Wes and Julia’s wedding in Maryland is a perfect follow up to last week’s photography week.  We talked a lot last week about defining your style and thinking about the things that are important to you before hiring your wedding vendors.  Wes and Julia decided their priorities in advance and they thought about what would make a special night for them and their guests.  They splurged on the things that were important to them, and for the rest they used their talents, and or asked friends and family for help.  The result was a beautifully fabulous wedding that was unique to them and full of so much love.  I can think of no better way to do it!  Heather Z was there to capture all those special moments.

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From JuliaWes and I began the whole planning process with one major question in mind:  how do we host the most special night of our lives without going broke?  We both agreed that if we were going to have a wedding, we wanted to do it “right.”  We were able to accomplish our goal by saving up for the vendors that were most important to us, and using our creativity to come up with some very special DIY projects.  Our strategy was to first figure out the aspects we didn’t want to compromise on.  In our case, that meant we needed to find an outstanding venue, great food to feed our guests, and a fabulous photographer to document each precious moment.  Beyond these vendors, we tried to be economical and creative to make the big day come together within our budget.

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We never would have been able to put on this amazing night without the generosity of so many of our close friends and family.  My mom helped to fund my gorgeous gown, a family friend helped with our delicious cake, an amazing girlfriend put together the bridesmaid bouquets using wholesale flowers, my incredibly talented cousin did all of our makeup, my father hosted the rehearsal dinner in his restaurant, my in-laws collected tons of sweet frames and placed them on all the reception tables with pictures of loved ones, and a family friend videotaped the whole evening.  How lucky are we??

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In lieu of favors, we made a donation to the American Cancer Society in the names of loved ones we have lost.  This was something we felt 100 percent great about.  We also got creative for our wedding party.  I made feather hairpieces for my bridesmaids to wear on the big day and I painted them each a little painting.  Turns out that this meant more to them then a fancy necklace would have, and many asked for more hairpieces.

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It was important to both Wes and me that each element of our wedding was elegant and polished, but also personal.  This meant we wanted to be very thoughtful when it came to our DIY projects.  Wes is a graphic designer.  I am an oil painter as well as a graphic designer.  We came together to create our wedding website from scratch, we designed our email save-the-dates, our own invitations, programs, table numbers, seating chart, etc.  I painted a series of paintings especially for our wedding (portraits of our wedding flowers), and we used the images of these paintings in all of our designs.  We even displayed the original works on the gift table.  Designing all of these elements ourselves potentially saved us thousands of dollars, as well as made the evening more personal and special.

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All in all, it was the perfect day.  We don’t have a single regret and feel so incredibly lucky to have each other and so many wonderful people in our lives… that’s all you can really ask for.

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The following Washington, DC area wedding vendors contributed to Wes and Julia’s wedding:

Venue and Catering:  The Villa
Photography:  Heather Z Photography
Reception Musicians:  Doug Segree Band
Wedding Cake:  Caroline’s Cakes
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Bella Bridesmaid, designer LulaKate
Invitations and Design:  E. Wesley Design and JDeckman Gallery
Bridal Accessories:  JDeckman Gallery
Alterations:  Isabel Donnelly Bridal Alterations

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:  Heather Z Photography

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