Jordyn and Max met at a restaurant group, where he is now a Corporate Chef and she is in Business Development. Since a few of couples loves are good food, wine, and visiting local Virginia wineries, they thought it would be fun to have their engagement session at one of their favorites, Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg. Jordyn & Max started off with a little playful food prep while enjoying some wine. Their photographer, Kurstin Roe, was able to take advantage of the the varied backdrops the winery has to offer, from the tasting room, rolling hills, and even a vintage truck to capture some fun photos of the couple. We love when couples bring their own personalities into engagement shoots, and really capture the essence of how much fun they have together. Their wedding planner, Kelley Cannon Events put together an adorable table by the vines of the winery to enjoy dinner and the spoils of their cooking session. We especially loved the fruit infused floral centerpiece from Holly Chapple Flowers and the soft rustic blue and fall combo of the DC Rental tables-cape. Thank you Kurstin and Kelley for sharing this fun cooking engagement session with us and congratulations to the couple on their upcoming February wedding!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their engagement session:
A touch of Gatsby glam meets Virginia farm in this wintery, rustic, bootleg inspired editorial photo shoot by Jennifer Prophet and Sherry McNeill. This secret Virginia elopement style wedding was tucked away inside a rustic barn fronting as an old furniture repair shop. They used several props to make the barn look like a clandestine bootlegging facility replete with a speakeasy type door, a corn sheller, stills, a funnel, barrels to store the hooch and a hideaway bar inside an armoire. The cover of the furniture shop lended to the rustic style ripped armchair and the stripped settee they used as the cake stand. I loved how the gold embellishments, rich shades of marsala and buttery cremes juxtaposed the worn, rustic wood and vintage aesthetic.
The shoot took place in one of the barns at stylist Rosanna Smith’s family farm Villa Smith in Gainesville, Virginia. This farm has been in the Smith family for over 100 years. You can’t bootleg without a getaway car and they found the perfect one belonging to Rosanna’s father-in-law, a 1920s vintage Packard whose marsala color inspired the accents and florals. I love the note in scripted calligraphy containing the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald that pay homage to the Gatsby era. “I love her and that is the beginning and end of everything.” Thank you to the amazing vendor team for sending us this glamorous inspirational elopement shoot!
Thank you to the amazing team for sharing this glam 1920’s bootleggers inspirational shoot with us!
It’s almost that time! Your big day is quickly approaching and you aren’t quite sure what to do on the day before? Have no fear! We have compiled a list of must do’s complete with some great suggestions on where to do these pre-wedding activities and which of our favorite DC area wedding vendors can help!
As far as day of prep goes, getting your nails done is a must! Grab all of your ladies and head over to one of DC’s cute and trendy nail boutiques. We love Varnish Lane, a new luxury nail care destination in the District. The beautiful atmosphere and their safe and “green” waterless approach to nail services make Varnish Lane a must-do for your wedding day nails! They also provide waxing services if you are in need of hair removal for the big day. Don’t forget to make an appointment ahead of time, as demand is high for this chic spot! If you are interested in a little more pampering, a full spa day at the Mandarin Oriental will help you to recharge after wedding planning and to relax for the big day.
Want your hair to look absolutely perfect for your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner plans? Look no further than Drybar in Georgetown, or any of their other DC locations. For a fraction of the cost of curls from your regular stylist, Drybar will wash and style your hair to your heart’s desire. Choose from their extensive collection of looks or ask for something a little customized! Why not invite your girls along for this as well? Drybar does private parties that include drinks and other special treats put together by one of their party planners. What a fun way to kick off your wedding festivities! Want the party to come to you? Check out Alison Harper & Co or Bridal Artistry for their travelling beauty services. You can get fabulous hair and makeup all in one!
After you have been properly pampered and beautified, you definitely will want to show off at a fun brunch or lunch! Grab your honey and your full bridal party and go somewhere special. We suggest Lyon Hall in Virginia for their amazing weekend brunch or Sonoma on Capitol Hill for their weekday lunch menu. No matter where you go, you’re bound to have a great time with your friends and loved ones.
Your next step may be your wedding rehearsal and your rehearsal dinner. Get changed into your supremely cute outfit for the occasion and head over to your ceremony venue to practice the big day! If you have a wedding planner, which we highly suggest, he or she will be there to guide you through the process stress free! Then it’s off to party! Make sure you have booked a rehearsal dinner spot ahead of time so you have enough space for everyone. Feel free to include whomever you would like in your rehearsal dinner. If you want it to be simply bridal party and close family but don’t want to leave out the out of town guests who have traveled for you two, have a cocktail hour post dinner to be more inclusive for everyone. As for rehearsal dinner locations, we absolutely love United with Love vendor Mike Isabella’s amazing restaurants, such as Kapno’s on the Fourteenth Street Corridor.
