Outdoor Farm Wedding Reception in Virginia: Stephanie + Keith

posted by Ally

Welcome back to part two of Stephanie and Keith’s rustic Virginia wedding! Before you soak in all the pretty to come, make sure you check out their outdoor wedding ceremony first! This couple is beyond adorable and infused their wedding with a heavy dose of casual elegance and a whole lot of personality. I love that their wedding even had its own Instagram hashtag—too fun! This chic barn wedding reception, captured by Meredith Hanafi Photography, features one pretty detail after another that are all sorts of amazing!

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From Stephanie: We had lawn games, drinks, and the yummiest BBQ to create a fun atmosphere, and a soft, pretty look to make it all feel different than your average backyard tailgate. Light fall touches and natural materials and colors were contrasted by a clean, but strong black and white graphic theme, all on a raw, but comfortable mountain farm setting. We loved pops of orange, but didn’t want everything to feel too pigeonholed into a “fall” theme, so we ended up with a couple of mint accents here and there.

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Virginia Wedding Reception Menu

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Virginia Wedding Reception Guest Books

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Virginia Wedding Reception First Dance

Stephanie’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:

A lot of people tell you to hire a day-of coordinator, but we both decided that there were a couple of other things we would really like instead, so I created an intense Google doc that I named ‘wedding master plan,’ and included copies of everything: the written ceremony, design sketches of ceremony and reception details, vendor and wedding party contacts, as well as a detailed (slightly OCD) schedule of the weekend. I sent it out to the wedding party and key members of our families that were helping with our day. It might not have been the perfect replacement for a professional, but our day went smoothly enough. 

Virginia Wedding Reception Cake

Thank you so much Stephanie and Keith’s for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Venue: Khimaira Farm
Photographer: Meredith Hanafi Photography
Floral Design: Belles Fleurs the Special Event Florist of Charlottesville
Bridal Attire: Soliloquy Bridal Couture
Shoes: TOMS
Hair and Makeup: Brogen DeLaine Zotov
Groom Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Shoes: Converse
DJ: DJ Josh Nicol
Catering: Valley Pig Pickin’
Cake: Main Street Bakery
Beer: Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
Puppy Bow Tie: Silly Buddy

Visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals, our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!

Photo Credit: Meredith Hanafi Photography

Outdoor Farm Wedding Ceremony in Virginia: Stephanie + Keith

posted by Ally

If there is anything that will kick start your Monday morning, it’s this farm wedding in Virginia. This cute duo actually made their debut on the blog a few weeks ago when Stephanie shared how they wrote their personalized wedding ceremony (Be sure to check out their sample wedding script, too!). But, for those of us with an unabashed love of all things fall, Stephanie and Keith’s celebration of love is as good as it gets. Think personal and rustic details set side-by-side with the autumn beauty at Khimaira Farm, all captured with love by Meredith Hanafi Photography. Join us later this morning for their classic barn wedding reception!

Virginia Wedding Reception Invitation Suite

From Stephanie: Keith and I are big into family, and we really wanted to celebrate our two families coming together in all of our happiness. We wanted to create a feeling more than a theme or color palette. Keith and I are both architects, and we approached the wedding as a bit of a design project: To figure out how the visual pieces could make you feel the content, or message, that we wanted everyone to get about us. We wanted it to feel like a special moment for everyone.

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Virginia Wedding Reception Rings

I think the biggest labor of love for me was designing all of the stationery. As a designer, I knew we could do it ourselves, so Keith and I collaborated to produce something that reflects us. I think stationery is important, if you want to give your guests a very specific feeling from the outset.

Virginia Wedding Ceremony TOMS Bridal Party Shoes

Virginia Wedding Meredith Hanafi Photography

Virginia Wedding Ceremony Bridal Garter

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Virginia Wedding Ceremony First Look

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Virginia Wedding Ceremony Orange Groom's Shoes

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Virginia Wedding Ceremony Portraits Meredith Hanafi Photography

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Our wedding ceremony was emotional, personal and beautiful. It was also a point of nervousness for us–I think both of our families expected a traditional church ceremony, but Keith and I aren’t religious. We so desperately wanted our ceremony to be special and meaningful, and resonate with our families without compromising on the most important part of the day. So we wrote the entire ceremony, and filled it in with passages that felt true to us, and a light & funny poem by Shel Silverstein, who’s poems we both grew up with.  [Editors Note: Don't forget, you can see their  journey for how they wrote their wedding ceremony.]

