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Ashley & David’s Hyper-local DC Wedding


Here at APW, we’ve always liked talking about The Big Scary/Frustrating/Hard Stuff of wedding planning. But this year we’re also trying to bring focus back to the practical parts of wedding planning. The stuff that you can bookmark and use as a cheat for later when you’re tired of researching and just want answers already dammit. So today we’re debuting a new feature, called How We Did It. The idea? It’s sort of like a wordless wedding. Except instead of the feely stuff, How We Did It is all about the practical stuff. Because really, we’ve all looked at hundreds of weddings and said to ourselves, “Sure, it’s beautiful, but how did they pull it off?” And it’s about time someone answered you.

Maddie

* Ashley, Digital Communication Manager for a national non-profit & David, Program Analyst for a national security firm* Photographer: Chris Zarconi Photography *

One sentence sum up of how we did it: Sophisticated, hyper-local, hyper-personal wedding.

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The Info—Photographer: Chris Zarconi Photography / Ceremony Venue: Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC / Reception Venue: Formerly the L’Aiglon Mansion in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, now a yoga studio by day / Food: Fresh Start Catering / Cake: Whisked / DJ: Marc AugenbraumAshley’s Dress: Purchased (used) from Once Wed after my first dress was destroyed by a seamstress (yes, utterly heartbreaking)

Favorite Things About the Wedding: The ceremony. From walking down the aisle to a Kanye West song, to reading vows from our iPhones, to my brother asking us to recite Dr. Suess—I loved the intimacy of our very original ceremony.

Planned Budget: $10,000

Actual Budget: $15,000

Where we allocated the most funds: Dinner and reception location. I don’t have the craft gene, so I wanted to find a reception location that would be beautiful on its own with minimal decorations. My mom and my brother came through and made incredible table and wall decorations that were cohesive with the space, but completely transformed it into a sophisticated, elegant affair. The room, with the addition of natural summer light, did the rest of the work.

Where we allocated the least funds: We took advantage of living in a city—we used Uber (a car-sharing service) instead of a standard limo service, and we caught taxis with our bridal party to take pictures at the Capitol. Many of our wedding gifts took advantage of friends’ skills–for example, our engagement photos were taken by my best friend, a photographer.

What was totally worth it: We had special invitations printed and designed featuring the DC skyline. For us, it was a personal way of introducing people to the city through our eyes.

What was totally not: Cute shoes. Unless you’re wearing a cocktail or tea length dress, no one sees them anyway.

A few things that helped us along the way: Meridian Hill Park is part of the National Park Service, making the fee for these public grounds extremely reasonable ($200). Still, there are also a lot of restrictions to consider when you’re getting married in a public space (no chairs, no rain location, fewer than fifty people allowed, and since the space is totally public, anyone can join your wedding). In the end, it was a lot of fun to have “extra guests” cheer for us after the ceremony.

The money we saved on a wedding location was put to good use by inviting a local group of college students to perform the processional/recessional. It also provided the guests of the park with some lovely afternoon jazz.

I don’t know what the big deal is about wearing a used dress (and I don’t mean “vintage”). In many cases, the dress may have never even been worn! The first time I tried on my dress at store it was $1,000. I went to a used dress store that had it for $800. I finally found it online for $400! If you’re buying online, ask thoughtful questions from the buyer, use a PayPal account to ensure security, and enjoy that your dress will see two love stories.

My best practical advice to my planning-self: Not all cost-conscious weddings have to be DIY. Focus on the elements that will make the day authentically about you and your partner. Give yourself the gift of time, find businesses you want to support, and do things your own way.

Editor’s Note: Talking about costs can be tricky, since we’re all working with different budgets in various locations across the world, and our cultural narrative does its best to shame anyone that tries to talk about numbers that fall outside its norm. (And heck, sometimes even the numbers that fall within it.) So one of our goals of this series is to showcase a diverse range of weddings and budgets, which means we want to see your $2K weddings just as much as your $200K weddings (and obviously everything in between). In short, we want to make APW a safe space to talk about money and weddings where all budgets are honored, since y’all know there isn’t enough of that online.

In the meantime, we are working on making this a regular feature, but right now we don’t have a dedicated form to submit with, so if you want to submit your wedding for a “How We Did It” just go through the regular wedding graduate submission page and answer the same questions that Ashley did. We’ll know what it’s for when we see it!

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  • Teresa

    As much as I love Wordless Weddings and feelings and stuff, I think that this series is awesome. Pretty pictures are lovely to look at, but when you really start planning, you just want to know how the hell people pulled that off and how much it costs to do it!! This is the best of both words–beautiful photos AND practical stuff! It almost (ALMOST!!) makes me wish I was still planning!

    Also, I love the beautiful blue of the sash on your dress and on your bridesmaids–just gorgeous!

    • http://weddingbandsforboth.com Jay @ wedding bands

      I’m planing to make it as big as that one, it will stay forever after all :)

  • Lan

    Great new series. Thank you!

  • http://thevanillabride@blogspot.com Sonarisa

    First off- Thanks for sharing your wedding with us, Ashley! You and David look fantastic, so in love, and the wedding looks amazing. Congratulations!

    Secondly- Yay for the “How We Did It” features! This is what I’ve been looking for! Such great advice!

  • Hannah Smith

    This is wonderful! Out of curiosity, how did you find the college student musicians, and how much did it cost to hire them?

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      We went directly to the School of Music and they shared the names of a few student-groups with us. We secured the band for $400 which was a quarter of the cost of any “professionals” bands we looked at. We gave them a great tip because they learned a whole new song for us–Kanye West, “All of the Lights.”

      • Jashshea

        Gah! We entered our reception to that song. Can’t really stand Kanye, but love his music.

        ETA: I walked down the aisle to an instrumental Seven Nation Army.

      • Allison

        If you could give more specific contact information for the student group that you used, I would really appreciate it. I’m getting married in DC in October and still looking for affordable live musicians for my processional! Thank you in advance.

    • Jessica

      Yeah I would ask around. My city has a professional string quartet for the tune of $600+. They are lovely but weren’t in our budget.

      I asked at a local music organization we have in town for any names. I received the name of a woman who conducts a string quartet made up of very talented high school students that only cost $160.

      We went to see them perform and were blown away. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice, and as a high school musician myself back in the day, I loved supporting some up and coming talent.

  • http://writemeg.com Megan

    Hooray for D.C.! I live just outside the city and want to integrate elements of the metropolitan region into our day, too. Though we’ll be married in Southern Maryland, I love the idea of having a Washington vibe to some elements of our day . . . and yours looks so lovely! Excited about this series. Am definitely need of some legit reference material.

  • Rosie

    Completely agree with having a used dress: I bought mine on ebay after having tried it on in the shop. It was much cheaper, and hadn’t acutally been ‘used’ since the woman I bought it from had changed her mind before her wedding day! It was from a high street shop and in better condition than the ones in the shop as it had been looked after by someone intending to wear it. I’d say definitely consider it!

  • http://www.dmarried.com Blair

    Oh my goodness! I am so mad right now!
    We live in the DC area and we decided on destination exactly because you “can’t” get out of booking a venue for under $5,000. I didn’t think it was possible!

    Annnnddddd proven wrong. Ok, guess we won’t let the FI see this particular post (although, APW, I do forward him just about everything else!)

    • meg

      See, this is what I tell people when they think we don’t have male readers. I point out that while they may read by emailed links, and perhaps sometimes they read involuntarily ;), they definitely read REGULARLY.

      • Hannah Smith

        I definitely send my fiance posts from APW, especially the ones where brides & wives share their philosophy and experiences. I feel like they are able to put my thoughts into words better than I can.

