Posts Tagged ‘DC vendors’

Lately it seems like i’ve been so busy doing stuff, i don’t have a whole lot of time to write about it. I’m sorry! I do have lots of awesome wedding-related stuff in the works, and i’ve accomplished a lot on my freakout list from a couple weeks back. I’ll get to it all eventually, but for the moment (since i have just a moment), allow me to introduce you to our wedding monogram!


Swoon. Isn’t it the coolest? Jen from Miss Pickles Press really captured exactly the vibe we’re going for: retro, cool, laid-back, with just a hint of old-school carnival to make it interesting. I can’t recommend her highly enough — if you’re looking for anything from monogram design to full-on custom design, she’s your girl.

…and up next? Our save-the-dates! VistaPrint tells me that today they’re in the capable hands of the USPS for delivery. I can’t wait to get home!!


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So, after the lovely Glen Echo bride Tyrese commented that she was a teensy bit worried about my plan to hang cafe lights all over the Bumper Car Pavilion, i got to thinking. I’m not sure i totally agree (and even if i did, i fear my obsession with the lights themselves would win out regardless), but her comment did spur me to keep an eye out for interesting and creative things to do with the cafe lights other than string them over top of all the other lights already up in the Bumper Car.

So when i came across this idea at Apartment Therapy, i was kind of intrigued:

So this is a “socket chandelier,” made from screwing together loads of those random bulb sockets you can get at Home Depot. Utilitarian, yes, but also unexpected and clever. I think i kind of dig it.

I don’t know whether or if this will translate into temporary cafe-light-ball light fixtures, but i’m kind of picturing them as impromptu chandeliers, hung above the center of each table. Bonus: They’re make-ahead-able, so nobody would have to be scrambling to string up 250 feet of lights the day of.

I also came across this beauty on Apartment Therapy: it’s “White Orbit,” by Patrick Townsend, and it’s kind of the same idea, only a little more (too?) structural:

Witness this chandelier in action:

This looks almost exactly like the Bumper Car (minus the twinkly lights wrapped around the rafters). Like i said, i think it might be a little too put-together; i like the artful chaos of the DIY chandelier above better, i think. But i’d love input. What say you? DIY chandelier blob? Structured, airy chandelier? Or version 1.0 strings of lights from beams? Chime in, readers; i must know!!

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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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Quite simply, this is so. She’s a phenom, and we are so, so lucky to have snapped her up when we did! First, a little backstory. When i was first waving my engagement ring around the office and gushing to anyone who would listen about my awesome fiance and my ridiculous excitement about getting married, a friend at work subtly mentioned that her sister was a wedding photographer.

“Huh,” i thought. “Now i’m gonna get roped in to meeting with this chick’s crazy sister, who probably has no idea what she’s doing. Great.” But being a dutiful friend, i clicked on the link my co-worker e-mailed to me.

And i was blown. away.

Seriously, people, to be relatively new at the game (she’s only been photographing weddings for about two years), our girl is just incredible. We were bowled over enough online, but then my co-worker mentioned that her sister was moving down to DC and was looking to build up a client base. “Set up a meeting,” i said.

In person she was even better — self-possessed, confident, able to answer all my neurotic questions without blinking. She brought two full portfolios of recent weddings she’d shot and mentioned that one of her weddings was soon to be featured in a Boston local wedding mag. She always works with a second photographer, loves a photojournalistic style, and gives her clients all their images in digital files as part of every package.


So without further ado, please to meet our wedding photographer, the very first wedding-related decision we made, and still one of my absolute favorites:


I mean, check out these pictures from her blog:

I mean, it doesn’t hurt when your bride is totally effing gorgeous, but still. Breathtaking, no?

LOVE the perspective on this one.


I realize this is an engagement picture, but would you just look at the emotion on that guy’s face? Utterly priceless. If she can get one picture of us looking at each other like that on our wedding day, it’ll be the best money we spend on the whole thing.

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So, after an unplanned wee break from blogging, i’m back with details of where at our radical venue we’ll be having the reception. Behold: the Bumper Car Pavilion!

This is the actual pavilion where recreation-seekers of yore actually crashed bumper cars into each other! There aren’t any actual bumper cars left in the space (which, honestly, is kind of a bummer :-), but it’s got its original signage/artwork over the front of the pavilion, along with wooden floors, open sides, and a stage!

Check out the inside, with all the yummy light streaming in! You can also see the christmas lights wrapped around the beams in the ceiling, and the clear plastic sides, which are currently in the rolled-up position. They can easily be rolled down in cases of torrential rain or freezing coldness (both of which i’m hoping to avoid — but DC weather in September can be unpredictable). The white gates lining the pavilion also swing open to welcome you inside, and the benches are all (re)movable. The stage is located just on the other side of the opening in the right, above; this shot was taken leaning over a white gate just about halfway down the front of the pavilion.

Here’s one more shot, taken from the side of the Cuddle Up Pavilion. In this one you can see the gorgeous swooping roof line of the pavilion — it’s lined with big old-school bulbs that light up at night! See?

So gorgeous! So bright and sparkly! So festive! I can’t wait!!

(last image source)

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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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As promised, i am back to deliver you with the last venue we didn’t pick for our wedding. I actually saw this place on the same day we found our venue, so my memory is just a little clouded by the awesomeness of the evening, but i’ll tell you all i can remember about The Arts Club of Washington.

This venue is in the heart of DC as well, at 2017 I Street NW (between 20th and 21st). The gorgeous townhouse was once President Monroe’s executive offices, and it gives off a very historic vibe — combined with a bit of offbeat funkiness. There are both indoor and outdoor spaces; they recommend that you have your ceremony and meal outside in their lovely, private brick courtyard, with the cocktail hour and dancing inside in the historic space. Here’s the garden in its natural (i.e., un-set-up) state:

With chairs set in rows for a ceremony:

And with happy celebrating guests and wedding party!

The staff can also accomodate your event inside, if you’d prefer, although setting the rooms for dinner breaks up the flow somewhat. There’s a big dining room in which most of the action would happen, and they can place tables both upstairs and in the performance room if you need them. …did i say performance room? This room is long and kind of narrow but has a beautiful wooden floor and an honest-to-goodness stage in the back, perfect for a DJ or band. And if it’s raining, you can have your ceremony in there as well. Check it out:

When i dropped by to visit the Arts Club, i did it with no advance warning or appointment. I found the house steward to be extremely gracious and knowledgeable, and i even got to chat with the chef, Brennan Hurley, for a good five or ten minutes. He didn’t blink when i told him about our rather nontraditional ideas for a wedding feast. (He even got excited about the possibility of waffles!)

I also found that the prices were reasonable for the area — a $3000 site fee for four hours, not including set-up or clean-up (for which they don’t charge you extra). Catering starts at $70pp, and they do open bar as well (although you can’t bring in your own alcohol, which is kind of a bummer). They estimate $25pp for a full open bar, and the chef told me they don’t differentiate between beer and liquor, so you can offer guests the option of mixed drinks (or, if you’re like Joe, whiskey neat) without worrying about jacking up the price.

All in all, i was really pleased with the Arts Club and would recommend them for someone looking for a convenient, historical, downtown DC location with a little bit of quirky thrown in. (It IS an art museum, so you can bet on some cool, beautiful, or just weird stuff on the walls!)

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