A Fabulous Foodie Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor: Laura + Connor

posted by pauline

When the wedding menu and the wedding cake are top priorities, you have today’s fabulous foodie inspired wedding in Maryland where it was literally raining cherry blossoms on a gorgeous spring day! Laura and Connor held their celebration at the beautiful Oxon Hill Manor in Oxon Hill, Maryland where friends and family gathered outdoors in the garden for the ceremony (when luckily, it didn’t rain!) and then under a tent on the property for a gorgeous rustic chic wedding reception. The bride is a food blogger, so the menu was a top priority for the pair, as was the cake! And this cake cutting was no typical slice, because the couple cut the cake using a sword that belonged to the groom’s great grandfather, a tradition in his family. What a fantastic idea and tradition to pass down to future generations! The rest of the wedding day was planned to perfection by Janice at Bellwether Events to be a rustic dream that was pretty in pink and dark woods with burlap table runner accents and even a fountain woven in as part of the decor. The coral bridesmaid dresses were a fabulous accent against the masculine wooden table numbers, making their wedding reception the perfect blend of his and hers. But, my favorite detail has to be the mini foods that were served, including tiny ice cream cones and savory cones filled with french fries. I’m getting hungry just looking at these foodie wedding photos! A big thanks to Washington DC area wedding photgorapher Michelle Lindsay Photography for sharing Laura and Conner’s Washington DC area wedding with us!

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From the bride: Our main priorities for the wedding were focusing on our family and friends, and creating a memorable and intimate evening for all of them! As far as wedding details, we are both incredibly passionate about food (I’m a full-time food blogger!), so the wedding menu and wedding cake were both very important to us!

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One of our favorite wedding details was the day itself – the week leading up the wedding was unusually cold and it originally was going to rain. We were planning on having our wedding ceremony outdoors. Luckily, it cleared up and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! The cherry blossoms were in bloom and there were literally petals raining down on us while we were taking some of our wedding photographs. Michelle, our wedding photographer, was able to capture our wedding day perfectly!

Aside from that, our family and friends’ speeches at our wedding reception were incredible and made the night so special and memorable. It really was one of the best days of our lives!

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We created personalized postcards as opposed to having a traditional wedding guest book. My parents have mailed and sent us one each week since the wedding. It’s a great way to celebrate the first year of marriage and a weekly reminder of what a special day our wedding was to us!

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We tried very hard to focus on aspects of the wedding that we felt like we would remember and value the most at the end of the day. We were focused on creating a beautiful wedding reception area, but not going overboard on any particular detail.

For example, we spent the majority of our floral budget on the table centerpieces, rather than spending money on ceremony flowers. We also re-purposed bridal bouquets as floral centerpieces and more.

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Our wedding theme was elegant and intimate. We had a neutral, soft color palette with some rustic details, such as a reclaimed wood farm table for the head table with a custom burlap and lace table runner.

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It is also a custom in my husband’s family to slice the wedding cake with a family sword. The sword itself is Connor’s great great grandfather’s, who was in the Navy and part of the Greely relief expedition in the Arctic in 1881. It was used by Connor’s grandparents and parents and is a tradition within the family!

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Advice from the bride for other Washington DC area wedding couples:

My wedding planning advice would be to narrow down your wedding guest list and start researching venues in advance. Surprisingly, there are few wedding venues in the Washington DC area that can accommodate a large wedding reception or ceremony. Because of this, depending on the season, these wedding venues can also book up fast!

If your wedding budget allows it, hire a day-of wedding planner! They will put your mind at ease on the wedding day and I can’t imagine not having that peace of mind in the last eight weeks leading up to the wedding. Our wedding planner, Janice of Bellwether Events, made the process much less stressful. She also had years of advice and experience to offer!

Next, ask friends and family for references for wedding vendors. References and recommendations for wedding vendors are a life-saver when it comes to wedding planning.

Don’t sweat the small stuff on your wedding day and during the wedding planning. There are so many details involved in the wedding planning process and they all seem so important at the time of planning, but its important to focus on the areas of the wedding that matter most to you. At the end of the day, are you really going to remember things like plate chargers and cutlery? Probably not!

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Congratulations to Laura and Connor!  Thank you for sharing your rustic-chic tented wedding wedding with us!

