April 02,2009
Thursday

Engaging Affairs Named to The Knot Best Of Weddings 2008/2009!

We just got great news that Engaging Affairs has been nominated again for inclusion in The Knot’s Best Of Weddings list. We are thrilled! The list is compiled from recommendations of brides, and it is always nice to get accolades from brides. The new issue of The Knot’s Best of Weddings will hit newsstands soon so we’ll keep you posted on when it is officially out there.

March 31,2009
Tuesday

The Pink Ball!

What a party! The 2009 ISES Capital Awards Gala that you’ve been hearing us yack about for the past few weeks was held Sunday, March 29th at the new Party Rentals warehouse in Laurel, Maryland. D.C.’s biggest event industry event of the year was, true to form, an amazing party!

Guests were welcomed into cocktails by a rock violinist standing above the crowd on an industrial lift and dined on fun hors d’oeuvres and cocktail pairings like shrimp on skewers atop a mini margarita or a pig-in-a-blanket with a shot of beer. Steve Dunn and Ric Marino of Well Dunn Catering provided the amazing food for the event and really outdid themselves with creative presentations and great flavors (and plenty for vegetarians like me)!
Following cocktails, guests filled bags of flavored popcorn (kettle corn, chocolate, caramel, theatre style) from big metal pails and were escorted into a tent for the awards ceremony. A live band, Nation, courtesy of Elan Artists played on stage throughout the awards. Although another event won for best wedding, Sara represented Engaging Affairs so well with her amazing wedding. The winning event had an elephant trotting down Constitution Avenue. It’s hard to compete with an elephant. All I know is that next year all of our events are going to have at least one exotic animal. “The bride processed in on an emu” has a nice ring to it!
After the awards ceremony, guests were led back into the warehouse by a large gospel choir. The Pink Ball featured interactive stations with an open kitchen format serving a range of cuisines, from Asian noodle bowls to retro American fare. Cupcake towers and a chocolate buffet with everything from mini chocolate milkshakes to brownies to chocolate sundaes made to order topped off the culinary experience. I am very proud that I only ate one cupcake. Three or four Cosmos but only one cupcake. Restraint has to start somewhere!

The decor, provided by Capital Decor, featured lots of pink and hip, retro details. Funky, multicolored chandeliers hung over sleek lounge furniture while long, narrow tables were mixed with metal bars for guests to sit at. This true warehouse ball used industrial details like uplit stacks of pink, plastic glass racks as decor. All equipment and linens were provided by Party Rentals and the cool furniture was courtesy of Room Service.
Guests were entertained by the fabulous, high energy band, The Source, from Elan Artists and aerial artists swinging and contorting high above the crowd. Roller girls in pink hot pants circulated through the dancers and human statues posed above the bars. I was so glad that I didn’t wear my pink hot pants and roller skates, too. Wouldn’t that have been embarrassing? For those not inclined to dance, there were casino games throughout the warehouse.
As if there wasn’t drama enough with boys in skin-tight pink unitards on the bars, the evening ended with a dramatic fireworks display. Kudos to Wendy Raab and Kelly Jenkins for planning an amazing party, and congratulations to all of the Capital Award winners! Thanks to Juan Carlos Briceno of Fotobriceno for the great photos!
Laura

March 28,2009
Saturday

Dancin’ in the Moonlight

Well, tomorrow is the big day. The 2009 DC ISES Capital Awards Gala hosted at the new Party Rental Ltd. warehouse. Since Party Rentals reminds up to “think pink” this year’s Lucky- 21 (the DC ISES chapter is 21 this year) The Pink Ball will also go to benefit Susan G Komen for the Cure. I think it’s a great initiative and can’t wait to see who shows up in pink. I must admit, I will not be in the color of the evening.

Anyway, not so long ago, back in December actually when Engaging Affairs first launched our blog, one of the first weddings I posted about happens to be the wedding I have nominated tomorrow evening. I called it “Dancin’ in the Moonlight” appropriately named as the festivities took place in a clear tent. Here’s a quick re-cap.

Cecily and Ari were married on November 1st, 2008. It was probably the most perfect day weather wise you can get. The event took place at her mother’s residence, a large lot of land in Fairfax Station, VA. The wonderful and talented Justine Ungaro of Studio Diana captured the event.

The ceremony took place under a tent erected on part of the home’s driveway. There Ari and Cecily shared both Jewish and Filipino traditions. Guests then moved to the home’s back yard and enjoyed cocktail hour on the decks and around the pool. Just around dusk, guests were asked to move to the large clear tent set for 250 situated under and oasis of trees whose leaves were changing the most beautiful colors of fall.
Guests dined on one of my favorites, grilled cheese and tomato soup for their first course. The perfect fall comfort food. Occasions dazzled and impressed with the meal. The mood was set with help from Digital Lightning, who not only lit the tent from inside, but lit the trees from the outside so they could be counted as part of the decor. John Duffy of Yellow Door Floral also helped dress up the space. His combination of coral flowers and green apples was a big hit with the bride and the guests.
The night went on as the bride, groom and their guests danced under the stars to Free Spirit from Entertainment Exchange. The evening was not complete until the brothers and sister of the groom topped off their toast with an interpretive dance that brought the crowd to their feet.
Everyone associated with this event was an absolute pleasure to work with. I’ll let you know what the judges thought!

Sara

March 26,2009
Thursday

There’s a new kid in (Old) Town!

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the grand opening bash for the Lorien Hotel in Old Town Alexandria. The new Kimpton property is the essence of sleek style that we’ve come to expect from their hotels. I was impressed by how many people flocked to the hotel’s opening night and how well the staff handled the crowd. The valet parking by MarcParc Valet was seamless (surprisingly so considering the narrow street and the rush hour traffic) and it seemed that everywhere you turned a Kimpton staff member greeted you. The music, provided by Dand Goldman and Ray Bialek of Bialek’s Music, kept the energy high without being too loud to talk over.
The hotel itself is both charming and chic. They had cleverly spread the food and bars throughout the hotel so that you found new treats as you wandered through the space. The living room features walls of built-in bookshelves and all the books are covered in white paper covers. Quite a look! Perhaps our favorite space was the courtyard with the open fireplace. Sara and I immediately started brainstorming of ways to use the space for small weddings or rehearsal dinners.
The hotel’s restaurant, Brabo, is getting rave reviews so it was no surprise that the food was fabulous. I liked the fact that they offered enough for vegetarians (like me) and that the vegi options were interesting. Since I lapse for shellfish, I tried the amazing shrimp tempura hors d’oeuvre, as well. I could have eaten a whole tray of them! My favorite culinary part of the evening were the desserts that were displayed in the restaurant. The carrot cake bites and lemon tartlets were to die for!
We didn’t get to try out the spa (it just would have been awkward to walk around a bustling cocktail party in a spa robe and slippers) but it sounds amazing. The “Lavender Dreams Experience” has my name all over it! The whole concept of The Lorien is dreams and the tranquil decor and clean lines fit the motif beautifully. This is the perfect spot for a charming bridal tea, and fun rehearsal dinner or even an intimate, hip wedding. It is also just a great place for guests to stay if your wedding is near Old Town or a lovely new restaurant to try. So check out the new Lorien Hotel!

March 25,2009
Wednesday

Bridesmaids Dresses Take Two

Who doesn’t have a bridesmaid dress (or two or three or . . .) sitting in the back of their closet collecting dust? But if you didn’t have to wear a forest green velvet “suit” with gold rope piping or a black skin-tight mermaid dress with a striped chiffon bow on the back, then I don’t want to hear a word of complaining. If, despite the bride’s best intention (and I like to think my friends didn’t mean to inflict suffering on me), you know you will never wear this dress again, why not donate it to someone who would love to wear it?
Beginning April 1st, and continuing throughout the month, please stop by Hitched to donate your gently worn (and dry cleaned) bridesmaid dresses (in all sizes!) that will go to students in the community. Due to the great expense of prom dresses, these girls might otherwise not be able to afford a dress for this special night. So clean out your closet and make a girl’s taffeta, silk, or satin dreams come true!
Laura

March 24,2009
Tuesday

The Jockey Club

Monday night we were invited to dine at the newly opened, famed DC Jockey Club located in the Fairfax Embassy Row Hotel. It was quite an experience. One of the few remaining restaurants where you have to “dress” for dinner, the Jockey Club has proven it intends to continue the excellence it established when it originally opened it’s doors 40 years ago on the eve of President Kennedy’s inauguration.

We had the company of the fantastic Scott Button, Director of Catering and Convention Services at the Fairfax, who lived through the remodel experience of not just the Jockey Club, but of the whole hotel over the past year and a half. One thing is for sure, he is happy to have his hotel fully back to operating order. (And we are too! In June I have a wedding there that I can’t wait to blog about) While the restaurant was for sure not empty on a Monday evening, Scott mentioned that Thursdays and Fridays are packed and the establishment will not flip tables or have two dining sessions like so many in DC.

The food was wonderful. My pick for first course was the Golden Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffles. Laura had the Ricotta and Parmesan Filled Cannelloni suggested by Scott and it did not disappoint. We both finished off the meal with Strawberries Romanoff, YUM! The Jockey Club gets four stars in our book. Don’t miss it!

March 23,2009
Monday

Drumroll please!

Thanks to everyone who entered our very first Bridal Bubbly contest. I love entering contests (and am usually genuinely surprised when I don’t win), and it was just as much fun being on the other side of things.

I’m happy to announce that our winners are Alexis and Erin. Keep reading for more fun contests. We’ll have a new one starting next week although mum’s the word about the cool wedding accessory we’ll be giving away. Don’t want to spoil the surprise!

Laura

March 20,2009
Friday

Crazy Cookies!

Cookies are certainly nothing new in the wedding game. We’ve used Capitol-shaped ones for welcome bags, monogrammed wedding cake versions for favors and even little dog-bone shaped cookies to go with a donation card for the animal rescue league.

But we can’t help think that the customized cookies from Parker’s Crazy Cookies are something special. These cookies look so much like the brides and grooms! How funny would it be to have a bag full of cookies that look just like you and your fiance in the welcome bags at the hotels? With how formal and extravagant weddings have become, we don’t think a little whimsy is a bad idea!

The company also does other shapes like monuments but we are crazy about the little brides and grooms! And they will ship these babies cross-country to the D.C. area (since the company is based on the West coast). If anyone orders these for their wedding, please send us a pic of the final product!

Laura

March 18,2009
Wednesday

Video Magic

As I was reading Sara’s blog about her amazing Eastern Shore wedding, I realized that both of our Capital Award nominated weddings last year were filmed by Jenny Lehman. So I thought I’d give her an extra shout-out. I’ve been using Jenny for over a decade and her work is truly stunning. After seeing so many weddings (over 450 but I’m not counting anymore), it takes a lot for a wedding to make me tear up but Jenny’s videos regularly make me get all misty. If you want really stunning cinematic video (no cheesy effects or painful interviews with guests), check her out. She uses real super 8mm and 16mm cameras if you want a vintage look (not a fake 8mm effect that I’ve seen some companies use–blech). She even is offering a cool short-form video for brides who want the best highlights of their wedding set to music instead of a traditional video.


Wednesday

A Bridal Bubbly Giveaway!

For all our faithful readers (and for those who stray), we’re doing our first fun giveaway. Two lucky readers will win a signed copy of Better Off Wed. This mystery won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2005 and features a wedding planner and a cast of zanny wedding industry characters. We are in tight with the author (okay, okay, the author is me) and can tell you that lots of the crazy situations in the book were inspired by real weddings. But I’m not naming names!
If you want to get your hands on the book, just send us your name through the comment section of the blog. We’ll draw names on Monday, March 23rd. Good luck!