Feelin’ Texan and a Date Dilemma

Howdy!

So, as you know, I spent the weekend in the Lonestar State! We did a bit of city hopping (Dallas to Austin to San Antonio), but the main reason for going was to celebrate the wedding of Sean’s cousin, Andrew, in Dripping Springs (which meant a visit to Texas Hill Country!).

The day before the wedding, we spent some time in the adorable town of Wimberly, TX. Sean says I stick out like a sore thumb in Texas, but I’m okay with that. After all, you can take the gal out of Northern Virginia, but you can’t take the NoVA out of this gal, hehe.

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Wimberly is a really cute town, with these giant cowboy boots decorated by various local artists set up throughout the entire area. I also fell in love with this popcorn place that seriously changed my life. Dill Pickle and Jalapeno Cheddar popcorn?! Cinnamon Toast Kettle Corn? Be still my snack-loving heart! Good thing they ship nationwide, because I may or may not be making serious plans for a popcorn bar at the wedding…

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Aaanyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, the rehearsal dinner was at the world-famous BBQ joint, The Salt Lick. I was so excited to finally get to try this place out, I couldn’t even hide it (hence my excited face posted above.) I knew 2,200+ Yelp reviews couldn’t be wrong about this place, and thankfully, it all lived up to the hype.

It. Was. Awesome. I ate my body weight in delicious smoked meat and it was everything I thought it would be. The brisket? Moist and juicy. The pork ribs? Fall-off-the-bone tender. Even the house-made pickles knocked my socks off! Oh, if only there was barbeque like this in Northern VA!

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The next day, we had some time to kill before the wedding, so we spent some time exploring Dripping Springs (they were having a festival), and also visiting the Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery, which apparently just recently moved out of Austin to set up shop in Dripping Springs.

Then, it was wedding time! The whole thing was incredibly beautiful — all country chic (Catelyn, the bride wore an allover lace dress with cowboy boots) and rustic elegance. The venue was gorgeous and they got super lucky with the weather, too — it rained, stormed, and was intensely humid every day EXCEPT for the day of the wedding, which was temperate (still hot, of course — I mean, it is Texas — but not muggy) and sunny.

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Of course, with a wedding of my own around the corner, I was taking some mental notes on all of the amazing and beautiful things that they did to celebrate Andrew & Catelyn’s big day. I particularly loved that the bride & groom were already seated for dinner when everyone else came in from cocktail hour. That way, they were able to actually eat and enjoy each other’s company before the hubbub of being announced and launching into their first dance, etc.

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Just from these terrible iPhone photos alone, you can probably tell what a gorgeous venue and setup it was. Aside from the beautiful ambiance, great food, and ridiculously good band, however, it was also just wonderful to meet all of the extended family on Sean’s dad’s side. The Foxes are an awesome group! Now I’m even more excited to take on that moniker myself someday, hehe.

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Speaking of which… after much visitation and deliberation, I have finally chosen my wedding venue! Sean and I will be getting married at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial!

You know that humongous tower that sticks straight up out of Old Town Alexandria when you drive by? Well, that’s the place! It’s gorgeous and grand and has a ton of history — both generally (George Washington was the Charter Master of this lodge), and personally (turns out my grandfather and great-grandfather were both lifelong Masons!).

It’s got a very iconic DC-feel, while still being in Northern Virginia (huzzah!), and the interior is full of high ceilings, marble floors, grand staircases, and enormous columns. I love it! It has a beautiful theatre inside (where the opening scene of National Treasure 2 was filmed!) which will be the ceremony space, and then this cool sunken ballroom on the ground floor to host the reception. It also has a wicked observation deck at the very tippity top that offers incredible views of the surrounding area.

Funnily enough, the Masonic Memorial wasn’t even originally on my list of potential venues, but after I wrote my post about my venue search, my friend Clare mentioned that I should take a look at it (her sister got married there), and I ended up making a super impromptu visit and simply fell in love!

Unfortunately, while I do have a venue picked out, I still haven’t decided what to do as far as the actual wedding date. Maybe you guys can actually help out in that regard. See, for a long time now, I’ve had visions of a winter wedding dancing in my head. You know, crisp winter air, cool winter light, long dresses with faux fur stoles, deep colors and warm drinks, lights, snow, the whole shebang.

So when the time came to pick a date, I thought that a January wedding was pretty much a no-brainer. After all, Sean’s and my anniversary is already in January, plus it does have additional advantages, like being in the wedding off-season (vendors sometimes offer off-season discounts), being during Ben and Taylor‘s downtime (my brother and sister-in-law are wedding photographers), and not competing with a zillion other brides getting married the same weekend. Seriously, I think I saw at least half-a-dozen different weddings on Facebook from this past weekend in addition to Sean’s cousin’s!

So, January 23rd became my golden date, just a few days before our four-year anniversary.

However, as you can see, here I am, venue selected but still dateless. Turns out, I’m a bit gunshy when it comes to actually pulling the trigger on the date. The major reason has to do with the fact that Sean is concerned (understandably!) about how weather will affect people traveling from out of town. He makes some good points about people potentially not being able to attend because of it, and I think that’s become my biggest hangup. So I did inquire about some early Spring dates that the venue has available, and now March 12th and April 2nd are under consideration as well. (I’ve definitely ruled out anything remotely close to Summer — I’m sure I’ll be sweaty enough without the help of 90-degree weather, thanks — and Fall is out due to timing — this Fall is way too soon, next Fall is too far away.)

See, on the one hand, I don’t want anybody to be straight-up unable to attend my wedding due to something as silly as weather. And there’s just no telling what it’ll be like on the day of, and that is pretty stressful. (Not that I haven’t tried — guess how many times I Googled some variation of “January wedding weather predictor,” hahaha.)

I mean, if it were to snow on the day of, I’d actually be totally fine with it (I love snow!) but if it were to snow a crapton? This area just doesn’t do very well with snow, and even local people might have trouble getting around. And what if, Heaven forbid, it’s icy? I feel like it doesn’t tend to snow as heavily or get quite as icy in January around here but you never know…

On the other hand, weather is unpredictable no matter when you get married, especially in this area. We’ve had freak snowstorms in October and March, we get plane-delaying thunderstorms in April, and the like. Plus, I mean, it’s not like people don’t ever travel during January… and at least flights/hotels would probably be cheaper in the DC area in winter vs. in Spring. And then, of course, a Spring wedding doesn’t exactly fit into my whole wedding vision…

Butttt, like I said. Torn.

Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter — I know that asking for opinions when it comes to wedding planning can be overwhelming (especially because people tend to have a LOT of opinions when it comes to weddings, hahaha), but I’m honestly so torn right now I think it’d be helpful to hear from other people.

What time of year did you get married? Would you be hesitant to attend a winter wedding?

23 Comments

  1. Megan C.says:

    My husband and I got married in January in Virginia and I loved it! The cool crisp air, the pictures were beautiful, and I hate being hot when I’m dressed up.

    My best friend just got married in February and has the most gorgeous snow pictures from her wedding. I especially love the traditional ring picture in the snow.

    http://mariagracephoto.com/blog/wayne-sheila-newport-news-wedding-photographer

  2. Melissasays:

    my sister got married in February in Chicago and it was beautiful – fur stoles, snow on the ground, etc. It was definitely cooooollllldddd for pictures but worth it. Just do January and pray the weather cooperates 🙂

  3. Unless 95% of your guests are local, I say no to winter. I say April 2nd haha there is so much stress leading up to the day, you don’t want weather to add to it! And people will be calling and asking the hotels cancellation policy and bugging you about their travel woes haha ive heard of weddings being staight up cancelled because no transportation is available (bus/limo/etc). You’ll stress about weather until the day before and that’s just no fun for your wedding day!

  4. DO IT! Do the January date! While it’s true that DC winter weather is ridiculous and snow travel sucks…….with a handful of exceptions, most of the *BIG* show stopping snowstorms for this area has been clustered around February and early March……actually, it’s usually around Chinese New Year’s. So……….DO IT!

    Also, with travel being so much cheaper in January, *more* friends and family will be likely to come (just because it’ll be more budget friendly/possible). The only downside, is that if there are any friends/family with kids in school, that may be a problem…but that will be a problem ANY time except the summer. So, just pull the trigger and do it!

    We had our wedding in October. The week leading up the wedding – the most perfect weather ever. The day of our wedding? The worse thunderstorms and rain ever. The day after our wedding? The most glorious weather ever. HAHA! You just can’t tell. So just do it…and do it before your date is taken by someone else!!!

  5. My hubby and I tied the knot of December 6th, 2008. My thinking was the same as yours: soft candlelight on a cold night; evening wedding with elegant, dramatic bridesmaids dresses; effortless decor with white Christmas lights. It was beautiful. And perfect. But then we had a blizzard. A straight-up BLIZZARD on our wedding day. One guest swerved into a ditch and decided it was safer to just go home, several didn’t even try to leave the house. It was bad! BUT the wedding was gorgeous and the key players were there. I got my Winter Wonderland (literally). Weather is unpredictable, but I think if you’re aware it’s a possibility going in, you’ll know how to deal with it and not be entirely surprised by it.

  6. Amy Bsays:

    Hi there! First off….I love that you are getting married in Old Town. Not just because I live there, but because it is BEAUTIFUL.

    Let me also say that it is especially BEAUTIFUL in the winter – the trees along King Street are all lit up, the sparkling snow, the

    In terms of weather…I get the concern. But I also feel like weather can be “bad” any time of year. I would not hesitate to travel to a winter wedding. Especially for great family/friends!!

  7. I’d say it depends on when in January….Early January? Maybe not the best, but if you could schedule it so that it falls on MLK weekend? That could make travel easier as some people may have an extra day off of work. Snow cannot be planned, and in Minnesota we can have storms in March and April (not sure if that’s true for NOVA) so I would pick whatever you want and let people work it out, you’re giving them plenty of notice, if they want to, they will make it work. They might just use the date as an excuse when really they don’t have the funds to cover travel, and that is okay.

  8. Do it! If you really think about it, how many days out of the year are you actually unable to travel because of winter weather? One? Maybe two or three if it’s a freak snowstorm?

    Our wedding was at the end of September, which is normally perfect weather around here. Still warm from summer, but not the blistering, humid heat that you get in July and August. The flowers are still blooming and the trees are still green. Should have been perfect! Except that it was 96° on my wedding day with 90% humidity (the Canadians were about ready to die) and we were in the middle of one of the worst droughts in a century, so everything was brown and crunchy—and we still had an awesome time. You can’t guarantee the weather no matter when you pick your wedding date, so might as well go for what you really love!

  9. Howdy Ms. Gretchen!

    I love your venue! My husband and I got to visit D.C. And my favorite excursion we went on was to Alexandria to the Washington Masonic Memorial. My husband is a mason and we got married before he joined the lodge so we didn’t get to take advantage of any of the beautiful Masonic buildings there are. We got married in June, but it was WAYYY too hot! I think a winter wedding would be beautiful and the idea of being able to save money because of the “off season” means more money for the honeymoon right? I think whenever you choose you will be a beautiful bride! Congratulations!

  10. I say go with the January date. If weather is going to be a factor in your wedding, it is. It could snow in March. There could be a hail storm April 2nd. If your heart is set on January, go for January.

    That said, obviously if Sean is dead set against it, it’s nice of you to compromise, because you will be doing a lot of that once you’re married.

  11. I had the same dilemma! I LOVE the idea of a winter wedding, but most of my guests are from out of town (several important ones from Boston and we know how much Boston sucks in the winter) and I was just too worried about the weather so I went with this fall… gulp. So soon. Personally I have a fuck ton of anxiety so making it the winter would have heightened my anxiety too much and I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the planning process as much. If you’ve got your heart absolutely set on a winter wedding then go for it though, as long as you’re aware with the things that could happen. Either way your wedding will be beautiful!

  12. I can understand the weather thing. I was supposed to go to my friend, Laura’s wedding a few years back, but we got an ice storm the night before. I couldn’t leave town (it was a 20 minute drive). I was so bummed!

  13. Jennysays:

    I grew up in Alexandria and used to go with my friends at night and sing on the steps of the Masonic Memorial. Good times. And a great venue!

    My cousin got married January 1, 2000 (Y2K!) and it was such a pretty time of the year. January is not usually big snowstorm time in NoVA, so I’d think you could risk it.

  14. Annasays:

    I used something like this to see what the weather had been for our wedding.
    http://www.wunderground.com/history
    If January doesn’t work out maybe you could do engagement photos in the snow? ❄

  15. Lynsays:

    Winter weddings are amazing and gorgeous! I say “go for January”…travel rates are great for out of towners… the week of April 2nd is the ending of Easter week, and if out of towners try to come in that week, pricing might be high.

  16. Granted, I got married in Florida, but I had a January wedding and LOVED!! We actually had a ton of traveling from the Baltimore/DC area for the wedding and they had no issues with flights. I’m jealous you have the possibility of snow at your wedding! That would have just been the icing on the cake.

  17. I say go with the January date… the odds of weather preventing people from coming aren’t that big, it’s the wedding you really want, and the proximity to your anniversary is perfect. Have the wedding you want, the important people will find a way to be there even if the weather is bad.

  18. Teresa Msays:

    We got married in October, but winter was definitely in contention. Ultimately we chose against it because January or February in Colorado can be pretty nasty for traveling. Go with your gut though!

    Another reason late spring/early summer weddings are nice is because it’s easier for people to schedule time off from school/work. We’ve been to a series of Memorial Day weddings the last few years because it easily accommodates everyone and ends up turning into a giant family reunion weekend.

  19. Allisonsays:

    the thing is that the weather on any date is unpredictable. There are plenty of days in January in the DC area when it just isn’t that cold or it could be a blizzard. In May, it could be totally freezing. In the Fall, there could be a hurricane.

  20. Chantalsays:

    Is there anyone coming from out of town that you’d be devastated if they couldn’t make it last minute due to weather? Because it’s not really weather where you are that would worry me (sounds like most people are saying January should be fine), but winter weather for people needing to get to you. Think of how horrendous this winter was, with so many flights cancelled.

    That said, there are always going to be people that can’t make it, so as long as you’re fairly sure the most important people can get there…

    • Fortunately the majority of people traveling in for the wedding will be coming from Texas, so hopefully the chances of snow affecting their ability to travel will be very minimal on their end! But yes, that was absolutely a consideration. We’re just going to have to have faith that it’ll all work out!

  21. Hello, I am sure you are not aware of this but the photo of the Masonic Temple at sunrise in Alexandria Va. is my photo. It is considered stolen and I ask that you either remove it from your post or please give photo credit to Michael Donahue Photography. Thank you

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