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Virginia Wedding Ceremony Dog

Thank you so much Stephanie and Keith’s for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Venue: Khimaira Farm
Photographer: Meredith Hanafi Photography
Floral Design: Belles Fleurs the Special Event Florist of Charlottesville
Bridal Attire: Soliloquy Bridal Couture
Shoes: TOMS
Hair and Makeup: Brogen DeLaine Zotov
Groom Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Shoes: Converse
DJ: DJ Josh Nicol
Catering: Valley Pig Pickin’
Cake: Main Street Bakery
Beer: Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
Puppy Bow Tie: Silly Buddy

Visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals, our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!

Photo Credit: Meredith Hanafi Photography

Sunday Brunch: Ethan Yang Photography

posted by Kate Oczypok

Good Sunday morning to you, DC area wedding lovers! Settle in and get ready for another Sunday brunch feature from one of our fab sponsors! This week, we are showcasing Ethan Yang Photography. Ethan, who has a background in film from Maryland Institute College of Art, has diligence and detail with every photo he snaps. Ethan is also involved in the movie industry, having previously done work on HBO’s The Wire, Step Up 2, Eagle Eye, Night at the Museum 2 and Salt.

Ethan’s inspiration for his breathtakingly beautiful photos perhaps comes from his own personal love story. He married his high school sweetheart, whom he met in ninth grade and dated for over 13 years. It is their own romance that inspires him to create pictures reflecting love. Ethan dedicates his time to creating unforgettable memories! Look for more on Ethan’s website and check out his past features on United With Love.



 Photography Credit: Ethan Yang Photography

I hope that you’ll check out Ethan Yang for the photography for your wedding in the Washington DC area. Join us again next weekend for Sunday brunch with another fantastic supporter of United With Love! We’ll see you back here bright and early Monday morning! If you are interested in joining us for brunch on United With Love, please send us an email.

Happy Weekend!

posted by Ally

Did you have a good week? Better yet, do you have any weekend plans? Hopefully you’ll be enjoying this incredible spring weather and the newly bloomed cherry blossoms! Can’t wait to soak in all the pretty this weekend. Don’t forget to join us again this weekend for more DC wedding fun!

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A few links for your weekend…

…and what you missed right here!

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather Photography

Georgetown + Capitol Hill Engagement Session: Annabel + Beau

posted by Kate Oczypok

Good morning! Are you ready for a sweet and cozy wedding engagement session in DC?? This time we are heading to Capitol Hill and Georgetown. Meet Annabel and Beau, who will be married this coming fall.  Their engagement session, which took place in early November 2013, with Jennifer at egomedia photography. The cupcakes, from Georgetown bakery Baked and Wired, were acquired after a long wait in line. Beau was the ever-patient fiancé and waited for his bride-to-be to get her cupcake! We hope they have many more sweet moments to come!


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Best wishes Annabel and Beau!

Sweet thoughts on your mind? Check out this bridal shower naked cupcake recipe, or DIY buttercream rose cupcakes and a recipe with local DC flair!

Photography credits: egomedia Photography

Washington DC Skyline Invitations + Save the Dates

posted by Kate Oczypok

We here at United With Love adore the skyline of this great city we live in. (Remember these wedding invitation belly bands with the DC skyline? Whether it’s the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial or the beautiful landscaping, DC can provide a certain magic! Heather Long, designer and founder of Simply Designed Invites, has captured this magic with a set of invitations featuring the DC skyline. We spotted them on Instagram one afternoon and just couldn’t resist sharing with you! Heather’s D.C. skyline invites and save the dates give your guests a unique, personalized way to show them the magic and beauty of our nation’s capital!







Photo Courtesy of  Simply Designed Invites

Thank you so much, Heather! If you looking for something like this for your wedding, be sure to check out Simply Designed Invites. Heather offers free downloads on her site, like wedding checklists and fun holiday gift tags!

Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen.

Whimsical Wedding Portrait Session in Leesburg: Lindsay + Glenn

posted by Kate Oczypok

Are you ready for a themed, pre-wedding photo session as pink as the blooming cherry blossoms? Meet Lindsay and Glenn who chose a wide open field in Leesburg, Virginia for their gorgeous pre-wedding portrait session. Bicycles, balloons and a pink bed were just a few of the elements in this whimsical photo session by Mindy of Ever After Visuals.

Check out these pictures and search for the pink elements—there’s pink cotton candy, balloons, shoes, ribbons, flowers and even the groom’s socks! The session had a somewhat vintage feel to it, with cowboy boots, a vintage bike and barn. The day ended with a pillow fight in the field for the happy couple


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Congratulations Lindsay and Glenn! The following Washington DC area vendors help this couple pull off their portrait session:

Florals: Bergeron’s Florist
Make Up: Bridal Artistry
Dress: Blush Bridal Boutique
Wedding Planner: True Wedding Events
Photography: Ever After Visuals

Interested in whimsical and fun photo sessions like these? Check out Jenny and Drew’s session with paint, or Allison and Kevin’s Capitol Hill session at an old bookstore and Erin and Alex’s whimsical summer wedding in Maryland.

Photography credits: Ever After Visuals

Inspiration: Calligraphy

posted by julianne

Do you love calligraphy as much as we do?? We just can’t get enough, but what are some fun ways to incorporate it into your wedding? We looked to Washington DC based calligrapher, Laura Hooper, for some ideas and unique uses of calligraphy at weddings. From escort cards to signs to wall art, believe me, it was hard to stop! Lucky for you, Laura is based in the DC area and has loads more ideas and ways to use calligraphy at your wedding. Here are a few of my favorite calligraphy uses….

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  • You can use calligraphy for food and drink tents or have your wedding menu hand lettered. Photo Credit: Leila Brewster

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • Using calligraphy for your escort cards makes them more personal and a whole lot prettier! Photo Credit: Your Cloud Parade

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • I love the idea of mixing and matching calligraphy styles on one envelop! It is so modern and special.

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • This calligraphy wall art would be a great project to pull together and would decorate any plain wall at your wedding reception. Photo Credit: Jasmine Star Photography

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • There is nothing more stunning and dramatic than white ink calligraphy on a bright, bold envelop.

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • These champagne bottles are the perfect favor and they are made even more fancy with a hand lettered "cheers" flag and straw. Photo Credit: Lauren Rae Photography

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • I love the idea of having your wedding invitation done in hand calligraphy. So personal! Photo Credit: Laura Gordon Photography

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

  • These hearts are so pretty and would spice up the color on any wedding table. You can have a bunch hand lettered and then sprinkle them on a plain white linen - pop!

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy


Be sure to check out more of Laura’s calligraphy work on her website. And, for more wedding calligraphy and stationery designers in the DC area, check out our vendor guide.


Creating and Designing a Wedding Photo Album

posted by Ally

As a little girl, I remember constantly looking through my parents’ wedding album, in complete awe of all the love and beauty captured from the day. It’s this very reason that preserving your Washington DC area wedding memories is so very important. When you finally get all of your beautiful photos back, there’s just a little more work to be done: creating a wedding photo album. It’s a perfect way to cherish the day and share your photos on something that’s not Facebook!

We all know and love electronic forms of photos, they are so easy to share with friends and family, but there is just something about that album that you can hold in your lap and flip through over and over again for years to come! So, to help you begin the wedding album process, we asked some of the top local DC area wedding photographers for advice on the design process—here’s what they had to say…

Washington DC Wedding Photo Album Audra Wrisley Photography

Photo Credit: Audra Wrisley Photography

Why do an album?

“An album is an amazing way to commemorate your wedding with a beautiful book of photographs. Often times, the term ‘wedding album’ brings back memories of our parents’ generation of albums- a big, clunky book with plastic sleeves and ‘slip-in’ dusty photos. The new wedding albums are sleek, modern, completely custom-made and a gorgeous memento that will last for a lifetime.”— Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography

“I think everyone should have an album because it is a great way to keep your photos and the easiest way to look back and them and share them later. Prints are great, but an album tells the whole story of the day instead of just one moment.” — Lelia, owner of Lelia Marie Photography

“Albums are forever. Disks will eventually erase, hard drives will eventually fail, and technology is ever changing. Think about how long ‘the book’ has been around. The format of printing on paper bound together as an album withstand the test of time. It will outlast your USB drive, your iPad or any other non-print form and that’s exactly why you need an album to preserve your wedding memories for generations and generations to come.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography

“There’s no denying that we live in a very digital world, but as media formats have constantly shifted but one thing has remained tried and true: a printed photograph. I recently had the privilege of seeing someone’s grandmother’s wedding album… the timeless of the images and incredible professional printing that had held up after all of these decades sort of took my breath way.  No matter how digital our world gets, an image simply looks and feels different when it’s physically in your hands.  In many ways, your album is your first family heirloom.” — Michelle, owner of Michelle Lindsay Photography

Virginia Wedding Photo Album Rachael Foster Photography

Photo Credit: Rachael Foster Photography

All About the Album Process

“Every photography studio is different and I would recommend posing this question to your wedding photographer. At Procopio, we have an album consultation after you have seen your wedding images. In this consultation you have the opportunity to design the exterior of your album. That means choosing the leather, silk, linen, glass, metal, or vegan cover you prefer after looking at our swatches. You choose the album size and if you want an image on the cover. After this consultation, the album goes online as a virtual album where you can flip through the pages and make changes to the design. Once the album is approved it is sent off to the printer.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography

“The album process is painless, I promise! After your wedding photos are finished, I have a proofing gallery where my clients can pull aside their favorite shots. Once they’ve gotten a good grouping together, I’ll begin the design process. While crafting the custom layouts, I will utilize the client’s favorite images in addition to a few extra photographs of details and images that tie the story together. When the initial design proof is ready, I’ll upload a proof to their gallery and we set up an in-studio appointment to make any adjustments and select the album cover material. The whole process takes a few weeks, and ends with a stunning, custom album in your hands!” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography

“It depends on your photographer so check with them!  Some photographers will make up a design for you and then ask for any changes you would like and some will have you pick your favorite photos first and then make a design for you.  Both are great ways of doing it.  Then you typically get a few rounds of revisions before the album is sent off to the printers!” — Lelia, owner of Lelia Marie Photography

Maryland Wedding Photo Album Michelle Lindsay Photography

Photo Credit: Michelle Lindsay Photography

Advice for the Album Process

“If you think you want to create your own album, expect that it will take 25-40 hours of your time. Depending on what your time is worth, it just might be cheaper to hire someone. I have had several brides contact me a year after their wedding and say, I tried to design an album using XXXX program online, and after a week of work, I was completely frustrated and had nothing to show for it. Can you still make one for me? (The answer is definitely, ‘Yes!’) On that note, if you are at all interested in an album, you can generally save a lot on the cost by purchasing a wedding photography package that includes an album rather than adding it on later. When it comes to selecting your album images, do it a little bit at a time, every time you look at your photos. You will be most excited about your pictures the first few times you see them, so take advantage of this excitement and enthusiasm by marking your favorites or copying them to an ‘album’ folder right away. Be sure to include a good mix of candids, portraits, and details as this will tell the full story of the day.” — Rachael, owner of Rachael Foster Photography

“As photographers, our only goal throughout the album process is to provide a beautiful album that you are in love with! That being said, clear communication and honest feedback are crucial to the process being efficient and effective. I’d so much rather have up front communication and my clients be 100% satisfied with their album, than having anyone end up disappointed.” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography

“Many of our clients ask how long the album process takes. The answer to that question depends entirely on how long it takes the client to respond to us. My tip to couples is to tackle your album proofing quickly. If your photographer posts an online preview of your album for you to proof, try to get that done as soon as you receive the email. The faster you respond, the faster we can produce the album for you.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography

Washington DC Wedding Photo Album k thompson photography

Photo Credit: k. thompson photography

What Goes Into Album Design

“It isn’t the design work that makes albums so expensive.  Yes, design takes time, but most of the costs of an album come from the actual physical costs of building it.  Each album is handmade, each album is a custom creation.  There is no assembly line to speed things up or keep costs down.  The better the album the more expensive all the pieces are (the archival paper that the photos are printed on which ensures they will last 100 years without fading and the quality of the linen or the leather cover).” — Lelia, owner of Lelia Marie Photography

“Albums are completely crafted by hand, start to finish, from the design process to the final printing and production of the physical album.  On average, an album takes a photographer anywhere from 8-12 hours start to finish.  There’s the time prepping to design (i.e. selecting the images), then actually designing each album to tell the story of the client’s wedding day.  From there, we are often working with our clients to refine the initial design so that it is exactly how they want it to look. Once a design is completed, then we begin retouching the album because if something is going to be printed, we want to ensure it looks absolutely perfect. From there, we leave it in the very capable hands of our extraordinary album companies who loving print, bind and press our handcrafted albums. Not all albums are created equally, and pricing will often reflect this.  Just like a well-made handbag will last many years of use where as a cheap one will have the strap break on you after 4 months, so the same goes with a wedding album.  If not crafted properly, an album’s spine and binding will begin to wear heavily after time, whereas the well-made (and often more expensive albums) will hold up decade after decade.” — Michelle, owner of Michelle Lindsay Photography

“We create a custom design for each client’s album. That design takes time to put together and tweak with the client’s input. Then, once the album is approved, every single image in the album receives highly intensive edits. These edits typically include skin softening, blemish removal, whitening of teeth, brightening of eyes, and under eye circle removal. We also may go in and dodge or burn certain areas to bring emphasis to the subject. There is a lot of time and care that goes into the design and editing of images for your album.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography

“Album design work is pretty extensive, and it’s all custom designed for your specific wedding photographs. This means it involves a lot of time to pair the perfect images together in the best groupings, to craft a beautiful narrative. While the end result should look and feel effortless, the design process is quite complex!” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography

More Ideas for Wedding Photos

“Your parents deserve albums too! We highly recommend making albums for your parents who would also cherish these hard copies of your wedding. A parent album is conveniently small enough to pop into a purse and pull out whenever needed to brag about their children at work or at coffee with friends.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography

“To display in your home! Canvas gallery wraps, framed and matted prints, multi-image wall displays are a few ideas, but the important thing is to print the images and display them (Facebook doesn’t count).  You most likely paid quite a bit of money for your wedding images—it is so important that you enjoy them and have the opportunity to look at them on a regular basis.” — Michelle, owner of Michelle Lindsay Photography

“A wedding album is one of the more traditional choices for displaying photos, and one of the most popular, for obvious reasons! If wall space is at a minimum and you love the idea of having an album of images to flip through on your coffee table, an album is a great choice! If albums aren’t your thing, gallery wrap canvases and modern wall portraits are just a few of the other products available to get those photos off your USB drive and on display to enjoy!” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography

“Smaller prints are great for desktop photos at your office or gifts for siblings and parents. Remember, when you order prints through a photographer, you can get advanced editing as part of the price. If you are good at video editing, you can create a slideshow and set it to your favorite song(s). Some photographers also offer this service as an add-on or part of a package.” — Rachael, owner of Rachael Foster Photography


Thank you so much to all of the photographers! Be sure to check out the fabulous DC area wedding photographers listed above who helped with this advice post possible. They truly do know what makes having a wedding in this area unique!

If you are planning a wedding in the DC area, there is plenty on United With Love for you. From tips and advice from DC area wedding pros, a real wedding gallery for beautiful Washington, DC area weddings and loads of inspiration in our DC area wedding idea galleries.