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Images: Jon Fleming Photography

I recently listened to Episode 4 of the Put a Ring On It Podcast, all about bad weather on your wedding day. The guests on the show had survived REALLY bad weather, like hurricane and blizzard weather, and still lived to tell the tale (and still got married!). So while I type this post with rain pouring against my window (like so much rain!) I can’t help but think how if it stayed cold, this would have been another crazy snow storm! And that makes today’s real wedding feature, pretty appropriate – as they got married during the DC Blizzard last month. The couple provides some awesome advice and input into facing severe weather on your wedding weekend. They also included Harry Potter winks … which, we all know how I feel about that. So let’s get to it – there’s SO many gorgeous winter wedding & gold themed details in this one. Enjoy.

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“The week before Winter Storm Jonas hit, most people were making emergency trips to Trader Joe’s, purchasing extra snow shovels from Home Depot, and waiting in line to fill up their gas tanks. Me? I was preparing to get married.

Yep, the wedding I’d been meticulously planning for the better part of a year fell smack dab in the middle of the worst blizzard DC has seen in many, many years. But thanks to my family, wedding party, and quite a few seriously amazing wedding vendors, I was still able to marry the love of my life and had an absolutely magical night!

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Sadly, but completely understandably, many guests were unable to attend the wedding on Saturday night. But between family and out-of-town guests who were staying at a hotel very closer to our venue, as well as a couple of EXTREMELY brave souls who did travel locally to attend, we still ended up partying it up with well over half of our guests!

Our hair & makeup vendors canceled on us, so bridesmaids and friends jumped in to make sure we all got our hair done (my bridesmaid Holly did my hair beautifully!), and I did my own makeup. The DJ was also unfortunately unable to make it, but had set up his sound equipment the day before, so between my brother and the Best Man pinch-hitting as DJs and a friend stepping in as MC, we were still able to party it up!

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My wedding vision was to have an elegant, formal wedding with an Old Hollywood vibe, a few subtle Harry Potter references (HP being my true love… after Sean, of course), and lots of personal touches. Our venue was the gorgeous and historic George Washington Masonic Memorial in Old Town Alexandria, and their dedication to shoveling, plowing, and sweeping the snow throughout Friday and Saturday was the #1 reason our wedding was still able to take place as planned.

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I DIY’d quite a bit of stuff for the wedding, including painting all of the glasses and bottles for our centerpieces, hand-folding and stringing 1,000 paper cranes for our ceremony backdrop, carving a cardbox out of all 7 Harry Potter books, making brooch flowers for our bouquets, making cake stands for the dessert bar out of thrifted plates and glasses, turning old picture frames into chalkboard signs, and hot-gluing wings to our Ferrero Rocher favors to turn them into golden snitches. And more! I went a little crazy with the DIY, but I love crafting and wanted to insert tons of personality and personal touches into our big day.

Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

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Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

READ MORE FOR THE REST OF SEAN & GRETCHEN’S DIY, WINTER WEDDING (INCLUDING ALL THE SUPER AWESOME HARRY POTTER WEDDING DETAILS!)

With the chaos from the storm, I was worried that I wouldn’t have time to make sure everything was set up the way I had envisioned, but it turned out to be a non-issue because our coordinator Caitlin is a mind-reader and set everything up EXACTLY how I would have.

Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

My dress was Hayley Paige’s Guindon Gown, and I made my veil myself using a couple of super handy online tutorials. It cost me like $8 to make! My haircomb and earrings were ordered from Hair Comes the Bride, my necklace and one bracelet were from Charming Charlie’s, and my other bracelet was a family heirloom given to me by mom the night before the wedding.

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Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

I ordered our flowers through a local wholesaler, and my bridesmaid Holly arranged all of the bouquets and boutonnieres, while Caitlin arranged all of the flowers that went into our centerpieces. My uncle is a Bishop with the Episcopal church and his son, my cousin, is a reverend so they co-officiated my wedding — we had a traditional Episcopalian ceremony and added some personally written vows to the mix.

Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

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This wedding would NOT have taken place without the commitment and flexibility of some of the most amazing wedding vendors in the entire DMV. As mentioned above, my venue never even asked us to consider canceling, instead taking steps to ensure their maintenance staff stayed at nearby hotels and would be able to plow the parking lot and give us access to the space. Desserts, rentals, equipment and decor were dropped off and set up the day before, ensuring that everything we’d need would be available. 3/4 of my string quartet were unable to make it, but Chad Schwartz from Triforce Quartet literally walked TWO MILES in the snow to make it to the venue. Our coordinator, photographer, and videographer basically gave up their whole weekend to stay at the hotel with us, dedicating way more time than they originally committed to our big day. The caterers not only put up their main staff in a nearby hotel as well, but went around picking up additional staff members who wouldn’t have been able to get to the venue on their own. Amazing!

Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding
Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

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Considering we got married in one of the biggest snowstorms to hit this area in years, things went pretty dang amazingly! Schedules ran a bit behind and the saddest part is of course that some of our loved ones weren’t able to be there, but I really couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out in the end. I am surrounded by some seriously awesome people, and they all worked so hard to ensure my wedding day was just as magical as it would have been without Jonas in attendance.”

Gretchen & Sean - George Washington Masonic Memorial Wedding

Vendors:

Venue: George Washington Masonic Memorial | Coordinator: Classic Occasions by Caitlin | Bakery: Simply Desserts | Caterer: Main Event Caterers | Photographer: Jon Fleming Photography | Videographer: Doug Stanford | Lighting/Decor: Electric Entertainment | Ceremony Musicians: Triforce Quartet | Officiants: The Right Reverend Neff Powell (Gretchen’s Uncle) & Reverend Bingham Powell (Gretchen’s Cousin)

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