The In’s And Out’s Of Wedding Traditions

posted by julianne

Weddings are nothing, if not traditional. From that first date to heading out on your honeymoon, everything about standing up in front of your loved ones and committing yourselves to each other is rooted in a tradition of some sort. That said, the wedding rules have changed. Engaged couples today have and will continue to celebrate their love in their own way. There are no rules anymore when it comes to getting married in the Washington DC area – or anywhere else for that matter! Just about the only thing traditional about today’s weddings is the tradition of making it your own,  making it personal and making your wedding a celebration of who you are as a couple. Washington DC area wedding planner Lee, owner of Savoir-Faire, LLC, put together a list of a few wedding traditions that are worth keeping and some worth bending. Here is what she had to say about wedding traditions…

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Photo Credit: Kristen Gardner Photography
from Elizabeth and Paul’s wedding in DC

Weddings are steeped in tradition. Many wedding customs have endured for hundreds of years, but, over time, some of them have lost their significance and fallen out of favor. Over the years, I have seen the wedding traditions that couples are holding onto, the traditions they are choosing to put aside, and the newer wedding traditions that are emerging. Through my experience helping couples plan their big day, here is what I have found to be the “in’s and out’s” of modern day wedding traditions.

SOMETHING OLD

Wedding Party – Some wedding traditions just make sense! If you’re planning a smaller wedding, you may think that you don’t really need any attendants. I find that couples who lean this way in the beginning tend to change their minds when we talk about the ceremony logistics. Who will hold the bride’s bouquet? The rings? And don’t underestimate the value of a little moral support at the altar.

Guest Book – Back in the day, a wedding guest book was needed for legal purposes. Wedding guests were officially witnesses to the marriage and their presence had to be recorded. Nowadays, wedding guest books and can be everything from advice cards to photographs to signed furniture, or skipped altogether.

First Dance – Formal dancing isn’t a skill many of us possess these days. A quick twirl on the dance floor with your other half is a great way to get the party started at a wedding, though. If you’re nervous about the two of you being out on the dance floor all alone, tell your DJ or band ahead of time to invite others to join you halfway through the song. Also, consider investing in a couple of dance lessons. You’ll feel more at ease and maybe even learn a fancy move to impress your guests!

Cake Cutting – A “sweet” tradition in every sense of the word! It is a small, but significant showing of how you and your partner will work together as a married couple. And if you don’t want to save the cake top for your first anniversary, have a mini version of your wedding cake made for the occasion. Or you can forego the traditional tiered cake for your favorite dessert, like pie or cheesecake..

Favors – The wedding favor tradition goes back centuries. Weddings have always been considered good luck, and giving out favors to your guests is a way to share that good luck and thank them for their support. Some couples are skipping favors as a way to cut costs, but if you have a fun idea, favors are always appreciated by your guests. And you can create favors that do double duty, like serve as an escort card or as part of the wedding décor.

SOMETHING NEW

The Proposal - Who says romance is dead? Couples have taken marriage proposals up a notch lately. There is nothing wrong with putting a little thought into the occasion and making it special! I’ve seen everything from planning scavenger hunts to secretly hiring a photographer to capture the moment of the proposal. What a great memento for future generations!

Bridesmaid Dresses – All of the rules are being broken in this area! Brides are getting creative (and kinder!) by choosing a dress in a different style and even a different color for each attendant. Brides are even letting their ‘maids choose their own dress. The result is a refreshing departure from the cookie-cutter look of the past. And did you see Solange Knowles’s wedding? Bridesmaids can even look spectacular in white without upstaging the bride!

First Look - We’ve all heard it’s bad luck for couples to see each other before the wedding ceremony, but these days couples can’t resist a sneak peek just before they walk down the aisle! A moment alone before the wedding officially gets underway gives you and your partner a chance to connect and say, “You’re amazing; let’s do this!” It can also be logistically easier to do a first look to save time on photographs later in the day. A first look with the bride and her father is also starting to trend.

Ceremony Seating - Blending your families and friends into one big happy group is one of your most important goals for your wedding (and after), right? In the past, wedding guests invited by the bride sat on one side, while guests of the groom sat on the other. This can seem a bit rigid these days, as ceremonies are becoming less and less traditional. Plus, it can be hard for guests who are friends with both people getting married! Most of my couples go with traditional seating for those in the wedding ceremony processional, but let their guests pick a seat, not a side.

Planned After Party – There’s always been an after-the-wedding party, but now they’re official. More and more couples are planning parties for after their wedding as part of their wedding day festivities. If you think you’ll be up for more celebrating after the reception, it’s a great way to spend more time with your close friends and family in an informal atmosphere.

Ultimately, of course, the traditions you decide to include in your wedding should be a reflection of your families and of who you are as a couple. Isn’t it nice that we have some flexibility in the 21st century?

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Thank you so much, Lee! It was fun to go down wedding tradition lane with you today and learn more about what couples are saving and skipping for their weddings. For more from Lee, or if you are looking for a wedding planner in the Washington DC area, be sure to check her out at Savoir-Faire, LLC.

For even more locally helpful advice, you may 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.

All About The Dress

There are so many beautiful wedding dress choices! Click here to check out the many local bridal boutiques in the Washington DC area to help you find your dream dress!

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Romantic + Urban Art Gallery Wedding Reception in DC: Aly + Matt

posted by pauline

Aly and Matt’s Washington DC wedding – both ther ceremony and reception – were held at am urban DC art gallery, Long View Gallery, where friends and family gathered to celebrate their wedding in style! If you missed their romantic, coral colored ceremony, be sure to check it out here. And, then come back because you’ll want to see their wedding reception that perfectly paired the soft romance of flowers with the urban chic of a DC art gallery. From sugary sweet wedding favors from DC favorite Ted’s Bulletin to a froyo bar, this couple had so much fun planning for and enjoying their big day! (Don’t miss the food truck that pulled up late night!) The coral and pink colored wedding flowers softened the modern wedding space and made for a perfect blend of his and hers on this special day. Big thanks to DuHon Photography and the ladies at A. Dominick Events who came together for Aly and Matt’s big wedding day in Washington, DC!

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From Aly: I wanted our friends and family to walk into our wedding and say, “This is so Matt and Aly!” From the big fluffy hydrangeas, to the froyo bar, to the speciality cocktails named after a friend and our dog, Izzy, to the fact that the wedding venue was right near where we built a home together – I wanted every tiny little detail at our wedding to represent our relationship.

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We asked Aly for some advice for our Washington DC area wedding planning couples and here’s what she had to say:

Hire a wedding planner! Whether it’s all the details, or all the family, it’s so nice to have a wedding planner there for you! Aimee and Lauren were my planners, my therapists, and my friends. They made our wedding day vision come to life and made it so stress free! Also, take advantage of the city of Washington DC. The food trucks, the local businesses, the beautiful brownstones – there is so much to work with in Washington DC!

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Congratulations to Aly and Matt!  Thank you for sharing your fun and fabulous art gallery Washington DC wedding with us!

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

Ceremony + Reception Venue: Long View Gallery
Wedding Planner: A. Dominick Events
Photography: DuHon Photography
Stationery: Winifred Paper
Floral Designer: Edge Flowers
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Amie Decker Beauty
Wedding Dress: Carine’s Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Groom’s Attire: Alton Lane
Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds
Groom’s Accessories: Burberry
Catering: Ridgewells Catering
Cake/Dessert: FrozenYO
Favors: Ted’s Bulletin Poptarts
Food Truck: Surfside Food Truck

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: DuHon Photography

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

Details & Design

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Romantic + Urban Art Gallery Wedding Ceremony in DC: Aly + Matt

posted by pauline

Aly and Matt’s Washington DC wedding took place at a modern art gallery in the city. Their coral and pink wedding decor was a lovely, classic contrast to the stark and urban event space at the gallery. (Even though you don’t usually see her, you might recognize this beautiful bride as Aly from DC’s country radio WMZQ!) They said “I do!” at Longview Gallery, surrounded by loved ones and lots of romantic prettiness! The palette was perfectly mixed up, right down to the individually selected bridesmaid dresses. And, we love that the groom wore a completely different color than his groomsmen! We can’t get enough of their wedding-day style!  Thanks to Aly and Matt’s wedding photographer, DuHon Photography, and their wedding planner, A. Dominick Events for sharing this sweet, urban wedding ceremony with us!

