9 minute read

Union Street Public House


Set in the heart of historic Old Town, the beautifully restored 1790s warehouse that Union Street Public House (USPH) calls home is one whose charm holds sway over the many guests who frequent its dining spaces—and especially those who book the restaurant for their weddings. “We’ve had a number of couples who have gotten married here who had their first date here or got engaged here, so there is a sentimental connection,” says Event Specialist Cheryl Connors.

Open since 1986, USPH boasts Old Town’s only whiskey bar and an exceptional menu of American cuisine crafted with a Southern twist. For events, Executive Chef Chuck Wheeler coordinates with the event staff and the happy couple to create personalized menus including everything from butlered hors d'oeuvres to entrees to dessert. “Our guests are drawn to featured seasonal items—and, of course, all things crab-related,” Connors notes.

Offering a number of spaces depending on the size of the wedding party, USPH can host gatherings ranging from 20 to 150 guests. “Micro weddings, which have been popular for the past few years, work well in the Grill Room on the second floor, which has space for a wedding ceremony that then transitions into the reception space with a dance floor,” says Connors. “It’s also unique as it overlooks historic Union Street and is the largest and most spacious room in the building, comfortably accommodating 125 guests with the added feature of a full-service bar, which is perfect for offering beverage service throughout the day and evening.”

Food and location may both be instrumental in their success as an event space, but so too is their experience. “Our event staff has been working special events of all types for many years,” Connors says. “From the initial contact the couple makes to express interest in having us host their event, we are timely with our responses and attentive throughout the process to ensure they have an enjoyable, relaxing day and a great experience.”

121 S UNION ST, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314 • (703) 548-1785



Contact Cheryl Connors, Event Specialist, to plan your event today. events@unionstreetpublichouse.com Michelle is a Virginia wedding photographer serving DC, Northern Virginia, and worldwide. She values inclusion & authenticity, and photographs couples and their families in a genuine and beautiful way.

michellejonesphoto.com 571 - 721 - 1444 michellejonesphoto



Merriam-Webster defines boudoir as “a woman's dressing room, bedroom or private sitting room.” The word boudoir conjures thoughts of intimacy, sensuality, femininity and mystery. It is not uncommon these days for a woman to gift her partner boudoir images, allowing her to offer a glimpse into an uninhibited side not often seen.

Boudoir, in terms of photography style, creates sensual, intimate and sometimes erotic images that highlight the beauty of women. Most people expect sexy poses in lingerie or in the nude. While this is not necessarily inaccurate, boudoir is about so much more. What most women may not realize is they will also walk out with a sense of confidence, empowerment and accomplishment. Boudoir has now progressed into a new genre called “empowerment photography." Over the past decade, women across the DMV have taken the power of boudoir and used it to express themselves, recognize their strength and gain confidence from putting their inner and outer beauty on display. Artistry in Stafford, Virginia. Marlayne Larsen, the owner of the studio, is a military spouse who has photographed thousands of clients over 11 years. She saw the growth of this empowerment photography trend and switched to boudoir about six years ago. Marlayne recognizes that feeling empowered takes on a different meaning to different women – from sexy and carefree to smart and in control. For example, one woman might feel empowered putting on business attire and sitting in an office that has her name and title on a plaque, while another woman might feel empowered when in exercise gear and riding a Peloton bike, running or lifting weights.


Marlayne tells clients that her commitment to them is to capture tasteful, beautiful and timeless photos. “My intent is always to ensure that every woman is proud of who they are and how they look. My clients leave their sessions empowered, wondering why they were ever nervous, and asking when they can book another session.”

A session with Marlayne includes being greeted upon arrival at her inhome studio and offered a beverage of choice. The clients will then spend the next hour or so in a chair, where Marlayne gets to know them on a more personal level while the client gets all glammed up by her colleague, Amanda, a professional hair and makeup artist. The studio also offers an extensive array of clothing options (with over a thousand pieces ranging in sizes from XS-5XL) and different rooms and scenes for any taste.

“As women, we are so hard on ourselves and try to live up to completely unrealistic expectations that make us think we are less than perfect,” says Marlayne. “After each photoshoot, I make sure my clients not only see that they are perfect, but also feel it.”

The end results are photographs that capture the essence, beauty and confidence of every woman she works with. This is when boudoir photography turns into a gift of self-love, learning to be vulnerable and reaping the rewards from it. The boudoir experience ends up being about what makes every woman amazing.


Schedule today at marlaynelarsenboudoirartistry.com

When I Look Into Your Eyes


story by liesel schmidt

There’s a saying that eyes are the windows to your soul, and there’s no day more important than your wedding to show what’s in your heart. So the eyes? Those need to dazzle—both for your intended as well as for those wedding pics that will last forever. Thankfully, we’ve got some experts on-hand to give us some inside tips on how to make sure your eyes are as sparklingly stunning as that dress you’re rocking.

Brows are one thing that sets the eyes off, and as queen of all things brow, Simoné Fennell of Good Brows believes that brows should get their fair share of attention before the big day. “Grow your brows out for four to six weeks prior to your appointment with a brow artist to give them plenty of hair to work with," she advises. “Then, have your brows shaped two weeks prior to your wedding date. This ensures that, if you have a skin reaction, you'll have enough time for your skin to clear up before your big day. Finally, during your makeup trial, bring pictures of how you want your brows to look so your makeup artist can have a visual understanding of what you want.”

A visual and master brow artist, Fennell has over 11 years of experience in the industry, opening Good Brows to the community of Old Town Alexandria in 2018. “Brows are approached as artwork at Good Brows, and every client leaves with a beautiful piece of original art on their brows,” she says. Good Brows specializes in permanent makeup services (powder ombre brow tattoo), professional brow wax and permanent makeup training. For Zhibek “Jiba” Elemanova of DMV Beauty Clinic, eyes are incredibly important to highlight—so much so that she’s built a company around them. “The best way to make your eyes stand out on your wedding day is

to look natural,” she says. “Permanent makeup is one way to achieve that since regular makeup can wear off throughout the course of your day, while permanent makeup does not. Darker, fuller brows make eyes stand out with a combination of lash lift or classic lash extensions—which will also give you a youthful look.”

Since March of 2020, DMV Beauty Clinic specializes in upscale beauty treatments including permanent makeup, lash lifts, brow lamination, microblading, brow architecture and lashes in addition to being the only business in Old Town Alexandria providing the Aquarelle lip blushing procedure to give lips a natural pink color and refined shape. “We are all about high-quality standards and offering innovative techniques that provide better results for our clients,” says Elemanova. “We highly customize everything we do for each client based on their desires and unique features.”

Owner of Wink Lash Art, Bianca Briscan naturally sees the importance of eyes looking their best on your wedding day. For Briscan, lashes are the best way to achieve a look you’ll love. “Eyelash extensions offer a natural, but glamourous and gorgeous look that enhances the eyes' natural features and wonder,” she says. “Mascara runs, smears and smudges—especially on white napkins, white sleeves and, of course, on your beautiful white wedding gown. A great solution is natural-looking eyelash extensions that make your eyes look big, bold, bright and amazing! Lash extensions frame your eyes, enhancing them even more and making them gorgeous. What better time for bigger and brighter eyes than on your wedding day?”

Boasting a beautician’s license acquired in Italy, Briscan was inspired by the art around her, taking that love of art and creativity to launch Wink Lash Art. Offering products imported from Europe and an uncompromising standard of excellence, Wink is a collaborative team in constant evolution with over 65 years of collective talent and management. “We care about our guests from start to finish and always go beyond expectations,” says Briscan. “Eye treatments are unique to each client, and we ensure that uniqueness is recognized each time you return to Wink Lash Art. Our guests’ experiences with us are special.”

As you plan your big day, make sure you give your eyes the attention they deserve—you’ll love what you see, and those eyes will make you sparkle even more than you already do.