Happy Friday!

posted by Ally Lopez

Oh man, I love summer! Are you having a good one? Any exciting plans or are you days off strictly for wedding planning? This week, we sent out another email blast. This time it was about DIY wedding desserts – perfect for those with a sweet tooth! If you aren’t on the list, be sure to get yourself on right here - don’t miss out! Whatever you are up to this weekend, I hope that you are able to beat the heat in some way. If you need to keep extra cool, check out our DIY paddle fans and don’t forget to come back this weekend for a few little wedding treats!

DIY Summer Wedding Paddle Fan

Some links for your weekend…

…and what you missed right here!

University of Virginia Engagement Session: Selah + Adam

posted by Kate Oczypok

Happy Friday, readers! This morning we’re headed to Charlottesville for Selah and Adam’s outdoor wedding engagement session in Virginia. This cute duo headed to the historic downtown pedestrian mall with music, shops and plenty of gorgeous scenery with BB Shots Photography on hand to capture every sweet moment. Later, they shared a few intimate moments on the University of Virginia (the bride-to-be’s alma mater!) campus, where groups of college students cheered on the happy couple—go Hoos!

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Congratulations Selah and Adam!

Looking for more Virginia engagement sessions? Check out this relaxed engagement session in Vienna or this paint war engagement session and this Virginia vineyard engagement session.

Photo Credit: BB Shots Photography

Inspiration and Ideas: Pineapples

posted by Ally Lopez

Lately, I have been seeing pineapples popping all over Pinterest! This tropical fruit is not only yummy, but lends itself as an unexpected and unique visual element for any wedding – especially summer ones! Whether you choose at your wedding to go glam with gold pineapples or preppy with pink pineapples, there are a ton of ways to incorporate this fun motif. (You could even be a pineapple for Halloween! But, I digress!) Plus, pineapples are a symbol of hospitality which means they’re the perfect way to welcome your guests to the Washington DC-area. We’ve gathered a few favorite ways to incorporate this  unique fruit into your wedding, so get ready for some fun summer wedding inspiration!

Pineapple Wedding Ideas

Photo Credit: Bit of Ivory Photography from Burnett’s Boards

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  • I can't get enough of this pineapple centerpiece "vase." Add some colorful florals for a punch of color and you have got yourself tropical-inspired table decor! Photo Credit: Mary Costa Photography

    via Sugar & Cloth

  • This tiki bridal shower had plenty of pink and pineapples to 'round. Here's a fun idea: grab yourself a mini pineapple rubber stamp, a stack of cocktail napkins and a metallic ink pad and you have a DIY wedding project! Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

    via 100 Layer Cake

  • A Southern favorite, the hummingbird wedding cake is made with banana, coconut, pecans and, of course, pineapple. This cake was even decorated with pineapple "flowers." Photo Credit: Sarah Culver Photography

    via Southern-Inspired Wedding Cake

  • For this tropical wedding, the pineapples not only served as centerpieces, but also a wedding favor for guests to take home! Photo Credit: Wendy Laurel

    via Style Me Pretty

  • How darling are these pineapple wedding cake toppers? These would be perfect for a tropical themed wedding cake, or jazz up a simple, white cake!

    via Cortney Rector Wedding Designs

  • Welcome guests to your wedding with the ultimate symbol of hospitality: the pineapple!

    via Who Doesn't Want That?

  • These pineapple wedding escort cards are a perfect example of understated elegance! Photo Credit: Carla Ten Eyck

    via Style Me Pretty

  • It's no secret we love metallic wedding décor. These mini gold pineapples add a tropical touch to place settings. Photo Credit: Jonathan Connolly Photography

    via Ruffled

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

DIY Wedding Paddle Fans + Free Printable

posted by Ally Lopez

If you’re planning an outdoor summer wedding in the Washington DC area, you are going to love today’s fun ceremony DIY project. We’re showing you how to make paddle fans for your wedding, a seriously easy DIY project that will comfort guests on a hot and humid summer day. And, we all know the DC area is known for its hot and humid summer days! Not only are these fans practical, but they’re super cute, too, don’t you think!? We designed a (free!) wedding paddle fan template for you to use to help you to “keep calm” and your guests to “keep cool” during your wedding in the summer sun! Here are the details for you to make your own fans…

DIY Summer Wedding Paddle Fan


A7 folded cards (5″ x 7″) (Each folded card is one fan)
Free wedding paddle fan printable
Glue dots or double sided tape
Wavy wooden craft sticks
Optional: Round corner lever punch
Optional: Decorative ribbon

Free Printable Summer Wedding Paddle Fan

To Make:

Download the free wedding fan printable and print onto one side of the folded cards. (For the reverse side of the fan, you could leave it blank like we did, or what about printing your wedding ceremony and turning it into a double-duty program?!)

Free Printable Summer Wedding Fan Free Summer Wedding Paddle Fan

With the card folded in half and using your corner punch, round the four corners. Depending on how thick the cards you choose to use are, you may be able to do a few cards at a time.

Open a card up to the blank inside (the printed part should be on outside) and put glue dots or double sided tape in the four corners of the right side of the card. Next, put double sided tape or glue dots on both sides of the top half of a stick. Line up the stick in the middle of the bottom edge of the right side of the card. Press the stick down to secure it to the card.

Fold the card in half and press the sides together so that corners line up with the stick in the middle. To further decorate, you can tie ribbons or bows around the handles.

Keep Cool and Marry On Printable Wedding Fan


Make sure you check out our growing collection of free wedding printables and other DIY wedding projects – we have some really great ones!

Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? If you are in the mood for more projects and printables, 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.

Win a Free Wedding in Washington DC

posted by julianne

Imagine having the chance to leave the madness of wedding planning behind you and instead, win a free wedding in Washington DC (valued at over $80,000!)  for 175 of your closest family and friends. Well, that chance has arrived, my friends! Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater has teamed up with some of the best wedding pros in the DC area to offer one lucky couple a chance to have one incredible wedding celebration…all for free!


Photo Courtesy of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater

This free wedding in DC is going to be amazing! I’m talking about a wedding ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, plus all the memorable details like an engagement session, cake, videography, bridal suite and valet parking for your guests – just about everything you’ll need to say “I do”! (They won’t help you get through your vows though – you’ll have to do that on your own!) Also, did I mention that your wedding will be planned, executed and designed at one of the coolest wedding venues in the nation’s capital? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I assure you it is all true!

Ok, so now that I’ve made you excited, here are the details:

You and yours can avoid all of the wedding planning drama and the hefty price tag of a wedding in Washington, DC right here by entering to win a free wedding celebration at The Mead Center for American Theater. Home to Arena Stage, this wedding venue set on DC’s waterfront is modern, stunning and dramatic. (We love this unique DC wedding venue so much too; you can see these other real DC weddings at Arena Stage!)

To celebrate their upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof Arena Stage gathered quite a few of the top wedding vendors in the DC area to offer a free wedding to one couple. To enter, you’ll need to get your creative juices flowing by submitting an essay or video by August 31st. Make sure to read up on all of the rules of this contest too.

What are you waiting for? Go and get you and yours a free wedding in DC!


This post was sponsored by Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater.

Washington DC Engagement Proposal Video: Darek + Daniel

posted by Ally Lopez

Today’s wedding video is a “must see”! But, fair warning, you may need to have a box of tissues handy because this wedding proposal in the DC area is so stinkin’ cute, I promise you’ll get goose bumps! Daniel planned to propose to Darek with the help of their nearest and dearest… and a camera! So, to celebrate their second anniversary, Daniel surprised Derek with a trip to New York City that lead up to one of the sweetest proposal videos I have seen! This cute couple lives in DC, and they currently planning their wedding here in DC. (Spoiler alert: he said “yes’!!) If you’re planning a marriage proposal, take some serious notes! First, we’ll start with Daniel backstory….

