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FEATURING LOCAL WEDDING STORIES & THE VIP BOURBON TRAIL OF ALEXANDRIA
MARCH 2021 • 1
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FROM THE PUBLISHER It’s that time again, Alexandria. Wedding season has arrived! Though the past year has forced so many engaged couples to delay or reimagine their special day, they have found so many ways creative ways to celebrate their love and begin their beautiful lives together! In this issue, you will have the opportunity to get to know some of these couples through intimate retellings of how they fell in love, got engaged and tied the knot. Make sure you also explore the wonderful wedding venues and vendors who are experienced in making wedding day dreams come true! As the winter begins to fade away and spring plans to make her grand entrance, we invite you to explore the VIP Alexandria Bourbon Trail on page 76. Support the local restaurants and bartenders on 'the trail' by masking up and stopping by OR ordering a cocktails-to-go! Thank you all for the amazing support you continue to give us. It is always our intention to provide you with inspiring stories of the people who are making big things happen here in Alexandria. O N T H E C OV E R :
A A R O N + A S H TO N H U I E
KELLIE GUNDERMAN P U B L I S H E R , V I P A L E X A N D R I A M AG A Z I N E
FLIP • CLICK • TAP
W H E R E P R I N T + D I G I TA L C O L L I D E
THE WELLNESS ISSUE COMING MAY 2021 Featuring the best hiking trails of Alexandria, local vegan eateries, weekend getaways for mental health & VIProﬁles on Health & Beauty Professionals in and around Alexandria. To share your story, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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MARCH 2021 • 5
PUBLISHER KELLIE GUNDERMAN D I R E C TO R O F O P E R AT I O N S J E A N E T T E WAG E S AC C O U N T E X E C U T I V E S R AC H E L G R G U R I C M A RY H E R B E RT E D I TO R S A N D R E W G AT E S WA R R E N G U N D E R M A N CONTRIBUTING WRITERS SARAH AKRAM A L I S O N M O R O G I E L LO M A R I LY N PAT T E R S O N L I E S E L S C H M I DT P H OTO G R A P H Y S A R A H ATC H E N L AU R E N C AT T S A I M E E C U RT I S R E Y LO P E Z J O N AT H A N T H O R P E B O B B I WAG E S WA N A K H AV I WA K H I S I D O N OVA N W I L D E G R I F F I N V I S I O N P H OTO G R A P H Y I N G R I D A R E L L A N O P H OTO G R A P H Y LOV E , K N OT P H OTO G R A P H Y S A M A N T H A PA R K S P H OTO G R A P H Y
S P E C I A L T H A N K S TO : T H E V I RT U E F E E D & G R A I N FA M I LY, A M Y B I T I C I O F ZOYA' S AT E L I E R , A A R O N & AS H TO N H U I E , J E S S I E C A M P B E L L O F A L M O S T F O R E V E R , J E N N I F E R H E N E L O F AT E L I E R F LO R A L , C H R I S TO P H E R S C H A F E R & C AS E Y R OW E O F C H R I S TO P H E R S C H A F E R C LOT H I E R , C AT H Y B R A D F O R D O F K I N G ' S J E W E L RY A N D, AS A LWAYS , O U R F R I E N D S AT WA LTO N P R E S S , I N C .
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MARCH 2021 • 7
CONTENTS FEATURES 10
P E O P L E YO U S H O U L D K N OW : E M M A Q U I N N
B A R S TO O L S P O RT S : T H E J E S S E M A AS S TO RY
B E T H E G O O D P R OJ E C T: T H E M A R C H A N D FA M I LY
C H A M B E R S P OT L I G H T: A N N H A R B O U R
R E - I M AG I N E + E L E VAT E : C H E F D E C L A N H O R G A N
2 0 2 1 B R I DA L H A I R T R E N D S
WEDDINGS: CHANGED FOREVER
B R I D E S + B O U R B O N : T H E P H OTO S H O OT
B R I DA L B E AU T Y S C H E D U L E BY S A R A H A K A M
W E L L N E S S : M AS K E D B R I D E S A N D G R O O M S
K I N G ' S J E W E L RY: 6 6 Y E A R S O N K I N G S T R E E T
SA LU T E TO S E R V I C E : T H E DAV I D M A RT I N S TO RY
T H E DA N C E O F I N T I M ACY
THE VIP ALEXANDRIA BOURBON TRAIL
O N E E I G H T D I S T I L L I N G : T H E A L E X L AU F E R S TO RY
WEDDING STORIES 20
L AU R E N S H R E W S B U RY + M AT T H E W C AT T S
E M I L I E KY L E + G E O F F G R I F F I T H
L E A H F R E E M A N + M AT T H E W P E T R O F F
J O R DA N C O S T E N + C H A R L E S S U M P T E R
T E RY N M U R R AY + K E N N E T H P R O L
M O N I C A M C L E N D O N + D O M I N I C S AU N D E R S
A M A N DA H AY E S + I S A AC R U D O L P H
V I L L AG E B R AU H AU S
C ATO C T I N C R E E K D I S T I L L I N G C O.
AU G I E ’ S M U S S E L H O U S E & B E E R G A R D E N
A I YA N A AT E L I E R
MJ WEDDINGS & EVENTS
5 5 ZOYA’ S AT E L I E R 6 5 C H R I S TO P H E R S C H A F E R C LOT H I E R 6 9 SA LO N D E Z E N
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... SUPPORT MUST BE STATED LOUDLY AND PROUDLY SO THAT THERE IS NO QUESTION OF THEIR COMMITMENT TO BEING STRONG ALLIES. Emma Quinn on businesses supporting the LGBTQ+ community
PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW
S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT P H OTO G R A P H Y C O U R T E S Y O F P O R T C I T Y B R E W I N G C O.
Throughout history, equality has been something that people yearn for, fight for, and even die for. Even now, despite the progress over the last century in individual rights, our country has communities and peoples who struggle to be recognized and be given the most basic rights. And despite the headway made in gaining not only acceptance but also respect and equal rights, the LGBTQ population in America is often met with intense hate and discrimination.
Emma Quinn, Events and Marketing Manager at Port City Brewing. “Even though the communities I have been a part of have welcomed the LGBTQ community with love and acceptance, that isn’t always the norm. There are still many areas of this country and in the world where being gay is not accepted and not safe. Until LGBTQ rights are treated as basic human rights in all corners of the world, working with the LGBTQ community should be important for all of us.”
“It’s easy to see the progress of the LGBTQ movement— the great strides that our country has made with LGBTQ rights—and to think that our work here is done,” says
An employee of Port City Brewing Co. since 2014, Quinn quickly proved her worth and became the company’s first office manager before moving full-time into events
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and marketing in 2016 as the Social Media and Events Manager. In 2018, she became the Events and Marketing Manager. “My work involves a lot of virtual events and an emphasis on our digital marketing strategies,” explains 30-year-old Quinn. “In the pre-pandemic days, I would work with Sales, in the tasting room and with community partners to plan dozens of events each month. I also manage our digital marketing and our Festival/ Competition Participation.” A strong voice for the LGBTQ community, Quinn has found great support for the cause at Port City. “Every year, Port City stands in solidarity and celebrates with our LGBTQ friends and allies for Pride Month,” she says. “These big events and proclamations of support have created a safe space at Port City for the LGBTQ community, and our commitment to positive change and support of the LGBTQ community is something we strive for daily.” Having businesses stand in support of the LGBTQ community is an important part of gaining equal rights, and Quinn encourages more of them to come forward. “Some businesses might think that being supportive of the LGBTQ community goes without saying, but I feel
that support must be stated loudly and proudly so that there is no question of their commitment to being strong allies,” she asserts. “The assurance and statement that Port City is a safe and welcoming place is a clear sign to the LGBTQ community that Port City is a proud and supportive ally.” Named one of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s “40 Under 40” Honorees for their Class of 2020, Quinn’s leadership was recognized when Port City received the 2020 AGLA Business Equality Award for Commitment to LGBTQ+ Equality by AGLA, an organization dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community of Northern Virginia. “Receiving this award for Port City Brewing Co. was one of my proudest moments,” says Quinn. “Working with AGLA and seeing what they do in our community for the past few years has been inspiring. We at Port City wanted to work with LGBTQ community leaders for our Pride Events so that we knew our fundraising and donation were going to support the local LGBTQ community directly. Though 2020 was a tough year for most, especially nonprofits like AGLA, we were able to continue our Pride Month tradition and host a virtual event and fundraiser to make our annual donation to their organization. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we were able to show our support.” You can visit Emma and the rest of the Port City team at Port City Brewing Co. at 3950 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Outdoor seating is currently available by reservation. To schedule your visit to the award-winning brewery, call (703) 797-2739 or visit www.portcitybrewing.com
MARCH 2021 • 11
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BARSTOOL SPORTS THE JESSE MAAS STORY S TO RY + P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J E A N E T T E WAG E S
There is an undeniable link between sports and bars. While we could certainly have one without the other, there is something about the energy of the environment that makes the pairing perfect. Many sports fans have a lucky sports bar they go to for all their team’s games. This year, with the limited attendance at stadiums and limited capacity at sports bars, sports fans have felt nostalgic for the energy of both. With the Fish Market receiving support from the Barstool Fund, we can finally see a little bit of that energy, or at least hope, coming back. On January 29th, 2021, Jesse Maas, Director of Operations at the Fish Market, was sitting in his car in DC outside of Bar Deco to meet with employees for their 2020 W-2s (even though the location has not yet reopened during the pandemic). As he sat in his car, he received an unexpected FaceTime call from Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports announcing that the Fish Market had received funding from the Barstool Fund. The fund is intended to provide assistance to businesses around the country experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. In a video posted on Portnoy’s Twitter that received over 300k views, Jesse’s face is filled with joy and relief. To him, this is a game-changer. “Restaurants are all about the energy. We’ve been kicked down and restricted so much in the last year. It has started to show. This is giving us a reason to pop our shoulders back and put our chin back up. You can just feel the excitement now.” Jesse has always been a huge fan of Barstool Sports, a digital media company with a focus on sports and pop culture. The site catches visitors up on daily viral highlights and news through blogs, podcasts, and videos. It’s a sports junkie’s dream and it provides a great way to catch up in sports talk. Jesse’s favorite parts of the website are the pizza reviews and listening
to the founder, Dave Portnoy’s, political talks. When he saw what the Barstool Sports Fund was doing for local restaurants around the country, he had to give it a go. Portnoy began the Barstool Sports Fund with a 30-day fundraising campaign on December 17th, 2020. He kicked it off with $500,000 of his own money and has grown the campaign to $36 million. The campaign is still going strong with the support of Stoolies (his followers), and even celebrities like Guy Fieri, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. The Barstool Fund has now helped support almost 300 businesses, including but not limited to those in the restaurant industry. The Fish Market has been a family-owned restaurant since 1976, having changed ownership once in 2008. “We’re all about family here and many of our employees have been here up to 30 years with very low turnover. We also have customers who still come in and talk to us about having their first drink or their first job with us.” The restaurant is not only a staple memory on King Street for locals and tourists alike, the building also holds two centuries of history including time holding cargo from incoming ships and as a field hospital during the Civil War. Alexandria’s Old Town neighborhood is enlivened by the news of the Fish Market’s funding and the community cannot wait to create more memories at these bar stools.
