congratulations, mark and christine!

Mark and Christine were married on Friday, 15 October 2010, in a beautiful and very personal celebration at the Thomas Birkby House in Leesburg, Virginia.  The indecisive weather in the days leading up to the wedding had us a bit concerned about the outdoor ceremony, but shortly before the rehearsal on Thursday evening the skies cleared and, for the most part, the weather stayed October perfect!

Floral designer Holly Chapple and her team did a great job bringing charm and additional color to the already beautiful venue.  The balconies of the house were decorated with swagged garlands of greenery,

Balcony garlands

and the floral arrangements brought in intense shades of the autumn color that makes October such a popular wedding month in Northern Virginia.

Altar flowers

Program table flowers

See that pretty orange and white fabric gathered around the flowers?  The bride chose several fabrics from designer Kate Spain's Fandango collection and had them made into accent squares that we draped over and around tables throughout the house, courtyard, and reception tent.  What a great way to add color and personality!  And smart, too:  Even taking into account the cost of having the squares sewn, these gorgeous cottons cost less than additional rented linens would have, and they're pieces the bride and her family can reuse over the years.  That's especially neat now that there are special wedding memories associated with each pattern.

Here's one of the coordinating fabrics used on the buffet table at the reception.  Gorgeous!  And see that leafy garland?  Holly Chapple and her team had a bit left over after decorating the balconies, so they spent some time making the buffet table pretty too.  Nice little lagniappe!

Buffet table

The guest tables were just as pretty, with casual arrangements of orange flowers and fresh greenery in mason jars.  See that perfect dahlia?  Locally grown by Don's Dahlias!

Guest table

We finished out the tables with votive candles and a special Pretty Entertaining touch, mini chalkboard table numbers.  We created these little chalkboards especially for Christine and Mark and hand-lettered them onsite to prevent smudges in transit.  These little cuties, by the way, are among our custom designs that are available for purchase.  We can customize them to coordinate with any wedding colors, and they provide a fun and unique accent wherever you decide to use them.

Also fun and unique were these little favor boxes that Christine and her sister folded for each of their guests.  It looks like paper in this picture, but it's actually more of that great Kate Spain fabric.  They starched the fabric, cut it out, and folded it into these adorable little origami boxes, each of which held a sweet surprise.  These favor boxes were a bit hit with the guests, and they added yet more personalized color and pattern to the guest tables.

Wedding favor

While all of the vendors were scurrying around behind the scenes getting things set up, Christine and her bridal party were busy upstairs getting ready for the celebration.  One of the many great things about the Birkby House is the spacious suites for the wedding party.  There are two suites, both of which are roomy and beautifully furnished, and they're separated well enough to prevent soon-to-be-weds from accidentally bumping into one another before the wedding.

Christine's dress was really just stunning, and I love this shot that photographer Amir West captured:

Wedding dress

Mark, of course, thought she was gorgeous too!  Here they are in the foyer of the Birkby House, right after their first look at one another.

First look

Christine carried a lovely bouquet of autumn-toned orange roses and callas accented with green hypericum and beautifully cuffed with aspidastra.

Bridal bouquet

Each bridesmaid chose her own style of chocolate brown dress, which Christine brought together with matching pashminas in a glowing autumny red-orange.  The maids' bouquets were compact arrangements of roses, hydrangea, button mums, and hypericum, all in shades of green.  Like the bride's bouquet, each was cuffed with striking bicolored aspidastra leaves.

Bridesmaid bouquet

Right before the wedding ceremony was set to begin, banks of grey clouds rolled over the Birkby House and there were even a few fat drops of rain that fell.  We could see the edge of the storm in the distance, though, and it soon blew over, leaving us with crystal blue skies and slanting afternoon light.  Just right for Christine and Mark's courtyard ceremony!

Wedding ceremony

After the ceremony, the team from BasiKneads Catering quickly flipped the courtyard for the cocktail hour.  Guests enjoyed drinks and hors d'ouevres as they mingled, then it was time to head over to the tent for the reception.

The Birkby House's tent is permanently erected on the back lawn, and it's a really great feature of the property.  You can see it in the background in the photo above.  It was easily large enough to accommodate Christine and Mark's reception of around 75 guests, and can actually fit even more than that comfortably.  In our case the weather turned chilly after sunset, but with a couple of small heaters going in the tent the guests were all toasty warm and having a great time.  A tent setup like this one would add several thousand dollars to your wedding costs if you were to rent it yourself; at the Birkby House, it's ready and waiting for you.

Okay, so back to that bit about the toasty warm guests having a great time.  See for yourself!  Christine and Mark brought in one of their favorite bands from Philadelphia, Holt 45, who provided seriously excellent music and had everyone up and dancing all night long.  The band also provided some quieter acoustic music before the wedding ceremony began.  They were a blast to work with, and a big hit with the guests.  They're available for travel to the DC area, so keep them in mind if you're looking for terrific live music for your own celebration.

Holt 45


Get down

Sadly, even the best of parties must come to an end, but this one didn't just wind down; it ended with a bang.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't a bang exactly, but it did involve fireworks!  Each guest lit up a long wedding sparkler and we created a beautiful, starry exit for the newlyweds.

Sparkler exit

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Mark and Christine, we wish you every blessing as you travel through life together.  It was a joy working with you and getting to know you and your friends and family.

One more beautiful photo before I close this out:



Big thank yous to all of the vendors who worked so hard to make Christine and Mark's wedding so unforgettable:

Wedding Pies (yup, they had pies instead of cake, and they were deeeeelicious) Mom's Apple Pie Company

The Band Holt 45

Catering Basikneads Catering

Floral Design Holly Heider Chapple

Photography Amir West of Photo Fanatic

Ceremony and Reception Venue The Thomas Birkby House