Ceremony and reception location : Hazel Restaurant, Washington DC
Wedding date : September 29, 2018
Photographs by Thomas
What advice can you give to other couples planning their wedding?
My advice is to stay true to your vision and not compromise the things that are important to you. People love to say things like “doesn’t it usually look like this?” “doesn’t the groom normally do this?” “isn’t there typically one of these?” – While it is important not to make uninformed decisions, you’ll find that people are full of unsupported opinions. Plan the wedding that YOU want. Also, don’t leave yourself anything to do on the day of your wedding besides get ready and go. I was tempted here and there to do small DIY things or eliminate cost by dropping something off myself – the day of is literally one thing after another, a breathless whirlwind, you don’t want anything else on your plate. And if you don’t have a day-of planner, designate a family member to be point person. It shouldn’t be either of you two.
Were there any online recourses that you found especially helpful?
I found Wedding Wire pretty helpful. I used it to find and communicate with vendors. Given we weren’t from the area where our wedding was and had no recommendations on vendors from friends etc. it was extremely useful to be able to see frank reviews. Pinterest is also astonishingly useful, but that’s probably unsurprising to a couple planning a wedding! It’s 100x easier to show someone what you want than it is to tell them. Always always always just pull up a picture… better safe than sorry and sometimes you think you’ve nailed a description but the person on the other end has a TOTALLY different picture in their head!
What part of the planning process was most fun for you?
We did a 90 second choreographed dance for our first dance, which we prepared for by having 4 private dance lessons in the months leading up to the wedding. Both of us HATE dancing, but this was such a fun thing to do. On a night that we had dance class we would sneak out of work early and get a cocktail before class, and then after the 45 minute class we were always giggling and in a happy mood. It was a rare break from the rest of the more stressful planning elements. When we would have some time on a random evening we would practice our dance and laugh because it totally freaked our dog out for some reason. It was our favorite part of the planning process and it was really fun to nail our dance on the big day as our friends cheered us on.
Where did you find inspiration for your wedding?
This was actually tough because we had a pretty non-traditional wedding. I read a lot of articles on non-religious ceremonies and we did a lot of unpacking the elements of a wedding and figuring out how to fit them into a wedding entirely at a restaurant, without feeling tacky and while creating enough formality. For décor, we really leaned a lot on the venue, which we picked in the first place because we loved its aesthetic and vibe. We took some inspo for smaller design elements from things we had seen here and there at friends’ weddings.
What was your favorite wedding moment?
100,000% our ceremony. We always knew we wanted to have a non-religious ceremony and that we wanted to write our own vows. This is fine and well, but leaves a lot of work! Religious ceremonies are basically already set and take a lot of the preparation out. We asked one of our best friends to officiate, and he could not have nailed our ceremony more. Reading our vows made us so happy, we literally continued talking about them for days after. Our officiant asked us to look out at the people who were there and reminded us that over the 10 years weve been together, these are the people who have supported us, loved us, been with us, and I felt so full of love at that moment. It was the ceremony of my dreams and I will remember it so vividly for the rest of my life.
What was your favorite part of working with us?
No one had any idea what they were doing at the wedding, whether it was putting boutonnieres on or bustling my dress. Thomas somehow had knowledge of all these things hidden up his sleeve and jumped in at all the right moments, super subtly. My favorite story is that (apparently) as I was walking down the aisle with my dad, and no one had stood up yet (because our friend Andrew, the officiant, had not said to..), Thomas whispered to Andrew “and now we rise for the bride…!” and Andrew squawked “OH YES PLEASE RISE FOR THE BRIDE!” I got a real giggle out of hearing about that. Just one example of many ways he totally stepped up and made our day amazing.