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BE THE GOOD PROJECT THE MARCHAND FAMILY STORY S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT
Can a sandwich change the world? It’s an interesting question, and one that Be the Good Project answers with a resounding “YES!” Founded in June 2020 by Sterling and Amber Marchand and their four young children in response to the effect that COVID-19 had on food insecurity, what began as a neighborhood food drive collecting canned goods in a plastic box grew into a non-profit organization supported by hundreds of volunteers. “The mission of Be the Good Project is to provide a safe and simple way for volunteers to help feed our neighbors who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity,” says Amber, who, as a preschool teacher at Aldersgate Day School, uses her organizational and people skills to manage outreach and logistics for the non-profit. Started as a family affair, the project has remained so. Sterling, a litigation partner at Baker Botts, volunteers his expertise in overseeing legal matters and bookkeeping, while their four children help package sandwiches and groceries and assist their parents with deliveries each week. “Be the Good has brought together a network of hundreds of generous volunteers and donors who have shown that you can take small steps together to make a real difference in our community,” says Amber. “The
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collective efforts of so many families, scout troops, sports teams, learning pods, church groups, and individual volunteers working together for a common good is both inspiring and impactful. Whether you can make sandwiches, assemble a care package, drop off canned goods, or make a charitable contribution, this is truly a grassroots-led endeavor; and the outcomes have been astounding during this challenging time.” With so many in need, Be the Good Project is standing in the gap, determined not to let anyone go without food— and the effect has been amazing. Since the summer of 2020, the organization has donated more than 30,000 pounds of food for households in need of supplemental groceries in Alexandria and nearly 47,000 sandwiches for the homeless in Washington, DC.
“BE THE GOOD HAS SHOWN THAT YOU CAN TAKE SMALL STEPS TOGETHER TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY." - AMBER MARCHAND
Currently, core outreach efforts include twice-weekly sandwich deliveries to Martha’s Table, which, in turn, delivers food to the homeless every day in Washington,
#S A N D W I C H S H O T S
Even with the challenge of a swelling need over the 2020 holiday season, Be the Good Project rose to
the challenge, having successfully coordinated and distributed more than 900 holiday care packages and $11,000 in grocery gift cards. The bags of non-perishable foods were distributed in partnership with more than 20 organizations, including local ACPS and FCPS schools, community centers, and other non-profits across Alexandria.
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(Be The Good Project, continued...) DC. Each week, Be the Good Project coordinates the refrigeration and delivery of approximately 1,500 volunteer-made sandwiches from Alexandria. “It’s been only nine months, but we’ve made incredible headway,” says Amber. “We have dozens of local food distribution partners and work alongside multiple community centers, non-profits, and neighborhood leaders to bring more food to people during the pandemic.” Determined not to lose momentum, Be the Change has created additional initiatives, including Amber’s custom portraits, “doodles” that she began drawing in the summer of 2020 to sell on Instagram to help fund the organization. All proceeds are donated by the Marchand family to buy more food in bulk. The most unique initiative, however, has been the recently launched “Be the Good Little Free Pantry,” an idea spawned by the little neighborhood libraries that have become such a common site—though, instead of books, these are filled every week with food. With the first at Creekside Village, there are more planned for neighborhoods across Alexandria and Northern Virginia in the coming months. Of course, none of the progress made by Be the Change Project would be possible without their many
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volunteers and outreach partners. The generosity of the local community has been instrumental, with donations coming from individuals as well as corporations, including funding for holiday care packages from Baker Botts, Narrative Strategies, National Cooperative Bank, American Hospital Association, Roaming Rooster, Arhaus, and many others. There have also been substantial inkind contributions from Chicken + Whiskey, Boylan’s Bottling, and Overnight Oats Bar. As much help as they have received, however, the need is never-ending. “We accept contact-free in-kind food donations in Alexandria 24/7—all of which are used for our emergency grocery outreach and neighborhood food distribution events,” says Amber, encouraging the community to continue the generosity they have shown their neighbors in need. “100% of charitable contributions to Be the Good Project are used to buy food or grocery gift cards for families who need supplemental groceries.” A sandwich really can change the world—and they’re determined to do it, one sandwich at a time.
For more information on volunteer opportunities and donations, visit www.bethegoodproject.org
HARBOUR S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT
Most people have heard of lobbyists, but few know what they actually do. By definition, they are professional advocates who work to influence political decisions on behalf of the individuals and organizations of a community. It’s important work that leads to the proposal of new legislation or amendments of current laws and policies. For Ann Harbour, making that kind of impact is the very thing that drives her in her work as a lobbyist with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “Throughout my career, I have sought out professional opportunities that allow me to pursue public policy goals that put the health and wellbeing of our communities, with an eye to equity, at the forefront of decision making,” says Harbour, whose 13-year career began in the Virginia House of Delegates. “CareFirst has a demonstrated history of actualizing this philosophy, and I am passionate about educating policymakers and our broader community about the healthcare delivery system. The more we seek solutions to promote quality affordable healthcare, the greater the health outcomes.” Her involvement with the community extends far beyond professional duty, and Harbour is active with a number of organizations. Currently serving on the Alexandria Commission for Women, she is also Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Governor’s Health Sciences Academy at TC Williams as well as a member of the Board of
Directors for the Center for Alexandria’s Children. She was also previously the chair of the Public Health Advisory Commission. “My professional interest in advocacy crosses over to my personal interest in helping to shape the future of our city,” says Harbour. With so great an involvement with the affairs of Alexandria, Harbour naturally gravitated towards the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the Government Relations Committee Chair for the past two years as well as a member of the Chamber Board of Directors,” she says. “Working with a diverse group of business leaders has afforded me greater insights into the city I call home, and understanding the business climate from the perspective of business owners has diversified my expertise in a way that would not have happened were it not for my membership in the Chamber. It also allows me to inform my organization of the needs of the businesses we serve as a health plan. Now, more than ever, I believe we are seeing the benefit of collective advocacy, and the Chamber provides its members a chance to come together to inform policymakers of the challenges business face and offer solutions that allow them and our city to flourish.” For more information on The Chamber ALX’s General Assembly Breakfast on March 25, contact email@example.com
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Re-Imagine + Elevate
the chef declan horgan story S TO RY BY J E A N E T T E WAG E S | P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J O N AT H A N T H O R P E
Declan Horgan is a man on a mission to educate the world on the finer points of Irish culture through Irish cuisine. For many, “Irish cuisine" means simple ingredients like potatoes, corned beef, and simple country food. Certainly not elegant or elevated. That’s all about to change thanks to a hot new chef on the scene. Declan Horgan (also called Big D) is here to change that conception. “People get trapped in the concept of what Irish food is. They go to the pub and it’s the same things served. Modern Irish food is so much more than that.” For those who have not kept up on the latest in food television, Declan is currently on Season 19 of Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. He has also appeared twice on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, Guy’s Grocery Games. We won’t give you any spoilers on how he did, so you’ll just have to watch. His is no overnight flash in the pan rise to stardom. This chef has truly paid his dues with over 25 years in professional kitchens.
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Showing his chops from the beginning, Declan was quickly placed in classes typically reserved for secondyear students at DIT School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology in Dublin. Being placed in these classes during his first year showed that his teachers already saw the fire and prowess behind the young aspiring chef. After graduation, Declan worked at La Grande Cascade in Paris. It was there that he honed his craft in traditional French cuisine with his Irish charm before eventually bringing his new skillset home. There, he was mentored by some of the best chefs Dublin has to offer, such as Michelin-star winner Peacock Alley’s Conrad Gallagher, Les Frere’s Jacques, Chapter One’s Ross Lewis, and Mint and Fade Street Social’s Dylan McGrath. At 6’3, Declan is a big man with an even bigger personality and a passion for food and his native Irish culture. When asked on his rapidly expanding Instagram account if he was proud to be Irish, he eagerly responded, “Guinness is in my blood and I bleed green, so proud to be Irish.”
“People get trapped in the concept of what Irish food is. They go to the pub and it’s the same things served. Modern Irish food is so much more than that.” Mix the passion for his home country with unquestionable skills in the kitchen and we have a recipe for changing the way people think of Irish food and food in general. This powerhouse has been with us in Alexandria for six years and most of us didn’t even know it. He worked as executive chef in a local Alexandria Irish restaurant and assisted in the opening of a restaurant at the Wharf in Washington, DC before his appearance on Hell’s Kitchen. In an approach that doesn’t come as a surprise when meeting Declan, he did not take a traditional avenue to find his way on the popular competition show. “I got bored when filling out the application, so I made all the answers ‘You have to ring me’ and eventually, they did.”
When he received the call from the selection team, they were at first confused by his responses. Eventually, they put him on the phone with the right people and the rest is television history. We still won’t give you any spoilers, but Declan has become a clear fan favorite on the show with his motto “You can either Lead, Follow or F**K OFF!" Coming off the show, Declan is working hard here in the DC-metro area, which he now considers home.
“I want to change the scene of Irish food and I have some big supporters behind me.” One of Delcan's most avid supporters is ChefWorks. Together they are brewing up something big so stay tuned to social media for those exciting announcements. If patience is not your thing, you can always check out Big D's brand new line of BBQ sauce, which has an Asian flair and much healthier ingredients than you would expect from a bottled sauce. He also plans to release his line of Made in America Irish sausages and other not commonly found foods. Declan will continue on his journey as the Executive Chef at the brand new Jack’s Ranch located, at Tyson’s Corner and opening Summer 2021. Throughout Declan's career and appearance on Hell's Kitchen, he has remained ever so humble in the face of his achievements, admitting "I am still trying to absorb everything that has happened over the past two months. I am so grateful to my family, friends, colleagues, fans located around the world and especially my local supporters." When asked what advice he has for aspiring chefs Declan responded without missing a beat. "You're never too old to follow your dreams. I'm living proof." Be sure to join Declan's 28k followers (and counting) on Instagram to stay up-to-date on big things that are coming your way! www.instagram.com/declan76
To try your luck in the kitchen with Irish cuisine, check out a few of Chef Declan's recipes on the VIP Alexandria Magazine blog. www.vipalexandriamag.com
MARCH 2021 • 19
Once Upon A Faux Wedding HOW A LOCAL FAMILY TURNED A DELAYED WEDDING INTO A CELEBRATION TO REMEMBER S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT | P H OTO G R A P H Y S U B M I T T E D BY L AU R E N C AT T S
When Matthew Catts and Lauren Shrewsbury met through a friend in the summer of 2016, they had no idea what the future would hold—or that their engagement almost three years later would be extended because of a worldwide pandemic. “Matt surprised me at our home with a beautiful rose gold diamond engagement ring that he’d had customdesigned with Mary Ehlers from Nugget. She’s absolutely amazing at her craft!” Lauren says of the special day in June of 2019, proudly holding up her left hand to flash the ring that has taken pride of place for almost two years now. That surprise proposal was only the first surprise for the happy couple. As planning commenced, they settled on May 2, 2020—and then COVID destroyed their plans. Rather than sacrifice the wedding of their dreams, however, they postponed it all for a year, keeping all their plans in place and hoping that 2021 would look upon them with favor.
