Sunday, November 30, 2008

Martha Stewart Inspiration--Rustic Reception Decor

A few pictures mom found, and that I adore! Elements that are really promising: corn husk candle votives and flower vases, wheat wreaths, rustic-colored papers for wrapping favors, bouquets of herbs and greenery, horseshoes or clothespins to hold table assignments. Simply charming.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Next Steps: At the 10-month mark

So here we are, 10 months till the wedding, and it's time to size up where we are, what's left to do. Okay, strike that. What's left to do is too much. How about what's left to do in the next few weeks. Yes. That will do.

So, what we've accomplished: wedding date, ceremony and reception venue, officiant, photographer for wedding day, engagement photos taken, chef/caterer, rough idea of menu for wedding supper, rustic theme selected for reception, general ideas for reception decor, and possible musicians for ceremony and reception.

Next steps:
  • Meet with pastry chef, Caroline Taylor.
  • Visit We Party in McLean--linens, tables, glassware, chairs.
  • Visit Carriage House--size up linen samples. Select colors.
  • Book, officially, Bell and Blake musicians for Oct. 3rd date. Request playlist.
  • Pick stationary, invites, Save the Date cards.
  • Pick wedding dress (I have until February for this, to ensure time for fittings).
  • Enroll in dance lessons at Dance Factory (begin this in February).
  • Finalize decor reception.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I think these are all so pretty! I adore the octagonal look and feel. Very vintage. Thoughts? Check out more at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Linens: Choices, Choices

So, I spent a bit of time today exploring linen options (napkins, table cloths, table toppers) on the We Party website--the website of the company that Joan works closely with (which is good, because it's so much more affordable this way!).

Lots of options here at We Party. So much to choose from. Great website, yes, but still: I'd like to go visit We Party in person. Cloth looks different digitized. For now, though, some initial thoughts:
My favorite is the first one pictured. I'm not sure if this is a table cloth with a topper? Or just a table cloth? If we went with ivory, how would this look with the whites and green flowers we'd like? Or perhaps we'd have to stick with more greenery? Berries? Herbs? For color, perhaps we'd go with colored napkins--a shade of green with flower rings? What about plates. Colored, too? Or just ivory as well?

Fancy Cakery

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Adore Savoir Fare

We have found our chef, and she is Ms. Joan Wolford. Full of personality, great stories (including a particularly great one about a bridezilla and her ice sculpture; ask Ally for details), and a wonderful way with food, we immediately felt at home.

Today, Chris, mom, and I went to Joan's shop and business, Savoir Fare Ltd., located in the heart of Round Hill, Virginia--only 20 minutes from Oatlands.

Welcomed by a warm room and a generous hostess, we had Joan's full attention, beginning with an appetizer course, then a soup course, a plated salad, and three entrees served family style.

We were immediately impressed with Joan's knowledge of Oatlands, her appreciation for all things Virginian and rustic, including fresh grown tomatoes, homemade salad dressings, and fresh whipped creams.

By the time we arrived at the pumpkin soup, complete with homemade cream and pumpkin seeds, Chris and I knew we had found our chef. Of course, saying how much she approved of our deep love of cornbread pretty much sealed the deal, too!

Among our favorites of the foods we sampled included
  • Baked brie with brown sugar
  • Homemade artichoke dip on bread
  • Dilled shrimp tartlets
  • Bacon wrapped scallops with hoisin sauce
  • Fig-filled pastries
  • Pumpkin soup with homemade cream and pumpkin seeds
  • Salad greens with fresh red pear slices, walnuts, cranberries, and white vinaigrette
  • Chicken Fricassee in a field mushroom sauce
  • Beef Tenderloin in port sauce with a horseradish drizzle
We chatted with Joan a good while, and made a few plans:
  • Salads would be served plated.
  • Both entrees would be sliced and served family style (which we totally adore).
  • The tenderloin would be served with red potatoes and herbs, carrots, and green beans.
  • The chicken would be served with rice pilaf.
  • All tables would feature a basket full of freshly baked rolls, cornbread, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread.
  • Joan's team will provide all soda, mixers, iced tea, water, coffee, and hot tea.
  • We will provide all alcoholic beverages.
  • We can select linens, chairs, flatware, glassware, and silverware from We Party.
  • We can have Caroline Taylor, also located locally, bake our cake. (more on this later)
  • Joan adored our favors idea: to send each guest home with a tart (pecan, pumpkin, apple).
  • Appetizers would be served butler style on the terraced gardens and on the front porch of the mansion.
  • Four bistro tables will be provided outdoors.
  • We'll need one table for a bar outdoors.
  • We're still torn between 5 foot tables and 6 foot tables. (more on that later)
We're excited! More to come...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Housing for Wedding Week/Weekend?

So, we're in the market to rent a cozy house or two the week before the wedding, perhaps part of the week leading up to the wedding, or perhaps just the weekend of the wedding itself. So many options.

