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Washington DC Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

BRIDES Washington DC: Your Guide to Getting Married at the Monuments

 Local, MD, DC and VA, Planning Tips, Washington DC, Wedding Venues  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: Your Guide to Getting Married at the Monuments
Nov 062016

Brides in D.C. looking to have a wedding ceremony that no other bride in the country can have? You may want to consider marrying on the National Mall at one the iconic monuments. There's just something truly magical about marrying the love of your life with the looming shadow of one of our founding fathers in the background. Not to mention — guests who are history buffs will love such an original, historical wedding venue. Brides who want to experience this special affair can find out how in the step-by-step process below.

Know Where and When You Can Hold Your Ceremony
When we say ceremony — that's the only thing we mean (no receptions allowed). Couples can only marry in three specific places on the National Mall: the west lawn of the majestic Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the stately D.C. War Memorial and the serene George Mason Memorial. There are time limits for each except the D.C. War Memorial. The Jefferson Memorial is also specific to the west lawn only. Read real brides' reviews here!

Know What Paperwork You'll Need
Weddings are considered Type 1 Special Use permits on the National Mall. The link to the special use permit application is available here. The doc is 3 pages, and can be easily filled out — just keep in mind there's a non-refundable fee of $50 that goes along with it.

Brides can use this handy guide to help them figure out details for their National Mall wedding. Additionally, couples will need to meet with a National Park Service Representative to schedule an appointment to discuss set-up as well as schedule an inspection of the site after the ceremony. Specific items like staking for tents can't be driven more than 18 inches into the ground and no glass containers are permitted, so make sure that you read their rules very carefully.

See More: Not Cherry Blossom Season? Reach Out to These Local Florists for Some Beautiful Big Day Blooms

Study the Calendar
Washington, D.C. can be a busy city. Brides must make sure to plan the wedding around concerts, holidays, and yearly demonstrations so as not to conflict with any major events. Another must-know tip: The National Mall has had areas of construction going on for years, so it's important to know your specific location's situation so that you don't have any construction-filled backdrops in the photos.

Think About Transportation
Parking can be tricky around the National Mall, and riding the Metro in a wedding gown is not ideal, so reserving alternate transportation is necessary. Brides who wish to marry at one of the three permitted monuments should consider transportation like Uber or Lyft, or perhaps local D.C. transport services like Reston Limousine or Chariots for Hire. That way the couple of honor and guests will all be stress-free on the big day.

For more places to say "I do" throughout D.C., be sure to browse our Local Venues page!

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See How One Couple Channeled Preppy Style for Their Wedding in Washington, D.C.

 Real Weddings, Washington DC  Comments Off on See How One Couple Channeled Preppy Style for Their Wedding in Washington, D.C.
Oct 072016
A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Bride and Groom Portrait with View of DC

Photo: Kate Headley

When it comes to the story of how Kate Fletcher and Nick Morgan met, the bride says the details are a little hazy. "The consensus seems to be we met at a fraternity party at Northwestern University, where we both went to college," she says. But there's absolutely no confusion over their engagement. After three years of long-distance dating, Nick popped the question when their stars — meaning zip codes — finally aligned. "He lured me out of bed with a promise of coffee. Then, on bended knee, he asked me to marry him."

The couple threw their September 12, 2015, wedding in Washington, D.C., where they finally lived together after many years apart. Kate and Nick envisioned a classic, elegant event with a navy, pink, and gold color palette, complete with whimsical details chosen specifically to delight guests. "Most of all, I wanted to throw the best party I have ever attended," Kate says. With the help of Pineapple Productions, the couple did just that — and Kate Headley was there to capture it all.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Custom Invitation Suite A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, DC-Themed Welcome Bag

Photo: Kate Headley

Choosing their invitations was one of the bride's favorite parts of wedding planning. "Our custom-designed invitation suite was classic and personal, with touches of whimsy," says Kate. "I absolutely adore it." The duo also personalized guests' welcome bags, printed with an image of Washington, D.C., and stuffed them with goodies like champagne, popcorn, and a city guide.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Bride with Bridesmaids in Navy Dresses A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Bride's All-White Bouquet A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Bridesmaids' Bouquet with Greenery Accents

Photo: Kate Headley

Kate wasn't sure what she wanted in a wedding dress. Luckily, she spotted what turned out to be the perfect gown — a silk chiffon and lace Monique Lhuillier — while browsing Pinterest. She tracked down the elegant style at a local bridal boutique and the trip confirmed her initial thoughts: It was definitely the one.

