offbeat dc wedding

Marcia & Zach’s Offbeat, Personalized Washington DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Center

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This Washington, DC wedding had it all. A ceremony in an art gallery, a push-up contest, the Jewish chair dance, dinner, dancing, and a legit New Orleans style parade to take the guests to dinner.

No joke. Just wait until you see these parade pictures – they’re amazing. Marcia & Zach had a DC wedding and did it THEIR way, including some Janet Reno masks. Man, I love when couples do what they want. I know you guys are going to love this one. Thanks to De Nueva Photography for sharing her images.

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Saturday: a friend from New Orleans who is a hairdresser did my hair and all my sisters.  Katy from Alison Harper & Co did my makeup and my sisters.  She was incredible and I set it up only 2 days before the wedding!

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Our ceremony was in Hillyer Art Gallery in Dupont. There’s a shot of all my sisters in the gallery (in red). My sister Nancy married us.

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Our band was Mike Flaherty’s Dixieland Direct. They were probably the highlight of our wedding.  These guys have a New Orleans-style brass band in DC and they go down to New Orleans frequently to play.  They got totally into the spirit of our wedding and played Oh When the Saints when we marched out and coordinated a fabulous number with my 86yo uncle which took them a lot of time to organize with him but they were really into.  They worked in all my crazy friends and a skit to “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The coup de grace was when they led a New Orleans 2nd Line parade all the way from Hillyer to Kababji Grill – quite a scene!

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My mom’s friend did the flowers and one her other friends made the corsages, etc.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of this super rad Washington DC wedding – including the New Orleans style parade from the ceremony to dinner!

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Robin & Julia’s Low Key, Personalized and Fun Washington, DC wedding

 We knew we wanted to keep the wedding low-key. We also knew we wanted to get married in DC, where we live, and where marriage equality has been the law for several years now.

So that is where Robin & Julia started. Knowing they wanted to get married in a low-key, relaxed fashion, and having the wedding be in Washington, DC – their city and a place that has thankfully been a frontrunner in recognizing love for all. Thanks so much to Maggie Winters Photography for sharing this beautiful, DC wedding with us!

Robin & Julia’s Low Key, Personalized Washington DC Wedding at 701

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We had the idea to get married at a restaurant, so our venue and catering would come hand-in-hand and we could count on the food being excellent. We looked for restaurants that offered private event space (on OpenTable of all places!) and came across 701. We’d had an excellent dinner there during Restaurant Week, and remembered the space as being really cool-looking inside. Once we realized they also had an outdoor patio on the Navy Memorial where we could have our ceremony, we were sold!

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Going in, we quickly decided that some things — like photography — were important to us, but other things — like traditional wedding gowns — were not. We wound up changing our minds on some points, though. For example, we had felt strongly about being our own DJs through the magic of an iPod … but then we found out that 701 had a pianist who would play musical theater songs. But for the most part, deciding early in the process what we wanted to prioritize made it easier in the end to figure out how to use our budget and organize the day.

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Click inside for so much more of Robin & Julia’s low key DC wedding!

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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Vendors

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!

Marie & Alex’s Modern’s Katzen Arts Center DC Wedding Ceremony

In the fall we shared Marie & Alex’s AWESOMELY nontraditional DC wedding reception party at Policy and now we are super pumped to get to share their beautiful DC wedding ceremony at the Katzen Arts Center (at American University) thanks to The Plannery & Roman Grinev Photography. Similar to their awesome reception, Marie & Alex did things their way – keeping their vendors local and making decisions based on importance to them. Marie shared, “We focused on the details that mattered to us, and both loved how things turned out. ” Amen sister!

Alex & Marie’s Modern, Nontraditional DC Wedding Ceremony at Katzen Arts Center

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Vendors

Photographer: Roman Grinev Photography | Wedding Planner: The Plannery | Venue: Katzen Arts Center | Officiant: Rev. Julie Price | Cake Topper: The Bride’s Parents | Dried Bouquet: New Hampshire Woods Creation on Etsy | Bride’s Dress: Purchased through The Brides’s Project

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On their modern DC venue choice:

Katzen is an AMAZING venue – if you are flexible (it’s only available mid-May through mid-August and you can’t book until January), it’s a beautiful space and the folks there are great to work with.

