Kalorama Park Wedding Engagement Session: Lauren + Bryan

posted by Kate Oczypok

Aren’t picnics just the perfect summertime activity? Have them at sunrise and you have lighting soft and beautiful like this Washington DC engagement session. Lauren and Bryan thew a blanket on the grass in Kalorama Park over the morning dew and enjoyed the beautiful silence of a DC morning. Bryan snuck bites of a McDonald’s breakfast (his reward for agreeing to such an early session!) while Nessa K Photography snapped photos of the happy couple. Don’t morning engagement sessions just make life feel so right? Simply gorgeous, Lauren and Bryan!

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Congratulations Lauren and Bryan!

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 Credit: Nessa K Photography

Inspiration and Ideas: Confetti

posted by Ally Lopez

At the heart of every wedding is a ton of fun! It’s a celebration of love after all—how much more fun does it get than that!? I don’t know about you, but the word “celebration” brings to mind one thing: confetti! These fun little bits o’paper can often get lost in wedding planning or are limited to wedding exits. Scatter your big day with some of our favorite confetti-inspired wedding ideas from paper pretties to DIY reception décor.

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Photo Credit:  Eli Weddings from Farm Wedding Inspiration

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  • Who said confetti is limited to New Year's Eve weddings!? Plus, these confetti poppers could not be any easier to put together. Photo Credit: Rachel May Photography

    via DIY Confetti Poppers

  • Forget flower girls! Can you imagine glitter girls? It's my dream to walk down an aisle of sequins or confetti! Photo Credit: Max Wanger Photography

    via 100 Layer Cake

  • This confetti save-the-date project is a great way to kick off your wedding celebration!

    via Ruffled

  • Don't forget about those signature drinks for your cocktail hour! Dress up the drinks with these gumball drink stirrers.

    via Studio DIY

  • Dress up your sweetheart table chairs with these fun (and easy DIY!) confetti chair garlands. Follow the link for the DIY tutorial.

    via A Substle Revelry

  • Guests will certainly be ready to celebrate when they head over to pick these modern and colorful confetti-inspired escort cards!

    via Martha Stewart

  • I'm a total cake girl, so when I saw this wedding cake dripping in gold confetti I just about fell in love! Photo Credit: Brosnan Photographic

    via Grey Likes Weddings

  • Let your guests create their own mix of confetti to toss after you say your "I Do's" with a confetti bar! Photo Credit: Carina Skrobecki 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.

Sophisticated Gray Wedding Ideas

posted by Kate Oczypok

Welcome to our last installment of the runway-to-table wedding inspiration series from  local Washington, DC area wedding planner Elizabeth Duncan Events. Using fashion trends as inspiration for wedding table design and decor, Elizabeth has shown us everything from bright orange and blue to embroidery to paint as backdrops for ideas. Today, we are sharing her wedding ideas inspired by the color gray with photographs by  Sweet Tea Photography. Sometimes even the most simple of colors can create something beautiful, sophisticated and unique, like this Christian Siriano dress and matching hat.

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Photo Credit: Style.com

From Elizabeth: Gray is the new black, based on the 2014 fashion runway trends. With layers of texture, metallics and modern details, this sophisticated design is ideal for contemporary weddings and rehearsal dinners.  Not only is gray amazing on its own, but paired with the right place settings, it is incredibly versatile, easily transitioning from modern to traditional to rustic.

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After they were all done inside, they took the party outside to a gorgeous outdoor garden setting – perfect for a cocktail hour or a brunch wedding reception. Between the bright pops of yellow in the flowers and the bright sunshine, it is amazing how much glow you can get from a simple color like gray! Just stunning!

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Thanks Elizabeth for bringing us some beautiful ideas using the color gray as inspiration! Be sure to check out the rest of the runway-to-table wedding inspiration features such as bright blue and orange, embroidery and paint. The following Washington, DC area wedding vendors contributed to this inspiration:

Event Planning + Design: Elizabeth Duncan Events
Floral Design: Sidra Forman
Photography: Sweet Tea Photography
Linens +Rentals: DC Rental

Don’t forget to visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals or our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!

Photo Credits: Sweet Tea Photography

How to Have a Destination Wedding in the DC Area

posted by julianne

We are the nation’s capitol after all and quite the tourist location! Naturally, the Washington DC area is home to many destination weddings. If you are out of town and trying to plan your wedding in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia, we have your back today. Rebecca from Blue Canary Events is giving us the scoop on how to plan a destination wedding in the Washington, DC area. She helped Cristal and Orialys plan their wedding in DC while they were living in Florida and it got me thinking that they certainly can’t be the only ones trying to plan their wedding in the DMV from afar. So, everything from how often you need to visit and what you need to do first, she has you covered…and then some! Take it away, Rebecca….

