Planning a D.C.-area ceremony


Wedding Planners

HJ Planners: HJ Planners, located on 24th Street in the Foggy Bottom area, say they believe in the no-stress or surprises aspect of wedding planning. They also keep an eye on something we all appreciate these days — budgeting.

Bonnie Schwartz & Co.: Located in Cabin John, Md., Bonnie Schwartz & Co.’s website boasts that the company is “passionate about creating a wedding day where the bride can radiate.” Schwartz offers beautiful, elegant pictures on her site and promises to reflect on brides’ own tastes and personalities.

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Chic Celebrations:  Chic Celebrations’ is a mother-daughter event-planning team located in Virginia. Their website offers various packages for you to choose from for all your wedding needs.


Food/Cakes

Georgetown Cupcake: Georgetown Cupcake is a great place for your wedding cake if you’d like to go the more non-traditional route and have a cupcake creation.

The cupcake shop has two locations — one in Georgetown that they recently moved into, and another in Bethesda. Georgetown Cupcake is a great place to head to if you have a lot of picky wedding attendees; they offer dozens of flavors.

“Since we opened two years ago, we have done hundreds of weddings,” said owners Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis in an e-mail. “We work with brides to customize their fondant cupcake decorations to match their color schemes or do monograms on top of each cupcake.”

Kallinis and LaMontagne encourage brides to be adventurous when choosing flavors. “If you’re getting married in October, why not go for pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple frosting?” they said.

Georgetown Cupcake welcomes the use of cupcakes for either cupcake towers at the reception, or out-of-town guests’ hotel rooms or perhaps as favors to give out at the end of the evening.

Well Dunn Catering: Well Dunn Catering’s sales offices are located in Southeast D.C. Using the sales pitch, “Events should be Well Dunn,” their website alone speaks volumes.

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Boasting being welcomed in prominent public events at The White House, the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum, among others, Well Dunn could be a great place to have cater your wedding.

The website, WellDunn.com, tells a story about a bride who wanted an at-home wedding for 220 guests. The house wasn’t big enough, so Well Dunn created clear ceilings with watermelon-colored decorations, not interfering with the landscape.


Venues

Liaison Hotel:  Danielle Tergis, marketing and public relations manager for the Liaison, said that Liaison Hotel has over 10,000 square feet of banquet space and a destination restaurant, Art and Soul. The venue can host every type of wedding-related event, from engagement parties to wedding showers to rehearsal dinners to even the ceremony itself. The Liaison also offers a rooftop for wedding needs too.

“As a wedding destination, D.C. is popular with anyone who has a special attachment to the city,” Tergis said. “With all our instantly recognizable monuments and museums, there are numerous opportunities for iconic wedding imagery.”

Ceresville Mansion, Md.: Ceresville Mansion in Maryland dates to 1888 and can be yours for a wedding if you so desire. The structure is 9,000 square feet and is located on 25 acres.

The mansion offers a Grand Ballroom which seats as many as 200 people. There’s also double parlors if you have a smaller wedding and a garden terrace with reflecting pools.

For more information on the mansion, visit http://www.ceresville.com/au/about.asp.

Whitehall Manor, Va.:  Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 200-year-old manor is great for those who are partial to Virginia. The historic site is only one hour from downtown D.C.

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They also offer a great incentive: The manor has an indoor backup plan just in case rain is impending. Up until an hour before your wedding you can move your party indoors.

Glenview Mansion: The Glenview Mansion in Rockville, Md., is a classic 19th century home for those of you partial to tradition. The home can accommodate weddings and on its second floor, it showcases local and regional artists’ work.

The mansion is located on the grounds of Rockville Civic Center Park. Its sprawling beauty makes for a very romantic wedding reception.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel:  The Mandarin Oriental is a beautiful oasis near the waterfront in D.C. Erich Hosbach, public relations manager for the Mandarin Oriental, said that the hotel can accommodate all sizes of nuptial soirees, from outdoor receptions to indoor, intimate dinner parties.

“Our nation’s capital is a unique place, offering a rich tapestry of cultures, cuisines and fine arts that can create the ideal backdrop for a memorable experience,” Hosbach said.

Honeymoons

Hawaii like the Obamas: Many couples wish to head somewhere relaxing and low-key to get away from the organized chaos that was their wedding.  While some see Hawaii as cliché for a honeymoon, it is a great place to head to, especially if you married in the fall or winter.

Orbitz.com is offering flights and hotels in May of this year for a little over $1,000. If you’re interested in planning your honeymoon further, simple Google searches for “Hawaii honeymoon vacation” result in some potential great deals.

Who knows, you may end up seeing the Obama family while you’re there.

Rome like an ambassador:  D.C.’s ambassadors head overseas when they wish to have a vacation. Many get on planes to return home to their native countries.

If you’re interested in spending your honeymoon overseas, About.com has great recommendations for couples wishing to honeymoon in romantic places such as Paris or Rome. There are also plenty of budget and travel tips.

A tropical getaway:  For those getting married soon, cruises are very hot right now. Carnival Cruise Lines have deals sailing from Baltimore for seven days for $449.

There’s also Mexico, if you’re interested in heading south of the U.S. Cancun, Acapulco or Cabo San Lucas are all wonderful places to head to if you’re interested in spending time in the sunshine.