June 15,2009

My Big, Fabulous Greek Wedding

I gave a sneak peek a few weeks ago of the beautiful Greek Orthodox wedding that I did at St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church but here is a bit more. I love the pageantry of Greek Orthodox weddings. The candles, the crowns, the chanting. It is all so formal and beautiful.

Laura and Mike were such a fun couple that nothing (including pretty steady rain) could dampen their excitement. Everyone involved in the wedding was lovely to work with from the bride’s parents to the groom’s large family to the eight ring bearers and flower girls!
My favorite memory of the wedding is the traditional Greek money dance where everyone danced around throwing money at the couple. The Alpha Orchestra from New York kept everyone on the dance floor the entire evening even after the money stopped flying!

My favorite detail of the wedding had to be the custom matchbooks that we tied to the bundles of sparklers we handed to the guests at the end of the evening. Sure, it took three assistants and me cutting and tying ribbons for over an hour, but it looked great!

I had a lot of my usual dream team vendors with me for the wedding so the day was pretty flawless. The Willard team was, as always, amazing. Christina is always fun to work with and she did a great job pulling all the hotel details together. I love working at the Willard because they make my life so much easier!

Linda from Linder and Associates coordinated the transportation and did an outstanding job. For those of you in the event industry who work with transportation, you know how crucial it is to have good people and Linda is tops. I never have to worry about a car running late or getting lost when she is on the job (and I don’t want to tell you the horror stories I’ve had with some other companies). The bride and groom rode in style with a classic car from Regal Limousine. John Bays is the classic car guru in town. I have used his cars for the past fourteen years and he has never let me down.

The bride wore a stunning Reem Acra gown from Carine’s Bridal Atelier with a custom-made bolero jacket. The jacket was the perfect touch for the ceremony and then the bride took it off for the reception. Carine and her entire staff were wonderful to the bride and she couldn’t stop raving about them! We love you, Carine!

It is always fun to work with Neil from Blue Sky Films. He is unobtrusive and laid-back–just the way I like videographers.

I also got the chance to work with some new vendors who were friends of the couple. Jennifer from Atelier Floral Design was lovely and so easy-going. Her cherry blossom centerpieces were so pretty and looked amazing in the Willard ballroom. We brought in gold linens and chivari chairs from DC Rental to complete the formal and dramatic look.

The photographer, Joyce Boghosian, knew Laura and Mike from their White House days. She and her brother, Haik, were so nice and got some really gorgeous images. A big thank you to them for letting us borrow some for the blog!
This was a fun wedding to plan and an even more fun wedding to attend. As I’ve said many times, I have amazing clients. Laura and Mike were no exception. They were so much fun every step of the way, and it is always nice to work with a couple that is so crazy for each other (and these two were head-over-heels in love). To quote the bride (who had the best laugh ever), “Love it!”


June 13,2009

Mervis Diamond Trunk Show

It seems that there is more going on this weekend than my big wedding downtown and Sara’s in Delaware. Imagine that! If I didn’t have to be on my feet at a wedding for the next 14+ hours, I would be at the Verragio and Diana diamond trunk show at Mervis Diamonds Importers. Love the bling! This is a great time to get your wedding bands at a great price and check out fabulous flowers from Multiflor. This event is cosponsored with Wedding Wire so it should be lots of fun for brides and grooms. Seriously, though, what could be more fun than diamonds?



Saturday, June 13, 10-6
Sunday, June 14, 12-5

Questions? Call 703.448.9000 or email jmervis @ mervisdiamond.com

June 12,2009

Book Review of FATALLY FLAKY by Diane Mott Davidson

As some of you know, I keep one foot in the mystery writing world and I love to read anything that has to do with weddings. I especially love checking out other mysteries involving weddings to see if the author got it right. I have read plenty of novels featuring mysteries that miss the mark completely and make me spend most of the book thinking “that would never happen at a real wedding.” So I was excited to see how one of my favorite mystery authors, Diane Mott Davidson, would handle brides. She has dealt with weddings in previous books but this one features a wedding cake on the cover so it seemed to up the stakes.

One of the things I love about Davidson’s books are the rich characters and the relationships she has developed between them. The book centers around caterer Goldy Schultz and the antics she gets into catering various parties in a small town in Colorado. This is her fifteenth book so I have come to love Goldy’s vegetarian assistant chef, Julian; her wacky best friend, Marla; her son, Arch; and her lovable cop husband, Tom. The mysteries are always fun but it is the characters that readers come back for.

FATALLY FLAKY centers around a wedding for a true bridezilla named Billie. Her name should say it all, of course. This bridezilla gives any one I’ve seen a run for her money. She is awful! But Goldy manages to handle everything bridezilla throws her way (including changing the wedding venue two days out!) along with a couple of dead bodies and solves the mystery without spilling a single drop of champagne.