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Photo Credit: Shelly Guberek Photography  from Orialys and Cristal’s wedding in DC

So, you want to have a destination wedding in DC?  Maybe you grew up in DC and your family has since moved away, but you always dreamed of it for your wedding. Maybe you and your beloved met there, have moved away, and now live somewhere else, but you want to go back to where you met and fell in love. Maybe, like Cristal and Orialys’s wedding in Washington DC, you want to celebrate your love and marriage in a city that WANTS you to celebrate your love and marriage there, and your home state doesn’t allow it. Whatever your reason, WELCOME! The Washington DC area is full of many wonderful resources, and having a destination wedding here is no different than having a destination wedding anywhere (Okay, so we have fewer palm trees, more The Palm.)

Destination weddings can be overwhelming, whether they’re in wine country (We have wine country here, by the way!), on the sands of a beautiful beach (We have water here too!), or in a romantic city (Paris who??). Not every couple is cut out for a destination wedding.  Destination weddings require you to, in many respects, be able to let go of some of the details and be able to trust the people you hire to make things happen.

Wedding Planner

So, first things first…hire a wedding planner! Unless your mom or best friend lives in the Washington DC area and you feel comfortable trusting her (or him!) to make wedding related decisions and not get too overwhelmed – much like moms can get sometimes, just trust me, and hire a planner. I have worked with so many couples who live out of town, and every last one of them has had things come up that they didn’t even think of, and wouldn’t have been able to do themselves, because they were in New Jersey/California/Miami/Australia. Not only can a wedding planner help save you money, but he/she can definitely help to save your sanity!

Do your research in terms of hiring a wedding planner. If you’re able to make a visit to meet them in person, obviously that’s ideal, but if not, definitely speak to them via phone, and, if you prefer, via video chat. I’m all about e-mailing most of the time, but you just get a vibe from someone in person that you can’t get via e-mail, and video chats are the next best thing to being there in person. If a planner isn’t willing to have such a meeting, it’s definitely possible that he/she isn’t the right planner for you. You need someone who will be flexible, and is comfortable with technology, because you might need those things for the next step, finding the venue.

Guest List

Before you start searching for a venue, though, you must create your guest list. A destination wedding in the Washington, DC area doesn’t follow the same “rules” that one in, say, Curacao would. The standard rule is that between 10-20% of guests will decline your wedding invitation. For destination weddings, you can increase that number to 40%. But, as with any generalization, your results may vary. For example, does most of your family already live in the DC area, but you live elsewhere? Are your guests from overseas? The west coast? Within driving distance? Look at all of those factors to give a “guesstimate” of how many you can expect to attend. Then increase that number just a little to be safe, and that’s the size of the venue you should be looking for for your wedding.  Never book a venue that can only hold 40% less than the number you invited – that’s just asking for trouble!

Venues 

So, on to looking for that wedding venue. Think about what about a Washington DC area wedding was appealing to you. Do you love the history and the monuments? Then choose a venue either right downtown or with an awesome view. Does your state not allow gay marriage? Then you’ll be looking at DC or Maryland. Did you always want to get married on the water? We have lots of options, from the Eastern Shore to Baltimore to National Harbor and Old Town Alexandria. Think about why you’re getting married in the DC area – what’s different about it from where you live now, or where the majority of your guests will be coming from, and highlight that. Then have your planner send you a list of venues that fit those criteria, along with the size of your expected attendance.

From your venue list, narrow it down to, say, 7-8 venues, then search local sites like United With Love (List of wedding venues in the Washington DC area.) or photographers’ blogs (List of wedding photographers in the Washington DC area.) to find pictures of weddings that occurred at that venue. Yes, the venue will have pictures on their web site (I hope!), but the best way to judge the venue is to look on a wedding blogs or just search the Internet for posts and pictures about the wedding venue. Ask your planner if he/she has worked that venue, what are the benefits/drawbacks, etc. Then, again, the ideal scenario is if you can come to town and see your top 3-4 choices in person. If not, have your planner go and do a venue tour via video chat with you live. That way you can ask questions, see things that aren’t in the pretty pictures on their website. For example, I’ve been to gorgeous venues that have the worst bathrooms. I have also seen venues that are in a terrible area, and your family might not be happy about your wedding in the sketchiest part of town, no matter how pretty it is once you get there.

