Images: Porter Watkins Photography
Jennie & Jeff were one of those couples that I could tell by the inquiry, that I just had to coordinate their wedding. After attending so many weddings as guests, they were sick of the same old traditions and wanted to through a party that was true to themselves – full of flash tatts, Penn State winks, metallic golds, a splash of DIY projects, and one HECK of a party. I only wish I could have seen the pinata part of the evening for myself (yes they had a legit pinata at their reception) but I was 8 months preggo when I worked this one and Alesha took over for me during dinner!
You guys are going to LOVE the details from this one, lots of steal-worthy ideas & Porter Watkins crushes the pictures as usual. Here’s all the details from Jennie!!
When we started planning our wedding, we knew we would have a lot of folks traveling in for our wedding (I grew up in Pittsburgh, Jeff grew up in upstate NY & spent some time in CA after college) so while it wasn’t a destination wedding for us, we looked at every detail and really made an effort to customize, DIY or put our own spin on everything we could to showcase our love of the DC Area & each other.
In an effort to minimize flowers, the bridesmaids carried burlap purses I found on etsy & embellished to match their dresses/earrings. I carried a burlap/brooch bouquet that Jeff’s mom made & the guys wore corsages that I made from burlap, each with a lego character that represented them.
I found Porter Watkins on the Capitol Romance blog and really liked her style. It stood out to me that she captured people enjoying themselves & I think that translated into our pictures. We decided to do a first look to maximize our time with guests after the ceremony. Those pictures of just us are some of my favorites!
Directly behind our reception venue is an Alexandria city park (Waterfront park), available for events. Since we had the costs of buying out the restaurant, this was a great economic option – we rented chairs & tent (tent was our insurance policy, ultimately I cancelled it & lost part of the deposit + the costs of the permits, ~$100 total but it was totally worth it to know we had that option if the forecast had predicted rain). We also worked with a company to rent speakers & microphones which we hooked up to an ipod for our Spotify playlists (one for guest arrival & one with the ceremony music).
Our ceremony was officiated by our friend, Jessica, who is a Judge. We had just a few readings including one by our moms & another by Jeff’s aunt, Suzie, who donated a kidney to Jeff when he was 16 so it was really special to include her!
At the end of the ceremony we did a lip sync & danced down the aisle to a Whitney Houston remix. Because we had an odd number (including our officiant) we had a surprise guest: Joe Paterno.
One of our focus areas when planning was sustainability. We decided early on to use Rent the Runway so the girls wouldn’t have to buy dresses. We went to the store in Georgetown & were able to try on a ton of dresses to see how they went together but the service is really user friendly with trying things out even if you can’t get to a store. I also rented my belt, veil & rehearsal dinner dress from RTR.
When we stumbled on Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria, we knew we’d found our reception venue! It felt rustic & glamorous at the same time and we knew we could make the night feel like guests were at the bar with 160 of their friends with minimal decorations/décor changes. Its kind of a chicken or the egg – I can’t pinpoint whether we chose our colors (mixed metals) before or after finding Virtue – it worked out that perfectly!
Much of the other decorations were silver/gold picture frames that could be reused in the future. We did buy some peonies for mason jars on the tables, wrapped with sparkly burlap & the last time I was at Virtue they were still using the mason jars! Guests entered Virtue for the reception & were greeted by a rocketship ‘wishing well’ for cards, a hat tip to Jeff’s career & passion for aerospace.
After the bridal party posed for group pictures and a visit to the Flash tat station to get “party-ready”, we entered the reception greeted by a video of the Capitals’ Unleash the Fury which led into Zombie Nation (another Penn State homage) followed by our first dance to Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Don’t you worry child’ which was super popular when Jeff & first started dating and quickly became our song.
When it was time to cut the cake, we selected from our cupcake tower & used Jeff’s father’s naval sword (his parents also used it to cut their wedding cake). We followed that more ‘traditional’ cake cutting with a wedding cake piñata. Either the sword wouldn’t cut it or we were too impatient because we ended up ripping it open to reveal popcorn from Maryland’s Cotoctin Popcorn Company.
We rocked all night with the band Kristen & the Noise. The band was a definitely a higher ticket item for us but was such a great investment – we received so many compliments & I really believe it added to the party feel!
Vendors –> Photographer: Porter Watkins Photography | Ceremony Location: Waterfront Park | Reception: Virtue Feed & Grain | Wedding Coordinator: Bree at Capitol Romance | Cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcake | Pies: Pie Gourmet | Band: Kristen & the Noise