Shannon & Jae’s Eclectic, Handmade Woodend Sanctuary Wedding

Every detail and decision was made with this in mind, everything had purpose.

Today we have a lovely, handmade Maryland wedding at Woodend Sanctuary thanks to The Happy Couple! Shannon & Jae had been together for 7 years before deciding to get married. Shannon wrote such lovely words about this time spent together and what that meant for their wedding – I really can’t do a paraphrase justice, and so, I’ll just do a direct copy/paste of her words:

Jae and I had been together for seven years when we were married. Over the years we have found that while we come from different backgrounds, we share many experiences and have far more in common than what separates us. On our wedding day, we wanted to celebrate our love for each other and share our gratitude for our friends and family who have helped us to grow into who we are both individually and as a couple. On our wedding day we wanted to feel like ourselves, to make our guests feel comfortable, and to enjoy the time bringing our friends and family, our community, together in celebration. Every detail and decision was made with this in mind, everything had purpose.

Shannon & Jae’s Personalized, Family Oriented Maryland Wedding at Woodend Sanctuary

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Photographer:  The Happy Couple Photography | Bride’s Dress: Justin Alexander | Event Planner: Denise Robinson Simms | Bride’s Earrings: DIYed by Bride | Hair Stylist: Elena Gioacchini, Bang Salon Metropole Caterer: Windows Catering Company | Floral Designer: Wollam  Gardens | Reception Venue: Woodend Sanctuary | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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I was very close to my Grandmother who passed away the year before I met Jae. The lace wrapped around my bouquet was found in my Grandmother’s sewing kit and was a way of keeping her close to us that day. I (also) made my own earrings, piecing together elements of different pairs I had seen and liked.

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We were married by Brenda, a very close friend and extended family member. She and her husband Scott traveled from New Mexico to be with us for our wedding day and Brenda worked with us ahead of time to create our own ceremony. With the help of Jae’s parents, we incorporated an important aspect of his culture and family tradition during private family time prior to the ceremony.

As part of our ceremony, we asked friends and family to read quotes that reflect our thoughts on marriage. The four quotes also represented the four directions.

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Click inside for the rest of Shannon & Jae’s eclectic, handmade wedding at Woodend Sanctuary

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Kathy & Doff’s Washington DC Engagement Pictures at the Hirshhorn Museum

The Hirshhorn is one of the best places in DC to do your engagements pictures, especially if you are a total typography nerd like me. It’s weather-proof, right on the Mall, and gives you some of the most modern and FUN engagement pictures. Kathy & Doff actually had their first date at the Hirshhorn, so really for them, it was a no brainer. Thanks to eKate Photography for submitting this lovely DC engagement session our way!

Kathy & Doff’s Washington DC Engagement Pictures at the Hirshhorn Museum

Feel free to use these images, unaltered and uncropped, on your


Photographer: eKate Photography | Venue: Hirshhorn Museum | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Feel free to use these images, unaltered and uncropped, on your

How they met:

How do a freshly minted Biochemistry Ph.D. and a busy chef meet in this day and age? The internet of course. In 2012, after a can-your-schedule-please-meet-and-compromise-with-my-schedule coffee meeting a friendship that turned into a relationship began. Our first official date was at the Poste Moderne Brasserie at the Hotel Monaco DC, followed by The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Feel free to use these images, unaltered and uncropped, on your Feel free to use these images, unaltered and uncropped, on your

The proposal:

For the Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to spend a couple of days at a local bed & breakfast in Columbia, MD (no family, no friends, just us). The goal was relaxation. I was banned from bringing my laptop. We lounged and managed to get out for a long walk. On November 29, 2013, Doff got down on one knee in the middle of our room (after our walk) and asked me to marry him. I was totally surprised. A hard feat for anyone to accomplish in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment for just him and I.

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Congratulations Kathy & Doff! Best of luck with your wedding planning. Thanks again to eKate Photography for sharing her images for this DC engagement feature. Check back this afternoon for a recap from our Capturing Love panel event from a couple weeks ago!