Your Guests + Getting Around

Keep your guests in mind when selecting a venue. If they’re all from out of town too, how are they getting there? Will they need to drive? If so, what’s the parking situation? As a general rule, if you have a large number of out of town guests, especially if they’re from smaller places, you don’t want to have to ask them to drive in the city. Sure, it’s easy for us…now. But, remember when you first moved here (if you lived here before) and how scary it was?? Traffic patterns in DC are tricky – do you really want them trying to figure out what time of day they’re allowed to get on Rock Creek Parkway? In addition, although the GPS says it’s an 11 mile trip, it could take them over an hour in Friday traffic to get from DC to Rockville? Keep all of these things in mind when choosing your venue.

Save the Dates + Website

Once you find your wedding venue, and book your date, send out your save the dates as soon as possible. If guests are traveling, especially if they’re flying, they want to book as far in advance as possible to get the best rates. Then set up a great wedding website (I’m a huge fan of Wedding Jojo and Riley and Grey, but there are many options out there!)  and put tons of information on on your website. What is the closest airport? Are there good bus or Metro lines that go there? Is it close to Union Station? (i.e. don’t tell guests to take the train if you’re getting married in Warrenton, VA– how are they going to get there?!)  Maybe even set up a part of the site where guests can do ride shares from the airports or from certain areas (Your aunt in North Carolina is driving up? Maybe she can take 29 and stop in Charlottesville to pick up your college roommate!) Include your hotel room block information (See the post on how to do a hotel room block in the Washington DC area.), so that your guests can book as quickly as possible, and talk up the area! On your website, you can talk about all of the fun things to do, especially if you’re doing something like setting up tours for guests or having a welcome reception or day after brunch. Use your wedding website to show off the area that you love!

Vendor Booking

After that’s all done, next you’ll be booking all of your vendors from afar, so, again, trust your wedding planner! You hired this person for his or her expertise – use it! Trust them when they tell you who the best caterer is for you, based on your tastes, venue and budget if you’re not able to come into town for a tasting. Yes, your planner will send you a list of photographers that they love – use it! Of course, there are tons of other talented photographers out there, but do you know how many photographers there are in this area!? The ones your planner will send you are ones he or she has worked with before, whose clients love their pictures, and who fits in your budget. If you don’t like any of the options your planner sends to you, explain what you’re looking for (whether it’s a different style of photography, a more modern cake decorator, or a more offbeat DJ etc.); it’s important to let your planner know what your style is, your likes and dislikes, so you can have the wedding you want!

This area is so amazing for so many reasons – we have every season, we have city and country, we have mountains and the bay, rivers and lakes. We’re thrilled that you’re considering a destination wedding in the Washington DC area! With the right vendor team, you can coordinate your destination wedding without ever setting foot in the city until a few days before your wedding and still have the wedding of your dreams!

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Thank you so much, Rebecca! I feel better already about those planning a wedding in the DC area from afar! For more about Blue Canary Event‘s wedding planning services in the Washington DC area, be sure to check out their website.

In the meantime, for more on how to take care of your out of town guests, you can read this post on tips for out of town bags for Washington DC weddings or get one of these cool welcome to DC stamps for your bags! You can also find loads of DC area specific wedding planning advice and browse for the best DC area wedding vendors.

Intimate Rockville Courthouse Wedding: Katy + Julien

posted by Ally Lopez

When it comes to finding the perfect wedding inspiration for some gorgeous courthouse marrying, look no further than this beautiful day captured by Amber Wilkie Photography. Katy and Julien had an intimate courthouse wedding ceremony in Rockville and later headed to the C&O canal for romantic portraits before sharing a meal with their nearest and dearest at Restaurant Nora. Can you believe that the peony bridal bouquet was made by the bride herself!?

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From Katy: After having lived in Paris for three years, Julien and I valued the idea of simple elegance for our wedding, not to mention very good food. We really wanted the wedding to have few moving parts because I was just finishing my first year of grad school, and we had little time or budget with which to plan. Our “vision” for the day was not at all specific, though I knew I wanted some nice crisp spring colors, May being one of my favorite months. Those nice colors came through in the bouquet and Julien’s attire, as well as our beautiful guests.

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While everyone was waiting in the courthouse lobby for the ceremony to begin, we handed out little French and American flags. It was a funny little personal touch to ease last minute nervousness!

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I decided pretty early on that I’d make my own bouquet, and I chose a flower that was full and elegant enough to stand alone– peonies. Simple bouquets with just one, two or three different kinds of flowers are easy enough to assemble yourself, and if you have a good flower wholesaler nearby, you can save a lot.

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

For couples interested in a very small and low stress wedding, just pick a few important aspects to focus on, don’t worry too much about the rest. The DC area has a rich variety of venues for all different budgets. Choosing an elegant venue reduces the need to decorate yourself. That said, don’t go overboard on “doing it yourself.” Your sanity also has a price!

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

Ceremony Venue: Rockville Courthouse
Reception Venue: Restaurant Nora
Photography: Amber Wilkie Photography
Floral Design: DIY with Potomac Floral Wholesale
Bridal Attire: alice + olivia
Headpiece and Jewelry: BHLDN
Groom Attire: United Colors of Benetton
Favors: Kaldi’s Coffee Bar

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

Photo Credit: Amber Wilkie Photography

Elegant Summer Wedding Reception in Virginia: Tricia + David

posted by Ally Lopez

Welcome back to the second half of Tricia and David’s summer wedding in Virginia. After their romantic ceremony (Don’t miss their outdoor wedding ceremony!), guests headed to one of my all-time favorite escort card displays that I’ve seen that pairs the lovely calligraphy by Meant to Be Calligraphy and stunning floral design by Sidra Forman. See it all captured by k. thompson photography

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From Tricia: David and I waited for years to find the right person to marry, so we wanted this to be a wonderful celebration with friends and family who have supported us over the years.

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Thank you so much Tricia and David for sharing your wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Venue: River Farm
Officiant: Ann Herlin
Photography: k. thompson photography
Videography: Blue Sky Films
Wedding Planner: Karson Butler Events
Stationery: Crane & Co.
Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy
Floral Design: Sidra Forman
Bridal Attire: Monique Lhuillier from Carine’s Bridal Atelier
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Makeup: Karma Beauty Lounge
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Alfred Sung
Groom Attire: Brooks Brothers
Catering: Main Event Caterers
Ceremony Music: Sage String Quartet
Reception Music: Another Level
Rentals: DC Rental

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

Photo Credit: k. thompson photography

Elegant Summer Wedding Ceremony in Virginia: Tricia + David

posted by Ally Lopez

If you ever wonder what the recipe for a perfect summer wedding is, I would have to say everything about Tricia and David’s wedding on a Virginia farm! A beautiful outdoor venue, a romantic floral design, a pinch of paper pretties and a cute couple—what more could you ask for? Tricia and David’s summer affair, captured by k. thompson photography, is filled with some stunning details from start to finish! One of my favorite photos has to be their wedding portrait with their adorable pup. I’m pretty sure he’s smiling, too!

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From Tricia: We were thrilled to get married on my maternal grandparent’s wedding anniversary. They would have been married 74 years! Our first date was at the Mount Vernon Jazz and Wine Festival and we felt like getting married with the Potomac River in the background was the perfect reminder of how it all started.

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I wore my mother’s veil which was really special. My dad gave my mom a pin on their wedding day and my mom let me borrow it and pinned it to the back of my dress.

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Thank you so much Tricia and David 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: River Farm
Officiant: Ann Herlin
Photography: k. thompson photography
Videography: Blue Sky Films
Wedding Planner: Karson Butler Events
Stationery: Crane & Co.
Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy
Floral Design: Sidra Forman
Bridal Attire: Monique Lhuillier from Carine’s Bridal Atelier
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Makeup: Karma Beauty Lounge
Bridesmaids’ Attire: Alfred Sung
Groom Attire: Brooks Brothers
Catering: Main Event Caterers
Ceremony Music: Sage String Quartet
Reception Music: Another Level
Rentals: DC Rental

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

Photo Credit: k. thompson photography

Modern-Meets-Vintage Wedding Reception in Washington DC: Jessica + Ian

posted by Ally Lopez

When modern-meets-vintage in Washington DC, this stunning wedding reception is what happens! Jessica and Ian were inspired by their love of all things vintage and paired it with the modern décor of Hotel Monaco. It resulted in a drop-dead gorgeous Washington DC wedding reception panned to perfection by Rex & Regina.  (Before you go on, make sure you check out their wedding ceremony right here!) Sweet Tea Photography was on hand to capture every sweet detail, including the chocolate wedding favors Jessica’s 4-year-old nephew made! And, just in case you can’t get enough of this cute couple, you can see their DC wedding engagement session that we featured not too long ago!

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From Jessica: The vision we had in mind was “vintage meets modern.” This is one thing that drew us to the Hotel Monaco where the architectural detail of this historical landmark fits the bill for vintage, yet the bright and vibrant colors and patterns of the décor add a modern twist.

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The Hotel Monaco, in addition to being gorgeous and perfect for our vintage-modern theme, is just a short walk from the church and also a short walk from the Mall, museums, the Metro, and so many fun restaurants and bars. The Penn Quarter area turned out to be a perfect location and our guests just raved about how convenient it was.

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We tried to incorporate Washington DC into our wedding in various ways. Our invitations featured the DC skyline as did our guest welcome bags. Our table “numbers” were actually vintage-style drawings of famous DC landmarks including the monuments and memorials framed in elegant gold frames.

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My 4 year old nephew – a budding chef – made chocolate hearts, and one of my bridesmaids and I made mini wedding cakes so guests could have a sweet snack as they left the party.

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

If it’s within your budget, hire a wedding planner! Teresa Lee with Rex & Regina was just so magnificent throughout our entire planning process. I can’t imagine how we could have done it all (and still enjoyed the process), while both working full time, and keeping within our budget, without her. She found amazing vendors for us that fit our vision and saved us money. And on the wedding day itself, she executed our vision flawlessly and helped us have a truly magical day!

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

Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
Reception Venue: Hotel Monaco
Photography: Sweet Tea Photography
Videography: James Bonato Video
Wedding Planner: Rex & Regina
Stationery: Papercake Designs
Floral Design: Growing Wild
Bridal Attire: Matthew Christopher Couture from Love Couture Bridal
Hair: KC Felton Bridal Hair
Makeup: Jan Scott
Catering: Poste Moderne Brasserie
Cake: Fluffy Thoughts
DJ: MyDeejay
Rentals and Linens: DC Rentals

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

Photo Credit: Sweet Tea Photography

Modern-Meets-Vintage Wedding Ceremony in Washington DC: Jessica + Ian

posted by Ally Lopez

Listen up all you vintage-loving brides and grooms-to-be, because today’s Washington DC wedding is chock full of elegant wedding ideas. So whether your style preference falls between modern and vintage, one thing is for certain: it’s one gorgeous day all captured by Sweet Tea Photography. Later this morning we’ll be sharing Jessica and Ian’s green and ivory wedding reception with DC-inspired details. But first, make sure to scroll to the bottom and check out their wedding video trailer from James Bonato Video.

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From Jessica: For colors: Kelly green has always been a favorite color of mine! In part because of my Irish heritage, but also because I love its vibrancy; it always puts me in a great mood. I thought it would be perfect for an early spring wedding. Deep purples and gold provided nice accents. 

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The vintage theme was inspired by my love of lace, the romance and elegance of it, and the modern flair allowed me to incorporate the vibrant colors.

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Washington DC Wedding Ceremony Green Bridesmaids Dresses (2) Washington DC Wedding Ceremony

Washington DC Wedding Ceremony St. Patrick's Catholic Church Washington DC Wedding Ceremony Flower Girl Headband

I loved all the personal details that we incorporated into the wedding. My mother and her best friend (a dear friend of our entire family) used lace flowers from my mother’s wedding dress to accentuate many items including: the flower girl’s dress and basket, my shoes, bows to adorn the ceremony pews, handkerchiefs for the me, my mother, and my mother-in-law. Also, my father, an ordained Catholic Deacon, both walked me down the aisle and officiated our marriage ceremony! It was incredibly special to have my dad playing such an important role in the most special moment of my life. It was a memory I will always cherish. 

Washington DC Wedding Catholic Ceremony

Washington DC Wedding Ceremony Sweet Tea Photography

And, here is their wedding video trailer from James Bonato Video

Thank you so much Jessica and Ian 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:

Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
Reception Venue: Hotel Monaco
Photography: Sweet Tea Photography
Videography: James Bonato Video
Wedding Planner: Rex & Regina
Stationery: Papercake Designs
Floral Design: Growing Wild
Bridal Attire: Matthew Christopher Couture from Love Couture Bridal
Hair: KC Felton Bridal Hair
Makeup: Jan Scott
Catering: Poste Moderne Brasserie
Cake: Fluffy Thoughts
DJ: MyDeejay
Rentals and Linens: DC Rentals

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

Photo Credit: Sweet Tea Photography