Deandra and Marshall's Wedding

Despite the rain, our wedding on October 25 was absolutely fabulous. Although the rain prevented us from doing pictures in the Upper Senate Park and by the American University sign, I wouldn't change anything else about the day. We incorporated a theme I referred to as "the age of elegant travel" throughout our wedding. Everyone loved how those little details reflected our personalties and contributed to the uniqueness of the event.

Vendors & Venues Reviews

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Columbia Bridal Boutique
Washington, DC
Wedding Fashion

4.5 stars
I wanted my mother to be able to go dress shopping with me, so we had to do it when she was here right after Christmas last year. I had gained some extra weight and was really dreading this part of the wedding planning. We had limited time, so I only made appointments at two places based on who carried designers I thought I might like from pictures on the Knot and in bridal magazines. First stop was Macy's where the clerk abandoned my mother and I in a room with 20 random dresses. It was a terrible experience, and I hated every dress we looked at. I was dreading the second appointment, and almost left because they were behind schedule. But once Zandra got to us, she took the time to look at the pictures I had brought and listen to me explain why I didn't want a strapless dress. She pulled a few dresses, and I ended buying the third one she selected off the rack. The other two looked good, but the third one looked fabulous on me. She has an eye for what she does. But, because I bought it off the rack, I had to pick it up and get it out of their store by the end of February and that was kind of annoying.


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Ana Merces
Gaithersburg, MD
Wedding Day Beauty

5 stars
Everyone looked fabulous, but make up got a little slow. Fortunately, between the rain and the way the schedule had been padded, it didn't impact us much. She is delightful to work with and very reasonably priced. She also came to the house and did not charge a travel fee.


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Alexandria Pastry Shop
Alexandria, VA
Cakes/Candies

5 stars
As soon as I tasted the Bavarian fruit cake, I knew we had to have it. It was so light and yummy. Unfortunately, I never got more than a tiny bite of it at the reception:( But everyone else said it was great. Because it was more than we wanted to spend per slice, we went with the smallest cake we could get and supplemented it with a cake from Costco. Our beautiful three tiered cake was on display until we cut it, and then the staff wheeled it back into the kitchen and served it along with the Costco cake. Everyone said the cake was delicious, and I have no idea who ate what.


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Bob Artman of Artman DJs
Washington, DC
DJs

5 stars
Bob was easy to work with, professional, and offered just the slightest hint of cheese as requested. He played every song on our must play list, took requests, and managed to get everyone up dancing. I think I left the dance floor to go to the bathroom once, but that was about it. When I saw my 81 year old grandfather dancing, I knew he was good. Bob was also half the price of other DJs we considered.


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Christine Mosley Event Design
Washington, DC
Coordinators/Planners

5 stars
I hired Christine for day-of coordination because her services under that description seemed to provide so much more than most coordinators. I first met with Christine in January. Every few months she would check in with me to make sure my planning was on track, and was always available to answer any questions I might have. A month before the wedding, she reviewed all my vendor contracts and began creating the production schedule for the weekend. The Saturday of the wedding, she and her assistant were on hand the entire time and managed a bus break down that I didn't know about until well after the fact. Christine and her assistant worked with the Capitol Hill Club to set up the tabletop decor I made and then packaged it up at the end of the night. She though of little details that I had not, and I think it contributed to what felt like a flawless evening. No matter how well you plan your wedding, something may still go wrong. Hire someone else to deal with it that day. By the end of the night, my father who had originally told me the coordinator was an unnecessary expense said he was really glad she was there to keep everything on track.


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Anne Holcomb
Washington, DC
Florists

5 stars
A lady at my gym referred Anne to me, and I am so grateful. Anne's enthusiasm and creativity is contagious. She used to own her own shop in Georgetown, but found that running the business took up all the time and didn't allow her to do what she really enjoyed. So now she works out of a friend's shop and does a lot of special events. She offered a lot of good advice and actually recommended that we not do any flowers for the church because unless we went really big, they'd get lost. Plus, she didn't have a minimum which is what immediately ruled out Growing Wild for us. The bouquets and centerpieces were all beautiful and within my budget.


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Erin Marie Photography
Washington, DC
Photographers

5 stars
We heart ErinMarie and Carlos. This couple is a lot of fun to work with and both of them have an artistic eye. They brought my list of must take pix and worked with me to make sure they got them all. Carlos was out on the dance floor snapping away half the night. The pictures we've seen have been breath-taking. Their black and white photography is incredible.


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Reston Limo
Washington, DC
Limos/Shuttles

2.5 stars
The invoices we signed with Reston Limo stated that no changes could be made a week before the event. Three weeks before the wedding, when I realized that we would only have about half of the OOT guests we originally anticipated, I called to inquire about canceling one of our two 55-pax coach buses. They told me that because we were within 30 days of the event, I could use that money for another vehicle or service, but we wouldn't get anything back. This annoyed me because their invoice is vague - the full payment is required 30 days before the event, but you can make changes up until a week before. So warning: if you're unsure about how many OOT guests you may need to transport, make your RSVP deadline at least 6 weeks before your wedding (this gives you the two weeks you'll need to hunt down the RSVP deadbeats) or don't use Reston Limo. I probably could've argued with them more aggressively, but I was stressed out and made FI deal with them. He arranged for them to send us a minibus to transport the bridal party to the rehearsal, RD, and back to the hotel on Friday night. That ended up working out really well, but I'm still annoyed with them. On Saturday, the 55 pax coach bus broke down and was about 30 minutes late to pick up guests staying in Dunn Loring. To the company's credit, they did let my coordinator know and the ceremony only started about 15 minutes later than originally scheduled on a very rainy Saturday. Had the weather been nice, this delay would've caused us to miss doing pictures in the Upper Senate Park, and I'd probably give them an F. Going from the ceremony to the reception, the drivers got confused and went back to the Capitol Hill Suites as opposed to the Capitol Hill Club, but that was easily fixed. All in all, the drivers did a good job of navigating the city streets, especially the tight turns in Mt. Pleasant.


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Metropolitan Memorial UMC
Washington, DC
Ceremony Sites

5 stars
I attended American University and this church is directly across the street. Metropolitan is absolutely beautiful with a European cathedral type feel. Like any church in the area, there are a number of rules, but since we wanted a more traditional ceremony anyways, I didn't find them to be restrictive and our photographers were able to work within them. Although the fee is expensive for non-members, it did include the organist, so we didn't incur additional expenses with musicians. Plus since the church is so beautiful, we let the architecture speak for itself and didn't spend any money on decorations or flowers for the church. The church administrator is super busy and won't always get back to you immediately. At first, this concerned me when we were trying to secure the church and then get our pre-marital counseling scheduled. But it all worked out.


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Capitol Hill Club
Washington, DC
Reception Sites

5 stars
I cannot say enough good things about the Capitol Hill Club. They were able to work with us on everything and then execute it perfectly. The food was fabulous; people are still telling me how much they liked their meal - even my picky vegan cousin. There's no site rental fee, just a $10,000 minimum (the lowest minimum I found in my research of non-hotel sites). Because they are normally closed on the weekends, our wedding was the only event that day, and we had the whole building to ourselves. There was plenty of room for our 100 guests in the Eisenhower Reception room on the first floor and then we moved upstairs to the formal dining room for dinner and dancing. Service was great, and the only complaint I heard was that the staff kept picking up the glasses when people got up to dance. The catering staff was always available to answer any questions I had, and their response to any request was always, "yes, we can do that". I know some knotties have concerns about it being the National Republican Club, but if you want a non-hotel location near the Capitol, I highly recommend it.


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Capitol Hill Suites
Washington, DC
Hotels/Accommodations

3.5 stars
Capitol Hill Suites was nice, but the pocket door for our bathroom didn't slide out because there was a screw blocking it. They were not good about giving out the OOT welcome bags because most guests didn't get theirs until I told them to go down to the desk and ask for them.


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Courtyard by Marriott Dunn Loring
Vienna, VA
Hotels/Accommodations

5 stars
Everyone loved their room at the Courtyard. The staff was also good about giving everyone their OOT welcome bag. Plus the block rate of $84 couldn't be beat.


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