Happy 6th anniversary J&J!

Not only was this one of Bellwether’s first clients, but Jessica and her mom later referred me countless clients (some, in turn, referred me even more clients), and really helped me grow to where I am today! Their kick ass photographer Andrea Jacobson had recommended that they reach out to me, and I am eternally grateful for her confidence in me back then. I will never forget Jessica and Jim’s first dance, which included the Thriller choreography, nor how the bustle was messed up and we were cutting the layers of crinoline so that it didn’t peek out from under the dress. This was also where I learned all about the sabre arch for the first time – knowledge that I’ve carried with me since. I love this couple, I follow along with them and their 2 sweet boys on FB and  I’m so glad I could be a small part of their wedding day!

The Observatory - Bellwether Events - military groom

 

Parker White Joins Bellwether Events Team

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Hi I’m Parker, the summer associate for Bellwether Events! I am a rising third year at the University of Virginia, currently pursuing a degree in Media Studies and Government. I am interested in the event planning, media relations and communications field. I hope to explore the marketing and social media fields that event and wedding planning have to offer.

At UVA, I am involved in coordinating events through the University Board of Elections (UBE) and though my sorority. As a member of the UBE marketing and communications team, I created graphics for flyers, managed the social media sites, and organized our candidate events for student elections. As a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, I participated on the Silent Auction Committee for our fall philanthropy. I assisted in planning the silent auction event for our Parent’s Formal, by receiving in-kind and monetary donations. With this event we helped fundraise over $10,000 for Women’s Heart Health. These two organizations helped spark my interest in the event planning and marketing fields. I learned I love to organize, plan and execute events in a creative and effective way.

Thinking about these past experiences brought the idea of wedding planning to my attention. Wedding planning is a field that allows for a high level of creativity while maintaining an attention to detail. Wedding planning is a specific interest of mine because I want to be a part of making someone’s day special. It is a great way to highlight skill, ingenuity and professionalism. I love the feeling of seeing my hard work all pay off in one event. I hope to expand my organizational, event planning and social media skills through this internship. This summer I look forward to learning more about the wedding industry through Bellwether Events!

Happy FIRST Anniversary Katie & James!

On this lazy Monday (just kidding, I’ve been working since dawn) I think back to one year ago when I was working with this adorable couple on their Hotel Monaco Alexandria, Virginia wedding. We were so lucky with the weather as we did not have a back up tent for the wedding reception to be held in the hotel’s courtyard so we would have had to move everything inside. And a wedding dinner is always better al fresco, wouldn’t you agree? I loved their coral and gray attire. Lynnvale Studios created  Katie’s KILLER bridal bouquet as well as 10 completely different wedding reception centerpieces which is a concept I am totally in love with. And Deb Lindsey took these amazing photos!

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Hotel Monaco Alexandria Virginia Courtyard wedding ceremony reception gray and coral summer

Hotel Monaco Alexandria Virginia Courtyard wedding ceremony reception gray and coral summer

Hotel Monaco Alexandria Virginia wedding ceremony reception coral gray summer

Hotel Monaco Alexandria Virginia wedding ceremony reception coral gray summer

Happy SIXTH Anniversary to Monica and Dave!

A secret about Monica and Dave’s wedding: Monica knew about Style Me Pretty before I did. Thank goodness she was ahead of her time and got me on the wedding blog bandwagon. Back then we really only had The Knot and a number of magazines!

This was the first wedding I had worked at St. Francis Hall and I love returning  to this Washington DC venue (I get to work there almost every year) and remembering Monica and Dave’s beautiful wedding here. Their wedding was not the first time I’d worked with Kurstin Roe, and we continue to make beautiful weddings together to this very day, if I do say so myself. I think this was also the wedding where I fell back in love with Don’t Stop Believin’, thanks to Sound Nation. Certain songs at certain weddings really stand out in my memory, and the picture below perfectly captures that memory.

 

groom wipes away a tear at the start of the wedding ceremony

after the ceremony, groom looks at his wedding ring, bride laughs

bride and groom with vintage rolls royce, lincoln memorial in the background

bride and groom sing along with the band

 

More wedding vendors who were awesome at this wedding, as seen above:

Petal’s Edge

Regal Limo

Happy FIFTH Anniversary Nikia & Andre!

