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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: This Couple Wed Beneath a Stunning Suspended Flower Chuppah

Casey Friedman and Adam Cohen married on September 1, 2013. 

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Justine Ungaro.

Casey Friedman and Adam Cohen were big into their sorority and fraternity chapters while enrolled at Muhlenberg College—she was the social chair and he was the treasurer. So when Casey planned a party for her sisters and their brothers, the Delta Tau Delta, she met up with Adam to pass along the check for the party alcohol. Adam was immediately smitten. “She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen,” he says.

He began to seek her out, hanging out in her dorm room, but though Casey thought he was sweet, she wasn’t into “nice” guys, and told him they should just be friends. Though he was disappointed, Adam continued to be a good friend. But several years later, Casey realized what a great thing she was missing out on. “I literally had an ‘aha’ moment where I knew I loved him,” says Casey. “We were friends, but I began feeling giddy at the thought of him.”

The couple had dated for four years when Adam surprised Casey with breakfast in bed on her birthday. He handed her a box, but to her horror, she opened it to find an iron—even though she’d always told him that she hated appliances as gifts. But Adam coaxed Casey to open the iron box, and there she found a smaller box. Inside was a perfect diamond ring.

Casey and Adam wed on September 1, 2013 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. They treated their guests to champagne before the ceremony—delivered to their hotel rooms with the note “Get Excited!” and sent them off for the night with a toothbrush and toothpaste—Adam is a dentist—and the encouragement “Don’t forget to brush!” They said “I do” beneath a stunning suspended flower chuppah, then toasted to their future at their reception bourbon bar.

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Rustic Chic Wedding in Georgetown

Christina Romero and Richard Heileman wed on April 26, 2014.

By Kate Bennett Photographs by Jodi Miller Photography

Single ladies might want to take a lesson from Christina Romero, who was out on the town with friends one night four years ago when she spotted a good-looking guy. “He was talking to some people, and I approached him­—he was handsome and he had great style,” says Christina of Richard Heileman, who found her to be irresistible.

They went on their first date a couple of days later and were inseparable from then on. “I couldn’t believe how cute she was,” says Ricky, a strategy consultant, of Christina, who is in public relations. “And she also liked college football—a huge bonus.” They actually had many things in common; on that first date at Urbana restaurant, they talked so much about shared interests that they had to send half their food back, cold and untouched.

A proposal at Meridian Hill Park two and a half years later was sealed with a Prosecco toast and a kiss. “It was intimate, simple, and joyful,” says Christina of their wedding the following year. As they swayed to John Legend’s “All of Me,” the couple looked beyond their first dance to a lifetime of bliss.

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Invitations and Stationery

DIY Wedding Invitations at Old City Press & Co.'s Workshop

Grab your spouse-to-be and spend date night creating gorgeous paper goods.

By Caroline Cunningham Image courtesy Old City Press & Co.

Aside from the photos, the paper goods—save-the-dates, invitations, and programs—are some of the only tangible keepsakes you’ll have from your wedding. They’re great to frame with a wedding photo or two, and they are the first taste of your celebration that your guests receive, setting up a precedent for what they should expect at your wedding. All this to say: your invitations matter. So why not give them the ultimate personal touch and make them yourself?

Banish your ideas of sloppily-cut ribbons and cheap printer paper: Old City Press & Co.’s wedding invitation workshop pairs couples with an instructor who will walk you through the fine art of designing and printing invites on the shop’s 1950 Vandercook letterpress using Crane cotton paper.

The workshops are scheduled on your time, so make a weekend of it with your sweetie and schedule out six hours on two consecutive days. But if that sounds like a lot of time to block out, Old City Press & Co.’s Pete Juratovic says that most couples don’t need that much time to complete their invitations. “Normally, everything can be completed in one day with the exception of cutting,” says Juratovic. “We do that on off hours and have the invites ready within a couple of business days.”

The design part is where you can show some creativity, though Old City Press & Co. has plenty of templates to choose from for those who’d rather stick with the tried-and-true layouts. “We have a design element book with borders, monograms, fonts, and motifs. (Couples) can select out design elements and design their own invitation or tweak a current pre-design,” says Juratovic, who noted that couples often bring in a design of their own, and spend the workshop focused on printing.

The workshops run between $400 to $1,000 on average, depending on the number of invitations. In addition to a 5x7 invitation card, the workshop’s wedding suite includes an RSVP card and an information card—a pretty good deal when compared to other paper good suppliers.

“As far as how our pricing compares to other vendors, we are 30 percent less then other vendors offering the same value and quality,” says Juratovic. “Since we do the design, make the plates, and print on site we can offer an amazing product in half the time, and almost half the cost as other letterpress vendors.”

If you’re still not sold, Old City Press & Co. offers $75 letterpress workshops on Saturday, so you can test out the process, get your hands dirty, and maybe even make some of those “Thank You” notes you’ll be needing down the road.

