Ceremony, ceremony, ceremony. Thinking about our actual wedding day ceremony gives me slight anxiety. I’m so excited to be exchanging vows with the love of my life, and heck, that’s the most important part of the day! So why all the dramatics? Unknown to my friends and family, I am a very private, quiet person. But I’m not an introvert. Kinda strange.
My entire life, I’ve been a competitive dancer, cheerleader, piano player. I’m very used to being in the spotlight. But on the day of the wedding it will be all eyes on me. This terrifies me. I’m painfully goofy, and I laugh and giggle out of embarrassment or to disguise my shyness or being uncomfortable.
Now the problem that I will have with our wedding day is the fact that not only will we have our 350 guests attending, but like I mentioned before, Mr. W’s father is a well known pastor in the city of Detroit. He has friends that are featured on television shows, and he is pretty involved in his church’s COGIC (Church of God in Christ) denomination across the US.
During our venue search, we toured A LOT of places in the DC DMV area. One of those places was the Washington Navy Yard, which is right across the street from where we used to live (and where FMIL still resides).
On Friday, we had the opportunity to attend a Strawberries and Champagne Charity Gala there, and I was glad to get a chance to see the venue in action. Here is my score for the event, if you’re interested in the Washington Navy Yard for your wedding.
Here are my comments on Venue, Dress, Food, and Overall Experience on a scale of 1-10. If you have seen the show Four Weddings on TLC, you will recognize my categories and grading scale.
Venue – 7
The Washington Navy Yard has a lot of history. Placed perfectly on the water of the Potomac River in Washington, DC, the Washington Navy Yard is a perfect mix of military tradition and modern urban swag.
Image via Examiner.com
The Catering and Conference Center sits on the edge of the base, with a gazebo that faces the water. Unfortunately, I had to deduct points from the venue because there are MANY guidelines and restrictions to allow civilians onto the base. You would have to have a military sponsor to even rent the facility, and then you would have to collect the names, driver’s license numbers, and vehicle information of every guest to submit to the guard at the gate. Then, once you get past all the security at the gate, there are A LOT of twists and turns on the base to get from the gate to the Catering Center. I would suggest making cool signs with arrows (and maybe balloons) to direct all the vehicles.
The inside is great, though. The entire place can seat over 300 guests, but it can also be sectioned into smaller rooms if you are having a more intimate wedding (or want one room for the ceremony and one for the reception). Unfortunately, this could be a drawback, as they do book more than one event in an evening if you aren’t planning to buy out the entire venue. At the event we attended on Friday, we were in one half of the full ballroom, and we could hear ALL the music from the party next door. Our smooth jazz dinner music was easily overpowered by sounds of the line dances and dance jams. But when dinner ended and we transitioned into our own dance music, I no longer noticed.
Dress – N/A
Since this wasn’t a wedding, there was no bridal dress to score, but if you’re looking for a venue that lends itself to formal attire, this place is for you. This is definitely the cocktail, formal, or black tie optional event location.
Mr. A and I got a chance to get dressed up! / Personal photo
Food – 4
I’m not going to lie, the food was a little disappointing. When we arrived there was a tray of fruit and cheese. Then for dinner we had our choice of London broil or apple almond chicken; I had the former and Mr. A had the latter. The beef was lukewarm and tough, but the vegetables and potatoes were well seasoned and tasty. Mr. A said his chicken was pretty good, and he agreed the sides were the highlight of the plate. Dessert consisted of a chocolate fountain with globs of chocolate and a vanilla sheet cake that looked beautiful, but tasted a little dry.
Overall Experience – 7
Despite the disappointing food and the distracting dance music next door, I really enjoyed myself! The room was decorated nicely in red and white, and the DJ played some GREAT line dancing music.
Look who also attended! It’s BM Motivated!
Have you been able to attend any events at venues that you looked at for your wedding? Did you reconsider your decision?
When everyone was done eating and the food had been cleared away it was time to head out onto the dance floor for our first dance. Billie and I danced to our song, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol.
More than one male colleague warned Mr. Funnel Cake during our engagement that “everything would change” and that marriage would ruin all the good in our relationship. For a while FC was legitimately worried that the relationship he was enjoying so much would be lost if we married. I assured him that this was crazy and that nothing would change overnight.
(Photo by Mihai Calin, from our Swiss TTD Shoot)
As we celebrated our first civil anniversary, Mr. Funnel Cake happily declared that things had not changed since we got married and that we were still the same couple as we were before. But the further we get away from our wedding, the more things have started to change.
OK, time to get into the details of all the parts and pieces of our invitation suite. Today we’ll focus on the outside bits.
Pseudo-calligraphy. Some of you might remember that I had a hard time finding the perfect calligraphy pen to address our envelopes. I ended up favoring the Marvy Calligraphy 2.0 pens. It was not too thick but not too thin, and the ink came out a nice dark black. I recommend getting a few pens because after a while the marker tip wears down and the lines aren’t as crisp anymore.
I actually learned traditional calligraphy way back in the fifth grade. I don’t know how or why it ended up being part of my elementary school’s curriculum, but it was (we learned by using two pencils rubber banded together). Even though I could recall how calligraphy was supposed to be done, it took a verrrrry long time to do it the right way. Because patience is not one of my virtues, I did it the half-right way. Or rather, I just tried to make it look good. My pseudo-calligraphy ended up being a hybrid of my normal handwriting with some exaggerated letters, but I think the calligraphy pen helped in making it look a little bit more impressive than it really was.
I have tattoos. A total of three. Two that are visible during the summer, one at anytime my sleeves are up, and all three when wearing a bathing or birthday suit.
Before taking my engagement pictures, I didn’t know if I wanted to cover them with Dermablend, or have the photographer Photoshop them out of the pictures. But after getting the photos back, they weren’t really that noticeable. I decided I MIGHT go the Dermablend route. I just keep going back and fourth with my decision
The cross and roses on my shoulder
MissTravelbug shares a sweet photo from her engagement shoot.
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Inviting the bridal party was one of the first things things we did after our engagement. Mr. Crab took a straightforward approach and asked each of the members of his party in person. I also asked my brother and my man of honor in person, but for the others I had something else up my sleeve. After our 30th birthday discussions about an engagement ring, I discovered wedding blogs. I came across this post on DIY “Be My Maid” boxes, and I knew I wanted to put together something crafty for my ‘maids’ invitations. Bridesmaid boxes are a popular bridal party invitation choice; in fact, Miss Coral and Miss Angelfish recently posted about the boxes they made for their ‘maids. I was inspired to embrace the spirit but went a bit of a different route. I was fortunate enough to find these fantastic sparkle clutches at Target, and I knew they would be the perfect vessel for my invitations.
We started our invitations before we had secured the venue so we didn’t have any specific details worked out (including the date!), but I included the information I had so my nearest and dearest could get the feel for what we had planned. I also printed a few of my favorite pictures depicting our friendships throughout the years, and I wrote a handwritten invitation for each one. When they opened the clutch, this is what they saw: