I Promise To…

March 21, 2018. Category: advice, ceremony, wedding tips

Have you and your fiancé decided to write your own vows? Are you unsure of where to start? You are in luck because we have a few helpful ideas to assist you in the creation of your meaningful vows.

The first place to start is with your fiancé. You both should chat about your respective expectations. Are you planning on keeping your vows under 2 minutes or under 1 minute? Are you going to type out your vows or write them down in a booklet? Are they ok with using humor? As you’re talking about your vows together, ask any question that comes to mind. Once you have a loose outline of what your vows will look like it will be easier to build out your personalized vows.

Photo: Lissa Ryan Photography

Next up is inspiration. Watch videos of the two of you together, or go back through photos of your relationship. Jot down what looking at those things make you feel. Try gathering inspiration from a favorite movie or book. Do you want to use a specific line from a movie the two of you enjoy? Do it! These vows are all about your relationship, and can be as unique and fun as you design them to be. Another place to find inspiration is the traditional wedding vows. For example, use the words “to love and to cherish” as a starting point. Use those words to point out specific ways you plan to go about loving and cherishing your partner. If you jot down what those words mean to you it will help you build your vows.

Photo: Eli Turner Photography

Don’t wait until the last minute to write your vows. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, you want to have plenty of time to practice reading your vows out loud. Don’t forget to leave time to make edits as well! Once read out loud it is easier to pick up what sentences don’t flow with one another, and what parts of your vows might be tongue twisters. Try practicing looking into a mirror as well. You want to be looking into the eyes of your partner while going through your vows!

Still stuck?  The pros at XO Juliet, can craft custom vows for you and your beloved and they offer a discount for A. Dominick brides! They can even help with toasts and hashtags if you are suffering from severe writer’s block.

 

Photo: Jodi & Kurt Photography

Writing your vows is a very special way to personalize your wedding ceremony. It’s an intimate view into your relationship, so be sure to take time to make this a meaningful experience for your partner, and your guests.

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National Wedding Planning Day

March 01, 2018. Category: advice, wedding planner, wedding tips

Your fiancé surprised you and proposed – congratulations! You are thrilled, and can’t wait to get started planning your dream wedding. So what should you tackle first? Since today is National Wedding Planning Day we wanted to share our own wedding planning 101 to help you get started.

Know Your Budget. It is crucial to organize your budget as you can not make any decisions or hire any vendors without knowing what you want to spend. It is important for you to discuss what is financially realistic based on what you and your fiancé can contribute, along with your families. Use that number as a guideline throughout your planning process.

Eli Turner

Pick a Date. Begin to narrow down the dates that you would like to get married on. It’s helpful a few dates in mind as your venue may be already booked on one of your choices. If you are having a hard time picking specific dates, try to narrow it down to at least a season. You can then go over the spring season with your venue and different vendors to find out their availability.

Katelyn James

Choose the Style of your Wedding. Do you love the city? An urban style wedding may be the way to go for you. Is an outdoor wedding more your style? Maybe you have always dreamed of a formal wedding at your family’s country club. Have fun and be authentic with this one!

Bonnie Sen

Create your Guest List. Get your guests’ names down on paper instead of thinking that you know the amount of people you want to invite. You may be surprised how many people you write down after tackling your list with your fiancé and families.

Abby Jiu

Hire a Wedding Planner. Wedding planners are considered experts at what they do for a reason! Consider hiring a wedding planner as an investment in your sanity. As your planner, we promise to keep you organized and on schedule so that you have little to no stress leading up to your big day. We won’t make decisions for you, but rather, help you to make decisions. We have years of experience to help you along the way. Most of all, we want your wedding day to be more special than you could have ever imagined!

 

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5 Wedding Planning Myths

August 29, 2017. Category: advice, wedding planner, wedding tips

 Couples often feel that they have to do, or not do certain things at their wedding. Advice (mostly unsolicited) comes from many directions and prospectives when planning your big day.  Your wedding celebration should feel authentic to you and your partner. Unfortunately, you will never make everyone happy, all the time.

Here we have debunked 5 wedding planning myths. Hopefully, this will help you with your own planning and  alleviate some unnecessary stress!

Buffets are cheaper

Many people think that buffets are cheaper and that they will end up saving money if they opt for this option. What they don’t take into account, is that they will actually need a lot more food than if they had decided on the plated meal.  No one wants the last piece of chicken and it’s impossible to know what will be the most popular item, so you caterer will need to over order for the buffet food.

While your staffing costs may be a bit lower for the buffet, the higher food costs many times, will negate any savings.  Best to choose the format that you prefer and work with your caterer to maximize your budget.

Photography: Jodi and Kurt

You must have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen

You really do not need to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. It is perfectly ok to have a groomsmen walk two bridesmaids or even have two bridesmaids walk up the the aisle together.

It is very important that the people who you are selecting are your very dearest friends and that they will all get along well with one another. One way to think about it is to ask yourself if you will still be close friends with this person in ten years.  If the answer is no, better to ask them to play another role in the wedding.  For example, they do you a reading in the ceremony.

 Also keep in mind, that you do not need to ask someone to be a bridesmaid just because you were a bridesmaid in their wedding. This is your special day and your friends and family will understand.

Photography: Bonnie Sen

DIY is always cheaper

Do It Yourself projects always seem like a great idea that will not only save you money, but  also be fun to do.

We have seen way too many times that these projects have become something that our couple’s wish they hadn’t done. Costs for supplies often mount up faster than expected and the time to do the project while planning a wedding can become a stressful nightmare.

If you really want to DYI an element of the wedding, make sure it is something that can be done well before the wedding, just in case you need a plan B.

Photography: Bonnie Sen

You must have a flower girl/ring bearer

Don’t feel like you have to include a flower girl or ring bearer at your wedding. Often times this can be a very stressful experience for, not only the child, but also for the parents of the child. If you have a niece that you adore or your best friend’s son would be perfect and enjoy the role, then great!  If not, no need to ask someone who’s parent you aren’t that close to.

If you do decide to include kids in your ceremony here are a few tips to make it easier.

  • Make sure the child is the appropriate age. We find 4 year olds to 7 year olds to be the best able to handle the long wedding process, but still young enough to be excited about it.
  • Have them come at the very last possible time to take photos. Better to keep them from be exhausted and have a meltdown at the end of your aisle.
  • Always have good readily available snacks that are not only child friendly but will also not mess or stain their clothes.
  • Remember that they are little and try not to ask too much of them on your day!

Photography: Katelyn James

You need to choose a “color” for your wedding

You really don’t need to have a specific color or theme for your wedding at the start of the planning process. Although it is helpful to have an overall aesthetic or look that you are thinking about when making design decisions, being locked into a specific color scheme might be problematic down the road if you become tired of it.

The colors and look of your wedding can certainly change as you go further into the planning process, so having your Save the dates be a bit more neutral is one a great way to allow your wedding to evolve over time.

Photography: Bonnie Sen

 

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Wedding Timeline Tips

July 13, 2017. Category: advice, wedding planner, wedding tips

One of the most important elements to planning a wedding is having a great timeline. This alleviates stress and allows for a more seamless wedding celebration. Below are some tips we hope will help you on your wedding day!

Allow at least 30 minutes to get into the dress.
It doesn’t seem like it will take that long, but there is always that one last trip to the restroom or a tricky zipper (or though we don’t like to admit it, squeezing into your Spanx!).  The last thing you want is to rush through the dressing process, feeling and looking stressed in your photos.

Photography: Katelyn James

Distract your guests during band breaks by having something else happening.
Unfortunately, most bands don’t play straight through the reception and need to take a few breaks. During these breaks, it’s the perfect time for toasts or cake cutting. The band won’t be playing during those events anyway, so no one will notice they’re not playing or miss out on any dancing!

Photography: Sam Hurd

Make sure to limit number and length of toasts.
Though there is nothing we love more than a heartfelt speech or sweet toast, there is a limit to how long guests will pay attention. Try to limit the number of speeches at one time. Planning for some of the toasts to happen at the rehearsal dinner can help to reduce the number at the reception. We also find that splitting up the toasts throughout the night so that no more than two people are speaking in a row helps keep guests’ attention.

We recommend telling your speakers to stay within 3 minutes per toast, knowing that inevitably some will run a bit longer. Long speeches could compromise the quality of the meal, delay guests hitting the dance floor and minimize opportunities for additional photos. If you talk about the plan in advance, your friends and family will have a better understanding of why you want the toasts short and sweet: more time on the dance floor!

Photography: Jodi and Kurt

Double the amount of time you think it will take to get to your venue.
Even though we always plan for worse case scenarios, you never know what could happen on your wedding day. It’s really important to cushion your timeline and double the amount of time you think it will take you to get your ceremony and/or reception. The last thing you want is the stress of sitting in unexpected traffic, late for the ceremony!

Photography: Eric Kelley

Plan to arrive early to the ceremony to get out of sight.
There is something magical when the doors open and the bride walks down the aisle, everyone anticipating her entrance and a glimpse of the dress. It’s also really nice to have time to yourself right before the big moment. Plan to arrive 40 minutes before the ceremony, before guests start arriving, so that you can slip out of sight. Or, you can wait out of view in your transportation right up until the moment when you walk down the aisle.

Photography: Connor Studios

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How to decide on an indoor or outdoor wedding

June 21, 2017. Category: advice, tips, venue, wedding planner, wedding tips, weddings

One of the hardest decisions a couple has to make while planning their wedding is the venue. Some couples really love the idea of having part of their celebration outdoors, but in the DC area, that can be tricky.

For some, the thought of not having an outdoor ceremony and/or tented reception is heartbreaking, and for others the risk of an outdoor soirée seems too stressful. If you are a couple who is still going back and forth, we have put together a list of Pros and Cons for both which we hope will make the the decision and planning process a little bit easier.

Indoor Wedding

If you have always dreamed of having your wedding in a gorgeous ballroom or at an iconic historic location, such as a museum, having an indoor wedding is the perfect choice for you. However, if you are still on the fence below are some Pros and Cons to an indoor wedding that might help sway your decision.

Pro: Weather is not a concern – With an indoor wedding, there is no need to worry about the weather. It doesn’t matter if it there is an unexpected down pour that day or if it is unseasonably warm or cold, the weather will not be an issue. Also, your guests will not have a problem packing the dance floor with good air conditioning.

Photography: Jodi and Kurt  Floral: Edge Floral    Venue: The Hay-Adams

Con: Windows and natural light – If you find a venue with windows, this is not an issue, but many ballrooms are built on the lower level of a hotel or in interior rooms of a museum and do not have any natural light.  This can be an issue if you want light, dreamy photos or hire a photographer who only shoots in real film.

Photography: Abby Jiu   Floral: Amaryllis  Venue: Decatur House

Pro: Endless décor options – Depending on the space, most if not all indoor venues will allow you to manipulate the space in some way or another, especially if you have selected a venue that has blank walls which will provide the perfect backdrop to customizing your wedding.

Photography: Sam Hurd   Floral: Southern Blooms

 Venue: Pippin Hill Farm &  Vineyards

Con: Unexpected décor costs – While having a blank space is very appealing and exciting, this can also get very expensive very quickly. As you may have to consider all the elements that will be needed to bring your vision to life from lighting to flowers to draping to all the rentals. Just make sure that when you are looking at the space, you are also adhering to your budget.

Photography: Abby Jiu     Floral: Amaryllis    Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

Pro: Intimate Dinner Party – With all of your guests in one room, depending on the size of your event, indoor receptions can often feel like an intimate dinner party.

Photography: Abby Jiu    Floral: Amaryllis

Venue: National Museum of Women in The Arts

Outdoor Weddings

Have you always envisioned yourself getting married at your parents house or sitting in a lush garden under a tent surrounded by your nearest and dearest? If so, then an outdoor wedding is for you. However, one of the biggest challenges with an outdoor wedding is the weather. An outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception, though beautiful and often breathtaking, can sometimes be logistically a bit more challenging, especially if the weather does not corporate. If you are up for the challenge or still find yourself on the fence here are some Pros and Cons to an outdoor wedding that might help you decide.

Pro: Beautiful scenery and backdrop – Outdoor weddings offer beautiful settings for a wedding and as a result, couples that decide on an outdoor soirée often save on design costs. Since the scenery is so lovely you really don’t need to add too many additional decor elements.

Photography: Eric Kelley     Venue: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Con: High rental costs – Most outdoor wedding venues will need you to be tented, which can be expensive depending on the type of tent to want. Also be prepared to budget for items you may not necessarily have thought of, such as portable restrooms, flooring, a dance floor, tables, chairs, and lighting.

Photography: Kate Headley    Venue: Private Estate

Pro: A bit more relaxed atmosphere for your guests – An outdoor venue is also a great option for cocktail hour. Your guests can enjoy cocktails on the lawn while also playing lawn games or and taking in the view. Also, if you are allowing guests to bring their children, an outdoor wedding allows children space to run around.

Photography: Jen Fariello

Con: Unknown Weather – If you decide to have part or all of your celebration outdoors, be sure to have a plan B for bad weather.  There is no way to know how hot, cold, rainy or windy it might be.  If you don’t have a back up plan that you love (tent/interior space), you will make yourself crazy in the lead up to your wedding checking the weather.

Pro Tip: Most importantly, try to remember that no matter what location or venue you decided on be it indoor or outdoor, your wedding day will be beautiful and one of the best days of your life. Once you have logistically come up with the plan, all the other pieces will fall into place. Enjoy it – it’s your wedding day after all!

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