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Romantic Washington D.C. Meridian House Proposal

Grooms, take note: this is how you plan and pull off the perfect proposal. It has it all: an absolutely gorgeous ring, family and friends in on the secret, and took place where the Bride-to-be has always dreamed of getting married. This handsome groom thought of everything and thanks to Kimberly Florence Photography, who captured it all, you can share in the newly-engaged couple’s bliss here.

From The Groom…Whew! A lot of excitement and nervousness. I began planning the big day about one-and-a-half months ago. Of course, I started with the ring. My recommendation to all guys who are planning on getting engaged is drop subtle hints about rings and she will give you hints or idea. I think it’s very important to buy a ring that she will love and have no problem wearing in public. Being that Adeline is big into event/wedding planning, she has seen or heard about these amazing engagements, so I wanted to be able to impress her and have her look back and say “Wow! My engagement was amazing.” Once the ring had been purchased and was being made I decided to start the conversation with a few of her closest friends and family to see if they could be a part of her special day. Once I had her friends and family on track, I had to begin planning all other aspects: venue, flowers and clothing for her. I would recommend to all future grooms planning an engagement to make sure you give yourself and others plenty of time to prepare—it may seem like plenty of time but it creeps up on you fast.

My whole idea of the engagement was a mini scavenger hunt which led her to her friends and family along the way. After Adeline left for work that morning, I began the day by picking up one of her friends that was secretly staying at her mom’s house who had flown in the day before. We picked up some small flowers and snacks for all the girls who would be staying at her mom’s house to help Adeline get ready. I wrote out three cue cards/hints of the scavenger hunt and gave them to the individuals who would be a part of the day. Her first card instructed her to go to a nail salon so she could have her nails done. (Guys make sure her nails are done before you propose.) One of her friends was waiting at the nail salon for her where they got her nails done and the second cue card was given to her, which instructed her to go to her moms house where more of her friends were waiting. At her mom’s house Adeline had three dresses to choose from that I had purchased ahead of time. Once Adeline had hair and makeup done by friends, she was given her third cue card where she was picked up by a black car Uber and driven to me at the venue. I chose the Meridian house venue because this is where Adeline has always dreamed of being married.

Photography: Kimberly Florence Photography | Floral Design: Conklyn's Florist | Dress: ASOS | Jewelry: Diamonds Direct | Venue: Meridian International Center

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Organic + Ethereal Dumbarton Oaks Engagement Session

If you’ve ever wondered what love looks like, you’re going to find out below. As I was looking at the beautiful photos from Sally Pinera, I caught myself smiling because this gorgeous DC couple is obviously head-over-heels in love for each other. It’s painted on their faces with sweet smiles and evident in their body language’s closeness and comfort. Fall in love with love all over again here.

From Sally PineraThis engagement session was deeply inspired by natural tones and gorgeous organic feel. We hoped for a whimsical and effortless environment. And in the a very busy city, Dumbarton Oaks is a gem!

From the Bride…Working with Sally and Robert was everything we hoped for. Sally’s warm, genuine nature made both Bobby and I feel comfortable and relaxed from the start–allowing us to smile, laugh, and interact naturally–which shows through in the quality and sincerity of the photographs. Her artistic vision perfectly coincided with our goals for the shoot and together we were able to create something magical. Sally and Robert were an absolute pleasure to work with and we are already looking forward to spending more time with them this fall for our wedding!

Photography: Sally Pinera | Garden Park: Dumbarton Oaks | Gowns: Fame And Partners

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SMP Blogger Bride: Makeup Artist Questions with Carl Ray

One of the best parts about being engaged is planning the big day. I remember being overwhelmed with ideas and questions for myself, but before my fiancé and I selected a date, decided on a budget and picked a venue, I was sure to book one vendor that ranked much higher on my priority list at the time—my bridal makeup artist. I mean I am a beauty blogger after all!

There are a bevy of great makeup artists, but my go-to bridal makeup professional is Carl Ray (you may have seen his work on the cover of Vogue or Glamour). You see, outside of his outstanding bridal artistry career, Carl Ray is personal makeup artist to First Lady Michelle Obama and I got the opportunity to ask the man behind the beauty to dish on all things bridal and FLOTUS while he primped me for my engagement shoot. Read on for the answers to all your beauty questions!

Why should a bride have professional makeup applied on their wedding day?

CR: Hiring a professional makeup artist is essential just like any other vendor for your wedding because their knowledge and expertise will have you flawless and camera ready. Also, it will help subside your wedding day jitters.

How far in advance should brides book their makeup artist?

CR: Brides should start the search for a good makeup artist when they get engaged and have a wedding date locked in. Personally, I can book up to a year in advance.

What should brides look for when searching for a makeup artist for their big day? What types of questions should they ask?

CR: Brides should look at a makeup artist’s portfolio or website to get a feel for their aesthetic. It’s great if the artist comes highly recommended. Find out how many years of experience the artist has in bridal makeup and look up reviews online!

Why is scheduling a bridal makeup trial so important?

CR: Bridal trials are important for both the artist and the bride. During the trial, the bride should express their thoughts and feelings on the inspiration of the ‘look’ she is going for on her wedding day. Brides can see and feel how they will look on their wedding day while the artist can get to know you and your personality. Together you can both tweak the look to exactly what you envision.

How can SMP brides prep for the big day skincare wise?

CR: To start, lightly exfoliate your skin one or two times a week. Drink plenty of water, exercise and make sure to get your Z’s. To keep your skin in tip top condition, I recommend using a creamy cleanser, SPF, face and eye cream or serum appropriate for your skin type.

What should brides avoid doing/wearing before/on the day of their wedding?

CR: Brides should avoid getting deep cleansing facials so close to their wedding day because you run the risk of breakouts.

What products should a bride keep on-hand for touch-ups after the ceremony?

CR: Carry a pressed powder or blotting papers for touch-ups throughout the day. Also, keep a lip color handy since you will be eating, drinking and kissing!

What’s it like being THE makeup artist to First Lady Michelle Obama? How do you balance a busy schedule between working with FLOTUS and being a go-to bridal makeup guru?

CR: It’s an honor to be FLOTUS’ personal makeup artist. FLOTUS is rarely busy or traveling on weekends and I know my White House schedule at least three months in advance.

Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty | Makeup: Carl Ray | Hair: Anna Fazio | Venue: Private Residence | Blogger Bride: Kara Manos | Like A Boss Print: Lucy Darling Shop | Robe: Plum Pretty Sugar

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US National Arboretum Engagement Session

With its sandstone Corinthian columns, forestland filled with flowering dogwood and azaleas, and hidden away trellises, the United States National Arboretum may be the most romantic place to have your engagement session. Just take a look at these gorgeous photos from Jacqui Cole Photography for the proof—plus more pretty in the full gallery right here!


From Jacqui Cole PhotographyI love when my couples choose to have their engagement session in a meaningful location. Sarah Beth and Josh will be hosting their 2016 wedding in the brides’ home town of Tampa, FL at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club. However, they both currently live and reside in DC. Since I love to travel for my clients, I was thrilled to be able to capture their engagement in the city where their story begins. We spent most of the morning hours at the US National Arboretum which was the perfect romantic backdrop! I couldn’t be more excited to capture Sarah Beth and Josh’s wedding day next March!

From the Bride-to-be… Josh and I met during our first year of law school in Washington, DC in the Spring of 2011. After graduating and settling into jobs in DC, Josh proposed in March while we were on vacation in London. On the last night of our trip, we went to the Shard for one final toast to a great vacation, and he took me by total surprise when he dropped down on one knee! We had already planned to fly to Tampa (my hometown) the next weekend, and Josh’s parents were also visiting there from the Midwest, so we were so lucky to be able to celebrate with both of our families just a few days later.

We decided to have our wedding where I grew up in Tampa, but DC has become our home, so we wanted to have our engagement photos taken here. On the morning Jacqui came up to DC for our shoot, we woke up early to catch the sunrise and started taking photos on the waterfront near where we currently live. We then drove to the National Arboretum, which is one of our favorite places in DC. Josh first took me there for a surprise picnic a few years ago, and we love visiting whenever we have the chance. We used the old columns from the Capitol building and the beautiful gardens of the Arboretum as a backdrop for our photos. We were a little worried about waking up so early, but it was completely worth it to get the best light and avoid crowds (which is nearly impossible in DC). Now we just can’t wait until next March for our wedding!

Photography: Jacqui Cole Photography | Dress: BCBG | Venue: National Arboretum

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Surprise DC Picnic Proposal

I don’t think I’ve ever met a proposal quite as cute as this one. With Cheers Darling Events at his side to plan every lovely detail, this Groom-to-be was determined to surprise his sweet, beautiful Bride and that he did—picnic style, complete with a couple of calligraphy-adorned bottles of bubbly by Laura Hooper, a cake from Buttercream Bakeshop and of course, Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography there to capture it all. It’s just the dose of love we need to start off another pretty week and it’s all right here in the gallery!

From Cheers Darling EventsChristina is hard to surprise, so when Ryan reached out to organize a perfect proposal, we knew we would have to be really sneaky. Having met while both working in Washington, DC and spending many early mornings running the National Mall together, Ryan knew the Mall would be a perfect spot to propose to Christina. To set the day up, Ryan recruited a friend to take Christina to get her hair and make up down in the afternoon in preparation for what she thought was a friends birthday party. Ryan mentioned to us that Christina loved anything personalized, so we recruited Laura Hooper Calligraphy to pen her favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on a bottle of bubbly and wrapped her favorite flowers in quote covered kraft paper. Playing off the patriotic feel of the National Mall, we created a picnic using pieces of red, white and blue in a subtle way. Ryan arrived at the National Mall with Christina on the pretense they were snapping some photos before meeting their friends at the party. As they made their way down the Mall, the picnic came into view and Christina started to question Ryan and just then, he dropped down on one knee and ask her to marry him! We captured the whole thing thanks to Lisa from Abby Jiu Photography. After some newly engaged photos of the couple, they sat down for a picnic together, soaking up the good news and the beautiful DC sunsets!

Photography: Lisa Ziesing For Abby Jiu Photography | Catering: Ridgewells Catering | Hair And Makeup: Carola Hair And Make Up | Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Venue: National Mall | Bride's Outfit: Cusp | Crates: Design Foundry | Desserts: Buttercream Bakeshop | Groom's Jacket, Shirt, And Pocket Square: Hugh And Crye | Planning And Design: Cheers Darling Events | Vases, Lanterns, Serving Ware, Picnic Baskets, Glassware, Flatwa: Mintwood Home / Mintwood Home Registry

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Washington DC Cherry Blossom Elopement Inspiration

No photos capture the glory of cherry blossoms quite as beautifully as these right here. Jenna Henderson snapped away as the pretty petals swirled about, and combined with the intimate romance of an early morning elopement, this shoot is sure to make your heart beat a bit faster. Designs in Paper’s talent and Modern Bridal Studio’s magic are on full display and these are the sorts of pics I’ll never ever tire of.

From Jenna HendersonClassic, timeless, and elegant. These are the words that come to mind for this shoot. The inspiration came from both the beautiful blooming cherry trees of Washington, DC as well as the classy city itself.

Our model wore a stunning BHLDN dress, full of dreamy movement with an heirloom feel. Paired with her groom in a sharp black tux, these images feel like they could have come from any time over the last century. Adding to the timeless feel of this shoot was the film, including some black and white film shot with and old camera belonging to the bride’s mother.

The location was completely magical, with the cherry trees in peak bloom. We shot just as the sun was coming up, before the crowds came out. A light wind stirred falling blossoms, making them feel like confetti as we wandered around the tidal basin.

This shoot was styled as an elopement, as if this pair were just quietly and intimately married on the firm foundation of the marble steps of our nation’s capitol.

Photography: Jenna Henderson | Floral Design: One Sweet Day in May | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Invitations: Designs in Paper | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Hair And Make-Up: Modern Bridal Studio

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