We have a fun little series starting today! Its all about wedding welcome bags and creative ways to welcome your guests to your wedding without breaking the bank. More specifically, we issued a wedding welcome bag challenge and asked for submissions from the best wedding pros in the Washington DC area. We asked them to share their ideas and creative options for wedding welcome bags. The challenge? Bag and contents had to total under $15 – can it be done? Once we got all of the welcome bag submissions and, of course, tasted everything (just to make sure it was delicious!), our friend Amber Wilkie took a whole bunch of pretty pictures for us! Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring the welcome boxes from the challenge. We’ll include the contents and the details so that you can hopefully get some ideas for your wedding in the Washington DC area!
First up in our wedding welcome bag challenge is a sweet and salty package sent in to us from Gingerwood Creative. This rustic inspired basket was just perfect and hit all the high notes – hydration, healthy snacks and breakfast – while still being beautiful. Homemade popcorn is one of the easiest and most affordable snacks and most wedding guests love healthy options like oranges. Ginger used cardboard tags to label everything in the basket and burlap ribbon to tie it all together. She also included a drink straw and a napkin, which are cute and functional! The best part of this welcome basket is your guests may keep the basket after their wedding – its a welcome box and a favor in one!
Envelope + card stock for a welcome letter and weekend itinerary for guests
How awesome is this wedding welcome basket?! This basket – and the others that we’ll be featuring as a part of the welcome bag challenge – brings up a great point about welcome bags: be sure to include a little note to your guests as well as an itinerary. A welcome bag is a great way to connect with your guest and get them where they need to be on time! A big, big thank you to Ginger for sharing this super cute idea for a wedding welcome bag! If you are looking for a local wedding planner in the Washington DC area, be sure to check out Gingerwood Creative.
Most married couples will tell you that your wedding will be over in a blink of an eye – time flies when you’re having fun, am I right? (Sorry for being corny!) However, the last dance at your wedding reception doesn’t have to signal the end of your fun! Consider planning an “after party” to keep the celebration going in an informal way! An after party is your chance to let your hair down a little bit and have even more fun with your friends and family who came all this way to celebrate your wedding. After parties can be everything from an continuation of your wedding reception, maybe in another room of your wedding location, or all your guests meeting up at a local bar. For wedding after party advice, we turned to some of the top Washington DC area wedding planners to ask what their best advice is for planning a post-reception blowout. Here’s what they had to say…
“Have one! Maximize your time with your guests and you can really relax by then. I suggest having a place in mind ahead of time so there is not too much going back and forth at the end of the night. This could be one of the tasks that you delegate to a friend.” – Vicky, owner of Event Accomplished
“The after party has become a popular option for two reasons: 1) it keeps the party going for a more intimate crowd, and 2) the couple has the opportunity to create an additional unique atmosphere and environment for their guests.” — Elizabeth at Elizabeth Duncan Events
“I do think that it important to note that your wedding day starts at 8 am and it’s a long, long day. Even our biggest partying clients are exhausted at 11 pm when its all done. I usually suggest to leave the after party to something more organic, so the couple doesn’t feel obliged to attend if they are pooped!” — Laura of Events in the City
How to Spread the Word
“If the after party is informal, you can rely on your bridesmaids and groomsmen to spread the word and ask guests to meet up at a bar close to the venue or hotel where everyone is staying. For a more formal after party, you can include a separate card in the wedding invitation. You can also leave a cute note in the wedding welcome bag and/or include the after party details in the welcome bag itinerary. It’s also often simplest to ask the emcee to make an announcement after the band’s last song that the after party is starting downstairs, or wherever it is. I really like this option if everyone is invited to an after party that’s at the same venue where the reception is taking place.” – Laura at LIG Events
“If you choose to have a separate after party, either invite all of the guests or make it clear on the invitation that the after party is a private affair for only certain people. You want to avoid putting your wedding guests in the awkward situation of being asked about an after party that they are unaware of during your reception. You can include the after party invitation in the wedding invitation, send a separate paper invitation, or simply feature the information on your wedding website.” — Stephanie at Pretty Entertaining
Who Pays for an After Party
“Wedding after parties are a fairly new phenomenon, so there really aren’t any traditions about who pays for what. Sometimes the couple chooses to pay for the after party; sometimes the parents host or at least chip in. Since the after party is optional for guests and is more casual, it’s even okay to let your guests to pay for their own drinks.” — Stephanie at Pretty Entertaining
“I would say I see the couple themselves pays or guarantees the minimum for this while allowing guests to pay for drinks themselves. You could always provide everyone with a welcome drink paid for ahead of time and then have it be a la carte from there.” — Laura of Events in the City
“After parties can be great, but often an expense that is hard to manage on top of the wedding budget. If the couple wants to have one last surprise, some late night food is very much appreciated.” — Aimee and Cindy at A. Dominick Events
Where to Host the After Party
“A wedding after party is a great way to continue celebrating with the ones that care about you the most! The easiest thing to do is go back to the hotel where the couples is staying and hang out at the hotel bar. – this way you can also slip upstairs for bed when the busy day catches up to you! Hotel bars will usually stay open later if they know ahead of time that wedding guests will be coming after the reception so be sure to give them a heads up.” – Jennifer of Elegantly Chic Events
“I love doing after parties in the same venue because you don’t lose the energy — a shuttle to another location can kill that. My preferred method is having the band end on an awesome song and then have the doors open to a separate room where a great DJ is spinning and waiters are waiting on either side of the door with a great cocktail or snack. It creates a great dramatic surprise to move guests into the last phase of the night!” – Laura at LIG Events
Other Party Planning Tips
“Arrange for transportation for make sure that taxis are available after the after party. You want to ensure your guests get home safely after a night of partying!” — Kay at Howerton + Wooten Events
“If you feel that it will be a very popular local hangout, contact management to ensure your party will be able to bypass the wait at the door and let them know how many people you are expecting. The management will appreciate the heads up, and will often reserve space for you or comp drinks for the newlyweds!” — Tabitha at Roberts and Co. Events
No matter what you choose, give some thought to what you and your guests are going to do after your wedding reception is over. Most likely, your guests will be looking at you to continue the party! Super thanks to the amazing DC area wedding planners who helped us out on this post with lots of advice. Be sure to check out their websites if you are looking for some help with your after party or a wedding planner in the DC area.
