Friday, October 30, 2009

Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget to throw your hat in the ring for the free copy of "Fete: A Wedding Experience." Just send us a message and you'll be in the running. It's a great book for anyone planning a wedding or looking for creative inspiration. We will draw a name on Monday. Good luck!

Adele Wechsler Trunk Show at Hitched

As you know, Engaging Affairs loves making weddings more eco-friendly. So we were thrilled to hear that Hitched (one of our very favorite bridal salons) will be carrying EcoCouture bridal gown designer Adele Wechsler. And they will hold their first-ever Adele Wechsler trunk show on Friday, November 6th and Saturday, November 7th!

Adele Wechsler describes her EcoCouture line as geared toward “the bride who cares about the world in which she lives.” The gowns are made in Toronto with fair-labor practices, and each style incorporates natural elements like organic silk and hemp, vegetable dyes, and remnant fabrics to create eco-friendly pieces with a truly couture look and feel. Adele Wechsler’s gowns are absolutely stunning, and this is an event that is not to be missed!

At the trunk show, you’ll have the opportunity to try on tons of Adele Wechsler gowns, including those from her newest eco-couture collection, as well as to discuss custom changes. Hitches will also be offering 10% off gowns and custom measurements to brides who purchase during the trunk show!

For additional questions or to book an appointment, please call 202-333-6162 or email This is sure to be a popular event, so book your appointment today!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Nice Day for a White Wedding . . . at The Mandarin Hotel!

I had been looking forward to my Labor Day wedding for a long time! I started working with Stephanie and Ryan almost a year and a half before their wedding day, and I was eager to see how all of our ideas would turn out. I know everyone is bored to death hearing me say how nice my clients are, but Stephanie and Ryan and their families were the nicest people in the world and working with them was a dream. I really am extraordinarily lucky to have such amazing brides and grooms!

I also love when couples know what they want. From the beginning, Stephanie and Ryan envisioned a day that was elegant but also fun. They wanted a beautiful white wedding with whimsical touches and dramatic moments. And, most of all, they wanted a wedding that was THEM.

They selected the fabulous Mandarin Oriental Hotel as the backdrop for their ceremony and reception. Stephanie and Ryan loved the clean, modern feel of the hotel; it meshed perfectly with their style. Plus, how could anyone not adore working with Director of Catering Michael Deltette? Michael and his staff made sure that every detail of the weekend was flawless.

The long wedding weekend started with guests receiving luxurious white welcome boxes filled with gourmet treats and Sour Patch Kids (the bride's favorite). The ladies enjoyed a bridesmaids' tea overlooking the hotel's garden then had manicures onsite from Nail Taxi.

Later that evening (after a quick rehearsal) guests took shuttles provided by Linder and Associates to Rosa Mexicana downtown for a festive rehearsal dinner. The food was delicious and the toasting went late into the evening.

The morning of the wedding brought perfect weather (and the good news that we could have cocktails outside). Stephanie and her bridesmaids enjoyed being primped by makeup artist Carl Ray and hair stylist Giselle while the guys hung out watching the game (don't ask me what sport or what game). Carl and Giselle always make my brides look unbelievable!

The bride chose her dress from Hitched (an Engaging Affairs favorite dress and invitation spot) and had her girls wear stunning floor length navy gowns. Flowers were all white. The clean palette was so simple and chic.

While all the bridal party was getting ready, Capital Decor, Fabrications and Swank were downstairs turning the ballroom into a magical ceremony site. We draped the entire room from floor to ceiling in white organza and brought in enormous trees with votives hanging from them. Instead of chairs, Capital Decor custom-made white upholstered benches for guests to sit on. It was simply stunning!

The beautiful ceremony was performed by one of my favorite officiants, Rev. Wesley Peyton, with a string quartet from MSE Productions. At the end of the ceremony, and as a surprise to the guests, the St. Martin's Church gospel choir sang the recessional and led guests through the hotel and out to the garden singing the entire way!

After cocktails, guests entered the Oriental ballroom. The breathtaking room featured a profusion of white hydrangea; tables with white, high-backed banquettes; a shiny, white dance floor surrounded by white backless sofas; and custom linens, china and crystal from DC Rental. It was a modern vision in white (with touches of gold for warmth)!

After an amazing dinner, guests enjoyed a delicious wedding cake (and red velvet cupcakes) from Kendall's Cakes. The always phenomenal band, Sound Connection, kept the guests dancing all night long.

The red velvet cupcakes had the bride and groom's initials piped on top in gold. I speak from experience with Kendall's red velvet cupcakes when I say YUM!

The bride and groom taking to the dance floor!

I love these moments when the couple is clearly having the time of their lives. This is what it is all about!

As guests reluctantly left the party, they took adorable wedding cake cookie favors from Kendall's Cakes (we kept her busy that week!) and filled bags with the bride and groom's favorite candies (every gummy animal I'd ever heard of and some I hadn't!) from a shadowbox candy table.

My favorite WOW moment of the wedding was when we threw open the doors to the ceremony and the gospel choir started singing "Hallelujah." My favorite behind-the-scenes moment was realizing that the beautiful trees in the ceremony room had crickets who sang when it got quiet. It ended up adding such a serene element to the ceremony, though. People thought we had piped in the sound to add to the Zen feel!

It really was a spectacular event and the best way to spend a Labor Day weekend that I can think of. Thanks to everyone who made the wedding a success, to Robert Isacson for the beautiful photos and Tom Bowen for capturing it all on video.

Congratulations Stephanie and Ryan!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vendor Spotlight: Sugarplum Tents

At Engaging Affairs, we use lots of different vendors and take pride in matching them to each bride's style and budget. We do have certain companies, though, whom we've worked with for well over a decade and who feel more like family than colleagues.

Sugarplum Tents is one of those companies. I've been using Davis Richardson and his team since I started Engaging Affairs nearly fifteen years ago. He has put up tents for me on farms in Virginia, the waterside at the Eastern Shore, the dock at Washington Harbor, historic homes in Georgetown, a client's super yacht and just about everything in between.

What I love about Davis is his patience and professionalism. He and his team know their stuff. Not only are their tents always amazing but they make sure that it is right, even if it means coming back out in the middle of the night or doing yet another sight visit to a client's home.

Just recently, we had back-to-back home weddings in Potomac. The first weekend, it poured buckets and Davis stayed on-site for the entire wedding to make sure that guests were dry (they were). The next week, we were back at it again. This time, we were fearful of rain again so Davis made multiple trips to the client's home to remeasure for additional tenting. Luckily, it didn't rain but that was probably because we were so prepared!

A huge thanks to Davis, Barbi, Nicole, Courtney and the entire team at Sugarplum for going above and beyond! You guys are the best!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Bridal Bubbly Giveaway!

Who loves winning things? We do! But we also love giving things away to our fabulous readers. We reviewed the beautiful wedding planning book "Fete: The Wedding Experience" a few months back. Now we want to give a copy of the book to one lucky reader. This is great inspiration for anyone planning a wedding. All you have to do is reply to the post. We will pick a winner on Monday, November 2nd so check back to see if you won.

Since we love giving things away, Bridal Bubbly will be having more frequent giveaways and exclusive vendor deals so keep reading!
Good luck!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Magical Destinaton Wedding in Mexico

This is a wedding that I just love but I didn't plan. Even if I didn't plan it, I love great photos and love to share photos that I adore!

Juan Carlos Briceno of Fotobriceno shot this multiple day wedding in Morelia, Mexico. He shoots a couple of weddings every year in Mexico or Latin America (other recent spots have included the Riveria Maya and Cartagena, Colombia). He is a native Spanish-speaker so weddings in Central and Latin America are a specialty. I absolutely love the dramatic settings of the glamorous, sexy portraits.

Love the sultry mood of the shot below!

New day, new dress. There were three different ceremonies on three different days!

I adore the Old World feel of the photograph below!

Inside the gorgeous church.

No rules against throwing confetti, obviously. Lucky ducks!

The third ceremony: a native Purepecha Indian ceremony from the region.

And no restrictions on fireworks, either! Can you sense my jealousy?

Thanks to the bride and groom, Rebeca and Daniel, and to Juan Carlos for letting us share this stunning wedding. For more amazing photos of this wedding, check out the Fotobriceno blog. Hope it helps inspire anyone planning a wedding in Mexico!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flower Power!

Those devoted readers of Bridal Bubbly may remember that the Engaging Affairs team did a floral workshop this summer with the fabulous ladies at Petal's Edge. We learned the proper way to make emergency bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres (which comes in handy in our line of work, let me tell you). Now the talented Petal's Edge crew is taking their flower workshops public so that you, too, can learn the tricks of the trade.

Bridal Bootcamp. Want to save money but feel insecure about your ability to provide a professional look to your wedding flowers? Join this intense one-day, weekend workshop and learn how to arrange flowers with industry experts. Course covers flower selection and care, design tips, and common mistakes. $150 per person, which includes the cost of flowers and box lunch.
Saturday, December 5 or December 12. 10 am - 2 pm.

Flower School. Love flowers and want more experience? This series of classes takes place over three evenings and is appropriate to the person who wants to learn about how to buy, care for, and arrange flowers. Several methods of flower arranging will be covered. Classes are hands-on with flowers that students take home after class. $250 per person.
Wednesday - Friday, December 2 - 4 or December 9 - 11. 6 - 9 pm.

Winter Workshop. Join us for holiday-inspired flower arranging projects. Take one class or both. Course includes the cost of flowers, all supplies, and a holiday masterpiece to take home. $100 per session or $150 for two.
  • Floral Topiary: November 30, 6 pm. Use an uninterrupted mass of carnations to create a festive tabletop tree.
  • Dining table centerpiece: December 7, 6 pm. Winter fruits and vegetables add a conversation piece to this unusual pairing of flowers and holiday greens.
To register, please call 703.518.8488 or email

These workshops sound so fun that I'm tempted to go back to flower school myself!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bimini Bay for the Weekend, Anyone?

Any newlywed bride will tell you that your wedding day will be here and gone in a flash. A week long wedding getaway might just be the next best thing to savor the moments... let's say, in the Bahamas?

We adore Danielle Dunfee, at Bimini Bay Resort and Marina who has loads of packages ranging in price points to make the most of your big day. With packages that include poolside massages for the bridal party, who wouldn't love you for asking them to be a bridesmaid? Private air travel for the bride + groom, personal butler service and a post-wedding day brunch make Bimini Bay one of our favorite venues to bring clients to.

Not to mention, the resort offers a "Paint Your Day" package where for $299 per person you can fly down, meet the Chef in person {and do a full tasting!} and tour the property + island before signing a contract! How fabulous is that?!

Engaging Affairs has been lucky enough to plan destination weddings in the Caribbean and in the Bahamas, and we know the value of working with a great resort. Working with a fabulous property like Bimini Bay makes life so much easier! Let us know if you are interested in Bimini Bay or contact Danielle directly at Office: 305-403-2357 or We love any excuse to fly to the Bahamas, of course!

Doesn't this pool look like a fabulous alternative to rain and the impending winter?
Happy planning!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From Hello to Hitched!

We're so thrilled to welcome our good friends at Hitched to the blogging world. We love their dresses, invitations, amazing customer service and now we love, love, love their blog! Be sure to check out From Hello to Hitched!

Calling All Grooms: The Art of Shaving!

As one of my favorite wedding stylists says, "It's really all about the babe in the white dress." That may be true, but grooms are an important part of the wedding day. More and more, we're seeing grooms who are very involved in the planning and who also want to feel special on their wedding day.

We all know that there are hundreds of salons and stylists for brides to be pampered by but very few places for men. Enter The Art of Shaving in downtown D.C. (near the Mayflower Hotel). Not only does this shop carry natural shaving and skin care products that are made with essential oils and botanicals (and I am all about natural products and totally dig essential oils), they have a barber salon that features old-fashioned shaves and haircuts for gentlemen.

This is the perfect spot for groomsmen to gather the morning of the wedding and enjoy a professional shave while the bridesmaids are getting fussed over. Or a fun starting point before a bachelor's evening out.

The Art of Shaving has locations all over the country and an additional D.C. location in Union Station and two in Northern Virginia. So check out this great spot and treat your guy to some wedding day pampering of his own!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Wedding Details: Leaf Save-the-Dates and Invitations

From the first time we met, Kendall told me how much she loved Fall and wanted to really bring that element into her wedding. She also told me that invitations were very important to her and she wanted something completely unique and creative. Enter Saima Says Design.

Saima has created some gorgeous invitations for my clients, and I knew she would be the perfect creative mind to bring to Kendall and Nick's wedding. After meeting with Kendall and hearing Kendall's vision, Saima went to work to create a coordinating suite of paper products for the wedding that would include the Save-the-Date, invitation, program, menu card and even favor stickers. Fall leaves and deep fall tones of burgundy and gold would be the uniting elements.

The Save-the-Date is often the first element that guests see and when guests got Kendall and Nick's boxed Save-the-Date, they were blown away. Each box contained an elegant brown paper leaf tied to a real twig with rope. The card contained the basic wedding information (names, date, location) on one side and hotel accommodations on the other. This creative announcement let guests know that this wedding was going to be special.

The drama continued with the invitation. This time packaged in a chocolate brown box, the elegant wedding invitations were tied with a rich brown satin ribbon and presented on burgundy silk boards with the reception and response cards tucked into a pocket on the other side of the board. The silk boards sat in the boxes on a bed of colorful autumn leaves. Talk about glamour and WOW!

Even though the wedding isn't for another few weeks, guests are so excited about this event because the Save-the-Date and invitation have let them know that it will be an amazing and unique event. Stay tuned to hear about more fun Fall wedding ideas from Kendall and Nick's wedding! Special thanks to Fotobriceno for the lovely product photography.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Creating Fabulous Welcome Bags (or Boxes)

One of the things we love to do at Engaging Affairs is to personalize weddings. And of my my favorite ways to do this is with the welcome bags that out-of-town guests receive at their hotels.

Because we are in D.C. and so many of our couples have guests coming from all over the world, I think the bags are an important way to start the celebration and make guests feel welcome. I use the word "bags" generally because we like to use boxes, baskets, tins or any other fun container that fits the bill. Just keep in mind that guests will rarely be able to take the container with them (unless they have a huge suitcase) so don't put all your resources towards that part. We have used crab baskets for Eastern Shore weddings, DC skyline bags for city weddings, hatboxes for very swanky affairs and metal boxes for modern weddings. Now we try to choose containers that are recycled or recyclable like boxes made of 100% recycled paper or bags made out of recycled plastic bottles.

I don't think welcome bags need to be elaborate. It's better to include a few really unique, personal items than have a bag jammed full of random items. Also, remember that your guests will only be in town over the weekend so filling a bag full of enough snack food to last them through the end of the year will be a waste.

Here are what I consider to be the welcome bag essentials:

An itinerary. It's helpful to include a list of the events with the dates, times and street addresses, especially if you have numerous activities over the wedding weekend. Include pick-up information if you are providing transportation so guests know when and where to catch the buses. If you have different events for wedding party or immediate family, consider two versions of the itinerary. Of course, then you will need to put names on each bag so that guests will get the proper schedule!

Map or city guidebook. DC puts out a great guidebook called The American Experience that includes a map as well as tourist attractions and restaurant listings. Pocket metro maps of DC are also helpful if guests will be staying downtown.

Something personal or related to the city. We like to do colorful decorated cookies from Bundles of Cookies of The White House or Capitol. Guests love them and they are yummy! Just last week, we did bags of personalized cookies of the bride, groom, the family dog and a Kansas Jayhawk from Parker's Crazy Cookies. The cookies looked just like the people (or animals) and guests got such a kick out of them!

For a Fall-themed wedding, we did caramel apples wrapped in cellophane. For a bride whose wedding color was lavender, we did bags of dried lavender and lavender-scented soaps. A very political couple did bags of red, white and blue Jellybellys. An Eastern Shore couple included a stuffed crab (a toy, not a real crab--yuck!) and a tin of Old Bay so their guests could take home the flavor of the region.

After that, you can do as much or as little as you want. But don't feel like you need to do what is expected or what you've seen a dozen times before. Instead of bottles of water, get customized reusable stainless steel water bottles. Cuter and better for the environment. Or skip the water and include a $5 Starbucks card. Or a can of Sophia sparkling wine with a pink straw attached.

Buy favorite candies or snacks in bulk and repackage them in metal tins. Favorites goodies include: nuts, dried fruits, M&Ms in your wedding colors, jellybeans in your favorite flavors, or candies like Sourpatch Kids or Runts. Godiva or Toblerone candy bars are also nice options to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Of course, food isn't the only option. We have done bags themed entirely around bath products with soaps, bath bombs and loofahs in the bride's colors. A cherry blossom scented bath gel is always a fun addition to a DC welcome bag.

Try to avoid things that require a lot of effort to enjoy. Bottles of wine can be nice but guests will need to get a corkscrew from the hotel before they can enjoy it (unless you include a customized corkscrew in the bag). The same goes for food that requires a knife (like small wheels of cheese). Keep things simple and easy.

The key to creating great welcome bags is to set a budget and then get creative. Guests will appreciate the thought you put into a bag that has a connection to you or the city you've chosen to be married in. Then tie it all together with custom labels, tissue paper, a cute tag and ribbon for a look that will make your guests feel like the VIPs they are.

Have fun!