Inspiration and Ideas: Bridesmaid Gifts

posted by Ally Lopez

You’ve chosen the perfect bridesmaids and now it’s time to find them the perfect gift! These are your nearest and dearest standing by your side (other than your partner!) when you exchange your vows—what better way to show your love and appreciation for their support than with a creative and personal gift. We gathered a few ideas and inspiration that your girls are sure to love!

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Marie Photography from Modern Wedding in Washington DC

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  • Whether it's your bridal shower or bachelorette party, have a local makeup artist come do mini-makeovers or create custom makeup for you and your friends! Photo Credit: Vicky Grafton Photography

    via Custom Wedding Makeup

  • Gift your besties a punch of color with this Kate Spade wristlet featuring a 14-karat light gold plated hardware that reads "BFF." Too. Cute.

    via Kate Spade

  • How cute is this ombré, hand made wedding garter set of six for you and your best girlfriends!? One for you, one for me!

    via The Garter Girl

  • Gift your girls a hand-lettered, gold foil letterpress print by Laura Hooper Calligraphy. Choose from one of the prints available, or have a custom print created for you with a favorite quote or message!

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • Inspired by the organic movements of wild plants, this pair of topaz + champagne earrings would make for a sweet gift for your ladies.

    via BHLDN

  • These chic romper bridesmaid gift sets are covered in pretty blooms! They are perfect for getting ready on your wedding day. Plus, they have pockets!

    via Plum Pretty Sugar

  • For a unique wedding escort card, this crafty bride dipped terra cotta pots into silver, gold, and white paint and planed succulents into each! Photo Credit: She Wanders

    via Ruffled

  • Perfect for your nautical themed or beach-inspired weddings and events, these compasses will guide each of your guests to their proper seat. Plus, they make a great keepsake, too!

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • Michelle + David wanted to add a special vintage-inspired touch to their wedding escort cards. They had their calligrapher create cards for these vintage skeleton keys! Photo Credit: Procopio Photography

    via Timeless Washington DC Wedding

Are you looking for more local 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.

DIY Personalized Bridesmaids Hangers

posted by Ally Lopez

If you’re searching for a super cute (and not to mention, inexpensive!) idea for bridesmaids gifts, then today’s DIY wedding project is for you. A few weeks ago we gathered some ideas for personalized wedding hangers and it got us thinking about how to do it yourself. These custom bridesmaid hangers will make for some fun bridal party attire portraits, and serve as a sweet keepsake for your girls. With this project you can transform your pretty lettering into faux calligraphy, with just a few strokes of a fine-tipped acrylic calligraphic pen, or try your hand with calligraphy with just the flick of a nib. (Or just turn to the pros! Here’s our list of wedding calligraphers in the Washington DC area!)

DIY Personalized Bridesmaids Hangers

Supplies:

To Make:

To begin personalizing your hanger, write the name (or letters, bridal party title, monogram, etc.) using a pencil—or just freehand it.­­­­­ Transform your cursive handwriting into calligraphy by making each down stroke thicker and filled in (pretend you’re writing with an angled calligraphy pen). Simple + easy— with the flick of a pen, you can “fake” calligraphy. (And if you’re up for trying calligraphy, may I recommended this calligraphy starter kit.)

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Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? If you are in the mood for more projects and printables, you can check out all of our Washington DC area DIY weddings right here! Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros.

DIY vs. Pro Wedding Day Makeup Tips

posted by Ally Lopez

The key to taking beautiful photos during your wedding in the Washington DC area starts with a flawless complexion, and a great place to start is with your wedding day makeup. If you were considering doing your own makeup—hold that thought! Today Lelia of Lelia Marie Photography. is here to share her professional advice on why some things are best left to the pros. She teamed up with Jacquelyn, a local makeup artist from Enlightened Styles, to show us the difference between doing your own makeup and having a professional take charge of your bridal beauty. On that note, take it away, Lelia…

Washington DC Wedding Makeup

As a photographer, I’m a huge advocate of having professional hair and makeup done for your wedding day. There are so many things a pro can do (including making it look great for photos—not just in person, applying it so it stays on all day, and staying on time!) that don’t happen when it is done by the bride. However, I frequently get brides who do their own makeup. So I teamed up with Jacquelyn of Enlightened Styles to see if there really was a difference, photographically, between DIY makeup and the pros.