Looking for more wedding events planning advice? Be sure to read:
Welcome back to the second half of Vanessa and Myles’ elegant wedding in Washington DC. If you didn’t already know, we love locally inspired wedding details ’round here, so when I saw that this super cute duo was inspired by the city for their “monumental affair” themed wedding, I got super excited! (Be sure to go back and check out their wedding ceremony in DC right here too – its so super sweet!) From their table numbers named after their favorite local spots to landmark chocolate favors, there’s lots of DC love tucked in throughout their cocktail-style reception! Don’t miss all the fun and gorgeousness captured by Procopio Photography right here…
From Vanessa: We had a number of conversations about what truly united us as one and what theme could capture our love. That’s when we decided on “A Monumental Affair.” Washington DC was one space that truly connected us! DC was where we were able to say goodbye to our long distance relationship and truly begin our lives together.
We skipped the plated sit down dinner with assigned seats and opted for more of a casual vibe. We really wanted people to be able to mingle and have a good time freely. Wechose to have a cocktail style wedding with heavy hors d’oeuvres.
We looked for ways to incorporate not just DC, but “our DC” experience into every element of our wedding. The tables were named after places that we’d visited together or were important to us in the DC area (R Street, Shaw/Howard, Jefferson Memorial, Yale West, Alfred Street Baptist Church, and more!). We also used chocolate medallions imprinted with DC monuments as favors.
Vanessa’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:
Sticking to a budget is great, but don’t be afraid to bend a little to have what you really want. We learned that eventually, but it would’ve saved us money, time, and unnecessary stress if we had kept that in mind from the beginning.
Thank you so much Vanessa and Myles for sharing your wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
We are kicking off your Tuesday morning in one seriously amazing way – you can thank us later! Vanessa and Myles’ wedding in Washington DC features a regal color palette of blue and gold inspired by their love of Washington DC. Before you swoon over the DC-inspired details from their reception, let’s soak in all the pretty from their classic wedding ceremony captured by Procopio Photography, shall we?! My absolute favorite part of their big day was the cutest entrance by a little special someone in a dressed up wagon – their baby! I can’t handle the cuteness!
From Vanessa: The colors of our wedding were navy and gold with hints of cream. We really loved how elegant all three colors looked together!
We also chose to have our daughter (who was 10 months old at the time!) be a part of our day. My bridesmaid, Sara, hand decorated a beautiful wagon with burlap, lace, cream satin, and bells. She completed it with a hand-painted sign that said “Here comes my mommy!”
Thank you so much Vanessa and Myles for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Be sure to come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Vibrant, bright and infused with tons of sweet, personal details, Nan and Michael’s elegant wedding in Washington DC is the definition of “regal.” From the Malaysian menu scroll cards to the red and gold silk lanterns, there was no detail left behind for this multicultural affair. And, lucky for us, Studio Saldana was on-hand to capture every beautiful moment from their regal celebration of love! My favorite part? The bride changing into a red wedding dress for the reception – love, love, love! Be sure to go back and check out their chinoiserie themed wedding ceremony in DC.
From Nan: Our reception was in reds and golds with a Chinese banquet theme. Every little aspect of the wedding from the custom invitations to the food to the decorations to every detail was thought out and planned to include our special mementos and our theme.
We had custom made invitations (silk brocade from China and Washi paper from Japan), custom made silk and wooden lanterns, custom artist made French book from the 1800s for the guestbook, custom made scroll menus from Malaysia (LuvInspiration), among so many others.
Nan’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:
Plan, plan, plan! Plan as much as you can if you want it to be special in a certain way. I didn’t use a wedding planner because I wanted everything to be unique to us. Incorporate as many special and meaningful things as possible, and DO splurge on a videographer. That is my one regret on not getting. We ended up with no video footage of the wedding!
