april + may 2017 washington dc area bridal couture events

Happy April, and welcome to our monthly listing of bridal couture events coming up around the Washington, D.C., area! We've searched out events from the area's best bridal shops and we have details about 52 fabulous trunk shows, sample sales, and other events happening in April and May. Wow!

Remember that most of these events are by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead for your reservation. Also, please note that some of the shops listed have more than one location, so be sure you know which one is hosting your event before you head out.

As always, happy shopping! May you meet the dress of your dreams!

trunk shows

sample sales

other events

do vendors really charge more just because it's a wedding?

Yesterday, Today Show contributor Jeff Rossen tackled a question that seems to come up every couple of years on TV news shows and in wedding magazines: Is there a secret wedding tax? That is, do vendors charge more for weddings just because they can, taking advantage of engaged couples in the process?

To answer the question, Mr. Rossen and his producer, Lindsey Bomnin, visited three different vendors while wearing hidden cameras. Mr. Rossen posed as a person planning a five-hour birthday party for 150 guests; Ms. Bomnin posed as an engaged woman planning her five-hour wedding reception for 150 guests. Two of the vendors, the venue (which was also providing in-house catering) and the photographer, offered identical or similar pricing for both events; the third vendor, a DJ, charged more for the wedding. You can watch the video for yourself here.

Shocking on the DJ's part, right? No, not at all, and here's why: Mr. Rossen and Ms. Bomnin asked for two very different things, so they got two very different prices. (I actually was surprised at the photographer's pricing, both because it was so low and because it didn't increase much for the wedding client. I'll get to that in another post.)

Photo by Jennifer Cody of Egomedia Photography, featuring the beautiful Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and awesome DJ Anthony Simpson of myDeejay

Photo by Jennifer Cody of Egomedia Photography, featuring the beautiful Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and awesome DJ Anthony Simpson of myDeejay

If you go shopping for two different things you don't expect to pay the same price for them, right? Of course not. But why should the same amount of time spent with the same number of guests cost more if that event is a wedding? Because there's typically so much more work involved:

Weddings involve a number of events (usually at least three — the ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the reception) all taking place in one day, and they have to flow together seamlessly. There are logistics involved like moving guests from one venue to another, setting the room for one event then resetting it for the next, and making sure deliveries to multiple locations happen accurately and on time. Each of those wedding events also requires its own design work, which involves hours of research and planning. Birthdays typically involve one event: The birthday party, which happens in one location.

Wedding receptions feature a number of what I call subceremonies: Introductions, welcome address, dinner blessing, cake cutting, garter and bouquet tosses, first dances and other special dances, a choreographed exit, and often more. Birthdays involve some of these as well, but typically not as many. Plus, again, birthdays lack a wedding ceremony or anything similar. Making sure each of these subceremonies happens on time and smoothly requires a great deal of behind the scenes planning, plus coordination with the rest of the vendor team. The wedding planner, DJ, photographer, videographer, and catering staff all have to act in concert to be sure the events unfold as planned and are beautifully photographed and filmed, because there's no redo. This amounts to hours of additional planning work before the event even happens.

Photo by Marisa Guzman-Aloia Photography, featuring a private venue in Washington, D.C., and wedding cake by Fancy Cakes by Leslie

Photo by Marisa Guzman-Aloia Photography, featuring a private venue in Washington, D.C., and wedding cake by Fancy Cakes by Leslie

So how does pricing for events work? Do vendors just hike up prices to cover the presumed extra work for weddings? I can't speak for everybody in the wedding industry, of course, but I don't price things that way and I don't know anybody who does.

At Pretty Entertaining, we have starting prices for the wedding services we offer. Those prices are based on the amount of work that constitutes a typical wedding for us. For events that are larger or more complex, however, our fees go up because the amount of work required goes up. And you know what? For events that are unusually small or simple, our fees go down because we know we'll be doing less work for our clients. Fair pricing matters.

We also offer planning services for birthdays and other social events. Our fees for those are typically lower than our wedding planning fees, but the planning fee for an elaborate birthday might well be higher than the fees for some of our simple weddings because, the birthday would require more work than those simple weddings. Again, fair pricing matters.