To schedule a workshop, fill out the form on Old City Press & Co.’s website, and check out the pricing for their wedding suite package pricing below.

Old City Press & Co., 102 N. Fayette St., Alexandria, 571-858-5940.

Real Weddings

Real Wedding: This Light-filled Wedding at The Hay-Adams Ended With a Whiskey Toast

Lauren Simon and William Donahoe wed on February 1, 2014.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Laura Luís Photography.

Lauren Simon met William Donahoe on the first day of graduate school, and as soon as they first spoke, she felt such an ease and comfort as though they had known each other their whole lives. “I really appreciate how real she was with me from the first moment I met her,” says William.

He took her out to dinner at Comfort in Richmond—a fitting restaurant for how they felt about one another—and from there their relationship blossomed. When they decided to take the next step and move to DC together, they made a trip to the District to go apartment hunting. On the last morning of their trip, William woke Lauren up with a ring and a promise.

They celebrated their wedding on February 1, 2014 with classic Washington touches—photos on the balcony of The Hay-Adams, the Washington Monument visible in the distance, and in front of the White House, with elegant floral arrangements of dusty miller and garden roses brightening their historic venue. At the end of their ceremony, they pulled out mini bottles of whiskey for each guest, so all could join in toasting their new life together.

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Shows & Events

Deal Alert! Wedding Dress Sample Sale Happening at Hitched Next Week

Score Lela Rose, Amsale, and Modern Trousseau gowns for under $2,000.

By Sarah Zlotnick Image courtesy Hitched.

The opportunities to score serious discounts on wedding dresses are few and far between—especially when they’re as beautiful as the gowns sold at Georgetown salon Hitched. So when word gets out that a sample sale is happening, we consider it our duty to let the bridal public know!

Hitched’s spring sample sale is happening Tuesday, March 24 and Wednesday, March 25 of next week. The salon is taking appointments for both days (call 202-333-6162 to book yours), but you can also send an email to info@hitchedsalon.com to RSVP for open house shopping, which is happening between 7 and 8 PM on the 25th.

Brands represented in the sale include Lela Rose, Amsale, Christos, Anna Maier, Modern Trousseau, and Johanna Johnson, and all merchandise will run between $500 and $2,000 (a great discount considering some of these gowns can run upwards of $4000). Gowns are being sold “as is,” so you’ll take home the actual gown you try on as opposed to waiting for a new one to be delivered.

If you attend the sale and get your dress, tweet at us (@washbridegroom) or let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your tips for shopping a sample sale.

Always a Bridesmaid

Finally! A Place to Sell Bridesmaid Dresses AND Buy Them for Cheap

Local upstart Forever the Bridesmaid is taking bridesmaid consignment shopping online.

By Sarah Zlotnick

Honorable and exciting as an activity it may be, being a bridesmaid certainly does not come cheap these days. Between throwing a shower, planning the bachelorette, and buying a gift, women of a certain age often find themselves putting the bulk of their paychecks towards other people’s celebrations.

That’s definitely been the case for Dupont Circle resident Katey Houck and Ohio-based Molly Porter. Altogether, the two friends have been bridesmaids in 18 weddings. That’s 18 bachelorettes, 18 bridal showers, and, perhaps most significantly, 18 semi-formal to formal pastel dresses taking up space in their closetsand not getting much use after the first wear.

“No matter how beautiful a dress may be, you’re still going to look like a bridesmaid,” says Houck. “So you’re probably not going to wear it again.”

How, they started thinking, can we get some of that money back?

After coming up short while searching for satisfying answers online, the duo decided to create their own. With help from Houck’s developer fiancé Ryan McBurney and Baltimore-based designer Emily Brannon, Forever the Bridesmaid debuted in early November of last year. Per the website, Houck and Porter describe their concept as “an online marketplace for sellers and buyers to either consign gently-used bridesmaid dresses or purchase them for less.”

In other words: If you’re hoping to buy a particular style for under the $200 to $300 retail price, chances are you can find it here. Looking to give a once-worn bridesmaid dress a new home? Here’s your opportunity to earn some cash while doing it.

Forever the Bridesmaid founders Molly Porter and Katey Houck are all smiles (and, for once, not bridesmaids!) at a recent Carnegie Institution for Science wedding. Photo by Rhinehart Photography.

The processes for buying and selling are simple. Sellers create an account, then fill out an extensive form on the dress they’re looking to consign. You’ll answer questions about fabric, size, alterations, wear and tear, etc., and then upload pictures of the gown. It’s free to upload a dress to the site, and Forever the Bridesmaid takes a 12% cut of the final selling price.

Want to increase your chances of selling? Houck suggests uploading large, high-quality pictures, writing a very specific title for your listing (include details such as brand, color, fabric, and size), and pricing the garment at 50 to 60 percent of what you originally paid for it.

Buyers do not need to create an account to browse options, but will need one to message sellers and make a final payment, which is exchanged through PayPal. Houck and Porter will be adding a “seek” function to their site soon, which will allow users to post requests for specific gowns and styles.

