Welcome back for more of Madeline and Graham’s wedding! They held a traditional Maryland wedding ceremony at the family church of the bride – if you missed it on the blog this morning, be sure to check it out here. From the church in Potomac, their wedding guests then headed downtown into Washington DC to Dumbarton House in Georgetown where they celebrated in a grand room and tent filled with twinkle lights, monogrammed wedding details, and even a very special decor element from the bride’s father. We love how personal every element of Madeline and Graham’s wedding is – right down to their custom wedding logo to and generations of friends and family looking for ginger jars for decor! Big thanks to Mike B Photography who captured this beautifully inspired navy, gold an white Washington DC area wedding and shared it with us!
From Madeline: Our wedding vision was really inspired by the location. Dumbarton House is a beautiful setting tucked away in the heart of Georgetown with intimate gardens and a very welcoming atmosphere. We choose a classic look of blues, white and touches of gold. We used a different ginger jar for each centerpiece to honor the historical museum, but they also always reminded me of my mother and grandmother growing up. I loved the classic look, but didn’t want them to all look the same, as most ginger jars don’t. It was such a fun bonding moment with my mom and mother-in-law scouring antique and online stores for months and generous friends and family loaning them to us.
Another wedding inspiration was our monogram. Our wedding planner was incredible and found a designer who created a custom “logo” for our event, rather than a traditional monogram. We used it on everything from the wedding invitation, reusable grocery bags as welcome bags, on the matches at the cigar bar, napkins, and even on the cake! It was the piece that tied everything from the save the date to the bridal shower and big day.
Since the location has two separate rooms for our wedding guests, we wanted to make sure that everyone felt included. We choose a clear top tent from Sugarplum to bring in the nature surrounding the courtyard and made sure the rooms flowed together. A main priority for us was to make sure our guests had a lot of fun and felt welcome. We had an amazing band that kept everyone on the dance floor all night, The Winn Brothers. I don’t think anyone sat other than for dinner! It was definitely worth the splurge on the band since those memories will last a lifetime. We saved on transportation instead opting to use yellow school buses from (from the school where I work and am an alumni of) for transportation which ended up being a huge hit and really fun for our guests — who most hadn’t been on a school bus in decades!
The most special of all of our wedding DIY projects was the chest we created as a focal point at the reception sitting behind us at the reception, and now a piece that lives in our home. My dad is a talented carpenter and the process not only created a beautiful piece of furniture, but bonding memories that will last a lifetime. It truly was a family effort from the hours spent designing, routing, staining and painting all from scratch. While the piece came out beautifully, I cherish most the memories spent building it with my parents and husband leading up to the wedding.
My dad surprised us with a hidden box inside the drawer made from the tree I used to climb on in our backyard engraved with our initials and wedding date. We included lights inside the glass doors to showcase ginger jars from my grandmother. You can see the chest in the pictures directly behind us at the head table.
The bride’s advice for other Washington DC area couples?
The wedding day goes by so fast! Soak in every moment. Since this is nearly impossible – hire an excellent photographer and videographer – so you can relive the moments. We wanted our pictures to not only capture the traditional still,s but candids from the day to relive the emotions. I’m so glad we have those memories captured forever. Our wedding video is one of my most favorite takeaways (other than being married!), and we watch it often to bring us back to that day. Each time we watch it we see something we missed and so happy we have it on video. (Editors note: Be sure to check out their wedding video below!!)
Try to incorporate people you love in the process. The day is not only about the two of us coming together, but also our families and friends. It is truly a humbling and feeling of awe to be surrounded by all of that love and support. I cherish the memories of sitting around the table crafting welcome bags more than the final product and the conversations at the tastings more than the meal. Soak up those moments that it takes to get to the big day!
On a less “sappy” note, don’t settle. If you’re not happy with something, say something. I love paper (read: obsession!), but I could not find a font for our names that I really loved and felt like “us.” We had a wonderful calligrapher who wrote out our names and then had the local paper company we worked with letterpress it into the invitation – who knew!? Taylor Street Paper helped us to design an invitation suite that was personalized, taking pieces from different invitation elements that we liked to truly make it ours. I’m so happy we didn’t settle on something that we didn’t love. We enlisted the help of my brother’s art and design skills by hand drawing and then importing into Adobe Illustrator to create the custom map in the invitation suite.
At the end of the night, we stood on the top steps at the entrance of The Dumbarton House watching our guests line up for the sparkler exit and we didn’t want the night to end! It was a great moment of soaking it all in.
As a special bonus, we have Madeline and Graham’s wedding trailer video….
Congratulations to Madeline and Graham! Thank you for sharing your DIY and loved filled wedding reception with us!
The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Videography: Monachetti Weddings
Photography: Mike B Photography
Wedding Planner: Polly Bomstein
Stationery: Taylor Street Paper
Calligraphy: Valerie Cole
Transportation: MJ Valet
Floral Designer: Philippa Tarrant Floral Design
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Bridal Concepts by Christy Aspinwall
Bridal Gown: Tara Keely
Bridal Salon + Headpiece/Veil: Garnish Boutique
Bridal Shoes: Kate Spade Clarice Pump
Jewelry: Spectral Gems Gary and Leslie Gosnell (Bethesda, MD)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Lilly Pulitzer Janice Dress
Bridesmaid Shoes: Jack Rogers
Bridesmaid Accessories: Monogrammed Wraps from Etsy
Groom’s Attire: Indochino
Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank
Ties: Brooks Brothers
Ceremony Venue: St. Francis Episcopal Church
Officiant: Reverend Phil Ellsworth
Ceremony Music: Gary Davidson
Reception Venue: Dumbarton House
Rentals + Lighting: Sugarplum Tents
Catering: Well Dunn Catering
Linens: DC Rental
Reception Music: The Winn Brothers Band
Cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie
Hotel Accommodations: Fairmont Hotel, Georgetown
For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.
Photo Credits: Mike B Photography