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

Photography: Michelle Lindsay Photography
Ceremony + Reception Location: Oxon Hill Manor
Wedding Planner: Bellwether Events
Florist: Sidra Forman
Caterer: Occasions Catering
Hair/Make-Up: Alison Harper & Co
DJ: MyDeejay
Transportation: Fleet
Videography: Thomas Bowen Films
Stationery: Minted
Bridal Gown: Matthew Christopher
Bridal Salon: Nordstrom Tysons Corner Wedding Suite
Bridal Shoes: Benjamin Adams
Headpiece/Veil: Sister’s Veil
Jewelry: Nina
Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew
Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank
Officiant: Gail Epes (family friend)
Linens: DC Rental
Cake/Dessert: Wildflour Fine Baking Co.
Table Runner: Etsy

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: Michelle Lindsay Photography

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

Dessert Table

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Crowd Sourcing Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

posted by kate

Good morning Washington DC area wedding lovers! Are you ready to celebrate the wonderful generous hearts of the lovely men and women of the Washington DC area who are planning a wedding?! We recently posted on unique ways to have a charitable wedding right here in the DC area. Today, we are taking it one step further and talking all about how to crowd source, or crowd fund through your wedding and turn all of those wedding gifts into donations for a charity. If you are thinking “crowd sourcing, crowd funding, huh?” don’t worry, we are here to clear all that up for you and more!

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Kirsten Bourne and her husband Nick on their wedding day by Annie Nyborg Photography

We reached out to Kirsten Bourne, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Capital Area Food Bank to tell us everything we need to know. Kristin and her husband Nick set up a crowd fund campaign in five minutes for the Capital Area Food Bank’s “A Party Against Hunger Campaign” – so easy!

“Crowd funding is a way for individuals to involve their personal networks to fundraise for an organization,” Kirsten said. “By customizing it and taking ownership, individuals can add their own emotional appeal to the fundraiser and make it more personal.”

In other words, if you’re getting married in the Washington DC area (or anywhere!), your guests, or “crowd” become your “funding team” by raising money to support a charity or cause close to your hearts.

As Kirsten and Nick got settled in the DC area before they wed, they were shocked by the needs of many of their neighbors. “Did you know that one in four kids in the DC area don’t have access to healthy food? We believe there is an abundance around us to help this injustice,” Kirsten said. “So on the occasion of our wedding, we thought that our friends and family would consider helping us raise $3,000 for the Capital Area Food Bank.”

If your fiance and you want to crowd source but aren’t sure where to start, Kirsten advises not to just google search for charities. Think about whether you’re environmentalists, or if you want to improve access to the arts, or care about rescue animals. “I think it’s important to think about what you care about as a couple,” she added. “The most powerful campaign will be one where you’re raising funds for an organization you’re already familiar with through volunteering and events.”

Set-up and Spreading the Word

In Washington DC the Capital Area Food Bank makes it easy for engaged couples to crowd fund in lieu of wedding gifts. Through a few simple steps on the Capital Area Food Bank website, couples can make their wedding a “Party Against Hunger” campaign and support hunger-free communities in the Washington DC area.

Once you’ve selected your charity of choice and established a website or link, the most important step is to share this information with your wedding guests. Kirsten advised engaged couples to share their link with their wedding guests in a few places, and repeatedly over time. “It’s not as simple as ‘if you build it, they will come,’” she said. “You need to remind your wedding guests that you are trying to raise money, why you care about the cause and how their money will translate to impact.”

You can embed your crowd fund link on your wedding registry, wedding web site or even promote it on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages – then watch the support flow in!

The Perfect Wedding Gift

Do you have a lot of procrastinating friends who are invited to your wedding? Or are your fiancé and you procrastinators yourselves? The crowd fund charity gift is the perfect last-minute wedding gift, because it only takes a few minutes to create. “Most people are last minute, not just the couple, so your wedding guests will probably appreciate how easy it is to check ‘wedding gift’ off of their to-do list,” Kirsten said.

Crowd funding in lieu of wedding gifts is also great for the engaged couples who already have everything they need for their home. Maybe you have been living together a while, or this is your second marriage and you really don’t need the usual wedding presents. Wedding guests love to give presents to the married couple to celebrate their union and show their love and support, and with a crowd fund for a charity, you can re-direct these generous gifts to a cause that is important to you.