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Even so, as May 2, 2020 approached, so did the feelings of loss over what should have been—even in light of the new date they’d set. As the day drew nearer, Matt’s family knew they had to do something to mark the time and make it special. With a “wedding party” that included Matt’s parents, his grandmother, his brother, his sisterin-law, the day became a day of celebration rather than lament. “I felt so bad for Lauren—she was so upset,” explains Matt’s mother, who, like his future wife, is also named Lauren. “It just so happened that it was the day of the fly-overs, so we asked them if they wanted to go for a boat ride to see that. When we got back to the docks, we surprised them with the wedding décor and Greek food. We felt it was fitting, as Greece was the destination for the honeymoon.” “They completely surprised us and went above and beyond to make the day so special!” says Lauren, who works as a marketing coordinator for a local mortgage
MARCH 2021 • 21
company while Matt works as an insurance repair specialist. “My future father-in-law, Bruce, captained a boat, and we went on a boat ride up to DC to watch the Blue Angels fly over in a salute to the front-line workers battling COVID. Once we arrived back at the docks of Old Dominion Boat Club, we had an amazing Greek lunch followed by drinks, singing, and dancing! My future mother-in-law gifted me a beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas, and we took photos on the back of their beautiful boat, Seas the Day. My future sister-in-law, Lauren—we’re all Laurens, so Matt’s mom is L1, my future sister-in-law is L2, and I’m L3—gifted us with a Cameo from Russell Dickerson, whose song, Yours, will be the one I walk down the aisle to!”
The day—a “faux wedding,” as they call it—was redeeming. It was the perfect way to memorialize the time and make it happy. “We were shocked at how much thought and care was put into the day and I am truly grateful to be joining such a supportive and loving family,” says Lauren, who fittingly wore a white dress—albeit a casual one, paired with raffia heeled sandals. Matt, meanwhile, wore a white polo shirt with shorts and Reef sandals. “It is now a day that we can look back on with smiles and laughter rather than with the sad memory of what was supposed to be our wedding day. We’ll always remember it.”
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As with any good wedding, real or otherwise, the food was unforgettable. “L1 had Greek food catered by SouvlakiBar to support other local restaurants during the pandemic— they own the Fosters Grille on Eisenhower, so they know first-hand how much it has affected the restaurant industry—in honor of our postponed honeymoon that was going to be a cruise around Greece.” Following a delicious carrot cake from Wegman’s, the “wedding party” went to the Fish Market, where they had a celebratory beer and shots. “Our bartender, Todd, went above and beyond to make sure that our day was celebrated properly, given the circumstances,” says Lauren. With that, the soon-to-be-newlyweds were sent off with love and well wishes for their future, knowing that the best is yet to come.
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After an initial meeting at a friend’s housewarming and 4th of July party, it took a second meeting a few months later for Emilie Kyle and Geoff Griffith to realize that they had a mutual interest that ought to be pursued. The two began dating; and six years later, they came to another realization: They wanted to be together forever. “Geoff always plans a birthday adventure for me,” says Emilie, beginning the tale of her proposal. “Often, it’s somewhere we’ve never visited; and plans are kept secret with only enough info to know what should be packed. May 2017 was no different. Still, I correctly guessed before arriving that we were on our way to Charleston—food, fun, history, and a friend who had relocated to the area. On May 6, we had been running all over enjoying the sites and all that Charleston had to offer, and we were getting hungry. Geoff and his friend William suggested dinner, so off we went. I thought it was just going to be a random dinner somewhere, and Geoff wanted to stop when we came across Hall’s Chop House. We walked in, and I was expecting that we’d hit the bar because it was so packed, but we were told everything was by reservation only. Geoff gave his name, and then we were whisked upstairs to our table. I didn’t have any idea that I’d turn the corner into the dining room and see friends all the way from Alexandria sitting at a long table! Multiple servers swarmed the table, pouring champagne and dropping drinks and appetizers off as we were getting settled. Then, one of the guests stood and made a toast for my birthday. I got a brief second to breathe and was about to sit back down when Geoff took my hand and said that we were
there for my birthday, but…Then he dropped to his knee and proposed. It was an exhilarating moment!” That exhilarating moment was followed three years later by another one, when, on November 13, 2020, Emilie walked down the aisle at Morrison House wearing a veeneck satin ball gown with beaded detail. Attended by her sister as maid of honor, a best man, and the French bulldog puppy, Penélopé, the two exchanged vows as an intimate gathering of their loved ones looked on. Having been pronounced married, Geoff and Emilie joined their guests for a reception on the grounds. After dancing and an elegant plated dinner of filet mignon followed by a dessert of crème brûlée, the newlyweds shared a gluten-free vanilla cupcake before cutting into a three-tier cake with faux buttercream and decorated with real flowers. “Neither of us are big cake fans, and Geoff has celiac, but we didn’t want to forego the tradition,” explains Emilie, the Principal and Owner of Lush Interior Design LLC while Geoff is COO of Best Impressions, Inc. Once the celebration had ended, the happy couple were sent off on their honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, happy that their long-anticipated day had finally happened.
Gown: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique • Jewelry: Olive + Piper • Rings: JG Jewelry & Estates Flowers: Shelley’s Floral Enterprise • Venue: Morrison House • Planner: The One Moment Events • Photographer: Samantha Parkes Photography • Band: Bachelor Boys Band Cake: Courtney’s Custom Cakes • Gluten-Free Cupcakes: Buzz Bakery • Favors: Olivia Macaron • Stationery: Best Impressions, Inc. Travel Agent: Traveling-Guru, Dennis Foutz Makeup: DC Elite Image Hair: Leanna’s Hair Studio
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® ® ® ® ® ® PCA SKIN®
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S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT P H OTO G R A P H Y C O U R T E SY O F A I YA N A AT E L I E R
Aiyana, the Cherokee word for "endless beauty," is the perfect name for Ashley Carmen's local business, Aiyana Atelier. Her heritage may have been the inspiration behind the aesthetic studio's name, but Ashley's modern approach to skincare proves committed to "the art of keeping you endlessly beautiful." Aiyana Atelier specializes in aesthetic treatments such as Botox®, Dysport®, Xeomin®, Juvederm®, Restylane®, Radiesse®, Sculptra® (facial and body), Instalift sutures, Kybella®, Aquagold®, micro-needling, chemical peels, medical-grade skincare, and skin transformations for hard to treat skin conditions. Additionally, the boutique treats skin conditions such as rosacea, acne scarring, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Ashley works with many brides and grooms at Aiyana Atelier. She wants all couples to know that it is crucial to begin exploring skincare treatments as soon as possible. From the moment the engagement rings slips onto a finger, the countdown to the wedding day begins. "Skin transformations take on average 30 days to six
months with consistent appointments," Ashley admits. For neurotoxin (Botox®, Dysport®, Xeomin®), it usually takes two to three sessions to customize the treatment, each lasting three to four months. Deeper wrinkles on resting or on expressive movement, as well as erasing wrinkles, will take two to three sessions. Many brides and grooms desire Kybella for a sharper jawline or reduction in the arm fat that sits at the top of the wedding dress. These treatments typically take several vials per session, averaging two to three sessions, six to eight weeks apart. Maximum results are noticeable at three months. Ashley's best advice is to schedule a consultation early on to begin creating the perfect (and most effective) treatment plan. "I also have a firm rule and will not inject the bride and groom, nor anyone in the bridal party, six weeks before the wedding." This rule, she says, is because many treatments take weeks to settle and may need buffering or adjustments last-minute. However, Aquagold® is the perfect icing on the wedding cake one to two weeks prior to the big day. There is no downtime and offers the perfect real-life filter effect.
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When Leah Freeman swiped right on Matthew Petroff back in February of 2018, she had no idea that this one would truly be IT. And their first date? Unforgettable. “We had a fabulous first date in Georgetown with a massive cheese plate and French 75s followed by beers and live music at Ri Ra. It was truly a great time,” Leah recalls before breaking out into laughter. “Matt was a total lightweight!” That “total lightweight” made an impression though. Matt eventually moved to Charlotte a few months into dating. After a brief pause, the two decided to regain contact. By January of 2019, they entered a long-distance relationship. In the end, love won out. By the end of August, Matt moved back to DC and in with Leah. Three days after Christmas of that year, Matt gave Leah a gift that far surpassed any that had been under the tree. “We’d been at my parents’ place in Westchester, New York, for the holidays,” explains Leah, a government contractor who works as a Senior Communications Specialist, while Matt works as a Marketing and Proposal Manager. “Matt had told me to pack something nice for this place that he’d found for dinner—as if I normally dress like a troll,” she says in an aside, her sense of humor clearly evident. “By the time that day arrived, I swear Matt changed the plans five times. Dinner became brunch. The 2:00 p.m. reservation became 1:00 p.m. When we finally arrived at Harvest on Hudson, we had a fantastic brunch accompanied by many peach Bellinis (I got the carafe). Afterward, we walked out by the water and Matt got down on one knee. He’d gotten a professional photographer to capture the moment and do our engagement photos,
which we took full advantage of.” 11 months later on November 21, 2020, Leah dressed in a simple yet stunning ivory crepe dress and walked down the aisle in the Sunken Garden at Mount Vernon, taking one step at a time toward her future—a walk that had not been without challenges. “The week before Matt and I were set to get married, Virginia changed their restrictions for events with 250 people down to 25,” Leah says. “We had to disinvite two-thirds of our guests and replan our event entirely, so we decided to use our rehearsal location as our new venue. For replanning a wedding in two days, it was honestly gorgeous.” Having been pronounced as married, the wedding party shifted to the Verandah Room for an elegant plated dinner and a celebration that culminated with Leah’s cake to end all cakes: a two-tier naked cake made with vanilla sponge layered with fresh strawberries and vanilla buttercream with a white chocolate drizzle and topped with fresh fruit. It was a sweet finish to their day— though the fun of their honeymoon is yet to come. Better still? Their big wedding party is booked for December 2021 at the Alexandrian as originally planned. And while they might still be awaiting that day, they’re glad to have already started their FOREVER.
Venue: Mount Vernon • Photographer: VNESS Photography • Gown: BHLDN Tux: Nordstrom Rings: Mervis Diamonds • Cake: Alexandria Pastry Shop Hair/Makeup: Emily Hilden • Flowers: Petal’s Edge • Coordinator: Jessica McMahon
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2 0 2 1 B R I DA L
hair trends S TO RY C O U R T E SY O F G LY N N J O N E S SA LO N
2020 was a rollercoaster year. And with that, it should come as no surprise that 2021’s biggest hair and makeup trends are towards the extraordinary. Whether you’re the type to embrace high-octane glamour at every chance or habitually keep things glowy and natural, 2021’s prettiest beauty trends have something to offer every bride-to-be with an extra-special, wedding-day touch.
For the glamour-inclined, I’ve noticed that because of COVID, when it comes to wedding beauty, people are ready to glam it up. Everyone is so over not being social
and staying inside that they want to have the biggest celebration while feeling the most glamorous on their wedding day.
AU N AT U R A L
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some engaged women are more accustomed to the au natural effect that lockdown has created. Brides are leaning toward a more natural, lived-in, tousled look. Covid has forced us into a sort of minimalist place, and swinging to the other end of the spectrum doesn’t feel quite natural just yet. Simple beauty is what women want to feel ‘effortless,’ and that always begins and ends with great skin, and tousled hair. Brides are aspiring to stand out without feeling overdone.
