We have a sweet and simple love filled wedding in Washington DC for you today! Rhonda and Bernard eloped in front of a small group of family and friends at the beautiful Heurich House Museum in Dupont Circle. From a unique, long sleeve wedding dress to a petite, rustic wedding cake, even though this wasn’t a big wedding, the details of their special day didn’t go undone or unnoticed! And, the best detail of all was clearly the love felt in the room between the bride and groom and their guests – the people who made their wedding in DC exactly as the couple wanted it to be. Special thanks to Pop! Wed Co. for sharing and Maggie Winters for capturing every intimate moment and sharing this couple’s love with us!
From Rhonda: We just knew that we wanted something really intimate for our wedding. Neither of us ever wanted an enormous wedding with second and third cousins and friends of friends whom we’ve never met experience such an intimate moment. We also didn’t want to be stressed out or experience, nor an extra job, which wedding planning usually is. That’s when were told about the Pop! Wedding Co. idea by a co-worker. She said that we would be able to explain to them what we wanted for our wedding, and they would help bring our vision to light. Our wedding day description to them was quaint, intimate and romantic.
My husband wore his recently deceased grandfather’s favorite ring. And around my bouquet arrangement, I wrapped my late grandfather’s engraved locket which housed some of his ashes in a tiny urn.
The intimacy of our wedding ceremony was my favorite detail. People get so wrapped up in celebrating with family and friends and walking around kissing, hugging, and greeting everyone, but forget their partner. We were able to actually indulge in one another. It was truly about us!
We never wanted to splurge on anything. We both always talked about how a down payment on a house was way more important than spending it on a wedding. We both knew that we could experience that same amazing feeling people get on their wedding day, without having to spend thousands of dollars. So, we skipped the big wedding reception and opted for a romantic dinner with just the two us. I will say that my wedding dress and the photography were our two big ticket items.
Rhonda gave us a bit of advice for other Washington DC area couples:
It’s extremely expensive to have a wedding in the Washington DC area. I would advise looking into non-traditional wedding venues. Most places will always say, “Yes.” I would like to accredit Pop! Wed Co. for making literally everything possible. They were amazing!
I hope you aren’t too hungry, because today we are talking restaurants in the Washington DC area and what they can mean to your wedding. Between elopements and smaller weddings, having a wedding in Washington DC, Maryland and/or Virginia at a restaurant is becoming more and more popular. Plus, I think we all know that the DMV is having a little moment in the restaurant scene as it seems like a new, hip and yummy restaurant is opening every week!
I’m not talking about rehearsal dinners or engagement parties, which are also great options for restaurant service. I’m talking about having your wedding at a restaurant. This could be the wedding ceremony and reception, or most likely just your reception. If you are thinking about having your wedding reception at a restaurant, there are few things that you need to know and should at least take into consideration before the big day. Everything can be worked out, you just need to know to ask.
I must give a special shout out to the ladies at The Dandelion Patch for hosting me a while back for their Tips on Tuesday wedding planning series. We had a lively discussion at their stationery shop in DC and the issue of restaurants and wedding came up quite a bit. There was an engaged couple planning their wedding at a restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia and they had lots of questions. I paid attention and did a little of my own digging and thought it was best to address it in the form of a blog post! If one couple has questions, chances are good that more couples planning a wedding at a restaurant in the DC area might need some help too. So, thank you to The Dandelion Patch for hosting and the sweet couple for attending with so many great wedding planning questions!
Here goes with the things that you need to know and know to ask about having your wedding at a restaurant in the Washington DC area…
If you read nothing else in this wedding advice post, please read this: restaurant food is not catering food. There can be a huge difference between the type of food that can be provided at a regular dinner service at a restaurant, and the type and style of food that is prepared for large groups of people at catered events. Not all foods can be prepared in large quantities and served hot at the exact same time.As you discuss your wedding menu and make your food selections, be mindful of why certain items might not be available for large groups or why the chef might be hesitant to serve certain foods.
Questions To Ask
Restaurants are not your typical wedding spaces. Restaurants are experts at nightly dinner service, not necessarily experts in the needs of a typical wedding. A great question to ask is: How many weddings have you had here? If there answer is none, then you know that you need to start from the beginning and make sure that everyone is in the loop all the way through and that your wedding needs are being met. If they have had a few weddings in the past, be sure to ask about things that worked well and things that could have been better, so that you can build your wedding on their expertise and experience.
