Images: Adam Mason 

We are BACK with our first re-vamped blogging REAL WEDDING – a stunner at District Winery in SW DC. There are SO MANY fun details in this DC wedding: pops of teal, T-rexes, personalized cake toppers, family & friend involvement, and DIY projects galore. A perfect wedding to be featured on our blog – enjoy!

Scott and I knew we wanted to get married in the DC area because – with Scott hailing from NC and me a Boston girl through and through – DC had become our “together home.”  We began looking at venues around the district (and even a few in the nearby burbs) and had started to narrow in on a few options, when I happened to be out for a run in Navy Yard and ran by what looked like a giant hole in the ground with a few carefully placed I-beams.  Assuming it was just some new condos going in, I stopped to read the “Coming Soon” sign and quickly realized it would be an urban winery.  My first thought was “oh cool, this will be a great place to go on a date with Scott or grab a glass of wine with my roommate Megan.”  My second thought, as I began to jog away, was, “I wonder if they do weddings!”  I googled District Winery as soon as I got home — which led me to their Brooklyn Winery because it was even too soon for them to have a real website — and quickly realized their venue in NY was famous for its gorgeous weddings.  Given Scott and I love wine, he had proposed at a winery in VA wine country, and my home at the time was only 1 mile away, I started to determine that this could be the perfect spot for our wedding…even if it was currently only a couple of I-Beams and a big pile of dirt next to the Anacostia.  After connecting with one of the owners, Brian, I was even more certain that this was our wedding venue.  He was so passionate and knowledgeable about the envisioned design, even showing us renderings of what the completed building would look like inside and out, and noted that there would be an outdoor section overlooking the river to do ceremonies or the cocktail hour.  He also noted that all couples who marry at District Winery become part of their family.  Scott and I were in love.  Without second thought, we chose to be the venue’s very first wedding on 10/27/17.

Once we had the venue, we set about creating the theme for our wedding.  As avid cyclists, we had known from the very beginning that we wanted to incorporate our bikes as part of our decor and theme other than that we really let the venue and the season direct our choices in theme, colors, decor, and florals..  Despite being a city girl and wanting a “city” wedding, I also love the rustic chic theme that is currently popular.  We married these two ideas by turning the notion of an urban winery on its head and creating an outdoor, garden winery theme which allowed us to incorporate our bicycles (mine’s named “Cecilia”, Scott’s is “Coffee”), painted wine bottles set atop real tree trunk rounds as centerpieces, wine barrels, lanterns and fairy lights, and silver dollar eucalyptus.  We even did a Giant Jenga as our guest book to bring in that outdoor games at a winery feel.

Scott first told me he loved me with a T-Rex card that said “I love you this much” with the T-Rex’s arms stretched as far as a T-Rex can.  I used this as inspiration for my first look surprise.  After doing a more traditional first look, Adam (who was in on the surprise) told Scott we had to do one more take.  This time when Scott turned around, he found his bride wearing a giant T-rex head.  Our friend Alyssa had even done a calligraphy chalkboard re-enacting the card’s sentiment “I love you this much”.  Needless to say, the surprise was well received and Scott got a good chuckle out of these “tiny arms” holding onto him for eternity.

Our colors were mint, cobalt blue, and silver.  My absolute favorite color in the world is any shade of turquoise (teal, mint, aqua, etc.).  The condo I was living in when Scott and I were dating had 4 rooms – 2 of which were shades of turquoise, my bike Cecilia is mint, half of my wardrobe is teal….you get the picture.  I also loved the idea of incorporating the water elements provided by the Anacostia as a backdrop.  As a result, we chose cobalt blue as our primary color (bridesmaid dresses, my shoes, etc.) with silver and mint as our accents.  We then used these colors and inspiration from the season (fall) to help dictate our floral choices.  Our amazing floral vendor, Bee Inspired, helped push me out of my comfort zone by suggesting some peach and orange hues to reflect the foliage of the trees along the Anacostia waterfront.  She wrapped the bouquets in mint and cobalt ribbon to bring all of the colors together and the florals could not have been more beautiful.

Our wedding truly could not have been pulled out without the amazing support of our family and friends.  I come from a huge family and Scott has a fairly small family, but all managed to contribute in some meaningful way.  Family played a big part in our rehearsal dinner where my uncle Finbarr who came all the way from Ireland entertained the guests by singing a rousing rendition to “Come back home to Erin” and both Scott’s Dad and Stepmom did beautiful toasts.  My Dad also gave a toast at the wedding.

We also had some really special involvement by our friends in our ceremony.  Our good friend Bethany Garcia acted as our officiant.  She is the DC Campus Pastor for our church, Capitol City Church, and this was the first wedding she officiated!  My 4th grade teacher from my grade school in Quincy, MA is one of my dearest friends.  She did one of our readings.

Scott and I also wrote our own vows where we incorporated promises such as: I promise to always let you believe you are better than me at Ikea cart racing” and “I promise to encourage, love, and support you … even when I am hangry” (me) and “I promise to hire professional repairmen, even if I really want to try and fix it myself first” and “I promise to always save you the last Peppermint JoJo cookie from Trader Joe’s, even if we have to hide it away on a shelf for six months.

In addition to our amazing official photographer, Adam Mason, our brother-in-law Niall and our good friend Ashley acted as second and third photographers during the wedding (and as primary photographers at the Rehearsal Dinner).  My friend Irina lent her event planning expertise and was our Day of Coordinator and her husband Joel (who has now become a dear friend) was our amazing, dance-your-face-off DJ.  Our friend Kha also took a break from recording her first album to be our vocalist for the cocktail hour!  Not to mention, many of our friends had important roles in the miscellaneous surprises I had in store for Scott on our wedding day (see offbeat answer below).

Fun Fact: We ended up inviting the owner to District Winery to our wedding because we wanted him to experience the first wedding at his new venue!

I’ll bike you forever, I’ll love you for always – Given our love of bicycles, about 2 weeks before our wedding while we were in Brooklyn to run a half marathon, Scott and I got matching wrist tattoos that merge our initials into an infinity symbol bicycle, representing it’s the two of us –and our bikes — forever!

As another shoutout to our love of biking, we made our marriage getaway on a pedicab!

Two dear friends, Alecia (one of my Maids of Honor) & Alyssa, also provided their respective expertise (graphic design and calligraphy) to help us with everything from our programs to our wedding guest sign to our bathroom signs (these are still my faves!) to our various custom wine-inspired chalkboard signage.  And, of course, my sisters and maids, Shannon (my second maid of honor) and Colleen, were invaluable in providing organizational and packing support for all of our decor!

Instead of doing one large multi-tier cake, we opted to get 5 10″ round cakes of various flavors ranging from Cannoli to Amaretto Raspberry that we displayed on a cake table, which allowed us to go a little crazy with the cake toppers.  We had 5 unique cake toppers handmade demonstrating different parts of our relationship:

  1. Obviously, a bride and groom on a bicycle
  2. A couple skydiving inscribed with “Fall in Love” (our faux meetcute since we met online is a story about meeting skydiving… something Scott made up on the fly!)
  3. A couple on an ikea cart (Scott and I love racing Ikea carts!)
  4. Our hashtag: #2Gingers1Love
  5. Two cheersing wine glasses inscribed with Mr & Mrs

If you ask Scott, he’ll say “what wasn’t DIY?!”  Soon after we chose our wedding venue, Scott and I purchased a townhome together in Hill East (only about a mile from our wedding venue!).  All of a sudden our budget and vision went from “sky’s the limit” to being very strategic as we balanced a new mortgage with mounting wedding expenses.  We began to rely heavily on our creativity and sweat equity and the creativity and sweat equity of some of our closest friends to make our vision come to life without sacrificing quality.  We had our wedding invitations designed on Etsy – I provided all the bike puns! – then printed and cut these using our own resources (I think Scott thought about calling off the whole thing after hours of printing and paper cuts!).  We spent hours soaking wine bottles (thanks to all of our friends who drank wine and donated the bottles!) to remove the labels and then spray painted these in our colors and decorated them with burlap, lace flowers, etc. (despite a few hot glue gun burns!).   We also made our reserved signs and ringbearer signs out of old bookshelf shelves and ribbons, spray painted mint, with calligraphy decals.

We did our first dance to the song Life is better by Michael Franti, which has a pretty unique and silly music video. Basically there are these neon animal cut out props/puppets (an owl, a moose wearing a peace sign necklace, some sort of maned monster) “dancing” around the singer during periods of the song. Scott and I have always found these a riot! As another surprise for Scott, I recreated these cutouts and, towards the end of the first dance, our bridal party made them “dance” behind us. While Scott was happily surprised he still managed to nail the big finale dip!

Probably one of the most fun aspects of our wedding was that we did a Halloween-themed post-wedding brunch at the newly opened Kirwan’s on the newly opened Wharf. We invited everyone to show up in costume and arrived as a zombie bride and groom complete with tattered wedding gown and tux and bloody makeup. It was a complete hit!  People were just dying to meet us (see what I did there?!).

Shoutout to all of our super talented vendors each of whom I would hire again in a heartbeat and truly made our wedding day!  We even hosted them at a dinner after the wedding because we came to love them so much!

Photographer: Adam Mason Photography | Venue: District Winery | Officiant: Bethany Garcia | Cake Artist: SugarBakers | Coordinator: Irina Batchelor | Video: Ellenbee Productions | Florals: Bee Inspired | DJ: Batchelor Party — Joel Batchelor | Makeup: Valerie Hammer Makeup Artistry | Hair: Total Babe Hair | Wedding Dress + Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal | Dress Style: Gallina | Groom’s Tux: Macy’s


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