If you like mysteries and reading about wedding craziness, this book will keep you turning the pages. FATALLY FLAKY is as delectable as it is deadly. Plus, you get recipes in the back of the book for the dishes that Goldy whips up. Fatally Flaky cookies, anyone? I could use about a dozen of them to get me through my wedding this weekend!

June 11,2009

Bridal Gown Sample Sale

Calling all brides who are looking for a great gown at an amazing price!! One of our favorite bridal salons is holding a sample sale. Hooray for summer and sample sales!

Date & Time: Sunday, June 21, 2009 – 9am to 3pm

Location: The Westin City Center (National Ballroom A)
1400 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

Metro: Farragut North or McPherson SquarePhone: (202) 429-1700
Carine’s Bridal Atelier of Georgetown will be hosting a Summer Sample Sale Event at The Westin Washington DC City Center on June 21, 2009. Sample wedding gowns from some of the premier wedding gown designers will be on sale for 30% to 75% off retail prices—a fantastic savings for brides! Gowns will be priced as low as $999, $1,299, $1,499, and $1,999 – marked down from original retail prices ranging from $2,950 to $8,450.

Sample dresses are in great condition and must be sold to make room for new gowns. Sample gowns are a bridal size 8 or 10 and can always be altered to fit a smaller body size. Carine’s Bridal Atelier offers custom alterations onsite in their Georgetown boutique.

Brides can preview a selection of sample sale gowns online at http://carinesbridal.com/samplesale.htm. These gowns, plus MORE, will be marked down an additional 30% to 75% off at the Summer Sample Sale Event.
Additional Important Information

• Sale is first come, first serve

• Line starts directly outside of the room

• No appointments taken

• No merchandise hold policy

• Designer labels include Angel Sanchez, Carolina Herrera, Junko Yoshioka, Karl Lagerfeld, Melissa Sweet, Platinum Collection, Reem Acra, Rosa Clara, St. Pucchi, and The Vineyard Collection

• All shopping and “try-ons’s” are self-service

• Sales consultants will be available to answer questions and provide assistance as needed

• All gowns size 8 or 10

• Entire ballroom will serve as an open dressing room; brides welcome to try-on gowns anywhere there is available space

• All brides are recommended to wear bras, lingerie, shorts, and underwear to try on gowns as entire ballroom will become a dressing room

• All sales are final (no returns allowed); gowns are sold “As-Is”

• Cash and Mastercard, Visa, American Express accepted. NO Discover card. NO checks allowed

• Metro accessible via McPherson Square metro or Farragut North metro. Street parking or hotel valet are also available. The first 20 brides who purchase, receive a reduced parking rate of $10, validated with proof of receipt.
For more information, contact Carine’s Bridal Atelier by phone 202.965.4696 or email info@carinesbridal.com or visit http://www.carinesbridal.com/.

June 06,2009

Long Distance Love

Back in January I met with a bride who had come quite a distance to get together. Liz Detter was busy trying to plan a wedding while working for the State Dept. in Mexico City. At some point towards the end of the year, she had realized there weren’t enough hours in her hectic day to make the calls she needed to to get it done. When we met, we discussed the charming venue she had chosen and everything else that needed to be done.

Liz’s parent are from Hollywood, MD so she and her fiance Alan decided on the Greenwell Foundation, a charming state park with an old home near the water. As we moved into May, a concerned Liz had thoughts of postponing the wedding due to the swine flu scare. While her job wouldn’t let her leave town too early, Liz flew back to DC with a few extra days to spare and even got in some excitement with a kyaking trip two days before the big day.

With nothing but perfect weather surrounding the wedding, Liz and Alan took their viows in front of friends and family in the quaint rose garden just before the festive reception tent. The groom was overwhelmed with emotion seeing his bride, whom he hadn’t seen all day, walk down the aisle.

Guests danced the sun down and the night away as the stars came out over the water. One more successful Memorial Day weekend wedding!
Thank you to all the local vendors who raised the bar for this bride.
Venue- Greenwell Foundation
Caterer- Maryland Country Caterers
Rentals- Top Hat
Photography- Artful Weddings
DJ-Bialek’s Music
Flowers- Garner and Duff


June 03,2009

Indian and Lebanese Wedding Celebration

I have been working on so many weddings at The Mellon Auditorium (one Memorial Day weekend and one next weekend and a few more in the pipeline for later this year), that it has made me nostalgic for one of my all-time favorite weddings from last year. I loved everything about this wedding and especially loved the clients!