    • AIH

      My husband and I got married in Arlington (Northern Virginia) and rented out an entire restaurant for the reception. We had a minimum that included food and drinks, but that was it. Don’t forget to check restaurants.

  • CoffeeCup

    OK, I gotta know: What Kanye song??

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      “All of the Lights.” We fell in love with this orchestral version of it and it was even cooler when performed by a jazz trio. When the trumpet started blasting, that was my cue to start walking down the “aisle.”

      Portland Cello Project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYWCTlBUGZo

      • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

        That is so amazing! What a great piece of music. Thanks for sharing.

      • CoffeeCup

        I LOVE THAT! SO MUCH!

  • Valerie

    I got really excited when I saw this post, because we’re also have a DC wedding in the same area. I thought I’d looked at every venue (we chose one across the street from the same park where you had your ceremony), but didn’t even think about Stroga –it’s gorgeous! Also, would you be willing to share (privately) the name of the seamstress who ruined your first dress? I’m very nervous about that.

    • KB

      I second the nervousness – I’m so nervous in fact that I’ve been hanging onto my dress for months now for fear of biting the bullet and getting it altered. Any suggestions for a good DC alterations is much appreciated….

      • Abby

        If you have a car, try Estee Livioco – she’s up near Gaithersburg. It’s a trek, but she charges (at least as of this time last year) $200 max. She did an awesome job on my dress and I think she is cheaper than other places, especially if you need a lot of alterations. A friend also used her and had a great experience (she’s on yelp too, if you want other reviews).

        • JH

          I second this–Estee is awesome! Talented, sweet, and a wonderful deal!

      • Chalk

        Hitched will alter your gown! They’re on the expensive side, but I didn’t feel like taking risks with the alterations.

    • Kate

      I am also trying to find a seamstress in DC to rework my mother’s dress, and I am TERRIFIED I will choose a bad one (and now doubly terrified that I will choose the one Ashley used!) Could we maybe get a hint as to who it was? First letter of her first name? =)

      • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

        No worries gals, I took the dress to my hometown (Martinsville, VA) to have it altered. If you’re in the DC area, I have the best ever seamstress (and crazy-reasonable prices too).

        Her name is Angie Cavellero and she works out of her home; her email is acav5@verizon.net and her number is 703-830-0634.

  • Kess

    That must have been so upsetting when your first dress got ruined, but I must say, your replacement dress is absolutely GORGEOUS! You look stunning!

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate {Koru Wedding}

    Wise words & gorgeous photos! & I second the love for the vibrant blue sash on your wedding gown. Congratulations~

  • Melise

    This wedding looks like so much fun! I have one very important question. Which Kanye song did you walk down the aisle to? I am extremely intrigued.

    I like the idea of How We Did It posts, and in the future I think it would be nice to see a guest count up next to the budget. Pictures can be helpful for giving a general size, but I’m really terrible at guessing the size based on pictures.

    • meg

      Good point! This is the very first post (obviously) and we’re still working out format, and you’re totally right.

      I talk about this in the book, but guest count, and more importantly LOCATION makes all the difference. You can spend $25K on a wedding in a big coastal city, and get far less wedding than you’d get for $12K in the midwest (I know, because I looked at a bunch of real budgets in the book). Which is one of the many, many, many reasons judging other people over budgets is terrible. (That, and it’s just a terrible practice in general ;)

      • http://www.emilywenzel.com Emily

        It’d be nice to know how many people attended as well. Ex: $25K wedding in DC with 250 people or $10K wedding in NYC for 25 people. Because that is a big factor too!

        • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

          We had 60 guests.

