Brian and Najia set out to create a calm, romantic oasis in the middle of the forest at their Maryland wedding venue, Thorpewood. Surrounded by their family and loved ones, they wanted to come together and share a personal piece of their heritage and life within their ceremony. They combined their varying cultures, Brian being Jewish and Najia’s Pakistani roots, with a multicultural ceremony and dress change for the reception. The bride wore a western style ball gown to start the day before changing into a stunning midnight blue Pakistani dress for the reception. We absolutely loved the henna designs on her hands, arms, and feet, and that their talented photographers at Procopio Photography were able to capture her henna ceremony before the wedding. After the ceremony they moved into the rustic lodge for a reception catered by Canapes. Each piece of the wedding, from the attire to the books in the décor, were carefully chosen by the couple to ensure that the wedding felt personal and touched with their spirit. Thank you to Procopio Photography for sharing today’s rustic Thorpewood wedding with us!
From the Bride: “We wanted an outdoor wedding that was that really spoke about us and it being very personal bringing the vibe and calmness that represents us. Combining our varying cultures and styles but more importantly making it a calm, romantic gathering of friends & family to celebrate our union.”
“We wanted to focus on it feeling like it was our wedding and focused on things we liked and added many personal touches as we could. We splurged on a great photographer so we would have quality memories that would last a lifetime.”
“With my husband being jewish and I being muslim we added touches of both to bring both of our cultures together. I wore a white dress and then changed into a Paki dress and the groomsmen who traditional suites with traditional paki scarfs. Each piece of the day, including almost all the music was hand picked.”
Favorite memories: “The vows itself, seeing the vision coming together, and the beauty of the space. We chose a wonderful setting in a pine forest sounded by friends & family with a 3 piece band playing music chosen directly by us in lieu of traditional music. Everything came together perfectly and it felt just like we could have hoped for.”
Thank you so much Najia and Brian for sharing your rustic Maryland Thorpewood wedding with us. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
When preparing for your wedding, few things can be more fun than shopping for the perfect gown to wear on your perfect day! We also know that this can be a super big decision for you, so we sat down with Julia Simon, owner of Lovely Bride DC, to share some tips, tricks, and trends in bridal. Don’t forget to check out what our real DC brides are wearing on their big day for more inspiration!
Lovely Bride has something for everyone, from the classic DC bride to a more relaxed bohemian beauty. They carry some of the coolest up-and-comers like Rue de Seine, Anna Campbell, and Sarah Janks as well as some of the bigger names like Watters and Hayley Paige. Lovely also carries different accessories such as belts, jewelry, veils, boleros, and more to complete your whole look! The price point at this charming boutique is also quite “lovely” with dresses ranging from $2,000 to $6,000.
What are the newest trends in bridal today?
Looking toward spring 2017 you are going to see a lot of floral appliques, over-skirts, plunging necklines, and thigh high slits. Bridal fashion seems to be moving away from the rustic barn wedding looks that have been in lately to a more traditional look with a modern edge. For example, a sleeved gown with an illusion neckline mix these two concepts flawlessly.
What trends are you most excited about for weddings this year?
We are loving the plunging necklines and slits – think red carpet does bridal! You may not see both a plunging neckline and a thigh high slit in one gown, but we can’t help but get excited by the idea of bridal gowns that evoke feelings of Hollywood glamour.
What is the most sought after accessory right now? (veil, headpiece, belt, etc.)
With the move to more delicate and classic in bridal these days, brides tend to be moving away from the overly ornate and flashy sashes and accessories that have been popular over the past few years. We are seeing floral appliques and beaded gowns trending so the accessories are becoming tamer to make way for those. Brides are looking for a minimalist feel when accessorizing with gorgeously simple silk tulle veils so as to let the gown (and her natural beauty, of course!) do all the talking.
How early do you suggest bride’s start looking for the perfect gown?
As soon as you have your wedding date and venue set and you know the tone of your wedding it’s good to start buying magazines, looking on Pinterest, and just thinking broadly about what you want. I don’t recommend you start shopping until the date and venue are locked down. Though bridal styles don’t turn over quite as quickly as ready to wear, if you’re not getting married for two years it is likely that the gown you love will no longer be available. A good time frame for ordering is around 9 months before the big day so it wouldn’t hurt to start shopping around 10 months – over shopping can be messy so don’t go too crazy by booking appointments at tons of shops over a long time period.
