Recap of our wedding planning process (picture heavy)!

So we got married on June 23, 2012 (almost 3 weeks ago now!) and I almost cannot believe it has already passed by!  It seems like yesterday was April 2011 when we got engaged right before our cruise.

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Me on the cruise with my new ring 🙂

First thing first: Reception Venue and Church

We started planning right away!  We booked Old Town Hall for our reception:

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and Fairfax Christian Church for our ceremony, after having countless issues with the Catholic Churches in Virginia.  Advice:  elope.  No, just kidding.  But book the church FIRST if you are Catholic, and don’t expect manners or friendliness in the process.

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Second: Food & Photos!

Then we booked Purple Onion Catering for our catering and choose the following menu:

Plated Salad

Garden Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Avocado and Roasted Corn with a Champagne Vinaigrette

Served with Assorted Artisan Rolls and Breads

Buffet Dinner

Balsamic Glazed Chicken with Fresh Rosemary and Thyme

Sliced Tender Beef with a Traditional Demi Glace (surprise for Rob)

 Farfalle Pasta in a Fresh Herb Cream Sauce garnished with Roasted Red Peppers

 Roasted Red Potatoes with a Fresh Herb Butter

Matchstick Vegetables

Dessert

An Assortment of Cupcakes (more on these later)

Fresh Fruit Display

Melons, Pineapples, Strawberries and Grapes with Chocolate Fondue

Coffee

And then we booked Bonnie Velazco Photography for our photographer (she is AMAZING!)  Soon after, we got our engagement pictures.  Some of my favorites are below:

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We used the last picture for our Vistaprint Save The Dates because we fell in love with it!

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Speaking of pictures, here are some sneak peaks from the wedding shots:

How Sweet It Is! Cake Tastings

Then it was on to picking the cake.. my favorite part!  We had a few cake tastings with different bakeries and then we came across Fluffy Thoughts in McLean.  Their cake tasting was unbelievable! They had a painter’s palette of different buttercreams, ganaches and other various fillings, and then little mini cakes of each of their cake flavors.  They would tell us to dip our fork in this, and then that and VOILA we would have the tastiest bite of cake either of us had ever had.  When we went to the appointment we had it in our minds that we wanted a cake that matched our damask theme like this:

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Except for pink, instead of green.  However, when we started tasting all of the wonderful flavors, we realized that two flavors was not going to be enough.  So it dawned on us:  CUPCAKES!  Who would complain when their cupcakes are delicious concoctions like Samoa  – Yellow or coconut cake filled with caramel topped with coconut buttercream sprinkled with coconut and drizzled with chocolate and caramel; Mint Chocolate Dream – Chocolate cake filled with milk chocolate ganache topped with mint buttercream; and Raspberry Swirl – Yellow cake filled with raspberry jam and topped with raspberry buttercream.  So we decided to go with a cake topper and then cupcakes like this:

ImageThe final product was phenomenal and the talk of the night:

ImageThough we did have trouble cutting it! It is harder than it looks you know!  In addition, although we had agreed upon being nice with the cake-in-face spiel, no such thing happened.  The evidence is below:

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Oh well! You only do it once, right?  It is hard to see in the pictures below, but I actually made our cake topper myself.  It was my first DIY (one of many) for the wedding:

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That sucker took me HOURS!  I bought 2 different size swavorski crystals and glued them on individually with tweezers and craft glue.  That was a project to remember right there. Needless to say it was beautiful and the perfect way to personalize our cake and have it fit with the theme!

Meanwhile, without Rob knowing it I had ordered a Groom’s Cake from Fluffy Thoughts when I saw this on their website:

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OBVIOUSLY it was the wrong team, so I ordered the same thing with Phillies on the cap for the night of the rehearsal dinner.  Boy was Rob excited / surprised!

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The Dress

Moving on in the planning process, next I had to pick the dress.  Every good wedding book tells you that the dress sets the theme and dress code of the entire night.  Plus, this is what every little girl begins dreaming of!  After reading countless copies of Brides and watching an infinite amount of episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, I was ready to go! So I set multiple appointments at bridal salons around the Northern Virginia area, and my mom and Ellen were on hand for the process.  I think I tried on about 30-40 dresses within those three days.  At the end I was truly stuck between two dresses:  mine and another dress that was similar with intricate beading on the bodice and the bottom of the front of the dress, and a ton of beading on the back.  How I found the particular dress I ended up buying was interesting.  We went to White Swan Bridal in Vienna (by chance because it was across from Purple Onion where we had an appointment that day) because in the window there were multiple sweetheart neckline, a-line dresses with beading that I had narrowed my search down to by that point.  I tried on 11 or so dresses from the mannequins, but nothing was quite catching my eye.  The salesperson suggested that I try on a few clearance sample size dresses since they fit me well.  So I slipped into a few of the sample gowns, when I came across this beauty:

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My breath was taken away.  The funny thing was that I did not want a dress with lace.  I ruled out all dresses with lace before even trying them on until I saw this one.  The one in the store actually was ivory, and there was a rip in the lace, but I could see something I hadn’t seen before.  However, the sleeves would have to go, and I would need a crystal belt to complete my vision.  The sales person said that the dress was $500 off the rack as is, but they would fix the lace.  But I knew they couldn’t fix the color, so I was perplexed.  If I were to order a brand new white dress from them then the price would be three times that, plus excessive alterations to remove the sleeves, etc. and another $350 for a belt, $200 for the veil, etc. etc. etc.  Determined to not break the budget with my dream dress I did some investigating.  I found out about this AMAZING site: RK Bridal. They are based in NYC and they are basically an outlet for brand new, beautiful (and hard to find!) wedding dresses.  Their prices are unbeatable and their products are real from the designers.  I’m not sure exactly how it works, but the designers give them a good deal and RK Bridal does not markup as much as other stores do, especially when buying online because you are not paying for the customer service you would in a salon.  (Note: you can go in and try on dresses there in NYC, but I had already tried on the dress and knew the size, designer and color).  So I found the dress $850! Yes, new! So I ordered the dress and in 6 short weeks (that’s like unheard of for bridal ordering), the BEAUTIFUL dress was in my hands.  Later I found a belt on Etsy similar to this one, that ended up being perfect for the dress. And months (and $600+) later with a snip snip here and a snip snip there courtesy of Best Bridal and Tailoring (miracle workers), my dress was done!  Of course, this was after 4+ alterations appointments!

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The second to last fitting: hem being done, bustle and belt sewn on!

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The final product on the day of.

On the topic of dresses, when my mom was in town and we were looking for dresses, we went to Alfred Angelo Bridal (where we picked out my bridesmaid dresses later) and tried on some dresses.  In the process, we found a rehearsal dinner dress that we loved:

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I had it taken in by Best Bridal & Tailoring as well, and the final product looked like this!

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Lastly, we had to search for Bridesmaid dresses!  Caitlin, Chrissy and Jordan came down last August to visit and do the dress thing, and of course Anna already lives here in DC.  After seeing one too many episodes of SYTTD: Bridesmaids, I think I and my bridesmaids were terrified about this appointment!  However, surprisingly the appointment went well.  Like, shockingly well.  No fights, no over-dramatic bride, no bridesmaid trying to steal the spotlight, this one should have gone down in history!  Moreover, EVERYONE looked amazing in the hot pink I chose.  Who would have thought?   Here are some pictures from the appointment:

We decided to go with the dresses in the picture on the bottom, with Jen and Anna, my Matron of Honor and Maid of Honor, respectively, wearing the long dresses and all of the bridesmaids wearing the short dresses. However, they would be the color on top, with a black sash.  The store only carries dresses in certain colors in certain sizes to try on, so not everyone could try on the exact dress in store, hence the different colors.  The final product ended up being amazing!

DJs, limos and flowers, OH MY!

Next on the list were the DJ, limos and the flowers!  Anna (my MOH) and I went to a wedding show in September in order to look for these vendors.  While we were there we saw Albaster’s and their beautiful cars:

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I LOVED the way this car looked, and I knew it was the one.  My dad and I would travel from the hotel to the church in it, and then later Rob and I would travel from the church to the reception in it after having a bubble send off:

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We also rented a limo from ING Limos for the bridal party and for the end of the night:

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Anna and I met a few florists at the show, including Twinbrook Florists.  Their prices are not cheap by any means, but we knew we were going to make our own bouquets and centerpieces, so we would only be ordering a few pieces from them. They ended up being great to work with and made us beautiful ceremony arrangements, my bouquet and Rob’s boutineer.

Last but not least, we used Musical DJs as our DJ.  Freddie was our DJ and he did a great job! He really got people up and moving:

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P.S. That IS my mom on the left.

So that’s all for now folks but another post coming soon on the rest of my DIY projects for the wedding, because boy were there many!

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