Images: Jessica Millete Photography

It’s Friday. For the first time in forever (FROZEN LYRIC) I don’t have much to say! I am exhausted, as usual, and just happy that I got 3 blogs out there. Onward to doc appointments, Physical Therapy, meetings, and more meetings … and somehow finding time to run 5 miles. Friday. Let’s do this.

From the designer/photographer:

I decided the location of the shoot would be Burke Lake Park in Fairfax, VA because I envisioned a fall goddess among a heavily wooded area. Burke Lake Park has 888 acres filled with plenty of activities including running/bike trails, boating, camping, mini-golf, etc. It’s a great venue if you are an outdoors-loving couple! You can rent out the Amphitheatre which has a capacity of 100. The rental fee is $20/hr with a 4-hr minimum (rates apply to Friday, Saturday, Sunday). There are also multiple reservable picnic areas so you can have your ceremony and reception all in one place. Additionally, your guests could experience camping rather than your typical hotel-stay.

Our fall goddess is Sara, a good friend of mine who is a Doctor of Pharmacy–I intentionally did not want a professional model since I wanted this shoot to feel as natural and realistic as possible. I asked My Tran Hair Designs and Styles by Sadira to work their magic to elevate her look. My’s bridal hair base price starts at $160 and Sadira’s bridal make up base price starts at $150.

One of the main pieces I wanted to feature in this shoot was a floral crown with a matching bouquet. Karissa of Flor del Soul did an amazing job: the colors really stand out, complementing the dress and make up. With Flor del Soul, the base price for a wedding floral crown begins at $50, and the base price for a bouquet begins at $90. *Final pricing depends on the season, bouquet size, and the intricacy of the design.

Keeping in mind the frugal and unconventional bride/bridesmaid, I decided to purchase a dress from Lulus and found this beautiful plum purple velvet dress for only $99: it was perfect for the brisk fall temperature. I knew I wanted a statement piece of jewelry created by a local designer, so I went into Steadfast Supply, my favorite neighborhood store, and browsed for a bit. The Urban Decay Earrings by Gaylia Wagner Design really caught my eye and felt like the perfect complement to the dress, for only $64. One more piece to complete the look was a vintage fur wrap, borrowed from my fashion blogger friend, Love of Fashion. There are plenty of thrift, vintage, and consignment shops (don’t forget estate sales!) in the DMV area where you could score real or faux fur for cheap to add texture to your overall look.

Being a sweet-tooth myself, I wanted to feature a dessert table. I met Andy of Tortë from our neighborhood FRESHFARM Farmers Markets (Capitol Riverfront). He creates desserts of all types, but for this shoot we feature a Vanilla Spongecake with Hazelnut Buttercream, along with mini pies of Sweet Potato, Apple, Pear, and Pecan. I specifically asked for the cake design to be minimal so that we could add on any leftover floral crown pieces. A 8” custom wedding cake from Tortë begins at $40. *Final pricing depends on the flavors, size, tiers, and intricacy of the design.

The desserts needed something to indicate flavors so I asked my good friend, Rachel (who is a graphic designer), to provide some hand-lettered signs! She provided these minimal yet whimsical chalk-like signs attached to small wooden clipboards (about $6 each from Marshall’s) which add a nice rustic look to match. Rachel has hand-lettering packages for all your wedding needs starting at $20.

I had a table for the cake + desserts + signs to go on, but I needed various items to dress it up. I went to my favorite thrift store in Northern Virginia, Unique Merrifield – Savers Thrift. There, I found practically all of the items you see on the table, from the vintage gas lamp to the mismatched glassware, to the vases, to the textured curtains which I used as table cloths! Additionally, it’s the same place where I found the beautifully vintage seafoam-colored chair. I only spent about $60 for everything; again, keeping in mind the frugal bride.

I have an incredibly talented event designer friend, Tassika of Bashology, and knew she had the perfect kind of dimension I wanted to add to the shoot: an interactive hexagon wood escort display and hexagon altar. You can rent this beautiful geometric backdrop piece from Bashology for just $350 for the entire day! If hexagons aren’t your thing, Tassika can work with you to design any kind of custom displays and installations. To have Flor del Soul work her floral and greenery magic onto a structure like this hexagon altar, the base price starts at only $40.

The custom interactive hexagon wood escort display is a made-to-order piece and would start at $500.

To sum up, I wanted to make sure that when people saw these photos, they could really see themselves in it. It is important to me that I didn’t use a professional model and practically all of the vendors are based in DC, Virginia, and Maryland, so you can meet these wonderful, creative people in person. The look, feel, and budget of this shoot is realistic and doable for anyone who is looking to make an affordable wedding happen in the DMV area.


Photographer/Coordinator: Jessica Millete Photograph | Floral Design: Flor del Soul | Hair: My Tran Hair Designs | Make Up: Styles by Sadira | Cake + Mini Pies: Tortë | Dessert Signs: Rachel Kapisak | Fall Goddess: Sara Pek | Hexagon Escort Display & Hexagon Altar: Bashology | Vintage Fur: Love of Fashion | Dress: Lulus | Earrings: Gaylia Wagner Design via Steadfast Supply | Ring: Nordstrom | Chair + Dessert Table Decor: Unique Merrifield – Savers Thrift


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