What should brides bring to the appointment?
Bringing two or three of your closest friends and family members can be helpful, but they should realize that they are there to support you. This is not a time for them to push their own agendas and overwhelm you – you don’t want to lose your own voice and vision! Of course a strapless bra and heels never hurt, as well. If you have an heirloom accessory that you know you want to incorporate into your wedding, that would be a great thing to bring shopping so you know how they work with the gowns you’re selecting. It’s easier to see the big picture if you bring the items you plan on wearing on the big day.
What should every bride know before going wedding dress shopping? How should they prepare?
Do your research – go on Pinterest, look online, buy the wedding magazines! Not only is it fun and inspiring for all different details and aspects of your wedding, but you will also quickly learn what gowns draw you in. Your appointment will be much more efficient if you can give your stylist some direction as to your likes and dislikes. For example, you may not necessarily know which silhouette you like but you may be able to say that you want lace, an open back, or sleeves. Having these things in mind will help you make the most of your appointment. If there is a specific designer or gown that you are interested in, make sure that the bridal salons you make appointments at have them so as to save you some heartache and disappointment! The designers carried at Lovely Bride DC are as follows: Hayley Paige, Leanne Marshall, Anna Campbell, Rue de Seine, Sarah Janks, Sarah Seven, Temperley London, Theia, and Watters.
Do you have any other tips and tricks for brides?
Not all brides know this, but while bridal gowns are technically made to order, they are not made to measure. While you are able to customize things like color, fabric, etc. your gown will come in standard sizes so make sure to leave a little money in your budget for alterations. All brides will require some sort of alteration, whether it is something as simple as a hem or a tuck or something completely elaborate and customized like adding sleeves or straps to a gown that was designed without them. In the business we always say you can’t put a price on a flawless fit. It’s those finishing touches that make all the difference.
Finally, what do you think makes a dress “the one”?
It’s all about that feeling; sometimes there’s just no denying it. If you feel more beautiful than ever before, you may be looking at “the one.” That’s exactly how you want to feel on your wedding day.
So to round things up, here are a few tips on making wedding dress shopping a breeze!
Set a budget – we don’t want you to fall in love with a gown that you can’t afford because that is the surest way to heartbreak
Do some research – there may be some things you absolutely hate such as a specific fabric or a silhouette that you don’t find flattering
Don’t over shop – trying on too many dresses can make things confusing so make sure that you are certain you found the one, but don’t try on hundreds of gowns
Keep a tight circle – bringing too many people can cause you to lose sight of your own opinion and vision for your day
Be opening minded – what you choose may not be exactly what you had in mind right off the bat
Ignore the sizing – bridal sizing can be super different from ready to wear sizes, so don’t be offended; it’s like that for everyone!
Have fun – don’t forget this is essentially all about you so live it up a little!
Thanks to Julia Simon for teaming up with us to bring you the latest in bridal along with some tips on getting the most out of your wedding dress search! Also, thanks to Lissa Ryan Photography for all of the fantastic shots of one of the best bridal salons in DC!
Check out Lovely Bride’s website for their hours, trunk show dates, and to schedule an appointment. For more bridal attire inspiration, check out our local DC real weddings to see what brides are wearing these days!
Today we are sharing a look at the Washington DC wedding of Kali and Matt at the Holy Rosary Church and St. Francis Hall. We fell in love with this wedding as soon as we laid eyes on the stunning beaded and lace bridal gown and the bride’s simple beaded headband. The couple infused pieces of their personalities in the quirkiness of the wedding through book table numbers, travel themed escort cards, and vintage book props. Kali is a huge book lover and her father cut each of the book table numbers by hand for them to have at the wedding! She originally wanted to give each guest a book she hand chose for them, but worried that would be cumbersome. So she opted instead to spend the year before the wedding perfecting a hand written note of love and appreciation which was left for them at their seats. It was very important to the couple that each guest felt welcomed and that they were a very special part of their wedding. We absolutely love that they touched each guest personally and with so much care. Thank you to Christine Godsey of Engaging Affairs for sharing this beautiful and unique St. Francis Hall reception with us today!
Congratulations to Kali and Matt! Thank you for sharing your romantic St. Francis Hall wedding with us!
We hope that your week was fantastic; we know ours was! Spring has definitely sprung and we are loving all of the brightly colored and fun wedding inspiration that comes along with it! If you are looking for a little more DC area wedding inspiration check out all of our local real weddings!
While I will always love monuments, cherry blossoms, and all of the iconic options that DC engagement sessions hold, it is engagement photos like these that really capture my heart. I love seeing a photograph that really captures the essence of the couple where you can see a little snippet of their soul. Alex and Sarah met working on a show in Washington, DC. Both of them are professional actors, puppeteers, and resident company members at the Happenstance Theater Company. While most people would find it tough to work and play alongside their spouse day in and day out, they work together creating lovingly hand crafted shows, and are engaged to be married in June. We absolutely love their bluebells engagement session with Leslie Swan Photography and we appreciate the creative nature of the photos. They opted for two looks within the shoot and didn’t mind having a little fun with the floral props that nature provided! Thank you so much to Sarah and Alex for allowing us to share in their engagement session, and best of luck on their wedding day in June!
We wanted to follow up from yesterday’s vibrant blue tented wedding ceremony and reception at the Decatur House with the couple’s modern rehearsal dinner. Ron and Jon knew that since almost all of their friends and family would be coming from out of town, they wanted to host a destination DC inspired wedding weekend event. They started off with a bang at their modern inspired rehearsal dinner at the famous Hay Adams hotel. They chose to use Jon’s favorite color orange to accent the hotel’s linens and chairs. The dinner kicked off with a rooftop terrace cocktail hour, which led into a three course gourmet plated dinner and finished with the roasting and toasting of the grooms-to-be. Special guests also left with a white chocolate White House from the hotel’s pastry team. We love the simplistic yet bold color and decor used by the team at Bellwether Events that accented the space at the top of the Hay. The view alone is worth having any event at this lovely venue, and if you ever have a chance to visit or attend a wedding there don’t miss out on the sites of DC. Thank you to Connor Studios for sharing Rob & Jon’s wedding weekend with us this week!
Wedding of Ron Mennow
Thank you so much Ron & Jon for sharing your wedding weekend with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their Rehearsal Dinner:
Ron and Jon have one of those great love stories and we are so excited to share it with you today. The two met in passing in Rehoboth, but Ron was still living in Pittsburgh so nothing progressed right away. They did, however, keep in touch via the phone and texts, and almost a year later Ron was coming back through DC on his way back to the beach so they set up their first date – and they got caught in the 2012 Derecho! Luckily they didn’t mind that their evening together was extended many hours to weather the storm. In 2014 they took a trip to Costa Rica and each planned to propose marriage to each other – so that obviously turned out quite well!
Since the vast majority of their friends and family would be coming to the wedding from out of town, they set their sights on hosting a quintessential DC wedding weekend. They kicked off the weekend with a dapper rehearsal dinner at the Hay-Adams Hotel which you should keep an eye out for, as we will be featuring tomorrow! The wedding ceremony and reception was hosted at the wonderful Decatur House, a perfect setting for the French-garden-inspired affair. The guests were greeted by the grooms at the entrance to the historic property which looks onto the White House, and with two specialty cocktails, the French 75 and a Modern Old Fashioned, in hand for everyone. The grooms’ escorted in their mothers to a string quartet while their dads awaited at the altar, serving proudly as their best men in the courtyard ceremony. Dinner was held in the courtyard under a clear top tent and guests enjoyed toasts from the grooms’ fathers before a stations style meal, featuring Indian Curry, Mediterranean Mezze and Steak House Bites. We love how Bellwether Events utilized the blue color story on the guest escort cards using the blue toile fabric boards. The florals from Elegance and Simplicity were the perfect amount of blue to really pop against the August day! Thank you to Connor Studios and Bellwether Events for sharing this quintessential DC Decatur House wedding with us today!
Congratulations to Ron and Jon! Thank you for sharing your Decatur House Washington DC wedding with us!
Last night I celebrated 7 years of marriage – even writing that sounds crazy and a little unbelievable to me. It has flown by in the blink of an eye and I am amazed at the way life has changed in those years. I am the proud (and exhausted!) mommy to a 4 year old boy and an 8 week old boy who both keep me on my toes. We have moved three times since the wedding and gone on countless vacations and date nights to keep things interesting! Even after all of these years I can still remember walking down the aisle and how I felt standing there saying my vows with perfect clarity. I want to share a few wedding tips and advice that I believe still ring true years later!
