Note: Extensive photo gallery at conclusion of the post
Engaged! Magazine held its annual luxury bridal event Sunday afternoon, and the 2012 version proved to be even more enjoyable than last year’s. The format of the event is unique in itself, ferrying brides (and sometimes grooms)-to-be from one swanky hotel to the next in chauffeured busses so that guests can compare spaces. The four hotels were Hay-Adams, St. Regis, Willard InterContinental, and the W.
Our journey began at the Hay-Adams. The renowned rooftop was decorated top to bottom in sugary pink details, with the long table adorned with tall and short centerpieces in the sweet shade. Adding to the fairy feel were glowing orbs dangling from the ceiling. Also dangling was an impressive cake stand holding another pink confection from Kendall’s Cakes, who also displayed scrumptious treats like white chocolate truffle pops and strawberry tartlets encrusted with pistachios. The breathtaking view of the White House from the Hay-Adams’ rooftop was set off by bunches of suspended bouquets in every color by Engaging Affairs and exquisite wedding dresses from Love Couture Bridal.
Downstairs on the first floor of the hotel was a more sensual lounge space, with a luxurious scotch bar and elegant wood paneling. The heady atmosphere would be perfect for a groom to gather with his part before the wedding, though the large space would also make for a more modern, sexy reception than the traditional rooftop. We stopped by DC Rentals to take a look at men’s wedding options, which proved to run the gamut of classic to mod as well. Passed hors d’oeuvres included usual fare like crabcakes and shrimp, but also included cutting-edge options like pigs in a blanket served in shot glasses filled with premium beer.
Our next stop was St. Regis, which, though only a walk down the road, transported guests to a whimsical but ornate French provincial landscape designed by Sandi Hoffman Special Events. The opening room to the main ballroom featured tablescapes created by Table 6 Productions, and included both traditional white lace settings and an exotic, one-of-a-kind setting inspired by Dorothy Draper. My fave dress of the day was on display in the ballroom, a frothy design created by Hannelore’s Bridal Boutique aptly named “Antoinette.” Guests tapped their toes to the upbeat music from Entertainment Exchange, a contemporary contrast to the more traditional music on display in other hotels.
We hopped on the limo bus from the St. Regis to be driven over to our third stop, the grandiose Willard InterContinental. We entered through a back door and were greeted with an exotic Indian display, complete with an electro-pop duo of violin players adding to the fantasy.
Guests entered the main hall through a shrubbery wall constructed, transforming the closed hotel into a spacious, airy courtyard. The Willard boasts a series of ballrooms, and each had its own theme. Our first main room was a winter wonderland, with a catwalk-like area for the bride and groom to walk down the aisle and be wed under gorgeous, ethereal trees that had been sprayed with shimmering white, arranged by Amber Karson Events. An ice bar was tucked in the corner, and luxury champagne was poured through a luge to serve up attendees with ice-cold bubbly.
Perhaps the most avant-garde tablescape was in a room featuring a live centerpiece–a dainty ballerina perched atop the table, orchestrated by Strawberry Milk Events. Brides-to-be could also try on wedding gowns in a pop up salon by Rizik’s, which included a bridal version of Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s iconic Jenny Packham dress.
Our final stop was the W Hotel. We were immediately ushered downstairs where the basement had been decorated with an upscale circus theme. Sprinkles cupcakes greeted guests, who also enjoyed visual displays by Amaryllis Designs in the wedding-goes-Miami-chic main room. The theme was white-hot, with the darkness of the basement being lightened with white furniture, flowers, and decorations.
The evening concluded with one last round of champagne and a toast to another successful, if not grander and more diverse, Engaged! in DC event.
Photo credit: Amanda Holcomb