We had two different girls come into my studio, so that the light and the background was consistent. The only thing that we changed was their makeup. They did their own makeup first (as if they were getting married, not just every day makeup) and then Jacquelyn did what she would normally do on a wedding day. Both of these girls know how to work with makeup. They aren’t total novices, but even with their knowledge (and the fact that they looked fine in person!) the professional makeup was so much better in photos! And these were taken in an ideal and very forgiving lighting situation. On a wedding day when the sun is harsh or the lighting is dim I’m sure that Jacquelyn’s makeup would be even that much better.

Advice for Professional Washington DC Area Wedding Makeup

Having seen the difference I can’t help by encourage ALL brides to have professional makeup done! The pros know all the tricks to keep your makeup lasting and looking good all day! They know how to make it look good in photos without looking (or feeling) like you have a ton of makeup on in person. With their help think of how great you will look in all your photos!

Washington DC Area Wedding Makeup Tips and Advice 

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A big thank you to Lelia for sharing this great bridal beauty advice, and Jacquelyn for putting together these looks! If you’re on the hunt for a local wedding photographer, be sure to check out Lelia Marie Photography.

Are you looking for more local wedding ideas and advice? 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.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in DC, MD + VA

posted by Ally Lopez

Being asked to officiate a wedding in the Washington DC area for a couple you know and love is position that comes with great honor… and it can also be little intimidating, too! Fear not, my friends, we’re here to help. Before you help write a custom wedding ceremony, you will need to check out the legal provisions that come with the job! We did a little research and gathered some of the steps you’ll need to take to fulfill local wedding celebrant requirements. (And if you’re not having a loved one officiate your ceremony, take a look at our vendor guide for a list of wedding officiants in the Washington DC area!)

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Photo Credit: Sweet Tea Photography from Country Chic Wedding in Virginia

Washington DC Wedding Ceremony Celebrants

Who Can Perform the Ceremony:

  • an authorized person of any religious denomination or society ($35 fee + application)
  • a civil celebrant ($35 fee + application)
  • a temporary officiant ($25 fee + application)
  • a judge (or retired judge of any court of record)
  • the Clerk of the Court of such deputy clerks of the Courts as may, in writing be designated by the Clerk and approved by the Chief Judge of the Court
  • a member of the Council
  • the Mayor of the District of Columbia

* “Temporary officiant” means a person authorized by the Clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Court”) to solemnize a specific marriage. The person’s authority to solemnize that marriage expires upon the filing of the marriage license.

* “Civil celebrant” means a person of a secular or non-religious organization who performs marriage ceremonies.

The officiant application or the temporary officiant application may be submitted with the application fee in the Marriage Bureau in Room 4555 of the Moultrie Courthouse. For more information on persons authorized to perform ceremonies in Washington DC, be sure to check out DC Code § 46-406.

Maryland Wedding Ceremony Celebrants

Who Can Perform the Ceremony:

  • an official of a religious order (such as an ordained minister)
  • a Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • a deputy clerk designated by the county administrative circuit court judge
  • a judge

Maryland doesn’t require celebrants to register with the state; however, it’s essential that the celebrant properly validate the couple’s marriage license and sign the marriage certificate. One copy of the certificate is to be delivered to the couple, the other is to be returned by the officiant to the clerk who issues the license within 5 days of the ceremony.

Each county has a different procedure to apply; check out this directory to look for your county Clerk’s Office. For more information on persons authorized to perform ceremonies in Maryland, be sure to check out Family Law 2-401.

Virginia Wedding Ceremony Celebrants

Who Can Perform the Ceremony:

  • any judge or justice of a court of record
  • any judge of a district court or any retired judge or justice of the Commonwealth
  • any active, senior or retired federal judge or justice who is a resident of the Commonwealth an authorized minister of any religious denomination
  • a “one-time” marriage celebrant + $500 cash bond (once petition is authorized)

Individuals wishing to perform a wedding ceremony in Virginia must obtain prior court authorization. Any circuit court judge may issue an order authorizing one or more persons, resident in the circuit in which the judge sits, to celebrate the rites of marriage in the Commonwealth.