“Using this can really help alleviate the costs of being part of someone’s special day,” says Houck.

With costs sometimes stretching beyond $1,500 per wedding per bridesmaid (yikes!), we’re definitely grateful for the option.

Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Early Summer Wedding at a Virginia Farm

Lots of golden light, green grass, and pink peonies.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by One Summer Day.

Ryan Bachand walked out onto the New York restaurant floor to start his shift as a waiter, when he spotted the new hostess, Paola Molina. “I remember it like it was yesterday,” Ryan says. “She had on a red turtleneck sweater, and she turned around in such a way that her hair swung around with her in perfect sync.” They quickly became work friends, and as Paola was charmed by Ryan’s sense of humor, they went out on their first date—sushi, and a long walk by the water.

They dated for three years, even during several months while Ryan lived in Los Angeles and Paola was in New York, taking turns flying across the country to visit one another. On one such visit, Ryan landed in New York and took Paola to one of her favorite restaurants for dinner. After they ate, Ryan suggested they go to a “surprise place” for a stroll, so they hopped on a bus that took them back to the walk they went on during their first date. Paola immediately recognized the spot, but it wasn’t until Ryan got down on one knee that she realized how special the place would always be to them.

The couple returned to near Ryan’s hometown, Stafford, Virginia, four years later for their wedding on May 26, 2014. They celebrated at the Inn at Kelly’s Ford with plenty of personalized touches—the bride’s hair was done by a family member and the bouquets were arranged by the bridesmaids. The couple was most touched by a video of their relationship put together by Ryan’s best man that perfectly captured their sweet, longtime love.

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: This Handsome Couple Celebrated With a Menswear-Inspired Cake

Forest Kettler and William Springer married on February 1, 2014.

By Kate Bennett Photographs by Paul Morse Photography

When Forest Kettler met William (Billy) Springer for drinks after friends set them up on a blind date, he was sure he didn’t stand a chance. “I thought he was the most stylish and handsome man—and that he was way out of my league,” says Forest, who is in real estate development. Luckily, he couldn’t have been more wrong. “I felt like I didn’t even have to try; everything was easy and smooth,” says Billy, who is in the yearbook-publication business, of their first date. “Until then, I didn’t know that feeling could exist.” Drinks stretched into a five-hour dinner, which kicked off a five-year relationship.

The two were engaged when Forest presented Billy with a Breguet Classique watch and asked him to spend the rest of time together. Nine months later, the grooms had a stunning celebration at Mellon Auditorium, designed with the theme “handsome elegance.” “Boxwood hedges, seating vignettes, a large mahogany bar, tailored poplin drapes hanging between the columns—it was warm, comfortable, refined, and fun,” says Forest. Linens were inspired by menswear fabrics, as was the wedding cake. As guests danced into the evening, the couple toasted their good fortune, and all the time to come.

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Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Pi Day Wedding at &pizza

Katie Hendrickson and Michael Moyer wed on March 14, 2015.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Maggie Gaudaen for Pop! Wed Co..

After graduating from college, Katie Hendrickson and Michael Moyer were quick to get fed up with the lack of romance at the local bar scene, so they both joined e-Harmony. After spotting one another’s profiles, they decided to meet for coffee, but the date went so well that it turned into an impromptu dinner out.

They dated for six years before deciding to move from Athens, Ohio to DC together. The week before leaving Ohio, Michael asked Katie to go geocaching—a kind of worldwide, GPS-guided scavenger hunt—to look for one that would symbolize their time in Athens. They went for a walk down a bike path and quickly located two geocaches, but when they came across the third, Michael pretended to hand Katie the geocache container, but instead passed her a small, camouflage tape-covered box. “I thought nothing of it and opened it up, and inside was a perfect sapphire engagement ring,” says Katie.

The pair, who love pizza and felt that the ampersand of &pizza was a nice symbol of their union, set their wedding date for Pi Day at the local pizza chain’s U Street shop. Their wedding was pop-up style, so they hired Maggie Gaudaen, the co-founder of Pop! Wed Co. to photograph their pizza parlor nuptials. “We loved the laid-back style and the idea of having a short, sweet, and small ceremony,” says Katie.

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The 30 Best First Dance Songs

Check out the tunes used by real brides and grooms in Washington.

By Caroline Cunningham Photograph by Andrea Jacobson for The Observatory.

If you're struggling to find "your song," your search ends here. Washingtonian Bride & Groom is constantly in touch with couples who wed in the area, so we've taken advantage of their amazing taste in first dance songs and compiled a playlist from their picks.

Look through the 30 best first dance songs according to Washington's couples, and find the perfect song for you and your soulmate. There's a little something for everyone—from country, to jazz to the classics to pop.

If you don't have Spotify, download it here, and make sure to follow WashBrideGroom on Spotify for more music inspiration for your wedding day!

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