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Real Weddings

Classic Purple Virginia Wedding Filled With Plenty of Happy Tears

Shelby Cochran married Brian Kaufman at Rust Manor in Leesburg.

By Sarah Zlotnick

As pretty as the florals and the bridesmaid dresses may be in this classic purple wedding, our favorite part is the emotion that clearly runs in the Cochran family. Shelby's father's face when he sees his daughter for the first time—amazing. And Shelby's own expression during her first look with husband-to-be Brian? Equally unforgettable. This is what weddings are all about, folks—having the time and space to show the ones we love how bowled over we are by their presence in our lives. We're so glad Carly Fuller Photography was on hand to capture the magic!

Brian Kaufman met Shelby Cochran at his own birthday party at Dupont bar The Big Hunt—mutual friends had invited Shelby along thinking she would be a good match for their orthopedic surgeon friend. That night, Shelby wondered if each and every guy that walked through the door was Brian, but when a leather jacket-clad, motorcycle-helmet-carrying guy showed up, she knew there was no way it was the man her friends had in mind. As it turns out, she was dead wrong, but the pair clicked quickly. Neither can recall what they talked about that night, but both could feel the electricity.

"She was thoughtful and worldly and kind," remembers Brian. "She had a genuine zeal for life. I knew I wanted to be a part of that, to share in that happiness and joy."

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Expert Advice

Ask the Experts: The Planners

We're looking to you for questions to ask the area's top wedding planners.

By Washingtonian Staff

Brides! We’re turning to you to help us ask a roomful of wedding planners your every question about the big day. On Wednesday, June 6, Washingtonian Bride & Groom editor in chief Kate Bennett will host a Q&A with dozens of the best wedding planners in the business during a dinner at Seasons Restaurant inside the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. We’re hoping you can help us come up with the perfect questions—food and beverage ideas, what to do about favors, how to devise the perfect guest list, the ideal budget breakdown, and more. We need your guidance, so tell us what’s on your mind.

E-mail your questions to realweddings@washingtonian.com. And follow the conversation on Twitter, starting at 8 PM on June 6, hashtag #LuxBride.


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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Last-Minute Proposal Ideas

For the procrastinator—or the spontaneous type—we asked three experts for easy but still totally romantic proposal plans to get a ring on her finger before 2012.

By Carrie Schedler

Maybe it’s the eggnog talking, but something about the holidays just makes us want to snuggle up with someone we love. And if you’re ready to turn kisses under the mistletoe into a full-blown commitment, why wait? The holiday season has a romance all its own.

We asked three of our favorite wedding planners to put together an insta-proposal guide in case you’re considering an engagement ring as the perfect holiday gift.

If you’re ready to pop the question right now, use these agendas to get inspired:

1) Cindy Bastron of A. Dominick Events

The ring: Boone and Sons, with locations in downtown DC, Chevy Chase, and McLean. “They’re very accessible to everyone and have wonderful customer service,” she says.

The proposal: Two season-specific plans—Zoo Lights at the National Zoo, or the skating rink at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden. For a backdrop that’s impressive year-round, try the Roof Terrace Restaurant atop the Kennedy Center. “There’s a balcony with amazing views of the city at night,” Bastron says. And if you can, bring along a photographer to take photos of the actual engagement, even if it’s just a friend with a point-and-shoot ready to pop out from a hiding place after she says yes.

The celebration: Bastron recommends heading to either Off the Record at the Hay-Adams Hotel or Adour at the St. Regis for a post-proposal drink (and even inviting family and friends to share in the excitement). She says these places have the right romantic ambience but rarely require reservations.

The extras: Try to book a night at the Jefferson, one of Bastron’s favorite spots in the city. And schedule a manicure for her for the next day. “Everyone will be checking out her ring, so her hands should shine,” Bastron says. Then, gather friends and family for a celebratory day-after brunch.



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Vendor Q&A: Makeup Artist Leah McKay (Part Two)

You asked, she answered! Our expert answers your toughest wedding queries

By Leah McKay

Yesterday, makeup artist Leah McKay answered your questions about pimples, celebrity beauty inspiration, and airbrush makeup. Today, she’ll solve your queries about everything from choosing an eye shadow color to facials.

Question: My makeup artist asked me what eye shadow color I wanted on my wedding day and I had no idea! Are there specific eye shadow colors that look best on different types of skin tones? I have fair skin, dark hair, and blue eyes.

McKay says: “Unless you’re very specific about what you want, your artist should be able to help develop a palette for your wedding day makeup. That’s one of the many benefits of hiring a professional—we help you with those choices! While there are colors that can enhance different skin tones and eye colors, I recommend focusing more on having beautiful skin overall; the colors will simply enhance the final outcome.”

Question: If I’m going to get a facial before my wedding, how long beforehand should I do it?

McKay says: “A few days beforehand is fine, although I advise only a gentle exfoliating facial to give the skin a nice glow. I also recommend not introducing any new products to your skin, since that can be a risk for breakouts or another reaction. Additionally, I suggest that if any facial waxing is a consideration, to do so several days in advance so that the skin has time to heal, and makeup can be applied smoothly in those areas.”

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Vendor Q&A: Makeup Artist Leah McKay (Part One)

You asked, she answered! Our wedding makeup expert answers some tough wedding-related queries

By Leah McKay

Leah McKay is a Falls Church makeup artist who has worked for such major cosmetic companies as Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder. Today, she answers your questions on taking inspiration from celebrities, avoiding pimples, and airbrush makeup. Check back tomorrow for part two of her Q&A!


Question: I've heard it's a good idea to show your makeup artist photos of celebrities whose makeup you want to emulate on your wedding day. I love how Taylor Swift does her makeup, but I look absolutely nothing like her. Should I only show my makeup artist photos of celebrities I look like?  

McKay says: “Photos can certainly be helpful to illustrate the kind of “look” that you have in mind for your wedding makeup, whether a celebrity, model, or even photos of yourself to show how you’ve liked your makeup for special events. However, it’s essential that your makeup artist spends some time talking with you, and asking the right questions to determine your own personal style and comfort level.”

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Vendor Q&A: Heidi Kallett of the Dandelion Patch (Part 2)

You asked, she answered! Our expert answers your toughest wedding queries

By Heidi Kallett

Yesterday, Heidi Kallett of the Dandelion Patch answered your questions about handling divorced parents on your invitations, calligraphy, and ceremony programs. Today, she’ll solve your queries about everything from matching your save-the-dates and invitations to DIY-ing.


Question: Do my save-the-dates, invitations, place cards, thank-yous, and other printed items all need to match? Do I have to decide on the style, colors, and theme immediately so the save-the-dates will match everything else?

Kallett says: “While it is nice to have continuity between all your pieces it is certainly not required. Often times, save-the-dates tend to be a bit more fun and casual than the formal invitation. If you have your wedding colors selected, it is nice to use those in some capacity on your save-the-date, invitation and other pieces such as your program. If, however, you are unsure what colors you’re using, more neutral palette is totally acceptable. If you’ve finalized a theme or you have a particular motif you’d like to use, that can also be a nice element to tie all of your pieces together but it is certainly not a must-have.”

“Don’t delay getting your save-the-dates out just so you can have them coordinate with your invitations—what’s more important is that your guests have enough notice so that they can join you on your special day.”

• • •

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Vendor Q&A: Terri Eaves of Bash (Part 2)

You asked, she answered! Our expert answers your toughest wedding queries

By Terri Eaves

Yesterday, Terri Eaves of Bash answered your questions about color schemes, wedding venues, and “plus ones.” Today, she’ll solve your queries about everything from backyard weddings to welcome baskets.


Question: My fiancé and I really wanted a rustic outdoor wedding, but my parents (who are paying for the event) insisted on having it at their country club. Are there ways to incorporate rustic style elements into a traditional ballroom setting?

Eaves says: “Depending on the existing decor in the ballroom, you may have a number of options! First start with the linens and select a neutral color that will work well in the space and has a linen-like texture (this can be both formal or not). Your flowers can evoke that rustic feel, whether it’s varied types of field flowers and herbs or selecting a vase to complement that tone. A wood chivari (natural, fruitwood or walnut) would work and bring down the formality.”

“If the ballroom is just too hard to work with, think about bringing the rustic element to cocktail hour (perhaps it can be held outside)? Bars that are wooden farm tables, linens that are more natural (burlap) and Edison lights hanging between trees.”

“If decor will not work with the venue (or your parents), think about those in the wedding. Maybe you wear your hair down or loosely pulled back. Maybe your makeup is natural and you carry a non-uniform bouquet. Maybe your bridesmaids don’t wear floor-length gowns or coordinating dresses—and they choose a dress of their liking in shades of yellows and ivory. Maybe your groom and groomsman wear tan suits, brown wingtip oxfords, and they use the same field flowers used in the bouquets.”

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Vendor Q&A: Terri Eaves of Bash (Part 1)

You asked and she answered! Our expert answers your toughest wedding queries.

By Terri Eaves

Wedding planner Terri Eaves of Bash stopped by the Bridal Party to answer your wedding planning questions. Today, we’re featuring the first half of her answers, the rest will go live tomorrow.


Question: I’m planning something of a “destination wedding” in the state where I grew up. I say this because just about every guest will be traveling in from out of state and making it a vacation for their families. However, I have the trouble of what to do with their children. We’ve decided to allow children at the wedding, but this will mean that we will have up to 25 kiddos under 12. I’m fine with providing a kids’ table and possibly even hiring a magician to entertain them, but what about the guests who want to bring their children along on their vacation, but would prefer an adults-only evening at the wedding? Are we obligated to set up some sort of off-site daycare in addition to the children’s entertainment at the wedding? My budget isn’t large enough to pay for a babysitter for all those kids. Please help!

Eaves says: “I see this dilemma many times! Because you are inviting children to the wedding, don’t feel obligated to provide a babysitter. For those parents who want to enjoy the evening, they would be responsible for their own child care since you are not telling them their kids aren’t invited.”

“I would though set up a play area for them complete with kids table and activities. Each place setting can have a gender-specific bag (such as lip gloss and mini diary for girls, cars and play dough for the boys). Be sure to get them kids meals as well through your caterer.”

“If not having a professional babysitter to keep an eye on them worries you, ask a couple of your teenage guests to help watch them. Teenagers love being in charge and will find the responsibility really exciting if asked to do so at your wedding!”

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Ask A Vendor: Wedding Planners, Photographers, Invitation Experts, and Makeup Artists Answer Your Questions

Check out our upcoming lineup of wedding vendors who will be on call to answer your wedding-related questions

By Kim Forrest

Our September panel of experts—here to answer all your wedding queries! Photographs courtesy of the vendors

We know that wedding planning is stressful, and you probably have some questions that your best friend, your mom, and your coworkers just can’t answer. We’re here to help. We’ve enlisted some of the area’s top vendors—a wedding planner, a photographer, an invitation expert, and a makeup artist­—to answer your wedding-related queries. We’ll have a new roster of vendors every month.

Here’s how it works: Send your question (include your first name and where you live) to vendorchats@washingtonian.com, and we’ll pass them on to the vendors. Every Thursday, we’ll present their answers.

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