Soiree Special Events

Friday, May 30, 2008

Congratulations, Arienne & Rahman!

Another one of our Memorial Day weekend brides was Arienne! This elementary school principal married her dashing lawyer prince, Rahman, on Sunday afternoon at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, DC. They continued the celebration a few blocks away at the Galleria at Lafayette Square. It's been a long time since we've worked at the Galleria but it's always so beautiful. I fall in love with the venue all over again each time I see it.

Without further ado, here are my non-pro photos taken at the wedding. Once I get the real deal from Greg Gibson I'll share those too!I don't always get to sit in on the ceremonies but I was glad to be able to watch Arienne & Rahman's. Father Kemp was so funny and wonderful! He kept the entire ceremony lighthearted but serious enough for the occasion. Here are our almost-newlyweds listening to his homily:And the entire bridal party lined up across the front:
After the ceremony most of their guests took a leisurely 3-block stroll to the reception. The weather was gorgeous and the Galleria was so sunny!
DaVinci's Florist did a knock-out job on the flowers, as always. These beautiful orchids are wired to branches and stuck into blocks covered with moss:The other half of the tables had these beautiful cylinders with submerged orchids and floating candles:Windows Catering provided the fantastic cake as well as all the yummy catering:Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the cake cutting. It's never just the bride and groom by themselves! Here we have (from right to left, photographer Greg Gibson, videographer Beth from Blue Sky Films, Rahman our groom, Arienne our bride, and Greg's assistant):Here's another sneak peek at the end of the night. Once all the guests left it took Windows about 40 minutes to clean up everything! The florist came back to pick up their vases and the rental company picked up their tables, chairs, and linens. I'm always impressed with how efficient this process is when Windows is in charge: I had a great time with this wedding and am hoping to see Greg's photos very soon. While it was a very busy weekend, Arienne was one of the most calm brides we've had yet. Our best wishes and congratulations go out to her and Rahman!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

We've been Topped!

Within the past few days, has added a wedding category! Never heard of Never fear...we hadn't either. The site was created partially by Guy Kawasaki (one of my marketing heros) and automatically updates every ten minutes. In their own words...
You can think of an Alltop site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points—they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed.

Curious? Check out the Alltop wedding page to explore more wedding blogs or to keep updated on your existing favorites!


Our Giveaway Winners

Remember when we gave away a free photography session from Rob Holley Photography? Caroline and Joe were our lucky winners! They chose an engagement session and took a field trip with Rob to the Library of Congress here in DC. Check out the beautiful images Rob captured:And my personal favorite:Rob is available for engagement sessions and weddings all over the city! Unfortunately he's not always free but he's still great value considering the photographs he takes. Check out his website for more info.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Congratulations, Sarah & Ross!

Memorial Day weekend certainly kept us busy! First up we had Sarah & Ross on Saturday afternoon. This wedding was important to me in two ways. First, Sarah and I have been dear friends ever since we met in high school. Second, she and Ross chose Newton White Mansion as their venue. My husband and I were married there nearly two years ago and we always love going back.

Here are some photos that I took of the day:The handmade wedding arch was dripping with flowers:The program fans were so adorable:This little basket held paper parasols:The sand ceremony is a great alternative to a unity candle for outdoor weddings. I like how they asked their celebrant to participate and used three separate colors of sand:Their escort cards rested on a bed of sand:

Sarah would appreciate us noticing how closely the colors of her linens and escort cards matched:Check out the adorable shell cluster at the base of my place card:Yours truly. I actually got to sit for a moment and enjoy lunch with my husband! This is me giving him the 'please stop embarassing me, honey' face: Matters of Taste set up this beautiful buffet and even got creative with extra parasols:In lieu of a wedding cake they opted for mini key lime pies and a dessert buffet!

Professional photo credits go to the amazingly talented MK McKenna. Here's how the day looked through her eyes:I love how happy they both look here:The kiddo on the right is Trevor of Trevor's Treasures. Sarah is a pediatric nurse and Trevor was one of her patients. He now raises money and awareness about his very rare form of cancer:After the wedding they took advantage of the remaining daylight and took some portraits:Brookside Gardens on the left and The Gaylord/National Harbor on the right (and above):
Kudos to Brian Vaughan for a beautiful ceremony, Cheryl from Matters of Taste for being a rockstar, MK McKenna for these amazing photos, Matt Buerhaus for always being easy to work with, and Mike Valenti from Bialek's for a great job as always. Flowers were done by the groom's sister. Anyone need a florist in Vermont?

Check out MK's Blog for more photos of this great wedding!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Inspiration Board: Outdoor Elegance

Rustic elements contribute both a texture and casual dimension to your decor - even in the most formal of weddings.

row 1: centerpiece | chalk board | dress | barn | favors
row 2: lighting
| bride | escort cards | bride & groom
row 3: musician
| tables | votives | fireplace
row 4: invitation
| candles | cupcakes | plants | carriage

This post is dedicated to my best friend and her fiancé who have booked a barn for their September wedding. Their unusual use of a clean, artistic space gives the ultimate flexibility in personalizing their wedding.

To the untrained eye, a barn venue could suggests the presence of livestock, red gingham, or early morning rooster calls. HOWEVER, as urban areas sprawl further outside city lines, many barns are converting to more civilized ways of life, including special event venues, art galleries, or every city dweller's favorite, bed and breakfasts.

How do you transform a rustic, blank canvas to something completely your own?

1) Lighting.
Simply stated, lighting is one of the most cost effective ways of decorating. Comparatively, you would have to use many times more flowers than lights to create the same effect.

2) Unique rentals.
Don't recreate the typical escort card table you find in every hotel - ask your florist if he/she has something more creative to loan you. Maybe you can find better options for a cake or gift table, bars, or favor displays.

3) Transportation.
One bride I spoke with had a wedding just after Christmas (Dec. 27) and offered her guests a real treat - sleigh rides from the wedding to the reception. Trolley rides or vintage cabs could immerse your guests in the feel of your event, depending on the theme.

4) Entertainment.
DJs can provide nearly any atmosphere, so work with your DJ to find the music selection for your reception, but your options don't end there. Maybe a strolling acoustic guitar, jazz trio, string quartet, or live band would provide the best ambiance. All musicians are amplified these days, so don't limit yourself!

And as always, have fun!


Friday, May 23, 2008

A Note on Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend is one of the busiest for weddings because the weather is beautiful and guests have a three-day weekend to travel. Therefore, brides love it! However, it tends to mean that our office is overwhelmed with phone calls and emails from vendors and brides during the last week.

We have five weddings this weekend and have been working nonstop to pull them all together. Our lucky Memorial Day weekend brides are Sarah, Jo, Arienne, Kelly, and Erin! Hopefully next week when we return to the office we'll have a lot of beautiful weddings and ideas to share with you.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gallery is Updated!

We just added some new weddings on the Soiree website gallery! This photo is one of my favorite images from Claire & Bobby's wedding that took place last summer. See their gallery and other Soiree weddings from last year.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Inspiration Board: Wine

Wine is something to be savored and enjoyed - much like your wedding - so this classic beverage is a great source of inspiration.

A vineyard is a great backdrop for a wedding because of its natural beauty and interest. In many cases, the decor is already in place: bottles, vines, barrels, and the sprawling hills all provide instant atmosphere. Simple touches like candles and centerpieces will personalize the space.

Before booking a vineyard take a day trip to the site and, if possible, in the same season as your wedding. You can better judge the view your guests will have - a vineyard looks significantly different in March than it does in October.

If the location isn't possible, integrate the benefits of a vineyard into your reception. Some options include spending a chunk of your budget on great food, give half bottles of wine or wine openers as your favor, use grapes and other edible elements as the centerpieces, use a grape motif in your stationary, or offer wine parings with your menu.

Eat, Drink, and be Merry!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Totally NWR (not wedding-related)

I finally remembered to add Across the Universe to my Netflix queue and was so amazed by this movie! If you haven't had a chance to see it, please do yourself a favor and rent it or buy it. At the very least, watch a few of the musical clips on YouTube.

The writers incorporated 33 different Beatles songs to create a musical that spans most of the '60s. The crazy thing is that all the lyrics make sense to the story line! I have always been a Beatles fan and can't think of another band they could have done this with.

Plus, the entire film is eye candy filled with dance numbers and psychedelic colors. Here's one of my favorite scenes, from the beginning of the movie:
ps-does anyone else think that Jim Sturgess looks eerily similar to the young Paul McCartney?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Animoto Music Videos!

We've all seen the Slide slideshows but this puts a whole new spin on things! Animoto lets you create your very own custom music videos. Upload your favorite photos, a favorite song, and the software arranges the photos to the beat of the music. No two videos are ever the same!

Check out this cute one I made out of the photos of my own wedding day:
How perfect would this be to send to the aunt that couldn't make it to the wedding? Or just to remind yourself how great your wedding was? I'm sure I'll be making many more Animoto videos of vacation and family photos.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Soiree Classifieds: 45 Paper Fans

These fans are FREE! The first person to comment here (with their email address) will get it. If I need to ship it to you, please add a couple dollars for postage. Otherwise, pickup is in Reston, VA. I'll contact you by email to make all the arrangements.I bought these fans for my own wedding in 2006. They have been sitting in my office, waiting for a creative project. Unfortunately the project was never inspired and these poor guys have been living in a plastic grocery shopping bag. There are 45 of them. I bought them from the Oriental Trading Company for about $.40 a piece.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Congratulations, Anna & Todd!

Anna & Todd tied the knot this weekend at the Hotel Monaco in DC. Ryan coordinated the beautiful event. We'll fill you in on more details later but for now please enjoy this beautiful image from their photographer, Justine Ungaro:There's a great slideshow on Justine's site! Check it out to see more photos from Anna & Todd's big day. There's also a funny post on her blog showing how hard she worked at this wedding. It truly shows what photographers have to do to get their amazing images!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Venue Spotlight: Manor House at Linden Springs

We were honored to be invited to the most recent R&R Catering tasting event at the newest venue in town...the Manor House at Linden Springs! This beautiful historic manor is located in the center of Reston and you'd never know it was there. I have no idea why I never took a photo of the exterior of the's one from their website:Here are some of my photos from this fun event:R&R had a beautiful hors d'oeuvre display inside the house:The Chocolate Chick set up her beautiful chocolate fountain on these awesome lit acrylic tables:Once you step onto the porch you get a view of their expansive manicured lawn:This is the view to the right. Both of these lawn spaces can be tented:A shot of the wraparound porch. Vendors displayed their wares all the way around:
Alan with Edibles Incredibles! sliced up some yummy cakes:Lindsay from The Dandelion Patch helps a potential customer:
The obligatory shot of Soiree's sweet setup. Do you see Frost Lighting's handiwork on the corner there?
Inside, R&R set up a mini reception and invited guests to taste their wonderful food. That guy in the back was manning a stir fry station complete with takeout boxes:
The colors at this springtime event were so fun! I love the printed tablecloth in the photo above. I'm also a sucker for neon colors like hot orange and pink. Here's how R&R displayed their buffet: