Shelly Pate

How to Plan an Intimate Wedding at the National Arboretum & Navy Yard

Couple holds hands at Navy Yard wedding

It’s true. There are amazing locations around the globe for adventure weddings. What if the perfect indoor and outdoor adventure for your intimate wedding was waiting for you right in your hometown? Luckily for those of us living in the DC Metro area, there are so many great places to plan a gorgeous, intimate wedding such as the the National Arboretum and Navy Yard.

Getting Married at the National Arboretum

Brooke and Adrian knew they wanted a small wedding that incorporated both city and nature even before they started wedding planning. So, that’s exactly what they did. Exchanging your vows in a location that you as a couple are connected to makes your memories even more special. Adrian proposed to Brooke at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC and that’s where they decided their wedding should be.

The morning of their big day started sweet and unrushed. They wanted artistic photos that captured every moment, from the butterflies, to their intimate first look.

Brooke made almost everything for their wedding, including the invites! Above all, I loved the rustic yet luxe palette of nudes and golds she chose. She blew me away with her attention to every detail, right down to the ribbons!

Her gorgeous florals were supplied by Ashes to Oaks, and her dress was created for her by artist Yasmine Layani. Brooke had Instagram to thank for finding all of her amazing vendors! Instagram is a goldmine of great inspiration and vendors for the newly engaged!

Couple holds hands in field at National Arboretum wedding

Biggest Piece of Advice for an Intimate Wedding

The ceremony was emotional (there were a few tears shed behind the camera, not going to lie) as Brooke walked down the aisle to “I Get to Love You by Ruelle.” An intimate wedding in the beautiful outdoor setting of the National Arboretum with 20 of their loved ones watching was absolutely picturesque.

Their vows were just perfect as they married under a beautiful autumn sky with puffy clouds, and the strings of a violinist playing.

If I could give one piece of advice to couples who plan an intimate wedding it’s this: make the day your own. Give yourself time to do what you want. Brooke and Adrian did just that! Once we left their National Arboretum ceremony, Brooke and Adrian were calm and a little giddy as we took some photos around the Navy Yard. Following such happiness was the perfect combo for emotional and intimate wedding photos!

Have a Navy Yard Reception at Your Favorite Brewery

I did a happy dance when Brook and Adrian first told me of their plans to combine their boho ceremony with an industrial reception at Bluejacket in Navy Yard. I adore this brewery and restaurant so shooting their intimate wedding there made so many of my venue dreams come true!

The guests mingled inside and out, enjoying some tasty craft brew in the cocktail-style reception, which overlooked the main floor of the brewery. If craft beer is your thing, then this is a great way to incorporate a modern industrial feel.

Yeah, YOU can have it all: a reception at your favorite urban restaurant and a magical ceremony in the great outdoors. Washington, DC offers the perfect mix of nature and city life to make any intimate wedding an adventure! Here are my tips on how to make your own adventure in Washington, DC!

Couple stands at National Arboretum columns for wedding

The Team

Hotel | Residence Inn Capitol Hill/Navy Yard
The Dress | Yasmine Layani
Flowers | Ash to Oak Floristry
Hair | Sarah Richards
Ceremony Venue | The National Arboretum
Arboretum Planner | MTG Events
Ceremony Violinist | Sage String Quartet
Reception Venue | Blue Jacket Brewery
Cake | Catherine George Cakes
Videographer | The Pair Visuals
Wedding Planner | Nicole at Sirpillas Soirees

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