In addition to spreading the word to your wedding guests about your crowd funding request, you’ll also need to make sure that you set it up early and keep it open well after your wedding date. Set the end date of your crowd fund about a year after your wedding date. Wisdom these days is that wedding guests have a year from the wedding date to give a gift and stay in good standing, Kirsten added. 

Of course, since local love stories are our thing, we can’t leave you without a little romance and background story to Kirsten and Nick! “It may sound cheesy, but we’re both romantics,” Kirsten said. They both always wanted to make the world a better place. Aww! It looks like they are well on their way to doing so with their generous spirits!

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Are you planning on crowd funding for a charity for your wedding in the Washington DC area? Have you been to a charitable wedding? We want to know! Leave a comment for us.

In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors to help you plan your best, most charitable day!

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Elegant Old Hollywood Wedding in Baltimore: Lindsay + Nate

posted by pauline

If you are planning your wedding in the DC area from out of town, you’ll want to play close attention today because Lindsay and Nate planned their wedding in Baltimore from far, far away in the Middle East! The pair were living overseas, but wanted to come home to Maryland (where they met and fell in love!) to wed. Through lots of time zones and late night phone calls, they selected a stunning wedding venue in downtown Baltimore, MD near there old stomping grounds to tie the knot – The 1840’s Plaza. Their elegant venue and Lindsay’s gorgeous lace wedding dress (which we love!) set the tone for their vintage, old hollywood-inspired wedding full of elegant black and white wedding details. Because they were planning from so far away, their wedding turned out to be one big family affair, with everyone getting involved to help make it amazing. A friend of the couple made their wedding favors, a bridesmaid did bride’s makeup, and mom even addressed their wedding invitations! So, when it all came together on the big day, the wedding day details were that much more sweet for these newlyweds. We love it when loved ones come together, especially for a couple planning from afar, to make their wedding day personal and truly unforgettable. A special thanks to Hamilton Photography for sharing Lindsay and Nate’s elegant Baltimore wedding with us!

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From the bride: We were so happy to be able to come back to Baltimore for our wedding. It’s where we met and first started dating, and we got married a few blocks from our old neighborhood in downtown Baltimore. We considered a destination wedding, because we are so far away and our friends and family are scattered throughout the world, but in the end Baltimore was the only place that really made sense to us. We’re so grateful that everyone was willing to travel to Baltimore to celebrate our wedding with us, and it was the perfect setting to start this next phase of our lives together.

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We were inspired by vintage glamour and Old Hollywood for our wedding. The two things that set the tone for this were the venue and my dress. The 1840’s Plaza is a beautiful old building in downtown Baltimore, and one of the last iron facade buildings on the East Coast. It cuts such a dramatic figure and was a beautiful spot to take wedding photos. I knew I wanted a very simple sheath silhouette for my bridal dress so that I could have some more dramatic details like intricate beading and the bird cage veil.

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The main priority for our wedding was working with trusted wedding vendors! We planned our wedding from 7,500 miles and several time zones away as we are currently living in the Middle East, and the bulk of the wedding planning was done in two trips home to Baltimore over the course of about a year before the wedding. The wedding planning was also a lot of late-night phone calls and emailing back and forth. I chose wedding vendors that either came highly recommended through friends or are well-known in the local wedding industry for quality work. We didn’t have the luxury of tastings or getting too caught up in wedding details, so I wanted a caterer that I already knew was excellent. I had attended many events catered by Rogue during my time in Baltimore. We wanted a wedding florist who could take our basic ideas and run with them to produce a fantastic final product on our wedding day. We splurged on two things for our wedding: a large wedding party (we are lucky to have so many amazing friends!) and, last-minute, a photo booth through my photographer. Both were excellent splurges that we’re now grateful we decided to include in our wedding. We skipped on a wedding videographer and so far we don’t regret that choice at all.

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Our wedding favors were provided by very close friends of the family who own an apiary and working farm in New Jersey. My mother hand-addressed all of the wedding invitations in her beautiful cursive hand writing. One of my bridesmaids did my makeup on the wedding day. The reception tables were named after places we have been together including Amman, Prague, Dambulla (Sri Lanka), and Reykjavik. We opted for a more non-traditional wedding ceremony, which was beautifully written by our officiant. But, we kept some wedding traditions such as my father walking me down the aisle. My bridesmaid (the same one who did my makeup!) sang our first dance song, which was Adele’s cover of Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love.” So many of our friends and family contributed in some way to our wedding, and as a result it felt so special and uniquely “us.”