Kavi and Maria’s wedding was held the first weekend of August of last year. The wedding blended the groom’s Indian heritage with the bride’s Lebanese background into a really lovely wedding extravaganza. All the elements of the wedding were customized to embrace both cultures, which made the events so unique and personal. We had Saima from Saima Says Design incorporate elements from both rich backgrounds to create stunning save the dates, invitations, programs, and escort cards. This was the first place guests saw the color palette of deep red, gold, mango and cream that would carry through the entire event.
The three day celebration kicked off with a Ganesh Pooja ceremony on Thursday at The Mayflower Hotel. During this intimate and relaxed ceremony, the bride was presented with elaborate presents (this is a custom I can really get behind). Then the groom’s face was covered in red by his sisters and cousins!
The actual marriage ceremony was held on Friday during the day at The Mayflower Hotel. The Mayflower was our hub hotel and Dominic Sanchez and his fabulous team took such good care of everyone. We had teams of stylists from Andre Chreky and George’s getting all the ladies ready while makeup artists extraordinaire Carl Ray made the bride look even more stunning.
The mandap was gorgeous and very non-traditional with lots of winding branches and fresh flowers. The bride and groom sat on low white chairs, giving the ceremony setting an even more modern look. Again, we went with variations of the mango, papaya, deep reds and creams in everything from the bride’s sari to the wedding garlands. The Hindu priest was a delight to work with and was very conscientious about not making the fire too high and setting off the hotel alarms and sprinklers!
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a lunch in the Mayflower’s Grand Ballroom catered by Ascot Catering. I love Indian food and this food was really fabulous (and, more importantly, the groom’s family thought the food was great). We brought in rental china and linens from DC Rental to give the lunch the clean, modern look the client loved.

Saturday was the big day for the reception at The Mellon! We started loading in early that morning in order to get all of the lighting, draping and floral decor set by that evening. As usual, we had Sugarplum put up a tent in the alley for the caterer. Design Cuisine then went to work getting all of the various size tables set up inside and building a temporary kitchen in the tent.

A Vista Events brought in floor to ceiling burgundy taffeta to drape between the towering columns. I love to watch the drapes going up using the cherry pickers–what a production! Frost Lighting provided all of the sultry lighting to set the mood. The custom gobo projected on the stage alcove was the same motif that we used on the save-the-dates, invitations and programs that Saima had designed. The amazing team from Capital Decor (Jeff, Kelly, Patrick, Iris, and so many more) created gorgeous flowers that used the clients’ rich color palette of mango, papaya and rich reds with splashes of vibrant green and whites for contrast. We set off the intense colors with copper, gold and chocolate brown linens. Again the look was modern and fun!
When guests arrived, they enjoyed cocktails in the back Green Rooms for an hour before moving into the main hall. It was such fun to watch people’s mouths drop open when they walked in the room. It did look stunning! The WOW factor continued when the bride and groom entered with an Arabic Zafe‘ band while all the guests danced and cheered.
Dinner kicked off with a golden gazpacho amuse bouche on each guests’ plate and then the international stations throughout the room opened. In order to honor their heritages and appeal to their cosmopolitan tastes, the bride and groom offered a Lebanese station, an Indian station, an Asian station, a British station and a sushi bar. Since it was important that the cuisines be authentic, the Lebanese food came from their favorite restaurant, Indian chefs and sushi chefs made food on-site, and the Arabic sweets were flown in. Design Cuisine did an amazing job pulling it all together and impressing everyone with phenomenal food. Kendall of Kendall’s Cakes provided a delicious and beautiful cake that the bride and groom cut with a ceremonial sword. I looked quite daunting carrying a sword down Constitution Avenue into the Mellon, by the way!
The bride and groom were surprised by a song from the groom’s sister (we all worked hard to keep the secret from the groom for months!) and a serious of lovely toasts. I don’t know when I have heard such eloquent toasting (and the most amazing perhaps from the groom’s 14-year-old twin cousins). Both families were just so lovely to work with and get to know. The groom’s brother, Kush, was an outstanding Best Man and became our go-to guy for the weekend. If we ever needed a question answered (or a check written), Kush was our man. Of course, it was hard to resist his many attempts to find out where Kavi and Maria were staying on their wedding night but we managed to keep the secret.

The crowd danced the night away with music from Jeff Hulbert from Bialek’s Music while some also enjoyed the upstairs cigar lounge that overlooked Constitution Avenue. Capital Decor provided the sleek white lounge furniture for the outdoor jazz lounge and Tom Bowen provided a huge flat screen where guests could watch the dance floor action below.

The bride and groom didn’t leave until almost 2 am but when they did, they made their getaway in a silver Rolls Royce Phantom (which we had driven down from New York City for the day). Truly stylish!
I love thinking back to this wedding because it was an amazing series of days with an amazing couple and fabulous families. Great memories! Thanks to Robert Isacson for the gorgeous photos!

June 01,2009

Outdoor Wedding at The Mandarin Hotel

I must admit, I have been pretty fortunate, scratch that, my brides have been pretty fortunate, in that the weather for their weddings, has for the most part, but perfect when it needed to be. There was the wedding last Sept. during the absolute monsoon where streets in DC were flooded and alas, 20 minutes before the bride left her hotel for the event site, the skies cleared and the group took pictures at the monuments. There was also the wedding last October where the rain held out just long enough for the bride to walk from her hotel to the ceremony site. And of course, the 81 degree weather for my tented wedding at a private residence last November 1st is not one to forget.

Two weeks ago, I was almost foiled at the Mandarin Oriental. All Nicole wanted was to get married outside in the garden. Weather reports called for rain and when I spoke to Nicole that morning about bringing her guests inside, she almost said YES! Now, if had let her do that, I wouldn’t have been doing my job of making her dreams a reality.

The ceremony was slated for 5:30 and at 5:00 the dark clouds began to roll in. “why didn’t I do the ceremony at 5:00?” is what I know she was thinking. I was praying for just 45 more minutes as the guests shuttles began to arrive. The always fabulous Michael Deltette of the Mandarin looked at me like, “You’re really going to make this happen?” If I told you we started the ceremony at 5:29 I don’t think I was lying. Once everyone was in their seat I wasted no time. The sky had become dark, but awesome for pictures, and the guests were getting nervous. About 15 minutes later, the couple was saying “I do” with lightning flashing behind them. It was quite appropriate that the last passage that was read began with “Now you will feel no rain”. Five minutes after the guests were safe inside, the skies opened and the rain came pouring down.

Special thanks to all of you who had faith in my ability to control the weather and to my fabulous bride and groom, Nicole and Nick, for being so adventurous!

Here is a list of the wonderful people who contributed to this wedding:
Venue/Food: Mandarin Oriental, Michael Deltette
Photography: Fotobriceno, Juan Carlos Briceno
Flowers: Exquisite Design Studio, Jennifer Dolan
Entertainment: Dan Haas Band
Dress: Ulla Maija from Hitched
Hair: Susie Rucksthul
Make up: Pattie Martin
Cake: Creative Cakes

May 21,2009

Wedding at The Washington Club

Lauren & George had the most amazing smiles on their faces during their May 16th ceremony at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. The story of how they met will make your heart melt and you can see their love overflowing for one another in these amazing photos. The photographer, Melissa Schwartz, is one of Lauren’s oldest childhood friend and a world traveling photojournalist.


Occasions Catering did a fabulous job with the incredible selection of food stations – everything from Asian to Southern style elements. Syzygy Event Design and John Farr Lighting transformed the Auditorium space at the Washington Club in DuPont Circle. Creative John Duffy with Yellow Door Florist, created a stellar MayPole for the entrance way – Photos of this coming soon!

Check back soon for more shots of this wedding!
Wishing Lauren & George all the best!

Amy Lorraine

May 19,2009

Greek Wedding in DC

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Laura and Mike on their fabulous, fun Greek wedding. The ceremony took place at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church and the reception was at the always amazing Willard Hotel. I don’t have all the pictures of this wedding yet but here are a couple stunning black and whites of the very happy newlyweds. Photos courtesy of Joyce Boghosian.
More photos and details to come about the ceremony, the rain, the Greek money dance and why drunk people shouldn’t play with sparklers!


Reagan Building Weddings

Last weekend (May 9th) I returned again to a venue I seem to have on speed dial. I worked my very first full wedding there years ago, before it was the main attraction it is today. My wonderful couple, Liz and Christian, were torn between Hershey, PA, the bride’s hometown, and the bustling DC area where they both now live and work. I, clearly, was pushing for Hershey. A chance to be surrounded by all that wonderful chocolate? You bet! But alas, this is not my wedding just yet.

So, they fell in love with the modern space of the Ronald Reagan Building Pavilion Room. It allowed for all the ammenities the couple was looking for, a modern space with a sizable children’s room and a location for cocktails outside.

Liz, her mom and sisters got ready at the Willard Hotel and the couple said “I do” at Holy Rosary Church on 3rd Street. Following the ceremony, the couple drove around town for pictures in a gold 1952 Bently with the wedding party following in toe in a party bus. The group arrived in Woodrow Wilson Plaza to join their guests for cocktails outside as the pending rain stayed away.

The party then moved to the Pavilion Room where the look was classic and elegant and guests danced the night away to Mixed Company. John Duffy of Yellow Door Floral created stunning centerpices that helped make the high ceilings feel a little bit more intimate. Stephen Bobb of Love Life Images captured the prefect day for our couple and for your viewing pleasure!