Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.
Prior to the pandemic, Troy had envisioned proposing to Lauren at their favorite vineyard in Napa Valley. Not wanting to wait until that was feasible, he instead popped the question at their home in Washington, D.C. during the 2020 lockdown—it was more important to ask the question than where the question was being asked.
Between the pandemic and their work schedules, Lauren and Troy had no intention of tying the knot in 2020. Early the following year, the couple began planning for a fall wedding. Troy picked the date (10.21.2021), which he liked because of the numerical sequence, and Lauren liked because she knew how busy the wedding industry was, and how getting married during the week (on a Thursday) would allow them to work with all of the vendors they really wanted.
Initially, Troy wanted a big wedding and celebration (which Lauren attributes to his Southern routes). Lauren, from the D.C. area, wanted to head to the courthouse. Their compromise was a stylish and intimate elopement wedding, a bit modern in style but still with many aspects of a traditional wedding.
Picking a wedding planner was a no-brainer: Lauren met Kaitlin Przezdziecki from Cheers Darling Events at a spin class years prior, and they became good friends. When Kaitlin started her company, Lauren was there rooting her on and admiring her talents. Plus Kaitlin was Lauren’s first friend to meet Troy, and the one that helped him pick out an engagement ring.
“Seriously, we are so lucky to have a close friend who plans beautiful weddings and events for a living.” —Lauren, bride
Wedding Venue & Caterer
Not set on any particular type of venue, Lauren and Troy looked at a few places, but after Kaitlin sent them the link to a suite at a new D.C. hotel, they were immediately interested in seeing it. It was modern and vibrant, but also maintained the interesting architecture and aspects from its time as a bank. They booked the Riggs Suite at the Riggs Washington DC for their tiny nuptials, which had a big bonus: the restaurant where they had their first date is directly across the street, so they were able to incorporate that landmark into their day. The couple made a weekend of their elopement and stayed at the hotel, enjoying the on-site restaurant and bar offerings as well.
“Kaitlin played a big part in encouraging us to explore options outside of the courthouse and I am so glad she did! I don’t feel like we missed out on the wedding planning experience. We made many of the same decisions that a couple having a big wedding would make, but maybe with a little less stress because we didn’t have to worry about seating arrangements or the newest Covid protocols for venues. We made investments in things that were the most important to us, the final product was more than we could’ve imagined, and we have no regrets.
The Riggs Suite was a blank slate but with some flair. The space was perfect for our tiny wedding and gave us flexibility to expand if we changed our minds and decided to invite immediate family and close friends. Ultimately, we stuck with something for just the two of us and safely FaceTimed our parents to watch us exchange vows. We would definitely go back to the Riggs if we have a bigger celebration in the future, which was also part of the decision-making process and something we wanted.” —Lauren, bride
Troy’s non-negotiable was hiring an excellent photographer who knew how to capture all shades of Black skin. Kaitlin recommended several wedding photographers, but they knew they wanted to work with Nikki Daskalakis as soon as they saw her portfolio.
“Her photos look like actual art that we want hanging in our home for years to come.” —Lauren, bride
“While I love good details, elopements free up so much time for intimate moments—a photographer's dream. The perks of an elopement like Lauren and Troy's include a relaxed timeline with no one but one another to please—just enjoying the whole reason for the day.” —Nikki Daskalakis, photographer
Wedding Hair and Makeup
Nikki Fraser of Beauty ‘n the Bride is a Cheers Darling Events’ favorite and even one of their go-to’s when the team needs their own makeup done. So when it came to suggesting someone to a client who was also a friend, Nikki was at the top of the list. Amanda Motte from The Manevixen Boutique Inc. has been Lauren’s hair stylist for years, so that was another easy decision. Lauren trusted her implicitly. Together, Lauren’s glam team had the best energy, keeping her calm and happy while they prepped her for her big day. As for Troy, he went to get a fresh trim at his trusted barber, Lesley Bryant of The Lady Clipper Barber Shop, the day prior.
Next, the couple needed someone to make their marriage official. They brought in Leora Willis of With This Ring I Thee Wedd to orchestrate their ceremony, which was attended virtually by the couple’s parents.
While Lauren and Troy never had the opportunity to meet Kory Garvis of Springvale Floral in person, they were thrilled to work with someone who was as excited as they were to break some wedding “norms” and have no regrets about doing things their own way.
“Florals were really important to me. I took a couple of virtual flower arranging classes in 2020 and really fell in love with it. It’s not something I wanted to [nor do I have the skills to] do on my own. Finding someone who could create something that both fit and helped transform the space was a priority. I felt like Kory was inside my head when I saw her proposal. I never would’ve guessed that my wedding color palette would be purple and lavender, but it really all just fell together so perfectly and reignited my love for the color, which was my absolute favorite until I was 17. Ultimately, I was drawn to one specific bouquet on my Pinterest board and we really leaned into the style and color from there. She really nailed it and it was even more incredible in real life.” —Lauren, bride
“Lauren was drawn to cool tones and iridescence—ahead of the Very Peri Pantone of the year! Taking that general color palette, we expanded from there to create a floral-focused design for their ceremony and dinner. The Riggs Suite at the Riggs Hotel was perfect, as it was interesting to look at [not a plain, white room] and took well to the colors we were designing with. The super-tall mantle was ‘screaming’ for a gorgeous, lush floral installation and Springvale delivered!” —Kaitlin, planner/designer
From the start, one of the couple’s non-negotiables was a cake from Buttercream Bakeshop. Lauren and Troy have a personal relationship with Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac and Cake Decorator Alexandra Mudry-Till (two of the women behind the bakery), and it’s where they’ve gotten many special occasion cakes over the years. Their wedding day wouldn’t be complete without one of their confections.
Wedding Rentals & Calligrapher
To finish off the look of the elopement wedding, and to ensure the bride and groom had a really special table for their dinner, specialty rental items were curated from a trio of companies. A beautiful linen from BBJ Linen was topped with tabletop pieces from Maison de Carine and Something Vintage, which was then rounded out with tapered candles and a stunning floral centerpiece. As a memento of their first married dinner and to play up the color palette, calligrapher Jessica McSweeney sourced an iridescent paper to write the menu on.
“Having the right vendor team is important for any wedding or event, but it felt even more so for an elopement. We didn’t have a bridal party or parents or siblings present to have our backs and make sure things were in order, or keep us company throughout the day. I’m so grateful to Kaitlin and the vendor team for making it such a special, comfortable day. It really couldn’t have gone more smoothly. Also, we had vendors who eloped themselves and really understood and appreciated the magic of such an intimate affair.” —Lauren, bride