Welcome back to Desiree and Tom’s DIY filled wedding in Virginia – I hope you aren’t too hungry because their wedding reception was all about the food and is a true feast for the eyes! This cute couple held both their wedding ceremony and reception at the Old Town Hall in Fairfax, Virginia where they incorporated plenty of vintage-esque pops and plenty of DIY wedding ideas along with their love of food and wine too! (If you missed their sweet wedding ceremony, be sure to check it out here.) And if you’re a foodie, you’re not going to be able to take your eyes off of their wedding reception and its wedding menu, which was a priority for the couple and it shows! We’ve been drooling for days over Desiree and Tom’s first meal as husband and wife and we love that they focused on what mattered most to them and splurged where it counted. I can’t decide what I love more – their gorgeous wedding cake or the wedding cake made of cheese! Big thanks to Camille Catherine Photgoraphy for the photos from this foodie -friendly Washington DC area wedding!

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From Desiree: We both knew that we did not want a traditional style wedding, but still wanted an extravagant party like none other. I began planning many months in advance and shopped for deals on DIY decorations and large feature items that we definitely wanted to incorporate. Our vision was focused around fun and food, blending our shared love for top-notch cuisine and libations, my attention to detail and Tom’s ability to host with the most, and ultimately delighting guests through memorable meals. We decided on rotating chef-prepared small plates and mixed seating options for a truly relaxed vibe that forced guests to mix and mingle. The European bistro theme was coined by my fabulous event planner and friend at Joy & Co. Events, and evolved around our European honeymoon plans. We chose our wedding venue because it is very local to our home, (also where we met and had our first date), it was just the right size for our wedding, and it has historic character that we love.

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Our first dance was more than I ever expected and a real treat for us both. Tom’s sister and brother are so incredibly talented and surprised us with such a sweet tune. During those few minutes it was like time stood still and we fell in love all over again. We also got a real kick out of surprising our wedding guests with an interruption in the wedding ceremony to take selfies. That was fun!

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The number one main focus and priority for our wedding was the food and then beverages. Tom is in hospitality and manages an upscale, casual restaurant, so those skills carried over very well into the planning and our DIY approach. He put together a team of chefs and bartenders from his restaurant and helped to write a very specific cuisine driven menu. The idea was to overwhelm our wedding guests with both variety and quality of wedding menu options. The bulk of our wedding budget went directly to food and drinks. Initially, I very much wanted string lights, but it proved to be difficult given the wedding venue and so we did decided to skip additional lighting. The tables and chairs were also provided by the wedding venue at no additional cost, and although I was not fond of the chair style, we saved money by not renting something nicer.

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Desiree had some advice for future Washington DC area couples:

Know your strengths and decide what you want to tackle yourself early in the wedding planning process, then delegate your weaknesses. Ask for help! So many of our friends and family stepped up in a big way to make our special day a huge success. Stay organized! Keep a record of your ideas and share them only with trusted individuals who will support and not stifle your efforts. Shop early for the best selection. Lastly, we got married on a week night, because we wanted a specific date. This turned out to be a big money-saver for us, and also enabled us to not rush as much when booking vendors since many more are available during the week days.

I only wished I had known of a way to slow down the pace of the day. Everything happened so fast and the end of the night was there before I knew it. Also, as everyone else told me, I did not eat enough, and not for lack of trying, but because I was being pulled in so many different directions and time quickly slipped away. If I could do it over, I would have several people dedicated to the task of bringing me food!


Congratulations to Desiree and Tom! Thank you for sharing your foodie friendly Virginia wedding reception with us!

The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Wedding Planner + Floral Designer: Joy and Co Events
Photo Credits: Camille Catherine Photography
Stationery: Sangria Studios
Calligraphy: Bride’s Sister, Danielle Dawson
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Sylvia Ghassemieh Norman
Bride’s Attire + Bridesmaid Accessories: Etsy (Retro Vintage Weddings)
Bride’s Shoes: Nina
Headpiece/Veil: Etsy (Adrianna Sparks)
Jewelry: Silpada
Bridesmaids: Macy’s
Bridal Party Shoes + Groom’s Shoes: DSW
Groom’s Attire + Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Groom’s + Groomsmen Accessories: Macy’s
Groomsmen Shoes: Toms
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Old Town Hall, City of Fairfax
Ceremony Music: Family musicians
Rentals: Sammy’s Rentals
Caterer: Chef Geoff’s
Linens: Everything Linen
Reception Music: DJ Adam Christopher
Cake/Dessert: Samantha Woodill
Favors: Flash Foto Booth

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Camille Catherine Photography

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