Photo by Spence Photographics at historic Whitehall Estate in Bluemont, Virginia

Photo by Spence Photographics at historic Whitehall Estate in Bluemont, Virginia

At the end of his piece Mr. Rossen encouraged his viewers to adopt his investigative techniques at home. He suggested that people planning weddings could get price quotes from their chosen vendors, then have a friend call up those same vendors to see if they could get better pricing if they lie and say they're inquiring about a birthday. This part really burns me up because Mr. Rossen is implying that vendors who charge more for weddings than for birthdays must be fleecing their customers, which is simply not true.

Jeff Rossen isn't a wedding professional but I am, so take my advice, not his:

  • Be honest with your wedding vendors if you want the best service and experience.
  • Don't assume that different pricing for different types of events equals vendor dishonesty, because it probably doesn't.
  • If you wonder why something costs what it does, ask about it! We'll be happy to explain. We want you to be happy and confident about all of your wedding decisions.

In short, be honest with your vendors and they'll be honest with you. Share as much accurate information as possible so we can take every detail into account and give you our very best work. That's what you really want, right? And that's we want too. Honest.

registry options for your upcoming wedding

NOTE: Today we're featuring a guest post by the alternative registry experts at Honeyfund, who specialize in helping couples register for the honeymoon of their dreams.

The days of the traditional wedding registry are long past. Sure, traditional registry options still exist and will always play a major role in weddings, but there are a number of alternative registries to consider as well.

Photo by encrier/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by encrier/iStock / Getty Images

Are you dreading the thought of receiving another gravy boat when you already have three of them? Are you afraid that one of your relatives will get you a gift that you do not want or need? With alternative registries, this is no longer a potential problem.

Today, besides the traditional registry option, there are also down payment registries, charity registries, and even honeymoon registries. With so many great options, not only will you have the perfect wedding of your dreams, you'll also receive the ideal gifts based on your specific needs as a couple.

traditional wedding registry

With a traditional registry, the bride and groom often connect with a retail store or website. This registry will help the happy couple easily communicate with wedding guests and let them know their wants and needs. On a typical wedding registry, you'll find some of the following items:

Photo by JB325/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by JB325/iStock / Getty Images
  • bath towels
  • baking sheets
  • silverware
  • crockpot
  • blender
  • frying pan
  • food processor
  • coffeemaker  

As you can see, the traditional registry contains typical household items that a newly married couple will often need and use. This type of registry is beneficial if you've never been married before and this is your first time living with another person as a couple.

honeymoon registry

Many soon-to-be-married couples are now taking advantage of this interesting alternative registry. Instead of getting too many gifts that they do not want or necessarily need, they are asking friends and relatives to make contributions so they can go on the honeymoon of their dreams.

Photo by fototrips/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by fototrips/iStock / Getty Images

Most couples don't have the money to go on their ideal honeymoon, so they are willing to sacrifice traditional gifts and instead receive financial contributions that they can use to take the perfect honeymoon vacation. This is a great trade-off and many newly married couples will tell you that starting a honeymoon registry on honeyfund.com was the best choice they've ever made.

charity registry

A charity registry is very similar to the alternative honeymoon registry with one huge exception. Instead of using the money contributed by your friends and relatives to take a beautiful honeymoon vacation, you are using this money to help others. If you have a cause that you hold dear, this registry is the perfect option in lieu of traditional wedding gifts.

downpayment wedding registry

Photo by Sergey Peterman/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Sergey Peterman/iStock / Getty Images

Now that you are about to get married, are you ready to move into your first home? Do you plan to have kids in the near future? Acquiring the funds for the downpayment on your dream home would certainly be the perfect wedding gift. A downpayment wedding registry is an excellent option for those looking to receive monetary wedding gifts that they can put toward a new home or other major purchase.

future fundraising

After experiencing the benefits of alternative registries — no matter which one you choose — you may decide to participate in other fundraising endeavors later on in your marriage. Plumfund.com is the best zero fee option for your future fundraising efforts, whether you plan to use it for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, or anything else important to you.