Confession: I had to look up the year of Nikia and Andre’s red and purple Baltimore wedding to figure out which anniversary this was. And I was surprised that their wedding was only 5 years ago. This wedding feels like it happened ages ago to me. I love their Willy Wonka-inspired wedding so much and haven’t work with as fun of a theme since then. The American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore was the perfect setting for this whimsical and eclectic wedding design, and I would love to be back at AVAM more often – I’ll be back in July and it will be my first time back since this wedding. Thanks to A Britton Photography for the beautiful wedding pictures. You can see more of their photos and hear from Nikia here.
bride and groom holding red and purple big balloons

wide shot of the wedding ceremony

half of a wedding cake

Strathmore Mansion Wedding in Maryland: Tatiana and Steve

I have Tatina and Steve’s real wedding photos from a beautiful space at Strathmore Mansion in Kensington, Maryland to share! This couple wed in early June and the weather was a perfect day in the DMV with no cloud in the sky. Their wedding ceremony was at the chapel at Georgetown Prep, the groom’s alma mater, and then the couple and along with their wedding guests headed directly across the street for a fun wedding reception at the Strathmore Mansion. The groom’s boutonniere was made by Elegance & Simplicity and featured hops and wheat as a special nod to his love of all things beer. Even though their wedding venue was traditional and classic in design, they wanted a wedding reception that was rustic and eclectic to fit their personal tastes. You can see their rustic touches in the bridal bouquet on through to the individual flower vases used for the escort cards as well as in the tall, branchy centerpieces and whimsical floral and fruit centerpieces. It was a beautifully fun and personal day for all and I was so honored to help Tatiana and Steve with celebrate their wedding. Special thanks to their wedding photographer, Debi Parker, for sharing Tatiana and Steve’s gorgeous wedding day images with us.

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Thank you so much to Tatiana and Steve for letting us sharing in your special wedding day! The following wedding vendors in the Washington DC area contributed to their wedding:

Planning: Bellwether Events
Photography: Debi Parker Photography
Floral Design: Elegance & Simplicity
Ceremony Venue: Georgetown Prep
Reception Venue & Catering: Strathmore Mansion

Photo Credits: Debi Parker Photography

Happiest First Anniversary Laura & Connor!

Wishing the happiest first wedding anniversary to Laura and Connor today! I hope the weather in Chicago is warmer than DC right now! I was lucky enough to work with Laura’s older sister Pippa and her delightful husband Brian on their wedding a number of years ago, and so honored to be called again when Laura and Connor got engaged. They picked Oxon Hill Manor for their wedding venue, which I had not worked at before, and was surprised at how beautiful the property is! I hope to be back there again. Laura and Connor picked many of the same wedding professionals that Pippa and Brian had hired, including Occasions Caterers, Sidra Forman and Michelle Lindsay Photography so it was great to have this stellar team back together again. Below are a few photos from their beautiful day. Here you can find a full feature of their wedding on United With Love.

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Laura and Connor opted to not see each other before the wedding ceremony, but they did write letters to each other to read that afternoon. I love this idea and wish more of my couples did it – whether they do a first look or not!

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Connor’s family has a tradition of using an heirloom sabre to cut their wedding cake and Laura and Connor did not disappoint! How awesome is this cake cutting picture!?!

Oxon Hill Manor Maryland wedding Bellwether Events cake cutting sabre

 

Happy anniversary Laura and Connor! I hope you have a great day and an even better year this year! Many thanks to Michelle Lindsay for always being so generous with the pictures. Here is a short list of some of wedding vendors who worked so hard on this wedding.

 

Photography: Michelle Lindsay Photography
Ceremony + Reception Location: Oxon Hill Manor
Wedding Planner: Bellwether Events
Florist: Sidra Forman
Caterer: Occasions Catering
Hair/Make-Up: Alison Harper & Co
DJ: MyDeejay
Videography: Thomas Bowen Films
Stationery: Minted
Bridal Gown: Matthew Christopher
Bridal Salon: Nordstrom Tysons Corner Wedding Suite
Bridal Shoes: Benjamin Adams
Headpiece/Veil: Sister’s Veil
Jewelry: Nina
Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew
Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank
Officiant: Gail Epes (family friend)

Happy First Anniversary Erin & Jay!

My Pi Day couple from 2015 is celebrating their FIRST wedding anniversary today! Yay! Their full wedding will be shared on United With Love next month. But for now, please enjoy this Hotel Monaco DC wedding ceremony recessional gem from Kurstin Roe. Happy, happy day to Erin and Jay!

Hotel Monaco DC Jewish wedding ceremony

Destination Wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland

I have an intimate destination wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland to share with you today! Alex and Anthony’s destination wedding was a fun-filled and ultra personal celebration of love as they were was surrounded by only their closest friends and family on their wedding day.

