I’m always in awe of couples that plan their wedding from afar. One of the reasons Andy & I opted to get married in DC (instead of in our hometown of NJ) was that I just couldn’t imagine planning from 4+ hours away. I guess I am too hands-on (and let’s face it, just an absolute control freak) to have been able to do that. But for Maureen & Jess, it worked out perfectly. They planned everything from their home in California, DIYing dozens of fabric flowers for the bouquets, bouts, corsages, and decor, and making their own wedding paper products too. Their ceremony was personalized and I love how they got ready in the house that Maureen grew up in. Thanks to Katie Nesbitt Photography for sharing this one, and thanks to Maureen & Jess for sharing personal details and TONS of wedding advice from their Northern Virgina wedding!

Jess & Maureen’s Intimate, DIY Wedding at Bull Run Winery in Northern Virginia

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery


Photographer:  Katie Nesbitt Photography | Venue: The Winery at Bull Run | Catering: RSVP Catering | Flowers: DIY, by the bride | Paper Products: DIY, by the bride | Officiant: Family Friend | DJ: Marc Augenbaum DJ Services | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

bride purple flats

If you decided to DIY your own paper products (Save The Dates, Invites, RSVP cards, menus, etc), try to figure out whether it would cost you more money and hassle to print at home or to go to Costco or FedEx Office. As it turns out, for all the paper we printed at FedEx Office, we could have bought ourselves a nicer printer and had something to show for it afterward!

DIY wedding invitations

All of the flowers and decorations were DIY’d by us and our families. Making the bouquets was certainly a labor of love that took a lot more time than we had originally anticipated. We never could have finished them had it not been for our amazing bridal party’s help.

DIY fabric flowers bouquet DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Our favorite part of the day was the First Look, which was on a Civil War-era bridge next door to our wedding venue. I had been nervous since waking up the morning of our wedding day. When I saw Jess I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. It really set the tone for the entire rest of the day.

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Click inside for so much more from Maureen & Jess’ DIY Northern Virginia wedding – including a ton of advice from the couple on DIYing their wedding & their biggest wedding regret!

Jess’ great uncle let us borrow his 1959 Ford Galaxie (two tone pink and ivory, which matched our wedding colors). Maureen and her parents arrived to the ceremony in the car and then both parents walked her down the aisle.

vintage car northern virginia weddings

Both of our families were very involved in our wedding. All of our parents and siblings were part of the ceremony in some way. We chose to have a civil ceremony, but wanted to have someone special in our lives marry us, so Maureen’s dad applied to Fairfax County and was licensed to be our legal officiant, and Maureen’s godfather was our ceremonial officiant. Jess’ dad chose to have his dad as the Best Man. Maureen’s sister was her Maid of Honor. The rest of the bridal party consisted of our siblings and a few very close friends.

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Because Maureen & Jess live in California but were planning a Virginia wedding, they entrusted their families to check out a short list of venues and pick their favorite. They chose The Winery at Bull Run as our venue because we wanted an outdoor ceremony with an indoor reception that was both elegant and rustic; a space that would be comfortable and appealing to all our attendees, and one that reflected the special day Maureen had always dreamt of as well as the country lifestyle Jess grew up with.

purple and charcoal wedding party

And now for some EXCELLENT wedding planning advice:

The planning process taught us many things, not least of which was how to combine our strengths and look past each others’ weaknesses to accomplish something together. The process itself was the real “pre-trial” of our marriage, which only further proved that we would be able to weather tough times as well as revel in the good. Try to find vendors who are experienced, make you feel good, and are proactive in their work. They’re might be more expensive, but you’ll spend less time worrying about them, and they’ll also help fill in the inevitable gaps on the Big Day if something gets overlooked.

Unless you’re super-organized, try to find a wedding planner to take care of all the details you’d probably never think about on your own. We had a lot of DIY aspects to our wedding and we didn’t have a day-of coordinator. If I could change one thing about our wedding it would be to hire a DOC so that we could have had a more relaxed morning on the day of the wedding.

Don’t skimp on the reception music. What really separates the “good” from the “great” reception is the atmosphere set by a good band or DJ.

DIY Northern Virginia wedding details

And some awesome advice on DIY weddings (we totally agree with the time factor):

However much time you think it will take to DIY something, double it. Choose a few projects that are really important to you and start working on them early. Don’t try to DIY everything, and only do it if you really enjoy it. Whatever little details don’t get done really wont be missed on the day of, not even by the bride.

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

A DIY father of the bride?! I love it:

Our centerpieces hold a bit of sentimental value to Maureen. Her dad made all of the wreaths from the bushes at their family’s home.

DIY Northern Virginia wedding centerpieces DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Congratulations Maureen & Jess! Thank you for sharing all the amazing DIY details and wedding advice from your DIY Wedding. A special thanks again to Katie Nesbitt Photography for sharing her images of today’s Northern Virginia wedding feature via Two Bright Lights.

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  1. Planning from afar is definitely not easy!!! I am so thankful that my mom lives where we are getting married! :) Beautiful pictures!

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