From Daniel: Because our family and friends are such a huge part of our lives, I really wanted them to be part of my proposal to Darek. After some great advice from Darek’s brother, I decided not to propose in public, with them all present. I wanted to do something in a more intimate setting for just the two of us, but still include them in some way… so I decided a video of them was the way to go, chock full of messages from them letting Darek know how much they support and love us.

More from Daniel:  I spent several months conceptualizing the video in my head, and in February reached out to a videographer friend, Allison Korotkin, to see if what I envisioned was do-able. She was excited to help and gave me some pointers on how to get good quality images from everyone.

I spent about a month reaching out to all our friends and family individually to share with them my news and request. I asked each person to provide video footage per some very rough guidelines. I purposefully left it a bit vague so everyone’s personality and creativity could come through. I was not disappointed! Within just a few weeks I’d received hours of footage, which Allison and I had to work to cut down to less than eight minutes. The initial part she filmed of me was much longer, but in the end I decided I wanted my piece to be shorter. I, after all, was going to get as long as I wanted after the video was over, in person, to tell Darek all of the many detailed reasons I wanted to spend my life with him; the others would not. So, I put the focus on them to help me craft the perfect story to share with Darek.


Congratulations Darek and Daniel! We are so honored to share your proposal video!

Want to see more proposals? Check our other Washington DC area wedding proposals or advice on how to propose.

If you are planning a wedding in the DC area, we’ve got it all covered! From tips and advice form DC area wedding pros, a real wedding gallery for beautiful Washington, DC area weddings and loads of inspiration in our DC area wedding idea galleries.

10 Places to Get Married in Southern Maryland

posted by Kate Oczypok

Are you thinking about a destination wedding be aren’t sure if you want to get on a plane or plan from that far away? When it comes to local Washington DC area wedding locations, southern Maryland is home to some of the best venues in the region! From sandy beaches to historic locations and, of course, the Chesapeake Bay, Southern Maryland is a hidden gem in the metro DC area because it gives your wedding that destination feel, but you don’t need your passport to get there! If you are on the hunt for a wedding venue that is out of the city, but still within driving distance, they you are in luck today because Shawn at Tre Bella Events has done much of the venue search work for you! She is giving us a breakdown of 10 go-to spots to get married in Southern Maryland. And, trust me when you read this, there is a wedding location here for every couple out there! Take it away, Shawn….


Photo Credit: Hannah Colclazier Photography from Ashley + Scott’s wedding in Southern Maryland

Why not plan your wedding in a location that has the benefit of the water and vacation feel, yet is still close enough for friends and family to travel? Southern Maryland is your answer. This hidden gem is just a few hours south of Washington DC. It hosts historical, charming venues with spectacular views of the water.

1:  Once a part of Lord Calvert’s Retreats in Southern Maryland, the 200 year old restored Woodlawn Farm boasts panoramic views of the Potomac River. The property also operates as a bed and breakfast with five mini cottages available for a weekend stay. A charming wine cottage used for wine tastings and beautiful gardens all add to the allure of this amazing venue.

2:  Located on what was once known as Society Hill, Olde Breton Inn sits in all of its splendor. Views of Breton Bay, St. Clements Bay, and the Potomac River, serve as a breathtaking backdrop for wedding ceremonies. The Inn seats up to 170 guests and tents are available for rent, if larger space is needed.

3:  A National Historic Landmark, Sotterley Plantation is one of the oldest museums in the United States. As it stands on the banks of the Patuxent River, this tidewater plantation offers an array of amenities, including spectacular Colonial Revival Gardens, a restored 20th century barn, a charming two room spinning cottage, to name a few. This venue has the charm to create a truly magical wedding.

4:  Head on over to Solomon’s Island and enjoy Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. Nature and art create a beautiful harmony at this unique venue. Your guests will enjoy sculptured artwork as they scroll through the shaded path to cocktail hour and then onto the museum full of artwork for the dinner and dancing. Less than a mile away is Solomon’s Island where you will find some of the best seafood in Southern Maryland.

5:  Have you dreamed of professing your love under a pergola perched on a hilltop overlooking rolling vineyards then on to a night of dancing in a Tuscan-style villa? One might ask,”All of this in Southern Maryland?” Yes, Running Hare Vineyard, located in the heart of Calvert County, is a magnificent wedding venue that offers the feel of Napa Valley with a Tuscan twist. The vineyard’s over 200 acres of sweeping grapevines await your dream wedding!

6:  Herrington on the Bay is a premiere waterfront wedding venue that has the most amazing view of the Chesapeake Bay. As a full service catering company, this wedding venue prides itself in offering guests an eco-lifestyle and gourmet cuisine. Nestled in a secluded part of Southern Maryland, this private resort has a feel of a small island with lush exotic landscaping and cascading waterfalls.

7:  Are you a history guru? Why not tie the knot at Maryland’s first capital, Historic St. Mary’s City. The reconstructed 1676 State House, Margaret Brent Gardens and Gazebo, and the pier, which docks the historic Maryland Dove, create a walk down history’s lane. This combination of beautifully reconstructed buildings, lush lawn, and views of the St. Mary’s River make for an unforgettable and romantic celebration.

8:  Mary’s Hope on Church Cove, a Victorian farmhouse, is nestled on Church Cove, a tributary of St. Mary’s River and St. Indigoes’ Creek. This 250 acre property offers several locations to host your wedding. Your guests will enjoy unique elements such as the large swing on the front lawn, the charming front porch, and the gazebo that sits on the water’s edge.

9: Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa is a luxurious resort perfect for a weekend wedding. This 72 room hotel offers a full service salon and spa, outdoor activities such as fishing and canoeing, and gaming. The picturesque view of the Chesapeake Bay, along with a charming dockside, is the perfect location for an outside wedding ceremony.

10:  Swan Point Yacht and Country Club is a true gem. This beautiful clubhouse offers Southern Maryland charm with a well manicured golf course, views of Cuckold Creek, and a delightful clubhouse. The grand ballroom can accommodate up to 200 guests, who can enjoy the beauty of this property under the cozy veranda or on the lush lawn.


How’s that for a diverse list of places to get married in Southern Maryland!? We have so many amazing wedding location options right in our backyard in Southern Maryland. Thank you so much, Shawn! Be sure to check her out at Tre Bella Events and definitely give her a call if you are thinking about a wedding in Southern Maryland – she is “in the know”!

Just in case that wasn’t enough, check out our list of 10 more reasons to get married in Maryland. And, you can always look through our list of the best wedding venues in the Washington DC area here in our vendor guide.

Classic and Traditional Wedding Reception in Washington DC: Laura + Patrick

posted by Ally Lopez

There is beauty in classic affairs, and Laura and Patrick’s relaxed and meaningful wedding in Washington DC is absolutely brimming with it. We are back with part two featuring their wedding reception, but before you go on, make sure you check out their outdoor wedding ceremony first. Sprinkled with navy and pink décor, candy galore, and Washington DC-inspired table names, it all comes to life with the imagery from Once Like a Spark and planning by Bellwether Events. I’m especially loving all the chalkboard signage made by the bride’s friend – DIY perfection!

Washington DC Wedding Escort Card

From Laura: The location was perfect! It’s just down the street from our nation’s capitol building, which is where Pat and I met interning and where he finally proposed to me six years later. Our wedding theme reflected our love of DC.

Washington DC Wedding Birthday Calendar Guestbook (2)

One of my best friends created the chalkboard drawings herself, and I made our guestbook. It was actually a calendar that included pictures from various points in Pat’s and my relationship and guests were told to sign their name on their birth date!

Washington DC Wedding Birthday Calendar Guestbook (1)

Washington DC Wedding Reception Marine Barracks (1)

Washington DC Wedding Pink Centerpiece Washington DC Wedding

Washington DC Wedding Kids Table

Pat and I are huge foodies! We spent a good amount of time searching for (and tasting!) different DC area caterers. I got so many compliments about how delicious the food was. We even had a midnight snack of warm chocolate chip cookies and milk shooters.

Washington DC Wedding Reception Marine Barracks (2) Washington DC Wedding Menu

Washington DC Wedding First Dance

Washington DC Wedding Mini Champagne Favors Washington DC Wedding Chalkboard Photobooth Sign

Washington DC Wedding Candy Buffet

Washington DC Wedding Custom Candy Bar

Washington DC Wedding Sweetheart Table Chair Signs

Washington DC Wedding Modern Cake

View More: http://oncelikeaspark.pass.us/laura-patrick-wedding

Thank you so much Laura and Patrick for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Venue: The Home of the Commandants (Marine Barracks)
Photography: Once Like a Spark
Videography: George Street Photo & Video
Wedding Planner: Bellwether Events
Floral Design: B Floral Event and Design
Stationery: Gram Paper + Design
Calligraphy: Lori Raines Calligraphy Studio
DJ: JG Entertainment
Bridal Attire: Demetrios Bridal
Shoes: Steve Madden
Hair: The Elegant Artisan
Make Up: Le Mariee
Catering: Ken’s Creative Kitchen
Rentals: DC Rental
Cake: Alexandria Pastry Shop

Photo Credit: Once Like a Spark

Classic and Traditional Wedding Ceremony in Washington DC: Laura + Patrick

posted by Ally Lopez

Happy Monday, darlings! Let’s kick off this week of wedding inspiration with a colorful burst of pretty, shall we? Classic meets laid-back elegance at Laura and Patrick’s gorgeous wedding in Washington DC, and, let me tell you, it is awesome. Think a pop of pink, romantic skies and a dreamy outdoor wedding ceremony all perfectly executed by Bellwether Events. Oh, and those flower girls?  Totally adorable. See every beautiful moment captured by Once Like a Spark and come back later today to see their reception with DIY details!

Washington DC Wedding Bridal Gown Washington DC Wedding Custom Bridal Robe

From Laura: The first word that pops to mind when I think about my wedding is “meaningful.” The location itself was unique and holds a very special meaning for Pat and me. My grandfather, whom I was very close to, was the former Commandant of the Marine Corps. He lived at the Home of Commandants while I was growing up and I have many fond memories of running around the field and garden with my cousins, playing dress-up in the very room where I got put on my wedding dress, and spending many Christmases there with my family.

Washington DC Wedding (2)

Washington DC Wedding Pink Bridesmaids Robes

Washington DC Wedding (1)

Washington DC Wedding Portrait (1)

Washington DC Wedding First Look (2) Washington DC Wedding First Look (3)

My favorite memory is of our first look. We were hesitant about seeing each other before the ceremony, but I’m so glad we did! It calmed our nerves and made for a special moment between each other. Pat might have even teared up quite a bit (shh!).

Washington DC Wedding Portrait (2)

Washington DC Wedding Pink Bridal Party

Washington DC Wedding All White Bridal Bouquet Washington DC Wedding Pink Bridesmaid Bouquet

Washington DC Wedding Preppy Groomsmen

Washington DC Wedding Marine Barracks (2)

Washington DC Wedding Pink Bow Flower Girls

Washington DC Wedding Outdoor Ceremony

Washington DC Wedding Ceremony Marine Barracks

Washington DC Wedding Marine Barracks (1)

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

Venue: The Home of the Commandants (Marine Barracks)
Photography: Once Like a Spark
Videography: George Street Photo & Video
Wedding Planner: Bellwether Events
Floral Design: B Floral Event and Design
Stationery: Gram Paper + Design
Calligraphy: Lori Raines Calligraphy Studio
DJ: JG Entertainment
Bridal Attire: Demetrios Bridal
Shoes: Steve Madden
Hair: The Elegant Artisan
Make Up: Le Mariee
Catering: Ken’s Creative Kitchen
Rentals: DC Rental
Cake: Alexandria Pastry Shop

Photo Credit: Once Like a Spark