We are just short of a month away from our one year birthday at United With Love (Can you believe it!? ) and I’ve noticed that our real wedding features have great advice packed in between all that gorgeous photography.  As I was going back through the real weddings, many of the features had little tidbits of information and bits of advice for fellow couples getting married in the area.  I thought I’d pull out some of the gems and share them again, as much of the advice is worth repeating.  After all, this blog is nothing if not a great resource for planning a wedding in the DC-area.  We truly want to connect our readers with the best advice and the best vendors.  And, well, many times that advice comes from those who have walked in your shoes!

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Photo Credit:  Katie Stoops Photography

Anna said:  As far as wedding planning – just have fun! I think lots of brides – including myself – get wrapped up in trying to make sure that everything is just perfect when it really is all about coming together with family and friends and celebrating (believe me no one will be commenting on the lack of monogrammed napkins or placement of your votive candles after your wedding!).  Andy and I felt extremely fortunate to have so many of our friends and family take part in our special day and appreciated the moments we enjoyed with each of them.

You can see more of Anna’s outdoor, Eastern Shore wedding pictures here and here.

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Photo Credit: Luke Eshleman Photography

Arielle said:  Keep your eye on the prize!  What we mean by that is stay focused on what your wedding is all about – marrying the love of your life.  Even if you’re an easy-going person, it’s easy to get bogged down in all the hoopla once the wedding planning starts.  Here are some tips to avoid losing sight of things and racking up a huge bill- pick one or two things about the wedding that really matter to each of you and that you’re willing to spring the money for.  For me, it was my dress, for him it was the color-scheme.  Flex on everything else.  To help you stick to your mental budget, think about a future home purchase or vacation the two of you intend to take.  Visualizing an expensive purchase that goes beyond your wedding, helps you keep things simple and saves money for later!

You can see more of Arielle’s DIY, vintage-inspired wedding here.

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Photo Credits:  Love Life Images

Sarah said:  My advice to brides and grooms is to meet with at least 2-3 of each vendor.  Be prepared with a list of questions, know your budget, and understand your vision for the wedding.  Work with good people who understand you and your budget.  I was my own wedding planner and I loved every moment!  Secretly, I would love to start a wedding planning business.

You can see more of Sarah’s chic, black and white downtown DC wedding here.

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Photo Credit:  Ethan Yang Photography

Esther said:  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!

You can see more of Esther’s aqua and red wedding here.

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Photo Credit:  Cassidy Duhon Wedding Photography

Krista said:  Find vendors you really trust and enjoy working with.  Accept that there are going to be some struggles/issues in the planning – from guest list drama to other tiny little things that seem huge at the moment – but months after the wedding you’ll have trouble remembering those once huge problems.  We tried to DIY as much as we could and our planner helped keep us close to the budget.  Focus on the things that are important to you, not family or friends or tradition; accept that you can’t make everyone happy, but it’s your wedding and you’re the one who is going to remember most of the details.  On venues, I had this huge list of maybe 30 venues, and I visited maybe 20 of them…one will feel right.  Ok, maybe two will feel right.  But one will just seem to fit better, and then you can build on the venue.  When friends and family give advice, listen, but don’t feel the need to actually do everything they say – they’ll understand in the end!

You can see more of Krista’s rustic, Virginia wedding here.

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Photo Credits: Studio Juno

Carrie said:  Enjoy it! It is so easy to get stressed with the planning, but you are planning a huge party that is all about you as a couple.  At the end of the day you will be married, and that is why you are doing it all.  Get creative to make it personal, and use the internet and blogs for ideas.

You can see more of Carrie’s nautical Baltimore wedding here.

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Photo Credit: Egomedia Photography

Deidre said:  Get the big stuff out of the way, but do not panic if something falls through.  Our first venue fell through in July but we had put so much work into finding it that we had the research and tools we needed to find a new one.  Everything works out and something is likely to go wrong, so just go with the flow.  Research, research, research.  Don’t use just one source to find your vendors – and make sure you love them.  We adored our photographer, my hair stylist, and make up artist.  These three people were with me for the better part of my wedding day and I was so lucky to love them and enjoy them so much!  They calmed me down and provided so much perspective.

You can see more of Deidre’s formal, DC wedding here.

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Photo Credit:  Mike B Photography

Carey said:  On Planning and Budgeting: Plan a year out, not 6 months like we did, it was very stressful, and very rushed.  It would have been nice to enjoy the engagement activities a little longer.  Develop a budget before you decide how many people you want to invite to the wedding.  We did the opposite and it was a costly decision.  On Priorities:  Make a list of what you find to be the most important when it comes to your wedding and then budget from there (such as wedding photographer, band, food, venue, flowers…and so on).  Do not be stingy when it comes to finding a wedding photographer.  Make sure you feel comfortable with who you choose and that you will get quality pictures – this is all you will have to remember the day when it is all said and done.  Don’t fret too much on wedding favors, most of the guests forget to take them with them anyway.  And finally… Stop every so often during the night to take in everything… the night will fly by and be over before you know it!

You can see more of Carey’s modern, orange and white Virginia wedding here.

That’s about all the advice we can handle in one day!  Don’t worry though, you can see it all right here in the real DC, MD and VA wedding gallery.  And, who knows, we might just have to do a round two and pull even more advice together.  Best of luck and happy planning!


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