Adrienne And The Mill Wedding

Today’s wedding needs no introduction, but, it comes with a really great Team Practical story. Adrienne and Vincent ended up making friends with Anna (and G) of Accordions and Lace on honeymoon in Nicaragua. They all got along right away, and then, when Anna was a wedding graduate (which was about two seconds after they all got back, since I sent Anna the wedding graduate prompt after she had gone to bed on her wedding night, NO JOKE), they had this explosion of, “Oh my god oh my god of course we all got along, ahhhhh!” So, that would be cool enough, but Adrienne also had the coolest vintage dress in the world, AND A WEDDING PINATA. What? EFF YES. Oh, and she’s wise, wise, wise. Take it, lady:
Before we were even engaged Vincent and I had daydreamed much of the whole event, including the location: a historic mill in Adelphi, Maryland— just outside DC, where we live. This spot has a special place in our hearts because it’s less than a mile from where we met when we were 15 and 16.

After picking the location everything else fell in to place– Vincent and I love cooking together (and Vincent is a bit snobby about food because he went to culinary school) so we decided to make our own reception dinner. Neither of us nor our immediate families are religious, so we asked one of my best friends and one of Vincent’s best friends to officiate. The two of us performed a Zombies song when my brother got married a couple of years ago, so we asked him and my sister-in-law to play a Magnetic Fields song during our ceremony. Growing up, my dad would always ask what I wanted on my birthday cake and then he would decorate it with whatever I asked for — a castle, My Little Pony… so we asked him to decorate our carrot cake. It was so gorgeous.I definitely asked for help and delegated as needed. My mom made “scrippy scrap” banners out of my old vintage slips. Various friends helped collage invitations, make paper doily wedding pinatas, arrange the local flowers that we got from a wholesale flower warehouse, and play guitar. One of the early highlights of our wedding day was when I arrived at the mill and saw how our friends had worked so hard to transform it into this dreamy, ethereal wonderland of a mill– just how I’d imagined it in my head, only better.During the engagement process I discovered that I miss having a creative outlet in my life; work and going to graduate school part-time takes up most of my energy. I took summer semester off grad school, and in the two months leading up to the ceremony I reveled in laying in bed with our kittens Saturday mornings while Vincent was at work — watching terrible chick flicks on my laptop while sewing ribbon on my crinoline (I got my 1950s dress off eBay) and boot buttons on ribbon for napkin rings. I got slightly obsessed with vintage doilies, which I purchased in obscene quantities off eBay to make garlands and lacy lanterns. While I had my doubts at times, I now feel justified in that so many of my wedding projects are still being used and enjoyed– through-out my home, and in friends’ weddings and baby nurseries!I also learned the value in speaking openly about the experience: the ups and the downs. I had an emotional engagement experience at times, trying to wade through what getting married really means. Things started to make more sense when a married friend lent me a book called “The Conscious Bride” by Sheryl Nissinen. It can be a bit new-agey for me, but is also insightful and thought-provoking when it comes to why we might find ourselves crying during what is supposed to be “the happiest time of our lives!” I recommend it to my engaged friends, and to any other brides-to-be reading this (until, at least, Meg writes her practical wedding book). Vincent and I also went to pre-marital counseling at an amazing non-profit in DC called The Women’s Center. Meeting with a counselor to have some secular guidance on issues like financial planning, family relations, and communication helped me and Vincent feel like we weren’t just planning a wedding party, but were also planning for our marriage.The most important thing for me about our wedding was the ceremony. I loved that we wrote it together with our officiants and that there were parts we had never heard before, written by our friends and family. It felt organic; it felt spiritual; it felt like distilled happiness. And the seven months of wedding projects contributed to that in a way. While we were on our honeymoon my friend wrote to me: “It was clear that every aspect of the wedding and the setting was intentional, everything bore your special touch — but just like your home, or witnessing the two of you together, it all came together as a simultaneously magical and comfortable atmosphere.” That felt really good to hear, especially while blissing out in Nicaragua.I’ve moved every 2-4 years my entire life because my dad was in the Foreign Service. So when I said earlier that Vincent and I met as teenagers I didn’t mean that we’ve been together this whole time– we actually lost touch after my family moved to Hong Kong when I was in high school, and didn’t start dating again until I moved to DC in 2006. At our wedding we were able to bring together family from across the country, friends from Hong Kong and New York and DC and beyond. It made me want to explode it was so incredible. And the best part — other than getting married — was that everywhere we looked we could see the hands and the love of this community we have built up around us over the past few years.Photos by Nancy Jagelka (who has no website, but hopefully will leave her contact info in the comments? Hint, hint, hint.)

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  • I also was married at a historic property in PG Cnty, Maryland. They truly are beautiful and practical options for DC area weddings. It's amazing how a whole lot of love, laughter, and friends, can transform the historic properties into something absolutley amazing! Your wedding was stunning and your joy is evident. Congrats!

  • I am in love with this dress. It is so uniquely beautiful! I was also thrilled to see a wedding graduate post from my neck of the woods. Congratulations on your marriage.

  • Absolutely gorgeous wedding and bride. I love the part about her wanting to explode with happiness seeing their friends from all around the world and different parts of their lives come together. That's how a wedding should be.

  • I do not think that there are words for how much I love her dress. As others have said, it's nice to see a wedding from the Mid-Atlantic region, too. :)

  • I cannot even express how much I love that dress!

  • yayyy DC area wedding! THANK YOU for mentioning the Women's Center, we have been searching for affordable secular pre-marital counseling and it's been tough to find.

    congrats on a beautiful, beautiful wedding. we were thinking about doing a pinata too but there's no place to hang it in our venue!

  • I never thought I'd say this but you, my dear are making me reconsider my dress! BEAUTIFUL!!

  • Liz

    dress. <3

    and isn't there something so moving about having friends travel from all over the world to wish you the best?

  • Oh wow!! Thank you so much for this. I hope the bride will read this and comment. First of all, I, too, live in DC and am getting married in a historic mill, though this is in Virginia near Dulles rather than MD. Two, I am also a fan of the Conscious Bride and have been finding that a very helpful resource. Three, I am enlisting my friends and family to help decorate and pull the event together. Four, I'd LOVE to find the flower warehouse! Five, I LOVE the dress. Congratulations and thanks for the great post once again!

  • Adrienne

    Hi Ladies!

    Thanks so much for all of the kind comments… it's such an honor to be a wedding graduate.

    I highly recommend the whole sale flower warehouse we went to if you're in the DC metro area– it's called Potomac Floral ( The staff was really friendly and helpful, and I spent less than $200 on all of our flowers and greenery.

    • monique peters

      hi i was thinking of having my wedding at adelphi mill and i just wanted to know a little more about your experience. How many people did you have? did you run into any issues? and do u have any more pics

  • Anonymous

    Another D.C. area APW fan! Thanks for the great local tips – and for sharing your beautiful wedding. :-)

  • What a great story. And I'll have to agree with everyone else, that dress is fa-bu-lous. All the handmade details came together beautifully. Congratulations to the happy couple!

  • Um first, that dress is divine!! and second, I want a little instruction on how you made those fabulous lanterns with the hanging bits – gorgeous!!!

  • TNM

    As a DC/MD resident who recently got hitched, I also wanted to chime in that it's great to see a DC-area bride… And I'm a foreign service brat to boot. I feel like I need to send you a wedding present or something!

    Love the post & the pics… and I'll have to check out the Adelphi Mill soon.

  • I was born in DC and spent a lot of time there and in Silver Springs growing up, I love it! And I love this wedding, classy and personal and her dad decorated the cake! And I must add my dress love to the masses…the second I saw that my inner four-year-old gasped and went, “She’s a FAIRY PRINCESS!!”
    My apologies if you’re not a fan of fairy princesses. I am. And you? Beautiful, stunning and TOTAL fairy princess.

  • Wow, Adrienne is such a beautiful bride and has such a classic look. The gown was perfect for her and it showed how much she was enjoying the day. And let's hear it for her mom…she looks gorgeous, too! I love how everything was put to good use afterwards. Really enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures!

  • Yes! Love this. Adrienne rules and was the source of much excellent wedding debriefing in the middle of nowhere in Nicaragua, so it is no surprise that she makes for an awesome grad. Here's to the hotbread!

  • Hannah

    Fabulous and lovely and lovely. And where, pray tell, is this flower warehouse in the greater DC area? Please? Because I can't find one. And I want one. A lot. Please tell me.

  • Oh, I have some serious dress envy right now. Wow.

  • Christine

    Yes!! The Magnetic Fields are one of my most favourite bands ever, I must ask… which song???

  • Love her dress. So lovely.

  • Sarah

    love your dress! it's beautiful, and yet so personal all at once!

  • One of my childhood neighbors, upon hearing I was engaged, immediately marched over to my mother's house and handed her "A Conscious Bride". My mother read it, loved it, and handed it to me. She has since converted many, MANY people in her life (mostly mothers of engaged kids), and even they are passing on the book.

    This book is definitely a little too new-agey for me (from the daughter of a pagan wiccan feminist product of the roaring, folk-music, hippie 60's), but there is SO MUCH that is beyond helpful. I read this book in mere days; half because I skimmed over the hippie-crunchy stuff I wasn't a fan of, and half because it felt like I was reading my own thoughts. I have a number of quotes from the book typed up on my computer for easy reference. I shared them with my fiance, and we're letting ourselves be aware of the WHOLE process– of the joy, the frustration, the tears. There's so much that goes into this one, brief moment where you're "engaged", and to know that I'm not alone is absolutely amazing.

    …In other words, YES. Every bride-to-be who hasn't read this book, go find it. Library, used bookstore, WHEREVER. It's worth a look, I promise.

  • A Team

    wow, that dress is killer.

    i've been on the hunt for secular, affordable pre-marital counseling in dc, and am so grateful for the women's center tip. THANK YOU!

    adrienne, any advice on who to work with at the center?

  • Adrienne

    Hi again!

    Christine – the Magnetic Fields song was "It's Only Time."
    Sera – I think the lantern things you're referring to are actually our pinatas. My friend Jen and I made papier mache over balloons and then went crazy with glue, paper doilies (white, gold, and silver), and ribbon. The hangy things are ribbons that my friends helped me sew little fabric scrap flower and button things. (Definitely a non-essential project, but my friend threw a "Craft for Love" party for me and we all worked on them while drinking wine.)
    A-Team – we worked with Dr. Toellner and we liked her a lot… I think she specializes in couples.

  • The dress is absolutely stunning! What a gorgeous wedding :-)

  • Anonymous

    Ethereal is a perfect word and ambiance! You both looked so relaxeda and happy. Were the pinatas fun? Excuse my ignorance, but did you hit / break some of them? Was there stuff inside? You say they were a non essential project, but did they end up adding to the total effect?

  • Thank you so much for the women's center info. I was looking for an affordable place to do premarital counseling. Awesome. Beautiful dress by the way, I just love it! Congrats.

  • Also did I mention that I love love love your dress.

  • Cathy

    Adrienne, your wedding was so beautiful. We are planning to have our son’s local wedding reception at the Adelphi Mill in July so I very much appreciate the pictures of your decorations, which are truly beautiful. Can you tell me which flowers you used? I would especially like to know what plant you used in the window sills. We had another son’s wedding reception at the Mill as well but it was in January so it was a very different floral season.

  • Erin M.

    Hi all, thanks for this post and the great comments. My fiance and I are getting married at the Mill in a month and I am starting to worry about everyone fitting there. We are having 150 guests (the max they allow). I think they have 15 tables that seat 10 each? Can all of these tables fit on the top level? We are hoping to set all of the tables up there for dinner, and have the bar and dancing down stairs. Do you think this will work? Any help would be very appreciated!!! :)