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      I can provide some help here. There wasn’t enough space in this post, but I did a budget breakdown of our wedding on my own blog: http://arlusk.com/2012/07/the-true-costs-of-our-dc-wedding/

  • KB

    1) HOORAY FOR DC WEDDINGS!!! Any married folks out there who are hesitating to do a Wordless Wedding/graduate post, I will SHOWER your post with love!!!; 2) Hooray Stroga! I took a yoga class there a while ago and I remember being in there thinking “This would be a great wedding venue…”; 3) Hooray Meridian Hill!!! For other DC brides looking for other parks, there’s also Rock Creek Park (there’s a beautiful hill near the tunnel) and Glen Echo Park; and 4) I LOVE THIS NEW FEATURE!!! This is SO practical and useful and great – AND we get pretty, pretty pictures :-)

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      I say this cautiously…we had a pretty horrible time working with Stroga and was the only truly stressful part of our wedding. They changed management 6 times from the signing of our contract to the day of our wedding (which mean orienting each new manager). They also do not have an elevator (and the space is on the second floor), which mean we couldn’t use many vendors with heavy equipment.

      If you’re thinking about using them, feel free to reach out to me and I can give you some of the specs.

      • Laura

        Haha I’m one of those former Stroga managers. Its hard to be the manager of a gym and then be expected to know how to manage a venue. Managing weddings there was by far the most stressful part of the job because the people getting married had already dealt with all the people in my job previously and were all very weary of me. I felt guilty quitting and leaving all of those same couples in a lurch yet again especially since I know how stressful wedding planning is. Glad to see it was beautiful!

        Hooray for more APW DC brides!

  • Rebekah

    I can’t get over those colors! What an AMAZING blue!

    And APW staff, this is a fantastic idea. I love love love making the wordless weddings even more practical with bride feedback.

  • kyley

    I’m super, super excited about this feature. When we first got engaged, I really wanted this kind of planning post, and after venturing a bit into crazy-land-wedding-sites-that-will-not-be-named I came back here and just gave up on finding a ton of planning info. I mean, obviously I read what is already here and the APW book (in 2 days), but I felt ravenous for this kind of frank wedding planning talk, and I’m super excited you’re incorporating more of it into the site. I second the vote for approximate guest count.

    To Ashley & David: Thank you for sharing your wedding! It looks so joyful! I also am thrilled to see someone else largely ditching the DIY/DIT. I haven’t been stressed about wedding planning at all once I found a venue and decided I would only do DIY project if and when they seemed like fun. If that means there are no personalized, handcrafted details at our wedding? Well, there will be plenty of personal, meaningful moments and that’s more important anyway. (All of that being said: Your pinwheel backdrop? GORGEOUS!)

  • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

    I laughed and nodded my head at the advice about the shoes. I’m a total shoe person and bought a pair of crazy, fantastical purple heels that only a handful of people saw and that I’ve never worn again since the wedding. Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve just gone with the most comfortable wedges in my closet!

  • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com Erin

    I love this! Prettiness AND practicality? Be still my heart!

    Also, kudos to you, Ashley, for keeping your cool about the dress situation. A seamstress GAVE AWAY my bridesmaid dress two days before my friends’ wedding (to be fair, cutting it close on alterations is all my fault) and I cannot convey to you the level of panic I felt at 6 pm, knowing I was supposed to fly across the country for the wedding at 5 am the next day.

    • kyley

      What did you do!?

      • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com Erin

        Panicked, went over to David’s Bridal (where we’d gotten the original dress), prayed that they had another one just like it, found out that they didn’t, offered to drive anywhere within 60 miles of Houston if another store DID have it, learned that no one did, found a dress in the same color that was miraculously my size, called the bride and tried to explain, sent her a photo and then, when she said okay, bought it and walked out the door.

        At the end of the day, I stand out a little because I’m wearing a different dress than the other bridesmaid, but as her MOH was wearing a different dress as well, it just looked planned. I was so worried that the bride would freak out (not that she’s the type to freak out about things at all, but she definitely REALLY liked the other dress, which we’d picked out together), but at 2 days before her wedding, she was pretty much over the “little things.”

        • KB

          I hope the seamstress gave you the value of the dress!!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Beautiful!

    As someone planning house decoration rather than wedding decoration now, I’ve decided I need those things you have hanging at your reception on a wall in my house.

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      I will tell my mom you said so (and may even have some left we can send you!). She worked very diligently on those “fans” and they really gave a sense of whimsy to everything.

  • CPM

    Love this new feature– it really speaks to the priorities my fiance and I have as we figure out how the heck to throw this party. Hearing about the nuts and bolts from a practical perspective really helps!

    It’s especially nice to see a DC wedding featured… most of the DC wedding blogs I’ve found tend to post about really lavish weddings downtown, or rural-rustic ones in Virginia or Maryland. It’s nice to see a practical wedding in the city– gives me hope that it can be done!

  • Laura C

    This is a fantastic feature. And I am so, so, jealous of this wedding, since it’s more like the budget and size I would have wanted to have, but am not going to get.

  • Shiri

    I have never in my life said this before, but your cake is awesome and I actually gasped when I saw it.

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      Wow, thank you so much. I have to thank Pinterest for this one–I saw a similar cake and took it to our baker. We saved a lot of money by having a small cake for us and cupcakes for our guests.

      • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

        I love that you guys did a small cake for you and then cupcakes for the guests. It’s such a good idea that I’m forwarding this on to my fiance so he can see it too!

      • One More Sara

        When you were eating it, was it too much frosting? This has been the only wedding cake look that I really REALLY like, but my fiancé is nervous that the frosting is going to be an inch thick or something… and that would be no bueno.

        • Ashley

          Yeah, it did have a lot of icing, but it was incredible. Every time I open my freezer I’m faced with the decision not to eat it until our anniversary. Our baker used Martha Stewart’s chocolate cake recipe + buttercream frosting and it was delicious.

  • http://www.jandrfoods.com Rachel

    This feature is amazing and I will add this to the list of tools I wish I had when I planned our wedding. While I respect everyone for not wanting to publish or discuss their budgets, it is so hard as a person to figure out what the right amount to spend on something is or how someone did it. I can’t wait to see more of these!!!

  • Julia

    Hip hip hooray for DC weddings! Especially those that utilize the city’s resources so well. I just wanted to say:

    Wow. I cannot believe you managed Stroga on that budget – their use fee put them immediately in the no way category for us, and our budget was double yours. Doing the math, that’s probably because we wanted a venue that would be for both the ceremony & reception (so more time needed) and I think we invited more people (170…thankfully only 110 came). Still, I’m impressed!

    • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

      Julia,
      Stroga was, without a doubt, our “splurge.” They charge $5,000 for the space, plus hundreds for other add-ons like access to the patio. We paid a little less because we were one of the first weddings they held there (ie guinea pigs). We chose the location because of the stained glass windows which could serve as a rain location if Meridian Hill Park became unusable for the ceremony.

      I posted this earlier in the stream about our experience with Stroga:
      Working with Stroga and was the only truly stressful part of our wedding. They changed management 6 times from the signing of our contract to the day of our wedding (which meant orienting each new manager). They also do not have an elevator (and the space is on the second floor), which mean we couldn’t use many vendors with heavy equipment.

  • http://www.themajesticvision.com Stefany

    As someone who was a guest at this wedding, I’ve got to say it was just as amazing as it looks in the pictures. The whole day screamed Ashley and David! It was a truly magical day that represented who they were as a couple. Thanks for featuring them!

  • Emily

    Great cake pic and great cake eating pic! Drooling for cake now!

  • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

    This is such a great new feature, and I’m so excited about reading every single addition to it. It is so helpful to have this kind of information – I possibly read this part of Meg’s book first because I was interested in it… – and as many have previously stated, there’s just not enough of it. I’m really excited that you guys are going to include all ranges of price, size, location, and wedding type.

    Ashley and David – Thank you for sharing your gorgeous wedding with us – it looks like it was so personal and so much. Congrats!

  • Ashley

    Pictures are great, but more text, please! Pictures actually don’t answer “how we did it”, at least not for me. I have so many more questions, and so many more things I want to share when I do one!

    • meg

      What questions do you have! We can’t read your mind ;) Tell us what you want in the feature and we’ll try to make it happen for you!!

  • http://www.thedilettantista.com The Dilettantista

    BEST IDEA. Feelings are great and all, but reality is something with which we all need to deal, and frequently when I am looking at wedding stories I want to know A) How did they do that and B) What did that cost? Because, like you said, we are a culture that gets nervous when talking about money, but it is so important to talk about money (especially in today’s recessionary climate), and unless one has actually planned a wedding it is really hard to get a grasp on what it costs. So hooray for this, I’m hoping we get all sorts of weddings in a range of locations and that people are 100% honest about the costs and the difficulties and the successes of their particular wedding. Thanks for making this happen.

  • Emma

    Oh my god, thank you thank you thank you. We’re planning a DC wedding right now and I’ve been losing my mind about venues, because they are weirdly scarce (seriously, isn’t DC an “events” town) or insanely expensive. I’ve been contemplating a ceremony in one of the public parks, including Meridian Hill, but was frustrated by the fact that it seemed like no one ever did it (and afraid that meant it was a terrible idea). But your wedding was beautiful. And I love the unconventional reception spot.

    Seriously, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Congrats!

    • Ashley

      I have a whole list of unconventional and interesting spots I’m happy to forward. You can email me at arlusk(at)gmail.com if you would like them.

      • Stephanie

        Hi Ashley,

        Is it cool if I e-mail for that list too? I’m also planning a DC area wedding and it’s so expensive.

        -Steph

        • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

          No problem. Email away!

    • Chalk

      I’ve actually seen several ceremonies in Meridian Hill Park. Lots of those weddings hold their reception in the Josephine Butler Parks Center. Also, The Art of Living building is just off the park and has been renovated within the past year – they may have event space.

      Good luck, I know your pain. I had my wedding in DC in October and hated how much it cost.

    • MDBethann

      Have you looked at some places just outside the city, like Ft. Hunt Park? I know some places, like the Arboretum, don’t allow wedding photography (unless you pay a fee – we looked into it for an engagement shoot) but there are so many parks in the DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area that we don’t often think about. And many of them, like Ft. Hunt, or Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, have facilities where you could hold an indoor ceremony and/or reception if the weather doesn’t cooperate. We chose to get married in PA because it was easier for both of our families (and honestly, easier on our budget with the number of people we wanted to invite), but I bet there are a lot of options if you are willing to be creative. Good luck!

      • kathy

        where in PA did you get married? weve also been comtemplating a PA wedding bc of budget.

        • MDBethann

          We got married at my childhood church in Easton, PA. But our reception was at the Allentown Brew Works (in center city Allentown). They will do ceremonies too. The food is fantastic, the beverages as well (they are a micro-brewery and you get to pick several of their brews to serve at your reception, in addition to wine or other bar options). They did pretty much everything for us (food, beverages, place settings, candle centerpieces, linens, set up, etc) – aside from our tasting & picking things out, we only had to line up our DJ, photographer, florist, & bakery. Nearly everyone we used (except the florist) had worked with the Brew Works before and we didn’t have any issues (at least that I know of). To feed about 150 people, our reception – hors d’ouvres, dinner buffet, & soda/wine/beer – was $9K & change (I can’t remember the exact amount anymore, & it included a bunch of kids, so our booze budget wasn’t as bad as it could have been with more people over age 21).

          For outdoor pictures between the ceremony & the reception, we went to the Allentown Rose Garden, which is about a mile away from the restaurant. Also in downtown Allentown you have Allentown Symphony Hall, though there will be a lot more organizing of vendors, etc. for that location, which is ultimately why we didn’t go with them (or with the Crayola Factory in Easton) – too much coordination for us to do from Baltimore.

          If you want outdoor options, there is Burnside Plantation in Bethlehem (a cousin’s friend had her wedding there the same day I had my wedding).

          A childhood friend got married in October at Coca-Cola Park, Allentown (home of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, a AAA baseball team). They are baseball enthusiasts so it was really appropriate for them. The food was great, but I don’t know what the costs were.

          There are some really nice locations in Berks County, PA as well, which might actually be cheaper than the Lehigh Valley. Even though my parents live in Berks, we went with the Lehigh Valley because it was closer to the church we were using.

  • Emily

    So excited about this new column! Thanks ladies for always thinking of great content to help and inspire.
    And Ashley, your wedding looks lovely – have never really thought about a public park wedding before, but at that price and with the added bonus of “extra guests” I might just change my tune :)

  • Keeley

    I can’t wait for more posts like this. If anyone had a wedding where they did their own music (see: APW’s how-to DJ your wedding with an iPod) I would love for you to write a post and to hear about how all the technical stuff worked out (sound, timing, etc.)

    Just the other day I had a major “I hate wedding planning moment” and my wedding is still about 4 months away so I really needed a post like this. :)

  • Chalk

    Beautiful pictures! I’m always in Meridan Hill Park, and loved seeing what a beautiful ceremony you held there!

  • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

    Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to say on behalf of David and myself that we are incredibly surprised and excited by all of your feedback. Thank you.

    First, for all you DC couples, I created a list of some alternative locations/vendors to consider that you don’t typically find on commercial sites like The Kn*t. I hope it takes a little stress off your planning.

    You can find the Google doc here: http://goo.gl/BrscQ

    We’ve received feedback from a few folks that a $15k wedding is in no way “practical” or “thrifty,” but you would be surprised how often we were laughed away by vendors when we told them our original budget. Our budget includes every dime involved–from rings, to marriage license fees, to the honeymoon.

    The truth is we saved for a year and half to be able to have the ability to pay for our wedding ourselves (and without any debt!). Thanks to Meg for making note about “budget shaming” above–it is truly about where you live.

    Ashley

    • MDBethann

      Can I just say kudos to you for using the catering arm of DC Central Kitchen? I didn’t even know they had one. That’s awesome and something I will definitely keep in mind if I have to plan a catered event for work again.

  • Ilora

    I’m loving the How We Did It feature already but I’m going to have to read the post itself a few more times because right now all I can think about is that dress! I’m not normally a fan of that style but Oh My Goodness!

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  • C

    Thanks for sharing Ashley – If you are willing to share, I would be curious:

    – where you found the beautiful clutch you are carrying?

    – The sash on your dress is beautiful. Was it difficult to decide on a sash color [or having a color “on your dress” at all] and what factors went into that decision? My own perspective is that I would really like a colored sash but am struggling to pick a color – there isn’t a built-in “color” theme to our wedding and we won’t have attendants

  • http://www.metropoetrylis.com Ashley

    Hi C,

    I can’t say enough about Emily Barron on Etsy–she crafted the clutch!
    https://www.etsy.com/transaction/76973423

    As for the sash color: I never thought about wedding dresses until I had to think of my own. I always new I wanted a splash of color–someway to make it unique. Even though my favorite color is purple, I was struck by this cerulean blue and became adamant about finding the right material. In the end, my mom and grandma made the sash (thank goodness–the sashes at the bridal shop were $40-$60!).

    • C

      Thanks! Her bags look beautiful – for wedding or otherwise.

  • http://katinedinburgh.com Kat

    Great series! Love this post! Can’t wait to see even smaller budgets represented, though. A “cost-conscious” wedding to me is not $15K – that’s my budget for a fancy wedding! But that could be currency conversion, etc. :)

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  • Alyssa

    I keep coming back to this post to look at those beautiful blue bridesmaid dresses! If anyone has their eye on these comments, can you tell me if you know where I can find similar ones? I haven’t seen a blue like that yet in all the dresses I’ve looked at…

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