Whether you opt for an updo or down and tousled, livedin, textured styles will be popular with brides. This I think is due to the fact we’ve spent a year giving our hair a bit of a break and growing more accustomed to our natural textures. It can feel a bit over the top right now to have every hair in place. Opting for a more lived-in style mimics the freedom we’ve been giving our locks and might make a bride feel more like herself.
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WAV E S
Loose, almost straight waves are perfect for achieving a look that’s equal parts relaxed and refined. It’s a sophisticated way to elevate your look while letting other things like dress, jewelry, or makeup do the talking.
H O L LY WO O D
For a feminine and romantic wedding day look, bridesto-be will turn toward Hollywood-glamour-inspired
PA RT Y P O N Y
hairstyles. Everyone’s stayed inside so long, and this is the perfect way to wow a crowd. It's a timeless look and never goes out of style.
I believe we’ll also be seeing quite a bit of romantic, textured updo’s. Rather than tight and sleek, we predict a rise in loosely-pinned looks.
One of our personal favorites, the party pony will be big for 2021 brides, whether for the reception or a late-night celebration. It refreshes the entire look, even if you don’t change your dress, It’s casual but chic. There’s a pony for everyone, whether the placement is low, high, or in the middle. 2021 will be a versatile year for brides.
AC C E S S O R I E S
Hair accessories have been hugely popular for everyday style, and as a result, I predict a rise in wedding day hair accessories for an extra-special, embellished touch for the fashion-forward bride. On one hand, you'll see more naturalistas honoring their natural textures and glow, while others will go all out. It's more about preference versus trends this year.
M E E T G LY N N J O N E S + TO N Y H U G H E S Co-owners of Glynn Jones Salon Tony Hughes and Glynn Jones met in Manchester, England more than thirty years ago. Tony, a self-taught, self made business whiz, and Glynn, a hairdressing genius educated by Vidal Sassoon, are the perfect balance when it comes to managing their now multi-million dollar salons. Visit them in Old Town at 720 King St. or in Washington D.C. at 1635 R St NW, Washington or schedule your 'Glam Squad' appointment at www.glynnjonessalon.com
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S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT | P H OTO G R A P H Y BY G R I F F I N V I S I O N P H OTO G R A P H Y
Before Tinder, Grindr, or Bumble; before dating websites were even widely accepted as the way to meet people, Jordan Costen and Charles Sumpter met online one cold December night back in 2005. Both home from college for winter break, they logged on to an AOL chatroom and began a conversation that later moved from IM’ing to the actual telephone—though neither of them can recall who did the asking for telephone numbers. “Once we were on the phone, the conversation lasted for hours,” recalls Jordan. “We enjoyed learning about one another, but honestly, we were both skeptical that it could go anywhere.”
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Even so, they took a chance on one another and they continued talking. Then, in January of 2006, Jordan took a bus to visit Charles at college, making his way from Howard University in DC to Union College in Schenectady, New York. Having waited for weeks to meet, Jordan and Charles embraced in the frigid New York air, both happy that their anticipation was at an end. Their first date was at an Indian buffet restaurant across from the Schenectady City Hall, though neither were that concerned with the food. “We knew there was something special going on,” Jordan says simply. Once Jordan made it back to DC, he received a call from Charles that made it all official.
They continued dating over the next 11 years. Then, on Christmas Eve of 2017, Charles made it even more official. “We were having a quiet night at home and Charles, my best friend, and I were watching TV and having dinner. At some point, Charles snuck off to our bedroom and came back with something behind his back. I had no clue what it could be but inquired and asked him to stop being silly. He then dropped to one knee, pulled out a box, and asked me to marry him. It was at that point that I realized my best friend was filming this exercise for all of my friends and family members to see. It was the happiest moment!” says Jordan. Nearly two years later, on October 6, 2019, Charles and Jordan exchanged vows on the Cherry Blossom, a split sternwheeler and re-creation of a 19th-century Victorian riverboat that voyages on the Potomac River in Alexandria. Wearing white blazers with black slacks, the couple were pronounced married as 120 of their loved ones looked on. Ready for a party, the newly married Costen-Sumpters changed into more colorful ensembles—a red blazer for Jordan, while Charles donned a shimmering black blazer—and joined their guests for the reception on the boat. After dancing and dining on a buffet of Southern cuisine, the couple cut into a two-tier cake decorated in their wedding colors of black and white, topped with a custom-made replica of their likenesses. “It was an absolute blast,” says Jordan, who works as an intern in social work with the City of Alexandria, while Charles is a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting, LLP. After the celebration, the couple began their life together, remembering that night so long ago when they took a chance on love.
Venue: Cherry Blossom, Potomac Riverboat Cruises • Suits: Lawrence Clothiers Photographer: Griffin Vision Photography • Cake: Alexandria Pastry Ring: Jared • Catering: Bittersweet Catering
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A N OT H E R P E R S P E C T I V E BY M A R I LY N PAT T E R S O N , C E M
Will the challenges associated with the COVID – 19 Pandemic shape how we plan weddings in the future? WHAT!?!?!? Flashback to the Fall/Winter of 2019/2020. Social media was filled with beautiful pictures of elaborately decorated venues, jam-packed dance floors, and large wedding parties anchored by stunningly attired newlyweds. Celebrations of the rich and famous? No! Our friends and family showcasing their dream day. Since then, dreams have been deferred, derailed, and deflated. Instead of stressing out, let’s find the silver lining… Intimate Gatherings - More Fun. More Memorable. Among the first changes employed to protect us impacted our ability to gather in large groups. Over the years, I’ve counseled many couples on creative ways to align
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their dreams and their budget. Consistently, the most impactful difference is modifying the guest count. Why? Because approximately 40% of the budget is directed to food and beverage. Guest count reduction will take you on a discovery resulting in identifying the persons who most significantly undergird your relationship. Even if the wedding is the first meeting for some, you’ll be in a better position to talk with everyone in the room. You will be the Rock Star, as guests engage in true connections, meaningful conversations, and genuine laughter. KISS – Keep it Simple and Sophisticated Security! Keep Murphy and his "law" away! 'Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’ is not welcome! With the average wedding employing at least 14 vendors – venue(s), officiant, catering, photography/videography, musicians/entertainers, beauty/grooming services, attire, transportation, stationery, florals & décor, rentals, baker – the professional Wedding Planner serves as the Master
of Logistics. (Sidebar – this is not the time to cut corners with inexperienced, well-intentioned friends and family trying to take charge!) Drawing on 20+ years of event experience, I’ve witnessed the strain that excessive complexity and extravagance have on flawless execution. Preparing for fewer people will elevate the overall experience for everyone.
is the perfect destination for a wedding! As a charming, cosmopolitan town, our venue options are perfect to support intimate socials that offer award-winning cuisine, amazing scenery, and accessible entertainment. No need to compromise!
Game-Changer: Weekday Weddings! Celebrate your love on a day that means something to you. You met at your favorite coffee shop and want to marry on the anniversary of that date, and it falls on a Wednesday. Do It! Extending an invitation to your intimate wedding experience is an honor, not an obligation. Subsequently, if our relationship enables me to be considered among the covenant witnesses to celebrate your nuptials, rest assured that regardless of the time or day, I will make it a priority to be there for you. Broaden your options, there are only 52 Saturdays each year, eliminate the stress of navigating and negotiating the fulfillment of your dream on someone else’s terms. Whether you’re a bride, groom, parent, or guest, I challenge you to embrace a new normal for weddings. Imagine this – an intimate gathering of treasured individuals assembled to celebrate a marriage on a day that makes the couple’s heart smile! Ambiance, great conversations, and a lifetime of memories. Alexandria
Marilyn Patterson is the CEO of Joyous Events LLC, an Event Management and Production company headquartered in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Her team plans, coordinates and executes special events in and around Alexandria for non-profits, small businesses and weddings. Marilyn also serves as the Executive Director and Producer of First Night Alexandria.
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It may have taken a little while for Teryn Murray and Kenneth Prol to realize that their work friendship might be more; but when the two architects recognized the fact that they had chemistry, they decided to see where it might lead. “We worked together for about three years before dating,” recalls Teryn. “It took hanging out multiple times during the Stanley cup playoffs for us to realize there was something more than a professional relationship we wanted to explore.” After dating for a year, that exploration had led them both to the same conclusion: They wanted to be together forever. “We went away for the long 4th of July holiday weekend on a hiking and camping trip to Shenandoah; and on the last morning of the trip, he proposed to me at sunrise on an overlook,” Teryn says of that day in 2019. Just one year later, the wedding plans that they had made were destroyed by the pandemic. Even so, they did what architects are so adept at doing and changed the plan so that they didn’t have to completely sacrifice their dream for the day. Successfully re-planned, the wedding commenced on September 12, 2020; and Teryn dressed in a stunning satin Monique Lhuillier A-line gown with a sheer V-neck top and sheer back adorned with lace
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appliques across the bodice and down the sides of the hips, completing her look with a Toni Federici cathedral veil with lace appliques along the edges. As 88 guests looked on, the couple exchanged vows in the courtyard of The Alexandrian—thankful that they had finally seen their plans realized. “We changed the venue from The Line Hotel in DC to The Alexandrian a month before the date, and we wrote the entire ceremony from scratch,” Teryn explains. “We included a rose ceremony for the parents and an Irish blessing at the end—I’m part Irish. The guests also appreciated all the safeguards we put in place, having both the wedding and reception outside, as well as the masks.” After being pronounced, the newly married Prols joined their guests for a reception in the courtyard. “The wedding party entered the reception to ‘Thunderstruck’ by ACDC, and Ken and I entered to ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica (Go Hokies!),” says Teryn, who, like Ken, is a VT alumnus. “Our first dance was to ‘Speechless’ by Dan and Shay, and I sang to Ken through most of the dance.” With all of its complications, the occasion was still completely a reflection of Teryn and Ken’s personalities. “Our colors were maroon—inspired by VT—and navy and
ivory to fit our blueprint theme. Also, because it was a destination for most of our wedding guests, we blended Alexandria and architecture to inform all the details,” Teryn explains. “The hotel bags included items from Virginia and Alexandria, and we 3D printed our own ‘cootie keys’ for the bags so that people didn't have to touch things around the hotel. We also designed our own ‘stamp’ for the stationary, guest masks, and cocktail napkins. The tables were named after buildings in Alexandria, and we blueprinted the images of them for the escort wall and the table stands (the back included a brief description of the building and its historical significance for the guests). We also handed out color-coded wristbands for guests to help identify their comfort level.” After dining on a choice of either bourbon-braised short rib or pan-seared rockfish, the guests watched as Teryn and Ken cut into a cake that was truly something to behold. Boasting three tiers with a floral spacer above the bottom tier, the middle tier was covered in smooth
navy fondant while the other two were white—all of which were adorned with painted gold lines to tie the tiers together—and topped with a small floral arrangement. Naturally, the two flavors of the cake itself were delicious: Cherry Bomb, an almond cake with cherry compote and cream cheese frosting; and Coffee in the Morning, a chocolate cake with coffee buttercream, coffee caramel, and chocolate coffee bean. After a honeymoon on the west coast to various national parks, the couple is back home, ready to plan whatever comes next.