On your last night as a single lady, you will definitely want to be surrounded by your girls! If they don’t join you for your morning pampering sessions, schedule time for a glass of champagne with your ladies in your hotel room before bed or an after dinner drink so you guys can chat before the big day. This is especially fun if your bridesmaids are coming in from out of town and you haven’t seen each other for a while! This could also be a great time to shower them with their handpicked bridesmaid’s gifts from our friends at Marigold & Grey! They also do great “Will you be my bridesmaid?” boxes so you could create a continuous theme for your favorite gals!
When the night starts to wind down and you are getting ready for bed, take a moment to remember what this time is really about – love! A lot of brides get little gifts for their significant other to open on the big day just to show them how excited they are to get married. Even if you don’t opt for something like that, writing a note detailing your love for them and your excitement and expectations for the day can be very meaningful. The Dandelion Patch has great stationary and paper options to make this letter extra special!
Although all of the above mentioned items are super fun, the most important thing to do the day before your wedding is to relax and get some sleep!Pretty Plum Sugar makes great robes for relaxing in before the big day and they make great gifts for your bridesmaids to get ready in on the morning of as well. Getting a good night’s rest is key to having a great wedding day; every girl needs her beauty rest to look her best! Although you may be filled with nervous and excited butterflies, take the time to quiet your mind and get a full night of rest. You will be happy you did!
For more wedding inspiration and helpful hints, check out our tips and advice section!
Today’s wedding at Strathmore in Maryland incorporated touches of a travel theme, rich purples and slate, paired with personal moments from the couple to weave together the perfect wedding story. We loved how the couple chose such vibrant tones of purple which they infused on their wedding invitations with wax seals, travel inspired escort tickets, and centerpieces. The couple had recently traveled to Europe and wanted to incorporate moments from their vacation into the wedding reception. They made postcards with pictures they had taken in that city and wrote little letters about what they did in that particular destination on each.
The couple opted for a first look, which both said was one of their favorite parts of the entire wedding day. This allowed them to have an intimate moment for photos prior to the ceremony, and also be able to enjoy all aspects of the wedding without being crunched for time. You can see the love radiating between the pair as they posed on the beautiful Mansion at Strathmore stairs for photos. A special thank you to Amber Kay Photography for sharing their special day with us!
From the couple: Our wedding was jokingly dubbed “The Royal Wedding” so we had some royal touches, Julia’s shower was a royal tea party and we used a wax seal on our invitations. A lot of our design inspiration came from a trip we had taken all around Europe which was reflected in the food/drinks and the decor. We decided to go with all shades of purple and gray so that everything would go together but not necessarily match.
Tip from the Groom: Take the time to pick out a killer suit or tux and all the accessories. For a guy that almost always wears flip flops and graphic tees, I saw this as his chance to show people what style he truly had. Don’t do cookie cutter off-the-shelf with sleeves that are too short, ill-fitted shoulders, and pants that are too long. Get whatever you pick out tailored, play around with tie patterns, and explore textured pocket squares. This is your chance to shine too!
Our favorite memory was the actual ceremony, it was beautifully delivered by Jane Beard who is an officiant but also a close family friend. We wrote our own ridiculous vows, complete with promises of puppies and Taco Bell that had the whole room cracking up and also crying. Julia’s brothers played the processional and recessional on acoustic guitars and Julia’s best friend read a Shakespearean sonnet.
We handmade the escort cards as well as the table names. The escort cards were made to look like train tickets with the name and table of the guest and we hand dyed each one based on the guest’s food choice. Since the tables were named after cities we visited on our Europe trip, we made postcards with pictures we had taken in that city and wrote little letters about what we did in that particular place. The allgäuer schnitzel and asparagus soup were based after an anniversary dinner we had at the Hotel Rübezahl in Schwangau and we served German beer at the bar.
Tipes and Advice from the Couple: Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box! If you aren’t religious then you don’t have to have a religious ceremony! Yes, this day is about more than just the bride and groom but it should be a reflection of your style and personalities. Go with the flow: if it gets rained out then move inside and do a cute umbrella photo shoot! Everything will be fine.
Congratulations to Julia and Jason! Thank you for sharing your vibrant purple and slate wedding at Mansion at Strathmore with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Natalie and Patrick knew that the most important aspect of their wedding day was the ceremony and having a traditional catholic mass. They chose to host their morning Washington D.C. wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Matthew, where they originally met years prior. By having a morning mass, they were able to take their time and enjoy the day with photos of their bridal party and family on the national mall followed by an intimate lunch as a newly married couple. They then rejoined their family and friends for a rocking party reception at Old Ebbitt Grill overlooking Washington D.C. The couple wanted the wedding to feel natural and classic, so they chose hunter green with gold accents as their color story. The beautiful After Six bridesmaid dresses, paired perfectly against stunning decor in the Catholic church, and we really loved the pops of color in the ladies bouquets! A special thank you to Sarah Houston Photography for sharing their photos with us.
From the Bride: I didn’t have a specific vision in mind, I just knew I wanted a very natural, classic feel. We chose hunter green as the main color, with gold accents, since we both like green and thought it matched the Cathedral and Old Ebbitt décor well. I also wanted succulents somehow incorporated, but didn’t want to go overboard with that theme, so they were subtly included in the bouquets and centerpieces and also in the table number holders that I DIY’ed.
My “something old” was the rosary I carried around my bouquet. My grandmother, aunts, mother, and sister also carried it in their weddings.
After taking photos on the National Mall with our families and bridal party after the ceremony, we had some time just the two of us. We changed and went to Ted’s Bulletin for lunch. It was really nice to be able to reflect together on the morning’s events, from getting ready and all the details of the ceremony. It helped make the day feel like it didn’t fly by and helped us remember some of the nuanced moments of the ceremony that I think I otherwise would have forgotten. We were initially nervous about having such a big gap between the 10am ceremony and 6pm reception, but in retrospect I am really glad we had that time. Our guests really enjoyed getting to sightsee and spend time with each other during the afternoon too.
I’ve always liked geography and maps, so I asked my dad to make signs in the shape of the states we’re from for the backs of our chairs at the reception and I stenciled our initials on them – the bride’s is Georgia and the groom’s is Illinois.
I initially wanted to skip the wedding favors, as I never really understood the point, but my traditionalist mother convinced me otherwise. We ended up splurging and ordered an obscene amount of Garrett’s popcorn from Chicago, which is where the groom is from, and packaged it into little favor bags. It was the perfect late night treat!
Favorite Personal Touch: We put a lot of time and thought into the welcome bags for our out of town guests, because we wanted to show our thanks for traveling to us. They were DMV themed – we included Utz crab chips, DC chocolates, Feridies snack mix from VA, Ted’s Bulletin mini poptarts, the Washingtonian Visitors Guide. We also created a list of our favorite restaurants, bars, and things to do in DC that we included in the bags – our guests loved that!
Congratulations to Natalie and Patrick! Thank you for sharing your wonderful dance party, we mean wedding reception, with us!
Raquel and Carlos are natives from the Dominican Republic and they met there while they were in college. Although the two of them disagree about the exact manner in which they fell in love, they both agree that they both chose their own “love at first sight” experience. We certainly fell in love with their adorable DC engagement photoshoot from Jen S Photography and their show stopping puppy, Mambo! If you are hunting for their amazing wooden bow ties, look no further than Two Guys Bow Ties. Congratulations to the couple and thank you for sharing your adorable engagement session with us!
Today’s inspirational photo shoot from Sweet Tea Photography and Alex Meyer Events has us longing for fresh fruit and the green grasses of summer. We love the way the dramatic colors of the blackberries play off of the brightness of the strawberries and the softness of the peaches. We can’t begin to pick one part that is our favorite, although the littlest ring bearer dressed in seersucker and chomping on a handful of berries stole our hearts! The team paired together a delicious wedding reception dessert table of pastries from Bijoux fine cakes, which presents a scattering of dessert options as a great option for any wedding reception.
Wedding color inspiration can be found just about anywhere and for this shoot they used the muted tones of the blueberries to compliment the vibrant red undertones of the peonies and the fresh baskets of fruit. This color story is also great because it can work across so many seasons and styles of wedding. Spring and Summer peaches and strawberries are ideal for the warmer months, while the vibrant peonies can be swapped with dahlias and wheat in the fall for a harvest look. A special thank you to Sweet Tea Photography for sharing their inspirational wedding shoot with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Now that the question has been popped, you can’t stop staring at your gorgeous rock, and friends and family have all squealed with glee, what do you do next? This question may seem daunting if all you can do is think of the countless things on your post-engagement to do list but relax! This is supposed to be a time for love, joy, and reflection so don’t worry; we promise it will all come together and we are here to help kick start the process of planning the perfect wedding in DC, Maryland or Virginia!
Show off that sparkle! Grab a friend or two and stop by your favorite nail salon for some quality pampering. You will undoubtedly be showing off your gorgeous ring to everyone around, not to mention documenting it on every form of social media imaginable, so you can splurge a little on a perfectly polished mani. Of course you want the world to know that you have an amazing man with fabulous taste in jewelry (and who are kidding, women) so feel free to show off a little. This is also the perfect time to rehash the proposal and start chatting about the upcoming big day! Why not throw in a pedicure as well? You deserve it!
