Bree Ryback

Kelsey & Phil’s Classic, Art Deco Inspired DC Wedding at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Images: The Happy Couple

Sometimes I get wedding inquiries where I can tell from just a few sentences, that these prospective clients and I were totally MFEO. This was the case with Kelsey & Phil. From the Harry Potter style ask, to the jumping on board to guest blog their planning experience, to the mutual love of Parks & Rec, and right on to the shared affection of lists, meetings & spreadsheets – Kelsey & Phil were my people and their wedding did NOT disappoint. So I am super excited to have Kelsey guest blogging today for her own “real wedding” feature. Thanks for letting me be a part of your special day & for allowing me to get to meet your AWESOME family. This wedding won’t be forgotten ANY time soon <3

You guys, I’ve been blogging for Bree for months and I realized that I never got to do her traditional ‘real wedding’ post. I’ve been gabbing with the dos, don’ts, buy, sell, eat, don’t eat, ivory, cream, well now it’s time to leave the advice aside and tell you about the best day ever. My wedding.

Phil and I did a first look where we first fell in love, The George Washington University. I met him there and he put on a blindfold so I could tie his bowtie. Then the big reveal. It was wonderful. We were able to soak in all the magic of the day and the night to come without the chaos.

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Wedding Planning Advice: Top 5 Things to Know About Your Wedding Rehearsal

Image: Pop! Wed Co

We tend to attract super laid-back couples (which we LOVE) and sometimes our couples have such small wedding parties, that they don’t think they need to do a wedding rehearsal. We also have couples that use some of the more alternative venues in DC for their wedding – ones that don’t always cater to making the space available (and not charge extra!) the day before for couples to do a rehearsal. These are two common problems or issues we see often, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the top things to know about wedding rehearsals.

1. You should always do a wedding rehearsal

Even if it’s literally only one person down the aisle – it’s the most nerve wracking part of the day (I am not even exaggerating here!) and it makes everyone feel better, if you practice a few times the night before the wedding day.

2. You don’t HAVE to have it in your actual ceremony location

I’ve done rehearsals in restaurants, parks, apartment complex rec rooms, and even outside Eastern Market! Though it’s ideal to be able to practice in your actual ceremony space – scheduling of the space can be tricky sometimes, so don’t fret if it’s not available. Just find an easy place, that is near your dinner location, and practice away!

3. Start at the end of the ceremony

The easiest way to start your wedding rehearsal is actually as if the ceremony is just about to end! Line everyone up next to you (the couple) and have your officiant or planner say the final words, then practice the recessional. THEN line up for the processional, run through your ceremony (as much or as little as you want), and recess once more. Do one more processional run through – and then you’re done!

4. Try to think about who you want processing, before the rehearsal

Sometimes I get to my rehearsals and ask my couples, OK – who’s walking down the aisle? And they look at me with a blank stare, because they hadn’t really thought about it. There’s no right/wrong way to do this — you can have grandparents as part of the processional, dearly beloved canine friends, full wedding party, just the bride’s side, both parents, no parents, and everything in between. But I do recommend talking about this with your partner BEFORE the rehearsal, as unspoken assumptions might lead to deep conversation, and it will help to ensure anyone processing is invited to the rehearsal!

5. Try to keep the invite list small

You really only need anyone who is walking down the aisle, doing something special during the ceremony, your planner/coordinator (if you have one), and your officiant (though I’d say only about 30% of my rehearsals have the officiants at it!). The more people you invite, the more people you have to wait to have on time, get into the space, be quiet to listen, and just generally HERD. Keeping it small will help it go smooth and get you to your rehearsal dinner on time!

Lauren & Ben’s Intimate DC War Memorial Elopement

Images: Lissa Ryan Photography

This weekend felt like the calm before the storm. There is so much about to happen in mine & Andy’s lives, that I am having already starting to bubble over with how much needs to get done in such a short time, how many things are going to be happening in such a short time, and how much change we are about to go through. Let’s top it off with the 3 weddings I have in May, Andy being out of town almost this entire week, me being out of town this weekend, and somehow still attempting to find the time to blog and keep our lives in tact. Weeeee! So forgive me in advance if the blog goes rogue these next few weeks, it might be all I can do to get up in the mornings and function, much less stick to my blogging calendar – but we shall see. For today we have the sweestest, intimate Washington, DC elopement down at the DC War Memorial. Happy Monday Romancers.

