Monday, February 28, 2011

Unique Wedding Dates

Not that EVERY wedding date isn't unique and special, but I'm literally talking about the DATE on the calendar.  We've had so many one of a kind dates is recent years.  First that comes to mind is 7-7-07.  The lucky date that none of us at Engaging Affairs had to work a wedding, but I was lucky enough to attend a wedding of good friends in Baltimore.
 Last year, the date was 10-10-10 and we were all in wedded bliss.  I had been working with Kendra and Ed for over a year to make sure their wedding at the City Club of Washington, Franklin Square was absolutely perfect.  I have to say, the details came together quite well.  Thanks to Steve Canning for the following images.


A highlight of the afternoon was the New Orleans Two Step Rag Time Bands that led the bride and groom out of the reception in true traditional getaway style.

Such a classic couple!

This year, I have a beautiful couple getting married on 9-10-11.  Stay tuned!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegas, baby!

photo by kristen joy photography

This past week I was in Las Vegas for a convention with 16,000 wedding photographers so I thought I'd share just a few great Vegas wedding shots I found.  While Vegas isn't known for elegant and refined affairs, there are some fun places to photograph couples.  And, wow, there were brides everywhere! We saw one couple about to do their "big reveal" with the groom blindfolded and the bride chain-smoking around the corner. Only in Vegas, right?

You have to give the city props for over-the-top energy and plenty of bling.  I do love the retro neon (and the neon "graveyard" where old signs go to die). Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Best Wedding Advice {Be Happy!}

Photo by Greg Gibson

Today's post is more practical than anything. I've seen way more than my fair share of weddings (well over 450 but who's counting?) and know a little bit about what makes a wedding successful. It isn't the color scheme or the world-class band or the perfectly coordinated details (although those are lovely). What takes a wedding from perfectly nice to downright amazing is the couple and the way they handle the day.

I've seen brides decide their day is ruined because the shade of the ribbon on their bouquet wasn't exactly right or have a drop of water on their dress send them into a tailspin. On the flip side, I've had brides with real wedding day disasters that have no easy fix (traffic-stopping protests and severe food poisoning) take it all in stride and have an amazing day.  What dictates the energy of your wedding day is you!

Happiness is contagious so decide to be happy on your wedding day no matter what. The best weddings are the ones where the couple is loving every minute of it and let any issues roll off their back. Let's face it, there's a chance that something may not go 100% percent right on your wedding day. Hopefully, you have a great wedding planner who will be there to fix any issues that arise but just remember that if you don't make an issue a big deal, neither will your guests. So remind yourself about the whole point of the day (and the months of planning): you're marrying someone you adore. And in the grand scheme of things, that's really all the matters. Have an amazing wedding day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wedding Bash at Gaylord DC

I worked with such a great team over the summer at Lynn and Jason's wedding extravaganza.  It was the first time I had tag teamed with another planner.  Sara Bauleke of Belle Notte and her team handled all the small details as I ran the overall big picture, which included 300+ guests, a horse and carriage, a dove release, driving a car onto stage for a grand entrance and a performance dance troop just to name a few.

The couple married at Sligo Creek Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The massive ballroom felt more cozy and personal thanks to flowers, lighting and decor elements from Amaryllis, Digital Lightning and Party Rentals.

The bride surprised her groom with this sword to "cut" the cake with.

Special thanks to all of the other members of this hard working team
Gaylord Resort's hard working sales, event and AV team
Bryan Blanken of Freed Photography
Blue Sky Films Tonya and Martin
Entertainment by Onyx of Washington Talent
Kendall of Kendall's Cakes


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Signature Cocktails {Cherry Blossom Cocktails}

As the weather turns warmer (for a day or two, at least), my mind turns to all of our Spring weddings.  And what is Spring in D.C. without cherry blossoms?  So I thought I'd pay tribute to the gorgeous Spring blossoms (and one of my favorite wedding motifs) with a couple of custom cocktail.  Cheers!

The Cherry Blossom

1 oz Cherry Brandy
1 oz Brandy
1/8 oz Triple Sec
Dash Grenadine
1/8 oz Lemon Juice

Mix ingredients in  shaker with ice. Pour into a rocks glass and serve.

A Japanese Cherry Blossom

2 oz  Sake
½ tsp Umeshu, a traditional Japanese plum liqueur
1 tsp Lemon juice
Sparkling Wine
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Stir sake, umeshu, and lemon juice in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a Champagne flute.
Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a maraschino cherry, and serve.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hotel Monaco Elegance {Kelsey and Nick}

I know I talk a lot about how wonderful my clients are but Kelsey and Nick and their families were so fabulous!  Everyone involved with the wedding was amazing and you could feel the joy throughout the day.  This wedding was a wedding planner's dream!