Marielba & Also’s Modern, Intimate Purple Virginia Wedding on a Rooftop

I’ve been a terrible blogger lately guys and I apologize. Things should hopefully slow down a little on my end, as this weekend marks the last weekend that I’ve either worked or attended a wedding since May 3rd. That’s almost 2 straight months of wedding weekends. I swear I love this job though ;) For Friday we have a beautiful modern, intimate rooftop wedding in Arlington, Virginia. Marielba’s short wedding dress is to die for and I LOVE all the pops of bright purple. Most of the bride’s family traveled from Venezuela to be here for this wedding.

Thanks to Stephanie Kopf for sharing her images for this Virginia wedding. Have a great weekend Romancers!

Marielba & Aldo’s Mondern, Intimate Rooftop Wedding in Arlington, Virginia

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Photographer:  Stephanie Kopf Photography | Dress: David’s Bridal | Reception Venue: Dorchester Towers | Cake: Hemibry Cakes & Food Services |
Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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I don’t think it really hit her until Marielba stood in front of her adoring Mother, Father, and Grandmother, who had traveled all the way from Venezuela for this very moment, to see their beautiful girl in her wedding dress. This was it. It was time. The tearful smiles beaming back at her as she stood in front of them assured her that she looked stunning, and that joyful moment would set the tone for the rest of Marielba and Aldo’s beautiful wedding day.

It meant so much to them to have family come from such a distance for their big day, to laugh together and share both hugs and happy tears in each others’ arms.

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We decided to do our wedding at the Garden Terrace of the Dominion Tower because it’s perfect for a intimate style wedding with such an amazing view of the city, a modern indoor party room and also a gorgeous garden. The venue’s service was great, they were always open to our ideas.

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Click inside for the rest of this adorable Virginia wedding!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Garland Sign

Tassel garlands are all the rage in the wedding industry right now. It’s easy to see why – they are awesome. They add perfect pops of color and a modern flare to a dessert display or sweetheart table. For DIY Wednesday, Ribbons & Bluebirds tackles the DIY Tassel Garland tutorial with flare – adding her own special addition to it (of course). I hope to try my hand at this tutorial sometime soon!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Garland

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What you need:

  • Tissue Paper, in whatever colours you like
  • Mylar sheets, if desired (I purchased mylar foil emergency blankets)
  • Cutter – I used a rotary cutter but x-acto or scissors will work
  • 18” ruler and cutting mat if using a cutter or x-acto
  • Twine
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Cardstock – 4.25×5.5” per letter
  • Paint pen

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Garlands and banners make an awesome backdrop for your party, whether for a birthday or your wedding day! These tissue garlands combine with a festive message in the center for a colourful punch in your decorations. They’re also so easy to make, with no glue or drying time needed.

A couple of tips on purchasing your materials: As we saw in yesterday’s awesome DIY details, you don’t need to use conventional packaged tissue paper, as long as you’re using lightweight material. You can use paper tablecloths, mylar foil, or fabric too. I purchased a multi-pack of foil blankets intended for emergency warmth for a fraction of the cost of one small pack of mylar “tissue” foil for my silver flashes, and a multi-colour bulk pack of tissue for lots of colour choices.

Step by Step DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Tutorial Instructions:

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Step 1: Cut Tissue. To save time with cutting your tissue, start by layering the sheets if they aren’t already (most pre-packaged tissue will come stacked already.) Fold in half cross-wise to make each strip as long as possible. Using whatever cutting method works for you, cut a long strip from about 2” from the fold down through the tissue to the bottom to create a fringe. I cut mine in ½” strips, and after 4 inches I cut the through the whole sheet top to bottom. You should be able to get at least 3 fringed 4” sections from your folded tissue – I then cut the remaining tissue into 1” wide separate strips (see photo.) Repeat with all your colours.

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Step 2: Cut Mylar (if using). The mylar is more finicky, so I chose to use masking tape dots to hold it down to my cutting board as I progressed. Because I found the mylar tore more easily, I didn’t chose to cut any fringed pieces, and instead cut it all into 1” individual strips.

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Step 3: Make pennants for message. If starting with 8.5×11 sheets, cut into quarters for 4.25×5.5 final size. To add the flag detail at the bottom, measure up ¾” from the center of the bottom, and cut from the bottom corners to that point. Use a paint pen to draw your letters (or purchase pre-cut out letters to use) and finish by punching holes at the corners for mounting.