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Although neither of our families are Jewish, we had some Jewish wedding guests who asked if we could do the Horah. The DJ asked us and we agreed, so some chairs were found and my husband and I were hoisted up in the air. It didn’t stop there – they then danced with the two mothers and then the two fathers. It was so much fun, and the pictures that we have are priceless!

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Advice from the bride for other Washington DC area couples:

Our wedding planning situation was a little unique because we were planning from abroad and came into Baltimore about ten days before the wedding. In some ways, it was a relief to not get hung up on wedding details – does anyone really remember what color your napkins were? – and in others it was stressful and difficult to be so far away.

My wedding planning advice to other couples is to find wedding vendors who are willing to work with you under whichever circumstances you find yourself in, and to trust them to do their jobs. They are professionals who do this hundreds – if not thousands – of times per year, and I had to learn to let go of details and just trust that everything would turn out Ok. And, everything did!

In terms of the actual wedding, if there’s any way you can plan in even just 15 minutes to spend alone on your wedding day with your now-husband/wife, ask your wedding planner or coordinator to work that in. I don’t think I saw my husband at all except when we said “I do” and when we danced together! I do regret that we didn’t get a moment to stop and just be together, take a breath, and be present with each other.

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Congratulations to Lindsay and Nate!  Thank you for sharing your elegant ballroom wedding with us!

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

Photography: Hamilton Photography
Venue: 1840s Plaza
Catering: Rouge
Cake: SugarBakers
Stationery: Paper Source
DJ: AJ Smith
Florist: Mobtown Florals
Hair: Brittany Tollberg, Zina’s Day Spa
Makeup: Kristina Lawall (bridesmaid)
Photo Booth: Chesapeake Photobooth
Officiant: Lauren Metz
Wedding Dress: Betsy Robinson Bridal
Bridal Headpiece: Niko Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson
Jewelry: Pearl earrings – 21st birthday gift from grandparents, and great-great-aunt’s dinner ring
Favors: Tassot Apiaries
Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

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: Hamilton Photography

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Sweet + Sunny Wedding Engagement in DC: Courtney + Christopher

posted by kate

Good morning to you all! We have such a treat to lead you into this holiday weekend. We won’t be back until Monday, so we hope that you’ll celebrate this holiday season with your friends and family! Even though it is technically winter, we’re bringing you back to Washington DC in the summertime with all its sunny goodness with today’s wedding engagement session. Jennifer McMenamin Photography followed Courtney and Christopher around through the streets of Georgetown, to the Monuments, fountains and more until the sun started to set — talk about incredible photos when that happened! There are definitely something “only in DC” moments during this session! Also, did you catch the couple’s ode to the University of Maryland? So cute! Thanks for letting us take a peek into your beautiful love story!

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Congratulations Courtney + Christopher!

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: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

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

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Elegant Spring Courtyard Wedding in Alexandria: Katie + James

posted by pauline

Katie and James had a very personal wedding with lots of family-made DIY details in the courtyard of the elegant Hotel Monaco Alexandria in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, VA. Their wedding in Virginia was planned by the talented, Bellwether Events, who the bride credits to much of the success of their big day! Their outdoor wedding ceremony was filled with special moments, including the bride’s nephews coming down the aisle with cute flags to wave to the crowd. Then at their wedding reception, the details kept coming! Dinner was held outdoors in a beautiful courtyard where rustic wedding flowers flanked the tables and custom table numbers, designed by the groom and assembled by the bride’s family, made the space picture-perfect. The idea was that each table number represented the age of the bride or groom in the corresponding photo – so cute! The bride’s mom also helped to create the most darling adirondack chair escort cards, a nod to the bride’s upbringing in upstate New York. Even the wedding favors had a flair from the bride’s past! There were so many pretty and personal details to enjoy in their big day, I just can’t begin to pick a favorite! A special thanks to Washington DC area wedding photographer, Deb Lindsey, for sharing James and Katie’s oh-so personal wedding in Alexandria, Virginia!

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From the bride: Honestly, the main vision I had in mind for our wedding was everyone (me, James, our families and close friends) having the best time ever. I remember saying time and time again during the wedding planning process was that I just want our wedding to be fun!  I knew I wanted a spring wedding as I think Washington DC springs are so pretty, and did not want to deal with the heat and humidity of the summer in DC! Once we set our spring wedding date, I started looking into color themes and really loved the grey tone paired with pink and coral, so that became the base from which we worked out a lot of the other color and wedding theme details.

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The more we got into the wedding planning with our wedding planning Janice at Bellwether Events, the more I really enjoyed adding in DIY touches here and there where we could to really make it personal and give our wedding a more intimate feel.  

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In terms of wedding photography, we knew how important the wedding photos would be not only in the immediate sense, but in the long term. We wanted someone who took great photos, but also took interesting and unique wedding day photos. Something that wasn’t just your standard wedding photo! We were so, so happy to have our wedding photographer, Deb Lindsey, with us on our wedding day. Not only did the photos come out just wonderful, she was so easy-going and really made us feel at ease from our wedding engagement shoot all the way through to the end of our wedding day!


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I think one of my favorite wedding memories were the little flag signs that my two youngest nephews carried out during the ceremony. My mom made them and they loved them!

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It was very hot during our bride and groom and bridal party photo session before the wedding ceremony, and by the time we got back to the Hotel Monaco, I was so hot and dehydrated. I felt a bit like I was going to pass out. It’s silly to think back on now as I had almost everyone fretting over me – my maid of honor, my wedding planner, my mom, my brothers, the hotel staff and more. Everyone started walking out as the wedding ceremony began and eventually it was time for my dad and me to walk out down the aisle. I remember still feeling very faint (probably a bit of nerves, as well!) and my dad squeezed my arm as we were about to walk out and whispered in my ear, “Alright, this will be just like the Kentucky Derby. Before you know, you’ll blink and it’ll be over” It really put me at ease and that feeling only continued as the wedding ceremony continued. As we started saying our wedding vows, I saw James choke up at one point. I remember I immediately felt better! Like it was just him and me standing up there alone having a moment. After that, I was just on a cloud for the rest of the night!

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We had several handmade and DIY wedding details that really made me happy to see on our wedding day. My mom is a retired teacher and thank goodness she still has that crafty gene in her! Many of the wedding DIY details came as a result of her suggestions. On top of that, James is a designer and he made our Save the Date invitations, along with several other details that we easily would have had to spend money on, like our table numbers a the reception. We decided to pick old photos of ourselves at the age of the corresponding table number. James designed the layout of the photos and then my mom, sisters-in-law and myself all assembled them.

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Outside of everyone having fun, I’d say our main wedding priorities were a band and photography. We knew from the get-go we wanted a band and we spent a lot of time and energy on finding a great match that not only worked budget-wise, but would have a vast selection of songs and genre options to make sure everyone (from little nephews to parents!) would be on the dance floor dancing! Playlist, our wedding band, was an amazing addition to the wedding reception and we could not have been happier with their performance.

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The second awesome memory from our wedding night is of my nephew dancing and singing his little heart out! Leading up to the wedding he had made it very known that he not only wanted to attend the wedding reception, but that he would stay up until the very end. I can’t even remember if he did make it to the end of the night, but I do remember him being handed the microphone by a member of the band and singing the song while a crowd circled around him dancing. It was such a fun moment and set a nice tone for dancing for the rest of the night!

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We also had a cute, little wedding favor that was a nice reminder of my hometown in upstate New York. We gave every wedding guest a little bottle of maple syrup that my mom, again, assembled from the local maple syrup farm.

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Advice from the bride for other Washington DC area couples:

My wedding advice would be to look into and invest in a wedding planner if you feel as though it’d put you at ease during the process. Everyone always says that the ‘being engaged’ part goes by so quickly because you become so busy with wedding planning and I’d have to agree. We were so lucky to have our wedding planning (Janice at Bellwether Events) throughout the wedding planning process. Beyond just giving me a bit more time to step back and enjoy being engaged and excited for my upcoming wedding, she provided us with so many suggestions and ideas that I honestly can’t imagine not being in our wedding.

Lastly, don’t sweat the small stuff. Something that may seem big at the time might actually be quite small when you look back on the wedding day. I can’t even tell you how many things I just plain forgot to do that seemed like big deals to me at the time, but at the end of the day, I was still married to James and got to spend our wedding day with everyone I loved. That is the biggest detail there can be!

