Images: Mathy Shoots People
Kara & Justin are DREAM clients. Seriously, if someone asked me who my target, ideal client would be – I couldn’t describe them, I would just send them to Kara & Justin. They live in DC and love all things local in terms of DC food, arts, businesses, and vibes. They’re wedding was FUN and a total representation of who they are as a couple and what they love in their life. It included BRIGHT colors, BEER, vows with references to the Simpsons & mighty ducks (among other awesome references), a kick-ass live band, marquee initial lights, and the perfect amount of DIY projects (including chalkboard signs from our DIY workshop last year!). I had WAY too much fun working with Kara & Justin, and I am pumped to get to call them my friends now. You’re all going to LOVE this rad DC wedding!
When we first started planning our wedding, we knew we wanted a really laid-back, party-like affair that reflected our personalities. I knew I wanted a spring or summer wedding so I could have bright and colorful flowers, though we didn’t initially have any specific dates in mind. Then I realized that July 25th, the date of Justin’s and my 2nd date, was a Saturday. So we aimed for that date, and fortunately the Josephine Butler Parks Center was available.
We tried to let our stationary set the tone for our wedding. Justin’s sister helped us design all of our stationary, and we had it printed locally, which also helped us save some money. Our save the dates were based off a drawing that Justin did. The invitations were based off a design we found online, and for the response card, we created a mad lib. One of the most fun parts was receiving the response cards in the mail to see how people filled them out. I think they’ll be a great way to remember the day for years to come!
My grandma had a stroke a few years ago and my mom has been taking care of her. A couple weeks before the wedding my family decided it would be too difficult to bring grandma out to DC for the wedding. It was disappointing, but I know it made the weekend a lot less stressful for my family. So we had her caregiver get her all dolled up and we Facetimed with her when I was getting ready. It was a nice way to include her in the day since she couldn’t physically be there.
We had a number of DIY elements that we incorporated into our day as well. Since we drink quite a bit of craft beer, we decided to cut the bottles and use them as vases for the flowers. I love how they turned out!
I also took all of the lace off my mom’s wedding dress and we used it to wrap around my and my bridesmaids’ bouquets, and I made a hairpiece out of it. My cousins’ kids were our flower girls. I found them some Converse that matched the wedding party, and I made their tutus.
FIRST LOOK !!!
—> CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF KARA & JUSTIN’S SUPER RAD, DIY DC WEDDING <—
On their venue, the Josephine Butler Parks Center:
We loved that the venue had a DC feel without being stuffy or overly formal. It also allowed us to use the architectural details of the building to our advantage and not spend a lot of money on decor.
Orange is my favorite color, and I thought gray would be a nice neutral to compliment it (our apartment decor is mostly orange and gray, so I already knew it was a nice color combo). One of my favorite elements were the orange and gray Converse we customized for us and our bridal party. Since we were going to be dancing all night, I wanted everyone to have comfortable footwear!
Neither of us are very religious, so we decided to ask our friend to officiate our wedding. We really left it up to him to craft the ceremony, and he blew us away.
He ‘interviewed’ each of us several times, both together and individually, to gain insight on our relationship, what we value in each other, and our hopes for the future. He also included our moms in the ceremony, asking each of them to offer advice to us as we embark on this journey.
Writing our vows was one of the tougher things we had to do, but I love how they turned out. We got a lot of laughs, especially when we started quoting D2: Mighty Ducks, but they were still really meaningful.
Find out more about Kara & Justin’s vows here: “5 Tips for Writing Your Own Vows”
We also made several chalkboard signs, thanks to one of Bree’s DIY workshops. My mom also helped us make all of the confetti cannons from toilet paper rolls and balloons (thank you friends and family for saving your toilet paper rolls!), and I cut all of the confetti from scrapbook and construction paper I had laying around. My mom also made the gray and orange table runners. They were originally curtains from Ikea…a really inexpensive way to make runners.
Justin and I are foodies and are really into craft beer, so we decided to carry that theme throughout the wedding. Food and cooking were incorporated into our vows. For our guestbook, we asked people to share their recipe for a long and happy marriage on recipe cards. And as our favor, we assembled recipe books filled with some of our favorite dishes to cook, along with one recipe from Eat & Smile and one from Buttercream Bakeshop, of dishes that were served at the wedding.
Neither of us are really into cake, so we knew we wanted to have other dessert options for everyone. Buttercream Bakeshop put together an amazing spread of macarons, donuts, buckeyes and nutter butters. Like the rest of the food, we had the dessert table out during the whole reception so if people wanted to have dessert first, they could. We did also serve cake (once we smashed it in each other’s faces); a coconut cake with key lime curd and coconut rum buttercream, and an almond cake with raspberry jam and Grand Marnier buttercream, which was a nod to my mom (she used to make raspberry Grand Marnier jam every summer when we lived in CT).
We knew we didn’t want a traditional sit-down dinner during our reception…it just slows down the celebration. So we opted to have a cocktail-style reception where small plates were passed all night, and we had 2 stations where guests could get something a little more substantial. I had gone to a wedding like this a few years ago and thought it was a brilliant idea, and it worked perfectly for us. Eat & Smile Catering was awesome with helping us put together a menu that included some of our favorite foods too.
In keeping with the party-vibe, I knew I wanted to have a live band, if possible. One of my college friends plays in a local cover band, Jeff From Accounting, and fortunately they were available and willing to play at our wedding. As soon as they started playing, the dance floor was packed!
At the end of the night, several guests told us how much fun they had and that the wedding was ‘so us’. That was one of the best compliments we could’ve received because that’s exactly what we were going for.
Vendors ~> Photographer: Mathy Shoots People | Wedding Coordination: Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination | Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center | Catering: Eat & Smile | Band: Jeff from Accounting | Dress: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique | Groom’s Suit: Suit Supply | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Atom Attire | Flowers: Love Blooms | Hair: Jewel Hair Design (Carly) | Make-up: The Make-up Chic | Cake Topper: Cake Topper Bliss | Printing: Basecamp | Cake & Desserts: Buttercream Bakeshop