Thank you so much Nan and Michael for sharing your wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
We are kicking off another week of Washington DC area wedding inspiration with a regal fête that will have you smiling all morning! Nan and Michael’s multicultural wedding in Washington DC photographed by Studio Saldana is serious perfection. Their wedding portraits at Anderson House are reminiscent of the royal wedding photos, don’t you think!? Come back later this afternoon to see their Chinese-inspired banquet wedding reception!
From Nan: Our wedding was incredibly unique, regal, and cultural. We have always had a great love for DC, and we wanted to make the wedding historical in a sense. We went with our vendor site as a museum that had both French and Asian background influences to better suit our chinoiserie theme.
Thank you so much Nan and Michael for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Be sure to come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Good morning DC area weddings lovers, and happy spring! I am just loving this adorable autumn wedding engagement session by Renard Photography that almost makes me wish for pumpkins and falling leaves again (almost!). Right now I’ll stick with the spring sunshine, but I’ll be dreaming of Anika and Luke’s cozy session all day long. Anika and Luke met the summer after they graduated from high school while working at Starbucks. After dating for five years, Luke proposed one early morning while they were walking their Boxer puppy Messi. Luke mentioned he bought Messi a new dog tag and told Anika to read it. It said: “Mommy, will you marry Daddy?” So adorable!
I am just absolutely in love with this Washington DC marriage proposal! There’s just something about being able to watch it unfold with these gorgeous photos from Kelci Alane Photography that make it so incredibly romantic. Kevin e-mailed Kelci about a month before his proposal in need of a photographer. They met at the Lincoln Memorial to go over logistics. Thankfully, the weather held up and Kelci was able to blend in with the crowd—whew! Everything went perfectly, and as you can see my loves, Kate (great name by the way!) was so surprised. Love it!
It is finally spring here in the Washington DC area and we are celebrating with flowers! Oh yes, we have another fun DIY wedding project coming your way, lovelies! Once again, our friends at Petal’s Edge, wedding florists based in Alexandria, Virginia hosted a fun and informative workshop on creating a fresh flower crown. (Don’t miss this tutorial on how to make a terrarium!) I love the idea of making these crowns for your flower girl, bridesmaids or even yourself. The floral crowns are easier to make than you think – pinky promise! Deb Lindsey Photography was behind the lens to capture all of the fun! We attended a workshop with Petal’s Edge, but you can use our tutorial below to create this darling flower crown yourself…
Thin gauge wire (24-28 gauge works best!)
½” wide corsage tape
A quick note for choosing flowers for your crown:
Choose flowers for their heartiness and avoid more delicate flowers that do poorly out of water. Remember, a crown will more than likely be spending a lot of time on a person, which means the flowers will not only have to contend with no water supply, but also with body heat. Some good flower choices may be things like spray roses, or full roses without bulky heads, ranunculus, delphinium, orchids, or foliage, like seeded eucalyptus or lemon leaf. Ask your local florist or wholesaler if you’re still stumped.
To begin wiring, take a single bloom and a piece of wire in hand. Insert and center the wire (we used 12” pieces of wire!) into the calyx, or the thickest, sturdiest part of the flower head where the bloom meets the stem. Fold the wire in half. (Here you will begin to see that you are creating an artificial stem for the flower head.) Next, take your wired flower in-hand and, holding the end of your tape roll against the calyx, begin to wrap your wire “stem” from the calyx to the ends of the wire. Activate the stickiness of the tape by holding and twisting at the calyx while simultaneously pulling and stretching the tape. Repeat this step for all of your flower heads. Lastly, create a loop (two loops if you’re doing a ribbon finish!) by wrapping a few pieces of wire together with tape, folding it over, and taping the ends of the wire together.
Once you have your flower heads with their artificial “stems,” as well as your wire loop, you’re ready to begin assembling your crown. Beginning with your loop, take your first wired flower and attach it to the loop by positioning it just below the loop and twisting the ends together. It should look as though your flower head has a halo. Grab a few more stems and twist them to the loop just below the first flower. Repeat this step, creating a one-sided garland of flowers until you have reached the desired length of your crown, paying attention the pattern and composition of your flowers.
To finish, once you’ve reached a length equal to the circumference of the wearer’s head, simply take the newly finished end and insert it into the loop that you used to begin the crown and secure the end by twisting it down on to the looped end. If you are doing a band, you may want to focus more on creating a vignette of flowers as opposed to a pattern. To finish your band, simply twist your end into a loop and tape to secure. Tie ribbon long enough to accommodate desired circumference through the loops on each end to create an adjustable ribbon closure to your crown or band.
Thank you so much to the team at Petal’s Edge for helping us to make this floral crown and sharing their expertise! You can also see this tutorial on how to create your own terrarium – perfect for a wedding centerpiece! Be on the lookout for upcoming classes and/or check Petal’s Edge out for flowers and floral design for your wedding. Also, special thank you to our friend, Deb Lindsey Photography, for the gorgeous photos.