Be True to Yourself
Every wedding should be a reflection of the couple and their story together, so it’s important to not lose site of yourself when planning. Blogs and Pinterest can be valuable tools to find inspiration but don’t make wedding decisions based only on what is trendy or in style in the moment. Reflect on your own personal style and tastes before making final choices, and really ask if the idea you’re swooning over online really makes sense for your wedding. For me, a pink and teal color palette along with brown suits for the gentleman were very in style at the time. Not tan, but dirt of the earth brown! I seriously considered a color story of brown and pink for our wedding simply because it trendy. I ended up veering away from that idea and moved back to purple and ivory, which fit us much better as purple is my favorite color! I couldn’t imagine looking back on my wedding photos now and seeing my husband in a dirt brown suit!
Know When DIY is Worth it
We had a serious budget for our wedding so going into planning I knew I had to be conscious about what needed to be DIY and where we could splurge. DIY is a great way to add specific décor elements without breaking the bank, with the caveat that the projects are able to finished successfully. When DIY goes wrong it can become cost prohibitive and an eye sore, so making sure to plan what is feasible is key to DIY projects. Also, it is helpful to decide as a couple how much time you want to dedicate to any wedding projects. Working on different elements together can be a great way to bond over the wedding but can also add unnecessary stress if you are not crafty, patient people. We loved the idea of pocket-fold invitations, but knew that the set we fell in love with was outside of our budget. Instead, we decided to create our own pocket-fold invitation set. While we were able to create really lux invitations for half the cost, in hindsight the hours and HOURS and hours of work on the invitations was likely not worth it to me when all was said and done. Other projects we DIY’d including favors, table numbers, and sparkler tags were well worth the money saved and added a personal touch to the wedding.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Imagine standing at the altar saying your vows to your soon to be husband when you see a large passenger bus roll into the parking lot through the windows behind him. You know that can’t be right though, because you booked a vintage trolley for your grand exit from the church. Instead of focusing on the rest of the ceremony you become stressed about the transportation and lose sight of a special moment of your day. Yes, that exact scenario happened to us. Being an overly type-A personality, it was hard for me to relinquish control of the wedding to a coordinator and I allowed a small mistake on the transportation company’s part overshadow the end of my ceremony. In hindsight, I regret not having a coordinator to allow us to really enjoy our day and not sweat the small stuff.
Timing is Everything
Once you have had a little time to bask in that new bling and all of its glory, know that timing is key to getting your best vendors. Vendors who can only work one wedding in a day are your most important bookings and should be handled first. After finding your perfect wedding venue and date, jump into locating your photographer, officiant, entertainment, and videographer. While we had about a year to plan, we knew getting married in April put us in the beginning of spring wedding season and therefore our vendor options might be limited; we jumped into finding our top choice photographer and venue right away. Because we didn’t drag our feet on the planning we were able to hire our favorite photographer and venue with our first choice wedding date!
Keeping with Tradition
My sorority has a tradition of passing around a “loving cup” which is when we all take turns drinking from a bottle of champagne while singing a traditional AOII song. Albeit a little cheesy, I loved being able to share that moment with my closest sisters who were at our wedding and it’s one part of the reception that really still stands out to me. Traditions come in all shapes and sizes, from charm pulls to burying the bourbon for good luck. Some people still toss the bouquet or say traditional decades old vows that their parents and grandparents said before them. Whatever your tradition, I believe that you should always find time for it within the wedding, you wont regret it later. (Unless its a money dance- let’s let that tradition die!)
What They Say is Real
“It flies by so fast!” I bet you have had countless married friends and family members tell you this, but honestly it is the truth! There are so many small moments I still remember vividly but for the most part, the wedding day flew by with the snap of a finger. I could not believe how fast the day went and when it ended how much I wanted to do it all over again. My very best advice is to definitely take a mental snapshot of the moment before you walk down the aisle; it is hands down one of the most special moments of the day. Everyone in that room loves you and your soon-to-be spouse dearly and they are all there to celebrate the start of your new life together!
Best Advice of All
While planning, someone said to me “the wedding is only one day, the marriage is for life.” Seven years of married life later, this still rings true. The wedding was the greatest party we ever planned but if we learned one thing it was that communication and compromise is the key to success. We really talked about what we wanted to see for our wedding and made sure to take into consideration what was important to each other and our families when planning. If your future mother in law is insisting that her son, the groom, escort her down the ceremony aisle but you have another vision, maybe its time to consider a compromise. That moment likely means so much to her and will start your time as her daughter in law off on the right foot! That same mentality of communication and compromise is what has helped us to have seven great years together. All marriages have rocky roads, and whenever we find ourselves in a rut we take it back to the same principle of communication and compromise that helped us when we first started.
Overall, planning your own wedding may be stressful or time consuming but I can guarantee that in the end everything will come together and you and your love will have an amazing time; I know we did! Be true to yourselves, communicate with your husband or wife to be, and don’t forget to have a little fun! Oh, and don’t worry, if you begin to lose a little wedding planning steam, we here at United with Love can get those creative juices flowing again!
The abundance of barns, rustic venues, and historic manor house venues in Northern Virginia is what makes it such an amazing area in which to host a wedding. Because of this, it is no surprise that on their second venue tour when looking for the perfect wedding location, Brad and Katie fell in love with Riverside on the Potomac. The property holds a fully refurbished stunning horse barn for weddings and receptions as well as gardens and pond side patio for ceremonies and cocktail hours. They immediately knew this was the place that they would say their vows in front of friends and family. The couple wanted to infuse their country lifestyle with an elegant wedding, and we have to say they completely succeeded! The bride and groom also scoured local vintage and antique shops in the surrounding town of Lucketts to add personal elements to the day such as love quote wedding signs around the property. Thank you to Katelyn James Photography for sharing another lovely Virginia wedding with us!
From the Bride: “I would describe our wedding as rustic elegant. After selecting our colors, it was easy to combine our “country & rustic lifestyle” into an “elegant wedding.” We knew we wanted to have an old barn with a great outdoor scenery. The only challenge we had was finding a barn with both bathrooms and air conditioning. Riverside on the Potomac was one of the few we researched that had both of these elements.”
“Photos and venue are the two things that we splurged on. Pictures will last forever, so we knew that had to be great. Katelyn James and her husband Michael were absolutely spectacular.
We only looked at two venues and the second was Riverside On The Potomac. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was perfect for us. Between the 1930s Ford, the huge rustic barn, and the 90 acres of land including a pond, we felt right at home.
As far as priorities go, we focused on ourselves and made decisions along the way that would overall make us happy. We cannot thank our vendors enough because they were a rockstar team.”
“Our gifts to each other were spectacular. Brad has been wanting a brand new 30-06 rifle and Katie surprised him with a new Ruger American 30-06. Now he is hunting every year deer season looking for that 12 point buck!
As for Katie, she received her gift from the best man, Jason Livingston, while she was getting pictures taken with her bridesmaids after getting ready. Katie opened up 3 boxes. The first was an elegant black dress. The second was fancy black heels that went with the dress. The third was Brad’s ipad with a video message saying “Guess what, we are going to the 49th Annual Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee.” It was an unforgettable trip!”
“We made a few trips to The Old Luckett’s Store in Leesburg, VA shopping for rustic items and weather wood. We made all of our signs which was a big project. We also put flowers in mason jars, cowboy boots, and lanterns. The bride’s mom also made two huge beautiful wreaths for the old shed doors down by the pond. We also made our plate chargers. We received an outrageous quote for chargers, so we decided to go buy 160 of them for cheap and spray paint them gold. They turned out perfect!
On another note, we also created our own wedding website at wix.com. We wanted to be unique and not simply use theknot website.”
Tips from the Couple: “Don’t lose sight that the wedding is about you two! Make decisions together and make ones that you give you the most happiness.”
Favorite Moments of the Day : “Seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. We did not do a first look because we wanted to be ‘traditional.’
At the end of the night, our Ford F150 was decorated with white streamers, signs, and window paint. We hopped up on the tailgate and were driven away to the hotel. The reason why this was a favorite detail was because Katie and I became a couple and got engaged in the back of that truck. Now we can say that we left that night in the back of that truck married to our best friend.”
Congratulations to Katie and Brad! Thank you for sharing your Loudoun County Riverside on the Potomac wedding with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding: