Angie Hinzey and Mike Blow were the winners of Visit Loudoun’s recent wedding giveaway, and they said “I do” four weeks ago in a gorgeous fall ceremony!
The newlyweds had their reception at beautiful Breaux Vineyards, ate world-famous Mom’s Apple Pie, were chauffeured around town by Reston Limousine, and basically made the most of Loudoun’s extensive network of assets dedicated to making wedding dreams come true.
And like most couples, these two learned a heck of a lot leading up to their big day. We spoke to them to get their advice on wedding planning, how to handle the details and what’s most important on the day-of. Here are their ten tips for future brides and grooms:
1. Fall rules. So don’t rule it out.
“Don’t rule out a fall wedding,” says Angie. Even though it’s not the most popular time of year, she says it worked out really well.
Loudoun has amazing fall foliage and there are plenty of locales where the colors are on full display, from Breaux Vineyards to the Belmont Country Club and beyond. Note: wineries look amazing in autumn.
“When people get hot indoors they can go outside and cool off. And you can’t create what we saw in terms of the colors in the trees, you can’t orchestrate that, so that’s pretty spectacular,” she adds.
2. Plan ahead and take your time.
“Book early because with such a short timeframe it just adds to the stress,” says Mike. “Wedding planning is going to be stressful, and these quality guys like AJ with Grandale Catering at 868 Estate Vineyards-- they book up early anyway. I think the pressure is always on people to please their families and not have a long engagement but it’s so beneficial to push it off for a year and do it gradually and plan it the way you want it.”
3. Be budget smart.
“Put your budget together in the beginning and stick to it, but also build in extra money for things you’re not going to think about until the day of,” says Angie. “Or things you’re not going to realize are going to come up.”
There are always unexpected expenses – in life, and in weddings.
4. Visualize your perfect day.
“Make sure you think about what success looks like to you,” Angie says.
It’s key to understand your own definition of the perfect day, so you can be clear on what you’re looking to achieve. Then, if the less important things go astray, it won’t be as big of a deal. “Things are going to go wrong, but good people either hide those things or just take care of them for you,” Mike adds.
5. Ditch your phone.
“Brides, make sure you give your phone to somebody else the day of the wedding,” Angie says.
“Although it drove me crazy, it was helpful because I didn’t have to worry about it and I didn’t have to keep track of it.” Put down the phone, pick up some Bluemont Merlot or Doukenie Chardonnay instead – much more delicious, much less stressful.
6. Don’t get bogged down with the little stuff.
“We had friends tell us that when you get closer to the wedding, people are going to be coming to you asking lots of questions. It’s so overwhelming. You have to ask yourself - is this a me problem or is this a you problem?” Mike says.
In other words, delegate, delegate, delegate. And having the right people to handle things for you is key, he adds. “It was comforting to know you don’t have to deal with that stuff.” The couple raved about Aliyah of Alimond Photography, DJ Ryan of Olivera Music Entertainment, Kathy of Ebrada Atelier, and other vendors for helping put them at ease.
7. Do as much in advance as humanly possible.
“Do not wait until the week of to do the last minute things,” Angie says.
There are lots of little details you can take care of pretty far out. “There will be things like making welcoming packets, putting together place cards, etc. -- you can start doing those things earlier than you think.”
That way, your final weeks and days are left free for more important matters.
8. Be gracious.
"With all the hubbub, it can be too easy to overlook all the people that contributed to your special day," Angie says. “There are so many people who want your day to be perfect besides you, whether it’s a vendor or bridesmaid -- people who are willing to pitch in,” she adds. “They want to be involved, they want to be a part of it but they also deserve to be appreciated for that.”
9. Getting married outside the city has major perks.
“The benefit of working with people outside DC is that the pace is a little different. They have a little more time to afford you, they can customize things a little more. People like Grandale Catering at 868 Vineyards, Mom’s Apple Pies, Ebrada Atelier,” said Angie.
“They bent over backwards to customize things for us -- you can’t find that kind of service when you’re in a big city,” said Mike.
10. Have fun.
“You have to just have fun,” Mike says. “You have to understand and realize that every single person that’s coming is genuinely there for you and wants you to have a great time and make sure the day goes perfectly for you. Nothing was going to get me down on the day of my wedding.”
“Continue to keep in mind that grace and affection are so important and more important than getting bent out of shape about anything,” Angie adds. “I don’t know how many people I told the week before, if nobody is dead and nobody is in jail and we’re married than it’s a successful event!” she laughs.
And there’s plenty of fun to be found in a Loudoun County wedding. From the best in wine to gourmet food and breathtaking backdrops – it’s a heck of a place to spend your special day. It’s once in a lifetime, so make it count.