Kate's bridesmaids wore gowns that mimicked her own, with illusion necklines and soft, A-line silhouettes. "I love the preppy navy blue," says the bride, "and I love how the length allowed my bridesmaids to truly join the party." Like Kate, her 'maids carried ivory bouquets with touches of blush blooms.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Groom and Groomsmen in Gray SUits A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Flower Girls Holding Just Married Sign

Photo: Kate Headley

Nick and his groomsmen donned gray suits, and the groom gifted each guy their shirts and blue neckties. On their lapels, the men wore ivory spray rose boutonnieres.

Between the two of them, Kate and Nick have ten nieces and nephews, so they asked three to step in as their flower girls. The girls wore ivory dresses with blue sashes, plus flower crowns on their heads.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Church Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Kate Headley

Kate and Nick tied the knot inside St. John's Church at Lafayette Square, which is also known as the Presidents' Church because of its proximity to the White House and the fact that every U.S. president since Madison attended services there. With its beautiful sanctuary, the couple needed little in the way of décor, placing just two white and green arrangements by the altar.

The couple's wedding fell close to the Supreme Court's historic decision to rule same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, and the couple wanted to honor that decision during their day. They asked their officiant to read a passage from the ruling that explains the real meaning of marriage. "Guests from across the political spectrum approached us afterwards praising the readings selection," the bride says. "After our wedding ceremony, Nick and I stood alone in a receiving line and greeted each of our guests. We had the opportunity to greet and hug each guest and invite them to the festivities."

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Hay-Adams Hotel Exterior A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Escort Card Display A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Escort Card Display with Hashtag

Photo: Kate Headley

The couple held their reception at The Hay-Adams, located just across the street from the church where they wed. "Providing an easy, seamless weekend for our guests was really important to us," says Kate.

Guests found their seating assignments pinned to a green board that was bordered with a green-and-ivory garland. As cards were removed, a sign with the couple's wedding hashtag was revealed. "It was a beautiful and fun focal point," says Kate. And beyond that, a stunning view awaited guests inside the reception hall and outside the windows.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Reception Interior A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Gold Striped Dinnerware and Low FLoral Centerpieces A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Place Settings A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Garden Rose Floral Arrangements

Photo: Kate Headley

Inside, guests were greeted by a mix of high and low centerpieces made from ivory and blush roses, hydrangeas, dahlias, snow on the mountain, and acacia foliage. "We used clear glass vases so guests could see clearly across the table and across the room to see the White House," Kate says. What's more, the couple mixed and matched china and chairs to create different looks so that some tables were surrounded by ghost chairs and polka-dot plates, while others were decorated with Chivari chairs and sunray-style dinnerware.

"At each place we provided a navy and white menu card with a trellis border that echoed our invitation suite," Kate says. "Place cards and table cards had the same border and were finished with custom calligraphy."

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Gift Box A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Mirrored Sign

Photo: Kate Headley

Doughnut favors were wrapped in ivory and navy boxes and placed at each seat. "We also had a decal that matched our invitation suite on a mirror that read 'What a Day at the Hay!'" Kate says.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, White Wedding Cake with Monogram

Photo: Kate Headley

The couple's cake was simple and tasteful, decorated with Kate and Nick's monogram and blush flowers, and made from layers of coconut cake with cream cheese frosting and almond cake with milk chocolate ganache.

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, First Dance

Photo: Kate Headley

Kate and Nick shared their first dance to Jason Mraz's "Quiet," performed by the couple's live band. "Out of all of the decisions in the planning process, we were probably the most indecisive when it came to picking a band," Kate admits. "All told, we watched 13 videos, attended two live performances, and crashed one wedding in the service of picking our band. After all that, we were convinced that our band, The Source, was the best one for us."

A Classic, Preppy Wedding in Washington DC, Confetti Exit

Photo: Kate Headley

After leaving through a shower of confetti, the couple honeymooned in Turks and Caicos. And Kate reflects, "I kept marveling that day how each detail was more beautiful and special than I expected. I'm convinced this is because we hired professionals we trust and we allowed them to exercise their judgment."

Ceremony Venue: St. John's Church || Reception Venue, Catering and Accommodations: The Hay-Adams || Wedding Planner: Pineapple Productions || Bride's Wedding Dress, Veil & Shoes: Monique Lhuillier || Jewelry & Wedding Bands: Greenwich Jewelers || Hair: Christophe Jouenne || Makeup: Johny Saade || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren || Groomsmen's Attire: Menguin || Florist: Amaryllis, Inc. || Invitations: Cheree Berry Paper; Arney Walker Calligraphy || Music: The Source || Cake: Kendall's Cakes || Rentals: DC Event Rentals || Favors: District Donut || Videographer & Photographer: Kate Headley

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Looking for more Washington, D.C., wedding inspiration? Then check out another couple's big day, below.

BRIDES Washington DC: The Best Engagement Photo Shoot Locations

 Engagement, Engagement Photos, Local, MD, DC and VA, Washington DC, Wedding Photography  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: The Best Engagement Photo Shoot Locations
Oct 062016

In a place that's as iconic as Washington D.C., it's hard to get a shot that doesn't scream tourist (can we say National Monument backdrop, anyone?). Even though kitsch is fun for a photo or two, we can bet you want something a little more personalized for your big engagement photoshoot. To get photos that are as unique as you and your fiancé, head to one of these slightly less chartered destinations right in the heart of the city.

National Cathedral Washington DC

Photo: Getty Images

The National Cathedral
The working cathedral (whose full name is the Cathedral Church of Saint peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington) closely models other soaring structures built in the Neo-Gothic style with two towers decorated with multiple spires and protective gargoyles. Even though shots in the front of the cathedral and around its manicured gardens are popular, the best views (and photo opportunities) come from the top of the bell towers, which offer sweeping vistas of the tree speckled skyline of Wisconsin Ave. Read real brides' reviews here!

Union Station Washington DC

Photo: Getty Images

Union Station
Although it's bustling with commuters and tourists alike, the soaring, ornately decorated ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and vintage look of railway stations past greatly make up for the busy atmosphere. To avoid some of the crowds, skip morning and early evening as that's prime rush hour. Instead, go in the middle of the afternoon or on the weekend so there's last chances for a photobomb. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Looking to Use Those Engagement Photos for Your Save-the-Date? Find Washington D.C. Wedding Stationers Here!

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum via Facebook

Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum
If you and your fiancé are space and science nerds, snap your photos in the National Air and Space Museum in Vienna, Virginia. The three- floor museum is decorated with all of the astronaut helmets, vintage aircrafts (like one of the first aircrafts ever created) space ship memorabilia and contemporary and historic air traffic control towers awaiting exploration. Plus, the high factory-esque ceilings and dangling array of hanging aircraft create the perfect backdrop for couple photos.

Barracks Row Washington DC

Photo: Getty Images

Barracks Row
Barracks Row has come a long way in the past few years, but the row still has plenty of exposed brick and colorful buildings for an incredible backdrop. The five blocks that stretch south of Pennsylvania Ave now boasts hundreds of boutiques, restaurants and bars (most locally owned) with all of the exposed brick, hanging pipes, brightly painted facades and quirky street art you'd expect. For the best light and to capture the colors of the street, go at sunset.

Need a local photographer to capture all those sweet engagement snapshots? Browse dozens of DC wedding photographers here!

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BRIDES Washington DC: 5 Nail Salons Worthy of Your Wedding Manicure

 Hair & Beauty, Local, MD, DC and VA, Washington DC, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: 5 Nail Salons Worthy of Your Wedding Manicure
Oct 022016
wedding day manicure

Photo: Getty Images

With all the bouquet and wedding ring close-up photos, perfect wedding-day nails are an absolute must. While a manicure may not seem like the most important detail of wedding planning, choosing a reputable salon is important. From classic bridal nails to trendier design options, we've rounded up some of Washington D.C.'s best nail salons that are worthy of your wedding manicures.

Varnish Lane

Varnish Lane's co-founder Lauren Dunne was a former D.C. wedding planner, so she helped build the chic nail salon with bridal parties in mind. Housed in an open floor plan with comfy leather seating and bar, brides and their 'maids will find this Friendship Heights neighborhood nail spot to be the perfect place for wedding nails. Expect all-natural products and a warm towel wrap complete with an exfoliating sugar scrub. It's also worth noting that Varnish Lane is an entirely waterless salon, making it an overall more hygenic experience. Extra perks like extended massages and iPad minis loaded with magazines at each chair make for an overall luxurious salon experience. With over 500 polishes to choose from, even the pickiest of brides will find something they like.

Karma Beauty Lounge

Located in D.C.'s West End neighborhood, glam-loving brides will adore this salon by celebrity makeup artist Erwin Gomez. The Bourbon-infused mani pedi uses a Bourbon Bubbler brown sugar scrub (which is actually made with brown sugar and Kentucky whiskey). For brides looking for something to get them feeling more serene, Karma offers a honey lavender mani pedi, pampering tired bridal hands and feet with a raw honey-lavender oil salty scrub down and a warm nectar milk soak. Needless to say, you'll leave relaxed and ready to walk down the aisle, regardless of what else is left on your to-do list. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Rock The Perfect Glam Up-Do With One Of Our Favorite Local Hair Dressers

ILO Salon and Spa
Classic brides will love this Georgetown nail salon that's been serving the D.C. area for over three decades. Salon ILO's employees have worked with many of D.C.'s most elite clients. Known for their professionalism and skill, this beauty spot is ideal for the bride who desires a salon with high standards and a long history in the district.

Mimosa Salon & Spa
Let this one sink in: free mimosas with any service. The original location (just off Dupont Circle) is open until 11PM — great for the bride who can't step away from planning or work until very late in the evening. The Mimosa Salon and Spa gives brides plenty of options for stunning, elegant wedding-day nails, offering prices based on the number of nail designs per finger. Designs on all 10 fingers costs $18 in addition to the normal $14 manicure. For brides who want longer lasting nail color, the salon and spa offers CND shellac gel, CND Vinylux gel, and Essie gel.

The Nail Saloon

Do not let the name dissuade you — the Nail Saloon is simple, stylish, and perfect for helping put together the ultimate fingernail vision. Two longtime friends wanted to create "the most delicious nail salon experience on either side of the Mississippi," and that is exactly what they did. The salon is impeccably clean and the perfect place to unwind all those pre-wedding jitters, even offers complimentary coffee, tea, lemonade, beer, or wine (it is a 'saloon' after all!). Everything is done with a Southern flair, so D.C. transplants from the deep South can enjoy things like soda being called "pop." Located in the trendy Logan Circle neighborhood, once you've enjoyed your spa treatment it will be a cinch to head out to any of the local restaurants once you're fully polished and dried.

Still haven't made final arrangements for you wedding day hair and makeup? Hire one of our favorite Local Vendors to help you look flawless on your big day.

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BRIDES Washington DC: The Best Bridal Shops to Score Your Dream Dress

 Local, MD, DC and VA, Washington DC, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: The Best Bridal Shops to Score Your Dream Dress
Sep 282016
Washington DC Wedding Dress Salons

Photo: Courtesy of Hitched via Instagram

When you're ready to begin the search for the perfect dress, you'll soon realize Washington, D.C. has no shortage of shopping options. Whether you've been dreaming of a romantic ball gown, a modern silhouette, or recreating a vintage gown to be your own, you're in luck! We've rounded up our favorite D.C. bridal salons to be sure to check out on your quest for the dress.

Hitched (Above)
Nestled in Georgetown, Hitched has been an award-winning bridal salon for over 10 years. With versatile dress offerings from modern and sharp silhouettes to romantic lace gowns, owners Katelyn and Katie promise to leave every bride with the perfect look for their wedding day regardless of budget, style preference, or figure. Designers at Hitched include Amsale, Rebecca Schoneveld, and Modern Trouseeau — among many others. This bridal boutique also offers a fully stocked department of accessories so the soon-to-be Mrs. can select the perfect veil, jewelry, and other accents to complete her look. Read real brides' reviews here!

Carine's Bridal Atelier
Since its opening in 2006, Carine's Bridal Atelier has been providing brides-to-be with exclusive fashions and impeccable service. With dresses designed by both emerging bridal designers as well as those synonymous with bridal fashion including Monique Lhullier and Carolina Herrera, owner Carine Krawiec brings over 10 years of New York City high-end fashion experience to the nation's capital. Aside from offering elegance and style, Carine's also often hosts trunk shows, sample sales, and special events. Read real brides' reviews here!

Rizik Brothers
Helping brides selected their look for over a century, Rizik Brothers has been at the forefront of bridal fashion. Having evolved with the industry it's main focus has remained on couture. It's current location (at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and L Street) Rizik's is also a full fashion headquarters offering accessories, contemporary, business and cocktail attire, along with their acclaimed bridal boutique. With on-premises professional alterations, this one-stop-bridal-shop curates designers including Jenny Packham, Tara Keely, Watters, and Romona Keveza. With experienced bridal consultants ready to help you along the way, you'll be certain to find the dress (and fit) of your dreams. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: After You've Found the Perfect Dress, Accessorize Your Gown with Bridal Jewelry Courtesy of These Local Jewelers

Nazemi Bridal
If you're looking for the dress of your dreams and haven't found it off the rack, head to the heart of downtown Georgetown to Nazemi Bridal. For a truly unique experience, Nazemi Bridal offers custom couture wedding gowns, as personalization and customization are at the heart of this shop. This boutique also offers custom veils, belts, jewelry and more as you work with the skilled attendants and seamstresses for your one-of-a-kind experience. Read real brides' reviews here!

Diana's Couture and Bridal
Have your heart set on recreating your Mom (or Grandma's!) wedding day look — but with a twist? Look no further than Diana's Couture and Bridal. Owner Diana My Tran has been helping brides put a special spin on dresses from the past, combining current fashions with heirlooms and memories for over 32 years. Also known as "The Gown Doctor," this award-winning designer can custom design your gown or work with an existing gown to make it your own. Read real brides' reviews here!

For more local boutiques for all your bridal style needs, browse our Washington, D.C. Dresses page!

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A Formal Wedding in Washington, D.C., Just Steps Away from the White House

 Real Weddings, Washington DC  Comments Off on A Formal Wedding in Washington, D.C., Just Steps Away from the White House
Sep 202016

Jamie Tricarico and Trevor Matese met in 2007 as sophomores at Georgetown University. Seven years later, they decided to move in together. The day they got the keys to their new home, Trevor popped the question, along with some champagne to celebrate.

When the two started planning their wedding, the bride was working full-time and going to school part-time, so Jaime admits working through the details could be stressful. Luckily, she had support from a team of three at Karson Butler Events to help bring her dream of a classic ballroom wedding to life. The couple invited 260 guests to share in the celebration, first for a ceremony at the Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Georgetown University, where they first met. "We wanted to provide our guests, many of whom were from out of town, with a quintessential D.C. experience," Jamie says. With the reception venue just steps away from the White House at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, they certainly succeeded. Lisa Blume Photography documented every last D.C. detail.

The couple's classic invitation suite played off the traditional style of their venue. "We literally personalized our wedding day by including our new, joint monogram on nearly everything," Jamie says, so naturally their invites featured a navy blue version of the bride and groom's initials.

It took just three tries for Jamie to find her wedding dress as she fell head over heels for the third gown she put on, a strapless silk Carolina Herrera ball gown with a bow and button detailing. "I wanted a timeless, simple wedding dress. The buttons and bow were the perfect amount of detail for me," Jamie says.

She went the classic route for her accessories, too. Pearl bracelets, necklaces, and earrings were her statement pieces, and Jamie added a dash of bling in the way of a diamond bracelet and her late grandmother's gold ring.

Jamie's bridesmaids wore floor-length tulle gowns from Amsale in varying styles but the same navy hue. Each woman carried an arrangement of roses, peonies, lisianthus and greens, all tied with a classic navy and white striped ribbon.

This couple had often attended mass together as undergraduates, so it was only natural for them to exchange traditional vows in a Catholic ceremony at Georgetown University's chapel. Wooden pedestals were placed on both sides of the altar and held large arrangements of hybrid delphinium, white roses, and peonies in glass containers.

For cocktail hour and their reception, Jamie and Trevor rented a mirrored laser-cut bar that was decorated with white urns of hydrangeas. Cocktail tables held small glass vases with garden roses, maidenhair fern, astilbe, peonies, and greens.

The foyer at the reception space featured small groupings of sofas, chairs, ottomans, and decorative pillows where guests could get comfortable. The focal point of the space was a large escort card display that was defined by boxwood topiaries in white urns on either side and featured the couple's new joint monogram. "This was one of our favorite details," the bride says.

A large white dance floor anchored the couple's reception space, and the band riser was skirted in boxwood to tie in the cocktail hour décor. "The 12-person band kept guests of all ages dancing throughout the night," the bride remembers.

When it was time for dinner, everyone was seated at round tables with gold trimmed place settings and tall candles.

During the party, guests sipped on fruity prosecco served with monogrammed wooden stirrers and headed to the antipasto display or raw bar for snacks. Those with a sweet tooth had no shortage of dessert options. In addition to Jamie and Trevor's banana sponge wedding cake with chocolate fondant, each table had its own display of tarts, mousse cups, and macarons.

This bride has an important reminder for brides-to-be who are knee deep in planning. "Have fun and enjoy some of the lighter parts of wedding planning — like cake, food, and wine tasting!"

Ceremony Venue: Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart || Reception Venue & Catering: The Willard InterContinental Hotel || Wedding Planner: Karson Butler Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera || Hair & Makeup: Amie Decker Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Brooks Brothers || Flowers: Amaryllis, Inc. || Invitations: Crane, purchased at the Dandelion Patch || Calligraphy: Meant To Be Calligraphy || Music: Entertainment Exchange || Rentals: Party Rental LTD || Photographer: Lisa Blume Photography

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Want more inspiration just like this? Then check out another couple's Washington D.C. wedding in the video below.

BRIDES Washington DC: 5 Unique Elopement Ideas in the DC Metro

 Local, MD, DC and VA, Planning Tips, Washington DC, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: 5 Unique Elopement Ideas in the DC Metro
Aug 302016
dc elopement spots

Photo: Michelle VaTine Photography via Instagram

Having an intimate elopement in a big city can often seem like a daunting task, but D.C. brides will be pleased to know that there are plenty of options for spectacular, personal elopements in the city. Whether it's a local pizza chain, trendy Mexican restaurant, or Virginia museum, the options for small weddings are many. With the backdrop of the exquisite city and its many diverse neighborhoods and communities, D.C. elopements are truly enchanting. Here are five unique elopement ideas for the D.C. bride.

This popular eatery is more than just a regular pizza joint. On Pi Day in 2015, a local couple married at &pizza, creating the perfect elopement trend for pizza-loving couples to have a fun, stress-free wedding day. The trend caught on, and on March 14th of this year, the Columbia Heights &pizza location transformed into a Vegas-style wedding chapel, offering weddings for interested couples looking to elope. For couples who want to tie the knot at other times of the year, the expenses are on you — but it makes for a delicious afterparty!

Mission Dupont Circle
If an elopement featuring tacos and margaritas sounds like an ideal wedding, Mission Dupont Circle is the place for you. For fun-loving couples, the 20th Street Mexican restaurant will provide the couple with a Mariachi band and a bottle of Don Julio tequila — engraved with the couple's names and their wedding date, of course. With its overstuffed burritos, spicy nachos, and spicy margs, Mission Dupont Circle is sure to make for an exciting elopement. Couples can have their elopement celebration in any space at the restaurant, including its upstairs loft, the bar (complete with stained glass windows), and an outdoor patio. For those asking their families to join post-nuptials, there's a spacious downstairs, complete with four dining areas and a giant 60-foot bar.

See More: Pick Your Perfect Ceremony Song With One of These Local Vendors

The museum in Alexandria, Virginia is an elegant venue for an intimate elopement with close friends and family. Architecture buffs in the wedding party will be pleased to know that the art museum is one of the few remaining examples of neo-classical Greek Revival architecture in the D.C. area. The brick-enclosed courtyard is perfect for private, romantic elopement ceremonies, and as an art museum, the Athenaeum's exhibits change frequently, which is sure to be a unique backdrop for your wedding photos. Read real brides' reviews here!

The Newseum
If being in the presence of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs and other American news-related memorabilia is your thing, the Newseum offers wedding packages — including small elopements. Intimate ceremonies can be held on the rooftop, complete with stunning views of the Capitol building. Wolfgang Puck catering provides food, making for a culinary experience that guests won't soon forget — whether it's a cake and champagne reception or a larger dinner. The Newseum's location on Pennsylvania Avenue makes it the perfect place to have a cozy wedding amidst the backdrop of Washington, D.C.

Use Pop! Wed Co.
Steven and Maggie Gaudaen shot their first wedding together when they were 16 — and haven't looked back since. To make a long story short: when Maggie went to work at a digital agency in D.C., she wasn't able to spend as much time photographing elopements and weddings as she wanted. After talking with Steven, the two agreed to provide pop-up weddings in a fun way — and Pop! Wed Co. was born. Steven serves as officiant, Maggie plans and shoots, and an additional photographer helps out at weekday elopements. Some noteworthy recent pop-up weddings include the Renwick Gallery, Apothecary Museum in Alexandria, and the National Building Museum's 2015 "Beach" exhibit. Read real brides' reviews here!

Is your wedding planning to-do list looking a bit overwhelming? Get help from one of our favorite local vendors!

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BRIDES Washington DC: Best Bars for a Bar-Hopping Bachelorette

 Local, MD, DC and VA, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties, Washington DC  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: Best Bars for a Bar-Hopping Bachelorette
Aug 282016
woman at a night club

Photo: Getty Images

In a town like Washington, D.C., why stick to just one bar or nightclub for your big night out before your big day? With tons of fun bars to choose from, more and more bachelorettes are turning their D.C. parties into all-night adventures by bar hopping with their besties for their last single night. We've rounded up some of our favorite D.C. spots for the bar-hopping bachelorette.

Dirty Bar
The glam décor and 1920s spirit of Dirty Bar will have you and your ladies singing along to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack in your heads (especially if you're there on Saturday nights for the "Night in Paris" theme). Dripping with wine-colored accents, antique brick, dancing cages, and high, beam-exposed ceilings, this multilevel party space is a great spot for bachelorettes. With state-of-the-art sound systems and musical talent, you can dance (and drink) while listening to today's pop and house hits provided by the hottest DJs. Added bonus: on Friday evenings groups of 6 ladies or more receive a free bottle of champagne!

With 5 fun floors to choose from, Ultrabar serves as a nightclub, bar, and lounge with each versatile level. A long way from the bank it once was and located in the heart of Downtown D.C., this space offers something for everyone. With the Main Floor offering 2200 square feet of party lighting, DJs and bottle service tables, and other levels offering everything from lounge vibes, Spanish rhythms, private spaces, and endless entertainment.

See More: Start Taste Testing Wedding Meals With Our Favorite Local Caterers

Cantina Marina
Margaritas and waterfront views? Yes, please! Experience Mexico without ever leaving D.C. at Cantina Maria, located on the Southeast Waterfront. A bit of a hike from the city center (but a quick cab ride away), Cantina Maria's outdoor patio is everything a bachelorette party could want. If your crew is hungry, their famous fish tacos, salads, and entrees are sure to keep everyone fueled for a night of celebrations. Offering an impressive assortment of tequilas and margaritas, specialty cocktails and cold beers, Cantina Marina is the perfect bachelorette destination for summer celebrations.

Beer loving babes, rejoice! "Five casks, 50 drafts, and 500 bottles of beer," is this watering hole's motto. Designed to celebrate and share its love of beer, Churchkey offers seemingly endless selections of brew, as well as wine and spirits. Amongst exposed beams and infrastructure, unique lighting, and dark wooden décor, Churchkey oozes industrial-chic vibes in a fun, modern atmosphere.

Biergarten House

This authentic German biergarten offers "a taste of Bavaria on Capitol Hill." No matter the size of your bachelorette party, there's room for everyone with a 400-patron capacity within this impressive space, despite your first impressions of the small front restaurant. Indoor and outdoor bars as well as a roof deck that overlooks the garden provide versatile spaces, and the extensive drink menu spans drafts, bottles, wines, and beer mixers, including the deliciously refreshing Lager and Sprite. If you're looking for a relaxed and casual space to kick back with your girls, the Biergarten House is a perfect fit.

Need some help getting everything together for your upcoming wedding? Enlist the help of some of our favorite local vendors!

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Aug 272016
Best Southern Bridal Salons

Photo: Maddison Row Bridal Chic; Virgil Bunao Photography

Finding the right wedding dress may be trial-and-error, but finding a bridal salon shouldn't be. Our editors polled more than 1,500 brides to discover the places with the prettiest dresses (from the designers like Carolina Herrera, Mira Zwillinger, and Houghton, just to name a few!), nicest consultants, and chicest spaces from coast to coast. Every single shop on this list is a true standout in style, service, and atmosphere whether it's the white dress mecca in your state or a gem in the middle of nowhere (we didn't judge!). Get ready for our curated, tested, and fully endorsed list of The Best Bridal Salons in America. Here, our editors narrow down the best bridal salons in the South. Happy shopping!

Ivory & White Bridal Boutique, Birmingham, Ala.
The consultants at this Mountain Brook mainstay are "thoughtful, detail oriented, and stylish," reported one southern belle. "They were able to expertly tie my vision to the beautiful dresses available in the salon," raves another.

Hitched Bridal Couture, Washington, D.C.
The above-and-beyond staff at this Georgetown staple got perfect reviews. Take it from one same-sex couple: "They celebrated us and guided us to dresses that would complement each another. They even pulled my wife's pick from the rack so I wouldn't be tempted to try it."

Chernaya Bridal House, Miami
No need to hit Drybar before your appointment: Priscilla, whom one bride called "the sweetest person ever," is handy with a bobby pin and happy to give a quick updo before she guides you to your dream Elie Saab or Angel Sanchez.

Ever After Miami, Miami
International and local brides agree that this dress mecca is worth the trip because of its seriously chic owner, killer gown selection, and in-house alterations shop/atelier, where "there's no limit to what you can do to customize your dress."

The Collection Bridal, Winter Park, Florida
With some of the best couture gowns around (Vera Wang, Inbal Dror), this light-filled store on Park Avenue wowed reviewers and passersby alike. "When I stepped in the front window during my final fitting, people came in from the street to tell me how beautiful I looked," says a satisfied bride.

Joan Pillow Bridal Salon, Atlanta and Houston
In the South, this salon (with two locations) is the spot to score in-demand designers, like Oscar de la Renta, but don't mistake sophisticated for stuffy. "They didn't bat an eyelash when my young daughter and stepdaughter touched every dress in the store," says one bride.

The Sentimentalist, Atlanta
Down-to-earth brides heart this whimsical shop in Midtown's Berkeley Park, citing the cozy cottage location, two cool chicks who own it, and "unique inventory of modern and antique-feeling" gowns.

Blanc Bridal Couture, New Orleans
It may be the new kid on Magazine Street, but this glam salon is gaining traction, thanks to its bend-over-backward consultants, including one a reviewer was legit girl-crushing on.

Garnish Boutique, Baltimore
Self-proclaimed "Garnish girls" gushed about the "one-on-one experience" and gorge decor at this newly renovated shop a short drive from D.C. "It looks like it came right from my Pinterest board," says a fan.

Hayden Olivia Bridal, Charlotte, N.C.
If you like transparency, this is the place to visit. "Everything is laid out for you" — the dresses, the prices, and the alteration fees — so go ahead and let your squad take a seat while you twirl around in a Hayley Paige or Jim Hjelm gown.

Maddison Row Bridal Chic, Charleston
This salon's high marks come courtesy of the kick-ass seamstresses. "I lost 40 pounds after ordering my dress, and they made what could've been a stressful process seamless, pun intended," says a bride.

Maggie Louise, Collierville, Tenn.
Molly Farrell is the Memphis bride's BFF for good reason: She asks each client to fill out a questionnaire and chat on the phone before she even arrives in the shop. "I love that Molly was able to focus on my individual needs, taste, and style from the get-go," says a fan.

White Dresses, Nashville
It's all about the atmosphere at this year-old salon, which nails it on dressing-room lighting ("insanely flattering") and big-reveal moments. ("The vintage mirror is perfection.")

Warren Barrón Bridal, Dallas
The ladies here always deliver, but especially when a gown is designed by Dallas's own Lela Rose, whom nearly all of our reviewers chose. One says, "My consultant tracked down a dress I had seen at her runway show and had it shipped to the store for me to try on in person."

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See More: 50 Things to Know About Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress

BRIDES Washington DC: Local Blow Dry Bars For Every Pre-Wedding Occasion

 Hair & Beauty, Local, MD, DC and VA, Washington DC, Wedding Hairstyles  Comments Off on BRIDES Washington DC: Local Blow Dry Bars For Every Pre-Wedding Occasion
Aug 262016
woman getting blow out

Photo: Courtesy of Drybar on Instagram

Whether it's a night out before your bachelorette with the squad or a laid-back morning with mom before the bridal shower, these D.C. area businesses will leave brides "blown" away with their impeccable service (pun intended). For brides who prefer romantic comedies on in the background or bright fuchsia everywhere, these blow dry bars in the nation's capital are the perfect pick.

The Drybar is taking the D.C. area by storm. The business with the popular "no cuts, no color, just blowouts" slogan that has influenced the blowout business world is the ideal place to bring a crew of bridesmaids pre-bachelorette party. Think bright sunny yellow everywhere, romantic comedies playing, and bubbly for all. Drybar offers a few distinct styles on their menu, including their classic straight up, loose curls Cosmo, big haired Southern Comfort, beachy Mai Tai, and straight and sleek Manhattan. With locations in Bethesda, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter and Tyson's Corner, VA, there is a Drybar in all corners of D.C. Read real brides' reviews here!

Blowout Bar
Get an ultimate blowout at this West End salon — which includes a shampoo, scalp massage, and style. Brides can choose from any of the bar's five blowout looks, whose namesakes are easy-to-remember girls' names. Blowout Bar is painted in lavender — making for relaxed, anxiety-free time for over-scheduled brides. For bridal parties who want at-home services so they can look their very best for a night on the town, bridal shower, or the wedding itself, a house call blowout costs $75 and updos are $140.

Dupont Circle's Blo has an international following, with locations across the U.S. and the Philippines. Unapologetically girly, Blo is decorated in its signature bright fuchsia. Its variety of blowdry styles will suit any bride, from Bohemian fishtail braids to red carpet ready tresses. Blo's signature blowout is $40 so brides are ready for everything from their showers to their bachelorette. Blo has an extensive "Blo Bridal" offer, with in-bar rates running around $65 for a consultation and $95 for day-of hair (varies by state). Maids, mother-of-the-bride and flower girls are $40 and for brides who opt for hair to be done elsewhere, Blo charges $150 for the bride and $100 for each additional bridal party member.

See More: Now That Your Hair is Done, Start Planning Your Bridal Beauty With One of Our Local Vendors

Flow Blow Dry Bar is NoVa's first blow dry and beauty bar. Not only does Flow offer traditional blowouts, but brides can get hairstyling, treatments, makeup, waxing, and facials. Flow also has "Glam Squads" who work with each individual bride on her big day to create her ideal look. If you're wanting to hire them for your big day, Flow charges between $75 and $110 for each bridal party member. For brides wanting to walk down the aisle with a bit of retro flair or perhaps something more edgy, Flow's stylists are highly trained for many looks and styles, whatever your bridal preference may be. Read real brides' reviews here!

Need more hair inspiration for your big day? Check out our Local Vendors page!

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