DIY wedding

Drew & Kelly’s DIY, Family-Oriented, Coral & Grey Wedding

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Images: Cynthia Shipp Photography

When your brother is the groom and the bride is (now) your sister-in-law, the regional requirements of your blog can be ignored. So while Drew & Kelly tied the knot up in Connecticut this past September, and technically this is a DC area blog, the details of their wedding & love story were too perfect to not share. Plus I had the absolute HONOR to serve as their officiant, and so naturally I needed to share this moment with you all. Warning, it’s next to impossible to narrow down pictures that you have such an emotional attachment to, to this one is picture heavy. Happy Thursday you guys.

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We knew we wanted our family involved in everything!  We decided that our wedding parties would be strictly family – Drew’s sisters and brother-in-law’s and Kelly’s brother and step-sister were all included in the wedding party.  Even at the last minute Kelly’s teenage step-brothers became “flower-boys!”

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While working on wedding planning it was very important to us that the ceremony fit our personalities and was meaningful to us.

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Our ceremony included many family elements along the way as well!  Each of our bridal party pairs walked into the ceremony holding their babies (our 4 “flower babies!”) and we recessed from the ceremony with our 8 month old to a live acoustic guitarist version of “Send Me on My Way” by the Rusted Roots!

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We were married under a gazebo overlooking a small reservoir at dusk! We decided who better to ask officiate than Bree – Drew’s sister and wedding coordinator extraordinaire! She knew us and knew what we wanted so she was the perfect officiant fit. She did the most amazing job making us laugh, making us cry, and simply just making us feel comfortable!

^excuse me while I go cry again, after reading these amazingly kind words from Kelly. Love you guys. I was HONORED to be your officiant!

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 During the ceremony our mom’s read excerpts from two children’s books – Kelly works in early childhood so this was important to her!  Drew’s mom read from “Oh the Places You’ll Go” while Kelly’s mom read from “The Velveteen Rabbit”.

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^ I tried HARD not to tear up myself during the ceremony. No one wants to see the officiant crying … butttt I couldn’t help it. Everything was just so damn beuatiful, and I was SO happy, and OK, only 5 months post-partum, so let’s just blame that ;-p

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We were far from traditional when planning our wedding – our men wore tangerine converse and picked out their own gray suits, our girls wore coral pumps and picked out their own gray dresses!  Overall, we stuck with a gray theme with highlighting undertones of coral and gold.

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READ MORE FOR THE REST OF DREW & KELLY’S CORAL & GRAY, MILL ON THE RIVER WEDDING (INCLUDING THE WEDDING VIDEO DREW EDITED HIMSELF!)

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Corina & Ben’s Intimate, DIY Wedding in Maryland

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Photographer: Jonah Koch for MBK Photography via Two Bright Lights

Happy Friday Romancers!! Another week has come to an end, and with it (like most weeks) I wonder where the time went and I feel like I have so much to do. I wasn’t the best at blogging this week, but I did finally make it out to an “Art Club” meet-up last night with two fantabulous DC artists/designers. It’s so inspiring to meet freelance artists that create such beautifully creative and unique pieces. Though it didn’t help my to-do list, it certainly helped my mind & soul a bit. Also my belly – because we had THE MOST DELICIOUS wine & cheese during our discussion. We are NJ/PA bound for the weekend first thing tomorrow for some family time & a baby shower! Hope you guys have a great one too! Enjoy this super sweet, vintage-inspired (with a TON of DIY details) Maryland wedding for today!

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I didn’t want the wedding to be one-sided. Too often weddings tend to be about the bride, which misses the point. It’s about the marriage and the union of two people and I wanted it to be a nice balance that satisfied my husband.

We chose the venue because it was financial feasible and it worked out aesthetically. We decided on a tea ceremony – something very common in my culture – and cramped everyone in our tiny apartment, which made it ever so much more intimate.

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I’m not sure I accomplished my goal but I was going for a noir bridal themed wedding. I like my designs clean cut and uncluttered. Black and white were the tones I naturally gravitated towards and red embodied cultural significance for me and my family. I designed a wedding grocery bag because weddings tend to give away useless trinkets. I wanted to give people things they could use while reminding them of our wedding.

