What Brides Should Know

From the venue & caterer, to picking out the perfect apparel for both you and your groom, finding the hottest trends for weddings can be a duanting task. We’ve gone to the biggest names in the industry to answer your toughest questions all in one place!

Mary Bird

What are three things you look for in a wedding venue?

Mary: It should accommodate the right number of guests, inside or outside, depending on the season. You also have to think about accessibility. If you’re having a reception at a hotel, you have the added convenience of being able to put guests up there.

What are the top wedding venues in DC?

Mary: There are the obvious ones like the Willard, the Hay-Adams, and National Arboretums. The Anderson House on Massachusetts is a beautiful location, and the Fairmont Hotel Colonnade does a lot of weddings, which is very pretty because you have the interior patio there too. The Womens Museum does weddings as well, and they have the most beautiful staircases to come down. Also in the Middleburg area there are beautiful places, with country inns, etc.

What’s your favorite thing about attending a wedding?

Mary: Weddings are just so special, it’s a wonderful time. It’s the start of a new life for people, and I think its always so special because you have all these people that come together that wouldn’t otherwise at one big party. Its just such a happy time, and a magical occasion.

Walter Nicholls
Former Washington Post Food Editor

Do you prefer a buffet or fully catered meal?

Walter: I like a meal because I like being able to stay in one place. I think it’s more elegant to be seated and have service since it is such a special occasion, rather than work a table.

How many options should a bride offer her guests?

Walter: I would say that three options would be appropriate. I would stay away from lamb. Offer filet, the ever-popular salmon, as well as a vegetarian option. You want to have something that people are familiar with and not get too crazy.

What type of food do you like best when you attend a wedding?

Walter: Personally, I would love ethnic food such as Indian or Asian, rather than salmon, but that’s what people have.

What is the biggest tip you could give about finding a caterer?

Walter: I would highly suggest finding a caterer with a really well trained staff, because that makes all the difference in the world. Things can definitely go wrong, but if you have a good wait staff they will know what to do.

Barbara Crane & Kathleen O’Meara Abramson
Executive Travel Associates

What are some current popular travel destinations?

Barbara: Tahiti, Bora Bora and Bali are in great demand. They have so much to offer those seeking a fantasy escape: privacy, beautiful beaches and incredibly luxurious accommodations, like over water bungalows, which are so exotic, romantic and decadent, combined with the ability to experience dramatic and mystical scenery. Another fabulous destination that comes to mind is Mauritius with a side trip to Africa for a short safari.

Kathleen: For those without the time to travel as far but still wanting locales with fantastic architecture, turquoise water and powdery, private beaches, Anguilla and The Turks and Caicos come to mind.

What tips do you have for couples looking for a deal in finding honeymoon accommodations?

Kathleen: I would be very careful using the term “deal” when referring to your honeymoon – especially if you want to make it to your first anniversary! It’s probably best to think of in terms of value. An experienced travel agent that works with honeymooners is your best bet for getting the most for your money and the best experience.

G: How early should a couple start planning their honeymoon?

Kathleen and Barbara: It is never too early to start researching the destinations that you are considering, and it is best to be on the same page, or at least in the same chapter, as your partner. It is also really helpful if you can make a list of your preferences, and then we can help you sort it out. We have excellent ground contacts worldwide so we can usually get what we need in terms of amenities, guides, access to local events, etc.

Carine Krawiec
Carine’s Bridal Atelier

Do you see a trend in brides picking a color while allowing bridesmaids to choose their own style of dresses?

Carine: You are always going to see that but I think what they do is pick the color and then the bridesmaids pick the style, all from the same designer. It’s definitely a trend that is a becoming bigger. I think brides are realizing that everything isn’t going to look good on everyone, but they still do have a bridal opinion, they aren’t going to give them full range.

What are the biggest styles in wedding dresses this year?

Carine: Dresses with a lot of tulle giving it a lot of the ballerina feel. You are also seeing a lot of crystals, not like a heavily embroidered ball gown, but cascading down the dress. Peplum is also becoming very popular, giving the dress a soft wave. Some brides are also opting to stay more traditional with lace. For Spring 2012 we’re anticipating a lot more modest designs for Kate Middleton to wear in her wedding. With a lot of emphasis being put on after parties, women are very interested in having a short dress they can change into for the reception in order to get more comfortable.

Carin and Julia
Hitched Bridal Couture

How long does it typically take for a dress to be made after the initial fitting?

Carin and Julia: We generally advise our customers to order their dress no less than 6 months out. A lot of designers take 12-16 weeks so we like to build in a little extra time.

What are the current trends in hair accessories and veils?

Carin and Julia: I think we still see a lot of people using veils, but it depends on their dresses. We see veils that are short with a lot of volume as well as longer more traditional veils. The venue and personality of the bride are what really affect those things.

Louis Everard & Jennifer Nygard
Everard’s Clothier

Instead of a traditional tux, how would you suggest a groom dress up a suit?

Louis: A suit is perfectly acceptable for a wedding, and when a groom makes the decision to wear a suit, it is the accessories which become of utmost importance in defining the look for a wedding. Absolutely the groom should wear a white shirt, which is most formal, and he may wish to try a cutaway collar. The other accessories, such as a tie, bowtie or pocket square should be chosen in a more formal fabric or color but can also be coordinated to the bride or the bridesmaids dresses to give a coordinated look for the wedding party. A nice option is to wear a silk vest that picks up the wedding colors and also gives a nice look when the groom takes off his jacket.

What are some ways the groomsmen can stand out?

Louis: The groomsmen should never outdress the groom, so the groomsmen attire should be chosen to complement the groom. For example, if the groom is wearing a suit vs. a tux, then the groomsmen should also wear suits or jackets, but not formal attire. We have done many weddings where the groom wears a suit and the groomsmen wear navy blazers coordinated to either a gray or khaki pant. The pants may even be a color such as Nantucket red if this coordinates back to the wedding colors. As with the groom, the groomsmen accessories should pick up the colors of the bridesmaid and the overall wedding for a coordinated look.

Adrian Loving
DJ About Town

What should a couple look for when seeking a DJ for their wedding?

Adrian: They should look for someone professional and responsible who has good taste in music, but they also need to be very clear about what they want. It’s hard when I’m approached by the couple and told to play a certain type of music and then friends and family request something different, because then there isn’t much I can do.

What song would you rather not hear at a wedding?

Adrian: The cupid shuffle, or electric slide. Yeah, I don’t play them, but people ask for them. Any line dancing song…so 80s or 90s.

How do you entice the guests at a wedding to get up and dance?

Adrian: I usually ask the bride and groom their favorite song and then get on the mic and invite people to come dance with the couple, and they usually do.

Heidi Kallett
Dandelion Patch

How long does it typically take for custom invitations to be printed?

Heidi: We suggest that you allow 4 weeks for production of your wedding invitations from date of proof approval. For some people that means that you should begin looking six months before your wedding, and for others that means to start looking eight months before your wedding. It completely depends on your decision-making process and your ability to trust your stationer to create your vision.

Would you recommend sending out save the date cards? How far in advance?

Heidi: Absolutely. It happens all too often that brides have friends and family that can’t attend their wedding because vacation plans were already made for that year. Typically we suggest to mail a save the date announcement the minute you confirm your date and location. Usually we see this happen around month nine.

What styles of invitations are most popular?

Heidi: Today we are seeing a throw-back to vintage. Tons of damask designs and ornate fonts are the rage right now. We’re also seeing paper being printed everywhere! Think backsides of invitations, envelopes and tags– nothing is off-limits! And for color, think rich aubergine matched with platinum and peacock blues and greens and you won’t be far off.


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