One of the best parts of using a restaurant for your wedding is that the space is likely already totally beautiful, with great tables and chairs in place. When you do check outa restaurant for your wedding, be sure to go and look at it in person during the time of day that your wedding will be. Is the space private or semi-private? If its semi-private, can anything be brought in (screens, pipe and drape etc) to make it more private. Is it is the “chef’s table” in the middle of the kitchen? Is it its own room or just a large table in the middle of the dining room? Is there ample lighting? What does the decor look like? Will the restaurant provide candles, or menu cards? You’ll want to know exactly what you are getting into so that there are no disappointments.
If you want to have a restaurant (or one room in a restaurant) all to yourself it is often referred to as a “buy out” where you’ll have to meet a food and beverage minimum (before tax and gratuity) in order to guarantee this privacy. At first, this minimum might seem high, but it can actually be quite competitive or even reasonable compared to what you might spend renting a wedding venue, bringing in tables/chairs/linens/equipment, and then the costs of food/labor from a special event caterer. At a restaurant, you can use the timing of your event as a negotiating tool, if you are willing to have your meal either on the early or late side of dinner service. If a restaurant can turn the tables, and do a full dinner seating to the public either before or after your dinner, you will have negotiating power when it comes to the cost.
Because a restaurant might have a lunch or brunch service before your event, or a meal service the following day, you must ask about their set up and breakdown policies. You will most likely have items to drop off in advance, such as place cards, small decor items and the like. For example, can your florist drop off the florals ahead of time? Will someone be there to receive them and place them on the tables? Will they know what to do with flowers? These are things that can be worked out, but need to be discussed in advance. Another note about decor: how big are the tables and how much decor will fit on them? This is particularly important to consider if your chosen restaurant does a family style meal service. In this case, you’ll need to have room for decor and the food.
Speaking of set up, what other items will you need for your wedding that the restaurant might not have on-hand? Will you want to have music playing or extra lighting? Special table linens? Part of the appeal of having your wedding at a restaurant – besides the food, of course – is the ease of not having to bring in items, such as tables, chairs and decor. But, maybe you want some extras, so be sure to ask about their policies.
Cakes & Drinks
When it comes to dessert and drinks, you might want to bring in your own items. What is your restaurant’s policy on bringing in outside food and drink? If you have your heart set on a certain wedding cake, will you be able to bring it into the restaurant? If they allow it, who will cut the cake? And is there a cake cutting fee? The same goes for wine, are you allowed to bring some in, if so how much, and what is corkage fee? Again, these are all things that can be worked out, but you’ll need to know to ask the questions in advance so that everyone is on the same page.
About The Service
The private event manager at the restaurant that you’ve been working with for months before your wedding might not be there on the night of your wedding. So, it is a great question to ask who will be serving you and your group that night. You should be prepared that the event manager might not be there, so they will need to brief the manager on staff that night of your wedding.
So, that’s about all that I can think of when it comes to restaurants and weddings. What did I miss? Have you attended a wedding at a restaurant? How did it go? More importantly, what restaurant will you celebrate at in the Washington, DC area?!
Welcome back to Jennifer and Dave’s classic and timeless wedding celebrating this city we all love! They hosted their Washington DC wedding ceremony and reception in grand style in front of lots of loved ones and friends. In case you missed their beautiful wedding ceremony, be sure to check it out here. After their ceremony, they turned the room and their wedding reception celebration was full of personal details, special Washington DC inspired touches and surprises, including a groom’s cake with a nod to Dave’s favorite sports team! I adore the fun flags handed out to guests to help shower the couple with love, when they weren’t cutting a rug on that packed dance floor, that is! You know we especially love how they incorporated plenty of local DC themed details too, right down to the table names and locations! A big thanks to k. thompson photography for sharing their wonderful wedding in the nation’s capital with us.
From the bride: My husband hates having his picture taken! He made it clear that he was willing to invest in a wedding photographer who made him comfortable and didn’t feel like they were on top of us all night, but would capture the evening in a way that allowed us to look back fondly through our wedding album. To that end, Kelsey was worth every penny! The wedding food was also important to us. Well Dunn blew away our expectations on that front. Finally, we wanted a wedding venue that screamed, “Washington DC!” We think the Carnegie Institute for Science really was perfect for that aspect.
We used old maps of Washington DC that were from Eastern Market as part of our reception seating chart and in many of our accent tables. I surprised Dave with a NY Yankees inspired cake as we’re both huge Yankees fans! A lot of our other wedding details were great Etsy finds, including the flags, bride/groom signs and more.
This bride’s advice to other Washington DC area couples:
Prioritize your wedding early! We knew what we wanted to spend our money on and locked things like our photographer, our food and the venue down almost immediately. This freed us up to be creative and flexible along the way throughout our wedding planning.
Jennifer and Dave wed at the spectacular Carnegie Institute for Science in downtown Washington DC, a city they had both relocated to. Because of their relocation to DC, it was important that they infuse the nation’s capital into their big day. And, their Washington DC wedding did just that – right down to the DC skyline paper goods and old DC maps at their wedding reception! But, the plum purple wedding palette is what struck me the most. It’s so elegant and perfect for their fall wedding date! Jennifer looked so happy every moment of her wedding day and Dave even got over his shyness in front of the camera (Could have fooled us!). With one of their best friends officiating their wedding, this gorgeous couple celebrated their wedding in perfect personal style. A special thanks to Kelsey at k. thompson photography for sharing this gorgeous couple’s wonderful DC wedding ceremony with us.
From the bride: As the two of us are transplants into the Washington DC area, we’ve always talked about how much we appreciate the city of DC itself. When we drive across the Roosevelt Bridge, we frequently talk about how the day went and we make the drive with the monuments in full view. We talk about how lucky we are to live here in Washington DC. To that end, we wanted our wedding to embody everything we love so much about the city – the sense of history, the simplicity of its design, and more. The colors and design of our wedding really stemmed from a few pictures I found early on in the planning process. Our florist (B Floral Event Design) and wedding planner (Roberts & Co Events) were truly instrumental in making our wedding day vision come to life in a classic, timeless way.
We had one of our best friends serve as our wedding ceremony officiant. Dave has known him since he was in 6th grade, and it added a deeply personal connection into our day. It helped that he did a tremendous job with our ceremony! Also special was when two of our groomsmen played a lovely rendition of “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel during our wedding ceremony.
Congratulations to Jennifer and Dave! Thanks for sharing your wedding ceremony in the round with us. Stay tuned, up next we’re showing you their fall colored formal wedding reception too.
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Welcome back! Jenna and Jimmy held a traditional-with-a-touch-of-preppy wedding in Virginia at a beautiful church. To see their sweet wedding ceremony from their big day, be sure to check it out here. After the pair were wed, Jenna and Jimmy along with their friends and family gathered at Belmont Country Club for an elegant wedding reception filled with stunning flowers! But, the dessert is what caught my eye most – along with a gorgeous wedding cake! The couple also opted for mini pies that doubled as wedding favors and holders for each guest’s place card. Yum! What a great way to start (and end) a beautiful wedding celebration. A big thanks to Kelly Ewell Photography for sharing Jenna and Jimmy’s with us!
From the bride: Our wedding was awesome! I jokingly told Kelly (our photographer) that our wedding theme was “organization” since Jimmy and I have been to so many disorganized chaotic weddings over the years. Also, our wedding planner asked what our wedding theme was early on and I said… “Umm.. open bar?!” We wanted to keep things at our wedding classic and clean, not too fussy. And fun! At the end of the day it’s a big party. I’m having separation anxiety from all of my wedding vendors and I’m seriously sad I can’t really work with them again!
The party was our priority. And the flowers. I’m the daughter of a florist and basically grew up in a flower shop, so we splurged on the flowers, for sure. We also splurged on a wedding videographer. We skipped things like upgrading linens and extra upgrading the liquor at the bar.
We asked Jenna for advice for other DC area couples and what she learned along the way:
Expect to blow your wedding budget! Also, slim down your wedding guest invite list! If you haven’t seen them in the last year and they’re not family, they don’t need to be invited.
Practice smiling and get your face muscles ready! Your face will hurt for days afterwards.
Also bake in extra time into your wedding day timeline. You can always kill time, you can’t add it back once the day has started. If you’re stressed about time, it’ll show in your pictures. Also, we did a receiving line. It was super important for us to greet every wedding guest right after the ceremony. We still tried to get around to every table at the reception (It didn’t happen!), but knowing we had already said “hi” to everyone took the pressure off.
Have your hair and make up people come to you. It is such a stress off to not have your wedding party run around town the day of the wedding to get prepped.
And, last one: Make sure that your wedding venue sets aside food and cocktails for your bridal party. I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve been in where we didn’t have those snacks and drinks and was hungry!
Congratulations to Jimmy and Jenna! Thank you for sharing your elegant navy blue and pink wedding reception with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
We are beating the heat a little bit and jumping ahead to fall with a beautiful wedding in Virginia! Jimmy and Jenna said, “I do!” in Herndon, Virginia at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church surrounded by friends and loved ones. The preppy color palette of pinks, navy blue and greens gave their wedding a classic, elegant look that fit flawlessly in the grand church location the pair selected for their wedding ceremony. Their bridal party was in luck – not only were their bridesmaid dresses beautiful, but their pale pink pashmina scarves pop off the page and look picture-perfect on the ladies! Look chic in a gray suit, this lucky groom even got a new accessory to wear on the wedding day – a watch from his blushing bride. Special thanks to Kelly Ewell Photography for sharing Jenna and Jimmy’s Washington DC area wedding ceremony with us!
From Jenna: Our wedding day color palette was preppy traditional colors with navy blue dresses for the girls, gray tuxes for the guys, with pale pink, ivory, lime green flowers.
We didn’t do a first look before our wedding ceremony, so it was great seeing his reaction when I turned the corner in the church as I walked down the aisle.
Congratulations to Jimmy and Jenna! Thank you for sharing your classic church wedding ceremony with us! Stay tuned, up next we’re going to show you their chic and oh-so elegant pink filled wedding reception.
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Well, good Sunday morning to you Washington DC area wedding lovers! I can’t wait to introduce you to one of our fabulous sponsors here at United With Love, Lisa Boggs Photography! Lisa Boggs is as talented as she is sweet! Lisa is an award-winning photographer who has been photographing weddings in the DC area and beyond for over nine years. Her style is timeless and classic, yet dynamic, bright, and overflowing with personality. Her clients have described her as professional, lovely, funny, creative, thoughtful, and very easy to work with. Lisa is a bit of a romantic (understatement!) and couldn’t be happier to work with people excited to be in love. She approaches every wedding differently based on her couples’ unique love story. So, whether her couples are shy and quiet or fun and loud, her photographs reflect who her couples are and what makes them special. For more on Lisa Boggs Photography, be sure to visit her website or check out all of her past features on United With Love.
Thank you so much, Lisa! We hope that you’ll check out Lisa Boggs Photography as a photographer for your 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.
I am just adoring today’s featured wedding engagement session in Virginia by egomedia photography! Erika and Erich (loving the name coordination!) met photographer Jennifer on Old Town, Alexandria on a warm and cloudy spring day, which is a perfect day for photographs! They spent the lovely day strolling around Old Town, enjoying the cobblestone streets and bursting spring blooms and, of course taking plenty of fun photos to prepare for their upcoming wedding at the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC. Their engagement session was colorful, playful and full of love – that’s perfection in our book!
Grab your sunglasses and hat today! Weddings are a great time to celebrate of course, and what better way to do that than with bright and cheery colors – like yellow! This fashion runway-to-table wedding inspiration created by Elizabeth Duncan Events and a team of Washington DC area wedding vendors was inspired by this oh-so happy dress by Jenny Packham. Created with the sunshine in mind, the design of this event table and inspiring wedding details lends itself well to a destination wedding, a summer “I do” or even a daytime bridal shower. We are all about the urban city here in DC, but we love this contrasting inspiration for a Washington DC wedding because of its hint of the tropics, take a look at all of these amazing details, including a DIY carved pineapple table number! My favorite has got to be the giant palm leaf turned menu and the bride’s beautifully bright accessories. She’s not afraid to show off her fashion sense and shine bright like the Jenny Packham gown that inspired this entire session! Thank you to Sweet Tea Photography for sharing this bright and vibrant wedding inspiration with us!
From Elizabeth: Sunshine and happiness go hand in hand, that’s why we took a cue from Jenny Packham’s 2015 line and let yellow be our inspiration for a tropical beach-inspired wedding. Palm leaves, pineapples, and plenty of bright yellow blooms are a perfect way to brighten your wedding day.