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Step 4: Assemble. For each tassel, whether using 4” fringed pieces or 1” individual strands, the method is the same: gather 4-6 sheets of fringe or 10-15 individual strands in your hand at the center, twist into a strip, then around to form a loop. Finish by tightly wrapping a strand of twine 5-6 times around the loop, then tie in a knot to secure.

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Step 5: String the tassels and letters onto a ribbon for hanging. To finish the garland, wait until everything is strung then trim the ribbon edges with a clean cut and dab with clear nail polish to prevent fraying.

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All done! I love all the fun colour combinations possible, plus the variety of textures from mylar or other lightweight materials of your choice.

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Let us know if you use our tutorial! A very special thanks again to the very awesome & talented Ribbon & Bluebirds for sharing this awesome step by step wedding DIY tutorial!




Maggie & Shahul’s Intimate, Lakeside Backyard Wedding in Virginia

It was Maggie’s blush pink wedding dress that first caught my eye in this adorable real Virginia wedding. Then it was all the amazing handmade details, the breathtaking lakeside venue, and of course, all the intimate details. I know you guys are going to love this one – though it’s intimate, the couple didn’t skimp on details and the result is just lovely. Happy Tuesday Romancers!

Maggie & Shahul’s Intimate, Backyard Lake Wedding in Virginia

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 Photographer: Photography by Anna Clark | Bride’s Dress: Jenny Yoo’s Annabelle Dress from BHLDN | Bouquet: Adorn Flowers | Veil: Crown and Sea | Zombie Cake Topper: Creative Butterfly XOX | Sand People: Unity Sand Shoppe | Bakery: Lilly Magillys | Rentals: Fredericksburg Rentals | Catering: Eco Caters | Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse | Flowers: Pier 1 | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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From the photographer:

Maggie & Shahul had an intimate backyard wedding with 17 guests & the most beautiful details. For privacy reasons we can’t share the ceremony photos but even without them you can see that this wedding is perfect. Her attention to detail is really what took this simple ceremony & dinner to the next level. I was so honored to photograph this wedding. It really was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever witnessed.

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From the bride on their wedding colors ~ a beautiful blush, black and gold palette:

We chose blush, black, and gold as our main wedding colors. Blush because I love it’s softness and thought it would go well in an outdoor setting and black and gold because we are die hard New Orleans Saints fans (also why I chose a table runner with a fleur de lis pattern) The secondary colors ended up being green and blue because we just love them and again thought they worked well outside.

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^on that ADORABLE blush wedding dress:

This dress was exactly what I wanted. It was flowy and romantic and very affordable!

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Click inside for the rest of Maggie & Shahul’s adorable, intimate Lakeside wedding in Virginia!

Michelle & Ron’s Laid Back, Casual Washington DC Engagement Pictures

Happy Monday Romancers!!! We are BACK in action after a full-fledged wedding weekend down in Virginia Beach. I had the absolute pleasure of being a wedding GUEST this weekend (actually a Bridesmaid at that!) and I am still recuperating a bit from all the dancing. Working weddings is a KILLER for someone, like me, who LOVES to dance. My dance itch was nearly incurable and my husband even said to me that I was clearly making up for some lost time at the reception. My feet are still throbbing a bit (and I wore flats!). Needless to say, I cut a rug, and then some. But onto today’s blog post! Thanks to Val & Sarah (gahhhh I love these two), I have an awesome, laid-back Washington DC engagement pictures session to share. Michelle & Ron took their engagement pictures in their neighborhood and even down in the metro!

These came out SO COOL. I’ve seen a few DC Metro engagement pictures before – but naturally Val & Sarah gave it their own flare and the result is just all kinds of awesome. Check out the sess and adorable DC love story below!

Michelle & Ron’s Laid Back, Alternative Washington DC Engagement Pictures

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Photographer: Val & Sarah

 How they met:

We met at our white coat ceremony in the beginning of pharmacy school. He came across the room and said something like, “I came over to introduce myself because our moms have been trying to say hello to each other. So hi I’m Ron!” [our moms probably noticed there was another filipino family so they wanted to connect based on that commonality]. We started talking and he said he was taking his mom on a tour of DC and asked if my mom and I would like to come along. I agreed and we had a great time together.

This was actually the beginning of a new and fun FRIENDSHIP. We were actually each other’s pharmacy school best friends. We studied together, worked out together and joined the same fraternity. But halfway through pharmacy school he admitted he had feelings for me. Apparently it was obvious to everyone but oblivious me.  After some reluctance and hesitation, I gave in and gave him my heart.

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Click inside for the rest of Michelle & Ron’s adorable DC engagement pictures AND for the proposal story!

Capitol Inspiration: A Modern Pinata Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

Happy Friday Romancers!! I am down in Virginia Beach for the day celebrating the happy wedding weekend of my good friends Mel & Ted! I am busy with bridesmaids duties, but I couldn’t just leave you guys without a Friday inspiration post, now could I?! And this one is AWESOME. Hot pink, orange, and yellow color palette, geometric shapes, tons of modern wedding details and the best part? A PINATA THEME. Yes! The creators behind the shoot share:

I wanted to create a wedding that was full of fun and inspired by a party, and a piñata is one of my favorite ways to celebrate! There are so many emotions to experience at a wedding, but this styled shoot was inspired by joy and celebration. At the end of the ceremony, the newly married couple kicks off the party by breaking into a piñata, being showered with a spray of confetti.

Thanks to Anna Reynal Photography & ALL the amazing vendors that collaborated on this awesome shoot!

Capitol Inspiration: A Modern Pinata Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

Anna Reynal | Cheerful Photography


Photography: Anna Reynal Photography  | Dress: Hayley Paige from Garnish Boutique  | Hair & Makeup: Behind the Veil | Invitations: Kelly Nealon | Furniture: XOXO Vintage Rentals | Flowers & Table Linens: Bella Fiori Couture Floral & Event Design | Venue: Powerhouse DC | Desserts: Sweet Hearts Patisserie

Anna Reynal | Cheerful Photography Anna Reynal | Cheerful Photography

More from the vendors:

I loved the faceted shape of the piñata, and all of the colorful fringe, so those elements were carried over into the rest of the wedding decor! Modern color blocked wedding invitations tie everything together and set the stage for an exciting celebration. A DIY fringe backdrop adds a festive flair and faceted shapes (made out of plastic straws and nylon wire) made a fun ceremony backdrop.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of this super rad, modern & brightly colored wedding styled shoot!

Katja & Alex’s Offbeat, Intimate Washington DC Wedding at Phoenix Park Hotel

What do you get when you mix Star Wars, Washington, DC and Scottish traditions? Alex & Katja’s DC wedding of course! Katja picked the date based on numerology and her favorite number 3 (March 30, or 3/30).  They included a lot of personalized and fun details in their day, including the ceremony & reception including traditional Scottish traditions such as Handfasting & drinking from the “Quaich”. Plus I just adore all the Star Wars nods. I mean, who doesn’t?

Katja & Alex’s Offbeat, Scottish Start Wars Wedding in Washington DC

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Venue: Phoenix Park Hotel | Photographer: Kathleen Hertel Photography | Dress: Andrew Adela | Dress shop: Lex’s of Carytown | Shoes: Melissa and Vivian Westwood | Florist: Mid Atlantic Wholesale | DJ: Musical DJs and Event Lighting | Cakes: Cake by Linda | Invites : awthorne House | PJ‘s: NY Cat’s Pajamas | Cake Topper: MelaboWed | Scottish Tartan: The McTavish Gray | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Click inside for so much more of Katja & Alex’s offbeat DC wedding at the Phoenix Park Hotel!

Let’s Get Personal: The Truth About Getting Married in Offbeat Venues in DC

Last year  I wrote a blog post rounding up some offbeat venues in Washington, DC to have your wedding. At the time my wedding coordination business was just starting out and I hadn’t actually worked at any of these places. I was just going off their awesome pictures and funky vibe – which didn’t really paint the clearest picture of what it’s actually like to get married in these types of places.

Now that I’m halfway through my second year of coordinating, I’ve gotten to work in a few of the venues I listed (and after next year, I’ll have worked in almost ALL of them! woot) and man, have I learned some things.

