Posts Tagged ‘Glen Echo’

Now that you’ve seen my gorgeous venue, i have a little inspiration to share — and some advice to seek! Check out these gorgeous photos of Glen Echo back when it was a functioning amusement park:

I love this adorable couple watching the rides.

Roller coaster!

“Pennyland,” and an awesome airplane ride.

I particularly love this shot of the park’s streetcar entrance.

Look how crazy busy and awesome the Crystal Pool was back in the day.

Coaster Dips! At night!

These and many other fabulously awesome shots can be found at the Library of Congress’s American Memory Project. It’s an online clearinghouse for “written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.” It’s also incredibly cool, and i highly recommend it the next time you’re cruising around online in need of inspiration.

So, given those awesome shots, and the many more available online, my question is this: Do i print these out, find some funky frames, and use them as my table numbers? I love the idea of giving our guests a taste of the rich history of Glen Echo, and i think these pictures are gorgeous and fascinating and would be fun to look at, all scattered around the joint. What do you think?

…and as a bonus, here’s a shot of the Bumper Car Pavilion itself circa 1928, complete with zooming, action-style bumper cars!!

(image source — thanks, Shorpy!)


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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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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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