Hello DC area! We might have had snow earlier this week, but we are all thinking spring around here! Check out this gorgeous engagement session showcasing the best of what the city as to offer. With the monuments as their backdrop, Annie and Tony had a simply breathtaking engagement photo session with Marcella Treybig photography. Flowers and trees were in full bloom while they posed at the Jefferson Memorial and in the surrounding gardens around the monuments.
You know I love all things in Washington DC area, but lately, I’ve been inspired and in love with all things British, so for the next recipe in or DIY wedding dessert series, I took a traditional English dessert and made it bridal shower friendly (translation: miniature). Our girl, Hannah Colclazier Photography, was once again on hand to capture these sweet little treats. These individual Victoria sponge cakes or naked cupcakes, are super simple to make but still look like you picked them up from the bakery. And if you’re in the mood for more frosting-free desserts, check out our recipe for a bridal shower naked cake. Alright poppet, let’s get started!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12-cup muffin pan
Non-stick spray or vegetable shortening
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare cupcake pan cavities with a non-stick vegetable pan spray or coat with vegetable shortening and flour to ensure perfect release without sticking.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl until it pale and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract. Using a large spoon, gently fold in flour mixture with butter, sugar and eggs. Beat in milk until the batter reaches a soft, dripping consistency.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then pop them out to cool completely on a wire rack.
These cupcakes can be served as is, just dusted with confectioners’ sugar. For a naked cupcakes, or miniature Victoria sponge cakes, cut the cake in half horizontally and sandwich the layers together with jam, lemon curd, or whipped cream and fruit. Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar.
Are you ready for the most adorable set of post-wedding photos, DC area wedding lovers?! Married in in the fall, Ashton and Bryan had a newlywed photo session around Capitol Hill and the headed over to the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Georgetown with Vness Photography. The couple incorporated their pets into the session adding to the cuteness factor! There is always a reason to have your pictures taken, am I right?
Did you know that you can have an artist come to your wedding and live paint a portrait for you right then and there!? And, as a special bonus today, we are giving away a live wedding painting experience for one lucky couple in the Washington DC area!
As the action of your wedding day unfolds, an artist will capture a scene on a canvas. Then when your wedding is over, you get one awesome wedding day memory to cherish forever! Now that you know about live painting, let me introduce you to an incredible live wedding and event artist available in the Washington DC area, Jamie Peterson at The Painted Lens.
Jamie is a live event painter based in Washington, DC. She has been painting for over a decade, mostly with oil paint on canvas. She is especially known for her incredibly detailed portraits!
I’ve been to events where a live artist is painting and it is really neat. You can talk to the artist and ask questions. You can see their work unfold throughout the night. A live artist is a two-for-one! It is entertainment for your guests – a conversation starter unlike any other! – and you get the finished project.
We are giving one lucky Washington DC area couple a live wedding painting from Jamie! Say, what!? Yes, Jamie will come to your wedding and paint a portrait for you to have and to hold!
To win, all you have to do is leave a comment below with your wedding month and reception location. This live portrait session is only open to weddings taking place in the Washington DC area in 2014. Hurry, hurry, you have until Friday at 5pm to enter to win.
What are you waiting for!? Enter the live wedding paining contest by leaving a comment below! You can find out more about The Painted Lens and Jamie’s live wedding event painting on her website and blog.
A local wedding planner in the Washington DC area, Tiffany at Simply Breathe Events, wrote to me with a horror story about how the wedding cake baker did not show at one of her recent weddings! She had to come up with a solution on the fly. Total yikes! Things might not go perfectly on your wedding day and even with all the planning, there will be bumps. But, how do you handle it? What do you do if one of your wedding vendors is late, or just doesn’t show up? What should you do if what your wedding vendor brings isn’t what you thought they were bringing? (I’m having flashbacks to a wedding when I was a bridesmaid the florist delivered a white bouquet of roses for the bride and red rose bouquets for the bridesmaids, and it was supposed to be the opposite!)
In just about every Washington DC area wedding that we feature, the couple advises hiring a wedding planner, or at the very least putting a very trusted friend in charge. Hopefully if you have someone on your side, you aren’t dealing with drama on your wedding day. (I am remembering that on my wedding day the cocktail reception musicians got into a car accident and my wedding planner solved the problem, found an acoustic guitarist somewhere and I never knew!)
I went to some of the best wedding planners in the Washington DC area and asked their advice. What should you do if your wedding vendor doesn’t deliver what you expected? Or worse, what should you do if a wedding vendor is late or doesn’t show up?
Here is the story from Tiffany :: ”As a wedding planner, it’s our job to ensure that every goal is met, and every detail is in place. While we work very hard to ensure everything is perfect for our client’s special day, life happens and you have to be able to think quickly on your toes. Even though we keep in close contact with your vendors right up to the day of your wedding, we ultimately can’t control what happens on their end. I had an incident once where the baker completely forgot about the wedding! I’m in charge of arranging what time all of your vendors are set to arrive, and two hours before the start of my client’s wedding I noticed the DJ was setting up his equipment and the florist was making her last minute adjustments, but no sign of the baker at all. I quickly made a phone call to locate their whereabouts only find they had completely forgotten about the wedding and weren’t going to make it on time! It was now my job to remedy the situation. I called as many bakers as I could, even grocery stores to see if anyone could get me a cake with such short notice. With no luck, I came up with the idea to send my assistant to Whole Foods to purchase already made specialty cakes to display in place of the missing wedding cake. After all of the chaos, I sent my groom down the aisle and in comes the baker at the last minute with a cake from his bakery. It wasn’t what they ordered, but it was a wedding cake. I ended up letting my bride and groom know briefly what had happened later on in the evening. They were actually very understanding and knew I had it all taken care of. Needless to say my couple received their wedding cake half off of the purchase price.” — Tiffany at Simply Breathe Events
And, here are few tips from a few more local wedding planners on how to handle a wedding situation like this:
“If a vendor doesn’t show up, hit social media. Word travels fast, and if you ask readers to repost, you’ll hopefully find someone that can swoop in at the last minute and save the day. Or, for the vendors that you didn’t hire for your wedding day, but still liked and respected, keep them in your back pocket and their contacts handy. You could reach out to them in a pinch and see if they can help. Keep a positive attitude. Sure, so and so didn’t show up or things didn’t work out as expected, but the most important thing is that you married the live of your life and get to be with friends and family, and at the end if the day.” — Courtney, owner of A Sweet Soiree Events
“First, as a wedding planner, we always call and email each and every vendor the week of the wedding to check and triple check details of the day with each vendor and get the cell phone number of each vendor that is set to deliver each particular service or product. You, as a bride or a groom, have a very powerful tool…the Internet. So, if a vendor does not show up, put it on social media and then make sure you follow up with them after the wedding and give them a bad review and then be sure to get all of your money back. The day of the wedding, call the vendors that you did not hire and see if they can help or give you advice on who can help you at the last minute. All wedding vendors know at least one other vendor in the industry of each type of vendor or know someone else that does. Most likely they know a wedding planner that they can call too! In the end, you will get married and it will be a beautiful day either way, don’t let it destroy the reason for the day.” — Katie, owner of Elegance & Simplicity
“When planning through the stages leading up to your wedding, make sure to do extensive research on each vendor to ensure they have a great track record and have never missed a wedding. Also verbally confirm each vendor the week of the wedding. Many vendors work on a week-to-week schedule during the busy season and are not always looking far down the road to see what is coming up. You want to have a verbal understanding with each one as you lead into the wedding week. If you do not have a planner make sure to designate one person that you trust, who does not excessively drink, and will be able to make sure that all vendors are in place and ready. Try to not delegate this responsibility to too many people as that creates ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ and can interfere with your vendors actually doing the best possible job. If you do have a planner, make sure to discuss your fears with them so that they are aware of your concerns and can let you know throughout the day that everything is going well and on track. Our best tip is to also trust the vendors you have vetted and hired. If you hire quality professionals, they will be there shining on your wedding day and your fears will have been eliminated. A great coordinator can solve a missing vendor problem using personal contacts or even getting a new cake from the grocery store to replace a missing wedding cake.” — Tabitha, owner of Roberts & Co. Events
“Assuming you have decided not to hire a planner, I would still designate someone you trust to be the go-to person to handle any unexpected situation. Make sure your vendor team is alerted if there are major events near your venues that might disrupt traffic or parking. Obtain all of their cell phone numbers and provide your team with the cell phone number of the person you’ve designated for handling these emergency type situations. If you are able, plan for some buffer time for the team’s arrival time. If there are problems, first of all, don’t panic. Don’t assume the worst. Take a deep breathe. Let your designee handle the situation. Say, you expect a vendor to show up at 1pm and they are not there, I would normally give them a 15-minute window. If they are still not there, I would call them. If you cannot get a hold of anyone, let the entire vendor team know and see if anyone can help. Let’s say your florist doesn’t show up, perhaps someone can run to the closest grocery store and pick up something. Perhaps your caterer or venue can use some candles as centerpieces. If your photographer doesn’t show up and nobody can locate a substitute, invite your guests to all whip our their phones and start taking photos. There is a solution out there. It just might not be the one you had planned. Just remember that this wedding is about marrying the one you love and the rest is gravy on top.” — Vicky, owner of Event Accomplished
“First things first, the couple and the attendants should have a very detailed timeline, which includes email addresses and – this part is very important – cell phone numbers for every vendor. A week before the wedding, every single vendor should be contacted, and their arrival time verified. At this time, the bride or groom, whoever is calling, should confirm the cell phone number of the person who will be there the day of the wedding. In other words, for your, florist for example, the studio number doesn’t matter. What you need is the name and cell number of the person who will be delivering the flowers that day. The same goes for cake delivery, DJ company, transportation etc. If the worst happens and your vendor hasn’t shown up the day of the wedding, this is where friends and family come in. People love to help, and, even more, love to think they have saved the day. So, let them! Ultimately, all that matters is that you have the marriage license, an officiant, and the two of you — everything else is just extra!” — Rebecca, planner at Blue Canary Events
“With regards to a vendor just not showing up, the most important thing to do is keep a level head, and work with the vendors who did show up to come up with a reasonable solution. If the entertainment is MIA, maybe the venue has an in house system you can plug an iPod into. Or, maybe another vendor can call in a replacement for you – we all have wide networks of friends in this industry. If the officiant is no where to be found, delay as long as you can – move the cocktail hour to be before the ceremony, if possible. If you have your ceremony script handy, recruit someone else to perform it and work out the legal issues later. If your cake is late, just push back your cake cutting until you can solve the problem. If something shows up and it is not what you expected, again, keep calm and try to carry on. If it is something like you got the wrong cake and the deliveries must have gotten mixed up, recruit a responsible friend to call the bakery and explain the situation. If the caterer is serving red lentils instead of black lentils, there is probably not a lot you can do about it; their contract probably stipulates that they can make reasonable substitutions based on market availability and product quality. If it is something like the wrong color flowers or linens, there is not a lot you can do about it now. Do the best you can to have a positive attitude – you’ll still be getting married, even if the napkins are cobalt and not navy, and your mood, good or bad, will rub off on every single one of your guests (and your new spouse) so try your best to not get bogged down in the little things.” — Janice, owner of Bellwether Events
“If the services delivered were not what you expected, be sure to ask questions immediately. I have been around brides that might not remember what they ordered, because of all the zillions of details that are involved in a wedding, or they are just shy. If something is off kilter or just does not feel right, say something immediately, as time is of the essence. Depending on what the item is, the vendor might be able to remedy the situation. Saying something an hour later or after the wedding is over with is just too late. It is always best to keep a schedule that has plenty of cushion time. Do what wedding planners do: confirm and re-confirm with each wedding vendor several times the week of the wedding to go over details that you are nervous about. Send an itinerary to every vendor the Monday prior to the wedding and then follow up with with a phone call to reconfirm the details with them the Wednesday or Thursday prior to the event as well. A bit of preventative maintenance with your vendors ahead of time is the best medicine to this horrific circumstance.” — Katie, owner of Elegance & Simplicity
“Make sure your contract covers what would happen if the vendor fails to perform. If you are dissatisfied with the service or products delivered, you should express that to your vendors and give them a chance to provide an explanation. Something might have happened outside of their control that you were not aware of. Give them a chance to rectify the situation. At the end of the day, we all want our clients to be happy. If the vendor cares about his or her reputation, they will make it right. Most of the time, the dispute can come to an amicable resolution. If it cannot be solved to your satisfaction, and the vendor is clearly in breach of contract, you can take them to court. If you think you need to go there, I would suggest consulting an attorney.” – Vicky, owner of Event Accomplished
Thank you so much to all of the DC area wedding planners who helped out with this and gave such great advice! You always know what to do and how to solve wedding-day problems! Be sure to visit the websites of the lovely wedding planners who helped out with this post – they simply are the best at what they do!
Are you back for more of Jessica and Michael’s Maryland barn wedding goodness? (But make sure to check out their outdoor barn wedding ceremony first!) When rustic and laid-back come together, you just know it’s going to be a gorgeous wedding day, folks. Especially when that wedding happens to be chock-full of eco-conscious details and bright sunflower blooms (Jessica’s favorite flower!) and features a super cute duo. It’s nature-meets-vintage, all captured by Douglas Pettway Photography.
From Jessica: We tried so hard to make sure that the wedding reflected us—a bit quirky, but honest. We didn’t add touches that didn’t speak to us in some way or speak to the people we are and want to be.Every detail was put in place with a thought of what it said about us, as a couple and as individuals. So, together, there was a lot of farm theme, miniature lamps and old railroad lanterns. But for Mike there were bees (he is learning the art of beekeeping), deer antlers, Flying Dog, and lots of John Deere. For me there were sunflowers, my grandmother’s typewriter, cider, and lavender buds mixed in the barley.
Equally important to us was that we didn’t have unwanted waste at the wedding. If it had been an option, we would have gotten compostable plates and silverware, but we weren’t perfect. Rather than favors that would be thrown away, we got seed packets for people to plant—the leftover monogrammed bags that held them will be going into a craft project.
Many of our centerpieces were things we have collected or crafted around our house. The wood slabs were cut when my husband was splitting wood, and they’ve since gone into a bonfire. Every little detail was thought out as to what we could do with it when the wedding was over—if the answer was nothing, we simply didn’t buy it. Even the pumpkins we used for decorations were later turned into pies, soups, and homemade ravioli. The barley used to fill jars and as decoration around the tables has been fed to our animals in various forms. The mason jars used for drinks will be used for canning.
We also wanted to support local as much as we could, especially on our beer (Flying Dog) and cider choices (Distillery Lane Ciderworks).
Jessica’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:
My advice is to have a wedding planner! After seeing a friend get married shortly after us, I thought of so many more things that we would have been able to do on our day if I hadn’t been running so much myself. It would have been well worth a little bit more money to have someone help to run things day of the wedding.
Thank you so much Jessica and Michael for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
I may not be the most outdoorsy girl—OK, fine, I’m not outdoorsy at all—but barn weddings warm my heart right up, particularly when they are as sweet as this Maryland wedding captured by Douglas Pettway Photography! From the moment guests opened Jessica and Michael’s invitations printed on plant-able paper (that will blossom into wild flowers this spring), everyone knew they were in for something special. Planned with eco-friendly details and rustic flair, this wedding at The Barn at Serra Valley Farms looks like a wildly good time!
From Jessica: More than anything else, I’d say we had a country wedding—as much of a country wedding as you can have in an event (not functional) barn and with all the cleaned-up niceties of weddings. We went for a bit of rustic and vintage, with burlap and John Deere, among some animal-themed areas. We have been working on starting a micro-farm at our house, and a lot of what we have been developing and have planned for that played into our themes, from chickens and bees on the cakes to even having a basket of homegrown tomatoes on one of the tables.
One of our splurges was in our invitations: the invitations and RSVPs were all printed on plant-able paper. Not too many of the recipients knew, but we now have a stack of RSVPs to plant and let blossom into wildflowers in the spring.
I think my favorite moment of that day was before we got married—once my makeup was all done, and my hair curled. We were doing the first look shots, and after being nervous for so many hours, I walked up to my (then) future-husband in a nice, shady forest area. All stress disappeared, and it simply became fun.
Thank you so much Jessica and Michael for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Don’t forget to come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Welcome back to the second half of Cali and Dan’s fall wedding in Maryland! (Did you see their traditional Jewish wedding ceremony? Go back and check that out first!) Filled to the brim with warm, fall inspired wedding details, this cozy reception in Baltimore just kind of makes you wish you were a guest. Loved ones from both sides were seated together and served dinner family style, to exude a dinner party-like atmosphere! Get lost in these gorgeous images from Blink Photography and read on for Cali’s wedding day inspiration…
From Cali: Our main reception priority as a couple was having fantastic food and drink. We were lucky to work with a caterer who provided a wide variety of dishes. It was delicious! Cali’s from Oregon and Dan went to law school in Vermont so we selected beers from Vermont and wines from Oregon. One of the cocktails used maple syrup that we bought on vacation in Vermont, where we go a couple times a year, directly from the farm that produced it!
The space also had spectacularly big windows looking out into the arboretum. Cali’s parents lit those trees, so that the environment outside was really incorporated into the interior. At dinner, the guests were seated at three long rectangular tables and the food was served family style. We made a conscious effort to seat guests from different families and parts of our lives together and sprinkled our wedding party throughout. We really wanted everyone to feel like they were a part of our wedding, not just observing it.
Cali’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:
Get recommendations from your vendors! Our caterer introduced us to our venue, our photographer introduced us to our DJ, and our hotels recommended the shuttle company.
Thank you so much Cali and Dan for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
You know what a Monday morning needs? A little fall wedding inspiration, don’t you think? Just take a peek at all the amazing details of Cali and Dan’s harvest-inspired Maryland wedding straight from the lens of Blink Photography. Their Jewish wedding ceremony was a celebration of all things autumn—think deep purples, warm oranges and natural elements. Plus, there were tons of DIY touches from this crafty bride, like the handkerchiefs she sewed for wedding guests!
From Cali: We wanted our wedding to be an inclusive, bountiful, celebration. We picked bright autumnal colors, deep purple and orange, colors that made us think of harvest. We brought in live trees into our space and used twinkle lights that made our wedding feel festive and romantic.
The favorite part of the day was the ketubah ceremony. It was so intimate, calming, and meaningful. Our immediate family and wedding party surrounded us in a smaller ceremony where we signed our ketubah, or wedding contract, before the wedding ceremony. Dan’s brother, who officiated the wedding, provided the opportunity for us to hug and say hello to each of the people at the ketubah signing. Having that moment of calm and family before the bigger ceremony really helped slow the day down and focus us on the getting married part of the day itself. Dan’s brother wears the same tallis, or prayer shawl, for every wedding he officiates.
The chuppah, or wedding canopy, fabric was picked by Cali and Dan. They’re actually table runners that Cali then sewed together and put a finished border around. Cali and Dan tromped around the woods near Dan’s family’s cabin in Vermont to find the poles that held up the chuppah. Cali’s dad and mom figured out how to attach the fabric to the poles.
Thank you so much Cali and Dan for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Don’t forget to come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding: