DIY northern virginia wedding

Capitol Wedding: Alex & Jim’s Modern Meets Rustic, DIY Small Budget Virginia Wedding

“When we started out planning our wedding, we knew our families would graciously help us out with paying for things like my dress, the rehearsal dinner etc, but we knew the biggest chunk of the wedding expenses would be paid for by ourselves. This meant we could make the wedding ours: a simple wedding with DIY details that made us happy.”

Sometimes I cheat when it comes to being a wedding blogger. How, you ask? Well, I don’t have to always track down awesome DC, MD, and VA weddings or wait for them to be submitted my way … because I KNEW the couple and was either invited to the wedding or just forced them to be on my blog ;)

You remember Alex & Jim from their adorable Alexandria, VA engagement session, yes? You might also remember that Alex’s mom and my mom are best friends, so naturally our whole family was invited to Alex & Jim’s beautiful wedding. And what a beautiful day it was – especially since it was practically hand crafted (and paid for) by the bride and groom themselves.

Alex & Jim poured their personalities into their wedding day and it 100% showed. Just wait until you see all the beautiful images by Stephen Gosling Photography, which truly prove you do NOT have to spend a million dollars to have a classy, gorgeous wedding in the DC metro area!

Alex & Jim’s DIY, Classy Small Budget Virginia Wedding at Osprey’s Landing

northern virginia small budget DIY rustic modern wedding pictures


Photography: Stephen Gosling Photography | Reception & Ceremony Venue: Osprey’s Landing | Bride’s Dress: Ellie’s Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Ann Taylor | Cake: Fluffy Thoughts | Officiant: Rev. Laura with Divine Transformation | Submitted: Two Bright Lights

From the bride & groom, on prioritizing their wedding details and selections:

The one thing we knew that we didn’t want to skimp on was the food and the drinks. We love cooking and we love cocktails so this was a major point for us.

This we think is the most important first task when budgeting to pay for your own wedding: make a short list of things that you are willing to spend money on or that you don’t want to DIY. This helps to prioritize your budget. Want a dual plate like we had? Then be prepared to get creative with flowers and decorations.

northern virginia small budget DIY rustic modern wedding pictures

All the flowers were DIYed by the bride & groom:

Bouts: Lavender, baby’s breath, silk bout leaves, flower wire, flower tape, twine. Voila! Rustic, simple and inexpensive.

Bouquets: Girls-Baby’s breath and lace. Myself- Dried Lavender and lace ribbon with pearl pins. All made 2 days before the wedding.

lavender bridal bouquet small budget DIY rustic wedding

On styling the bridesmaids:

Girls dresses- Ann Taylor. No tailoring. What more can we say? I loved the eggplant color and all the girls totally rocked the dress. They all picked their own gray/charcoal shoes which I thought looked awesome.

Girls necklaces- Etsy amazingness. I knew I wanted them to wear a statement necklace and these gray ones knocked my socks off.

eggplant purple bridesmaids babys breathe bouquets

babys breath bouquets

That stunning lace wedding dress!

Lace and not strapless. I fell in love with Jim Hjelm and the girls at Ellie’s Bridal picked this one out and made me try it on (by myself…no putting the dress on me and feeling awkward in the dressing room) LOVE.

Advice: I HATED the look of this dress online. The model was stick thin and it just didn’t suit her. Listen to the people in the shop and be open to trying on what they think might work on you.

northern virginia small budget DIY rustic modern wedding pictures


On their beautiful venue selection:

We picked Osprey’s Landing in Belmont Bay, which was in our middle range for our budget. Their coordinator Jessica Hatter is amazing. She is SO organized and was great at keeping us on track. It was so helpful to have someone young who understood that we didn’t want a traditional wedding.

northern virginia small budget DIY rustic modern wedding pictures

On their personalized, custom wedding ceremony:

The second thing that we knew we wanted was a great officiant would would let us do a ceremony that was COMPLETELY ours. We had two amazing friends lined up to do our wedding but Prince William county has very strict laws about non-registered officiants so after emailing Capitol Romance in a panic, Bree (ohhh heyyy) gave us some suggestions.

We loved Divine Transformation’s Web page and emailed Rev. Laura Cannon right away. Let me tell you she is straight up cool. She’s done a million weddings and is TOTALLY accommodating to every request.

northern virginia small budget DIY rustic modern wedding pictures

Click inside for the rest of Alex & Jim’s DIY, elegant & rustic Northern Virginia wedding by Stephen Gosling Photography.

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Capitol Wedding: Thea & Aaron’s Northern Virginia Creative, DIY Wedding

In keeping with our unintentional theme this week, we have another beautifully understated DIY wedding to share courtesy of Rebekah Hoyt Photography [submitted via Two Bright Lights].

Thea & Aaron used the church where Thea works for their wedding and reception, and the entire day was a labor of love of their entire family. They had friends cater & make the cake, and along with her family, Thea made over 500 tissue paper flowers to adorn the reception.

The beautiful coral and navy color palette perfectly accentuated their bright summer wedding day. Enjoy!

Thea & Aaron’s DIY, Paper Flower Northern Virginia Wedding


Hair Stylist:  Victoria Station Salon
Invitation Designer:  Courtney&Co. Design
Dress Store:  Anne Taylor Loft
Dress Designer:  Maggie Sottero
Tuxedo and Mens Attire:  Express Men

About the couple

There are more than a few people who would like to “take credit” for Aaron and I being together, but Aaron and I really hit it off during the car ride to a beach trip that his church hosts in the Outer Banks.  We both had to go late (he was at a wedding, I was running youth group) and so after some awkward Facebook exchanges initiated by a mutual friend who was trying to set up us, we rode down together.  On the ride to the beach, I (Thea) remember thinking, “I’m probably going to date Aaron.”  And on the car ride back to Northern Virginia I thought, “I’m probably going to marry Aaron.”

Six months later we were engaged and 7 months after that we were married!  Neither of us were expecting to end up in a serious relationship after that trip and that’s part of what makes it so fun.  We both love to read, hike, and serve and minster to others.  Thea enjoys cooking and trying out new dishes, and Aaron happily obliges to be the taste tester.  Aaron works for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Thea is the High School Youth Director at Vienna Presbyterian Church.


About their DIY wedding [and the importance of recycling & reusing their wedding elements]:

We were married and had our reception at Vienna Presbyterian Church, where I work as a high school youth pastor.  It was meaningful to have it at a church that has meant so much to me and besides that, is beautiful.

My goal was to be able to reuse any of the decorations from the wedding in our home afterwards.  Since our wedding, I’ve repurposed the burlap squares used on the tables into a wreath, changed the windowpanes from our seating chart into a headboard, displayed the paper flowers, and the various vases now hold baking ingredients and flowers in our home.

Oh my I love this so much:

I work with the youth at my church and they are SO important to me.  We invited all of the youth and their families to the ceremony, but didn’t have room at the reception (there’s a lot of them!).  I was so excited to get to share a few moments with them and some of the adult volunteers following the ceremony and before our reception – a cake and celebration in our youth space!

We (and by “we” I mean Thea J) chose Coral and Navy for our colors.  Coral has always been my favorite color for as long as I can remember and we used navy to accent.  I wanted the bridesmaid dresses to be a color that was universally flattering and navy fit that need!  We wanted something classic but still summery.

loving those coral statement necklaces against the navy blue bridesmaids dresses!

Aaron’s father is a pastor of another church in the area and he officiated our ceremony.  It was really meaningful to have him involved in that way.  One of Aaron’s sisters was a bridesmaid – I actually knew Katherine for quite some time before I met Aaron because she led the Bible study I attended.  I was honored to have her standing beside me.  She was a large part of how Aaron and I even met and has continued to be an important part in both of our lives.

Click inside for the rest of Thea & Aaron’s amazing DIY Northern Virginia wedding!

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