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On doing something nontraditional for their DC wedding:

None of the other traditions were particularly important to us, and we figured with a short afternoon, the fewer “traditional” wedding reception things we did, the more time we could spend with our guests!

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Rev. Julie Price was a wonderful officiant. She helped us write our own ceremony and it was perfect – beautiful, personal, and a great representation of what we want our marriage to be.

Click inside for the rest of Marie & Alex’s super awesome, nontraditional DC wedding!

Jenn & Dan’s Intimate, Modern & Local DC Wedding at the Tabard Inn

This wedding packs a bunch of my favorite things. An intimate ceremony at the Tabard Inn, a bride in an AWESOME alternative wedding dress (and neon green heels to boot), an offbeat, backyard reception in Mt. Pleasant, and so many rad, local DC wedding vendors! The photographer, Michelle VanTine Photography, sent us this one and opened the submission with, “Any wedding that starts with me walking in to the bride and groom getting ready together and the bride drinking “Raging Bitch” beer and putting on bright green shoes is automatically going to be awesome!” And man, was she right. Check out Jenn & Dan’s awesome, intimate & local Washington DC wedding!

Jenn & Dan’s Intimate, Modern & Local Washington DC Wedding Ceremony & Backyard Reception

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Vendors:

Photography: Michelle VanTine Photography | Ceremony Venue: Tabard Inn | Reception/Party Venue: Mt. Pleasant Shabby Chic BnB | Catering: Green Plate Catering | Band: Dry Mill Bluegrass Band | Event Design: Taylor and Hov | Rentals: Something Vintage Rentals | Flowers: Local Color Flowers | Beer: 3 Stars Brewing Company | Cheese: Righteous Cheese | Lighting: Yours Truly Lighting | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Jenn & Dan had their wedding ceremony at the Tabard Inn but instead of a normal wedding reception to follow, they had a simple, vegetarian dinner with an intimate group of friends & family. Then, they next day, they through a big, backyard party in Mt. Pleasant with a bluegrass band, vintage rentals, and drinks & outdoor games! Love this idea for couples on a budget.
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From Jenn:
Dan and I are a pretty laid back pair, so we decided early on to have a small wedding. Much easier said than done! But somehow we navigated those waters and ended up with 48 guests at the beautiful and quirky Tabard Inn. The outdoor patio has a fantastic secret garden-esque feel. And best of all, no decorating required!
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We wrote our own vows- Dan’s were characteristically goofy and sweet at the same time.  Let’s just say there was lots of laughing/crying all around. The service was followed by cocktail hour and dinner upstairs in the private dining rooms.  We added some personal touches to dinner, including photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day for guests to see.  We also made chocolate truffles as favors using my late grandmother’s secret recipe.
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Click inside for the rest of Jenn & Dan’s offbeat, DC wedding – including all the awesome decor and setup at their backyard bash!

Kim & Ryan’s Offbeat, DC Themed Wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn

Very excited to introduce a Capitol Romance first-timer (The Girl Tyler!) to the blog today and my oh my is she kicking things off with a bang. Let me just say that her submission included, “I have a great DC wedding I’d love to send your way … complete with a Tina Turner Drag Queen performance”. Well hell yes, you had me at Drag Queen performance. At a wedding?! I LOVE IT.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, this DC wedding is chock-full of DC themed wedding details! A Washington, DC themed wedding cake & a Capitol Bikeshare groom cake, whimsical DC-themed map invitations, and mini pie favors from a Georgetown pie shop made up their wedding details (amid others) and the whole thing was captured beautifully by The Girl Tyler.

Kim & Ryan’s Offbeat, Washington DC Themed Wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn

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Vendors:

Photographer:  The Girl Tyler | Heirlooms and extras: Bethany Lorelle | Bride’s Dress: Curvaceous Couture | Floral Designer: Fifi Flowers | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Mens Warehouse - Vera Wang Collection | Bakery (Favors): Pie Sisters | Hair Stylist: Red Door Spa | Musicians: Spencer Bates | Groom Cake Designer: Sticky Fingers Bakery | Wedding Cake Designer: Sweets by E | Invitation Designer: The Girl Tyler: Design & Photography | Other: Tina Turner Impersonator | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Etsy Designer: Anthology on Main | Officiant: Divine Transformation Weddings | Reception Venue: Mount Vernon Inn | Cake Toppers: Pegged – Custom Kokeshi Doll Cake Toppers on Etsy | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Ryan and I met in 2009 on Match.com where we both bonded over being on the college newspaper and mutual interest in exploring the DC area.  Ryan’s first phone call to Kimberly was from a bike ride he did to Mount Vernon.  Mount Vernon was Ryan’s favorite destination in DC and he’s very fond of his bike rides on the Mount Vernon trail.

When it came time to pick a wedding location, we really wanted to get married at a historical location that reflected our love of DC. Mount Vernon had a special place in my (Kimberly’s) heart as I had moved often as a kid when her father was in the Navy but always thought of DC as home.  Kimberly’s parents had also loved taking her and her siblings to Mount Vernon.

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Our invitations were custom illustrations of us happily riding on our bicycles to Mount Vernon as we wanted to let our guests know that they were in for a whimsical and beautiful journey on GW Parkway to the venue. Our canvas welcome bags had a custom Mount Vernon logo with our names and a drawing of the venue on it. We had a custom Map from The Girl Tyler in our invitation package and the two of us had lists of our favorite things to do in the area and area pamphlets in the bags.

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We originally were going to do all black suits and dresses to make it easy for the bridal party but Kimberly’s friends convinced her to go with what she really wanted which was blue and yellow.  Kimberly’s favorite colors are blue and yellow, partially because of her allegiances to Georgia Tech, her undergrad alma mater, and Georgetown, her graduate school.  Plus Kimberly has always loved the simple and beautiful look of yellow sunflowers.  Ryan’s first flowers for Kimberly were also sunflowers.  The gray tuxedos were chosen to pop against the blue.

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The bride’s bouquet was a mixture of white and yellow flowers that were intended to look like they came from Martha Washington’s garden.  The bridesmaids had bouquets of yellow sunflowers and hydrangeas.  Our ceremony began with an introduction to Mount Vernon.

And the bride wore TOMS because she loves TOMS!

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 We really wanted to show our guests the kind of hospitality that Martha and George Washington were famous for showing their guests at Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.  The Washingtons were known for welcoming anyone, poor, rich, friends, strangers, into their homes and showing them kindness.

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Click inside for the rest of Kim & Ryan’s personalized, DC themed wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn!

Josh & Annie’s Local Washington DC Wedding at Josephine Butler House

Today’s DC wedding feature is making it pretty easy to get back into the swing of blogging post Key West (minus my frozen fingers in this 40 degree weather, it was a balmy 80 in FL!). Josh & Annie wanted a laid-back, fun and local wedding that incorporated three themes: participation, impact, and meaning. I just LOVE that they shared these 3 main focus points as the most important factors in their wedding planning. What did they mean by those three words, well I’ll let them tell you in their own voice:

Participation. We wanted to find ways to involve our friends and family and interests as much as possible. Rather than spend a lot of money, we wanted to use the wedding as a way to re-connect us to people and to spend time doing what we enjoy.

Impact. We wanted to minimize the environmental impact and try to keep it local.

Meaning. It sounds silly to say, but we wanted to make sure the wedding had meaning for us, not just our family or guests.

And boy did they accomplish this beautifully! A special thanks to Knotty Photos for sharing the images and details for Josh & Annie’s Washington DC wedding feature! Enjoy.

Josh & Annie’s Personalized, Local DC Wedding at Josephine Butler Center

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Vendors:

Photography: Knotty Photos | Wedding Coordinator: Margo with Bright Occasions | Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center | Catering: Rachael with R&R Catering & Chef Richard Webber | Pies: Curvy Mama Pies | Cake: Andrea Mueller | Officiant: Cantor Ellen Schwab | Band: Gina DeSimone & the Moaners | Hair Stylist: Melissa at Trim Salon | Silhouette Artist: Alex with Tiny Paper Portraits | Pinwheels: DIY | Ketubah: Designed by friend | Chuppah: Painted by Michelle Bercovici, Pillars designed by Dave Haffner | Rings: David Vanover, Etsy | Beer: Chocolate City  Brewery

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How they met:

Josh and Annie were introduced by their mutual friend, Danny Marx in 2011. The first encounter was when Josh brought homemade sausage to an informal gathering at Annie’s house. Naturally, Annie responded with joy and suggested that the sausages be beer boiled and fried in bacon grease (stored in her WWII style grease container). Josh was impressed.

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The proposal:

Josh proposed at the Brewers Art in Baltimore. His pre-proposal plans did not go exactly as planned. First, they missed a turn on their kayaking trip on Dundee Creek (outside Baltimore) and ended up paddling for 10 miles instead of the intended 4. Which turned their romantic dinner at Helmond into more of a re-hydration exercise. Then it started to rain. Defeated, we dipped into Annie’s favorite Baltimore bar and found ourselves laughing and having a great time, despite the bad luck. So Josh decided “why not”, leaned over in the barstool (the floor was dirty), took out the ring and popped the question. She said yes. Then they took shots with the bartender.

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The bride & groom’s favorite moments from their wedding day:

Annie’s favorite moment: My favorite moment was probably walking up the stairs together after the ceremony, and walking into the reception room set up, with our friends and family there. The tables were set with the centerpieces we had grown, and the pinwheels I made, and suddenly the product of all of this work was right before us, and it looked amazing. It sounds corny, but it really was how I had pictured it.

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Josh’s favorite moment: I liked it when our officiant forgot to fill the first cup of wine and told Annie and I to “fake it” when taking our first sip. It broke the ice a bit and helped make me feel settled. But my highlight was probably the dancing. After the ceremony was done, I wanted nothing more than to just dance with everyone and enjoy the evening with our closest friends and family there.

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Click inside for the rest of Annie & Josh’s awesome local & personalized Washington DC wedding at the Josephine Butler Parks Center!

Dianne & William’s Offbeat, Pi Day DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Space

Guys you are going to LOVE today’s DC wedding! It is a perfect mix of geeky and DIY and perfectly shows how to take a theme and turn it into a wedding! Dianne & William are both self-proclaimed geeks, as Dianne put it, “William loves math, and I love bad puns, we both love food. That led us to having a Pi day. April 13th is pi backwards 4.13″ And, Pi is really pie – so boom, pi/pie theme is born. Everything was perfectly captured by one of our favorite DC wedding photographers, Maggie Winters Photography and just wait until you see all the other DIY details below!

Oh and warning, this wedding feature will most likely make you HUNGRY. The shots of pizza and pie are making me salivate and it’s not even 10am!

Dianne & William’s Offbeat, Pi Day Themed DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Space

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Vendors:

Photographer: Maggie Winters | Venue: Hillyer Art Space | Catering: Pizza from Home Made Pizza Co in Del Ray! | Banners: DIY | Beer: Home brewed | Invitations: Maggie Winters

How they met:

[His side] I didn’t know what I wanted. I was surfing from couch to couch, playing as many board games and RPG’s as possible. I had a newly printed masters degree, and didn’t want to work anymore. I’d been from California to New York, and DC was right after those two. I was staying with family, Aunt Rebecca and Uncle John. Good people — didn’t kick me out even after three months.

The next step would have been North Carolina, but I met this girl. This life changing, wonderful, beautiful, kick ass, amazing, totally ridiculously competitive and challenging girl. Which girl? Dianne. Of course.

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I met this girl, and everything was different. I didn’t buy the next train ticket; I told my friends I wouldn’t be coming to NC. Instead, I explored a city — art, spy, and newseums — with a girl. I found a job; I got an apartment. I gave up my peripatetic lifestyle and settled down.

Because of Dianne. We met over boardgames and fell in love on King Street.

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[Um a metro and map origami flower bouquet?! YES!]

[Her side] I was just deciding to make a life in DC. I had my first real job, thanks in part to my brother and sister. As I was starting to make a life for myself, a coworker, friend and office mate, Janna, convinced me to try out “meetup”. She had tried out a board game meetup, later to be called the AARGGH. I went, and there I found an amazing group of people. And my William.

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We flirted over our first game together, Settlers of Catan. Before leaving, he made sure to get my email address. He emailed me the next day, and it was a week before we saw each other again.

Over the next few weeks and months we went on dates. These were often poorly planned — our first date was at the Portrait Gallery when the spy museum was sold out — but somehow, each date worked out.

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Uh I LOVE Dianne’s nontraditional engagement ring!!

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The touching vows? According to William they were finished the DAY of the wedding!

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Click inside for so much more of Dianne & William’s offbeat, Pi Day themed DC wedding at Hillyer Art Space!

Aly & Elroi’s Washington DC Wedding Ceremony at Big Bear Cafe

Today’s wedding is the epitome of what a wedding really is: two individuals, confessing their love for each other, in front of family & friends that they hold dear. A Practical Wedding (one of the blogs I most look up to and hope to emulate) featured their wedding & story on their blog, so please hop on over there, as Aly (part 1 of the couple) wrote the most beautiful write-up of how she and Elroi ended up in Washington, DC to have a “federally official” wedding ceremony.

The short of it is, they were married in Atlanta in 2007, but came to DC to make it federally official. Thanks to the Government Shutdown, their original plans took some twists and turns, and they ended up with a small civil ceremony at Big Bear Cafe! If you haven’t been to Big Bear Cafe – GO. The entire place is magical, and they very kindly offered their patio space up to make Aly & Elroi’s wedding a special one. Special thanks to Sarah Gormley Photography (one of our hand-picked DC wedding photographers!) for sharing her images and insight into this awesome wedding.

Aly & Elroi’s Washington DC Wedding Ceremony at Big Bear Cafe

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Vendors

Photography: Sarah Gormley Photography | Venue: Big Bear Cafe | Officiant: Maureen Burke | Dress: Dig for Victory

Since APW already has all the touching details from Aly, I thought I would share some really fascinating insight from the photographer’s perspective! Sarah wrote a great reflection of her interactions and experience with this special wedding and I found it too moving not to share.

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In Sarah’s words:

Aly & Elroi’s wedding was a very different experience for me as a photographer and I’ve been sitting at my desk for the past few hours trying to put that experience into words. It’s perhaps best to start by explaining that I don’t typically photograph weddings by the hour. Instead, I encourage my couples to choose up to twelve hours of coverage, with a minimum of eight. Over the past few years that I’ve been working in the world of wedding photography, I’ve learned that it’s very difficult to take the sort of meaningful, candid images that are at the heart of what I do if I don’t commit enough time to the couple, their family and their friends.

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And while some photographers do a beautiful job with shorter time frames, I’ve held that my key to stronger, more emotional photos lies in this time spent becoming comfortable, and not rushing that process or packing a whole bundle of portraits and group photos into one forced and possibly stressful time slot. Love is calm and steady and warm, and I believe that your wedding day should reflect that as much as possible, as should the photographs you have to remember it by.

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But not every couple has the luxury of eight hours. And to turn those couples away would be to miss out on meeting some beautiful and inspiring people. I met Aly & Elroi for the first time at Big Bear Cafe just moments before they would be wed. Aly & Elroi were married in Atlanta in 2007 but were not given the legal rights that their love and loyalty so clearly affords them. So they came to Washington DC with their two boys and a small gathering of family to make it federally official.

LGBT DC wedding commitment ceremony big bear cafe
LGBT DC wedding commitment ceremony big bear cafe

Click inside for the rest of Aly & Elroi’s beautiful DC wedding ceremony at Big Bear Cafe!

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