Just relax and enjoy the ride. It’ll be over before you know it!

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Congratulations to Katie and James!  Thank you for sharing your courtyard wedding in Virginia with us!

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

Photography: Deb Lindsey
Venue: Hotel Monaco Alexandria
Planner: Bellwether Events
Florals: LynnVale Studios
Lighting: John Farr Lighting
Pipe & Drape: Drape Kings
Catering: Jackson 20 – Hotel Monaco
Linens: DC Rental
Hair and Make Up: Alison Harper & Co.
Bridal Gown: Amy Kuschel
Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Jewelry: Kate Spade earrings
Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew
Groom’s Attire: Crown Tailor
Ceremony Musicians: Paul Bangser Duo via Bialek’s Music
Reception Band: Playlist via Entertainment Exchange
Doughnuts: District Doughnut

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: Deb Lindsey

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

Mmmmmm!

Give your guests a meal they won’t forget! Click here to find the best wedding caterers in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Garden Chic Tented Wedding in Maryland: Kathleen + Joel

posted by pauline

Kathleen and Joel wed in a beautifully elegant wedding at Strong Mansion in Dickerson, MD. Their garden chic wedding in Maryland was one filled with the beauty of nature – both inside and out. Their wedding ceremony took place in a gorgeous garden on the property, before their wedding guests moved under a white wedding tent for the reception. But not before guests played a few rounds of lawn games during the cocktail hour – Oh what fun! Then the reception decor incorporated elements from the outdoors in, like the garland flanking the reception tables (a favorite of the bride’s and ours too!). But it was the serenade with the band from the groom to his bride that really stole the show! What an amazing surprise for Kathleen and everyone in attendance to enjoy!? Their wedding day is certainly picture-perfect, but not without the help of Washington DC area wedding planners, Event Accomplished, especially when during the planning process, especially when the bride and groom moved to Toronto and had to plan their wedding from afar! It doesn’t look like they skipped a beat on their beautiful wedding day in Maryland! A special thanks to Washington DC area wedding photographer, Mary Kate McKenna Photography, for sharing Kathleen and Joel’s wedding photos with us!
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From the bride: We wanted a simple, elegant and timeless wedding that incorporated the beauty of Strong Mansion and the outdoors in Maryland.

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Joel wore his soon-to-be father-in-law’s cufflinks. I had my mother’s wedding dress fabric wrapped around my bridal bouquet along with a blue butterfly pin that was a dear family friend’s that had passed away.

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We moved to Toronto seven months before our wedding and I was very nervous about planning long distance. Vicky, our wedding planner, did an amazing job of keeping us on track, visiting our wedding vendors when we were unable to and assisting us along the way which made our wedding day perfect!

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The band and caterer were our main wedding priorities. We wanted our friends and family to eat well and not want to leave the dance floor at our wedding!

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Joel sang “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” by The Darkness during our wedding reception, which was a surprise to the me and our family and friends. The band had made wagers if he was going to bomb or knock it out of the park – he knocked it out of the park! I also loved the garland on the reception tables and the flowers. These decor elements brought the nature and beauty of Strong Mansion inside the wedding reception tent.

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Advice from the bride for other couples planning a wedding in the Washington DC area:

Trust your wedding planner and the vendors – they are the experts! Make sure that you tell your wedding vendors anything that can help in making your day go smoothly. For example, Joel hates taking pictures and Mary Kate (our photographer) was efficient and understanding and worked her magic to achieve beautiful wedding day pictures rather quickly.

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Congratulations to Kathleen and Joel!  Thank you for sharing your garden chic tented wedding with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Photography: Mary Kate McKenna Photography
Wedding Planner: Event Accomplished
Stationery: LBC Design Co.
Transportation: Reliable Limousine
Floral Designer: En Masse
Hair Stylist: Remona Soleimani
Makeup Artist: Leah Margosis
Bridal Gown: Romona Keveza
Bridal Salon: Hannelore’s
Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew
Accessories: Kate Spade
Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom
Groomsmen Attire: Joseph A Bank
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Strong Mansion
Officiant: John Crawford
Ceremony Music: Perfect Harmony
Caterer: Spilled Milk
Reception Music: Bachelor Boys Band
Cake/Dessert: Fancy Cakes by Leslie

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: Mary Kate McKenna Photography

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

Beautiful Blooms

From bouquets to centerpieces, click here to find a local wedding florist in the DC area to bring your wedding floral design to life.