Before I share the gorgeous wedding photos from Orange Lemur, let me tell you a little bit about this couple. Alexandra, who goes by Alex, and Anthony were friends for many years before they started dating. Anthony decided to propose marriage to Alex on a rainy day at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Anthony is English and his parents were unable to travel to the U.S. for the wedding. They couldn’t go back to his home country to marry because England requires a period of residency in order to obtain a marriage license. Scotland, however, is close enough to the groom’s parents and family, and allows couples to mail in their marriage paperwork in advance of arriving in country. So, they settled on a destination wedding in Edinburgh!

A few days before their wedding ceremony, we all traveled to Scotland to help them prepare for the wedding and celebrate. It is rainy everyday in Scotland, call it the local charm, but these two didn’t care and it added to the gorgeous setting on their wedding day. Thank you so much to Orange Lemur for sharing Alex and Anthony’s destination wedding photos from Scotland.

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Their DIY wedding stationery was inspired by Penguin Publishing’s iconic orange trim. Alex and Anthony infused their wedding day details with their favorite fictional characters, from the wedding invitation’s postage that had Harry Potter and Batman photos, to their LEGO wedding cake topper to their vintage horror movie poster-inspired reception table numbers. It was truly a personal wedding celebration in a destination setting that everyone who was nearest and dearest to them could attend!

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The beauty of a destination wedding, I’ve discovered as a wedding planner and a wedding guest, is that couples are not always bound to a Saturday event! A destination wedding on a week day or off-peak time means that you can get good deals on wedding vendors and venues that might not otherwise be booked. Your guest are already traveling and taking off of work, why not have a mid-week wedding!? Alex and Anthony had a Monday wedding celebration, which in hindsight was really brilliant. Many of us left the U.S. on Friday night, arrived in Edinburgh on Saturday morning. We recovered from jetlag long before Monday afternoon with enough time to truly celebrate their wedding!
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Alex and Anthony did a “first look.” However, the pre-wedding ceremony concept of a “first look” has not yet caught on in Scotland, but Alex and Anthony are very glad that they decided to move forward with the idea. There is a quaint park just steps from the hotel in Edinburgh, and the rain stopped only long enough for Jan from Orange Lemur to capture some sweet photographs of Alex and Anthony during their “first look.” I love this image of Alex walking out of the hotel on her wedding day…

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After their first look, they moved inside for their personal and meaningful wedding ceremony. For their wedding ceremony, Alex and Anthony embraced the traditional Scottish wedding. Alex and Anthony opted to have their siblings stand by their sides during their wedding ceremony. Alex with her two brothers and Anthony and his sister, who also resides in England, near his parents.

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Alex and Anthony mailed in their marriage registration paperwork to Scotland weeks in advance, and they picked up their marriage schedule upon arriving in Scotland 10 days before their wedding ceremony. The marriage schedule is similar to a marriage license here in the U.S. and it is then signed by the couple, their witnesses and the celebrant as the last part of the wedding ceremony. After Alex and Anthony signed their marriage schedule, the celebrant led the entire group in a traditional Scottish blessing, complete with a shot of whiskey for all.

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After the marriage ceremony, couples and their wedding guests move to what is called a drinks reception in Scotland. This drinks reception is much like what Americans refer to as the cocktail hour, which is that time after the wedding ceremony, but before the reception starts. However, the drinks reception in Scotland is typically 105 minutes long. Afterwards, Alex and Andy’s wedding guests were seated for what they call a wedding breakfast in Scotland, which was a multi-course seated wedding reception dinner.

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Toasts and speeches are a large part of the Scottish wedding custom. It is expected for many folks to speak during the wedding breakfast. Both of Alex’s parents spoke, plus Alex’s younger brother and Anthony’s sister. The remarks ranged from hilarious, to touching, to very emotional!
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After the wedding dinner, there was dancing! Lots of it! And with the Scottish wedding tradition, there was a light buffet with sweet and savory snacks offered by the hotel.
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Thank you so much Alex and Anthony for letting me be a part of your destination wedding day! I wish you nothing but the best and many lifetimes of happiness.

The following wedding vendors contributed to their wedding:

Photography: Orange Lemur

Venue, Catering: The Bonham Hotel

Florals: Rouge Flowers

Cake: Liggy’s Cakes

Hair & Make Up: City Brides

Coordinator: Bellwether Events

Celebrant: Jackie Grant

Harpist: Deborah Shaw

A New Ceremony Reading to Consider

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

 

– Justice Anthony Kennedy,

OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL