Posts Tagged ‘ceremony’

I hope you’re all enjoying a stellar New Year. I’ve been away for a while — Joe and i moved over the weekend into our first home as a couple, and i’ve been scrambling over the past couple of weeks to get everything ready for the move. But we did it! And now i’m back with a vengenance and lots of fun ideas and questions for you; with only eight months before the wedding, i realized yesterday that it’s time to switch gears from moving/decorating/unpacking back to all-wedding-all-the-time.

So, here i am! And to jump right back in where i left off, allow me to introduce another of our spectacular wedding elves. The second in our series of “we’re only meeting with one vendor because our first choice is so awesome” decisions was actually not even made face-to-face. Working off a random Knottie post about ceremony music, i checked out the website for the St. Charles String Quartet, a local group based in Maryland. I was sold from the minute i arrived, when i was greeted with a lovely string arrangement of “Just Like Heaven,” my favorite Cure song.

After hanging out on the site a while and generally being impressed with the awesomeness of St. Charles and their enthusiasm for playing more than traditional classical music, i e-mailed Neil Puzon, Head Violinist In Charge, and inquired about rates, availability, and their willingness to learn a very silly, very specific song for my walk down the aisle. He responded in, like, 6 hours, and told me that not only would they be happy to learn my request, but that they wouldn’t charge me any more for special arrangements and songs. Even if every single song i requested was new to them. And, to top it off, their rates are super competitive, and Neil is extremely willing to work with you if you’re on a budget.

St. Charles offers soloist, duos, trios, and quartets, and their repertoire includes ye olde traditional wedding songs (done beautifully, i might add) as well as a hefty amount of Beatles tunes and less expected fare such as “Yellow,” by Coldplay, “All My Love,” by Led Zepplin, and (my personal favorite for amusement purposes) “Free Bird.” (Their rendition of the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong,” for the record, effing rocks.)

Seriously, when i first started this wedding planning business, ceremony music was waaay down at the bottom of my priority list. I figured i’d either get a DJ who’d play some stuff as we walked in, or just hook up my iPod somehow. I just e-mailed Neil on a whim, to see if he’d laugh in my face at my processional request (which shall for the nonce remain a secret, lest i lose what remaining readers i may still have 🙂 ). He was incredibly prompt, professional, excited about my request (!!), flexible, and reassuring that my little song idea would not only work but be awesome.

Plus, their music is gorgeous. If you’re at all in the market for ceremony music, even if you think string quartets are stuffy and ridiculous, please go check out their website. Tell Neil that Caroline sent you — he’s the best. And then enjoy the rockingness of your new fantastically talented and offbeat wedding musicians!


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So, here’s where we are now. We have the world’s coolest wedding and reception venue. We’ve booked most of our vendors already (and i promise to tell you all about them soon!). But one big question remains — nay, looms:

How on earth will we decorate this awesome space??

As of right this minute, we’re still in the figuring-out-how-we-want-it-all-to-look stage. But that doesn’t mean i haven’t come across tons of gorgeous, cool, quirky, and intriguing ideas. I figured, what better way to sort out how to best go about dressing up this already-gorgeous space than to write about and get input from all of you?

And so, herewith allow me to present to you my first flash of decorating inspiration: GIANT ROUND WHITE BALLOONS!!

Look! Big, puffy, perfectly round white balloons! (via OnceWed)

Martha’s gotten in on the action a couple of times. The first pic below is a gorgeous shot from her “50 Tips for the Perfect Reception.” The second is taken from her fabulous April 2008 Martha Stewart Weddings article “Glamour on a Budget“:

I absolutely love how the gold and white balloons give the room such a festive air, yet still manage to create a sense of playfulness in the venue. And the all-white balloons on the left just look so … elegant. Balloons. Looking elegant. I love it!

I saved the best for last. If you read design or wedding blogs at all, i’m sure you’ll have come across Amy Atlas Events. She specializes in designing high-end, high-concept dessert bars for weddings and other fabulous parties. Allow me to present to you the picture that began this dream of mine:

Isn’t that just simply dreamy? Shades of ivory and white, set off by simple vases of hydrangeas, and BALLOONS?!! Oh, swoon. I absolutely adore this picture. I adore the serenity and grace it evokes, without losing a certain playfulness and light-hearted celebratory feeling. I love the ginormity of the balloons, and i particularly love that it captures, for me, a vintage-y vibe without looking like a set decoration from a 1950’s party. That’s exactly the setting i want to create: retro, beautiful, a little glamorous, and a lot playful and fun.

So, lovely readers, what do you think? Can my giant round white balloon vision be realized? Am i headed down the right path in dreaming up decorations? As a quick reminder, here’s a picture of the Bumper Car Pavilion during daytime:

(via WikiMedia Commons)

And at night:

(via JitterBuzz)

So,  have at it. White balloons or no white balloons? If you have an even more awesome idea, please share!!

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I’ve kept you waiting. I know. But the venue of your dreams doesn’t come along every day. Or every month. As Joe can attest, sometimes the venue of your dreams comes only after you’ve personally inspected at least ten places, made more than 30 phone calls, studied spreadsheets, and made list after scratched-up notebook-paper list of pros, cons, prices, and details. Seriously, i have an encyclopedic knowledge of DC-area venues that will allow you to serve red wine. Hee.

But that’s not why you’re here. Fair enough. And at long last! Joe and i are getting married at GLEN ECHO PARK!!

Y’all, this place is the coolest venue ever. I do not exaggerate. It was built in the late 19th century as a Chautauqua Assembly (like an “educational summer camp” for grown-ups) and developed in the early 20th century into a trolley park — an amusement park that folks from the city could come to by taking the super-newfangled trolley car. At its height, Glen Echo had a roller coaster, a shooting gallery, a tilt-a-whirl, and a carousel. It also had a ginormous pool, complete with diving well and sandy beach, and a huge airy ballroom where Glenn Miller once played to packed houses. The park was shut down in the late 1960s and almost got knocked down (and destroyed by neglect), but it was saved and restored in the 1990s to its current state as an arts facility. Most of the rides are gone now, but the carousel is still fully functional, and the park’s old Art Deco architecture and neon signs have been restored.

See? Carousel!!

Several venues are available for wedding ceremonies at Glen Echo, but we knew on sight that we had to get married here:

The Cuddle Up Pavilion! Seriously, does it get any more adorable than that?! The window you see in the middle of the red column is where tickets were collected for the “Cuddle Up,” which used to be Glen Echo’s tilt-a-whirl ride. Hee!! The pavilion is open-air on the sides but has an oval roof and a stage at one end, where we will have our ceremony. Here’s what it looks like from on stage:

(Please to ignore the random orange cone.) We’ll put a skirt around the stage so the rebar’s not showing, and although the bleachers are neat (can you see the bleachers in the back?), we’ll push them back to the edge of the space and let them mark the back end of the aisle. We’re getting simple white wooden folding chairs from our caterer and will put them in rows of 10, five on each side of the aisle, with some simple aisle markers (which i will save for a later post). We’ll put some flowers on the stage to mark the ceremony space, too, but otherwise, it’s just Joe, me, our officiant, and the offbeat awesomeness of getting married inside what was once a carnival ride!

Check back for more about the awesomest venue ever, and where we’ll be having our reception (i’ll tell you, it’s even cooler than the Cuddle Up). Pictures galore!

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all by myself…*

Another very early decision i made about the wedding was that i didn’t want a wedding party. Although i love my friends and welcome their input and advice in planning the wedding, i want the actual ceremony to be a celebration of Joe and me, the awesomeness of our relationship, and the start of our life as a married couple. As much as i hate being in the spotlight, i really do think that the ceremony should focus on the two of us, not on a line of gorgeous girls in matching dresses.

I have found this decision to be liberating in lots of ways. First, all my girlfriends have sighed in relief when i’ve said “no bridesmaids.” For them, it’s one less unrewearable dress to buy, one less shower to plan, and most importantly, it means they can just kick back and celebrate with me on the day without worrying about where to stand, whether their escort is taller than they are, where they left their flowers, etc.

It’s also, from a practical standpoint, much cheaper and less stress-inducing not to have a wedding party. I have lots of wonderful girlfriends, from many different stages in my life, and i wouldn’t want to try to cull through them to create what is essentially an “I love you best” club. All my girls are awesome, but i think a 12-woman wedding party is a little … much. (Not knocking those of y’all who can pull it off. I’m just sayin’ — for me, it’s too much.) Plus, this way i don’t have to pay for their hair, buy tons of bouquets, worry about the bouquets matching my flowers (or the other decorations). And: I don’t have to pick out bridesmaids’ dresses. Seriously, Wedding-Industrial Complex, can you please design at least a couple pretty dresses in realistic colors? Although i love the idea of letting all your bridesmaids just wear their favorite black dresses with cute heels, thus eliminating the “Oh, of course i can wear it again!” problem, i am completely happy having decided for my friends to be spectators.

Have any of y’all decided not to have a wedding party?  Have you been met with relief or looked at askance?

*Man, i can’t seem to quit with the lame post titles, can i?

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