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

posted by Ally Lopez

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Once Like a Spark

Sunday Brunch: Kalorama Cookie Company

posted by Kate Oczypok

Good morning to you all, DC area wedding lovers! I hope you are enjoying your weekend! For now, sit back, relax and get ready to read about our latest Sunday Brunch feature on the Kalorama Cookie Company. Located in Washington, DC, the company offers hand-decorated, customized sugar cookie treats that look almost too cute to eat (almost!)! Perfect for favors at your wedding, or perhaps as an alternative to wedding cake, they create unique cookie shapes for your DC area event, even local inspirations such as cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial. If you decide to go the cookies-as-favors route,they package each cookie individually in a cellophane bag tied with a coordinating bow. This part of the process, much like the cookie itself, can always be customized to meet your specific needs! For more from Kalorama Cookie Company, be sure to check out their website and see some of their unique and customizable cookie designs.


We hope that you’ll check out Kalorama Cookie Company for your wedding dessert and favor needs 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.

Happy Friday!

posted by Ally Lopez

Happy Friday, darlings! Are you having an amazing summer thus far? It’s Baltimore Restaurant Week so I’ll be eating my way around the city and I can’t wait! Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope that it is awesome! And, don’t forget to come back this weekend for some fun stuff on the blog. We have so many great things planned, stay tuned!

Virginia Wedding Ceremony Badgley Mischka Shoes

Some links for your weekend…

…and what you missed right here!

Photo Credit: Emily Chastain Photography

Washington DC Engagement Session: Brittany + Zach

posted by Kate Oczypok

We’re sending you off into the weekend with a confetti-inspired DC wedding engagement session! The folks over at Bridal Bellhop teamed up with Voila Event Studios and Victoria Ruan Photography to offer one lucky couple a styled engagement session, and Brittany and Zach were the winners! Their shoot was inspired by Zach’s proposal to Brittany (on the Georgetown waterfront!) and included the four C’s of a perfect proposal: confetti, cupcakes, champagne and cheers.


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Congratulations Brittany and Zach!

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

Venue: Ninnella
Photography: Victoria Ruan Photography
Floral Design: EightTreeStreet
Planning: Voila Event Studios
Signs: Cozy Cashmere Design Studio
Cake: Fresh Bakes
Makeup: Blush Makeup Artistry
Vendor Matching: Bridal Bellhop

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: Victoria Ruan Photography

Inspiration and Ideas: Welcome Bags

posted by Ally Lopez

We are back with even more out-of-town bag inspiration for you! If you’ve seen our past features on locally-inspired goodies for Washington DC area weddings, then you know we’ve covered all the basics of what goes into the bag, but what about the bags themselves? (But first, be sure to check our our ideas for a DC wedding welcome bagMaryland wedding welcome bag, and Virginia wedding welcome bag right here!) We’ve gathered some of our favorite ideas for bags to guests to tote around with their local and handpicked goodies!

Maryland Wedding Welcome Bag

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  • We love MapTote for local weddings! Their canvas grocery tote city designs include Washington DC, Baltimore and Charlottesville. Photo Credit: Abby Jiu Photography

    via Style Me Pretty

  • The brides from this destination Washington DC wedding hand painted monuments and their monogram and dressed up a simple kraft bag!

    via Destination Washington DC Wedding

  • No one said you need to welcome and wow guests with a bag only! This kraft gable box is a super cute way to store your goodies and itinerary!

    via Design Corral

  • Share a little history with your guests with a gift bag depicting historic landmarks in the White House neighborhood!

    via The White House Historical Association

  • Fill these modern (and reusable!) black and white out-of-town bags with your favorite treats!

    via Mod Party

  • This screen printed canvas tote would be perfect for a nautical or summertime wedding!

    via Laura Hooper Calligraphy

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.

Ideas for Virginia Wedding Welcome Bags

posted by Ally Lopez

Greet travelling, out-of-town guests with a welcome bag inspired by the state made for lovers and make your Virginia wedding weekend all the more memorable. A few weeks ago, we answered a local bride-to-be’s question on ideas for unique and locally-made goodies for an out-of-town bag. (Don’t miss our ideas for a DC wedding welcome bag and a Maryland wedding welcome bag right here!) Today we’re heading West and talking ideas and inspiration for Virginia wedding out-of-town bags. (And PS, if you ever have a question, please e-mail anytime!)

Virginia Wedding Welcome Bag

Here is our master list of things to consider including in your Virginia wedding welcome bags…





Fun Souvenirs

  • Metro SmarTrip card + Pocket Guide
  • Virginia map cookie cutter from Hill’s Kitchen
  • Virginia Lottery scratch-off cards
  • Souvenirs (think “Virginia is for Lovers” postcards, mugs, shot glasses) from area gift shops

Reading Materials

Out-of-Town Bags + Extras

Virginia Wedding Out of Town Bag

More Ideas + Credits

  1. Something to drink: The Love wheat beer from Star Hill Brewery
  2. Wedding day map + itinerary: Hand illustrated map from Trial by Cupcakes
  3. Something “Virginia”: “Virginia is for Lovers” mug from Virginia is for Lovers Gift Shop
  4. Something sweet: Chocolate bar from Potomac Chocolate
  5. Something healthy: Protein bar from Health Warrior
  6. Something salty: Salted peanuts from Hub’s


So many fun ideas for your Virginia out-of-town bags! What did we miss!? What’s going in your bags? Talk to us! For more wedding welcome bag ideas, check out these Washington DC area wedding bag ideas and easy, local DC theme gifts and favors.

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.

Inspiration and Ideas: Day-of Wedding Stationery

posted by Ally Lopez

As you may already know, a lot of planning goes into the wedding stationery with choosing the perfect save the date cards and invitation suites to set the tone for your Washington DC area wedding. But what about the day-of paper pretties? We’re talking about everything your guests will see and use all day long from the ceremony programs and escort cards to the menus and favor tags. As always, we’re here to bring you a little wedding inspiration, so we turned to some of our favorite wedding stationers and calligraphers and rounded up a few of our favorite ideas!


Photo Credit: Stacey Windsor Photography with menu by Serendipity Bridal and Events

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  • If your wedding day is inspired by your love of travel, these elegant luggage tag escort cards from Little Bit Heart are perfection! Photo Credit: Sarah Goodwin Photography

    via Little Bit Heart

  • Don't forget to dress up the wedding bar! An elegant calligraphy sign, like this pretty one by Laura Hooper Calligraphy, is an easy (and pretty!) way to show off your signature drinks. Photo Credit: The Observatory

    via Valentine's Day Themed Bridal Brunch

  • Little Bird Creative created these (free!) printable Washington DC monuments wedding favor tag just for us! Just print and cut - simple and easy!

    via Free Printable Favor Tags

  • This Virginia wedding was sprinkled with purple hues and chevron details, like this hanging wedding program from The Dandelion Patch. Photo Credit: Kristen Gardner Photography

    via Chevron Wedding Ideas

  • Imagine these darling love birds perched on your wedding escort card table guiding guests to their tables! Photo Credit: Stacey Windsor Photography

    via English Garden Wedding Ideas

  • I am loving this rustic wraparound wedding menu card. Simple and elegant! It's all in the details, folks! Photo Credit: Sweet Tea Photography

    via Little Bit Heart

  • How darling are these gold foiled "cheers" napkins!? Available for purchase in the Laura Hooper Calligraphy Etsy shop! Photo Credit: Abby Jiu Photography

    via Style Me Pretty

  • These custom wedding mad libs from The Dandelion Patch are a fun and unique way to get your guests talking and laughing! Photo Credit: k. thompson photography

    via Classic Washington DC Wedding

  • These confetti place cards are not only great for place settings, but a fun way to label your dessert table, too!

    via Little Bird Creative

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.

Biggest Wedding Invitation Mistakes

posted by julianne

Choosing the right wedding invitation is only the beginning! If you are planning on sending out invitations for your wedding, we have you some advice from the best wedding invitation designers and calligraphers in the Washington DC area. This time, though, we aren’t telling you what to do, we are telling you what not to do! The designers and calligraphers gave us some the common mistakes that they see couples making in their wedding invitations. So, lucky for you, you can learn from others’ mistakes! Best of all, they are giving you some tips for how to avoid these problems too. Here we go with the most common mistakes in wedding stationery…


Photo Credit: Kristen Gardner Photography from Megan and Chris’ outdoor wedding in VA


“One of the biggest mistakes we see couples making has to do with their timeline. There are so many creative, unique, and beautiful wedding invitation ideas available, but it takes plenty of time to create such individual and hand-created items. Some couples come in with little lead time, and end up having to settle for an invitation that is absolutely gorgeous, but does not truly show their personal style. We love when couples come in months in advance, because then we can pull together and create a one-of-a kind design for them and their options are not limited. Our advice to couples: make an appointment at least six months before your wedding to start looking at invitations and 10 months before for save the dates.” — Heidi, owner of The Dandelion Patch


“A common mistake is not ordering enough invitations. It’s 100 times easier to do an order of 80 invitations originally, than it is to do 75 and then add 5 more after the initial print run. If you anticipate sending to additional guests as replies come in, or even if you’re unsure about your total when you order, it’s always better to overestimate by a bit than to underestimate and not have enough. This is especially true if you’re getting letterpress or foil stamped invitations since the turnaround time is longer to begin with. Also, there is always a chance that the colors may not print exactly the same on the second print-run, so it’s better to do it all at the same time.” — Jenna and Elizabeth at Little Bit Heart


“The most common mistakes that I see couples make when selecting and ordering their wedding invitations generally revolve around not planning far enough ahead – if you want to have a calligrapher address your envelopes, you’ll need to make sure you have a two to three (or more!) week gap between when your invitations will be ready to pick up from your stationer and when you want to actually mail them out. Along those same lines, go ahead and contact your preferred calligrapher around the same time you are ordering the invitations – at that point you are much more likely to be able to book your preferred timeframe for calligraphy and the calligrapher can also let you know of any specific requirements they may have. For instance, I always ask my clients to provide additional envelopes beyond the number that needs to be addressed, ideally 20 percent. When clients chat with me in advance of ordering their invitations, they go into the ordering process knowing to include that buffer in their envelope count.” — Michelle, owner of Meant to Be Calligraphy


“A common mistake made with wedding invitations has to do with envelope addressing. Always order extra envelopes! It does not matter who is addressing your envelopes – a calligrapher, a printing company, or handwriting them yourself – mistakes happen.  There will be cases where a name is spelled wrong, or a friend moves to a new house right before you are ready to send out your invitations. When that happens, you will need to re-print the envelope. Calligraphers and printing companies usually require 10 percent more envelopes then needed because of situations like this. Therefore, many invitation vendors will automatically include extra envelopes, but make sure to ask!”  – Heidi, owner of The Dandelion Patch


“A mistake that we see is not having correct addresses or having an incomplete address list. We know the address list is right up there with the seating arrangement as far as level of difficulty, but it’s so so important to have this be complete and correct before you send it off to your designer. We see this a lot because we offer a mailing service and often send out the invitations directly to guests, so it’s really important for the list to be right when we receive it. There’s a few reasons for this: incorrect addresses can cause your invitations to be returned to you (that’s the worst case), misspellings or incorrect titles can slip by uncorrected (no one knows your list as well as you do, and your list will be printed as it’s written), and questions about errors or inconsistencies can add time to your turnaround since it will can hold up printing.” – Jenna and Elizabeth at Little Bit Heart


“Not using proper etiquette is a very common mistake. One of the primary reasons couples love using The Dandelion Patch is because we are experts in invitation etiquette. Did you know that the request line on the invitations is determined by if you are having a religious ceremony or not? Or that when writing “and guest” on an envelope the “g” is lowercase? There are many small details about etiquette that are easily overlooked and many websites give incorrect information. So, make sure to do your research on proper wedding etiquette or come to The Dandelion Patch and make your life easy!” – Heidi, owner of The Dandelion Patch


So there you have it! Now you know what not to do with your wedding invitations! Be sure to check out the designers who helped out with this post or check out list of the best wedding stationery designers in the DC area. For more, you can see our five tips for choosing wedding invitations or see our wedding stationery timeline.

Rustic Spring Wedding Reception in Maryland: Mattie + Justin

posted by Ally Lopez

Ladies and gents, get ready for all the handmade goodness from Mattie and Justin’s wedding Maryland. Inspired by their love of the outdoors, every pretty detail was truly personal, all beautifully captured by Amber Wilkie Photography. (Be sure to check out their outdoor wedding ceremony too!) Their crafty families got in on the DIY action from the map banners and favor tags to the table cards named after their favorite national parks! This nature-loving duo and their guests even ended the day with a campfire celebration later that night—so much fun!

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From Mattie: Our families are creative masterminds. Almost everything was handmade – but not by me! My mother designed a logo based on the U.S. Forest Service logo with our initials – M&J – that appeared throughout the wedding. She made banners, table tents, and favor tags out of maps of Mendocino County, California, and St. Lawrence County, New York – where Justin and I were born. She also made the table cards – each table named after a national park or other recreational area – and a beautiful collage of our visits to the areas the tables were named after. 

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Justin’s family made so very many wonderful things: his family runs a bakery (Touch of Icing in Waddington, New York) and made our cake, as well as: the polished wood cake plate, a pair of customized cornhole boards with California and New York drawn on them, the directions signs to various important locations in our lives, a beautiful bar menu sign, and so much more!

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

Be willing to consider professionals who are not “wedding-specific” professionals. Although everyone we hired had experience with weddings, many had more flexibility and better prices because their businesses are not entirely dependent on weddings – important especially if you are getting married on a peak date.

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

Venue: Thorpewood
Photography: Amber Wilkie Photography
Day-of Coordinator: Julie at Thorpewood
Floral Design: Willow Oak Herb & Flower Farm
Stationery: Smitten on Paper
Bridal Attire: Tara Keely from Katherine’s Bridal Boutique
Jewelry: Lulu’s
Shoes: Corso Como
Hair: Structures Salon
Bridesmaids’ Attire: J. Crew
Bridesmaids’ Accessories: Apple Latte
Groom’s Attire: Alton Lane
Groom’s Accessories: Tesoro Jewelry
Groomsmen’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Groomsmen’s Accessories: Bows ‘N Ties
Ceremony Music: DJ Neville C for DJ D-Mac
Catering: Canapes Catering
Transportation: A Touch of Class Limousine

Photo Credit: Amber Wilkie Photography