I am asked the questions of “Why do we need a wedding planner?” and “Is a wedding planner worth it?” often. Let me share with you last summer’s wedding in Washington, DC and you can decide for yourself why hiring an experienced wedding planner could be worth every penny. Photo by Dreamworks Photography.
For the second time in my career, I had to relocate a client’s wedding reception overnight due to an electrical power outage. The first wedding relocation was during the Derecho storm of 2012. This time, the original wedding venue lost power due to a problem with the power company and I was informed while our clients were at their rehearsal dinner that power would not be restored for another 24 hours. I had the unpleasant job of informing my clients but not before we had a decent plan in motion. By this time, it was nearly 10pm on a Friday night. Overnight, we were able to relocate the reception and handle all of the logistics involved with that for the guests and for our event partners. We printed directions to the new venue for our guests; adjusted our timelines and logistics for our event partners; redesigned the floor plan based on the new space; revised the guest table assignments; created new file formats for the slideshow we had planned for cocktail hour; determined how to mimic the design we had planned for the original venue and use it in the new venue. I only slept for a handful of hours that night.
What are the factors that allowed us to successfully deal with such a rare and unexpected situation?
- Team Work. Here is where hiring the right team of wedding professionals makes a big difference. In choosing a wedding vendor, he or she needs to be a team player, with the overall goal of working together to make our clients happy and their event a success. They need to take pride in their work, have integrity, and high level of professionalism. Our event partners were all helpful and flexible, doing whatever was necessary to keep the bride and groom at ease. Our DJ brought extra lighting equipment to help me transform the space. The priest who married them broke the news to the guests at the ceremony in the most humorous way possible.
- Longevity. Having been in the special events industry for quite some time now, we have contacts within the industry we can call on to help in emergency situations. This is the case not only for us but for our partners as well. The original venue’s staff made many phone calls to explore all alternatives, from finding refrigerated trucks to move the food, to calling venue contacts, to finally contracting with the new venue. After all those years of networking, on days like that it is all worth it.
- Dedication. If you care about your client and about your quality of work, you will do nothing short of bringing your A game. Our entire team and all of our event partners were dedicated to giving our bride and groom and their guests the best wedding possible. At all cost, we were going to shield them from all the behind the scenes work that needed to be done. I wanted them to wake up the morning of their wedding, have fun getting ready with their wedding party and families, head to the church and enjoy the ceremony, and arrive for their reception like nothing had happened.
I will share with you the rest of the photographs by Dreamworks Photography from that wedding next week. In the end, our clients and their families had the best attitude and perspective towards this situation, and trusted us. The best reward was the following note I received from our bride and groom.
“I will always be grateful for going to our friend’s wedding … when he told us we had to get a wedding planner … Not only did you get us organized and lifted the weight off my shoulders … and attention to detail, you also completely transplanted our reception from one venue to another. Steve and I, as well as our families, could not be more impressed or grateful. You are professional and thoughtful, and we could not be happier.”
I hope I have shed some light on how a professional wedding planner can help you. While this type of incident is rare, it can happen and I would hate for our clients to have dealt with that on their own the night before their wedding. — Vicky
For our associate coordinator, Jen Briley, this could not have been a better client for her very first wedding as a lead coordinator. Our couple was kind and fun and the day could not have gone better. Our bride had the biggest smile on her face the entire day. Congratulations, Jen! All photos by Brett Ludeke unless otherwise stated.
Photo of cocktail napkins above by Vicky Choy/Event Accomplished.
Venue: Bull Run Golf Club, Haymarket, VA
Wedding Coordinator: Jen Briley, Event Accomplished
Officiant: Phillip J. Campbell
Florist: JP Flowers, Jenny Park
Photographer: Brett Ludeke
Caterer: R & R Catering
Cake: Sweet Creations Cakes
Hair and Makeup: Alison Harper & Co
DJ: Chris Valentin for DJ Philpz
Transportation: Dulles Limo
What a gorgeous spring day in Virginia! Find out more information on how you can enjoy your wedding day as much as this couple did with our wedding coordination services. Vicky
Here are 7 bridal bouquets in various styles and colors covering each season to inspire you as you develop your own style for planning your wedding. I’ve included the types of flowers used (also known as the recipe) within each bridal bouquet so you can become familiar with the names of flowers and the floral designers in the Washington, DC area that designed them.
Floral Designer: Yellow Door Floral Design. Photo by Freed Photography.
