Our first real Maryland wedding this week comes to us from Ethan Yang Photography and is incredibly sweet in every sense of the word – from an incredibly touching first look and ceremony, to personal details that the bride, Esther, incorporated throughout the day, to a delicious candy bar buffet at the reception!  In addition to Ethan’s gorgeous images, we also have Esther here today to share her insights into the big day!

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From Esther: When I first started planning, I wasn’t sure what vision I wanted. After researching colors, I decided on tiffany blue and red because the tones offered a beautiful contrast.  Julian and I found the perfect venue – we had visited different places and once we saw this particular venue, we knew it was perfect.  It offered a Martha Stewart-type vibe that was charming and intimate.  From then, I knew I had found my vision, and everything centered around this theme.

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When asking my bridesmaid to describe my wedding, she replied that it was charming and intimate, “with a sprinkle of spunk.”  It was pretty easy after I decided on my theme, because all my DIY projects focused on this inspiration.  From the candy bar and lanterns to the place cards, table numbers, and flowers, I was able to incorporate the theme into each detail that I put into the wedding.

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I love this pre-ceremony first look between Esther and Julian – such joy!

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Since Julian and I are both Korean, our families wanted to incorporate our culture into the wedding.  We bought each of our mothers a custom made traditional “hanbok” – Korean dresses that are worn for special occasions and celebrations.  Both mothers wore colors that are designated for the bride and groom.  My mother wore colors similar to pinks (her skirt was purple), and Julian’s mother wore different shades of blue.  These cultural touches really added to the feel of the wedding, and our mothers were so proud to wear them!

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We had a pretty tight budget, so we were careful on the things we bought.  One of the things we decided to splurge on was the photographer – we’re so glad we did!  Ethan took amazing photos, and he took the time to get to know us personally so that the pictures would really represent who we are.  Looking back, we still talk about how glad we are to have these awesome, beautiful pictures that we’ll have the rest of our lives.

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I feel like the day went by in a whirlwind – it was over so quickly. One of my favorite memories that I do remember is during our ceremony.  Julian and I aren’t fans of being the center of attention, so I was really nervous walking down the aisle.  Once I made it by Julian’s side, he hugged me really tightly, and from then I was focused on him.  Before our wedding day, I was so focused on the wedding itself – I wanted all the details to be so perfect.  But in those moments, it was like how many other couples describe – I felt like it was just us.  Julian held my hands so tightly throughout the ceremony and looked at me so lovingly, my heart melted.  I’ve never felt so loved before.

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I tried to incorporate different personal touches into the wedding.  A number of guests were our parents’ friends, so we didn’t know them personally.  We placed pictures from our engagement session on the tables for guests to see us in our quirky and intimate moments, which showed our personalities, as well as our mutual feelings for each other.  Another personal touch was the slideshow we did during the reception. Julian is tech savvy, so he devoted some of his time to make sure the slideshow represented us as individuals (from birth to present), and then as a couple.  It was really wonderful to see how we had lived before we had met, and how much our lives changed once we found each other.

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I was a very hands-on bride.  I chose to do everything myself – with the help of my bridesmaids and close girlfriends.  I guess that’s why I loved so many details in the wedding!  One of my favorite details in the wedding was the candy bar.  I absolutely love candy, so doing the candy bar seemed to make perfect sense.  Ordering the candy was the easiest part – there were so many delicious treats to choose from!

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I took the time to buy glass vases of different sizes and lengths that would look good together (and some were borrowed).  My bridesmaids and close girlfriends helped me to make the bags and the candy bar sign – both very time consuming projects!  I made the place cards for the names of each candy and bought the “I Do” sign.  At the last minute during the set-up, the wedding coordinator at the venue put the blue tulle on the table, which worked perfectly and displayed the candy really well.

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Although Julian and I made a budget and really tried to stick to it, we went over it a little.  I think we got so excited, and for myself personally, I wanted everything to be so perfect.  Tips for staying within budget?  Always remember there is a cheaper way to do something that’s over budget for you!  Borrow items you don’t need to buy, make things to save money, and look to friends and family for help.  And above all – enjoy your special day and live in the moment because it passes by so fast!

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It was one of the greatest moments in our lives!

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The following Washington, DC area wedding vendors contributed to Esther and Julian’s wedding:

Venue: Milton Ridge Historic Chapel
Photography: Ethan Yang
Flowers: DaVinci Florist
Wedding Cake: Heaven’s Bakery, (301) 220-0691
Hair: Sung Heinrichs at Progressions in Rockville
Makeup: Chloe Chung, (202) 506-0065
Reception DJ: Russell Belicek, (703) 839-5080
Officiant: Pastor Moses Kim, New Covenant Fellowship Church (NCFC)
Dress and Veil: Betsy Robinson Bridal
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Mothers’ Hanboks: In Sa Dong (Annandale)

Don’t forget to visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals or our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!

Photo Credits: Ethan Yang Photography

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