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Bridesmaids

Traditional Tea

Instead of staging a raucous destination bachelorette party, stay local (and luxurious) with tea at the Jefferson Hotel

By Kathleen Bridges

Afternoon tea at the Jefferson Hotel is a classy alternative to a bridesmaid getaway in Vegas. Photograph courtesy of the Jefferson.

If you’re the type of bride who’s more Lady Di than Lady Gaga, a booze-soaked bender in Vegas is probably not your idea of a good time. The Champagne tea at the historic Jefferson Hotel is perhaps a more genteel choice for bachelorette parties and other bridal fêtes, and will spare you and your maids the airfare—and the hangover—required of a weekend in Sin City.

In 2009, the 86-year-old Jefferson Hotel reopened after a two-year overhaul, which revived former spaces and created new ones. The Greenhouse, which plays host to the hotel’s traditional afternoon teas, is an example; its elaborate skylight, hidden since World War II, was uncovered during the renovation. Bridal parties of up to eight can be accommodated in the Greenhouse, located just off the hotel’s lobby, where they can sip teas from a menu of greens and blacks and nibble on seasonal tea sandwiches (we’d like to try Chef Chris’s smoked salmon with lemon aioli or his braised roast beef on rye), an assortment of scones and clotted creams with homemade preserves, and miniature pastries (the Virginia Peanut Praline caught our eye). Traditional tea is $39 per guest; a Champagne tea is available for $55.

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Etiquette

MOB Monday: Bridesmaid Snub

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, answers questions from and about MOBs (or MOGs!)

By Leslie Milk


My future daughter-in-law didn’t ask my daughter (her fiance’s sister) to be a bridesmaid. My daughter doesn’t seem to mind, but I’m pretty hurt. Do I speak up or let this slide?


Your daughter may be secretly thrilled that she doesn’t have to buy a dress she doesn’t like and probably won’t look good on her. She may not relish the prospect of participating in bridal showers and the bachelorette festivities. Being a bridesmaid for anyone but your nearest and dearest can be an overrated pleasure.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer!

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Bridesmaids

Bridesmaid Blues

Is being a wedding-day attendant causing you stress? Take our expert advice on how to handle it—and strengthen your friendship in the process.

By Kay Steiger

If the popularity of the movie Bridesmaids is any indication, it seems that this duty is a rite of passage for women—and, increasingly, men. And like any rite of passage, it comes with its own set of challenges.

“Participating in this experience can cement a friendship. To be chosen is an expression of friendship, an appreciation of you,” says Irene Levine, a clinical psychologist who wrote the book Best Friends Forever and offers advice on The Friendship Blog.

But even if getting chosen to be a bridesmaid is meant to be an honor, the role sometimes comes with conflict. Talk to a handful of veteran bridesmaids, and you’re bound to run into some stories of ragged friendships—or at least some eye rolling. Levine has offered advice on this very subject—including what to do when maids of honor mistreat other bridesmaids and what a bride who wanted to outright fire her bridesmaid should do.

Levine herself encountered her own bridesmaid blowout; when she planned to get married, decades ago, her best friend planned her wedding for the same day. “I felt devastated. She was the person I wanted to be my maid of honor; she was my closest friend,” Levine says. “We didn’t speak for many years.” Though they eventually reconciled, it goes to show that just how commonplace such conflicts can be. Here are some tips to help keep your friendship intact:

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Gifts

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas: Soothing and Spa-Themed

We asked the owners of some of the best DC-area boutiques to share their favorite wedding-party gift ideas. This week’s expert: Angela Phelps of Le Village Marche in Shirlington

By Kim Forrest

These gifts also work as favors for a spa-themed bridal shower. Photographs courtesy of Le Village Marche

Being a bridesmaid can be pretty stressful—so why not help your ‘maids take a break with a gift that will help them relax? Angela Phelps, owner of Le Village Marche, in Shirlington, selected some of her favorite ideas that are great on their own, or presented together as part of a spa-themed basket.

1. Luscious Soaps by Tokyo Milk, $11.
“These delicately perfumed triple-milled soaps are each beautifully presented in a hand-glittered wrapper with a classic image—such a wonderful gift,” says Phelps.

2. Hanger sachets by ElizabethW, $18.95
“An easy gift idea, these linen sachets help keep things fresh in your closet,” says Phelps.

3. Hobnail glass candles by Simpatico, $28
“These candles are just lovely—and made from renewable resources,” says Phelps. “The beaded glasses are gorgeous—and the candles burn for up to 100 hours!”

4. Lavender eye pillows, $22
“By the time the wedding day rolls around, everyone involved will probably need some stress relief,” says Phelps. “There’s nothing more calming than pampering tired eyes and unwinding to the soothing aroma of lavender.”

For more information, visit Le Village Marche’s Web site.

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Bridesmaids

Advice from a Mother of the Bride: Can MOBs Wear the Same Color as Bridesmaids?

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, answers questions from and about MOBs (or MOGs!).

By Kim Forrest

I’m the mother of the bride. Is it appropriate to wear the same color as the bridesmaids?
Almost anything goes at weddings these days. But why take the risk of being mistaken for a senior bridesmaid?

This is you moment to shine as a unique member of the wedding. Go darker, go lighter, or look for another shade that works with the bride’s color scheme.

My daughter is getting married for the second time. Must her father and I chip in?
I believe in the “one to a customer rule.” I can tell you what I told my daughter, before her first—and hopefully only—wedding. I was thrilled the she had found her soul mate, the person she would love and cherish until death do them part.

However, in the unlikely event that the bride did not find eternal bliss, it was understood that the family of the bride would help underwrite one wedding and one wedding only. After that, she was on her own. If you want to give the couple a lovely wedding gift, that’s fine. But you don’t owe her another wedding.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer!

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Gifts

Local Etsy Seller: Jennifer Lauren Bijoux

We’re profiling our favorite local crafters who are selling wedding-related wares on Etsy. This week’s pick: a DC jewelry designer whose dainty creations are both timeless and affordable

By Samantha Miller

Finding the perfect bridesmaid gift can be a lofty undertaking, but Jen Badger Stojanovich’s line of customizable necklaces will leave even the pickiest of women craving more.

“Initial and monogram necklaces are so popular to give as bridesmaids gifts because they suit such a wide variety of tastes,” says Stojanovich. “I recently created a set of gold-filled necklaces for a bride to give her bridesmaids, mother, and future mother-in-law.”

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Gifts

New Custom Cake Plates

Looking for a wedding gift? These personalized plates are keepsake-worthy.

By Kim Forrest

Order two of these sweet plates for an engaged couple to use at their wedding. Photograph courtesy of Paloma's Nest

If you’re a wedding décor buff like us, you’re probably familiar with Paloma’s Nest. The designer’s sweet and simple ceramic ring bowls hit the scene a few years ago. Now, Paloma’s Nest’s designer, Caroline Colóm Vásquez, has expanded her business to create cufflinks, boutonniere tiles, picture frames, ornaments­—and, just last week, these gorgeous cake plates.

The plates can be customized with a couple’s names and wedding date, and a bird or heart design, if you’d like. We’re definitely thinking of these for a lovely bridal shower or wedding gift. Each plate is $64, and are available on Paloma’s Nest’s Etsy site.

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Food

Where & When: Bridal Edition

Discounted bridesmaid dresses, cake sampling, and a Hugh & Crye open house for the guys

By Mollie Reilly

Now through Sunday, July 31
Take your bridesmaids to Love Couture Bridal (12500-B Park Potomac Ave., Potomac), where they can save up to 15 percent on dresses by Jenny Yoo. The modern, elegant frocks come in a variety of colors. Call 301-610-5683 to make an appointment.

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Fashion

11 Wonderful Wedding Treats

Crush-worthy sparkle heels, cupcake wrappers, and custom bridal illustrations

By Sarah Zlotnick

A few of our favorite things:

1. These laser-cut cupcake wrappers dress up small desserts. Paper Orchid cupcake wrappers, $25 for 25

2. A timeless something blue from a DC designer. Mija Jewelry lapis and gold-plated earrings, $225

3. A colorful robe is perfect for a Caribbean honeymoon! Plum Pretty Sugar's "Darling Jardine" Robe, $78

4. These dresses look fresh and flirty on bridesmaids and wedding guests. Ivy & Aster Collection at Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection in Baltimore

5. A flash of glitter will be unexpected under a long white skirt. Kate Spade New York's "Charm" slingbacks, $325

6. This necklace from jewelry designer Elva Fields adds a vintage touch to a modern look. "Fancy Dress Finery" frosted glass-and-rhinestone necklace, $3,686. 

7. Comission an adorable sketch of your wedding gown from artist Inslee Haynes. inslee.net

8. A subtle, sweet pink shade every bride will love. Deborah Lippman's "Prelude to a Kiss" nail lacquer, $16

9. Illustrator Hanna Nation's cute, customizable notecards are the perfect bridesmaid gift. $48 for a set of 25 paper cards

10. A classic solitair gives this 18-karat yellow gold engagement ring an earthy feel. Avens Rough .75-carat diamond ring, $1,736

11. A cool wedding gift idea: H. Bloom will hand-deliver beautiful bouquets to the couple on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. washingtondc-flowers.hbloom.com 

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Where & When

Where & When: Bridal Edition

Styling night, the perfect rehearsal dinner ensemble, and a grooms’ trunk show

By Mollie Reilly

Thursday, July 21
Hitched hosts a Styling Night featuring accessories by Enchanted Atelier. The lead designer will be on hand to answer your questions. Call 202-333-6162 or e-mail apointments@hitchedsalon.com to RSVP. 5 to 8.

Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23
Looking for the perfect rehearsal dinner ensemble? You may find it at the Bethesda Row sidewalk sale, where stylish boutiques like Ginger and Urban Chic have markdowns on retail through Saturday. Click here for more information on participating stores and restaurants.

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Preferred Wedding Vendors

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