How to Balance Wedding Planning, Home Buying and Moving

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Andrew Welch


Whether you’re newly engaged or soon-to-be-married, planning your wedding and buying your first home together are two of the biggest milestones you will experience together as a couple. These life events help mould your family unit. You’ll bond over shared experiences as you plan your happy future together.


If you’re buying your first home while also planning your nuptials, you might be wondering how you’ll balance everything. You might wonder how to afford a home downpayment and a moving crew while also paying for your wedding. Perhaps you’ll wonder how you’ll make time for date nights with so much on your plates.


Take a deep breath, give each other a warm hug, and know that it is possible to plan a wedding, purchase a home, and successfully move without losing your sanity. If you’re a soon-to-be-married couple looking to avoid feeling overwhelmed, here’s some advice:


Prioritize your marriage. 


Whether this is your first marriage or not, prioritize your marriage above all else. Schedule time alone as a couple each week for a date night or bonding time. Remember, the reason you’re doing all of this is because you love each other and want to build a future together.


Stick to a budget. 


Weddings and home buying are both expensive. Once you’re ready to buy a home, it will probably be the biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. Meanwhile, the average couple spends nearly $40,000 on their wedding, almost the median household income American families make in an entire year. If elopement isn’t your style, don’t fret; there are still ways you can budget for your home, your move, and your dream wedding.


To keep costs low, create a budgeting spreadsheet and keep track of your monthly income versus expenses. Aim to spend less than 28% of your monthly income on your mortgage, especially since you’re also planning a wedding. Determine a wedding budget that is reasonable for both your salaries, given your other financial commitments and your time frame.


Finding the right location


When it comes to picking the perfect wedding venue or figuring out where you want to live, location is key. Discuss what you both want and try to find something that has qualities from both lists. 


To save money, many first time home buyers choose to purchase foreclosed or bank-owned homes. These houses often sell for 15-20% less than other homes, but you’ll want to make sure you’re actually getting a good deal. Is the neighborhood safe? Is there a chance you might lose out to a “cash only” bidder? Is the home in good shape or is it a money pit? These are just a few of the things to consider before purchasing a home.


Financing your dream home


Once you’ve found the perfect place, you’ll need to get financed. Prior to working with lenders, it’s important to know your credit scores. Familiarize yourselves with the interest rates available for certain types of home loans. If you get pre-approved, act fast; pre-approvals expire in a few months.


Furnishing your dream home


Your home is an investment. Purchase home goods to last for years to come, even if they require more money upfront. It’s worth it in the long run. 


Strapped for cash? Add home decor items to your wedding registry. Chances are, your friends and family would love to buy you some of these items as wedding gifts or housewarming presents.


DIY some things - but not everything.


Although DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects are an excellent way to save money on wedding decor, home decor, moving day, and home renovations, don’t get carried away. Your time is valuable, especially when you’re planning for both a wedding and the purchase of your first home together as a couple. 


With everything on your plate, consider hiring a professional moving crew. If you can’t afford to pay a pro, see if you have experienced friends and family members who might be willing to help.


In conclusion…


Planning a wedding, purchasing a home, and moving into your first home together as a couple are exciting times in your life. Above all else, remember that your reason for doing this is because you love each other. Keep your relationship the number one priority and everything else will fall into place.

Written by: Aimee Lyons

Why you should consider renting your wedding day jewelry and where to look

Jewelry can be the punch line of your bridal look, or a simple way to add a little glitz. In either case, chances are you don’t have bridal accessories hanging around in your jewelry box. You’ll probably be looking to buy a few items before your big day. But that perfect hairpiece or bracelet can be hard to find. Even if you do fall in love, quality bridal jewelry can be super expensive and not necessarily something you’ll use again regularly. Our tip for brides looking to save money without sacrificing their wow-factor is to consider renting their wedding day jewelry and accessories.

Extra pointers:

  • Rent jewelry (or even a designer dress!) for your rehearsal dinner as well.
  • Visit the site's showroom and try on accessories beforehand.
  • Look out for whether insurance is included in the rental price. Worrying about damaging your jewelry isn't what you want to be thinking about on your big day! 

Finding that “something borrowed” might be easier than you think with these websites:


For the classically elegant bride


Image via


For the chic & thrifty bride


For the bride & groom package

Image via


For the vintage or designer bride

Image via


For the bride who wants one place to rent all her bridal accessories

Author: Abigail Kamen (Instagram: @abigailkamen, Web:

Managing Your Social Media Hair and Makeup Expectations

Pinterest and similar websites can be extremely helpful when looking for a wedding day hair or makeup look, and we love when brides are excited about doing their research. But the web and social media can also be extremely…plentiful. There are soo many looks to choose from, so its important to remember to manage your expectations about what will suit you. Here's a short guide to help you refine your wedding beauty search.


