Classic DAR Wedding Reception| Washington DC

I am back with Brooke and Mike’s classic DAR wedding reception today! I hope you saw their elegant wedding ceremony earlier this week. And last week I showcased another DAR wedding, complete with a gold glam wedding reception, which I hope you will also take a peek at. I do love working at DAR!

Cocktail Reception

After the ceremony, Brooke and Mike took some portraits with Matt Mendelsohn and enjoyed their specialty cocktails. As their guests enjoyed mingling in the historic DAR Library, Brooke and Mike gave some welcome remarks from one of the balconies before all the guests went into dinner in the O’Byrne Gallery.

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Dinner Reception

As I mentioned in my last post, the Main Event Caterers staff worked super hard to reset this cozy ballroom from the wedding ceremony to the wedding reception in just sixty minutes. I just adore this classic look with the white linens and the walnut chairs. The O’Byrne Gallery lends itself to long head tables like this with lush garlands down the center! If the head count permits, I try to not set up any dinner tables directly in front of the doors that will be used to access the Portico later in the evening.

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We found a book of sketches of past U.S. presidents and we used them with a bit of calligraphy as the table names. Brooke & Mike also had a custom monogram created, with the laurel wreath an homage to Brooke’s equestrian background. We even had a small statue on the bar as an homage to Brooke’s horse Socrates, who was unable to attend, for obvious reasons.

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Like many grooms, Mike’s favorite part of wedding planning was the cake tasting. Fluffy Thoughts created this dream of a classic white wedding cake for this wedding! I love how the gold beading between the tiers of cake reminds you of the gold beading on the charger plates (above.)

classic DAR wedding reception classic DAR wedding reception

The Bachelor Boys kept the Portico packed with dancers all night. As a continued nod to Mike’s sweet tooth, Sugar Shack doughnuts were given out as party favors. One may have gone home with me!

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Elegant DAR Wedding | Spring Marriage Ceremony

Two weeks in a row we are revisiting DAR weddings! I love DAR, I work there 1-2 times per year, which is actually quite a bit considering I only do 16 weddings per year and there are hundreds of wedding venues out there! Don’t miss the fall Jewish wedding ceremony that I shared last week. This week I am sharing Brooke & Mike’s elegant wedding ceremony at DAR, which was forced inside by poor weather during our set up time frame. Brooke and her mom worked tirelessly for months to plan this classic and timeless DC wedding. I have endless gratitude to Matt Mendelsohn for making these fabulous photos!

Getting Ready

Brooke and Mike got ready at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel. I actually wrote about their hotel block situation and how it played into their transportation plan, you should check out that wedding advice post!

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First Look

It can be fin to do a quick first look with your dad before leaving to do the first look with your soon-to-be spouse! For Brooke & Mike they decided to meet at the DC War Memorial for their first look. Which is gorgeous but also tricky because there is no place for the limo to stop except for in the middle of Independence Avenue!

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I tell all my grooms (who are marrying women) that its their job to either hold the bouquet or hold the train of the dress until the bustle or I take the bouquet during cocktail hour. Depending on the dress, the groom will often opt for the bouquet, which makes for some great photo ops! I am 100% in love with this all-white bridal bouquet from LynnVale Studios. It is such a knock out!

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As we expected, the weather turned for the worse during photos (and set up over at DAR) but luckily Mike had planned ahead with this classic all black umbrellas. Brooke’s long veil blew around a bit but the bridesmaids were there to help tame it!

elegant DAR wedding in Washington DC

The Ceremony

After the portrait session, the entire wedding party went to DAR for the wedding ceremony and reception. After a rest in the Pennsylvania Board Room, it was down to the O’Byrne Gallery for the ceremony. This was my first ceremony in the O’Byrne Gallery. I thought it looked beautiful, and the Main Event Caterers staff worked super hard to completely reset the room in 60 minutes during the cocktail reception.

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The weather did clear up during the ceremony, which allowed for these awesome “golden light” photos on the Portico and on the 3rd floor balcony, which might be my most favorite spot for photos in all of DC. That patina – I die!

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Other vendors who played a key role in this wedding ceremony were:

Chariots for Hire – Transportation

Alison Harper & Company  – hair and make up

Advice for Brides & Grooms to Beat the Summer Heat

Last month I wrote about how to help your guests and your vendors beat the summer heat at your wedding. But I did not discuss one important group of people – brides and grooms!

Hopefully by now you’ve found my wedding morning timeline infographic, and my expansive advice on eating the wedding morning. This will help you understand how to map out your wedding morning, and how to plan for your breakfast and lunch. If you are having a hot summer wedding, you also need to plan to hydrate. And I don’t mean with just mimosas or beer. You should try to have at least 48 ounces of water before your wedding – more if you are also drinking alcohol. And you’ll need to stay hydrated throughout the evening. Maybe you can task a wedding party member to bringing you water occasionally (though a reputable caterer will stay on top of this for you.)

beat the heat at your summer wedding

Photo by Kurstin Roe

Brides should also consider how warm they will be in their dress. If you have a full skirt with a lot of fabric, you are going to be quite warm. How to remedy this? You might want to plan in advance for a second, cooler dress to dance in once dinner is over. Carrying a small, battery-powered hand fan might also be helpful – misting optional.

Grooms should consider how much they might sweat on their wedding day, and have a handkerchief on hand at a minimum, possibly a second shirt there as well.

If you anticipate taking photos in direct sun, bring some stylish sunglasses, and rent a cool parasol. Also see if there is a way to bring water to your shoot location so you can continue to hydrate.

What did I forget? What other ways can you stay hydrated and happy on your wedding day? Leave me a comment!

beat the heat at your summer wedding

Photo by A Britton Photography

DAR Wedding | Elegant Wedding Reception

I am back with L & J’s elegant DAR wedding reception in the Library and O’Byrne Gallery. Did you see their Jewish wedding ceremony earlier this week? I hope so! L & J aren’t big dancers (so they said during the wedding planning; photos posted below say something else) so they wanted some reception activities to entertain their guests that didn’t rely on dancing. One activity we came up with was doing a champagne tower as a transition from the end of the cocktail reception to the start of dinner. L & J gathered their guests in the DAR Library, poured the champagne, the Occasions staff passed the glasses, and the L L & gave their own toast of gratitude to their guests. Endless thanks to Stephen Bobb for these great photos.

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I often joke with my clients that I won’t let them use plain white linens. It’s not really a joke though ;-) I love great linens. They are such an affordable way to add pop and pizzazz to your wedding or special event. You have to rent something, you might as well rent something awesome! L & J picked a pair of linens in the same pattern but with two slightly different palettes. The linens we used outdoors, on fewer tables, had a darker, bolder look with charcoals and coppers. The linens we used inside the O’Byrne Gallery were lighter, the pattern more subtle, with more creams and golds.

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I was super grateful that LynnVale had 20 or so extra dahlias on site during the set up of this elegant DAR wedding reception. She gladly put them on the head table chargers, giving the tablescape a little extra pop!

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Another awesome thing that LynnVale created for us was this purple ombre cake swag. How awesome is this? Andrea from LynnVale is an architect by training, so she knows how to take my ideas made of crazy words and make them work in real life, which I am super thankful for.

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Every elegant DAR wedding reception ends with dancing on the Portico, with pashminas to keep you warm, and cannolis to give you energy! While DAR does have decent existing outdoor lighting, it is a bright, harsh white light, so I always recommend bringing in a lighting professional to create a softer ambiance.

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DAR elegant wedding reception
DAR elegant wedding reception
DAR elegant wedding reception DAR elegant wedding reception

They sure look like dancers to me!

DAR elegant wedding reception

Other awesome wedding pros who were on our team for this elegant DAR wedding:

Alison Harper & Company for hair & make up

Bowen Films for videography

Cherry Blossom String Quartet

Event Media Tech for lighting

Michael Bell, My DeeJay

DAR Wedding | Jewish Wedding Ceremony

I’m so in love with these wedding photos. Stephen Bobb did such a great job capturing this gorgeous couple and their beautiful wedding day. L & J got married at the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington DC – but beforehand, they took some great portraits at Constitution Gardens (which is happily just a few blocks from DAR!)

I’ve worked at DAR a number of times, please check out one of my past weddings there: a colorful wedding with reception in the Library.  And come back later this month, I’ll be posting another DAR real wedding.

DAR wedding Jewish ceremony

Check out this awesome wedding invitation suite. L’s mom designed it herself! I am obsessed with that modern DC monument collage for the envelope liner! And the font choices were on point too.

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Per usual, LynnVale really nailed the florals for this wedding. We were going for a purple palette that featured some champagne and nude hues as well. Luckily it was dahlia season! Oh how I love dahlia season!

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This wedding was the first weekend in October. We knew we wanted to serve pre-cermeony drinks as guests arrived, but we weren’t sure what the weather would be like! Luckily, Occasions Caterers was so flexible with us, and we were able to make the switch from cool lemonade to warm cider just a few days before the wedding day!

DAR wedding Jewish ceremony

If you want a sunset ceremony, you should actually start your ceremony 30 minutes before the sunset is scheduled to take place. This is called the “golden hour” by wedding photographers and it looks like this!

I learned early on that L had a sweet and sassy grandma. And L wanted her to play a special role in the ceremony. I immediately suggest she be the flower girl. And if you think a tiny tot can steal the spotlight as a flower girl, you’ve never seen a beaming, proud-as-can-be grandma as the flower girl!

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Other awesome wedding pros who were on our team for this wedding day:

Alison Harper & Company for hair & make up

Bowen Films for videography

Cherry Blossom String Quartet

Event Media Tech for lighting

Michael Bell, My DeeJay

Four Bridesmaid Looks from Rent The Runway

I designed this Palm Springs wedding inspiration fashion photo shoot in order to feature Rent The Runway, and with the hopes of showing how not just wedding guests, but also brides and bridesmaids could rent amazing attire and keep their budget on point. You can find the original posts here: Spring wedding inspiration, Summer wedding inspiration, Fall wedding inspiration and New Year’s Eve wedding inspiration. I’d never showed all the looks in one post, for comparison’s sake. Which brings me to today! Here are my four bridesmaid fashion looks. They feature bold, colorful dresses, statement necklaces (also from Rent The Runway) and amazing flowers from Holly Chapple – don’t miss the floral belt on the yellow dress! We also changed the model’s hair and make up for each look as well, to feel more authentic  to the proposed season (hopefully!)

Would you pick any of these looks for your bridesmaids? Wouldn’t it be awesome to cut your maids’ dress costs in half?Which one is your favorite?  Leave me a comment to let me know! Many thanks to Carola Myers for MUAH expertise and to Katie Stoops for the amazing photos.