Raspberry peonies, vibrant pink and pale pink roses, variegated pink cymbidium orchid blossoms, bright green hypericum berries and rich green gardenia foliage. Spring bouquet
Floral Designer: Yellow Door Floral Design. Photo by Amy Raab.
red and orange hardy Van Dyke tulips, red and orange mokara orchids, orange ranunculus and variegated red gloriosa lilies. Spring bouquet
Floral Designer: Tierra Floral Design. Photo by Rodney Bailey
Orange roses, mango calla lilies, purple dahlias, green hypericum berries. Fall bouquet
Aren’t all of these bridal bouquets beautiful? Check out these other blog posts on wedding designs. – Vicky
With every wedding, we learn something new. Even though we have been planning Indian weddings in the Washington, DC area for years, last summer we learned that Gujarati Indians tend to be more conservative from our clients who got married in Virginia. While the wedding itself was no less spectacular, it meant that we had minimal dancing. I wanted to share with you the highlights from their wedding day.
All photos by Mariel Hannah
A Gujarati wedding ceremony under a mavue, pinks, and white mandap by Sarah Khan Styling.
The bride’s family sends her off to be with her new husband in the vidaai after the ceremony, although I’m sure they did not travel in the Mustang back in the day.
Venue: Sheraton Tysons Hotel, Vienna, VA
Wedding Coordination: Event Accomplished, Vicky Choy
Indian Caterer: Bombay Tandoor
Hair: Anna Fazio
Makeup: La’Sara Makeup Artistry
Decorator: Sarah Khan Event Styling
Cake: Custom Cake Design
Photographer: Mariel Hannah
DJ / Lighting / Mobile Music: SVP DJ
Chiavari Chairs: Sammy Rental
Garba Venue: Julia Bindeman Suburban Center
I hope you enjoyed the recap from this wedding. Check out our blog posts on Indian weddings.
Combing through our photos archive, we found several fondant and buttercream wedding cakes to inspire you as you plan your wedding. All are different styles, reflecting the style of the overall wedding and the couple. Hungry yet? — Vicky
1. Sweet Ladies Bakery. Photo by Andrew Morrell Photography
5. Photo by Lisa Blume Photography (Formerly Sweet Tea Photography)
It’s rare for us to have event planners as clients but in this case, our bride plans trade shows for a living. With her job’s constant travel demands, she really need a wedding planner to focus on getting her wedding planning tasks done. We had a fun time designing their wedding at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia to reflect their love of boating and for their cats. Carina Herman of LBC Design Co created an wedding logo that depicted a boat anchor with the name of their boat on it, flanked by an illustration of their two cats. All photos by Stephen Gosling
Wedding Planner: Event Accomplished, Vicky Choy and Megan Farris
Venue & Catering: Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, VA
Linens & Chairs Rentals: DC Rental
Graphic Design: LBC Design Co.
Officiant: Joan Nelson Phillips
Florist: Studio DBI
Photographer: Stephen Gosling
DJ: Michael Bell, MyDeejay
Cigar Roller: Cortez Cigars
Hair & Makeup: Nadia Zarkeshian
Lighting: 27 STUDIOS
Doesn’t these wedding photographs make you want to go out on a boat or to the beach? Find out more on how we can help you design your wedding.
Are you looking for ways to entertain your guests at your wedding, besides eating, drinking and dancing? Here are just some of the entertainment options we planned for our clients’ weddings here in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.
1. Swing dancing lessons. After the short performance by the instructors, guests got to participate in a short lesson in swing dancing. After the lesson, guests practiced their newly acquired dance moves while the instructors walked around and helped. Photo: Amie Otto
2. Karaoke. For the crowd that likes to perform, have a karaoke set up available towards the end of the wedding reception. Everyone can sing their hearts out! Photo: Documentary Associates.
3. Photobooth. Everybody loves a fun photobooth with interesting props. Photo: Kate Haus Photography.
4. Cigar Roller. For the sophisticated crowd, a cigar roller can make cigars to order as guests watch and enjoy one afterwards. Photo: Vicki Grafton
5. Carnival Games. Young and old can test their skills with a variety of carnival games available during a wedding reception. Photo: Amie Otto
6. For our Chinese clients, we hired a lion dance troupe to perform. Photo: Jessica ChristianThese look like fun, don’t they? Besides these, we’ve also hired an artist to paint live and henna artists. We hope you are inspired by these interactive entertainment ideas and consider them for your wedding.
I love when a client has everything for the wedding close by. Our client’s church and wedding reception venue were 2 blocks from each other; and both of those were only 3 block from their home. Most of our major event partners were in Arlington, Virginia or very close by. All photos by Cynthia Sambro-Rier.
Wedding Planner: Vicky Choy, Event Accomplished
Ceremony Venue: Christ Church of Arlington, Arlington, VA
Reception Venue: Lyon Park Community Center, Arlington, VA
Caterer: Lyon Hall
Hair Stylist: Kirsten Eike
Makeup Artist: Leah Margosis
Floral Designer: Alisa Rabinovich of Galleria Florist
Photographer: Cynthia Sambro-Rier
DJ: Belt it Out Productions, Darin Pusker
Cake: Leonora Bakery
Lighting: 27 STUDIOS
Rentals: DC Rental
Here are some tips on how to help your photographer get the best photos from your wedding day. You can affect the outcome by spending some time during your planning process to work through how you want to get the photos you want done. What do you think photographer friends? Do you have other tips?
- Talk to you photographer. Every photographer has a different approach and different preferences on how he/she goes about photographing a wedding. Find out their approach. Talk to them about how much time they would like to have for taking photos of just you and your fiance/new spouse and for group photos, and what locations would be best for those. Express to them which photos are important to you and any concerns you may have that your photographer should know about.
- Plan it out. Once you’ve had your discussion with your photographer, now figure out how this will all fit within the time frame of your wedding day. Some questions to ask yourselves if doing photos before the ceremony: Can all the people you need to be in the photos arrive early, and how will they get to the location? Do you have access to your photo location prior to the ceremony? If yes, how much time do you have? Have you started your hair and makeup appointments early enough to accommodate photos? If taking photos after the ceremony, are you OK with missing parts or all of your cocktail hour? If your photographer is with you taking portraits, you cannot also have photos during cocktail hour of your guests or do detailed room shots if these are all happening within the same time frame unless he/she has a second photographer.
- Don’t forget the transportation. If you are going to another location that is not your ceremony or reception venue for photos, like the Washington, DC monuments, please also consider how you will get to and from that location. Also, don’t underestimate the amount of time you need to travel to and from that location, and getting in and out of your car and walking to the actual photo spot. Often times, you cannot pull the car right up to the exact spot and you will need to do some walking. Also, consider who will be going to the photo op location. Just you and your fiance/husband/wife and/or including the wedding party? Don’t forget your photographer! It is usually best to have your photographer ride in the same car as you.
- What about permits? If you want to go to the DC monuments, don’t forget to obtain a photo permit. Your photographer or wedding planner can guide you through that process. You don’t want to be stopped by the Park Police in the middle of your session.
- In case of rain. Make sure you have an inclement weather plan for where you might take photos if the weather is not cooperating outdoors.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Be sure to communicate in advance the time and place you want all those family and friends that will be involved in posed photos
How do you estimate how much time you need for formal wedding photos, you might ask? My two approaches to estimating time for posed photos: 1) you determine the amount of time you can tolerate taking posed photos first and then ask your photographer how many group combinations you can fit within that time frame; or 2) you come up with a list of photos you must have and then determine how much time that would take. My rule of thumb is to allot 3-5 minutes per grouping. The objective here is to strike a balance between getting the formal photos you want and not turning your wedding day into a photo shoot.
If you take away nothing else from this blog post, the one thing to remember is that the worst thing you can do is rush through your wedding day. Allow plenty of time so that you can stay relaxed throughout the day. Enjoy yourselves and have fun! When you do that, you will have great photos.
Do you have more wedding photography planning questions? Reach out to your wedding planner, or feel free to email us or ask your friendly photographer! Vicky
Happy Wednesday, everyone! One of the first tasks you will tackle is finding a venue to host your wedding. Here is an updated listing of some of the venues in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia where we have either coordinated weddings or have visited since 2008. While this is not a list of all the possible venues in this area, we hope you find this useful as a starting point! — Vicky
Rust Manor, Leesburg
Trummers on Main, Clifton
The Lorien Hotel, Alexandria
Fort Belvoir Officers Club, Ft. Belvoir (real wedding)
Signature Theatre Arlington (Arlington/Shirlington)
West Belmont Place (Lansdowne)
Khimaira Farm Luray
Army Navy Country Club (Arlington, VA)
Artisphere, Arlington, VA
The Boars Head Inn, Charlottesville
Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel, Herndon, VA
Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast, Middleburg, VA
Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Arlington, VA (real wedding coming soon)
Sheraton Tysons Hotel, McLean, VA (real wedding coming soon)
Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA (real wedding coming soon)
The State Theatre, Falls Church, VA (real wedding coming soon)
Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, VA (real wedding coming soon)
Woodend Sanctuary, Chevy Chase
Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort, Cumberland
Newton White Mansion, Mitchellville
Black Rock Center for the Arts, Germantown
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, Cambridge, MD
Sequoia Restaurant (real wedding)
Four Seasons Georgetown
Daughters of the American Revolution