So naturally, I want to share the things I’ve learned with all of you. Here goes.

Let’s Get Personal: The Truth About Getting Married in Offbeat Venues in DC

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[image: Val & Sarah]

Let me first start off by saying that this post is in NO way meant to paint my experience with these venues in a bad light, nor should you all take my words and experiences as the final end all and be all. The point of this post is the inform and educate and share my experiences so that you all may have the best chance at making the most informed decisions when it comes to your wedding planning. This is what I do with my clients – I provide them with options, facts, and my personal opinion, and that enables them to make the best decision, that works for them.

Ok, now that that is over with. Here are some things I’ve learned:

#1. Flexibility is a MUST

When working with offbeat venues you HAVE to be flexible. Like SUPER flexible. How flexible? Well, most of these venues are real, functioning businesses – yoga studios and art galleries. Meaning they are not at your beck and call whenever you want to go visit them for walk-throughs or even rehearsals. They do not have standard times for wedding events (like rehearsals) and so you will have to work around their schedule.

Example: At one of these venues, I had a rehearsal at 10pm on a Friday evening. Would you be OK with that?

#2 The Land of Never Ending STAIRS

Offbeat venues don’t always have all the bells and whistles that traditional wedding venues do, to cater towards an easy load-in/load-out process or your handicapped guests. Most of the venues I listed on that offbeat DC wedding venue roundup have little to no elevator access.

This means lugging ALL of your wedding items (rentals included!) up and down LOTS of stairs. This also means your elderly guests may not be able to attend all facets of your event. Would you be OK with this?

#3 Communication Can be a Challenge

So far in my experience, communication has been a CHALLENGE (like a big risk/issue) with the venue POCs at these offbeat venues. Why? Well my best guest is two-fold. One, chances are the venue coordinator is not a full time coordinator, devoted only to event management. The coordinator probably wears multiple hats at the venue and isn’t at your beck and call, to only answer wedding related questions. Two, most of the venues on that list are new to the wedding scene. Weddings require a LOT MORE coordination and questions and logistical planning than most other events. Think about what goes into an art gallery opening vs a wedding. Weddings just have SO MANY other moving pieces, not to mention the whole emotional factor that goes into a wedding day. Because these venues and their coordinators don’t often understand all these moving pieces, or the emotions attached, things get lost in translation.

My advice here – get everything in writing and write EVERYTHING down. Make sure the contract you have with the venue is EXACTLY what you want and what you need. Do not be afraid to ask questions, often. Also, you need to be willing to deal with difficult situations related to lack of communication and miscommunication. This means misunderstanding, misconceptions, things popping up at the last minute, big changes (with little advance notice) —> ALL things I just dealt with at a recent wedding at one of these venues.

Again, I ask, would you be OK dealing with this? Could your stress levels handle it and are you willing to be all up in #1?

#4 Facilities Are Not Always Wedding Appropriate

This also goes along with #2, stairs. Most offbeat venue weddings are offbeat for a reason – they will lack facilities and amenities that more traditional venues will be equipped with. These means lack of appropriate electrical staging for a band or DJ, strange bathroom setup or location, and even lack of air conditioning!

Yup, you read that right. Some of these venues do not have proper ventilation and A/C dependency for a wedding (ie, hundreds of people dancing, drinking, and milling around). Are you OK with this – are you willing to have your wedding somewhere that might not be so cool in the summer (or maybe warm in the winter?), that might have strange things hanging on the walls (hey, most of these places are full-fledged businesses, not wedding venues, remember?), that might only have 2, 1-stall bathrooms. Again, are you OK with this (or more importantly, will your guests be OK with this?).

I am going to sum this up now, but I might continue to add to this post as I get more feedback from other coordinators, and work at more of these offbeat venues. I want to reiterate again, that this post is not meant to deter you from choosing offbeat venues for your wedding – you KNOW I love me some offbeat, and really these spaces are so much more interesting than the traditional venue, BUT you must be willing to accept/deal with all of the above (and more). So you have to ask yourself if dealing with all this, is worth it to you, on one of the most important days of your life!

I’ll leave that decision up to you.

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