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Smart Ideas: A Wedding-Day Survival Kit

Everything you need to avoid a beauty blunder on your big day.

By Valeria Boucas Photograph courtesy of Hollywood Fashion Secrets.

Every bride-to-be has a checklist of “to dos” before the day she says “I do.” But there is always something you can’t plan for. So for every unforeseen wedding-day mishap, the makers of Hollywood’s Fashion Secrets have you covered with an emergency kit full of practical items. From straws to keep your lipstick intact to stain-removing wipes to blister pads for those never-before-worn wedding shoes, all your beauty solutions come packed in a satin minaudière—in white, of course.

The kit ($24.99) is available at the following local stores; you can also find it at Ulta.

Congressional Plaza

1631 Rockville Pike


Fair City Mall

9600-U Main St.


Dulles 28

22000 Dulles Retail Center


Village at Leesburg

1606 Village Market Blvd.


Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center

15000 Potomac Town Place

Woodbridge, VA

Hunt Valley Towne Centre

118 Shawan Rd.

Hunt Valley, MD

Downtown Silver Spring

914 Ellsworth Dr.

Silver Spring

Fair Lakes Center

13048-A Fair Lakes Center


Gateway Overlook

8241 Gateway Overlook Dr.

Elkridge, MD

Bull Run Plaza

10640 Sudley Manor Dr.

Manassas, VA

The Shops at Waldorf Center

2945 Festival Way

Waldorf, MD

The Avenue at White Marsh

8165-C Honeygo Blvd.


Crossroads Center at Baileys

5860 Leesburg Pike

Falls Church

Best Buy Center

6575 Frontier Dr.


Waugh Chapel Towne Centre

1410 S. Main Chapel Way

Gambrills, MD

Frederick Crossing

7310 Guilford Dr.


Annapolis Harbour Center

2566 Solomons Island Rd.


Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.


Whitney Port on Her Nuptials and an Upcoming Wedding Collaboration

We caught up with the bride-to-be at the opening of Blo Blow Dry Bar in Dupont.

By Irina Grechko, Diana Elbasha Blo Dupont owner Maha Sharma and Whitney Port at the opening of the blowout bar on Friday. Photographs by Joy Asico.

We’ve got serious hair envy when it comes to Whitney Port’s locks. Port, a TV personality, fashion designer, and soon-to-be bride, was in Washington on Friday to host the opening of Blo Blow Dry Bar in Dupont, and we got a chance to chat with her about her upcoming wedding day. “Tim [Rosenman] and I are taking our time,” she said. “We don’t have anything locked down yet in terms of location or anything; we just want to take it easy and try to enjoy and remember every moment of it.”

In addition to planning the wedding, Port is collaborating with stationery brand Wedding Paper Divas on an invitation suite set to debut later this year. “They’re amazing,” said Port of working with the company. “They’re working with us on some designs for our own wedding, and they’ve just been so great.”

For brides looking to channel Port’s wavy mane on their big day, Blo offers wedding styling services as well as the option to host bachelorette parties and bridal showers. The Signature Blo Bridal package includes a pre-wedding day consultation ($65) and a wedding-day updo or styled blowout ($95). Need to book services for your entire wedding party? The Blo on the Go services bring stylists to your primping location, where they create a look for the bride ($125), with additional styles for $75 each.

Blo Dupont. 2127 P St., NW; 202-293-2256.


Pinteresting: Mercury-Glass Candleholders

An easy and inexpensive way to add warmth and sparkle to any wedding decor scheme.

By Natalie Grasso

What is it about mercury glass that’s so darned romantic? There’s something in the way it glints and glows, and it’s so versatile—equally at home now (it mimics the warmth of a September night) as it might be on an evening in mid-December (imagine the flickering candlelight next to sprigs of holly and pine). Going with a rustic fall theme? It will add some sparkle to all that reclaimed wood. Prefer a fancier affair? It also pairs well with ribbons and lace.

We scoured Pinterest and picked out a few lovely takes on this timeless—and seasonless—tabletop accessory, available at all price points, from vintage to West Elm to DIY lookalikes.

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Mariska Breland, owner of Fuse Pilates, shares how to get ready for your wedding and keep your stress level low.

By Mary Yarrison

Exercising regularly can help combat pre-wedding stress. Photograph courtesy of Fuse Pilates.

Fuse Pilates owner Mariska Breland spends her days at the Dupont Circle studio working to make people both more fit and more relaxed. In a business where, she says, “sometimes it feels like half the people who come in have on engagement rings,” this can be a challenge, because wedding planning often causes emotions to run high.

In order for your wedding day to be a joyful occasion, Breland—who tied the knot in 2009—advises that relaxation can be just as important as slim, toned biceps or the buns of your dreams. To help with both, she has created a list of suggestions, exercise-related and otherwise, to keep brides calm as they prepare for the big day.

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For the Grooms

Valentine’s Day Proposal Ideas

Pop the question in style with three DC venue ideas.

By Kim Forrest
Booth number 1 at Martin's Tavern is still a popular spot for proposals.

Proposing on Valentine’s Day isn’t the most original idea, but hey, it is the day to celebrate love, so why not? In case you’re thinking about popping the question on or around February 14 (we recommend waiting until the 15th or 16th, just to fake her out), we asked Falls Church wedding planner Lesley Cohen of LelyCo Events and Venue Safari for some creative last-minute proposal ideas.

Presidential Proposal: “If your significant other loves presidents of the past, take her for a meal at Martin’s Tavern and request the booth where John F. Kennedy popped the question to Jackie,” says Cohen. [Ed. note: While the story of JFK proposing at Martin’s is sometimes disputed, the tavern is still a popular spot for engagements.]

Art Lovers: “Tour the National Portrait Gallery and propose in the Kogod Courtyard, which has been named one of the seven architectural wonders of the world by Condé Nast Traveler magazine,” suggests Cohen.

Love on Ice: “Grab an early bite to eat, and then head to the ice-skating rink at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden,” Cohen says. “Nothing is more romantic than skating hand in hand; then you drop to one knee at the center of the rink for a fun and dramatic proposal.”

Are you planning a Valentine’s Day proposal? Don’t forget to get pictures of the big moment, and then send them our way at realweddings@washingtonian.com. We’ll post them on the blog!


Top Wedding Trends for 2012

We asked some local experts to predict the hottest trends in fashion, decor, music, and food for the new year.

By Brooke McEwen
Kate Middleton-inspired gowns, like this one by Heidi Elnora, will be hot in 2012. Photograph courtesy of Heidi Elnora

Color Schemes

This year, feature shades from the same color family rather than just choosing two distinct hues, says event planner Amber Karson of Amber Karson Events.

For au courant color, reach for Pantone’s shade of the year, Tangerine Tango, which has burst onto the scene with bold reddish-orange flair. Try adding splashes of vibrant pinks and blues to the mix, or temper the hue with pretty pastels.


“Color is moving in and finding staying power,” says Miriam Liggett, owner of Soliloquy Bridal Couture in Herndon. More brides are choosing soft blush- or rose-colored gowns, or pairing white dresses with colorful shoes and bedazzled sashes.

If you loved Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, here’s some good news: Royal-wedding-inspired gowns with lace sleeves are all over salons. Designer Heidi Elnora’s delicate designs exude classic elegance.

If you want your dress to have a free-flowing, romantic quality, go for a shirred chiffon skirt. Portland designer Sarah Seven creates gowns fit for a goddess with her draped styles.

First-Dance Songs

The latest first-dance songs are neither Top 40 tunes nor old classics. “Couples seem to be putting a lot more thought into finding that one song that really speaks to them, as opposed to going with the old standbys, “ says Evan Reitmeyer of MyDeejay. Modern, quirky tracks like “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have made appearances on the dance floor. So have Daniel Lee Kendall’s “Lost in the Moment”—which gained traction from a recent television commercial—and the Avett Brothers’ “January Wedding.”


Have a guest list full of foodies who love creative flavors? Try a variation on the standard cupcake. Brianna Alcorn of Windows Catering anticipates savory—not sweet—mini cupcakes becoming a popular cocktail-hour staple. Look for combinations like lobster and Manchego cheese with fresh chive crème icing.

