Treat yourself to amazing savings this July with these wonderful wedding deals, available exclusively for our readers. Unless otherwise noted, these special offers must be booked during the month of July; mention Washingtonian Bride & Groom at the time of purchase in order to receive the promotion.
Don’t forget about your skin for the big day. Skin Authority’s GO! Tie-The-Knot kit offers adorable wedding-themed packaging and travel-size products that help your skin look and feel beautiful. They’re also great gifts for bridal showers or members of your wedding party. The kit, 15 percent off this month with code WASHINGTONIAN, is normally $58 and includes a cleanser, a resurfacing accelerator, a tri-power peptide hydrator, and SPF-30 moisturizer.
By McLean Robbins
You know the adage: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. But where does “something that fits into my budget” work into that equation? Spend your money where it counts on your wedding day, without compromising quality.
We’ve compiled our first-ever Washingtonian Bride & Groom “Deals” list, an offshoot of the popular Washingtonian “Deals” column, printed each month in the magazine. Unless otherwise noted, these packages are available for the entire month of June by mentioning Washingtonian Bride & Groom at the time of reservation, or by using code WASHINGTONIAN online.
It was really difficult deciding how to decorate our venue. There are so many great ideas and inspiration for wedding decor that almost every week I had a different idea of what we should do.
Despite all the ideas, I knew I had a couple of factors to work with. First, from the start, I knew my main wedding color would be purple. It’s my absolute favorite. I chose a deep-eggplant shade, which I decided to balance with white. I figured white would help offset the dark shade for our summer wedding.
Second, our historic venue doesn’t need a lot of decoration. Cocktail hour will be inside a gorgeous house, so we won’t need any major decorations inside, just some small accents. Dinner will be served outside in the Arts Club’s back-yard garden. Because of all the lovely fountains, shrubbery, and flowers, the only major decorations we need outside are centerpieces and possibly more lighting.
Finally, Matt and I liked the idea of incorporating books into our wedding. We are both bookworms and thought it’d be great to show our guests one of our shared interests. So that meant I had purple, a back-yard garden, and books to work with. I decided to focus on the books first because I felt that would help us find direction for the rest of the decor.
While Matt and I want to surprise our guests with our theme on our wedding day, I’ll tell you what we ruled out. First, we thought about just trying to collect purple hardcover books. That proved extremely difficult as purple does not seem to be a popular shade for hardcover books. I thought about using a Jane Austen theme because she’s my favorite author, but we decided it might be a little overkill to use one writer. We attempted to go with a US President’s theme to fit in with our historic venue (which housed James Monroe for a period during his presidency), but we decided that might scream more history camp than romantic wedding.
Matt and I were really happy with the save-the-dates we ordered from Vistaprint, so we figured we’d just order our invitations from that Web site, where there are about 200 wedding-invitation designs. We just entered our names, date, and location, and we instantly had a proof. The price worked out to about $2 an invitation, which is a great bargain.
Then Matt and I received a friend’s wedding invitation that used a pocket-fold envelope. And we were smitten. We thought the pocket fold was not only adorable but also helpful for holding of all of the enclosures we need to include for our many traveling guests, such as our reception location, hotel-room block, and Web site. Plus, we thought it’d be fun to make our own invitations and enclosures to include in the pocket fold. Most importantly, we’d save money doing the invitation ourselves.
Picking my maid of honor was easy. My older sister Jenny has always been like a second mom to me. I know I can call her anytime and she’ll give me truthful and honest advice. When we were growing up, she always set a great example for me, and I’ve learned a lot from her, especially from the way she makes everyone around her feel comfortable and at ease. It’s a compliment to be known as Jenny’s little sister because she’s such a wonderful person. Obviously, I want her standing next to me on my wedding day.
From the beginning of our wedding planning, I was excited to have an engagement-photo session with our photographer, Edward Underwood. It seems like Matt and I don’t have many photographs together and in the ones that we do have, either one or both of us looks less than our best. I was looking forward to having a professional take some alternatives. And to hold up my end of the bargain, I bought a new outfit and had my hair done. I was determined to make these photos look good!
The setting for our session was perfect: a lovely and crisp day in November at the Mount Vernon estate. We chose Mount Vernon because we both love history and we enjoy cycling on the trails near the estate. There were a lot of great places to take photos around the estate, including the barns, the house, and the grounds.
With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, I’ve taken a few moments to reflect on all that I should be thankful for. I’m truly blessed to have wonderful family and friends who have been there for me through a lot, especially as I prepare for this huge life moment: my wedding. I thank them for supporting me as I marry my best friend. And I’m so thankful to have Matt as part of my life. In particular, I’m thankful that Matt . . .
Finding a wedding dress involves a lot of hardships and obstacles. In my case, it included I-495, Spanx, I-95, corsets, Route 50, zippers, and HOV lanes. And I found out Columbia, Maryland, is a lot farther away than I thought. Despite these hurdles, I managed to have many wonderful experiences and find my perfect dress.
As I mentioned in my last post, I had picked out one dress that I had to try on—a gorgeous one-shoulder Allure gown. I tried to keep an open mind about other dresses, but I couldn’t rest until had I tried on that one. And guess what? It looked terrible on me. The cut was all wrong for me, and my curves became a liability, not an asset.
It was a little sad but also a blessing in disguise because I had to look at other styles. In the process, I learned it’s best to pick a dress that works for me now, not one I’ll have to work to look good in. And I realized that white won’t necessarily make me look like a marshmallow with a veil. I knew my mom and sister were coming in early September to help me choose my dress, so in late August I finally narrowed it down to three styles that I liked.
There are two questions most women ask about your wedding: When are you getting married? And have you found your dress? I usually tried to sidestep the dress question with a shrug and a passive “I have lots of time” comment.
In fact, I was slightly nervous about the dress-shopping experience. I avoid stressful shopping trips, such as Christmas shopping at malls. And I hate being pressured to buy anything, even Girl Scout cookies. I’ve found myself stressing out while watching Say Yes to the Dress.
Plus, I was concerned about my budget. Bridal gowns aren’t cheap. Just consider that J. Crew sells some of its wedding gowns for more than $2,500. We’re talking about a lot of money for a dress I’ll wear once.
So how did I find my perfect gown on a budget and without the stress?
A big part of planning a wedding is deciding how to preserve your memories of the day. Matt and I agreed to give high priority to choosing a photographer because it’s important to us to have wonderful photos from our wedding. But we couldn’t agree on a videographer: Matt was against it, I was for it. Hearing from friends and family how quickly the day goes, I argued that it’d be nice to have a video to relive the special moments. Matt very practically pointed out that it was unlikely that we’d ever watch the video more than once, so it didn’t seem worth the investment.