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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Kristin & Sean Brunett

Sparks flew for this couple, who wed over Fourth of July weekend.

By Valeria Boucas Photographs by Greg Gibson.

Sean and Kristin met in the spring of 2006 while studying abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. What began as a fun friendship full of laughter turned into romance by the end of their trip. Excited about the possibilities, Sean and Kristin decided to embark on a long-distance relationship—with Sean returning to school in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Kristin to Blacksburg, Virginia. Over the next two years, their relationship grew stronger—thanks to Skype and Kristin's visits to see Sean in Hawaii during spring breaks. After they both graduated in 2008, they moved overseas to London together, where Sean completed his master's degree at the London School of Economics, and Kristin worked at a marketing research firm. 

In February 2013, Sean surprised Kristin with a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, to see the Northern Lights—something at the top of both of their bucket lists. They endured the minus 37 degree temperatures while marveling at the beauty of the Northern Lights as they danced through the sky. On that trip, Sean proposed to Kristin, who quickly replied with a "Hell yes I'll marry you!" 

Sean and Kristin settled on July 5 for their wedding, knowing it was a holiday weekend and could make for a really fun Fourth of July rehearsal dinner with the fireworks in the evening. They secured a venue at Top of the Town in Arlington for the rehearsal dinner, which provided a spectacular view of the show. The wedding followed the next day in Old Ebbitt Grill's atrium, complete with cocktails on the roof looking out over the White House and the Washington Monument. 

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Jane & Watson Tanlamai

The engagement happened under Christmas lights, but for this couple’s wedding day it was all about the bubbles.

By Valeria Boucas All photographs by Richard Ellis Photography.

Jane and Watson's love story goes back a decade when they met through a mutual friend at Georgetown University as freshmen. Their love quickly blossomed after their first date—they saw Garden State at the AMC Theater in Georgetown, and the night ended at nearby Thomas Sweets. Eight and a half years later, during a Christmas holiday visit to one of Jane’s favorite places—Peddler's Village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania—Watson proposed. Jane loves the town’s Colonial-style village and would take Watson there every year over the holidays to enjoy warm apple cider, window shopping, and wandering under the holiday lights. To complete her fairy tale, Watson proposed outside in the snow surrounded by sparkling lights in a spot she could only describe as "picture perfect." After about 18 months of planning, the couple tied the knot this past May. 

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Bridal DIY: How to Make a Floral Crown

Shelly Bagdasian of B Floral and Event Design shows us five easy steps to add a personal touch to your wedding.

By Valeria Boucas Photographs courtesy of Shelly Bagdasian.

The flower crown has arguably become as popular as the veil for brides on their wedding day. Gone are the days of long trains and chapel-length veils (although we still love those, too); floral crowns really allow the bride to add a personalized edge to her headpiece and to those of her bridesmaids. We also love the idea of gifting them to the bridal party during a shower or luncheon. Owner of B Floral and Event Design, Shelly Bagdasian, agreed: What better way to personalize a floral crown with all your favorite flowers but to make it yourself too? So here, Bagdasian shows us how to achieve the look in five easy steps. 

Step one

“Collect your tools and get creative. Ribbon, hot glue gun, clippers, wire, pipe cleaners and floral tape. Wrap the pipe cleaners with tape and glue to the ribbon or use a metal band, creating a sturdy base.”

Step two

“Choose your flowers and unique accents like feathers, crystals, ribbons, or metal. Greens, roses, astilbe, blushing bride protea, gold sprayed wax flower accents. When choosing your flowers and materials try to select a variety of sizes and textures.”

Step three

“Wire and tape your flowers, first individually and then together in clusters. Glue the clusters to a leaf or stiff ribbon that can then be glued to the band.”

Step four

“Lay out your design. I suggest trying different combinations before finalizing. I like to leave some of the ribbon band showing when using beautiful and unique ribbons.”

Step five

“I love to do hanging pieces, such as ribbons, chain with metal accents, feathers, etc. Wire any hanging objects to the band!”

And for the festival going-gal, be sure to check out the September issue of Washingtonian to see how our team styled the floral crown on a boho-chic Style Setter. 

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.

Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Caitlin & Adam Mattina

This couple celebrated the bride's parents by tying the knot on their wedding anniversary.

By Valeria Boucas All photographs by Jessica Smith.

Caitlin and Adam met as students at the Rochester Institute of Technology in fall 2005. Adam was preparing to graduate, and was focused on getting a job and buying a house. Caitlin, meanwhile, was in her sophomore year enjoying college and looking to have fun. Neither was looking for a serious relationship, so both were surprised at how they felt when they met a few short weeks later. Caitlin remembers calling her mom to tell her she had met someone; her mom knew right away it was someone special. 

After graduation, Adam took a job working in Rochester for a few years until he received a job offer in DC. Caitlin was in the process of applying to schools to become a dietitian so they decided to move in together in Maryland. Not long after, Adam popped the question.

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Michelle & Nicholas Powstanski

They met in May and were living together by that October. When you know, you just know.

By Valeria Boucas All photographs by Victoria Rose.

Despite having had several mutual friends since middle school, Michelle and Nicholas didn't meet until May 2008, when a friend introduced them. Both had recently ended long-term relationships, and the spark between them was instantaneous. So quick, in fact, that their first date took place the very next evening. They talked for hours and say their late introduction was a sign that they weren't supposed to meet until later in their lives. A mere five months later, they decided to move in together. They added a bulldog named Bugzy to their clan, had a home built in 2011, and last year decided it was time to start planning a wedding. Some would say they did things backward, but for them it was perfect. 

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Tesia & Tim Henn

This DC celebration was filled with Georgetown University pride.

By Valeria Boucas All photographs by Kurstin Roe.

They say home is where the heart is. For Tesia and Tim Henn, their home may now be in Connecticut, but they found their hearts at Georgetown University.  Having met as students at Georgetown, the couple returned to Dahlgren Chapel on campus to become husband and wife. Family and friends packed their bags and traveled south from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, east from California and Texas, and across the pond from Ireland, Germany, and England to celebrate the weekend with them in the nation’s capital.

It was no coincidence the wedding happened to fall on Georgetown University's homecoming weekend. Tim and his groomsmen got to spend the morning celebrating like underclassmen again, while Tes got ready with her friends and family.  Emotions ran high as the couple had their first look in front of the bright-blue house Tes lived in while at school. Ah, to be young again! 

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From the Archives: Whimsical Wedding Gown Inspiration

Our bride dons stunning dresses inspired by the beauty of nature.

By Kate Bennett

Take a look at “Bride to Bee,” a Washingtonian Bride & Groom feature that brings a little whimsy to bridal fashion while showcasing traditional accents such as floral taffeta, silk, and lace. This photo shoot took place at the Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland—the perfect backdrop to our nature-inspired shoot. Since Woodend Sanctuary’s landscape wasn’t in full bloom, we turned to Amaryllis Floral + Event Design, which provided fresh floral arrangements for an even lusher look. Keep reading to see all the beautiful gowns, the classic accessories, and the picturesque location. 

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Erika Luna & Stanley Wong

This couple celebrated their nautical-themed wedding by the waterfront.

By Priscilla Alvarez Photographs by Jennifer Cody.

Erika Luna grew up in a strict househould, so she didn’t expect her parents to let her go out with Stanley Wong when they met in 2007 through Erika’s twin sister. She soon built up the courage when Stanley, who works at TFI in data processing, showed up at her door on New Year’s Day, just a few days later, to take her to the movies. “At that point, I had no other choice but to ask my mother,” says Erika, a nanny in Cleveland Park. To her surprise, her mother agreed, and Stanley and Erika’s relationship took off. 

Five years later, Stanley cleverly planned a proposal that would surprise Erika in just the right way, since she hates surprises. On the day of his birthday dinner, among close friends, he got down on one knee right before cutting his birthday cake and proposed. After both had graduated from college and started their careers, they tied the knot in an elegant, nautical-themed wedding at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club.

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Diana Doukas & Matt House

This couple wed in Union Station to mark the end of their long-distance relationship.

By Valeria Boucas Photograph courtesy of Kristen Gardner Photography.

Diana and Matt met while working on a US Senate race in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2010. What started as a strictly platonic relationship later developed into something more. They spent many hours finishing each other’s sentences, which mostly consisted of quoting movies like Wedding Crashers and The Hangover. When the campaign ended, Matt headed to DC and Diana to New York, but long hours on Amtrak kept them together. To mark the end of the “commuter” phase of their relationship, they celebrated their wedding at Union Station. 

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Wedding News

Q&A With Bridal Gown Designer Monique Lhuillier

The designer offers her invaluable industry experience ahead of her upcoming trunk show.

By Valeria Boucas Monique Lhuillier poses with her spring 2015 designs. Photograph courtesy of Dan Lecca Photography NYC.