This beautiful couple met while Lauren was working in Africa, and when she came back to the United States, Ben couldn’t let her go without him.

When planning their wedding, Lauren and Ben knew that a big, fancy affair wasn’t for them – they really just wanted the people they loved the most around them while they exchanged vows.  Luckily, Ben’s mother and some of his siblings were able to make the long journey to be there for the wedding!

Pam & Dan’s Classic, Winter Wedding at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC

Images: Olivia Jacob Photography

This week feels never ending and I am not entirely sure why. I’ve got a wedding this weekend & so much packing/de-cluttering to do at home, I am trying my best to still take things a day at a time with this whole selling our house thing. Let’s distract with pretty weddings & love, shall we?

We dreamed of having a classic winter wedding, and making it a fun celebration with our close friends and family. We both love the holidays, so a December wedding was a perfect fit. We selected subtle colors and decorations on our big day to accentuate the features of the ceremony and reception venues, as well as compliment the holiday decorations on display during the holiday season. Featuring the bride’s favorite color, pink, in the big day was also important for the wedding design.

Our classic winter wedding began with an afternoon wedding ceremony at Arlington First Presbyterian Church. We selected two large centerpieces of white hydrangeas to highlight the wedding alter, and bridal bouquets of pale pink and white roses. We chose a unique candle set for our unity service, including two horses for our individual candles and a chariot for our unity candle, to add a bit of fun to the ceremony. Following the ceremony, we incorporated Dan’s heritage with a Tea Ceremony honoring our parents.

DIY Paper Flower Tutorial: Paper Cherry Blossom Boutonnieres

Images & Tutorial: Jenn Heller Design Co

DIY Wednesday is back and it’s featuring our favorite (and most popular) topic: Paper Flowers! Jenn made us this ah-mazing DIY Watercolor Paper Rose tutorial a while back and it remains one of of most read & most pinned posts to date! So when Jenn said she wanted to tackle MORE and NEW paper flower tutorials, well of course I was done. For today she’s taking on the beautiful Cherry Blossoms AND DIY boutonnieres into one, rocking DIY tutorial: DIY Paper Cherry Blossom Boutonnieres. Take it away Jenn!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Paper Flower Cherry Blossom Boutonniere | By: Jenn Heller Design Co

The DC area may be known for its cherry blossom season, but getting those lovely fluffy bunches to your wedding is tough given their fickle timing and super delicate blooms. However, with a little time spent in advance, you can bring cherry blossoms into your decor with these cute little tissue paper boutonnieres!

The petite blooms can be grouped and used in a variety of ways depending on your style and how many of them you feel like making – from a small statement like this bout, to a crown for a flower girl, or even glued to branches for an archway or large arrangement.

The starting point for this tutorial is the popular basic paper rose – this one actually has fewer petals, just a more complicated center.  These are definitely fastest to make in batches, and once you have the hang of the steps they come together quickly!


Time: Made in batches (you can assemble about 15 blossoms  and 8 buds in 45 minutes)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Cost: The batch mentioned above will cost about $30 if you have to buy all the supplies from scratch

Materials you’ll need:

  • Tissue Paper in pale pink, dark pink, and yellow – Paper Source sells it in individual color packs but you can pick up a multipack at Amazon or your local craft store
  • Green crepe paper streamers (optional)
  • Floral stamens – I bought these because I make a ton of paper flowers, but I like their long and skinny shape rather than a bulb on the end.
  • Floral Wire – this stuff is pretaped, which will save you a ton of time, but any wire of reasonable thickness will do.
  • Floral tape
  • Baby safety q-tips


  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Black or brown marker
  • Glue – liquid, plus a glue stick designed for delicate surfaces

Let’s get started!

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