Lessons Learned

Confirm with your caterer that you are getting a salad fork, salad knife, dinner fork and dinner knife (if you are serving a salad and entree seated, of course.) Using two salad forks and two salad knives is a silly short cut that no one should be taking.

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Photo by: Kurstin Roe

Lessons Learned is a recurring series about the little and sometimes not so little things I learn at each and every wedding. Even after 14 years and 200+ weddings under my belt, I still learn something new at each one! 

Real Wedding: Courtney & Cameron’s Wedding At Home

I was so excited to be hired by Courtney’s parents to help with Courtney and Cameron’s wedding! We had about 4 months to do everything, and all we had was the date and the location – Courtney’s parents’ home in Fairfax, Virginia. This was my first Mormon wedding, so I was looking forward to learning about their marriage customs and traditions as well as plan a fabulous summer backyard wedding. We brought in a dream team of Design Cuisine, Holly Chapple Flowers and Skyline Tent Company, along with the uber-talented Michelle Lindsay to document it all.

The wedding weekend didn’t start out too great, with a historic Derecho (a thunderstorm with hurricane force winds) ripped through Northern Virginia, damaging equipment that had been installed in the backyard earlier in the week. But this team of amazing wedding vendors rallied, worked through the night, and you could not tell that anything was not as originally planned. Thanks to the storm, the Temple didn’t have power, so family members had to carry Courtney’s grandmother up the stairs to get to the ceremony, and the ceremony itself was lit by candlelight. You can’t tell anything was wrong in this gorgeous photos though!

The backyard reception was a bit hot, and we had some no-shows thanks to the storm and subsequent power-outage, but it was a festive celebration nonetheless. We had mouth-watering food, stunning decor and Cameron’s brother kept the dance floor packed all night with his DJ talents.

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The following vendors worked their tails off on this Virginia wedding, and I would not have wanted anyone else on my team after that extreme weather situation. And just a few short years later, almost all of us got back together for Courtney’s sister Mackenzie’s wedding!

Photographer: Michelle Lindsay
Wedding & Design: Bellwether Events
Catering: Design Cuisine
Flowers: Holly Chapple Flowers
Tent and Lighting: Skyline Tent Company

Invitation: Smock via The Dandelion Patch

Lessons Learned

When picking a spot for your first look or for group portraits, make sure there is parking available if you will be arriving by a limo. There is nothing like a stretch limo stopping in the middle of a busy road to drop you and your wedding party off at the desired location!

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Photo by Orange Lemur, Edinburgh Scotland

Lessons Learned is a recurring series about the little and sometimes not so little things I learn at each and every wedding. Even after 14 years and 200+ weddings under my belt, I still learn something new at each one! 

Real Wedding: Mary Beth and Chris

When I worked on Mary Beth’s older sister Kate’s wedding I immediately fell in love with their whole family. I could not wait for Mary Beth to start planning her wedding (P.S. she was single at the time.) Mother of the bride Mary kept me posted when MB and Chris started dating, and when Chris popped the question, I think I was one of the first people Mary alerted via email!

It took no time at all for the families to agree that the wedding would be at Shrine Mont, a place that is so near and dear to this family’s heart. The best way I can describe this is that it is just like the summer retreat in Dirty Dancing, but without the snooty restaurant and accompanying waitstaff. Rather, three times a day camp guests gather in the dining hall for some serious home-cooked comfort food.

Shrine Mont is in Orkney Springs Virginia, a 2 hour drive from DC and a stone’s throw from the West Virginia border. There isn’t much else in Orkney Springs, so we brought in Charlottesville caterer Harvest Moon, and the florist was based near Luray, the band Walrus (who also played at Kate’s wedding and obviously crushed it) came from Greenville NC, the photographers came from Boulder CO and the linens from La Tavola came in from California. To say it was logistically challenging was an understatement.

We settled quickly on a colorful wedding, with bright summer flowers for this camp wedding. The reception room has very tall ceilings, so we incorporated curly willow to add height to centerpieces. Mary brought dahlias from her home garden that were used on the cake. Yes it was a little drizzly during the ceremony but look at that altar – there was no way we were moving to the back up location. And as any summer camp wedding should, we wrapped the evening with a bonfire and s’mores.

I can’t thank Holland Photo Arts enough for these gorgeous photos. The tractor photo is magazine-cover worthy. And if you can spot my cameo, it is one of my favorite photos of me in action.

 

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I loved working with each and every one of these vendors, and I would do it all again tomorrow if given the chance!

Venue: Shrinemont
Photography: Holland Photo Arts
Planning and Design: Bellwether Events
Catering: Harvest Moon
Cake: Cakes by Rachel
Florals: Countrypolitan Mercantile
Linens: La Tavola
Lighting: Blue Ridge Lighting
Band: Walrus, via Sam Hill Bands
Videographer: Ian’s Creations

Lessons Learned

When you have a buffet meal at your wedding, you need to order 125-150% of your guest count for dinner plates. Otherwise you caterer be washing plates in the middle of dinner and guests will be annoyed.

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Photo by Michelle Lindsay 

Lessons Learned is a recurring series about the little and sometimes not so little things I learn at each and every wedding. Even after 14 years and 200+ weddings under my belt, I still learn something new at each one! 

Happy Anniversary to Ron and Jon!

This fabulous Decatur House wedding in Washington DC was just two short years ago – it feels like yesterday.This was a truly joyful day. I loved every minute of this wedding weekend  (including the dapper rehearsal dinner at the Hay-Adams and the Survivor’s Brunch at their Capitol Hill row house) and I consider both these guys my friends today.  Check out these awesome photos made by Connor Studios.

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Deborah and Jason: Real Wedding at the Ronald Reagan Building

Today I am super excited to share Deborah and Jason’s fall wedding at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC. Deborah and Jason live in Texas but Deborah’s grandmother lives in the DC area so they decided to celebrate close to her! After an exhaustive search for a large enough venue that was also beautiful and interesting, they settled on the Ronald Reagan Building.

Deborah brought in B Floral to create some amazing decor. Despite this being a late October wedding, Deborah wanted to use all neutrals – no orange, red or yellow here! The heirloom gourds paired with the white orchids is absolutely stunning.

Check out these absolutely stunning pictures by Procopio Photography. I was blown away with the preparation that this husband and wife team put into preparing for the wedding day, and absolutely floored with these stunning high art photographs.

 

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Thanks to all these awesome vendors who made Deborah and Jason’s wedding day so extraordinary!

Venue and Catering: Ronald Reagan Building

Photographer: Procopio Photography

Planner: Bellwether Events

Florals: B Floral Design

Videography: Michael Brazda Films

Lighting: John Farr Lighting

Entertainment: Bialek’s Music

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

Happy Fourth Anniversary, P&B!

Happy happy fourth anniversary to one of my favorite couples, Pippa and Brian. I tell the story of their ceremony quite often, because I basically made their guests walk through a {perfectly dry} ceremony set up under the tent at Woodend to sit in a very light drizzle on the south lawn. If the bride wants to stand in the the “rain” everyone else can too – that’s my motto! These two met at Colgate, and had a great alumni crowd at their wedding – I think it was about 20% of their guest list! I’ve kept up with Pippa and Brian over the years, as they love to give me glowing reviews to potential clients. But the best referral was Pippa’s sister, Laura, who I got to work with in 2015 at her wedding to Connor! Many thanks to Michelle Lindsay for these gorgeous photos.

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Lessons Learned

Just because a venue has directional lighting doesn’t mean it will have the same effect as professional pinspot lighting. Investigate this ahead of time before being disappointed on the day of the event when all your gorgeous centerpieces are in the dark. Bonus tip: if you have tall centerpieces, and the budget for a little more lighting, hit those with a pinspot on each side.

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Photo by Procopio Photography

Lessons Learned is a recurring series about the little and sometimes not so little things I learn at each and every wedding. Even after 14 years and 200+ weddings under my belt, I still learn something new at each one! 

Happy Anniversary Anne & Ross!

Happiest Second Anniversary to Anne & Ross! I so loved working with them and their sweet pup at this Ritz-Carlton Georgetown wedding ceremony & reception. I love this light-industrial space that is perfect for intimate weddings. Many thanks to Jessica Schmitt, who came all the way from NYC to make these cute photos!

 

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