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From Aly: I had all the bridesmaids just pick their own coral dress. Rather than pay $300 for a dress that would never come out of their closet again, I thought they could spend $50 or $500 if they wanted. I was so nervous that it was going to look bad because coral is a tricky color, but my girls pulled it off! They looked beautiful.

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My favorite memory is right when I started to walk down the aisle. I thought I was going to be hysterically crying…I can be a tad emotional…but I couldn’t stop smiling. I saw Matt standing there and just felt so happy…so safe. I got the butterflies all over again.

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Something really important to us was that we wanted the person reading our vows to be someone who has known us during our entire relationship. That ended up being Matt’s best man, Chris. Looking out and seeing everyone I love…then looking next to me and seeing Chris there…then looking across from me and seeing my husband to be…we were surrounded by love on our wedding day!

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Congratulations to Aly and Matt! Thank you for sharing your beautifully bright and cheery Washington DC wedding ceremony with us.  Stay tuned for their art gallery wedding reception up next!

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

Ceremony + Reception Venue: Longview Gallery
Wedding Planner: A. Dominick Events
Photography: DuHon Photography
Stationery: Winifred Paper
Floral Designer: Edge Flowers
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Amie Decker Beauty
Wedding Dress: Carine’s Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Groom’s Attire: Alton Lane
Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds
Groom’s Accessories: Burberry
Catering: Ridgewells Catering
Cake/Dessert: FrozenYO
Favors: Teds Bulletin Poptarts
Food Truck: Surfside Food Truck

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: DuHon Photography

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

Location, Location

The DC area has so many fabulous wedding venues! Click here to use United With Love’s guide to find your wedding spot.

Unique + Intimate Wedding Elopement Reception in DC: Katie + Cameron

posted by pauline

Katie and Cameron’s intimate New Year’s Eve wedding in Washington DC was one full of smiles, tears, and joy. If you missed their wedding it, be sure to check it out here. The pair hosted both their wedding ceremony and reception at Smith Public Trust in Brookland NE DC, where they had dessert with a delicious cake and even had some fun with their version of a “traditional cake cutting.” The personality of these two lovebirds is clear in these amazing wedding images by photographer, Maggie Winters. After over eight years together, Katie and Cameron just had fun with their wedding day, when even a U.S. postal truck made an appearance during their portraits all around their Brookland neighbohood!

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From Katie: We wanted our wedding day to be unique, simple, spontaneous, heart-felt and just about the two of us. I think the way that we chose to do our wedding was truly reflective of who we are as individuals and as a couple.

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One of the best parts of the wedding day? The time right after we got married when we went to have pictures taken, just the two of us. It finally sunk in, we did it!

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We tried to keep the wedding planning process as simple as possible. Once we discovered Pop Wed Co. we were all set! 

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Would they change anything?  Nope! We got married just the way we were supposed to.

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We haven’t gone on a honeymoon…yet. We are in the midst of planning our “Happily Ever After” party and just enjoying life.

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Congratulations to Katie and Cameron! Thank you for sharing your lovely city wedding reception with us!

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

Wedding Planner: Pop! Wed Co.
Photography: Maggie Winters
Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas
Transportation: Uber
Floral Designer: Ultra Violet Flowers
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Alison Harper and Company
Wedding Dress: BHLDN
Bride + Groom Shoes: DSW
Groom’s Attire: Indochino
Groom Accessories: Celebrate Today
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Smith Public Trust
Officiant: Steven Gaudaen
Cake/Dessert: Bakeshop
Hotel + Cocktail Hour: Hotel Lombardy
New Years Eve + Wedding Dinner Celebration:  Teddy and the Bully Bar
New Years Day + Wedding Brunch Celebration: Screwtop Wine Bar

