traditional wedding ceremony, too!) With a punch of purple at every turn, planned by Howerton+Wooten Events, you can see all of the loveliness captured by Natarsha Wright Photography.

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From Jewel: One of my favorite memories was making an impromptu stop at Union Station to take photos with our entire wedding party. It’s where we took our engagement photos and where Reggie hosted a surprise engagement party (formerly B. Smith’s) the night that he proposed!

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We DIY’d our table numbers, after falling in love with glitter-covered numbers that we saw on Etsy. We are pretty crafty and figured that we could do them ourselves as a weekend project.

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As part of the centerpiece design, we painted wooden picture frames that we found at Michael’s and enlisted a small army of friends to help print, laminate and assemble photos from our engagement shoot. We invited our guests to take them home as favors.

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We worked with Dangerously Delicious Pies and they created mini pies (apple and Baltimore Bomb!) for our wedding favors. We live in the H Street neighborhood and wanted to leave our loved ones with a taste of one of our favorite local flavors. We created descriptions and “logo” stickers for boxes that we ordered wholesale online.

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Jewel’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:

Keep those who love you and can be tastefully honest around. There will be lots of opinions but those opinions should never distract from what it is that you and your significant other want for your wedding day. Take the time to write handwritten notes to your loved ones in the weeks leading up to your wedding day.

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Thank you so much Jewel and Reggie for sharing your wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Ceremony Venue: Turner Memorial AME Church
Officiant: Rev. William H. Lamar, IV
Reception Venue: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Photography: Natarsha Wright Photography
Videography: CeCe Davis Videography
Wedding Planner: Howerton+Wooten Events
Floral Design: Petal’s Edge Floral Design
Stationery: Minted
Calligraphy: Handwritten Notes by A.
Bridal Attire: Sottero & Midgley from Katherine’s Bridal Boutique
Veil: Etsy
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Hair: Salon Lamaj
Makeup: Chantise Whitley
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Jenny Yoo from Nordstrom Wedding Suite
Groom’s Attire: Kenneth Cole
Shoes: Calvin Klein
Ceremony Music: Marty Lamar, Brandon Garner, Sally Clark
DJ: DJ Sharkey of The Joodlum Group
Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Bakery
Favors: Dangerously Delicious Pies
Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.

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

Photo Credits: Natarsha Wright Photography

Contemporary and Traditional Wedding Ceremony in Maryland: Jewel + Reggie

posted by ally

Contemporary, vibrant and full of love—this wedding in Maryland will inspire you as much as it will make you smile. Every single image from Jewel and Reggie’s ceremony, captured by Natarsha Wright Photography, is overflowing pure bliss and style, making me one seriously happy wedding blogger this morning. The beauty is in the details planned by Howerton+Wooten Events and the purple perfection of the décor. And, of course, I love that they took a selfie after saying their “I Do’s”—#bestselfieever. Don’t forget to come back later this morning to see their regal purple affair with DIY details!

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From Jewel: We wanted our loved ones to immediately recognize our personal style in every aspect of our wedding day. We’re a contemporary couple with hints of traditionalism: we aimed for our wedding day to be aesthetically beautiful but comfortable, too.

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Our colors (plum, mint green, and silver) were used in our save the dates, invitation packages, florals/lighting, and dresses/wardrobe details for the groomsmen.

Maryland Wedding Handkerchief

The handkerchief for my father included a quote from the song we danced to at the reception: “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele.

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Thank you so much Jewel and Reggie for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Be sure to come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Ceremony Venue: Turner Memorial AME Church
Officiant: Rev. William H. Lamar, IV
Reception Venue: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Photography: Natarsha Wright Photography
Videography: CeCe Davis Videography
Wedding Planner: Howerton+Wooten Events
Floral Design: Petal’s Edge Floral Design
Stationery: Minted
Calligraphy: Handwritten Notes by A.
Bridal Attire: Sottero & Midgley from Katherine’s Bridal Boutique
Veil: Etsy
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Hair: Salon Lamaj
Makeup: Chantise Whitley
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Jenny Yoo from Nordstrom Wedding Suite
Groom’s Attire: Kenneth Cole
Shoes: Calvin Klein
Ceremony Music: Marty Lamar, Brandon Garner, Sally Clark
DJ: DJ Sharkey of The Joodlum Group
Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Bakery
Favors: Dangerously Delicious Pies
Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.

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

Photo Credits: Natarsha Wright Photography

Elegant and Romantic Wedding Reception in Virginia: Samira + Chad

posted by ally

Filled with pretty blooms and gorgeous string lighting, this wedding in Virginia is a serious show-stopper with some steal worthy style that will be all over your Pinterest page. Combining Persian and Western traditions, Samira and Chad’s intimate outdoor wedding is something straight out of a dream. (Make sure you check out their outdoor wedding ceremony first!) And sure enough, this beauty has a little bit of everything: a soft color palette, a touch of lace, and a romantic style. I don’t know about you but I am totally smitten with all these gorgeous images from Rebekah J. Murray Photography! Get ready for an afternoon of pretty wedding inspiration…

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From Samira: We knew we wanted a space that could host the ceremony and reception. We also knew that we wanted a venue that was close to nature and had a cozy and relaxed ambiance. We decided to go with this venue based on the historic character, versatility and also the amazing views!

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For the favors, my sister and I planted succulents in golden pails, made blush pink thank you tags to place in each and finished them off with a lace ribbon.

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Samira’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:

If I were to share any advice with a future bride, I would say incorporate what is most important to you. Have fun and know that some things may not be as perfect as you planned, however, you, your groom and your guests will have so much fun no matter what and it’ll be perfect!

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Thank you so much Samira and Chad for sharing your wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Venue: Morven Park
Photographer: Rebekah J. Murray Photography
Stationery: Minted
Floral Design: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers
Bridal Attire: Tara Keely
Veil: Custom
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Hair: George Four Seasons Salon
Makeup: Carl Ray
Groom’s Attire: Brunello Cucinelli
Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo
Rentals: DC Rental
Catering: Purple Onion Catering
Persian Catering: Shamshiry
Cake: Maggie Austin Cake
Persian Desserts: Yas Bakery
Desserts: Macaron Bee
Lighting: DIY
DJ: DJ Shamoudi
Favors: DIY

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

Photo Credits: Rebekah J. Murray Photography