Each county has a different procedure to apply; check out this directory to look for your county Circuit Court. For more information on persons authorized to perform ceremonies in Virginia, be sure to check out Code of Virginia §20-23 and Code of Virginia §20-25.

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Did I miss anything? Are you having a friend or family member perform your wedding ceremony? Leave a comment and let us know your tips + advice!

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.

Intimate Destination Wedding Reception in Washington DC: Dawn + Wendy

posted by Ally Lopez

Welcome back to the second half of Dawn and Wendy’s destination wedding in Washington DC. (Before you go any further, I insist that you check out their intimate wedding ceremony first!) I seriously love their dreamy sunset portraits around the city. I can just feel the love through the screen, and you can definitely see it in these beautiful images from Daniel McGarrity Photography.

Washington DC Lesbian Wedding

From the brides: We were really focused on making it an expression of a love that has lasted more than 25 years. We used the parts of the wedding to tell the story of our love. We focused heavily on the experience for our guests and hand made gift bags for each family that attended. These bags were waiting at the hotel and were a perfect way to welcome and begin the story of our love.

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Dawn and Wendy’s wedding planning advice for other couples:

For any same sex couples considering the DC area, let us share our experience with the extrodinary level of support and engouragement we felt from the people of DC. It began with the warm and caring team at the marriage beuearu and continued out onto the street from the random stranger that congratulated us outside the marriage office. It was in the very supportive and helpful hotel staff. It was the more than 100 people who joined our wedding audience at the momument and cheered us on. It was the runners from the charity race that cheered us on as we took wedding pictures the next morning. The city opened its arms for us and made us feel like we belonged. There is nothing more special or meaningful for a wedding than acceptance.

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

Ceremony Venue: World War I Memorial
Reception Venue: Key Bridge Marriott
Photography: Daniel McGarrity Photography
Wedding Planner: Elegantly Chic Events
Floral Design: Nick’s Flowers
Transportation: Limousines Inc.
Bridal Attire: JJ Kelly Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Alfred Angelo
Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Rentals: Tents, LLC
Cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie

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: Daniel McGarrity Photography

Intimate Destination Wedding Ceremony in Washington DC: Dawn + Wendy

posted by Ally Lopez

We’re starting our morning off with a serious pop of color, ya’ll. Dawn and Wendy, two Texan beauties, planned a destination wedding in Washington DC with their nearest and dearest to witness their “I Do’s.” Their Texas-meets-DC wedding style came complete a pair of cowgirl boots, a punch of pink, and a bridal gown with a pink tulle. That’s right. Pink. Tulle. I’m in love! Their intimate wedding ceremony at the World War I memorial drew in onlookers who cheered on—including a Segway tour!—as these two brides exchanged vows with Daniel McGarrity Photography behind the camera. Join us later this afternoon as we soak in the pretty from their reception and dreamy portraits around the city!

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From the brides: This single most important part of our wedding was to actually be able to be married! Being from Texas, where this isn’t possible yet, we had a handful of states to pick from. The vibrancy of the DC area both in culture, beauty and as a wonderful tourist destination made it perfect for us and our families.

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Thank you so much Dawn and Wendy 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: World War I Memorial
Reception Venue: Key Bridge Marriott
Photography: Daniel McGarrity Photography
Wedding Planner: Elegantly Chic Events
Floral Design: Nick’s Flowers
Transportation: Limousines Inc.
Bridal Attire: JJ Kelly Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Alfred Angelo
Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Rentals: Tents, LLC
Cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie

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: Daniel McGarrity Photography

Black Tie New Year’s Eve Wedding Reception in Washington DC: Sarah + Ilana

posted by Ally Lopez

Welcome back to the second part of Sarah and Ilana’s wedding in Washington DC! Before I can let you go on and see the glitz and glam of their New Year’s Eve wedding, you have to check out their traditional Jewish wedding ceremony first! Joseph Allen Photography was behind the lens to capture all the fun from their sparkly party horns and vintage clock table décor to the champagne toasts and countdown!

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From the brides: We found gold and silver glitter party horns and hung escort cards from the horns, and everyone used them at midnight to ring in 2014. We bought lots of vintage alarm clocks on eBay, which we used as our table numbers – with all the clocks set to midnight, of course! 

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The focal point of the décor was having floating candles hung from the ceiling. Cautious of cost and the environment, we kept flowers to a minimum. The tablescapes were a collection of candles in all shapes and sizes that were accented by flowers and metallic vases. We added bare branches to some tables capture the winter feel. The Willard’s ballroom is so ornate and beautiful on its own, so we kept our decor simple.

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Washington DC Wedding First Dance

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Our guests loved being able to get into the booth with all of the silly and fun props, and we asked them to leave us a copy of all of their strips in a guest book with a note. At the end of the night, we looked through the book together and it was so fun to see all of our guests having a good time, since the night went by so fast.

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Washington DC Wedding Hora Dance

During the countdown at midnight, we had a champagne toast complete with confetti cannons and, of course, the party horns. Then we served mini burgers and truffle fries on the dance floor so that our guests would have the energy to keep dancing until 1 am – and most did!

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

Venue: The Willard
Wedding Coordinator: Christina Canalez Presock
Photography: Joseph Allen Photography
Floral Design: Petal’s Edge Floral Design
Stationery: Custom design by Jenny Goldberg
Ketubah: Jerise Fogel
Bridal Attire – Sarah: Modern Trousseau
Bridal Attire – Ilana: Rivini from Carine’s Bridal Atelier
Hair and Makeup: Andre Chreky
Reception Music: Doctor’s Orders
Photobooth: Bialek’s Music

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: Joseph Allen Photography

Black Tie New Year’s Eve Wedding Ceremony in Washington DC: Sarah + Ilana

posted by Ally Lopez

Happy Monday, lovelies! I am so excited for today’s wedding in Washington DC because it adds something new to my bucket list: attend a New Year’s Eve wedding. Can you imagine ringing in the New Year with all your loved ones? Sarah and Ilana’s gorgeous black-tie fête, captured by Joseph Allen Photography, is oozing with cozy, winter wedding glam and I seriously can’t get enough. I could gush all morning long, but I’ll just let you soak in the pretty at your desk. Makes sure to come back later this morning and see their NYE-inspired reception with sparkly party horns and vintage clocks! Let the countdown begin…

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From the brides: We knew we wanted a winter wedding but there was a good deal of conversation about the date. After much discussion, we realized everyone would want a wedding party on New Year’s Eve! Working off of our love for metallics and sticking with the New Year’s theme, we went for a gold and ivory color palette.

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We had a beautiful papercut ketubah (marriage certificate) made by an artisan we found on Etsy, and we hung our grandfathers’ prayer shawls from the chuppah.

Washington DC Jewish Wedding

The programs included little packets of tissues for happy tears and a packet of confetti for guests to throw as we walked back up the aisle – this made for some fabulous pictures!

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We had a fairly traditional Jewish ceremony. Our rabbi is a close friend and it was really special to have someone who knows us well. We invited 14 of our close friends and family members to read the Seven Blessings, in English and Hebrew.

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Thank you so much Sarah and Ilana 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:

Venue: The Willard
Wedding Coordinator: Christina Canalez Presock
Photography: Joseph Allen Photography
Floral Design: Petal’s Edge Floral Design
Stationery: Custom design by Jenny Goldberg
Ketubah: Jerise Fogel
Bridal Attire – Sarah: Modern Trousseau
Bridal Attire – Ilana: Rivini from Carine’s Bridal Atelier
Hair and Makeup: Andre Chreky
Reception Music: Doctor’s Orders
Photobooth: Bialek’s Music

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: Joseph Allen Photography

Sunday Brunch: Roberts & Co. Events

posted by Kate Oczypok

Good morning DC area wedding lovers! Are you ready to spend another Sunday morning with one of our awesome sponsors? Washington DC area based wedding and event designers, Roberts & Co. Events will allow your own unique vision for your wedding to come through, whether its under a tent in rolling hills of a vineyard in Virginia, or a rocking band party in downtown Washington, DC. Roberts & Co. Events thrives on bringing their clients’ vision to life and loves taking on the challenges that so many great vendors and personalities can come to the table to celebrate with amazing events. For more from Roberts & Co., be sure to visit their website or check out all of their past features on United With Love.

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Photography Credit: Lisa Boggs Photography

We hope that you’ll check out Roberts & Co. Events for your event planning needs 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.