A Borderstan Bride’s Guide to the Big Day: Catering, Gifts, Flowers

by Borderstan.com May 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,454 1 Comment


"Borderstan""Wedding Celebration"

Catering, gifts and all you need to know for that special day. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Ashley Lusk. Check out her blog, Metropoetrylis. Find her on Twitter @arlusk or email her.

I’m getting married. Soon. In Borderstan. Because I love this neighborhood and I wanted to have a hyper-local wedding. And my gift to you, to this entire city, is to show you how almost your whole wedding can happen here. In case you missed it, my first piece was on the venue (see A Borderstan Bride’s Guide to the Big Day: First Step, Venue.)

As the countdown to our DC wedding moves into the territory of mere days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how happy I am to have worked with so many local vendors. Nearly all of our wedding is being sourced locally–from the favors, to the food, to even the bridesmaids gifts!


We knew instantly that we wanted to support Fresh Start Catering, the social enterprise project of DC Central Kitchen. Not only is the food delicious and locally sourced, but we also felt good about working with an organization that literally provides a fresh start for its culinary graduates.

If we hadn’t decided on Fresh Start, we would have asked Amit and Raj over at Spilled Milk Catering to be part of our big day. Friends, their food is legit; if you’re getting married in the District and want a fabulously bold dining experience, these are your guys. I still dream about their spicy tuna in wonton cones and lamb “lollypops.”

Bakeries and Sweets

Which brings me to dessert. If you’ve been to the 14th and U Street Farmer’s Market you already know Jenna from Whisked. What you may not know is that Jenna makes a mean wedding cake too. We picked three flavors to test with Jenna and although her carrot cake and red velvet were perfectly moist, we ultimately decided on an elegant chocolate ganache.

Our wedding favors symbolized one of my favorite things about DC: breakfast. We scooped coffee from Filter Coffeehouse into mini-paper bags and will pair that with a lovely lemon blueberry scone from our new friends at BakeHouse; guests now have instant breakfast or a really great midnight snack. Although BakeHouse will be opening their storefront at 14th and T later this fall, they’re presently taking catering orders and I’m excited to share that menu with you here.

Favors and Gifts

We used Etsy Weddings extensively–always turning on the local filters first to see if we could locate a vendor in the community. It wasn’t DC, but I ended up finding personalized handmade clutches for my bridesmaids from Emily Barron Gifts in Baltimore.

Flowers and Arrangements

One of the few things we are not getting locally are our flowers, but I had a great opportunity to chat with some of the area florists and am happy to share. I called Flowers on Fourteenth when our initial florist backed out at the last minute. Lisa asked me to send her pictures of the bouquets I had in mind and got back to me within hours with an estimate on cost. By DC standards, it was a great deal.

If you’re on a budget, consider visiting Whole Foods on P Street–you can walk through their floral department, make selections from their loose flowers and work with the team there to make your special day bouquets. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to DIY your bouquets, Trader Joe’s has a great selection of flowers from which to choose.

The one thing I won’t share publicly is the brilliant seamstress I discovered during this journey. If you’re serious about wanting to have your dress altered correctly and are willing to get in a car and drive, email me at [email protected] and I’ll give you the info of this coveted woman.

I’m really proud that our wedding will feature so many local flavors and in the end, it actually meant less work for me. We met with all of our vendors directly, and it allowed me to form relationships with people in my neighborhood that will last long after the last piece of wedding cake is gone.

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