Images: Emily Long Photography

Before we get to today’s real DC wedding feature, I just have to shout-out how AMAZING it is to have an entire TEAM behind this blog, brand & business. I don’t think I ever imagined that I would have the fortune to get to this point in my business. Last weekend Kara unfortunately came down with the FLU, and thanks to having an amazing team of rockstars, Amanda seamlessly stepped in and ran our wedding this past weekend. I cannot thank her enough. AND Kara has been the only reason this blog is back up and running these days – presetting the images and content for the posts. It’s been SUCH a relief to blog again and share all the awesome that’s been collecting in my inbox! So yeah, my team is awesome. I am SO grateful to have them. They rock & have to work with me forever ;)

But now it’s time to get over to today’s DC Wedding feature! Let’s do this.

Our wedding took place on May 12, 2018, at The Hill Center in the Eastern Market district of Washington, DC. We lucked out with a nice warm day right before three weeks of solid rain. I’m so grateful for that!

Throughout the process of planning, we kept a few questions in mind when making a decision. Is this something we want and value? Is this something we can afford? And: If we forgo this, will it make the event less enjoyable for us or our guests? It’s easy to get carried away when planning a wedding, and this really helped guide us in most of our decision-making.

Jeff and I knew we wanted an outdoor venue from the get-go. We considered looking for venues out in Virginia, but we knew a lot of our family and friends would need to travel from out-of-state to attend and wanted to make it more easily accessible. I actually discovered the Hill Center on Reddit in a post about a budget-conscious wedding in DC. It’s gorgeous, conveniently located, the staff is very friendly and accommodating, and their price fit our smaller budget.

One of the big decisions we made was to self-officiate our marriage. We are strong believers in the DIY ethos, and doing it that way made the most sense to us. We designated me as the officiant, and it was a thrill for me to be able to declare us husband and wife! This decision also allowed us to structure our ceremony any way we wanted.

I’m a trained theatrical set designer so the aesthetics were important to me, but I also know myself and didn’t want to plan something huge and extravagant only to get stressed and overwhelmed. Plus, we didn’t want anything over-the-top. I went for a semi-casual feminine vibe, utilizing whites and off-whites, greens, light pink, and kraft brown as colors for the event. In the end, there really wasn’t much added decor: We didn’t need much more than the beautiful Hill Center gardens and the florals designed by my friend Colleen! 

Essentially everything else was DIYed by either the two of us or our amazing friends and family. All the photos were taken by my friend Emily. Our invitations were designed by our friend Katie, who runs an Etsy shop called Stem & Ink. Our friend Andrew loaned us some of his DJ gear, and our other friend Chris ran the sound board (and we provided Spotify playlists – this was so fun to make and easy to implement). My aunt and cousin-in-law provided a bunch of amenities in the bathrooms, which were SO appreciated because I got some red wine on my dress about five minutes into the reception! Thank goodness for Tide pens. And there are so many other big and small actions that our friends and family took to help us prepare for, set up, and break down the event – we are so grateful for that!

I designed and made all the other signage and paper good involved in the event. We chose table names instead of table numbers, and we used our favorite musical artists as the table names.

Our guestbooks were also DIY efforts. We had two: a blank scrapbook where guests could tape instant film photos of themselves and write us a message, and a rotary phone that records messages! Jeff is a sound designer and had previously worked on an immersive theater project that involved hacking rotary phones to play messages when a participant picked up the receiver. Jeff altered the project for the reception to allow spoken messages to be recorded. We had so much fun listening to the recorded message the next day, and it’s something we look forward to doing each anniversary.

Lastly, the food: we wanted to serve food that we love, so it was a no-brainer to serve pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies! We had savory pies for dinner and sweet pies and doughnuts for dessert. We opted not to do a wedding cake, simply because we wanted to eat pie more. :)

It was a wonderful, wonderful day and are so happy with how it turned out!


Day-of Coordinator: Kara wth Capitol Romance | Venue: Hill Center DC | Staffing: Design Cuisine | Food: Dangerously Delicious Pies | Donuts: Sugar Shack | Florist: Colleen West | Valet: MJ Valet | Photographer: Emily Long Photography | Invitations: Stem & Ink


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