Brace yourself for the inquisition. Those closest to you are going to immediately ask a million questions. Did you set a date? Did you pick a venue? Do you have wedding colors picked out? Who is in your bridal party? You definitely don’t have to have all of the answers right away, but being able to arm yourself with a few vague answers will satiate those hungry for more. In order to do so, you may be able to quickly decide what time of year or seasons works best for the two of you, or what type of ceremony space or reception venue you can agree on. Our Washington DC area vendor guide is also the perfect place to start perusing to get an idea of what might suit you.
Talk about a budget and start saving. It’s no secret that weddings can get expensive, and quick! Talk to your partner about what is realistic and brainstorm from there. There are so many different ways to design your big day, and not everything has to break the bank! Stop over and check out our United with Love Inspiration and Ideas section to see different options and tweak things you love to make them yours. If you set a budget early on and begin to prepare, you are less likely to overspend and may have some extra moolah for a fabulous honeymoon!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Wedding planners can be such a huge aid in the planning and execution an amazing wedding. They know all of the best vendors, can pull together all of your great ideas, and most important of all, can seriously cut down on your stress levels. All of our amazing highlighted event planners are there to make your day a success; from full plans to partial plans to day-of coordinators, these vendors sure do know their stuff!
Set aside time for the two of you. Preparing for a wedding can take a lot of time and effort, and the post engagement period can be a flurry of excitement and the feeling that you need to be making moves right away. It is an amazing time, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to take a step back and remember why you are doing this. You are in love! Take a breath and spend some time as a couple; get all dressed up and go out on a nice date to celebrate, or plan a day trip to do something you both love. This time is all about you two, so enjoy it!
Could getting engaged be more fun? Enjoy every second of the wedding planning process by checking out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have assembled just for you!
Classic, timeless, and traditional are three words I would use to describe today’s lovely Northern Virginia wedding at Airlie Center. Whitney and Shawn wanted to be able to look back on their wedding in 50 years and still feel that it was relatable and classic, so they chose a color story of champagne, gold, and black to weave throughout. Airlie Center in Virginia has acres of beautiful property, and we especially loved her bridal portraits on their grand outdoor staircase and first look in the gardens! The couple was married in the gardens surrounded by friends, while the Bride wore her grandmothers restored antique cathedral length veil. The party continued into the Pavillion with a surprise appearance for the Groom by a Washington Nationals running president! Thank you to Will Greene Photography for sharing this fall Virginia black tie wedding with us!
From the Bride: Since I was a little girl, I have been enamored by my maternal grandmother’s wedding dress and veil. Her veil was over 20 feet long, and her 1930s dress was a classic ivory satin that I used to love to try on and pretend to be a bride. I was very close to her when she passed away when I was 15, so to pay tribute to her, I restored her veil and wore it for our ceremony. I also removed the beaded fabric headpiece and had my florist wrap it around my bouquet. My paternal grandmother is also no longer with us, and she and I shared a love of accessories, and luckily, I was able to have a few pieces of hers with me on the big day as well. I love that I had personal mementos of theirs on our wedding day.
Tip from the Bride: Remember to celebrate everything along the way during engagement. It’s easy to treat wedding planning as a business transaction, but we tried to celebrate every little decision we made. “Cake flavor selected – YAY! Let’s celebrate!” “We found a song we both actually like – YAY! Let’s have some wine and practice dancing!” No matter how big or small, we wanted to celebrate our decision making process together as a couple. Planning a wedding can be stressful, to say the least, but it can also be a time when you see how well you work together as a team.
Tip from the Bride: In regards to DIY, just know what you are getting yourself into It is all about what’s worth it to you – your time or money. For me, it was money, so I chose to do a lot myself. Luckily, I really enjoy planning and being creative, so I enjoyed the DIY process, but I didn’t consider how much space it would all take up in our tiny Arlington apartment. If you choose to make things yourself, I would encourage others to think about how they are going to store all of these items in the meantime, and how to get everything to/from the venue.
Overall personal touches were important to us. For our signature drinks, we chose to honor our dads, so we had a classic Manhattan in honor of my dad, and an Irish Mule in honor of Shawn’s, who is of Irish decent. Our wedding favors were an ode to each of our home states. We had Cheerwine soda from the Bride’s home state of North Carolina and Fisher’s Popcorn from the Groom’s home state of Maryland.
From the Groom: We had a pretty formal wedding but it blew me away that she was willing to sacrifice having a “by-the-book” classic wedding for something that was just totally fun that she knew both I and our guests would appreciate. Whitney and I had meticulously picked out every song for our reception, so when the DJ suddenly started playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, it’s safe to say I was confused. Then I turned around and saw “Teddy,” one of our Washington Nationals mascots walking into our reception. The look on my face in the pictures says it all – “I’m confused…Did you do this?? WOW this is cool!” I truly had no clue that she organized this! Teddy stayed and did a couple of dances with our friends and family, all of whom seemed to also get a kick out of it.
Congratulations to Whitney and Shawn! Thank you for sharing your timeless black tie Virginia Airlie wedding with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding: