Images: Kristi Odom Photography
When your initial wedding consult is at a bar on H Street and the bride to be tells you she’s going to wear black and they’ve already booked one of the best photographers in town (and my fav wedding venue), well you just know it’s going to be an amazing DC wedding. This was my inclination for Megan & Alan’s Josephine Butler Parks Center wedding, and turns out, it was 100% on the money. DC flag coaster favors, tables named after DC music venues, tattoos, local DC beer, and yes, a bride in black. But let’s not also forget the AH-MAZING tongue-in-cheek diatribe-tribute to Ted Cruz for being the man responsible for these two meeting in the first place. I was honored to get to be their wedding coordinator and can’t wait to share all the amazing pictures & details with you guys today! Here we go:
How We Met: We’re both federal employees, and met during the shutdown of the federal government in October 2013. On the first day of the shutdown, Alan was writing at a bar in the middle of the day. He saw Megan, couldn’t place from where he recognized her, only to realize later that she was his top match on OkCupid. He wrote her a message asking if she was also furloughed, and suggested they meet-up for a beer. A week later, with the shutdown in full swing, we had our first date in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. Over pizza and beer, we got nerdy about policy, music, and tattoos and pretty much have carried on that way for the last two and a half years.
We started planning our wedding early. In fact, even though we had a vacation that happened a few weeks after the proposal, we used our down time abroad to research venues and get an early sense of our expected timeline. That helped us maintain our sanity, and so did the idea that what we DID NOT want mattered as much as what we DID. We had an a la carte approach to tradition, embracing some and skipping others, which meant the big day felt like ours instead of someone else’s idea of what it should be. For example, we had a more formal sit-down dinner (catered by the awesome Eat & Smile), but broke traditions with Megan’s black dress and skipping having a wedding party entirely.
Friend/Family Involvement: There were a few things about our wedding that were such obvious choices they barely needed any discussion: it would be in DC; there would be good beer and sing-a-long to The Mountain Goats’ “No Children”; and our friend Patrick would officiate. Luckily Patrick agreed and did an awesome job officiating the wedding, making everyone laugh and cry. We also had friends do readings during the ceremony and toasts during the reception. Instead of having any of the family related traditions at the wedding, we decided to host a small rehearsal dinner at Tabard Inn for our families the night before the wedding. This gave us the opportunity to thank them for their support and enjoy their company away from all the activity of the wedding itself.
DIY: To limit our to-do list, we decided to not do too much DIY for the wedding. Luckily, between our beautiful venue (Josephine Butler Parks Center) and flowers from Local Color Flowers, we didn’t need to add much to the space. Some of our projects included painting DC flags on the koozies for favors, painting frames, putting together the DC music venue table names, and writing out the menus. The last project was printing our barf bag programs. We had decided early on that our hashtag would be #barfmeganalan so when I saw these barf bag programs on Off Beat Bride, I knew we had to make them. We changed the template up a little bit from the tutorial, and put a thank you note to our guests on the back. Getting them to print properly was a pain at first, and more than once I considered just dropping the whole thing, but I am really glad we didn’t. They are so funny and weird and perfectly suited to us as a couple.
Read more for soooo much more awesome at Megan & Alan’s DC Themed Josephine Butler Parks Center Wedding!
Our reception was very DC-focused – our tables were named after concert venues, our favors were koozies with DC flags painted on them, and most of our booze was local – because we wanted to emphasize what the city means to us, and how it’s so much more than monuments and political power. Planning the wedding was definitely a joint effort, but we focused on dividing the work by our skills/preferences, not so much a 50/50 split. Megan is craftier than Alan, for example, so she led most of those efforts, while Alan dealt with more of the complex vendor requests since he is the stronger communicator. Since we planned a lot of the big stuff early, we found that by the time we were a month out, there wasn’t too much that was worthy of a freak-out. Of course, we had some minor freak-outs, mostly about whether we had ordered enough alcohol, but that seems normal.
Our advice is don’t second-guess yourselves. Even when we debated and doubted our choices, our first instincts were always correct. Luckily, we were often on the same page and agreed that we would not discuss things to death, and rather decide on something and move on. Also, and we cannot emphasize this enough, create a joint wedding gmail account and use Google Docs. The joint email account means that you don’t have to worry about whether one of you has read something, or the fact that some vendors may be more likely to consistently contact the bride over the groom. Google Docs makes it so much easier to keep track of guests, budgeting, and other details. Lastly, hire awesome vendors that you actually enjoy being around. And trust the people you’re working with. They know what they’re doing and you hired them for a reason.
About our pictures: It was one of our top priorities to have an amazing photographer that really got us as a couple, and we are so lucky to have gotten to work with Kristi Odom. After a week of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, the Saturday of our wedding was cold, gray, and wet. We decided to keep our original plan of having our first look at the alcoves in Meridian Hill Park. Kristi was so fun to work with, and when she suggested we climb in and dance in the empty fountains, we didn’t even think about it. (One of the many perks of a black wedding dress is that there was no worry about it looking very dirty.) The pictures from the wedding and reception all capture the joy and fun of the night so perfectly. Probably the best example of this is the picture of Alan being lifted by some friends while our awesome DJ, Van Petty, played Weezer. A couple of our other friends actually lifted up Kristi so she could this amazing shot of not only Alan, but all the many reactions behind him.
Vendors ~> Photographer: Kristi Odom Photography | Wedding Coordinator: Yours Truly at Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination | Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center | Florist: Local Color Flowers | DJ: Van Petty with MyDeejay | Makeup: Mandy Hollinger H&MD | Dessert: District Doughnuts | Catering: Eat & Smile | Hair: Immortal Beloved | Groom’s Suit: Custom from Trunk Club | Bride’s Dress: Halston Heritage