Part of what I need, though, is to find out who, exactly, is interested in going in on this with me? Here's who we have so far who is definitely interested. Let me know if you want to be added! The more people we have, the cheaper the cost.
  1. me (duh)
  2. Chris (duh)
  3. Somer (duh)
  4. Bert English
  5. Alissa English
  6. Matt Witting
  7. Katie Witting
Is there anyone else out there interested? If so, please let me know, so I know how large of a house or how many houses (one for bride and friends vs. one for groom and friends vs. one house for everyone) we should book.

As for what's out there, here are a few options we've come across!

Mount Welby: Middleburg, Virginia (20 minutes from Oatlands)

$750/night or $3,950/week
5 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths
Sleeps 10-12
Historic Home Built in 1823
63-Acre Estate
Mountain Views
Meadows, Ponds, and Babbling Brook

Milltown Farm: Middleburg, Virginia (20 minutes from Oatlands)

$439/night or $2400/week
4 bedrooms (sleeps 8-10)
Cathedral ceilings
Raised stone fireplace
Outdoor patios
Smoke house out building
Peaceful garden surroundings
Outside patio fireplace
Private Pub Room
Fireplace--rental includes firewood

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dance Lessons: On the Search

So, we've started searching for a dance studio to begin our lessons in January!! I was thinking we'd begin with basic ballroom and movement in a class setting, and then, once we've finalized our first dance tune with the band, we'd move to private lessons, where an instructor could fine tune our steps and choreograph a specific piece for us. This way, we'll have our general dance steps covered as well as a customized dance for our first presentation.

This sounds like a good plan, and I know we could use the practice!

Here are a few dance studios in the area that I think would be most helpful to us. Please let me know if you, or anyone you know, has other ideas or suggestions!

The Wedding Dance Specialists, Arlington, Virginia

The Dance Factory, Arlington, Virginia

Dance Studio Lioudmila, Alexandria, Virginia

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vintage Presses As Table Numbers!!

Somer, you are a genius. Check out all the cool vintage press letters available on Etsy's website!

Reception Decor Inspiration: Rustic, Rustic, Rustic

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reception Decor Thoughts and Logistics

My vision is starting to come together, so I thought I'd jot down my new loves and thoughts. There are a LOT of unknowns, but we're getting there.

Tables and Chairs
  • 7 10-person tables for the Carriage House--3 on each side, 1 in front of the side exit door
  • 1 smaller round table for the cake, to be displayed in the middle of the room
  • Four taller bistro tables for perimeter of "dance hall" portion of Carriage House. I was thinking folks could set a drink down, if they wanted. Two could go on one side, two on the other. These will require decoration and linens.
  • Another idea: If not bistro tables, then rocking chairs around the perimeter would be a blast. Cracker Barrel has some AWESOME chairs.
  • 1 guest book table--for the "dance hall" portion of the house. The typewriter, photos, etc. will go here. We may not need to rent one necessarily, especially if we could use one of the existing wood side tables already in the House. Need to scope this out, next time we're there.
  • Chairs? In love with parchment colored chairs, run down, paint chipped. I have no idea where to find these. This is probably unrealistic, so I'd consider brown/wooden slated chairs. Need to check out Pretty Settings website.
Cleaning Out the Carriage House (need to confirm this with Katherine)
  • Remove all green shades in both dining and dance rooms. Or, if not possible, ensure that all of them are pulled up.
  • Remove central rug in the dining area. It's a floor rug--pale blue and ratty. It's gotta go!
  • Remove photos and paintings hanging on left wall of the dance hall.
  • Remove brochure stand and table (if possible) in dance hall.
  • Remove all boxes and brown folding table standing behind wooden bar in dance hall
  • Remove TV in far right corner of dance hall.
  • Things that can stay: mirror on right wall, some paintings (will need to review this again), bar on right-hand side.
  • Not to worry about: green trim around perimeter of both rooms, green trim around base of four posts in dining area, green carpet in dining area where tables will go, green carpet in front entrance of dance hall.
Table Decor, Accessories
  • Glass jam jar in the center of all tables. Perhaps two? Twine bow around each.
  • Jars filled with white hydrangea, white peonies, light green mum/daisy heads, white alstromeria, green berries, green herb plant.
  • Like the idea of napkins loosely gathered with a fresh flower or dead, fallen leaf.
  • Tea candle votives with brown fall leaves cemented inside, against the glass, for each table--see Martha Stewart picture.
  • Love the idea of little pies/tarts in small pie boxes as favors for guests, wrapped in box or brown paper bag material, tied with twine or matching ribbon.
  • Love the idea of having a rusty, antique address number to designate the number of the table--bronze, black, still undecided.
  • Love the idea of having a miniature menu on each plate.
  • Unknowns: type of plates, glasses, silverware, color of linens and tablecloths.
Dining Area Decor
  • Dead tree branches, forked, secured to each of the four beams. Covered in warm lights. Still working out those details
  • Four rustic lanterns hanging from each hook of the four beams.
  • Rustic, wooden sign saying "Wedding Supper" to secure over the gold plated "Meeting Room" sign on the door between dining area and dance hall.
  • Unknowns: what else should go in here?
Dance Hall Decor
  • Twine, clothesline fastened over the guest book table, complete with clothespins holding Polaroid pictures of Chris and me. Vintage Polaroid camera available for guests to take pictures, too, and clothespin to the twine.
  • Guest book table placement? Unknown.
  • Guest book table will hold typerwriter, paper, for guests to sign.
  • Musicians will stand/be on the inside of the white carriage rail
  • Flower chains for carriage rail?
  • Flower chains and lights between hanging ceiling lanterns? Need to think on this more.
  • Hanging ceiling lanterns lit up? Can we do this?
  • Ask Katherine about keeping front entrance doors open for cool breeze?
Cake, Cake Table
  • Cake look and feel unknown. Want a three-tier cake, though. With some kind of ribbon wrapped around the base of each tier. I love that look. And prefer round to square. Beyond that, I have no idea at this point. I want it to coordinate with the greens and whites though.
  • I love the idea of the cake plate being supported by old antique door knobs. I have a Martha Stewart Picture
  • The cake table should have candle votives.
  • Small lanterns and electric tea candles for each guest, to hold as a send-off outdoors, after the reception. This would make for such a lovely photo after the reception, especially since we can't use sparklers.
  • Paper bag luminaries with electric tea lights to light the path from Carriage House to cocktail area. It will be dark after the cocktail area at 7 p.m. I'd like a path to illuminate between the two.
  • Personalized Chris & Ally cigars for guests after dinner.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Never Too Early to Think About Gift Registering!

We are slowly moving into the gift registry stage, and our ideas are few at this point. But our eyes grow big whenever we go to these stores listed below, so there's a start!

Let us know if you have any suggestions as to where to register for household fixtures, furniture, bedding, appliances, and anything else in that general area of setting up house. Here's where we may begin our gift selections:
  • World Market
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Target
  • Pottery Barn
  • Anthropologie

Monday, November 3, 2008

Staying on Top of Alice's Appointments

When did life get so busy!? Lots coming up in the month of November. I've posted a link to "Alice's Upcoming Appointments" in the right-hand side of the blog, but have a link here as well, for any who are interested! It keeps me sane, and sane is good I say.

Swanky Boutique: Georgetown's Hitched!

This is the most adorable bridal boutique ever, and I can't wait to go. Hitched Salon, located right in the heart of Georgetown, has a host of gorgeous gowns. Somer, thank you for sending this my way!

They are closed on Sunday and Mondays, so I'm hoping to make a Friday afternoon appointment (this Friday possibly), since I work 15 minutes away and could go in the mid afternoon. If not Friday, then it will have to wait until next Saturday. I'll call tomorrow!!! Stay tuned.

Alice is excited.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vintage Jars!

In the name of creative brainstorming, I went ahead and purchased four vintage glass jars from Etsy (a website I completely adore and found per courtesy of Somer) for the purposes of testing out different materials and color ideas. These four Mason jars were a great deal, so I thought I'd go ahead and buy them!

Few strands to brainstorm about: clear jars, twine, green and white flowers, and how these all work together in the Carriage House.

Let me know your thoughts!

Leg Three of Bridal Gown Hunting

So, I have only been to two boutiques since the beginning of my wedding wonderland journey. Jeannette's was simply lovely and I adored the two Atelier Aimme gowns I tried on, and as for Hannelore's, while I was less impressed with the consultants on staff, I simply adored the Anne Barge and Pronovios dresses

However, I need to broaden my horizons, and a few more boutiques are in order. I'd like to go to White Swan (per recommendation of Jen and mom), the boutique in Rockville (I believe?) that Somer recommended (Somer, what is the name of that place? it begins with an "H"?), and the Amsale store located up in Baltimore (Jen, let me know a good time to come up! We can make a day of it).

I have next Monday off from work (Veteran's Day), so I think I'm going to hop over to White Swan in Vienna, just off Maple Street, and see what I can find. Happy hunting!

Autumnal Recipes

We're off to the RSVP open house tasting on Thursday November 6th to sample a few dishes and wedding cakes.

RSVP recently sent us a lovely proposal, autumnal-themed, and while we're excited, we're thinking about additional fall-ish possibilities for the appetizer portion of the evening during the 6:00 cocktail hour.

A few we've found on the Recipe Girl website:
  • Apple Cheese Spread, served on pointed toast triangles
  • Cranberry Brie Bites
  • Maple-Beer Smoked Sausages
  • Butternut Squash Spread, served on cheese croutons
  • Cranberry Crab Filo Bites
Any other ideas for autumn-y finger food? Send our way!!!