Hair Color  

We’ve found that a lot of the hairstyles featured on Pinterest are done on models with super highlighted hair. This allows the stylist to play around with dimension and get that sun-kissed, layered look. Most often, this look will appear on women with blonde or light hair. Make sure you pick a look that, well, ~highlights~ the great things about your hair.

Here are some examples of what we mean, ranging from extremely highlighted and dimensional to one rich, smooth color:


Sources: Pinterest/MOD Wedding, Pinterest/Fab Mood, Pinterest/Fab Mood, Pinterest/Mon Cheri Bridals

From left to right:

Ultra dimensional   

Subtle ombré or balayage

Subtle highlights  

One color



Haircut Type

If your haircut is generally un-layered, it’s good to remember that it’ll be tough to get that textured, boho look that’s popular on social media. If this is the look you want, you may want to consider extensions. Otherwise, a classic bun or something with loose curls would probably work perfectly for you!

Here's what we mean:

Sources: Pinterest/ShopStyle, Pinterest/, Pinterest/Style and Designs, Pinterest/Tabatha Hall

From left to right:

Layered and piece-y

Long layers

Front layers only

No layers



Makeup Amount

Are you a super glam woman who wants a big false lash and your highlight to blind? Or, do you usually wear a barely there look, and just choose to subtly play up your features? Women have different levels of comfort when it comes to the amount of makeup they wear, and our advice before coming in for your trial is to know yours.

If you can’t really tell where you fall on the spectrum of ultra natural to ultra dramatic, we recommend thinking about what your go-to going out look usually is. Ask yourself, how heavy is my foundation when I go to a black tie event? What about to work? If you never wear foundation, that answers that!

Here are some examples. Of course, there a ton of color schemes and styles to choose from, this is just to give you an idea about levels of makeup heaviness.

Sources: Pinterest/MakeUpLove, Pinterest/Wedding Style Today, Pinterest/It’s All About Makeups, Pinterest/

From left to right:

Barely there


Full and pigmented

Glammed up


We hope this helps!



Author: Abigail Kamen (Instagram: @abigailkamen, Web:

Bacheloretting on a Budget, by guest blogger Aimee Lyons!

How to Plan a Bachelorette Party While Sticking to a Budget



Photo Credit: yakovlevmax0, Pixabay


Planning (and attending) the bachelorette party is one of the best parts of being in a wedding. However, when you’ve already splurged on the bridesmaid’s dress and shoes, and you are setting aside money for travel expenses to attend the wedding (not to mention paying for a wedding gift), the financial hit of being in a wedding can get expensive. To help keep costs down, look for ways to throw a fun and memorable bachelorette party while sticking to a budget.


Create a Budget


The bridesmaids, and most often the maid of honor, are typically the ones responsible for planning and throwing the bachelorette party, and they should set a budget that’s comfortable for everyone. Just make sure to communicate with everyone involved. It is better to have an initial discussion about setting a budget than to have a talk when it is too late. You don’t want to risk causing financial hardship on any bridesmaids.


Create a shared spreadsheet and break the budget into categories. Include a row for the venue, transportation, food, decorations, and other extras. Separate items by what you absolutely need versus what would be nice to have. Set a budget on which everyone can agree for each category, and if you need to remove items from the budget, start with things from the nice-to-have list. Each person can pay for a category, or everyone can split the total cost.


Location and Transportation


Have realistic expectations for a location. Plane tickets are a huge cost to consider. To save money, stay in your own city and choose a nice hotel suite with a central location, then you can spend the night hitting up the local clubs and bars. If you want to venture farther than walking distance, opt for an Uber or a cab rather than renting a limo.


For the more adventurous bride, surprise her with a dance class, whitewater rafting, or a visit to an amusement park. There may even be a fun concert nearby during the weekend of the party. Many places offer group rates or discounts, and you can always look online for coupons.


Leaving the city is not out of the question just because you are on a budget. Consider taking a day trip to a beach, casino, or winery. Everyone can carpool to cut down on traveling expenses. Use sites like HomeAway to find a house nearby to rent, which are typically less expensive than a hotel.


If you do opt to travel, don’t get caught up in the bustle of party and wedding planning and forget to set up a pet sitter for your animals and to make sure you’ve taken care of home security before leaving for your trip. Nothing is worse than coming back from a great time to find your home ransacked by burglars!


Tap Into Your Creative Side


A great way to save money is to DIY things like decorations, food, and favors. For example, instead of going to a bakery for desserts, make homemade sugar cookies in fun shapes. Not only is DIYing less expensive, but you will also create lasting memories with the other bridesmaids in the process.


While you can certainly skip party favors, if you are set on providing them, that doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg. Provide drinking vessels and party favors combined by offering cute mason jar glasses. A set of eight costs less than $30, and they feature lids and straws. Add some customization with chalkboard labels and you’re all set!


You really can throw a fun and memorable bachelorette party without breaking the bank. Creating a budget before you start planning is a crucial first step. Also, remember to check for discounts and get creative, but try to not get caught up in the money and stress of planning. Remember that the bachelorette party is all about having fun and celebrating with the bride.


Author: Aimee Lyons (

Now offering lashes by Kelly!

We are thrilled to announce that we have added permanent eyelash extensions to our list of services. Just another thing to scratch off your pre-wedding To-Do list. Kelly McLaughlin comes to us with a wealth of knowledge. She is a graduate of Graham Webb Academy, and has had continuous training by some of the industry's most respected artists and brands including Mario Dedivanovic, Sir John, MAC, Temptu, and Lancome Cosmetics. 

Kelly is available to customize the perfect lash extensions for you, in the comfort of your home, with a wide range of scheduling possibilities. The most common bit of feedback we receive in regards to lashes is, "I don't have to wear much makeup, I wake up feeling beautiful". It's the perfect low maintenance accessory to not have to pack for your honeymoon! Go ahead, treat yourself! For pricing info, click here.



How to get the most out of your bridal trial.


I hear these five little words from brides all too often, "I've had a few trials". Let's face it, no one has the time or money to waste on trials that yield nothing but disappointment. Here are a few tips that I think will help you get the most out of your hair and makeup trial. 

Prep! Scour the internet, Pinterest, or gather magazine clippings of styles you love. Having a few gives the artist an idea of your overall wedding vibe. The more information he/she has, the better. If you find amazing up do's that have been photographed from the back, be sure to find some inspiration for how you'd like to see the front too. Since one person's idea of loose, natural, or smokey can be much different than the next person's, pictures are worth a thousand words.  If you've had the unfortunate experience of a trial gone bad- bring photos! Seeing and hearing what you didn't like is just as valuable as hearing what you do like.

Be honest and speak up! The very definition of the word trial is to experiment, test, or try out. If you don't love what you are seeing, speak up. Little things- like loosening a curl, changing the way the hair is parted, or some teasing can dramatically change a style. With makeup, starting off with less and building is the safest bet. Remember- brows, lashes, liquid liner, and lip color all change a face dramatically. If you aren't used to these things, now is a great time to try, but ease in to it. Have a look at yourself before lashes, try liquid on one eye, smokey on the other, and switch up the look with different lips until it feels just right. Trying it all at once may overwhelm you. Often times clients feel uneasy giving feedback in fear of hurting a stylists feelings, but we are merely trying to interpret your wishes, and actually appreciate the feedback. 

Be honest, part 2. This means with yourself. Pinterest has all of us swooning over flawless, pore- less skin, perfectly tousled beach waves, and up do's that have 3x the hair that most of us have. When you pick a style, be honest with yourself. If you have baby fine hair that doesn't hold a curl, and you're getting married in July- beach waves will only look great for about 32 seconds. If you need some extra umph, clip in extensions are great to bring to your trial to try! You can find great human hair clip-ins at most Sally's Beauty supply, and those are great for all. Consider things like skin type and texture, eye shape, and skin undertones when looking for makeup inspiration. 

The skinny on airbrush. Disclaimer- it's not for everyone! Some gals love it, some don't. When we hear the word "airbrush" we automatically think flawless, retouched skin, and overall perfection. Really it's just another way to apply foundation, and there are pros and cons just like anything else. Great airbrush candidates: Summer brides, brides with oily skin, and brides who think they'll be crying, sweating, or dancing the night away. Airbrush has lasting power! Brides who might not love airbrush: those with dry skin, as it tends to cling to those areas, brides with noticeable peach fuzz or facial hair, as it will cling to that also, and lastly brides who want dewey skin. Airbrush tends to be more of a matte finish.

Kill two birds with one stone. Trials are a great way to get dolled up for dress shopping, a dress fitting, or a night on the town with your soon-to-be Mr. Bring your most honest friend, and make it a party. I always suggest wearing white.

Have fun & enjoy! 



A peek at a hair trial (0r 20)

Confession: I love doing hair!!! I'll admit, I haven't always been able to say that. But these days thick hair, thin hair, curly hair, limp hair, long hair, short hair....give it all to me! I love the challenge of taming hair, making it look fuller, or brainstorming a look that ties in perfectly with a brides dress and style. Here is a small compilation of some styles we've done recently. Enjoy!

To book your trial, please email us directly, or give us a call at 202-445-1464. 

Intimate Vow renewal in the Woods.

There's just something so magical about celebrating quietly, and intimately. This beautiful renewal of vows, set in the woods is a perfect mix of femininity and masculinity. For Virginia's look, we went with a mix of deep matte colors of bronze and purple on the eye, which was perfectly paired with soft blush tones on the face and lip. Her hair was curled in to soft, natural waves, and adorned with a gorgeous floral wreath. Just beautiful!

Vendor Credits: 

























A Bohemian Wedding Affair!

Loved loved being a part of this Boho dream, featured on Green Wedding Shoes! Relaxed, funky, bright, and full of love and laughs. Vendor credits below: 








photography: The Kama Photography // coordination + styling: Claire Duran Weddings & Events // florals: Taffy Floral // hair: Georgetown Bride // makeup: Valerie Hammer Make Up Artistry // groom’s sweater: Lucky Brand // groomsmen sweaters: Abercrombie // bride’s gown: Johanna Johnson //  bridesmaids dresses: Marshalls // cake: Buttercream Bakeshop // gift baskets: Marigold and Grey // stationery: Honeyscope Modern Paper // calligraphy: Sarah Bohl Designs // ceremony backdrop: Designs by Oochay Floral and Event Design // bridal shop: Hitched Salon // silk ribbon: Adorn Company // jewelry: Bloom // beer wood totes: Cody Lee Woodworking // hand painted coasters: Earth Art Decor

Waterfront Wedding Venue

From the beautiful purple, lavender and ivory florals to the adorable dessert table filled with tasty treats, this inspirational shoot is trés dreamy. As you shall soon see, each detail was inspired and corresponds beautifully to the estates historic charm. All held and the beautiful Penderyn of Maryland estate. Source: The Wedding Chicks

Photographers: Joe Foley Photography

Flowers: Eight Tree Street Floral Design

Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Sarah Bohl Designs

Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Honey Scope Modern Paper

Cakes & Catering: Buttercream Bakeshop

Cakes & Catering: Get Plated

Brides Fashion: Carine's Bridal Atelier

Beauty: Georgetown Bride

Favors & Details: Welcome to My Wedding

Shooting Location & Officiants: Penderyn of Maryland

Grooms Fashion: Bethesda Custom Tailors

Winter Wedding Bliss

You know what we love? A good story. Unexpected things. Like when a snowy day mixes with fresh spring colors, and two cultures collide. We love it when we see a sparkle in someone's eye, and work with a team of people filled with passion. Basically, we love love. This day was all of those things. Cheers to Colleen and Onyeka...may they enjoy many years of happiness together. Here's a peek at the prelude to that.

For Colleen's hair and makeup, we went with a romantic side swept, half up half down hairstyle. This style is great for ladies with longer, medium to thick hair, who feel most comfortable with their hair down, but want it out of the way. For Colleen, we added a beautiful Swarovski Crystal clip to coordinate with the embellishment on her dress and add some interest. Her makeup was a neutral palette of chocolates & blush tones. We went for a defined eye, and a flesh toned lip to keep her looking fresh and natural. 

Venue: Glenview Mansion

Wedding Coordinator: Claire Duran Weddings & Events

Photography: The Kama Photography

Hair & Makeup: Georgetown Bride

Rentals: Select Event Group

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

Catering: Get Plated

Paper Goods: Honey Scope Paper

Cookies: Sweet Naomi Cookies

Eloping? Make it stylish & memorable!

We had so much fun being a part of Cameron and Keith's event, styled by Claire Duran. The venue, The Loft at 600F is an amazing space where modern meets industrial. The event was shot by Clarence Chan, and all of the other fantastic details are credited below. Hair by Melissa of Georgetown Bride.

Classic Wedding Beauty

Cheers to this beautiful union that is featured today on District Weddings. Katie and Kevin were married in June at Army Navy Country Club. Katie went with a very clean, classic makeup look with a soft smokey eye and natural pink lip. Her hair was a soft romantic updo with braided detailing. Here are some of the amazing photos taken by photographer, Stephanie Yonce. Enjoy!


June 7, 2014 | Arlington, VA

Photographer: Stephanie Yonce Photography | Venue + Catering: Army Navy Country Club | Event Planners: HJ Planners | Florals: Edge Flowers | Dress Designer: Paloma Blanc | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: J. Crew | Hair + Makeup Artist: Melissa Schwartz Jones | Groom’s Attire: Allure andVineyard Vines | Ceremony Location: St. Mary Catholic Church | Entertainment: Bialek’s Music – Palm Strings Quartet + DJ Dan Goldman | Cake: Fluffy Thoughts | Rentals: Party Rentals, Ltd |


Engagement Hair & Makeup

I knew the moment I met Jessica that I was going to love working with her. Having the privilege of being a part of so many wonderful celebrations of love is truly a blessing. I shed a tear while watching the slideshow of their wedding day, and can't wait to share. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I also had the pleasure of doing her hair and makeup for their engagement session, which was shot at Hillcrest Farms. Jessica is an accomplished equestrian, so this was a very special shoot. Here are a few of those photos by K Thompson Photography



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