I also loved the sweet and elegant details about this day.  This was a classic D.C. wedding with lovely touches that made it so special for the couple.

We started off the day with a little hiccup: the custom-made satin and crystal sash for the bride's gown went missing!  Even worse, the bride had gotten this sash overseas so there was no way to get a replacement in a matter of hours. Luckily, my dear friend Sandy Leone, owner of Love Couture Bridal, had a selection of satin sashes that she let me borrow and rush down to the bride.  Kelsey picked out a gorgeous sash that everyone loved even more than the original.  Crisis averted and a bride happy! Big thanks to Sandy for saving the day!

The bride and her maids and mom enjoyed the rest of the morning getting hair and makeup by the fabulous Kim Steele and tossing back some champagne.

The full mass at St. Patrick's in D.C. was gorgeous, and then the bride and groom dashed out with the super-talented Greg Gibson for photos around the city before the evening reception.

St. Patrick's is such a stunning stone church and right in the heart of the city!

I love that each bridesmaid's dress was slightly different: one was one shouldered, one had spaghetti straps and one had a ruffled neckline. And the color looked great on everyone!

The reception kicked off at The Hotel Monaco in D.C. with cocktails in the Athens Room and then dinner and dancing in the Paris Ballroom.  We love working with Buddee Clinton and his team at the Monaco!  Guests enjoyed the sounds of a Latin guitarist from MSE Productions during cocktails and DJ Michael Tate kept them on the dance floor after dinner.

Kelsey chose lush flowers in soft tones to go with her classic palette of royal blue, gold and cream.  The lovely ladies of Petal's Edge created beautiful arrangements which had an elegant European feel. Menu cards echoed the elegant swirly design of the invitations and programs.

Fluffy Thoughts designed the lovely cake with sugar flowers and satin ribbon around each layer.

One of my favorite things about the Monaco's ballroom is the built-in bookshelves that couples can personalize with framed family photos.  Kelsy and Nick went one step further and put photos in the pages of books!  Love it!

Guests signed a beautiful framed art print of a gold heart instead of a guest book.

For a take-away treat, guests were given bags to fill with gourmet macaroons from Michel Patisserie. I can speak from experience: yum!

Thanks to Kelsey and Nick for letting us share your beautiful day and thanks to Greg Gibson for always providing such stunning images!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Death on the Aisle {Chapter Ten}

Chapter Ten

            I swung my car into the parking lot by the docks and searched for a place to park.
Leatrice clapped her hands together in the back seat. “Look at all these police cars. And two ambulances.” She looked practically giddy.
            I craned my neck around to look her in the eyes. “I only allowed you to come with us because you promised to stay in the parking lot.”
            “That and she refused to get out of the car when we tried to leave Georgetown,” Kate muttered next to me.
            “Don’t worry about me,” Leatrice said. “This is clearly where the action is. Look at all the cops.”
            I turned back around and surveyed the scene in the front of us.  Two ambulances were parked unevenly near the entrance to the long dock leading to the ship and at least half a dozen police cruisers with lights still flashing were pulled in around it.  This didn’t look good.  I edged my car into what seemed to be the last open space and turned off the engine.
            “Just stay out of trouble,” I said.  I didn’t know if I should be telling that to Leatrice or Kate as I watched my assistant adjust her cleavage before stepping out of the car. To be fair, there were a lot of cute men in uniform and Kate had a weakness for both.
            “Ten-four,” Leatrice said and bounded out of the car behind Kate.
            I made a mental groan as I watched Kate teeter over to an officer in her wedge heels with Leatrice trailing behind her in a sailor suit.  I wondered how long it would take them to notice if I just drove off.  Probably hours. Before I could be tempted any further, a rap on my car window made me jump.
            “Could you step out of the car, ma’am?” The deep voice was muffled through the glass but it sounded official. I looked over and noticed that the voice wasn’t wearing a uniform but had a badge clipped to the waistband of his jeans.
            I opened the car door and stepped out. “I’m actually with the boat . . .” I began, and then stopped in mid-sentence.
            “I figured as much.“ Detective Mike Reese stood with his hands on his waist, and I couldn’t tell if he looked annoyed or amused.
            Detective Reese and I had what you might call a history together.  A history that included me stumbling across more than a few dead bodies and him trying to solve the cases and keep me out of trouble.  I’d always gone a little weak in the knees over Reese’s dark hair and green eyes, not to mention how good he looked in a pair of jeans but we’d never actually done more than flirt harmlessly.  My stomach did a little flip when I saw him standing in front of me in a pale green button-down rolled up to the elbows and jeans that, as always, fit just right.
            “What are you doing here?” I asked, holding my hair back as the wind off the water blew it into my face.
            “It’s good to see you, too, Annabelle.” He gave me a lopsided grin.  “I am a detective, you know.  The better question is, why are you and your sidekicks here?”
            “Leatrice is not my sidekick,” I said, although watching Kate sit on the hood of a police cruiser with her long legs crossed chatting with a group of officers, I wasn’t sure if I should claim her, either. I couldn’t see where Leatrice had gone, which was not a good thing. “We’re supposed to have a wedding on this boat on Saturday. And since when is the Harbor your jurisdiction?”
            “I heard on the scanner that a wedding planner made the call to police, and I assumed that it was you.”
            Not a bad assumption considering our past encounters.  I remembered the last time I saw Reese and how quickly he’d left when Ian had shown up. I felt a flare of irritation. “I’m surprised you didn’t run the other way if you thought I was involved.”
            He took a step closer and raised an eyebrow. “You want me to leave?” His green eyes locked with mine, and he reached out to brush a strand of hair that had blown across my face. I put a hand on the car door so my knees wouldn’t buckle.
            “Far be it for me to tell you what to do.” I gave a shrug and broke his gaze.  “It’s not my place to meddle in police business.”
            Reese laughed. “Since when have you not meddled in police business?”
            “Well, this time I’m not.” I said. “It wasn’t me who made the call to the police. Leatrice heard about it on her scanner, and that’s why we came down.”
            “So you don’t know what’s going on?” he asked.
            I felt the flutter in my stomach again but this time it was nervousness about the wedding. “Was there another accident?”
            Leatrice rushed up to me, wringing her hands. Reese’s eyes widened as he looked at Leatrice’s outfit and unsuccessfully stifled a grin.
             She tugged on my sleeve. “Annabelle, you have to come with me.”
            “I’m in the middle of talking to Detective Reese,” I said. “You remember the detective, don’t you?”  I knew she did. Leatrice never forgot an eligible bachelor, and she’d once harbored dreams of me dating Reese.  Of course, at some point she’d also wanted me to date the UPS man, her grandson and our building’s leasing agent, who wasn’t even remotely straight.
Leatrice smiled and batted her eyes. “So nice of you to drop by, Detective.” Leatrice began chatting as if we were all at a cocktail party that just happened to be in a grungy parking lot with the scent of the nearby fish market wafting through.
“The detective was just telling me what’s going on,” I interrupted, turning my attention back to Reese. “It looks like someone really got hurt this time.”
Leatrice gave a tiny yelp. “Oh, that’s right. I need to tell you about Richard.” “What?” I asked. “Is he here, too? Does everyone have a police scanner?”
Leatrice jerked her head in the direction of the boat.
“He’s onboard?” I groaned. “What is he doing on the boat?”
“That’s what I’m trying to tell you,” Leatrice said. “Richard is involved.”
“What do you mean ‘involved’? With the accident on the ship?” I threw my hands into the air. “I told him not to go anywhere near Jeremy Johns unless I was around to play referee and now look what happens.”
“Actually,” Reese said. “It wasn’t just an accident this time. We’re dealing with a fatality.”
The butterflies in my stomach turned into a knot and my knees finally gave way.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Engaged! in Washington 2011

For a fun teaser of the Engaged Show, check out a video clip from last year. The decor is off the hook! This is one show not to miss!

 Click here for Engaged 2010 Video

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Engaged! in Washington 2011

We're thrilled to announce the most fabulous bridal event for 2011: Engaged! in Washington will be held Sunday, March 6, 2011, 3pm - 8pm.  This is our favorite show of the year because it is so not a typical bridal show. 

The second annual Engaged! in Washington will be held at THREE of the city's premiere wedding venues: The Hay-Adams, St. Regis Hotel, and The Willard Intercontinental Hotel. From 3pm to 8pm, couples can arrive at any of the above properties and experience each venue as it would look for an actual wedding, meet the people that make fabulous weddings happen, linger and look, ooh and aah, and then take a limo bus to the next venue for more eye candy!  This year the Engaging Affairs team will be on the brand new rooftop of The Hay-Adams, and we're so excited for all the surprises awaiting the couples who visit!

Photographers at each venue will take portraits, wedding planners and florists are designing knock-out spaces to wow guests, bands and DJs will play music, models from area bridal salons will be wearing the latest bridal fashion, hair and make-up artists will work their magic on attendees – first come, first served!  Sample the food and drink champagne and don’t worry about parking or transportation . . . Linder & Associates will shuttle guests all evening to each site throughout the evening!  Engaged! in Washington promises to be an experience! 


20 days of fabulous prizes announced daily on Facebook - names drawn from ticket holders - beginning Valentine's Day, February 14, 2011! Purchase your tickets now and win, win, win!