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: Maggie Winters

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

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Unique + Intimate Wedding Elopement Ceremony in DC: Katie + Cameron

posted by pauline

Katie and Cameron held their Washington DC area wedding ceremony at a very unique space – the Smith Public Trust! A perfect backdrop for their New Year’s Eve intimate wedding in NE DC, their wedding comes complete with an actual backdrop of Washington DC to wed in front of! We love how this cute couple kept their wedding day small and special with their immediate loved ones only, and focused on each other and family on their big day. With a smaller wedding guest count, they saved themselves some additional time on their wedding day too, which allowed them to take pictures throughout the Brookland neighborhood with photographer, Maggie Winters. Bright colors, beautiful fashion, and lots of love ooze from Katie and Cameron’s fabulous wedding photos!

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From Katie: I think we were both most excited about our wedding-day outfits! I went wedding dress shopping at BHLDN in Georgetown before we had any wedding plans in place, shortly after we got engaged. Cameron purchased an amazing 3-piece suit from Indochino.

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Katie’s “something old and something borrowed” – I wore my great grandmother’s earrings and had one of my dad’s handkerchiefs wrapped around my bridal bouquet.

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Our wedding theme as a couple was: “Let’s Keep Going.” Cameron got this stitched on the inside of his suit jacket pocket.

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Our wedding vows were special.  We’ve been together for 8+ years and decided that instead of writing new wedding vows we’d go back through cards and letters from years past. We each chose a card(s) for the other and that’s what we read for our wedding vows.

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Favorite wedding day moments? For Cameron, it was seeing Katie for the first time all dressed and ready to go get married! And, for Katie, it was our very personal wedding ceremony vows.

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Congratulations to Katie and Cameron! Thank you for sharing your intimate wedding ceremony with us! Stay tuned; up next we’re going to share with you their sweet city wedding reception.

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

Wedding Planner: Pop! Wed Co.
Photograhy: Maggie Winters
Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas
Transportation: Uber
Floral Designer: Ultra Violet Flowers
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Alison Harper and Company
Wedding Dress: BHLDN
Bride + Groom Shoes: DSW
Groom’s Attire: Indochino
Groom Accessories: Celebrate Today
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Smith Public Trust
Officiant: Steven Gaudaen
Cake/Dessert: Bakeshop
Hotel + Cocktail Hour: Hotel Lombardy
New Years Eve + Wedding Dinner Celebration:  Teddy and the Bully Bar
New Years Day + Wedding Brunch Celebration: Screwtop Wine Bar

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: Maggie Winters

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

Local Wedding Events

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Sunday Brunch: Skipper Films

posted by kate

Good morning DC area wedding lovers! I hope you have as much fun reading this Sunday brunch feature as I did writing it! This week we are featuring another awesome sponsor, Skipper Films. Billy, or “Skipper,” built his Washington DC area wedding videography business with a passion for what he does and an importance on forming relationships with every couple he works with. Each wedding film Skipper produces is custom-made and tailored perfectly for each couple. Skipper Films is there when the action starts on your wedding day and leaves when the curtains close, right down to the final exit. For more on Skipper Films, be sure to visit their website.

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And since a feature of a wedding videographer wouldn’t be complete without an actual video, we have a special treat from Skipper Films. Below is a wedding video trailer of Kaitlin and Zach’s wedding by Skipper Films. Enjoy!

(Just in case you can’t see the video, you can check it out here.)

We hope that you’ll check out Skipper Films for your wedding video 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.

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Catch those special moments and relive your wedding day everyday! Click here to find a local wedding videographer.

Sunset Wedding Engagement Session in DC: Lindsey + Don

posted by kate

Good morning DC area wedding lovers! I am seriously loving this gorgeous wedding engagement session that truly celebrates this amazing city! Zoeica Images captured Lindsey and Don as they made their way through Dupont Circle and then onto the Metro and off to the Lincoln Memorial, kissing at sunset. This chic couple will get married in New Orleans later in the year, but they wanted to have their wedding engagement portraits here in DC, where Lindsey once lived. What a way to take advantage of this beautiful city we live in!

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Congratulations Lindsey and Don!

Looking for more on engagements? Check out other local DC-area engagement photography sessions, or find out what to wear for your engagement and how to do your make-up for your engagement session!

Photo Credits: Zoeica Images

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

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Wedding Welcome Bags Under $15: Wedding Party in a Box + Recipes

posted by kate

Today we have the perfect way to welcome your loved ones to Washington, DC – a celebration in a box! We are featuring another awesome entry from our wedding welcome bag challenge. (To refresh your memories, we asked some of the best wedding pros in the DC area to put an amazing welcome bag for your wedding together, and all for less than $15.) Wedding welcome bags can be one of those often overlooked tasks, but never fear—we have the answer for you from Design Cuisine, catering company here in the Washington DC region. This entry is truly a “wedding party in a box” that celebrates all that is wonderful food-wise about the DC area, with a recipe for Maryland popcorn included! Scroll down for a bonus recipe for rocky road squares, while gazing at the gorgeous photos our friend Amber Wilkie Photography snapped for us!

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Today’s wedding welcome bag challenge submission feature is a box that gets you ready to celebrate from the second it’s opened, all from Design Cuisine. This welcome box and its contents are designed to get your guests excited for the wedding and to help them continue to celebrate long after the wedding reception is over! There’s sunglasses for those beautiful summer afternoons in DC, bubbles for some whimsical fun as the happy couple exits their venue and even a glow stick for the after party! Of course, you’ll be hungry after all that partying, so a sample of Maryland-themed popcorn and rocky road squares are included—with recipes for guests to take home.

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Supplies:

  • Welcome Note / Itinerary for wedding weekend
  • Recipe sheet for Rocky Road squares
  • Recipe sheet for Maryland popcorn
  • Ingredients for both recipes
  • Confetti filler
  • Glow sticks
  • Ring Pops
  • Box
  • Labels + Stickers for contents
  • Washington, DC area postcards
  • Sunglasses
  • Small tin of cherry blossom tarts or mints (or other DC area food item)
  • Pocket DC area facts book

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Contents:

  • Pink + brown confetti (or your wedding’s personal color scheme!)
  • Yellow glow sticks (or, once again, your wedding’s personal color scheme!)
  • Fun + colorful sunglasses
  • Small container of bubbles
  • Small metal tin of cherry blossom tarts
  • Rocky road squares
  • Small bag of Maryland popcorn
  • Washington, DC postcards
  • Pocket Washington, DC fun facts book
  • Ring pop

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Rocky Road Squares Recipe

Ingredients:

(serves 12-16)

  • 4 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 4 cups of marshmallows
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Line a 9×13 inch pan with wax paper cut to fit inside. Measure chocolate chips into medium saucepan on low heat until melted. Remove from stove, continue stirring until chips are melted. Stir in peanut butter until melted and combined. In a large bowl, add marshmallows and nuts (if using). Pour chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the marshmallows. Stir to combine. Spread mixture out into 9X13 in pan. Allow to fully cool. With a sharp knife, cut into squares.

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Maryland Popcorn Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Popcorn
  • Olive oil or butter

Directions:

Pop your favorite brand of popcorn. Once the kernels are popped, remove from microwave/stove and transfer to bowl. Sprinkle Old Bay, then olive oil or butter, then more Old Bay. Make sure this happens while the popcorn is still hot so the seasoning sticks to the popcorn. Enjoy!

Copyright 2015 Amber Wilkie Photography | www.amberwilkie.com

Oh so fun! I just love the colorful, exciting fete in a box – so perfect to get you and your guests excited about your wedding! A huge thank you to Design Cuisine for sharing this fun (and delicious!) wedding welcome bag idea. If you are looking for a DC area local wedding caterer, be sure to look into Design Cuisine.

Come back and see more from our wedding welcome box challenge and be sure to take a look at our past posts on what to include in a Washington DC wedding welcome bag, a Maryland wedding welcome bag, and a Virginia wedding welcome bag! If you are in the mood for more projects, you can check out all of our Washington DC area DIY weddings right here! Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros.

These vendors are member of United With Love's local guide. Click here for membership info.

Details, Details!

From forks to chairs, click here to use United With Love’s local guide to find a rental company to complete your wedding day.