Nautical Themed 4th of July Wedding in Maryland: Matt + Cristina

posted by pauline

We are celebrating the holidays today – the Fourth of July holiday, that is! Matt and Cristina had a patriotic holiday weekend wedding in Maryland out on Breton Bay when the they tied the knot on the 4th of July in a red, navy, and white inspired celebration. Their stunning wedding ceremony was held at St. Joseph Morganza in St. Mary’s County, before guests moved to a private home to celebrate their wedding reception (complete with a fully decorated golf cart for transport!). Their wedding was nautical in theme, which you know we love here by the Chesapeake Bay, but it is also because the pair met on a boat, naturally! And about a year after that, Matt proposed to his bride on that very same water, so it was only fitting that there would be boats and details to match on this big day! I’m obsessed with the boat table numbers, which are so much more than table numbers, and the life raft chair details to add that extra special touch! Their Maryland wedding has too many amazing details to count – and many of them were handmade with the help of friends and family. The pair kept it personal on this big day, even asking their wedding guests to contribute pies, just like their family tradition of a cake decorating contest on the 4th of July. What a fun way to enjoy a wedding dessert! A big thanks to Rachael Foster Photography for sharing Cristina and Matt’s 4th of July Washington DC area wedding with us!

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From the bride: My cousin works with Matt and brought him down to “camp,” our family’s home on Breton Bay in Maryland, and we met on a sailboat. When I missed the departure time for the sail, my dad drove me out on a jet ski, and I boarded while they were already underway! A little more than a year later, Matt proposed on a sailboat in the very waters where we met, so I knew almost immediately our wedding would have a sailboat and nautical theme. Our wedding colors were navy, coral, and white, and the wedding reception took place on my family’s property in Maryland.

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We both come from the very large families, so our biggest wedding priority was getting as many people to our wedding as we could. Having lots of great wasn’t great for wedding budget, considering just about every wedding website tells you that the best way to cut wedding costs is to cut your guest list, but this was just not an option for us. We also knew that we just wanted it to be fun at our wedding! We didn’t want to get caught up in the details or stress too much about our wedding being “perfect.” The things that were definitely on our wedding “must-have” list were a live band, a full bar, and transportation for our wedding guests.

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I love to craft and sew in my spare time, and the wedding gave me a great reason to get to work. I had lots of help, especially from my mom (and Pinterest!!), and we started very early on with the save the dates, which a cousin later remade into a wedding cake for us.

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During the wedding ceremony, my two oldest sisters placed the “mantilla” over our shoulders, a Cuban tradition, to honor our mother’s birthplace and heritage.

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Our favorite wedding memories from they day were that we borrowed a cousin’s antique, cherry red, Triumph TR3 as our wedding get-away car to go from the church to the reception. This two seater, convertible (Thankfully the weather held out!) was such a fun way to have a few moments alone in an otherwise very busy day. We also loved the fireworks display at the end of the day; it was a great finale!

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Other major DIY wedding projects were the knot napkin rings, the origami sailboat table assignment cards, the bunting for the tent, the hotel guest bags (and several of the things inside the bag too!), the table numbers on top of the (store bought) sailboat centerpieces), and some decorative buoys.

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So many people offered and did help in order to pull the whole wedding day off for us. From my aunt who gathered the fabric for the bunting in the tent from random Goodwill stores, to my cousins who hammered the signs all over the property into the ground, to the dear family friends who were able to pick up our table flowers the morning of the wedding while everyone was getting their hair and makeup done. I think people like to feel involved, so when they offered to help, I definitely took them up on it!

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It is so true what they say about weddings – having all of the people that you love in one area at the same time is an incredibly special and cool thing. We are so grateful to have experienced it. And, so grateful that our photographer, Rachael, captured our wedding so well!

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My family normally does a Fourth of July cake decorating contest, so we asked our family members if they would do the same for our wedding. There were so many beautiful cakes, pies, and cupcakes for our wedding reception dessert. Actually, we ordered two back up cakes (just in case the homemade treats wouldn’t fill up 300 guests!), but in the craziness of the day before the wedding we just plum forgot to pick the cakes up! Since the 4th was a holiday and they were closed, I hope someone else enjoyed those two cakes!