Wedding Cake

For wedding cakes, try a mix of something old and something new. Go traditional on the cake’s design—think vintage piping and ornate textures—and nontraditional on the inside, says Lara Stuckey, owner of Fluffy Thoughts Cakes. Play with seasonal flavors: Fresh strawberry cake on a hot summer day has a nostalgic, Grandma’s-shortcake quality, while pumpkin cake with salted caramel frosting sets the perfect mood for fall.


Wedding Planning Timeline

You’re engaged. Now what?

By Kim Forrest

If you got engaged over the holiday weekend, congrats! You’ll probably want to spend the next few weeks celebrating and staring adoringly at your ring finger (and, we hope, reading your free copy of Washingtonian Bride & Groom and getting your tickets for Unveiled). But we know soon enough you’re going to start getting that age-old question from everyone from your coworkers to Great-Aunt Ida to that girl you’re friends with on Facebook but haven’t spoken to since third grade:

“So when’s the big day?”

And yes, we understand it’s tough to figure out where to start, whether you’re the first in your group of friends to get engaged or you’ve been to dozens of weddings. We’ve been there, and we know it can be overwhelming.

Don’t worry—we’ve got your back. We asked event planner Jeannette Tavares of Evoke to share her wedding planning timeline to help you get going on this adventure (be sure to take a peek at our vendor guide to select your pros). And we promise we’ll be with you every step of the way. Feel free to e-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com with any questions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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Expert Advice

Washington Engagement Party Venues

You’re engaged; now it’s time to party. Wedding planners share their favorite spots for post-proposal celebrations.

By Kim Forrest
Trummer's on Main in Clifton is one of Ritchie and Pollard's favorite rehearsal dinner venues. Photograph by Chris Leaman

If you just got engaged, congrats! You may have already started buying a newsstand’s worth of wedding mags (including the new issue of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, we hope), but first things first—time to think about the engagement party. Normally, engagement parties are held two to four months after the proposal, and are planned by parents, close family, or friends, but oftentimes the couple will have input, too.

We asked event coordinators Laura Ritchie and Megan Pollard of Events in the City to share their five favorite area venues for engagement parties.

Trummer’s on Main, Clifton, Virginia

“This restaurant brings modern cuisine to a picturesque village. We love the onyx bar, which serves up creative cocktails, and the food, from award-winning chef Clayton Miller, is mouth-watering. The decor is warm and inviting, and the private dining area on the third floor would be ideal for an engagement party.”



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Coming Soon: A Book From Ritzy Bee

Washington-area event planners create a spiffy new wedding guide.

By Kim Forrest

Maria Cooke and Kelly Seizert of Ritzy Bee Events in Alexandria are known for creating whimsical and unique weddings, and of course, for their popular blog, Ritzy Bee. And now, the wedding planning gurus have written their first book, The Southern Living Wedding Planner and Keepsake: What To Do Before Saying "I Do." The book, written in conjunction with Southern Living magazine and Oxmoor House, intends to help brides stay organized and stress-free while putting together their wedding day. Alexandria photographer Kate Headley shot all of the pictures for the guide.  

The book won't be available until January 3, 2012, but you can you preorder it on Amazon.com—or if you're feeling lucky, head over to the Ritzy Bee blog to enter to win one of five copies.


From Old School to Brand New: Expert Playlist

Need help narrowing down your song selections for the wedding reception? Each week, Bridal Party asks a local music pro to whip up a genius playlist to get your guests’ feet on the dance floor. This week’s expert: Jake Ritchie of Dream Day DJs in Warrento

By Kim Forrest

Ritchie's lively and eclectic playlist will keep you and your guests dancing. Photograph by David Spence/Amy Raab Photography

Jake Ritchie of Dream Day DJs in Warrenton selects old-school dance favorites, new Top 40 hits, jazzy tunes, and even some classics both you and your parents will love.

Listen to his playlist on Spotify (if you don’t have Spotify, download it here).

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Preferred Wedding Vendors