I think spring is starting to peek its sunshine rays out and we are seeing the last of the winter sludge! Wedding season is in full gear, and we can’t wait to see all of the beautiful images from our favorite DC area wedding vendors! Keep an eye out in the upcoming weeks as we are getting ready to unveil the new and improved United with Love! If you follow us on Instagram you might have caught our new branding this week, we would love to know what you think! Have a great weekend and see everyone on Monday!
It wouldn’t be spring in the district without the beautiful cherry blossoms and a sweet DC inspired engagement session on the Tidal Basin. It is so easy to get jaded with tourists and traffic surrounding the blossoms, but the sweet pink blooms will always stand as one of our favorite engagement session backdrops! Today’s DC area wedding couple, Amber and Matt, met through their church and the beginning of their relationship was established through emails sent back and forth while Amber traveled throughout Europe. As soon as Amber returned to the states, they were inseparable! Matt proposed earlier this spring and in his own words said, “Amber was more interested in the ring than answering my question, but I took that as a yes!”
Not only did couple and their photographer, Meghan Rose Photography, hit the tidal basin just at the peak of cherry blossom season, but also included an outfit change and a quick ride over to Georgetown to make sure their photos had two completely different looks. We love how they used color to provide a juxtaposition in their session. The first half of their session was taken in gray & pink, soft pastel colors, and right at sunrise among the cherry blossoms, while the second half of their session was bright, cheery, and oh-so-colorful with Amber’s fun & playful pop of red lipstick (her signature look, she says) and blue floral skirt! Thank you to Meghan Rose Photography for sharing their DC engagement session with us and best wishes to Amber and Matt!
What can we say about Carly and Brian’s Northern Virginia Barn wedding? Well, for starters we wish we had been on the guest list because they look like a couple who know how to have a great party! The couple have been dating since college, for over 9 nears, and their friends and family were so excited to finally be able to celebrate them as newlyweds! When trying to decide what was most important in the planning stages they knew one thing was for certain, they absolutely must have the perfect wedding reception band. The couple are Carbon Leaf super fans, so they went for a big leaf and reached out to them to play at their wedding. Although they said it was a small splurge on their budget, for the bride, seeing the band as she entered the ceremony playing her processional music was a unforgettable moment and worth every penny. We love how they prioritized the details that were the most important to them and were able to have something so special as a part of their wedding day. A big thank you to United with Love vendor guide member Birds of a Feather Photography for sharing this rustic Hamilton wedding with us today!
From the Bride: “Our vision was primarily to have a big, celebratory party. We had been dating since college (2006) at James Madison University (GO DUKES!), so our friends and family knew we were basically married already. We wanted a simple ceremony in a place we felt comfortable, followed by a rockin’ party where everyone would have an amazing time.”
“Our priorities were photography, food, and music. We were really picky with our vendor choices, which was a little exhausting at times. But when we found them, without question, we were absolutely in love with the choices we made, and they combined to make our big day everything we hoped it would be.”
“Our splurge was 100% getting Carbon Leaf to play our wedding, which was a dream come true. We’ve had some disappointing interactions with musicians we really like in the past, but Carbon Leaf are all as personable and good-natured people as they are amazingly gifted musicians.”
Personal touches: “In choosing our vendors, we put emphasis on finding people with which we could take a hands-off approach, and who we trusted to use their skills to provide us with a final product we knew would be amazing. We were able to let them be creative, and do their thing, and it was great! I had a TARDIS, from Dr. Who, in my bouquet as my “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” I’m a pretty huge nerd, so this was my way of slipping that part of myself in there.
Brian, the groomsmen, the ring bearer and his dad all wore ties with the Kennedy clan tartan, as his family is of Scottish ancestry.The box for the rings was Brian’s grandfather’s, which his mom had refinished and his nephew, the ring bearer, carried. Carly’s aunts from Massachusetts brought down the conch shell they blow to get everyone gathered at family events- that was especially fun as Brian’s family didn’t know what was happening when everyone started blowing it!”
Favorite Moments from the Bride: “The whole day was kind of a big, happy blur for me. My mom sang a silly song to me as she walked me down the aisle. My sister and her friends trying to make more noise at their table than Brian and I’s friends from college at dinner. Seeing everyone in one place at one time, feeling the warmth and love in the room and just a glow of happiness over everything- it sounds cheesy, but that feeling is what I remember most.
From the Groom: “Being up on the deck with my groomsmen when Carbon Leaf started to play Life Less Ordinary, acoustic, out on the lawn where the ceremony was going to take place. It just hit me like a ton of bricks that over a year of planning and preparation was officially coming to fruition.”
Tips and Advice: “Step back and let your vendors do their thing. I got overwhelmed early on and decided that they were the experts, and they would do their best work if we got out of their hair. It was totally the right decision, and I wish I had realized that earlier on before I got so stressed out! Also, day-of coordinator! I was so relaxed the day of and was able to enjoy it because I knew Kelley had my back and everything was awesome. It was nice not to have to think about anything except having a good time!”
From the Groom: “I know it’s incredibly cliche, but it’s true: make sure you take a few spare moments to really soak it in. For all the work, time, and money you put into such a big event, it’s ultimately your big day. It really does fly by, so grab a couple seconds here and there to look around at all the people who’ve come to join you in celebration, and enjoy what you’ve accomplished.”
“We had an incredible wedding and were so fortunate that so many stars aligned for us to have what was, essentially, a perfect day. We can’t thank our team enough for providing us with stunning services, and our friends and families for coming out and partying with us.”
Congratulations to Carly and Brian! Thank you for sharing your Northern Virginia Barns at Hamilton Station wedding with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
As promised, we are back with some awesome tips and trends with Purple Onion Catering‘s Joanie Rylander! We are super excited to share some of the hottest new ideas for your DC area wedding reception. Since food is obviously very important to a majority of our brides and grooms, we wanted to find out what is in and what is out in the wedding catering world! If you missed our post about wedding cocktail hour trends, you should definitely be sure to check it out!
What are some of 2016 ‘s hottest wedding trends regarding reception food?
In today’s world it seems like everyone is a self-confessed foodie! Satisfying culinary expectations has certainly become more challenging but not daunting. Here is what has been dominating the food trend:
Local Love: The farm-to-table movement is certainly not new to the scene but it’s also not going anywhere. Choosing seasonal and locally sourced food options for your menu is certainly the freshest and most flavorful way to eat, but keep in mind this does require you to give up some control regarding the menu. Trust your chef! With a little research and creativity you can come up with the perfect menu that reflects your personality and wows your guests.
Brunch: Honestly, who doesn’t love brunch? Think of mimosas, bloody marys, omelet stations, waffle and pancake stations. Daytime weddings are not only a refreshing departure from the expected, but they can be less expensive than an evening reception.
Cultural Traditions: We have long seen cultural traditions infused into the wedding day through the ceremony by many couples. Now, this is being incorporated to personalize their menu and give their guests a glimpse into their background and really personalize their wedding day. For couples that don’t share the same cultural background, we work to blend them together by serving fusion dishes.
Vegetables: Vegetables are definitely stealing the show as healthy cuisine is winning over heavy food, and sourcing has become more increasingly available. Some of the hottest vegetables right now are brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and beets.
What items or ideas are on the decline?
Traditional wedding cakes still seem to be on the decline. Many clients are opting for a small cake for cutting (in many cases to appease the parents) and then unveiling a dessert station that reflects their personality. We have catered ice cream stations, pies, miniature desserts, crepes, and donuts. Traditional buffets have also been replaced with more family style dining as guests can still have seconds but don’t have to stand in line and can spend more time interacting at the table.
Have you come up with anything unique that strays away from the seated dinner?
I personally find that the average DC bride is fairly traditional when it comes to the style of dinner service. Most of my clients do opt for a plated dinner or family style. If they are willing to shake up the food experience, I find them doing this through the cocktail hour with a fun station or interesting hors d’oeuvres.
Are there any new seasonal dishes that you’re particularly interested in now?
I just returned from the Catersource Conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and was really inspired by some of the new trends and techniques in food preparation that are being used. Purple Onion Catering Co. has been working to incorporate some of these techniques into our spring/summer menus.
The smoking gun technique, which uses wood chips or tea to smoke food right on-site, was really interesting. Also, using liquid nitrogen to present food in a different way to guests was amazing; it delivers the wow factor for your guests.
What is your reception specialty? What item/design sets you apart from other catering companies?
I truly believe that a clients wedding menu is an opportunity to tell a part of their story. I think one of my specialties is gaining the trust of the client so that they have faith in me to deliver their story. Getting to know them through their hobbies, favorite restaurants, family traditions, and travels, allows me to customize a menu that represents them. From childhood favorites to cultural dishes, couples can showcase a wide variety of menu items that are unique to who they are, where they come from or how they met. My absolute goal is for their guests to walk away saying “that is so them.”
Chad and Robyn met during high school in Maryland and both of their families still live in the area. DC was where their love story starts when they began dating long distance; the bride lived in Capitol Hill and Chad was in grad school at Georgia Tech. When they first started dating, each weekend visit was so important and jam packed with activities that they would create itineraries for each other incorporating the best of what DC offered. Needless to say, DC was central to their courtship. Therefore, when planning their DC area wedding, they knew it had to be close to home and in the District. After visiting what seemed like 20+ DC area hotels and wedding venues during a planning trip back east last fall, the Fairmont Hotel’s Colonnade Ballroom fit the wedding vision perfectly and was a major inspiration to planning.
We loved how the A. Dominick Events team used the natural light and romantic courtyard garden of the Colonnade as inspiration for the wedding. They kept the natural light and airy feel of the ballroom, along with the blush pink from bride’s wedding dress, in mind when choosing the wedding colors – cream, champagne and gold with pops of blush pink. Our favorite reception décor was the wall of white paper flowers created by Edge Floral, it was a perfect anchor to the ceremony altar and then re-purposed to the reception behind the head table. This wedding embodies the perfect mix of romantic garden inspiration and classic DC elements that we love so much about living in the nation’s capital! A sweet thank you to Hannah Hudson Photography for sharing this classic DC beauty with our readers.
From the Bride: “We knew we wanted to get married in the District since most of our family and friends still reside in the metro area. Both Chad and I grew up outside of DC, in Montgomery Country, MD and prior to moving (to Atlanta then Los Angeles), I lived in DC for a few years. We started our relationship when I was still living in DC and Chad was living in Atlanta, so DC served as the backdrop to a lot of our first dates and first memories as a couple.
We gained a lot of our inspiration from our venue, the Colonnade Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel. It already has such a romantic, airy feeling, so we capitalized on the decor and ambiance the venue already offered and incorporated some light, romantic touches throughout, including a white paper flower wall, champagne colored linens, blush and ivory centerpieces and gold chairs. We wanted a romantic, classic, yet carefree and fun wedding.”
“We opted to have a ‘first look,’ so we were able to have our wedding party photos before the ceremony. We rented a bus for our wedding party to go take pictures around DC. We ended up at Union Station, which provided the perfect DC-esque backdrop for the photos.
Originally, we had planned to go to Lincoln Memorial, but because we thought it may rain and some last minute improvising by Hannah, we decided to go to Union Station instead. I loved the photos at Union Station because of the large arches and the classic DC architecture that I really wanted in our photos.”
“Enjoy the process of planning the wedding and be nice to everyone! Especially on the actual day. I watched many of my friends go through the process and be stressed out on the day-of versus being in the moment and enjoying everything, regardless of any ‘snafus’ that may, and are inevitable, to happen. At the end of the day, everything on that day makes for a great memory and story down the road, so just be in the moment so you can enjoy it and look back on the day as happy.”
“My family is Jewish and my husband’s family is Christian, so it was important to us to respectfully incorporate some traditions in our ceremony that represented both of our religions. We had Chad’s sister perform a reading from the Bible and had a pastor marry us, and we had a Chuppah and broke the glass at the end of our ceremony. I thought our officiant did a great job at incorporating and respecting both of our heritages and the ceremony was very special.”
“Jill Bagga and her team at the Fairmont was awesome to work with. Right after the ceremony, Chad and I were whisked away to have a private moment with our own champagne and canapes. It was really nice to have that moment to ourselves to enjoy each other without the commotion of all of our friends and family. We were able to join the rest of the guests about 30 minutes into the cocktail hour too, so we got the best of both worlds.”
“Our main priority for the wedding was for us and our guests to have fun. We wanted all of our family and friends to have a great time. Great music was important to us. One splurge we did not originally have on our radar was the flower wall that we used as a backdrop to our ceremony and then moved to the background of our main wedding table. I think it was well worth it and really added to the garden-ey feel of the wedding.”
“Having planners was imperative for us, since we were planning our wedding from California. Our trips back to DC were jam packed with events and it was great having options already whittled down where we just needed to choose from a few versus having to do a ton of research and weeding out on our own. If you don’t have planners to help plan the event, day-of coordinators are essential so you can really just relax, enjoy and let the experts handle the logistics.”
Congratulations to Robyn and Chad! Thank you for sharing your garden inspired Fairmont DC wedding with us!
Did you have a good week? Better yet, do you have any weekend plans? Hopefully you’ll be enjoying the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and all the local events going on! Hopefully some of the blooms are left from all the rain! Don’t forget to join us again next week for more DC wedding fun!
Some links for your weekend from our favorite blogs…
When their photographer Molly, of Molly Lichten Photography asked the couple where they wanted to shoot their Virginia engagement session, they immediately thought of Great Falls. John and Christy love visiting Great Falls when they are looking for a fast get away from the city. They leave their cell phones in the car and try to remove all distractions that consumed them during the week. They told us that when they are up in the Falls it is a way to truly focus on their relationship. They took their love hiking through the trails and finding new secret spots for little picnics as inspiration for their engagement session. We love how wonderfully Molly captured the dramatic nature of the falls against the couple and used their love of the area to deliver moments that feel so genuine. Thank you to Molly Lichten Photography for sharing their beautiful Great Falls engagement session with us!