Venue: The Alexandria • Gown: Monique Lhuillier, Nordstrom's Bridal Boutique Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes • Flowers: Flor de Casa Designs • Rings: Mervis Diamonds Hair/Makeup: Asal Studios • Photographer: Ingrid Arellano Photography Coordinator: Meghan Farrar, Farrever After Events • Rentals: Select Event Group Tux: Black Tux Rentals DJ: Black Tie Entertainment
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Alexandria 301 S. Washington St. • 571.312.4705
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Searching for a warm, rustic, old-world venue for your big day? Look no further than Village Brauhaus! Located in the heart of Alexandria's historic Old Town, Village Brauhaus provides guests with an inviting, rustic and enchanting feel. Its central location, combined with an authentic German and Austrian ambiance, makes it the perfect wedding venue for those seeking a unique aesthetic that was inspired by the countries where countless classic fairy tales and love stories were born. Village Brauhaus prides itself on bringing Bavarian culture to the community and providing a romantic "destination wedding" venue that never requires you to leave Alexandria. The authentic fireplace creates a warm and cozy atmosphere while large windows provide a beautiful view of iconic King Street. Drinks are served from behind a classic, wooden bar that is located directly off the dining room and stocked with a full draft beer system, lovely wine list and premium spirits. The stage is large enough for a five-piece band or DJ and the ample and meticulously selected décor will visually transport your wedding party and guests to the picturesque countryside of Old-World Germany.
delicacies. "Meals are available family-style, buffet, or [as] individual dinners. Most of our guests have chosen family-style, and enjoyed it very much!" says owner Chelsea Gross. Some of the more popular menu items include giant Bavarian pretzels, potato pancakes, and hot wurst platters. Home to two full bars, two dining areas, an authentic bier hall and private rental spaces, Village Brauhaus accommodates events of varying sizes and styles. "There are no room rental fees, but a minimum food and beverage minimum might be required for certain dates and times," explains Chelsea, who is no stranger to hosting events at her venue.
The venue provides three food packages and three beverage package, all prepared by the in-house kitchen, which serves a selection of Bavarian and Austrian
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BRIDES & BOURBON: THE SHOOT + 02.28.2021
Ours is an Old-Fashioned kind of love.
Photographer: Jonathan Thorpe • Models: Aaron + Ashton Huie • Venue: Virtue Feed & Grain Bridal Gowns: Zoya's Atelier • Suit: Christopher Schafer Clothier • Jewelry: King's Jewelry Hair + Makeup: Jessie Campbell • Flowers: Atelier Floral • Bourbon: Blanton's Bourbon
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The Gown: The Atelier by Jimmy Choo "Giselle" • The Shoes: Aruna Seth Pumps The Jewelry: King's Jewelry • The Hair + Makeup: Jessie Campbell The Flowers: Atelier Floral • The Venue: Virtue Feed & Grain
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The Suit: Christopher Schafer Clothier The Bourbon: Blanton's Bourbon
AT T R AC T I O N 1/2 OZ
ROMANCE 3 DA S H E S
AFFECTION S E RV E D I N A R O C K S G L A S S OV E R I C E
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MARCH 2021 • 45
Strik e h and s with me. the glass is brim. t h e d e w i s o n t h e h e at h e r . a n d l ov e i s g o o d, a n d l i f e i s l o n g and friend s are best to gether. A SCOTTISH WEDDING TOAST
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The Gown: Suzanne Neville "Petunia" • The Jewelry: King's Jewelry • The Boutonniere: Atelier Floral
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Bourbon, like a beautiful woman, d e m a n d s a p p r e c i at i o n . Y o u g a z e f i r s t, t h e n i t ' s t i m e t o d r i n k .
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You just got engaged. Now it’s time to stop daydreaming of your perfect day or weekend, and start making it a reality. Where do you start? Planning a wedding can take a year or more of your life. Finding someone to guide you through the process and help eliminate the stress can make all the difference in your wedding experience. Megan “MJ” Sheckles, Owner of MJ Wedding and Events and Destination Weddings International wants to help soon-to-be-wed couples glide through the planning stage and into the wedding of their dreams.
as skipping the bouquet and garter tosses. Nothing is set in stone—throw out whatever preconceived notions you had about how a wedding is supposed to go and do what works for you!” Whether you are looking for a quaint wedding close to home, a destination wedding, or the social event of the year, MJ and her team help make all your dreams go off without a hitch.
“Truthfully, there are no rules to weddings. I don’t push my clients to follow any guidelines! If there are certain traditions they want to follow and others they want to pass on, great. We’re way past the days of formulaic weddings and I hope that trend continues throughout the years to come. Couples get wrapped up in what they are and aren’t supposed to do, that they completely forget this is the one day they can do whatever they please. I’m up for exploring all kinds of unique and eclectic ideas! It can be as different as the bride and groom wearing bright colors and/or patterns and guests wearing white, or as simple
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S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT | P H OTO G R A P H Y BY WA N A K H AV I WA K H I S I , LU C KY D O G M E D I A
The classic “meet cute” is something that films are famous for, but they never seem to happen in real life. But the charmingly sweet first encounter between this couple is definitely one for the movies. “I was walking through the HomeGoods in Bailey’s Crossroads with my son, and there I saw Monica!” says Dominic of the June day in 2018 when he and Monica met. “She was holding a piece of art, and I walked up to her and made small talk, but I continued to follow her throughout the store. At one point, I thought I’d lost her; and I ran outside and then came back and walked all around the store to find her. When I did, she offered me her business card and left to meet her daughter for lunch. I bought the piece of art she’d been looking at and told my son that we would hang it in our house.” After the first date at Mike’s Grill in Springfield, they continued to date; and five months later, Dominic sealed their fate. “On Monica’s birthday, she came home from an office party to find rose petals that I’d scattered from her garage to the dining room,” Dominic recalls. “I’d also decorated the living room, and she was walking through the house asking who was going to clean up the rose petals. To her surprise, I was on one knee ready to ask her to marry me.” After a celebratory trip to Vegas, the planning commenced; and nearly two years after their first encounter, Monica dressed in a full-length gown to exchange vows with Dominic on July 4, 2020. As 40 friends and family gathered around outside on the grounds of 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, the couple were pronounced man and wife, feeling blessed that
love had won the day. “We weren’t able to have the wedding we’d planned because of the uncertainty of people attending,” explains Dominic, who is the owner of both Mid Atlantic Distribution Services, LLC, and Omni Design and Development, LLC, while Monica is a vice president and corporate controller. “We returned our custom tuxedo and dress two weeks before our wedding date and then decided to have a wedding at Monica’s home. But as we got close, we didn’t feel the same excitement. Monica’s sister Marsha and our wedding coordinator, Marilyn Patterson, saw that we weren’t so excited and advised having the wedding as planned and to call the restaurant to see if our original date of July 5th was available. I stepped out in faith and called, and they had the 4th available—which was actually our ideal day. With Marilyn’s help, we started planning a wedding in one week!” After dining on an elegant plated meal catered by the restaurant, the couple cut into a three-tier yellow and chocolate cake before being waved off with well-wishes for the future. Looking forward to a real honeymoon in 2021, they took a mini-moon in August at the Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach. Now back home in Virginia, they have a home together filled with love—and, of course, the beautiful piece of art.
Venue / Catering / Cake: 2941 Restaurant • Dress: Say Yes For Less • Tux: Jos. A Banks Flowers: Conklyn’s Florist • Wedding Coordinator: Marilyn Patterson, Joyous Events, LLC Photographer: Wanakhavi Wakhisi, Lucky Dog Media • Music: Common Ground Band
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S TO RY BY A N D R E W G AT E S P H OTO G R A P H Y C O U R T E SY O F ZOYA' S AT E L I E R
When visiting Zoya’s Atelier, an award-winning Falls Church-based bridal boutique, clients experience much more than the typical dress shop. Brides, along with their VIP's, are treated to an expertly-curated wedding experience built on decades of industry knowledge and passion. At Zoya's Atelier, clients have the opportunity to meet co-owners Zoya and Amy, a mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law duo from New York and London, respectively. The co-owners are known for their selfdescribed "no holds barred honesty," along with their extensive fashion knowledge, and of course, an array of hand-picked, stunning gowns.
An unmissable bridal experience. The gowns that are available at Zoya's Atelier come from many well-known designers including Jimmy Choo, Suzanne Neville, Peter Langner, YSA Makino, Stephen Yearick, Jenny Packham, and more. As manager Amy Bitici puts it, the core inclusive focus at Zoya's Atelier is "to ensure that every bride and mother of the bride/ groom has an abundance of choice regardless of their style, shape, or size." Zoya's Atelier is home to several in-house stylists who have a combined 40 years of experience. The atelier is
run exclusively by private appointments, which allows the stylists to provide their full undivided attention to each client. Waitlists can be long, so it is encouraged to schedule your appointment as early as possible. Exquisite product selection, dedicated stylists and inhouse alterations make Zoya's Atelier one of the most popular bridal boutiques in Northern Virginia. "We provide an unmissable experience for brides and mothers of the bride and groom," Amy says. Don't just take her word for it! Their many accolades include The Knot's Best of Weddings for 2018, 2019, and 2020 and Wedding Wire’s Couple’s Choice Award for 2018, 2019, and 2020.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has robbed so much from our communities, in more ways than we would like to comprehend. In addition to the significant loss of life as a result of this public health crisis, many individuals also lost something we can never get back - time. While the pandemic seems to have stopped the world in its tracks, time marches on. The grief of lost time has been a burden for so many, and we see it quite clearly in our newlyweds. Many couples have had to postpone or cancel their weddings until further notice. Others have postponed their wedding not just once, but multiple times. Some planned to have their wedding on its original date, but with significant restrictions and adjustments to meet safety requirements. None of these options are ideal, and ALL result in a loss of what many hope for on their wedding day: to have the “perfect” day that is without worry, anxiety, or sadness. So what can you do in the face of this grief? First, we want to understand how loss affects us emotionally, and how we can find peace and support to move forward. You may have heard of the “Stages of Grief,” or the different emotional states in which we process loss. While we can experience any or all of these stages, it’s important to
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note that modern research suggests that these “stages” do not occur in a linear form, but rather like a pinball machine – bouncing around back and forth, until we finally come out the end. With each round, it becomes easier and easier to navigate the process.
S TAG E 1 : D E N I A L
Sometimes, we just want to close our eyes, plug our ears, sing “LA LA LA,” and pretend that everything is fine. Early on in the pandemic, many couples intended to carry on as planned – we all thought lockdown would only last a few weeks, right? We may avoid thinking about it together, trying to distract ourselves from facing reality. In the pinball machine, denial is the pause between the plunger and the ball. Until you release the pinball, you are stuck at the machine. All you can do is take a deep breath, let go, and start playing.
S TAG E 2 : A N G E R
Let’s face it, this pandemic has made us ANGRY. In the pinball machine, anger is the ball hitting the bells, flashing and making that unsettling, tinny ring over and over again. Many individuals seeking to get married during the pandemic are angry and often blame any target of our rage. When we are angry, remember that anger is a secondary emotion protecting us from more vulnerable
emotions. Start with a self-soothing task, then remind yourself, “I am angry because it is important to me that...” in order to refocus on your values and prevent “lashing out.”
S TAG E 3 : B A R G A I N I N G
If you ever find yourself asking the “what if” or the “if only” questions, you are probably in the bargaining stage of grief. Here, we are the pinball whipping back and forth from the bumpers, trying to imagine or negotiate a reality where we can avoid the loss at all costs. If you find yourself bargaining, recognize that you are trying to grasp control where you have none. Instead, try to refocus and write a list of the things you can do in the moment. This will grant you more control and mindfulness of the present, rather than focusing on the past or future.
S TAG E 4 : D E P R E S S I O N
Here, we are at the bottom of the machine, trying to press the flippers and finding no luck in keeping the ball up and moving. We feel helpless in the moment and hopeless for the future. If you find yourself crying when you think of your wedding day, becoming numb and apathetic, feeling emotionally fatigued, or saying something along the lines of, “my wedding day is ruined,” you are likely experiencing the depression stage of grief. Take one step at a time to find support from loved ones and professionals, so that you can have space for healing.
S TAG E 5 : AC C E P TA N C E
Naturally, we have fallen to the bottom of the machine, back to the beginning with the pinball in hand. In this stage of grief, we find a level of peace with the loss and are able to move forward. Here, gratitude is grounding and can refocus us toward the future. What are you grateful for as you prepare for, or reflect on, your wedding day? Gratitude does not cancel out the pain you are going through, but it does give us something secure to stand on, find hope, and enjoy what loss really is: the reflection of joy and love in our lives. Loss is a normal part of life, but we cannot have joy without grief. When planning or reflecting on your wedding during these difficult times, remember that ALL of these stages and their emotions are valid, healthy, and HUMAN. Find support to heal, have fun in the moments, and reinforce what truly matters: marrying the love of your life, in good times and in woe. For mental health support during this time, visit Healthy Minds Therapy at www.healthyminds-therapy.com, email email@example.com or call (540) 8456940
M E E T A L L I S O N M O R O G I E L LO Alison is a Licensed Professional Counselor providing counseling services at our Alexandria location. Alison is a National Certified Counselor, with an M.Ed. in Marriage & Family Counseling and a B.S. in Psychology from William & Mary, Virginia. Alison’s goal in therapy is to build trust and rapport so that her clients feel safe, comfortable, and heard throughout the therapeutic process. She is warm and bubbly, with the ability to match her clients in a way that creates a strong and positive therapeutic relationship.
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REAL ESTATE ABCs brought to you by the letter T for
TITLE getting married?
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Tune in to “Real Estate ABC’s” on YouTube: https://bit.ly/2I6ggj5
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BOOK YOUR REHEARSAL DINNER OR INTIMATE WEDDING WITH US
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S TO RY BY A N D R E W G AT E S | P H OTO G TA P H Y BY LOV E , K N OT, P H OTO G R A P H Y
When couples think about where they want to get married, many couples think of hotels, ranches, or ballrooms. With so many choices available, one might not think to turn to a whiskey distillery. But Catoctin Creek Distillery is a classic, yet a unique option to add to anyone's list.
room is a beautiful venue for rehearsal dinners, with the ability to do cocktail pairings and special catering menus in our beautiful prohibition-era space, 100 years old this year. Rehearsal dinners can accommodate up to 50 people."
For twelve years, co-founders Becky and Scott Harris have operated Purcellville-based whiskey distillery, Catoctin Creek Distillery, the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition. Everything produced in the distillery is 100% handcrafted from local grain and distilled and bottled on-site.
The uniqueness of the venue is not lost on Harris, nor the couples who choose to have their weddings here. "How many people out there can say that they got married in an active distillery? Gleaming copper pot stills, stainless steel tanks, rustic barrels, and even an opportunity to produce your own custom-label wedding whiskey!"
A whiskey distillery may sound like an unusual choice for a wedding, but with its beautiful industrial chic 1920's-era aesthetic, comfortable space, and the team's years of experience hosting private events, Catoctin Creek Distillery is a premiere venue for weddings or rehearsal dinners. "We have hosted both wedding ceremonies and rehearsal dinners in our intimate and unique space. Lots of gleaming copper and stainless steel, which can be beautiful for the right type of wedding. We have happily hosted both conventional weddings and LGBT weddings," says Scott Harris, co-founder and general manager. "For weddings, our space is small, so it is most appropriate for weddings under 50 people. Our tasting WWW.CATOCTINCREEKDISTILLING.COM
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FACIALS BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE HAIR REMOVAL LASH & BROWS VIRTUAL SERVICES
125 SOUTH FAIRFAX STREET, ALEXANDRIA • (703) 531-9350 • SARAHAKRAM.COM 60 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE
B E AU T Y S C H E D U L E C O U R T E SY O F S A R A H A K R A M
Wedding day perfect skin starts 6 months to a year before the big day depending on a bride’s budget, skincare goals and needs.
6 MONTHS - 1 YEAR BEFORE I always recommend to my bridal clients that you start your wedding day treatment plan no less than 6 months in advance. This generally allows for 6 professional treatments (once a month) where we can customize your service to give you the best results for your nuptials. Treatments can include microdermabrasion for light exfoliation, micro-current which uses a current to lift, tighten and smooth facial muscles, and/or gentle peels to give your skin a radiant glow. I like doing a bride’s final pre ceremony service two weeks out as it give the skin ample time to recover.
3-4 MONTHS BEFORE Hair removal should be done 3-4 months in advance. This will slow the hair growth and allow the hair to grow back slower and finer. Sessions that are 4-6 weeks apart are ideal. Before the wedding day, hair removal should be done a week in advance. This is also true for your brows! You’ll want to have them waxed , shaped and tinted (if necessary) a week before wedding day.
I recommend a bridal makeup trial no later than 4 months before your wedding day. I always advise getting more than one makeup trial (I did for my wedding!) before settling on “the one.” Start early - make-up artists can book out months in advance (particularly coming out of a pandemic.)
T H E DAY O F Lash extensions are an option for the wedding day as well. These can add a dramatic look or a softer look depending on the bride’s desires. I recommend trying lash extensions a few months in advance to make sure this is what you want for your wedding day, and to play with different kinds of looks/styles. MEET SARAH AKRAM As a board licensed Master Esthetician, Sarah is one of the most sought after skincare specialists on the East Coast. With a roster of loyal A-list clients. Sarah provides the best in customized skincare treatments, modern technology with all-natural products, bringing anti-aging skincare to a whole other level. Sarah Akram Skincare is located at 125 South Fairfax Street in Old Town Alexandria. Visit www.sarahakram.com to schedule your appointment
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S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT | P H OTO G R A P H Y BY E M I LY A N N P H OTO G R A P H Y
Social media is famous for reconnecting people who haven’t seen each other for decades, and it was no different for Amanda Hayes and Isaac Rudolph. Having met as children in the National Society of the Children of the American Revolution in the early ’90s, they lost touch until they reconnected in adulthood on social media, finally meeting again in Isaac’s hometown of Belleville, Illinois, during Amanda’s third year of law school while she was visiting family. Three and a half years later, they knew that they wanted to be one another’s family—and Isaac had the perfect plan. “He proposed on March 3rd, 2018, on my family's farm in northern Illinois,” recalls Amanda, now an attorney with Redmon, Peyton & Braswell LLP. Meanwhile Isaac is a merchant mariner with the Potomac Riverboat Company. “He took me by the hand downstairs to my parents’ basement, where there were a couple of video cameras set up next to the TV. My parents were also there, next to us with their phones. Isaac had put together a video photo collage on the TV from our childhood together and our dating years, with the first half of the video providing snippets of what he loved about me, set to the song Thinkin’ Out Loud by Ed Sheeran—which was our song. That was followed by snippets of what he wished for our future together, set to Marry Me by Train, ending with his proposal down on one knee. I’d always told him that if he were to ever propose, I just wanted family to be present, pictures to be taken, and for my nails to be done. He made sure all those things happened!” Just over two years later, on March 15th, 2020, Amanda walked down the aisle at DAR Memorial Continental Hall
in DC wearing a beautiful off-the-shoulder lace gown with long sleeves and a sweetheart neckline. While friends and family were gathered on the portico, she and Isaac exchanged vows and were pronounced man and wife. The guests adjourned to the O’Byrne Gallery and were later joined by the newlyweds, who were up for a bit of fun—and a lot of sentiment. “We played the shoe game so that our guests could get to know us better as a couple,” Amanda says. “Also, during the father/daughter dance, my dad and I had my mother and Isaac join us, so the four of us were all dancing together by the end of the song. My dad then presented Isaac with a ‘HODAR’ pin (Husband of a Daughter of the American Revolution), which my mother had given him many years ago.” After dining on brunch food and a giant donut in lieu of the traditional wedding cake, the newly married Rudolphs were sent off to start their honeymoon in picturesque Luray, Virginia, where they rode horses, fished, played board games, cooked together, relaxed in the hot tub, and sat by the fireplace. As one of the last weddings of the year before COVID, they look on that day with even more fondness—and to the future with great hope.
Venue: DAR Memorial Continental Hall • Gown: David's Bridal (Oleg Cassini) • Suit: Jos A. Bank • Rings: Belmont Jewelers • Photographer: Emily Ann Photography Videographer: Ellen Bee Productions • Catering: Bittersweet Catering Donut "Cake": Elizabeth's Counter • DJ: Imani Entertainment DJ Service Decor: Liz Decorations • Hair/Makeup: Glam by Shekiba, LLC
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CHRISTOPHERSCHAFER.COM 64 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE
provides each man with a thorough and personalized experience, ensuring that no groom gets left behind. "At Christopher Schafer Clothier, we work to show off your personal style while creating custom clothing that fits exactly how you want it to. Our team will go over every detail, from fabric to thread color because everything is up to you," says Casey Rowe, a custom tailor and apprentice. The team at Christopher Schafer Clothier meticulously works with each client. Planning a wedding is a huge event that they take very seriously. Whether it be a tuxedo or a suit, the goal is to not only make the design cohesive with the whole wedding party, but also to make you a one of a kind garment that you will have forever.
S TO RY BY A N D R E W G AT E S P H OTO G R A P H Y C O U RT E SY O F C H R I S TO P H E R S C H A F E R C LOT H I E R
When it comes to weddings, the attention always seems to be on the bride. But what about the groom? That's where Christopher Schafer Clothier comes in. Founded by Christopher Schafer in 2010, the Baltimore-based tailor
Many of their suits are made of English cloth and fashioned in American styles. The one of a kind garments are hand-made in America. Together, the result is a unique high-quality suit with English and American origins. "We strive to make your suit timeless so that you can enjoy your clothing for all life’s greatest occasions. Each of our products we offer are hand-picked by our team. Sourcing the finest options and products in the world, the clothing you create with us will stand the test of time."
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glitters Celebrating 66 Years on King Street S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT
Walking down King Street, things have changed greatly over the past decades; but there’s something that hasn’t changed in all that time: 66 years into its relationship with the people of Alexandria, King’s Jewelry is still thriving. Open since 1955, it wasn’t until Norman “Brad” Bradford bought the store from its original owner that King’s Jewelry truly came into its own as a premier place to buy all things sparkly. Originally begun as a store that sold household items alongside jewelry, King’s owner hired Brad in 1962—who, at the time, worked next door at a shoe store—and so the story really begins. Brad fell madly and deeply in love with his job, ultimately buying the business in 1978. From there, the vision for the store evolved into a business focused solely on high quality, beautiful jewelry and watches—with a priority of exceptional customer service. Along with their reputation for their excellent service and selection, King’s has also become synonymous with family. In 1983, Brad’s daughter, Tari, began working at the store, and his wife Cathy has been handling accounting and day-to-day operations with Tari since 1986. Their two sons, Andrew and Gregory, have also more recently joined the team, lending their respective expertise in purchasing inventory as well as social media and engraving. “While all family members have specific duties, our main concern is always working with customers making purchases or wanting expert consultation about jewelry or watches,” says Andrew.
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The family feel extends to the employees, as well— many of whom have been there for decades. “We all work together as a tight-knit team,” says Cathy of the relationship the entire staff has, noting that sales are all non-commission. “Our main priority isn’t just making a sale—it’s working with our customers, providing them with jewelry that is high quality and lasting.” “Lasting” is something of a buzzword for King’s. It refers to the jewelry they sell, the store itself, and the employees. But it also is apt when it comes to their clientele. Those are lasting relationships, often built over years from the first purchase—most notably engagement rings. “We’ll build a relationship with a customer who comes to us for an engagement ring, and that trust is there for the future: wedding bands, anniversary and special occasion jewelry, heirloom baby gifts. That kind of relationship is something we strive for.” With so much changing over the past 66 years, King’s has naturally moved with the times. And while they may have an active presence on social media and online, they don’t currently sell any jewelry online. “Jewelry needs to be held and admired. You need to be able to
feel the weight of it, see how it’s made, admire how the facets of a diamond catch the light. That’s not something you can do online,” says Cathy. “We also try to focus on explaining the different quality aspects so the customer can make an educated choice,” adds Andrew. Along with a large selection of engagement and wedding rings in a variety of styles and sizes, King’s also carries an extensive collection of gemstone and fashion jewelry, luxury watches, and estate pieces. For customers with a unique vision that falls outside of the scope of what’s in the case, they also specialize in designing custom rings. Additionally, the repair department handles expert jewelry and watch repair. With 66 years behind them, King’s has high hopes of many more years to come—and many, many more diamond anniversaries.
Rudacille and Marcos Smyth work together with couples in the King's Custom Design Jewelry Workshop, using their artisanal experience and CAD technology to bring custom-made dream rings to life. ALTERNATIVE GEMSTONES AND METALS
It should be clear now that nothing can stop love -- not even a global pandemic. Engagement season is in full force this year and, like everything else in our lives, we are getting more creative than ever before. Ring shopping in 2021 is no exception and King's Jewelry has been tracking the latest trends and making them available to their clients. UNIQUE RINGS WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH After a year full of uncertainty, couples are taking control of everything they can. This includes focusing on intricate details and becoming more involved in the design process of custom rings. King's Jewelry's Catherine
Opting for colorful gemstones in place of the traditional diamond is just one more way couples are making the engagement piece their own in a modern, & artful way. But you don't have to give up on a diamond altogether. 'The Halo' ring is a popular option this year, providing clients with the opportunity to surround their beautiful diamond with smaller stones such, as sapphires, or surround a colorful stone, such as a yellow diamond, with smaller traditional diamonds. At King's Jewelry, there are no limits. TRADITIONAL SOLITAIRES In such unprecedented times, couples are exploring traditional ring styles that offer a sense of nostalgia -connecting their modern love stories to timeless pieces of art. Working with jewelers at King's Jewelry to select the perfect solitaire allows clients to explore every facet of the diamonds. This return to classic style for engagement rings means focusing on the cut, clarity and color of the ring she will wear forever. To learn more about what is trending in engagement jewelry this year, please visit King’s Jewelry, located at 609 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. You can also call 703.549.0011 or visit www.KingsJewelry.net
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PERMANENT MAKEUP BY JESSIE
The LABoratory - A Ruby Devine Salon 205 S Whiting St. #306, Alexandria
Alexandria 301 S. Washington St 571.312.4705
FOR BOOKING INFORMATION EMAIL J.CAMPBELLMUA@GMAIL.COM
Sorry. Alexa can’t wash your hair but we can... plus so much more.
118 N Fayette Street • Alexandria, VA www.salondezen.com • (703) 549-1400 68 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE
S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT P H OTO G R A P H Y C O U R T E S Y O F S A LO N D E Z E N
For Heather Jordan, a bride’s biggest day isn’t about the dress or the flowers or how big the reception venue is. It’s all about the hair. As Salon deZen’s resident bridal expert, Jordan is tasked with creating a bride’s vision or, in many cases, offering direction on what may achieve the best look for the wedding. Passionate about her work, Jordan learned that she particularly gravitated toward upstyling as a cosmetology school student in North Carolina, during which time she also trained under platform artists. Now, she’s become a trusted hair expert in all things bridal. “I love being able to make someone feel their absolute best and instill confidence on one of the biggest days of their lives,” says Jordan. “Your wedding day will already have so many aspects; having a team of professionals to take care of your hair and makeup helps keep the bride stay relaxed and have a stress-free experience while she gets ready.”
As brides come to her looking for a great look for their dream day, Jordan offers sage advice. “Bring inspiration photos into your consultation appointment, and focus on having a lot of different styles,” she says. “What you have envisioned isn’t always what works best for your hair type. I always ask the bride-to-be what they do not like more than what they do like for this reason. Also, plan to have your trial at least two to three months in advance of the actual wedding day. Even if you think you will want something 'quick and easy,’ you never know what could happen. It’s also important to explore hair accessory options, including extensions. So many of the styles we see in ads and photoshoots have added elements to take the style to the next level, so keep an open mind.”
An asset to the team at Salon deZen, Jordan is surrounded by knowledgeable professionals who help her shine. “We have a really great group of stylists at deZen, all of whom are very creative,” says Jordan. “The salon itself has a great vibe, lots of space, and it feels safe. It’s a funspirited place to work.”
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SALUTE TO SERVICE
S TO RY BY L I E S E L S C H M I DT | B R O U G H T TO YO U BY D E F E N S E C R E D I T U N I O N C O U N C I L
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“Your imagination is my horizon. I can use anything you come up with as a springboard to create something out of my mind.” A slim man with a shock of gray hair that gives him a distinguished air and a certain sense of experience, David Martin is a force in the business community of his adopted city of Alexandria. The eyes behind his round spectacles have stories to tell—and the things he’s seen with those eyes have given him an incredible perspective on life as well as business.
YOUR IMAGINATION IS MY HORIZON. The son of a WWII Navy captain whose approval was hard won, Martin attended the University of Rochester after high school, quickly finding that he wasn’t quite a fit. Even so, he was determined to take his shot at getting the best possible education and enlisted in the Air Force. After being sworn in by his father, Martin was on track to begin his education, stationed first at Andrews AFB and then Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida. During his time there, he worked as a clinical laboratory technologist and studied invertebrate anatomy to earn his degree. In his spare time, he watched the movement of dancers and practiced sculpture—both of which aided his studies as well as his love of design. As much as he loved his work in the lab, the reality of that work was something that impacted his decision for the future. “I was in the military, but I didn’t serve in a war zone. I worked in the lab, and I saw the boys coming back from Vietnam.” Those boys that he saw were in body bags. For Martin, the task of performing autopsies on them solidified the fact that he wanted no part of being a pathologist.
two years in Lewes, he opened his first shop—uniquely called Through the Looking Glass—won an award from the art league for sculpture, and became involved with the Zwaanendael Heritage Committee, for whom he designed the host parade float on the 350th anniversary of Lewes. Naturally, it was a great honor and huge for his career. “I wanted to create something impressive,” he says.
After an early out from the military, Martin went back to school for an arts degree, working in the lab at the University of Miami while he continued forward in the education that would ultimately lead him to his true calling. What he could never have foreseen were the aneurisms that forced him to make a choice not only on what to do with his life, but where to do it. “In healing, I realized that I didn’t want to go back to a medical career, and I couldn’t go back into the military.” That was his turning point, his decision to focus himself on his art. He left Miami to move to Lewes, Delaware, where he entrenched himself in the community and became known for his skills as an artisan. Over the next
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As much as he loved Lewes, he knew that winters there were detrimental to his ability to stay viable as a business owner. Time was, once again, upon him to choose a destination. Big cities with bustling populations appealed to his business sense, but the call of Washington, DC, was the loudest. “I thought it would be a great place to be doing things in the arts,” Martin explains. “I came to Washington and took a lot of jewelry courses, and much of it involved the same techniques I had used in the clinic for lab technology. I started getting more serious about learning how to cast and carve waxes in the jewelry; and I learned how to identify diamonds with the GIA, so I also do appraisals. The more I did, the more adept I became at making great pieces.” By the early ’80s, Martin had moved to Alexandria, where he immediately joined the Chamber of Commerce. He was encouraged to exhibit his work, and his sculptures won awards from the Washington Jewelry Guild of Goldsmiths and were displayed at Woodward and Lothrop. His success as a businessman, however, is not something he credits to his talent—though he does possess a remarkable skill. “My success is really related to my desire to help,” he explains. “I’ve worked in the community, and my artistic skills put me on the front line in Alexandria. My success is related to what I do in the community: I’m in the Medical Reserve Corps, and I’ve been active in improving this city.” In this, he is referring to the banners on King Street—inspired by another town he’d visited in Virginia whose streets were lined with banners—and the holiday lights that give King Street such charm. Both proposals were denied out of hand, but his persistence soon saw success. Now, walking along King Street, Martin can look at the impact he has made on the city that holds his heart. For his contributions of
beautification, steadfastness, and connection, Martin was named an Alexandria Living Legend in 2013. More recently, Martin was awarded Small Veteran Owned Business of the Year in 2018. As owner of Gold Works, he’s proudly displayed the award in the window—something he notes has brought many Veterans into his shop. And while he may not have any specific advice for Vets starting their own businesses, he speaks sage words for anyone in business: “No matter what’s happened, my motto is ‘Start, show up, be involved in the community, and be flexible so that you can respond when unforeseeable threats come. And network, network, network.’” Now in its 32nd year, Gold Works has become an institution, and Martin’s customer loyalty extends generations. Clearly, beauty is important to Martin—and the work of his hands and his heart can be seen all over the city. Gold Works is located at 1400 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. For more information, call (703) 683-0333 or visit www.goldworksusa.com
VIP Alexandria Magazine would like to extend a very special thank you to Defense Credit Union Council for its sponsorhip of our Salute to Service feature over the past year. Their generous decision to partner with us has allowed us to share inspiring stories of service, selflessness, dedication and perserverance. To explore all of our Salute to Service Stories, brought to you by DCUC, please visit: www.vipalexandriamag.com/dcuc
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S TO RY BY A N D R E W G AT E S | P H OTO G TA P H Y C O U R T E S Y O F AU G I E ' S M U S S E L H O U S E
If you enjoy exploring Old Town Alexandria, then you have almost certainly visited Augie's Mussel House. But did you know that Augie's is not only a restaurant and open-air beer garden but also serves as an event space and wedding venue? Augie's Mussel House and Beer Garden's name derives from St. Augustine, the Patron Saint of Brewers and when you take a peek at their beer list, it's easy to understand why. "Our menu, including our mussels and beer selections, is one-of-a-kind," says Uyen Nguyen, Marketing Director. In addition to their delicious varieties of mussels and wide array of beverage options, the kitchen staff at Augie's prides themselves on their traditional Belgium cuisine that is prepared with a modern twist.
Augie's Mussel House offers private events and weddings for groups of all sizes and always welcomes pets to share in on celebrations! With the patio and indoor space available, the team at Augie's will work with each couple to ensure that the special day they envision will become a reality. If you like the idea of saying "I do" with an Old Town backdrop and historic charm, this is the venue for you.
Beyond the food and drink that has made Augie's such a beloved stop along King Street for locals and visitors alike, the venue is home to a large outdoor patio complete with communal tables, 13 televisions and a 133" projector screen. There is ample space for entertainment and after dark the patio is lit by beautifully strung lights, creating the perfect dance floor.
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The Dance of Intimacy B R O U G H T TO YO U BY YO U R C B D S TO R E - A L E X A N D R I A S TO RY BY J E A N E T T E WAG E S
If you have ever watched a romantic movie, that special moment always seems like such an effortless dance where everyone leaves the dance floor thrilled. But for many people, that “dance” might not always go so well. Sometimes there is stress, anxiety, or even pain. There are different reasons why someone may experience performance issues, but the good news is that there are many ways to help – including our good friend cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant. Scientifically speaking, stress and anxiety is the result of our body’s fight or flight response. It’s the little voice in your head that tries to keep you from being harmed, whether physically or emotionally. It’s what keeps us safe from walking across the street without looking or keeps us up at night thinking about all the things that could go wrong. It is also what keeps us from taking a big leap to try new experiences, like doing the “tango” or maybe doing it with a new “tango partner.” Performance anxiety is far more common than many people think, so let that knowledge be step one to relaxing and finding the rhythm to “get on the dance floor.” Pain is a word we never want to hear in intimate situations; however, it happens and happens a lot. Some experience pain from injuries or wounds. Others have much more chronic issues, which we recommend talking
to a doctor about. However, the use of CBD has been purported, at least anecdotally, to help with muscle pains. Some causes of pain from intimacy-related pain are contractions caused by dyspareunia, removal of IUDs, vaginismus, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and dryness. Yes, I know, these aren’t "dance" terms. Wait for the beat to drop and we’ll bring the metaphors back into play. While CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects like its THC sister, it may boost your mood by preventing the reuptake of one of the body’s endocannabinoids called anandamide. Anandamide is our bliss neurotransmitter, eponymously named after the word for bliss in Sanskrit. It is also associated with the activation of oxytocin, the cuddle hormone. Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body including in reproductive organs and tissue responsible for arousal. While the effects of CBD on sexual responses in humans are unclear, it is known that CBD dilates blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow and has also been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the steroid hormone associated with stress. ... and the beat drops… Next time you’re a little nervous to get on the “dance floor,” remember to calm your nerves and do a little warm-up stretching! Add a couple of drops of CBD to your favorite social lubricant or ease into the night with some nice topical CBD and a back rub.
301 S WASHINGTON ST SUITE B, ALEXANDRIA • (571) 312-4705 • WWW.CBDRX4U.COM MARCH 2021 • 75
P H OTO G R A P H Y BY D O N OVA N W I L D E
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“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
COCKTAIL: PORCH ROCKER Featuring Catoctin Creek A long drink designed to feel cool in your hand and warm on your palette. This adults-only sweet tea is spiked with Catoctin Creek Rye and Aperol with just a touch of orange juice.
Virtue Feed and Grain
COCKTAIL: BLANTON’S OLD FASHIONED Featuring Blanton’s Don’t mess with the classics unless you’re ready to elevate it with Blanton’s and Bordeaux Cherries!
COCKTAIL: BILLY BOB BLOODY MARY Featuring Knob Creek Why drink vodka when you can have whiskey? This spicy, smoky Bloody Mary is finished with bacon and pickled okra and is perfect for more than just brunch.
King and Rye
COCKTAIL: THE KENTUCKY HEAT Featuring Basil Hayden This drink is the perfect blend of smooth bourbon, ancho chilis and a twist of grapefruit for some zest. This drink is set to take you off to the races, the horse races.
Magnolia’s on King
COCKTAIL: THE GINGERLY VIP Featuring Woodford Reserve Chef Leo pays homage to the 'ginger-haired' ladies of VIP Alexandria with a revamped Moscow Mule. Woodford Reserve topped with ginger and lime makes for a refreshing beverage after shopping on King.
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Augie's MUSSEL HOUSE
COCKTAIL: CHERRY TO MY ALMOND Featuring Makers Mark This one goes out to our cherry-loving publisher, Kellie! Maker’s Mark, Amaretto, Lime and of course a cherry.
COCKTAIL: UNDER PRESSURE Featuring: Legent How do you like drinking bourbon? There's only one right answer and that's with truffles. This unique creation features house-infused black truffle bourbon, Amarao Montenegro, Cocchi Americano, a splash of bitters and smoked with gin botanicals. Acclamations! (That's CHEERS in French!)
COCKTAIL: POMEGRANATE MINT JULEP Featuring Old Forester The mint julep is the drink of the Kentucky Derby and begs for big hats and bow ties but they aren’t necessary. Throw in some super fruit, pomegranate, and you have the epitome of a spring cocktail.
Hops N Shine
COCKTAIL: SUNRISE ON DEL RAY Featuring KO Distilling Bare Knuckle Wheat Bourbon with St. Germaine, lemon, strawberry and finished with prosecco. Perfect for sipping while watching the cherry blossoms bloom.
VIP BOURBON TRAIL TOUR NINE LOCATIONS • NINE BARTENDERS • NINE COCKTAILS • SWAG • GIVEAWAYS • MORE! REGISTER AT WWW.VIPALEXANDRIAMAG.COM/BT
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480 KING ST, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314 KINGANDRYE.COM • (703) 842-2761
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the downtown issue C OM I NG
J U N E
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F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N , E M A I L H E L LO @ V I PA L E X A N D R I A M AG . C O M
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ONE EIGHT DISTILLING S TO RY BY E . B R O C KY M C K N I G H T O F W H I S K E Y + K I C K S
My dad retired from Kodak. Remember that company? Cameras, film, etc… No? Well clearly, I’m aging myself. Jokes aside, as a child, I looked forward to one particular day more than any other day of the year outside of my birthday. That day was called “Kodak Day.” It was an employee appreciation event where the families went to a local amusement park for a day of fun. It was a “wonderland” of sorts – literally what summer was all about. Or so I thought. Enter One Eight Distilling and master distiller, Alex Laufer. As an adult, you can keep the roller coasters, bumper cars and cotton candy. I’ll take a distillery tour, a multitude of scientific facts, and whiskey samples, please and thank you. And maybe a funnel cake.
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Tucked in a slightly off-the-beaten-path area lies Ivy City. The Washington, DC neighborhood is where One Eight Distilling opened its doors on January 8, 2015. Get it? 1-8? Similar to an amusement park where you can see that monster roller coaster from the car as your dad searches for parking, that very unique One Eight logo invites you into the fun as soon as you hop out of the Uber or Lyft. “The underlying concept behind One Eight is honest grain-to-glass craft distilling with a local ethos.” And this is certainly accomplished, seemingly effortlessly, but we all know that “effortlessly” is not the case. It is quickly apparent that a lot of blood, sweat, tears, math, and science has gone into making this distillery what it is today.
ONE EIGHT DISTILLING
,I could literally talk all day about the vibe and energy at One Eight but I know you are all here for the booze, so let’s pour some. This Boston, MA native and DMV transplant is true to the craft. When asked about what he loves most about DC, he says, “People that are putting their all into what they create, whether that’s the perfect coffee bean roast (or pour-over), chocolate bar, gelato, biscuit, spirit, beer, wine, cider, cocktail, amazing food, art, music, etc.” FLAVORS! YES! The thing I love most about whiskey is how it smells and tastes. That may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how some folks just want to look at their whiskey collection in admiration. I drink mine. And some of the best in my collection comes from the mind of Alex Laufer. “I enjoy working with farmers to grow the grain we use, working with our hands to craft spirits that showcase those grains. I love the sensory (smell and taste mostly, but also hearing, vision, and touch) changes based on what we do and how we do it. I love honest labor, beginning our days early, exhausting myself physically (and mentally) some days.”
this, Alex? “The original concept of the Untitled series was twofold. First, we wanted a playground to create experimental small-batch spirits. The numbered series allowed us the flexibility to create small and large batches and to do so relatively quickly. Second, we wanted a very different look (name, label, package) to distinguish our finished sourced whiskeys from the District Made line. Since then, we have bottled our own distillations (Untitled Whiskey #18, Untitled Gins 1-4, Spirit of the Stone, Spirit of Grampus, Hop Creek) under the Untitled label. We plan to continue the Untitled line, but as we release the last of our sourced bourbon, we plan to bring the label under the District Made brand. Stay tuned.” Don’t you dare tease me with a good time, sir! Here, go ahead and take your key to the Man Cave right now. While you’re in there, can you stock the bar, please? This type of approach to chemistry does not just appear out of thin air. “I got my BA in Biology (Ecology focus) from Vassar College in ‘93. I continued to swim for them and became involved in teaching (tutoring Poughkeepsie
That has to taste amazing with that type of effort. I mean, really! I was first introduced to One Eight Distilling through their Untitled Whiskey #7, of which I still have a pour left. It is very near and dear to my heart because it is absolutely amazing. I can’t state it any better. The flavor profile is unlike any other whiskey I have had until I had Untitled Whiskey #18 some months ago. I will have that last pour in celebration of this piece being published, I promise. But, how in the hell are you all doing
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(One Eight Distilling, continued...) High students in math and sciences) and in environmental work (volunteering with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater). I also met Sandy Wood (One Eight partner) at Vassar (lived in the same hall our freshman year) and [we] began to explore our tastes for music, good beer, wine, and spirits together.”
1 1 0 6 K I N G S T.
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Makes sense. I marvel at the passion, precision, experimentation, and intelligence it takes to craft spirits. It’s an art. And to be able to present that to the public and make it completely digestible (pun intended) in the form of a beautiful distillery equipped with amazing cocktails, life-sized games, and great company is nothing short of genius. With any science experimentation, however, there have to be a few stories that don’t get out to the public. Come on Alex, just between you and I.
2 8 N H E N R Y S T.
“Untitled Whiskey #4 was an unroasted coffee bean bourbon. I was really unfamiliar with the flavors of ’green’ coffee beans, but we already loved the flavor of roasted coffee beans and bourbon in Untitled Whiskey #3. Vigilante Coffee wanted to try the unroasted beans in an emptied bourbon barrel, so they did, but when they went to roast them, the residual whiskey began to smolder and almost ignited. The green coffee gave our whiskey wild vegetal, specifically green pepper notes, but needless to say, we didn’t do it again!”
$35 BOURBON FLIGHTS
Wait, I like green peppers too but can we dip them in cotton candy, maybe? Jokes aside, either way, welcome to the Man Cave, Alex. Please bring the rest of the team with you. Cheers to you, One Eight!
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Viist One Eight Distilling online at www.oneeightdistilling.com/ You can also follow One Eight Distilling on Instagram at @OneEightDistilling or Alex at @One8Distiller.
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The Brides + Bourbon Issue: Featuring local wedding stories and The VIP Alexandria Bourbon Trail