How To Care For Your Wedding Guests

posted by julianne

Most weddings in the Washington DC area have wedding guests from out of town. Did you know that? This means that many – if not all – of your wedding guests are not from DC, Maryland or Virginia and will be traveling to this region just for your wedding. In addition to being a major city, DC is also a hot tourist destination, so translated into weddings, this means out of town guests! (Guests decline less to weddings in a location that they personally want to visit!) We know that welcome bags are a great way to welcome your guests to the DMV. But what else? What are some other things that you can do to create an amazing experience for your wedding guests?

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Are there any things – beyond just spending more money, because I think that’s too easy! – that you can do to make your wedding guests feel special? If keeping your wedding guests in mind and making sure that they are taken care of, then today’s post is for you! I asked some of the best wedding planners in the DMV for their advice about “wowing” wedding guests. Beyond fabulous decor, delicious food and an open bar, what are some unexpected ways to really care for your wedding guests and make sure that the know you appreciate them for traveling all this way to your wedding? Here is what they had to say…

Create Intimacy

“It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding planning where the couple is the focus of everything. When you keep in mind your guests’ perspective and create intimacy no matter the size, convenience no matter how close to home it might be, and thoughtfulness so everyone feels how fortunate they are to share in this special moment with you, that is a truly extraordinary experience.” – Elizabeth at Elizabeth Duncan Events

“I’m all about intimate moments! If you are having a small or moderate sized wedding, hunt down photos of you and your guests from any point in your lives. It’s a great ice breaker for guests who don’t know each other and will take your guests down memory lane. You can have these photos on a PowerPoint on a projector during cocktail hour or create a memory wall to have at the wedding. Its a great way to show your guests how instrumental they were in your life and the costs are minimal to none!” – Sonia, owner of Clarity and Class

Be Present

“Be present on your wedding day. Trust the plan that you have in place and let go. Some things might not be exactly how you thought they would, but the important part is enjoying the celebration with your new spouse and closest friends and family. Thank all of your guests for coming to your wedding. A lot. It is an honor for your guests to spend the time and money to come to your wedding. Don’t forget that. Also you must try to speak to each wedding guest. This can mean a receiving line or walking to each table. This is not optional. Focus on the older guests tables, as you will naturally interact with the young people on the dance floor.” — Aimee and Cindy at A. Dominick Events

Logistics

“From a guest experience, think about the logistical details that will make your family and friends comfortable. Choose a wedding venue that can comfortably fit all of your guests. Make sure there is enough seating for the ceremony and reception. If you pick a wedding venue with an outside ceremony in mind, make sure there is a back-up plan. Even if you have dreamed of an outside wedding, if it’s raining (even a little bit) your guests will be much happier inside. When planning your own wedding, it’s a great idea to think about the details you remember from being a guest at your friends wedding. Chances are the food/beverages, music and ambiance stood out, as well as the personal touches. It could be as simple as making sure the DJ plays a song your friends will love, or serving your favorite childhood dessert.” – Margo at Bright Occasions

Take Time

“To create an amazing guest experience, just think about all the times you’ve attended a wedding and what made you feel special and taken care of as a guest. Those are the same areas your guests will likely enjoy. If you have a lot of out of town guests, maybe you provide transportation to and from your venue(s). Try to plan your weekend of activities that will allow you to spend as much time with your guests as you can and want to. Remember to spend a few minutes with every guest at the wedding. Acknowledging and thanking them will make them feel appreciated.” — Vicky at Event Accomplished

Anticipate Their Needs

“The most memorable weddings are the ones that are created around the couple’s personalities and love story. Think of ways to express yourselves at your wedding — your guests will notice it and love it! To make your guests feel special, think through the wedding from your guests’ perspective and meet their needs before they arise. For example, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, then try to situate the guests’ seats so that their backs will be to the sun. If that’s not possible, then have baskets of cute sunglasses waiting for them so they won’t have to squint painfully during your wedding ceremony. If you’re having a ritual-filled wedding ceremony in a house of worship, then briefly note the significance of each element in the program so guests who aren’t members of your faith will be able to follow along and understand. Have handheld fans and cold drinks available during hot weather, and cozy wraps and warm drinks available when it’s chilly out. Be as hospitable toward your guests as you would be if you were inviting them to your home.” – Stephanie at Pretty Entertaining

I.C.E.

“When planning a wedding, we go by “I-C-E” (Interactive, Considerate and Entertained). Interactive: Provide activities to involve your wedding guests and keep them moving. A few examples are a photobooth, tandem bike rides, dancing, and wishing or advice book for them to sign. Considerate: Be considerate by making sure that your wedding guests are comfortable. For example, if you are hosting your wedding in the city or metropolitan area, make sure valet parking is available for your guests, so they don’t have to search for parking. If your wedding reception will be ending late at night, hire a babysitter, so your guests don’t have to worry about caring for their children. Entertained: Keep your wedding guests entertained by hiring an awesome DJ or live band who can read the crowd and keep the guests on the dance floor.” — Shawn at TreBella Events

Simple + Thoughtful

“Keeping things simple, but thoughtful is really important. Providing information to your wedding guests upon arrival is always helpful. Welcome bags set a first impression and are also a great way to relay information to guests about timing, transportation and to give some simple comforts. Let your guests truly be guests and don’t rely on them to clean up at the end of the event, breakdown ceremony decor, and more. This is where having professional vendors pays for itself in ways you can’t imagine. Fun things like a photo booth or interactive cocktail hour stations are more memorable than. for example, monograming everything in the room. Think back on events you have been to and what has made those experiences fun or a drag. For example, transportation to and from the hotels and church and venue and back is a great way to make sure your wedding guests feel better, lets them enjoy themselves, and is safe.” — Laura of Events in the City

Activities

“Creating a wedding experience is all about having interactive activities at your wedding -not necessarily just pretty flowers and cake. Why not have a dessert station that is interactive like an ice cream bar in the middle of the summer or a s’mores station in the middle of October? There are all sorts of way to get your wedding guests involved – even from the save-the-date announcement all the way through to the farewell brunch! The main thing is to keep your guests captivated and wanting more. Obviously, the more of your personality that your interject into the experience – the better!”  – Katie, owner of Elegance & Simplicity

Consider All Guests

“Think of your wedding guests’ comfort as you plan your wedding. If your ceremony is outside, try to time it before (or after) the sun’s hottest times. If parking is hard to find near your wedding venue, consider hiring a valet parking company. And, if your wedding guest list includes non-dancers and/or introverts, have lawn games, crosswords, or other games available for them. They will feel so welcome!” — Kay at Howerton + Wooten Events

Think Comfort

“If the majority of your wedding guests are from out of town, suck it up and do the welcome bags. I know they’re a pain, but guests really do feel so welcome – and they don’t have to be expensive!! Things like a heartfelt welcome letter, Metro maps, and more are free! Add a couple bottles of water (No, they don’t have to be personalized), some snacks (these can be homemade!) and put them in a kraft bag, and you’ve created an inexpensive welcome bag that people will love. My other tip is to please consider your guests’ comfort when choosing your wedding venue. I’ve done outdoor weddings on 104 degree days, and guests are miserable. If you’re planning on an outdoor ceremony, please be equally happy with whatever the indoor option is. And don’t just think sun vs. rain. A sunny 72 degree day is a lot different than a sunny 104 degree day, right? And keep in mind the angle of the sun too! You don’t want your guests runing for the 10 shaded seats, and the rest of the guests are left to get sunburn! Provide parasols, umbrellas, hats, or even just sunscreen to protect your guests. And, conversely, tents are not magic — if it’s 50 degrees outside, it’s going to be cold in there! So, consider getting the heaters.” — Rebecca at Blue Canary Events

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Loads of information in today’s post for you and all of you wedding guests. Thank you to the incredible Washington DC area wedding planners who helped us out on this post with great advice for keeping our wedding guest happy and comfortable. Be sure to check out their websites if you are looking for some more help with your wedding guests or a wedding planner in the Washington DC area.

Looking for more wedding out of town guest advice? Be sure to read:

For even more locally helpful advice, you may 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.

Paper Goodies

Click here to find a local stationer to design all of your wedding day paper details – from invitations to escort cards.

Modern Indian Fusion Wedding Reception in Georgetown: Bonnie + Tom

posted by pauline

We’re back with more from Bonnie and Tom’s modern, Indian fusion and oh-so fabulous wedding in Washington DC! In case you missed their intimate wedding ceremony blending both of their cultural backgrounds, be sure to check it out here. After the pair said “I do,” they stayed in the same location to celebrate their wedding reception at L2 Lounge in Georgetown. With bright pops of neon color reflecting their modern style and a dance party just as they had imagined it, the night was full of love and laughter with lots of celebration in between. We love how they even gave out bangles and bindis for their wedding guests to help them celebrate. Thanks to DuHon Photography for capturing Bonnie and Tom’s modern and personal wedding planned to perfection by Roberts & Co. Events!

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From Bonnie: Making sure everyone was having a good time was our biggest priority. A large majority of guests were friends from all over the country, and by keeping the focus on the reception, we were able to celebrate in a big way. 

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We had a FujiInstax camera out for our wedding guestbook and it was so fun to look at the photos the next day! Everyone looked like they were having such a good time, and it held me over until the real wedding photos came in!

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I was really into neon colors at the time, and our wedding planner, Tabitha, helped to infuse our wedding with pops of color. Our colors were neon yellow, pink and black – yes, REALLY neon!

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Bonnie gave us some great advice for Washington DC area engaged couples:

Save some of your wedding budget for the last month of planning, as unexpected things come up and you really don’t want to skimp on them.

I suggest looking at non-traditional wedding venues to find exactly what you want. This way you can spend more money on the items that you are really attracted to. Working with a wedding planner and other industry professionals was huge in helping create a wedding day that was in our budget and matched our vision!

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Congratulations to Bonnie and Tom! Thank you for sharing your modern Indian wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Ceremony + Reception Location: L2 Lounge
Photography: DuHon Photography
Officiant: Joan Philips
Rentals: Partyland Boutique
Catering: Kafe Leopold
Wedding Planner: Roberts & Co. Events

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: DuHon Photography

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

Pretty & Pampered

With United With Love’s local vendor guide, click here to find hair and make up specialists for your wedding day.

Modern Indian Fusion Wedding Ceremony in Georgetown: Bonnie + Tom

posted by pauline

Bonnie and Tom wanted a unique wedding location to reflect their modern style and different cultural backgrounds. So, after much searching, this beautiful couple decided to wed at L2 Lounge in Georgetown, Washington, DC. With pops of gold and red throughout their ceremony, this Washington DC wedding is one we just can’t get enough of! They fused their love of design with their love for one another and their wedding celebration was the perfect reflection of just that! (You might even recognize the bride as Washington DC area wedding photographer, Bonnie Sen.) With wedding planning by Roberts & Co. Events, thanks to DuHon Photography for capturing this swanky, modern wedding in the city!

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From Bonnie: Tom is very European (Dutch and Slovenian) and I am very Indian, so we knew we wanted our wedding to reflect our heritage, but since we were both architects we also wanted a very modern wedding. Finding the wedding venue was the biggest hurdle since we knew we wanted a very modern space, and a non-traditional one. Once we found the nightclub option everything fell into place. We made up the rules as we went, keeping the wedding ceremony light and engaging. 

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There were welcome bags delivered to the hotels of late night munchies for after the party. Our wedding favors was a CD of our Bollywood inspired soundtrack. Our wedding guests were given bangles and bindi’s to wear for the party and during the blessing part of the ceremony, our guests were encouraged to throw flowers and confetti.

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Congratulations to Bonnie and Tom! Thank you for sharing your modern Indian fusion wedding ceremony with us! Stay tuned for more from this fabulous couple when we share their lounge-style wedding reception in Georgetown.

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

Ceremony + Reception Location: L2 Lounge
Photography: DuHon Photography
Officiant: Joan Philips
Rentals: Partyland Boutique
Catering: Kafe Leopold
Wedding Planner: Roberts & Co. Events

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: DuHon Photography

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

Details, Details!

From forks to chairs, click here to use United With Love’s local guide to find a rental company to complete your wedding day.

Formal Fall Washington DC Wedding Reception: Lindsay + Chris

posted by pauline

Lindsay and Chris’ church wedding ceremony in Springfield, Virginia was filled with rich family tradition and love – if you missed it, be sure to check it out here.  After their wedding ceremony, they went to the city for a wedding reception in Washington DC. The couple celebrated their union at the beautiful and historic Meridian House. They incorporated not only the rich and deep colors of the fall season, but that of their surrounding environment, into the decor flawlessly. We are still dreaming about the lush florals from Holly Chapple and that wedding cake from Fluffy Thoughts is unreal! Their formal wedding in DC was elegant, personal, and one amazing celebration, right down to the lantern send off at the end of the night! We just can’t get enough of these gorgeous images by Jan Michele!

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From Lindsay: The wedding venue and flowers were our top priorities for our wedding. Once we found our wedding venue, everything else fell easily into place. I wanted to have our wedding reception at a location that was classic and elegant and the Meridian House was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful venue.

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We wanted to include gold accents throughout all of the different elements in our wedding. From our wedding cake to our party favors, we knew that we wanted to incorporate the color gold somehow. Because it was a fall wedding we also wanted to have burgundy touches throughout the wedding.

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I love flowers (especially dahlias), so I knew that I wanted them to be an important part of our wedding. Holly Chapple and her team did an amazing job with the flowers.

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For our send off all of our guests received a lantern that they held up as we left the Meridian House at the end of the night. Attached to the lantern was a verse from the Bible, John 8:12, which says:

“I am the the light of the world. Whoever Follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”    

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The couple gave us some great advice for other Washington DC area brides and grooms:

Don’t stress about the little things, everything will come together. Just enjoy every minute, because before you know it its over.

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Congratulations to Lindsay and Chris! Thank you for sharing your stunning formal fall wedding reception with us!

Ceremony Venue: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Reception Venue: Meridian House
Videography: Blue Sky Films
Photography: Jan Michele
Month of Wedding Planner: Atendy Wedding
Stationery: Bella Figura from The Dandelion Patch
Transportation: Fleet Transportation
Florist: Holly Chapple
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Carola Myers
Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka
Bridal Dress Salon: Carine’s Bridal
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Headpiece/Veil: Homa Bridal
Jewelry: Jenny Packham earrings, CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane, Grandmother’s beaded purse
Bridesmaids: Jenny Yoo from Love Couture Bridal
Bridesmaid Shoes: Touch Up
Wedding Party Shoes: Gold headbands from Anthropologie and earrings from Etsy
Groom’s Attire: Hickey Freeman Tuxedo
Groom’s Shoes: Hugo Boss
Groomsmen Attire + Shoes: Ralph Lauren Tuxedo from Hannelore’s
Officiant: Pastor Duane Carlson
Catering + Linens: Well Dunn Catering
Lighting: Frost Lighting
Music: David Zipse and Good Foot
Cake/Dessert: Fluffy Thoughts Bakery
Favors: Lanterns from Pier 1 Imports

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

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Jan Michele

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

All About The Dress

There are so many beautiful wedding dress choices! Click here to check out the many local bridal boutiques in the Washington DC area to help you find your dream dress!

Formal Fall Wedding Ceremony in Virginia: Lindsay + Chris

posted by pauline

Lindsay and Chris had a family affair when they wed at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, Virginia, the same place the bride’s parents and sister said “I do” too! The gorgeous fall Virginia wedding ceremony was dripping in burgundy and cream to reflect the season and all the details were very personal to the couple, right down to the bridal bouquet! We love it when the family gets involved in the wedding planning process and Lindsay and Chris’ wedding was certainly one of love filled from all around. Big thanks to Jan Michele for the beautiful images of this formal Washington DC area wedding!

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From Lindsay: Chris and I and are very close with each other’s families. We were lucky to have them play such a large part in not only our wedding day, but also the wedding planning process. My mother was instrumental in helping me to plan the wedding, I could not have done it without her help and support.

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In addition to the assistance of the bride’s mom, the couple also used United With Love for help with vendor ideas! We love to hear that!

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My brother-in-law, Matt, grew roses and dahlias that were incorporated into my bridal bouquet. It was a complete surprise. 

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My favorite memory from our wedding day was our ceremony. Chris and I got married in the church that my parents and my sister got married in. Our wedding ceremony was very personal and meaningful. The paster who married us, married my parents, baptized my mother, and also baptized me and my brother and sister. It was very special that he was able to be a part of our wedding.

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Congratulations to Lindsay and Chris! Thank you for sharing your beautiful fall wedding ceremony in Virginia with us!  Stay tuned for their swanky city reception up next!

Ceremony Venue: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Reception Venue: Meridian House
Videography: Blue Sky Films
Photography: Jan Michele
Month of Wedding Planner: Atendy Wedding
Stationery: Bella Figura from The Dandelion Patch
Transportation: Fleet Transportation
Florist: Holly Chapple
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Carola Myers
Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka
Bridal Dress Salon: Carine’s Bridal
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Headpiece/Veil: Homa Bridal
Jewelry: Jenny Packham earrings, CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane, Grandmother’s beaded purse
Bridesmaids: Jenny Yoo from Love Couture Bridal
Bridesmaid Shoes: Touch Up
Wedding Party Shoes: Gold headbands from Anthropologie and earrings from Etsy
Groom’s Attire: Hickey Freeman Tuxedo
Groom’s Shoes: Hugo Boss
Groomsmen Attire + Shoes: Ralph Lauren Tuxedo from Hannelore’s
Officiant: Pastor Duane Carlson
Catering + Linens: Well Dunn Catering
Lighting: Frost Lighting
Music: David Zipse and Good Foot
Cake/Dessert: Fluffy Thoughts Bakery
Favors: Lanterns from Pier 1 Imports

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

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Jan Michele

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

Location, Location

The DC area has so many fabulous wedding venues! Click here to use United With Love’s guide to find your wedding spot.

Sunday Brunch: Boraie Photography

posted by kate

Good morning my favorite DC area wedding fans! We sharing another one of our Sunday brunches with one of our awesome sponsors, Boraie Photography. Boraie Photography is run by Mohamed Boraie, who originally hails from Cairo, Egypt. Since 2008, Boraie Photography has photographed over 85 weddings. Mohamed seeks to understand the couple and their personalities to ensure that the pictures taken on their wedding day are the kind that will be framed on their walls for the rest of their lives! For more on Boraie Photography, be sure to visit their website or check out all of their past features on United With Love.

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Photo Credit: Boraie Photography

We hope that you’ll check out Boraie Photography to photography your wedding in the Washington DC area. Join us again next weekend for Sunday brunch with another fantastic supporter of United With Love! We’ll see you back here bright and early Monday morning! If you are interested in joining us for brunch on United With Love, please send us an email.

Dessert Table

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

Cozy Downtown DC Wedding Engagement Session: Caitlin + Alex

posted by kate

Are you ready for one of the sweetest wedding engagement sessions?! The story of when Caitlin met Alex is so romantic. Four years ago, British Alex thought he’d just be in the Washington, DC area for a summer internship—he ended up staying longer than he thought! While he was here, he met Caitlin at the Evening Star building, where they both worked. Their mutual laid-back and genuine spirit were the perfect match, and well, the rest is history! Mary Sandoval Photography captured their fun and enjoyable wedding engagement session around downtown Washington DC celebrating the city where they met.

View More: http://marysandovalphotography.pass.us/cailtinalex-esesh-forweb

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Congratulations Caitlin and Alex!

Looking for more on engagements? Check out other local DC-area engagement photography sessions, or find out what to wear for your engagement and how to do your make-up for your engagement session!

Photo Credits: Mary Sandoval Photography

All About The Dress

There are so many beautiful wedding dress choices! Click here to check out the many local bridal boutiques in the Washington DC area to help you find your dream dress!

Springtime Garden Wedding Ideas in Georgetown

posted by kate

I know we officially kicked off summer this past weekend, but we couldn’t let springtime here in Washington DC pass us by with out sharing this springtime garden wedding inspiration shoot. It is just blooming with gorgeousness! These beautiful and breathtaking photos captured by Sweet Tea Photography showcase a perfectly sunny wedding day at Tudor Place in Georgetown. Popping with of shades of purple and and hues of gray, the lush florals from B. Floral Design compliment the outdoor garden setting. And who doesn’t love those two little cutie flower girl and ring bearer! Thanks to the talent of Tabitha of Roberts & Co. Events behind this wedding inspiration, you can find lots of ideas here and turn your wedding into a Secret Garden-esque romantic wedding wonderland!

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So many wonderful ideas for a magical wedding day! The following Washington DC area wedding vendors contributed to this wedding inspiration:

Venue: Tudor Place
Planner + Event Styling: Roberts & Co. Events
Photography: Sweet Tea Photography
Floral Design: B. Floral Design
Cake: Stacked Cakes
Hair + Makeup: Richie Makeup (Ky Washington)
Rentals: DC Rentals
Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy
Gown: Lovely Bride Hayley Paige “Dori”
Groom’s Attire: J. Crew
Invitations: Moira Design Studio
Live Artists: Jamie Peterson
Transportation: John Scoggins

If you are looking for more local wedding inspiration, look in our DC area wedding idea galleries and real DC area wedding features, and don’t forget to look through our amazing DC area wedding vendor guide for all of the pros who can make it happen.

Photo Credits: Sweet Tea Photography

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

Sparkle & Shine

Using United With Love’s vendor guide, click here to find the perfect wedding sparklers at the area’s jewelry shops.

A Sweet and Personal Wedding Reception in VA: Jessica + Steve

posted by pauline

Welcome back to today’s lovely featured real wedding! Jessica and Steven celebrated their Virginia wedding reception with a rustic-chic party at River Farm in Alexandria, complete with DIY details that the family even helped out on! If you missed their sweet outdoor wedding ceremony, be sure to check it out here.  Their wedding – planned to perfection with Margo from Bright Occasions – had everything from personalized desserts and treats to custom signs that helped set the setting for their wedding guests – who all traveled to help them celebrate. We love how creative Jessica and Steve got while keeping within their wedding budget and still making all their wedding dreams come to life! Special thanks to Victoria Ruan Photography for sharing every element and touching moment through her photographs.

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From Jessica: We wanted the wedding reception to reflect our appreciation for our families and loved ones since they are who shaped us and made us the people – and partners – we are today.

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Early-on in the wedding planning process, we decided that we would tackle any projects that were feasible. This allowed us to customize the details to fit our personality, but also helped us to save money where possible. We made our wedding invitations, place cards, cocktail straws with banners, favor tags and packaging (with help from my brother-in-law, mother and godmother), some of the floral arrangements (with help from my sister), and the chalk wedding program (which was designed by my bridesmaid who happens to be a teacher). There were plenty of things we sourced through Etsy too, including our letter “L” guest book, table numbers and stands, decorations that matched our color scheme, and a welcome sign.

We really enjoyed making the welcome bags for our out-of-town wedding guests. The bags contained treats from our respective hometowns of Chicago, IL such as Vitner Potato Chips; and Grosse Pointe, MI such as Sanders candy. We also included items in the welcome bag from our new home-state of Virginia such as Peanuts. We included personalized notes welcoming everyone, detailing the significance of the treats and a schedule of events.

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The couple even used United With Love to help in their planning and we love that:

We found our wedding planner, Margo of Bright Occasions, by reading some of the articles she authored on United With Love. Scrolling through the real DC area weddings also provided us with inspiration for our own wedding.

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Many people tried to warn us that the wedding day would be over before we knew it. We had no idea how right they were. It was the most fun we’ve ever had, but it was over in the blink of an eye. We wish we had taken more time to share private moments with each other. We should have designated someone to tell us we were due for a “time out” so that we could quietly slip away for a moment together.

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Jessica had two pieces of advice for other Washington DC area engaged couples:

Most importantly, make sure you make time for you and your partner on your wedding day. The day goes by quickly and everyone wants to wish you congratulations. It’s easy to let the time slip by. Designate someone to pull you away from the festivities so that you can reconnect, take a moment to soak in all the love of that day (between each other and from all your loved ones), and enjoy a peaceful moment together before heading back out to the dance floor!

We thought asking our friends and family for help with some of the DIY projects would be a burden, but we underestimated that everyone wants to feel like they’ve contributed to making your wedding special in one way or another and help ease the stress of planning. Leaning on loved ones for support in the final 48 hours was a blessing and they truly appreciated being part of the process. Not to say you should constantly ask for favors or overwhelm them with projects, but it’s okay to ask for help – these people love you and want to be part of your special day. 

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Congratulations to Jessica and Steve! Thank you for sharing your beautiful and oh-so personal Virginia wedding reception with us!

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

Wedding Planner: Bright Occasions
Photography: Victoria Ruan Photography
Invitations: Paper Source
Floral Designer: Whole Foods
Hair + Makeup Artist: Modern Bridal Studio
Wedding Dress: Watters
Bridal Salon: Katherine’s Bridal Boutique
Headpiece/Veil: Etsy
Jewelry: Silver Parrot
Videographer: Wedit
Bridal Party: J. Crew
Bridal Party Accessories: Anthropologie
Groom’s + Groomsmen Attire: Mens Warehouse
Groom’s + Groomsmen Accessories: Tommy Hilfiger and Tie Bar
Ceremony + Reception Venue: River Farm
Officiants: Kevin Hlavaty and John Shanks
Ceremony Music: Anthem
Rentals, Linens + Catering: R&R Catering
Lighting: Frost Lighting and Pier 1
Reception Music: Adrian Duke Project
Cake: Kogibow Bakery and Fancy Cakes by Leslie
Favors: Whole Foods

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Victoria Ruan Photography

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

Dessert Table

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