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We met at Duke University as undergraduates. We since have endured a 7-year long-distance relationship. At one point I was serving in the US Peace Corps in Samoa in the South Pacific and he was serving in Iraq in the military. We were able to skype during that year – pretty incredible technology feat.

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Nowhere in my wedding did I include flowers. If you can afford them, flowers can be a great accent. With my go big or go home attitude if I wasn’t going to saturate my whole wedding with flowers I wasn’t going to include them at all. Also, like I said previously, I wanted a balanced wedding that wasn’t too feminine.

I enjoy wedding planning/ designing and as I lived far from my family, I did most of the pre-wedding work myself. I also managed to squeeze out some help from my husband, much to his protest.

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I made the backdrop to the stage where the musicians played. While any bystander would have written the streamers off, those designs took three whole months to complete by myself. My brother, a concept designer from California, designed the backdrop of my dessert table – probably one of the most notable designs in the wedding.

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Kristen & Dale’s DIY, Rustic Virginia Wedding at the Barns at Wolftrap

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Images: Kathleen Hertel Photography

So normally I would be insanely excited about the impending snow storm. I love snow and it will be Evie’s FIRST snow. But 7-10 inches sounds a bit crazy (we know DC can’t handle 2 inches) and Andy is headed out of town so being snowed in, alone, with Evie sounds a bit intimidating. Here’s hoping we just get a few pretty inches! In the meantime, we have a GORGEOUS DIY wedding to share with you today – one that our girl Alesha coordinated oh-so-perfectly. Kristen & Dale’s wedding was so full of love, community, and handmade goodness. You guys are going to love it. Let’s get to it.

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How we met: Dale and I met in middle school! We were both in a middle school production of Annie, I played Annie, Dale played the butler Drake! We didn’t really become close friends until later on in high school, and we started dating my senior year. We are high school sweethearts!

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How he proposed:I had just finished up an Indiegogo campaign to help fund my life coach training and certification, and to celebrate this big next step, Dale took me out to dinner. That night there was a super moon, and after dinner we stopped to star gaze and look at the giant moon in the sky, and he proposed right then and there. We got engaged over the summer and had a trip to Disney World planned in October – and I thought for sure it was gonna happen in Florida later that Fall! When he pulled out the ring, he said, “I know you’re probably expecting this a little later – but it’s happening now!” We took another big step forward that night :)

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Our close friends sang, played cello, read, and officiated our ceremony we created ourselves, my Uncle designed our flowers and my brother helped bring it all together, and my brother’s girlfriend hand-painted a number of beautiful signs that were all over the Barns. It meant so much to us that our incredibly talented and creative community shared their gifts with us! It made the day even more special.

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READ MORE FOR THE REST OF KRISTEN & DALE’S PERSONALIZED, DIY WOLFTRAP WEDDING!

Sara & Matt’s DIY, Modern Purple Whittemore House Wedding in Washington DC

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[Images: Linda Wang Photography]

Tiffany of Simply Breathe Events sent over this DARLING modern Washington DC wedding today! Sara & Matt picked the delightful Whittemore house for their venue, and while it’s more of a traditional place, they upped the modern factor with their style choices and bright purple color palette. There are SO many fun details from this DC wedding feature.

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We looked at A LOT of wedding venues. We really wanted a space that felt intimate and warm, and wouldn’t require us to do a whole lot of decorating. We knew pretty much from the moment we walked into Whittemore House that was going to work for us. We knew it would feel cozy, and we could bring our personal touch to it without having to do up the whole space.

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I wanted to keep the colors simple so they would make the rest of the details and decisions easier, not harder. I chose a range of purples matched with gold and ivory, thinking purple was a flexible palette that wouldn’t clash no matter what shades came out. The bridesmaids got to choose any purple dress they liked, and they came out pretty different!

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Click inside for the rest of Sara & Matt’s adorable modern DC wedding at the Whittemore House!

Kayte & Luke’s Brightly Colored, DIY Newton House Mansion Wedding in Maryland

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[Images: Liz Fogarty Photography]

I loved the way you could totally feel this couple’s personality from their wedding images. From the bright orange, pink, and yellow color palette, to all the DIY projects – it was no wonder that this Maryland wedding totally rocked, with the bride being a SUPER talented musician. (Check her out!). The wedding has a slight bohemian meets Rock N Roll vibe and I am pumped to get to share some awesome insight from the couple to go along with their gorgeous wedding images from Liz Fogarty. Enjoy!

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Since we were long distance engaged (I was in MD where we’d be getting married & Luke was in LA), Luke gave me free reign to make a lot of the design choices, although I tried to run things by him whenever I thought he might have a preference :)  We wanted the wedding (which we referred to as ‘the party’) to feel young and colorful and delightful and casual.  We wanted all of our friends and family to have an amazing time. We went with a palate of shades of hot pink, fuchsia and orange for the bridesmaids, navy blue suits on the (12!) groomsmen, and pops of yellow to tie it all together – DIY-ed billy ball bouquets for the girls and (also DIY-ed) boutonnieres for the guys.

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Our invitation photo, which came before all of our wedding design choices, totally encapsulates the feel of the wedding – Luke and I sat on a bench in LA front of a hot pink wall and asked random strangers walking by to snap photos of us with his iPhone.  The very first one was the best and when I was back in Maryland, we designed our invitation together over Skype. When a cousin we’d invited noticed the lack of formal wording and fancy calligraphy on our invitations I was super happy because I knew it felt like “us” … as a couple we’re more “print” than “cursive.”

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The gorgeous grounds and architecture and round reception room with floor to ceiling windows at Newton White Mansion sold us on the venue. I knew the pictures would be gorgeous.  Luckily the rain on our wedding day held off long enough for us to get pictures outside, but by the time the ceremony started it was pouring, so we were glad we decided to move everything into the reception space as our rain plan. Having windows on all sides made us feel like we were outside and in at the same time.

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Kayte’s friend and former band mate Kevin accompanied her on guitar from his seat as she sung to Luke during the ceremony. Luke’s friend Adrian sweet talked a store into opening early and picked up Luke’s tie the morning of the wedding (don’t ask!) and got it to him just in time for the ceremony. Our friend Peter put together amazing playlists of music for before the ceremony, the cocktail hour, eating and dancing.  Luke’s friend Stephen drove all night from Ohio to be at the wedding and pick up the beer in time for the cocktail hour and reception. Our friend Nicole was the crazily organized ring master who was the “Day Of Coordinator” for us.  And our amazing bridal party made sure we had a great time.

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Click inside for more of Kayte & Luke’s adorable DIY Maryland wedding!

Kelsey & Peter’s Crafty Virginia Wedding at the Atrium at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Kelsey and Peter are a super fun and thoughtful couple. They wanted to strike a balance between DIY and not-DIY, both to help keep the budget down and because the bride is fabulously crafty. Their wedding was very simple and classic with a couple of cute or silly twists (e.g., the placemats).  Kelsey spent weeks printing invitations (her father is a celtic-knot artwork guru and helped with the design), spray-painting various objects (she is now going through spray-painting withdrawals), and creating gifts (the bridesmaids’ robes were all handmade, for example). Kelsey spent the morning of the wedding finishing the table numbers, and keeping busy definitely helped keep her calm and happy. Thanks to Jenna M Miller Photography for sharing!

Kelsey & Peter’s Crafty Virginia Wedding at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

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Vendors:

Photographer: Jenna M Miller Photography | Venue: The Atrium at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | Catering: Great Blue Heron Catering | Cake: Edibles Incredible | Bride’s Dress: Nouvelle Amsale  | Bridesmaids Dresses: eShakti  | Hairstylist: Erika Bergsagel | Makeup: Sherri Crane | Florist: Karin’s Florist | DJ: Kirkabee Deejays 

 I also made the robes for the bridesmaids, that was a biggie. I wanted them to have something special to let them know how much it meant to me that they were there, and to have something cute but also practical to wear day-of for hair and makeup, so I went out and bought the softest fabric I could find in different colors (they each needed their own, of course, carefully selected to flatter each individual) and made their robes. Thankfully I had a lot of snow days last school year or I don’t know that they all would have been done in time!

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My dad creates, studies, and teaches classes on celtic knotwork, so we asked him to design a knot for us for our invitations. He then worked with us to create the knotwork that became the borders on the invitation. Really lovely. My pearls were gifted to me by Peter over time- earrings for Christmas, bracelet for Valentine’s, necklace for my birthday- with the intention of wearing them to our eventual wedding.

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The colors: Honestly, one day at the beginning of planning I was thinking about colors for the wedding and I looked down at my outfit and was like “huh, light blue, dark blue, and orchid look good together.” Then I looked at my white kitchen table and saw my light blue placemat next to my orchid placemat with my dark blue dishes and that was it. Lightbulb moment.

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Dress: I had to find a dress that was classic, clean lines, pretty details, AND it had to look good with pearls. back when we had been dating for a year or so, Peter had given me a set of pearl jewelry in stages: earrings for Christmas, bracelet for Valentine’s Day, necklace for my birthday. He asked one of my friends for help choosing the set and confessed that he hoped the next piece of jewelry he would give me would be an engagement ring (and that he was hoping I would wear them on our wedding day). My mom, who went with me to all of the dress shops, had only one rule about the dress: it had to be made out of “good fabric.” I found the one at Nordstrom Wedding Suite in Tyson’s Corner. It was down to two dresses, both of which fit the bill, so I brought a team of friends with me to help me make the decision. I came out in one and they all smiled and said “that dress is BEAUTIFUL.” I came out in the other – the Nouvelle Amsale gown I ended up with – and they all started crying. That was the response I was looking for.

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Click inside for more pictures and details from this beautiful Virginia wedding!

Caitlin & Susie’s Super DIY Literary Themed Wedding in Maryland

Words can’t really describe the feelings I get when I remember Caitlin & Susie’s wedding day this past May. I had the absolute honor of getting to be a part of their big day (as their coordinator) and I knew from the minute I met them, I wanted to be a part of their love, their relationship, and of course, their wedding day. And boy, was I right – their super DIY, complete labor of love, wedding day was something so so special. I have never seen so many family and friends that were so open, so welcoming, and so full of love. I was welcomed in by their families and friends, as if I had been a long-time family friend all along.

This wedding day was so full of happy tears, smiles, hugs, and absolute, blissful joy. I am so happy I got a chance to meet these two wonderful women and share in their special day. A warning ahead of time, this one is PICTURE HEAVY people. It’s nearly impossible to chose between all the gorgeous images Sarah Gormley Photography sent me!!!

 Caitlin & Susie’s Ultimate DIY, Literary Themed Wedding in Maryland

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Vendors:

Photographer: Sarah Gormley | Wedding Coordination: Me ~ Capitol Romance  Venue: Episcopal Church of the Ascension | Susie’s Dress: Wendy’s Cincinnati Bride | Caitlin’s Dress: Fabulous Bridal | Susie’s Shoes: Custom Designed Chuck Taylors | Caitlin’s Shoes: TOMS Wedding Wedges | Hair: Marlow Prado-Blankenship | Flowers: Eight Street | Cake and Cupcakes: Sweets By E | Invitations: Type Case Industries | Hairpieces: Etsy | Flower Girls’ Kissing Ball: Etsy | Decorations: DIY | Catering: DIYed (seriously …. by Susie!!) | Cake Topper: Etsy |

Cait & Susie’s wedding was also featured on A Practical Wedding!

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 We had a really wonderful vintage-spring-literary-fun wedding. Suz and I both really wanted a wedding that reflected us, both as individuals and as a couple. We are pretty different (opposites attract, yes!) but one thing we definitely have in common is our ridiculous love of books. Suz is an especially large fan of Jane Austen’s writing and I will pretty much read whatever you place in front of me, so when it came time to pick a trend for our wedding, books were an easy choice. The best part was having an excuse to track down every library-estate-book sale this side of the Chesapeake! We both really loved combing through stacks of dusty, old books and giggling at some of the titles. It was a wedding chore that wasn’t so much a chore, as it was an excuse for a fun date with my lovely wife-to-be.

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Colors were an easy choice; Susie loves anything bright and vibrant so she went with orange. Turquoise is my favorite and a perfect complement to orange so bam, easy choice. We decided not to be too strict with our color palette so you’ll see many different interpretations of turquoise and orange in our wedding pictures.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Caitlin & Susie’s Super DIY Wedding! Including all the gorgeous book page details and literary themed items!

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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Vendor:

 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!

Jenny & Joe’s Personalized, DIY Rustic Virginia Wedding at Westwood Farm

Man I LOVE me a good Sarah Gormley Photography submission! I was so pumped to get to work with her this past weekend (and already can’t wait to see the images) and am super pumped to share her real Virginia wedding today. Jenny & Joe are just SO awesome, laid-back, and cool – and from their wedding write-up (titled “more than anyone ever wanted to know about Jenny and Joe’s Wedding”), I feel like we should be friends! Bright springtime colors, bike-themed details, a custom wedding ceremony, and the perfect little farm venue – what more could I ask for for a real wedding blog feature? Oh yeah, the couple also decided to bartend their rehearsal dinner (to talk to guests), and setup a pre-wedding RACE (since they met during a triathalon). The one that lost the race, had to say their vows first. There’s SO much to love in the wedding.

Jenny & Joe’s Personalized, DIY Virginia Wedding at the Inn at Westwood Farm

Photographer: Sarah Gormley Photography | Venue: The Inn at Westwood Farm, Orange VA | Officiant: Family friend | Dessert: Ice Cream Sundae bar by Moo Thru | Catering: Beggar’s Banquet  | Florist: Sugar Magnolia | Programs: DIYed by Bride | Decorations & bunting: DIYed by Bride | Table numbers: DIYed by Groom | Signage: DIYed by Couple

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Technically, our first meeting was on the run course of a triathlon, when I passed Joe and beat him. Since then, we pretend to be very competitive with each other during all of our races… so we knew we had to incorporate racing into our wedding weekend somehow. We planned a Wedding Morning Race with 5k and 5 mile run options. Joe and Craig marked the course with sidewalk chalk and cones, and Elizabeth set up coffee and water for all of the runners. We couldn’t believe how many guests showed up (especially given the number of margaritas consumed at our welcome party the night before)! We announced to the guests that we would be stopping at a line a couple hundred yards from the finish, and from there, we would sprint to the finish line. The loser would have to read their vows first at the ceremony. The run turned out to be the perfect way to spend time with our guests, chatting with friends and family we hadn’t seen in ages, while taking the edge off of any pre-wedding nerves that might have been there otherwise. Joe won (rare!), but I ended up being glad to go first as Joe’s vows made me cry!

^I LOVE THIS!

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In the early stages of planning, we were set on finding a venue in the District. The closer to our NE DC neighborhood, the better. But then, when I was doing some research trying to figure out whether a particular bluegrass band we’d seen play at Sova did weddings or not, I discovered the Inn at Westwood Farm. It looked perfect in all of the photos: it had the outdoor space we couldn’t find in DC, it was “rustic” but in an elegant way that we knew wouldn’t trigger any questions like “WHY do you want to get married on a goat farm?” from our moms, the innkeepers sounded flexible and willing to work with couples to make the weekend personal and perfect. Then we drove out to Orange to see the Inn in person and we met Elizabeth and Jay, the innkeepers. We were sold! It was lovely in the winter, and even lovelier on our warm, sunny spring wedding weekend.

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Our color palette was inspired by the colors you see in nature early April in Virginia. I love yellow for its cheerful vibe, and while biking with Joe last April near Orange, we noticed how beautiful the yellow forsythia and pale pink cherry blossoms looked together all over the countryside. The spring weather cooperated with us fully and our wedding weekend coincided with the peak bloom for both of those flowers! Our whole drive out to Orange was pink and yellow, with pops of green and white, just like our wedding.

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Click inside for the rest of Jenny & Joe’s personalized, DIY Virginia wedding at Westwood Farm

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