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Advice from the bride for other Washington DC area couples:

To save money on wedding things, look outside traditional wedding vendors. We used an Amish flower grower, who was more than reasonable for our wedding day flowers.

Also, really try not to stress about having your wedding be “the best.” As an engaged friend going through all this stuff right now said to me (and I couldn’t agree more!): sometimes good enough is good enough! It is way more fun if you pick the things that matter to you for your wedding, and then the other things, pick the “good enough” option. For example, one color in your letterpress wedding invitations is good enough! Two wine options is good enough. There are countless examples where the wedding choices are just good enough!

Finally, take people up on their offer to help with your wedding! I found that there were certain wedding related tasks that just seemed so tedious, even though they were actually really simple. When someone would call and say “What can I help with?,” I would ask if they could take those programs on, which they almost certainly would, and would do so easily and happily!

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Congratulations to Matt and Cristina!  Thank you for sharing your 4th of July wedding in Maryland with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Photography: Rachael Foster Photography
Wedding Planner: Laura Kellerman
Stationery: The Dandelion Patch
Transportation: W&T Travel
Floral Designer: Kenny’s Flowers (bouquets only)
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: The Hair Company
Cake/Dessert: Homemade/DIY
Bridal Salon: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique
Bridal Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Headpiece/Veil: Handmade
Jewelry: Family Heirloom
Bridesmaid Dresses: Lily Pulitzer
Bridal Party Accessories: Kate Spade, lou lou
Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A Bank
Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan
Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Morganza
Reception Venue: Personal Home
Rentals: Bailey’s Party Rentals
Catering: Bailey’s Catering
Linens: Something Special by Tracy
Reception Music: Back to Zero
Additional Flowers: Weaver’s Cut Flowers

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: Rachael Foster Photography

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

Dessert Table

Click here to find the best wedding cake designers and bakers in the DC area – your guests (and sweet tooth) will thank you!

Sunday Brunch: The Loft at 600 F

posted by julianne

Good morning, my DC area wedding lovers! We have a great location to share with you this morning that is perfect for a wedding, bridal shower, after-wedding party, rehearsal dinner or just about any other event right in the heart of the city! Give a warm welcome to The Loft at 6oo F a modern, yet industrial space just near the Verizon Center in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of DC. With historic ceilings and exposed brick accented with modern technology and chic furnishings, The Loft at 600 F is a premier collection of DC boutique wedding spaces served by concierge-level services and staff. Each floor features exposed brick, hardwood floors, lots of natural light, comfortable furniture, chic antique decor, and beautiful downtown DC views. Modern, non-traditional and intimate weddings for up to 100 guests are a perfect fit with endless possibilities. You really must see the spaces for yourself! For more on The Loft at 600 F, be sure to visit their website or check out all their past features on United With Love.

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We hope that you’ll check out The Loft at 6oo F your wedding events in the Washington DC area. It is a perfect location for your wedding, of course, but also think about it for your engagement party, bridal shower, your wedding after party or day-after-the-wedding brunch.

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.

Hey, Mr. DJ!

Keep that dance floor packed! Click here to use United With Love’s vendor guide to find the right local DJ for your wedding.

Classic DC Wedding Engagement: Rachel + Grant

posted by kate

Good morning DC area wedding lovers! As a wedding blog that celebrates all things romantic in DC, I am so excited to have a chance to showcase a wedding engagement session that is an ode to this gorgeous city we live in. Meet Grant and Rachel who chose Abby Grace Photography to follow them on their adventure around DC. The beautiful couple starts off on the National Mall with an LBD and strappy heels for Rachel, and a sleek black suit for Grant. Later, we follow them to the Lincoln Memorial where they’re dressed a little more casually, letting the stunning views of the Washington Monument do the work for them! Grant and Rachel will be calling on the skills of DC area wedding planning Caroline Dutton Events for their wedding next year. So excited for them!

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/grant-rachel-engagement

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Congratulations Rachel + Grant!

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: Abby Grace Photography

Carriages & Coaches

From trollies to classic cars, click here to find local DC area wedding transportation companies for your wedding.