LA-based designer Monique Lhuillier has been creating ethereal gowns since the late 1990s. Best known for her bridal collections, the Filipino designer has produced a stunning spring 2015 lineup that you can get your hands on for a discounted price. Beginning August 21, Carine’s Bridal Atelier hosts a Monique Lhuillier trunk show at its Georgetown store, and to kick off the event, Lhuillier shared her industry knowledge with us. 

What is the first thing you consider when you design a gown?

When it comes to my wedding designs, I take three things into consideration: I always design with a woman’s shape in mind and try to accentuate the female figure. It’s important to play up a bride’s assets and camouflage any challenging areas. Second, luxurious construction is very important to me; a wedding dress is an investment piece. I always want the bride to know that her dress is beautifully constructed and that we use the very best fabrication and pay meticulous attention to detail with her in mind. Finally, I think it is important for a wedding gown to have an element of fantasy. My dresses always have some type of ethereal element, making the bride look like she’s floating down the aisle.

How do you feel bridal has changed since you started designing?

Now a bride has so many options to cater to her individual style, so I design various styles for many different brides while still keeping to my brand aesthetic. Whether it is shorter hemlines, nontraditional colors, or dresses with back interest, brides want to feel beautiful on their wedding day, and “beautiful” takes on a different meaning for each of my brides. Technology has also played a huge part in the ever-changing landscape of bridal; now a bride has so many resources to find her dress and plan her wedding.

How do you feel your own line has changed since you started designing?

It has grown tremendously because I am catering to a much wider audience. In addition to my Monique Lhuillier Bridal Collection, I launched a diffusion line, BLISS Monique Lhuillier, a collection of romantic dresses that embody my signature design aesthetic at an accessible bridal point. Also for my brides who feel less is more, I have a line of short dresses in signature laces and jacquards called Ready to Wed. I wanted to create a line for the bride who is spontaneous and wants the simplicity of purchasing a dress off the rack.

What was your inspiration for the new collection?

For spring 2015, I was inspired by an ethereal daydream. I wanted to showcase my gowns through a tableau vivant, “a living picture,” where the gowns looked like they walked out of a portrait. Each dress has an ethereal yet regal feel. I used fabrications like tulle, silk, satin, organza, and signature Chantilly lace infused with delicate embroidery and intricate beading to create a dreamy, alluring vision.

What made you choose mint as your feature color for the season?

I think introducing color to a wedding dress can be quite enchanting for a bride who is looking for something nontraditional. Neutrals are a safe way to play with color and tend to look beautiful on all skin colors. Mint is a great shade for brides who don’t like bright white; it is quite subtle. 

Some brides feel the venue determines the gown. Do you agree with this, or should brides wear whatever they want?

I think a bride has to be reasonable. Being outdoors can limit you as a bride when you decide to wear a voluminous tulle ball gown. The last thing you want is feeling hot or uncomfortable at your wedding reception. There are so many options out there that I think a bride can find a beautiful dress that takes into account her venue location.

What is the number one piece of advice you would give a bride?

I always tell brides to follow their instinct throughout the wedding dress experience, but I encourage them to always keep an open mind in selecting their dress. Many dresses look one way on a hanger or in a picture, but it is important for a bride to try on a few styles to see which she feels the most comfortable and beautiful in. Also have fun and savor every moment. This is an experience a bride will treasure for a lifetime.

How do you design a gown for someone you know personally rather than brides in general? I know you just designed for your mom’s anniversary. 

It is incredibly special to design a gown for someone you know. You want them to feel beautiful, confident, and, most of all, true to their personal style. I had the honor of designing my mother’s gown for her 50th anniversary, and it was such an incredible experience. We started designing the dress around a year ago. We actually pulled out her wedding gown from 48 years ago, which was in amazing shape, and knew we had to use elements of it. I took the dress’s lace and designed a new gown with a slim silhouette and long sleeves. The original lace was transformed into a detachable train that started from the waist. In honor of my parents’ golden anniversary, I topped the dress off with a beaded antique gold overlay that covered the entire outfit; then I added subtle bead detailing on the shoulders and sleeves, which trickled down her waist and the sides of the skirt as well as the train. My mother looked absolutely amazing, and I was so proud to have been a part of this very momentous occasion.

The Monique Lhuillier trunk show will be held August 21 through 23 by appointment only. Call 202 965-4696 or e-mail info@carinesbridal.com for availability. 

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.

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