Rehearsal Dinner & Welcome Party!

Our wedding weekend was nothing short of the best weekend of our lives! We had 150 of our closest family and friends fly into D.C. for the weekend and our guests stayed at the beautiful Willard Intercontinental and JW Marriott D.C.. After 11 months of planning (during which we also moved cross-country, started new positions, bought a house, and renovated/moved in—PHEW!), it was so fun to see all of our plans come to life!

The wedding party, families, and Matt and me had our wedding ceremony rehearsal on Friday afternoon. I wore a strapless, lace dress that I got at Nordstroms, with pink ankle-tied shoes from Aldo. My earrings were from Anne Taylor. I loved my dress–almost corseted at the top (with zipper in back) and then flowy on the bottom–and it was midi-length which was fun! I tried on SO many dresses, and settled on this one b/c it was comfortable!–August in D.C. is extremely hot, so this one felt flowy and nice.

For D.C. Brides–I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on rehearsal dinner makeup, but still wanted to get it done by a professional–so a family friend recommended I go to Illusions Salon in Shirlington to get my makeup done (Lindon did mine). They use Jane Iredale makeup, which I love–and I also ended up buying a matte lipstick & gloss by JI while there, which I wore (and loved) the next day for our wedding.

Our wedding ceremony, which I put together, was fairly quick. My dad’s friend timed our ceremony the next day at our wedding, and said it took all of 17 minutes! We had our friend John officiate our wedding, which was such a special touch–he did an amazing job!

While I don’t have too many photos from our Rehearsal Dinner night…these are the few I have:

My best friends from college were a big part of my wedding! Elaine was a bridesmaid, and Christyn & Katie recited poems during the service!
The boys (sorry this is so dark):

After the wedding ceremony rehearsal, we all headed back to D.C. to meet up with the bridal parties’ significant others at our rehearsal dinner venue–Woodward Table. We rented their private room and had an amazing three-course dinner with awesome Southern-themed passed appetizers– and probably one too many cocktails/glasses of wine! Our best friends toasted us and said a little bit about us, which was so so special–probably one of my favorite parts of the whole crazy weekend! Your wedding weekend goes by faster than the blink of an eye–it was so nice to slow down for a moment with our absolute closest.
After dinner, we headed to the 1331 Lounge (in the JW Marriott where many of our guests were staying) for a welcome party with the rest of our wedding guests! We had a private area of the bar rented out (with this private room) and the space was perfect! We had about 75 of our guests come, and it was awesome to see our people before the craziness of the big day! I really recommend doing a Welcome Party if you can budget it in–it gives you extra time to truly talk with your guests.

My Dad and I practicing our dad-daughter dance hah! 
While I probably went to bed a little too late on Friday night–and drank a little too much and ate a little too little…it was SUCH a fun night that kicked off the best weekend ever! I’ll share bachelorette party & wedding photos next!