Valerie and Alex are California transplants now living in the DC area, so when it came time for their wedding they knew they wanted to recreate a rustic California atmosphere, complete with Californian cuisine, for their guests.  They turned to Weddings and Events by Bliss to help bring their wedding vision to life, including an outdoor ceremony (with a surprise guest!) and al fresco reception with wine-inspired details – all captured in beautiful detail by The Happy Couple.

From Valerie: Since we are both Californians who relocated to DC, we wanted to create a rustic, Californian atmosphere centered around good wine and delicious food.

We wanted a venue that felt removed from city life and full of natural beauty so that we wouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg redecorating the space.  The Cloisters Castle was already so lush and beautiful that we had to do very little to decorate.

We put together the script for the entire ceremony, which included a live hawk that delivered the wedding bands during the exchange of vows.  Because we played such a direct role in designing the ceremony, it felt very special and personal, but also included the right amount of lightheartedness that reflects our personalities.

Our first priority was serving fresh, creative food that our guests would remember.  The Pantry did an incredible job designing a menu that offered a unique twist on conventional California cuisine.

We asked five of our closest friends and family members to share toasts during dinner.  Though we had some concerns that this might be excessive (especially since we also offered toasts to our friends and family), we were delighted to find that the toasts helped make dinner the highlight of the night for us as well as our guests.  The sentiments shared were hilarious, touching, and memorable.

We got married on July 3rd; since don’t care much for cake, we opted for apple pie in lieu of the traditional wedding cake.  Our friends and family sang along to The Star Spangled Banner as we cut the pie and enjoyed a very sticky food fight.

Valerie’s advice to other DC-area couples:

Don’t be afraid to break tradition.  If you have a creative idea that would be fun or representative of you, go with it!  A lot of the decisions we made for our wedding were considered atypical, but those are the things that made the day so memorable.

The following Washington, DC area wedding professionals contributed to Valerie and Alex’s wedding:

Venue: The Cloisters Castle
Event Planning and Coordination: Weddings and Events by Bliss
Catering: The Pantry
Photography: The Happy Couple
Hair & Makeup:  Alison Harper & Company
Floral Design: DBI Events
DJ: Crow Entertainment
Officiant: Reverend Joyce Hilbery
Alterations: Fashion Dream, 703-243-8877
Wedding Hawk: Wedding Doves for Love

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: The Happy Couple

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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