I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Abby and Jeff’s wedding at Hartley Botanica is like a tropical Secret Garden affair. Filled with elegantly edited DIY projects by the bride, the day is designed to let the venue and the couple’s style shine. We especially love the handmade paper by Etsy vendor Papel Vivo that Abby bought in bulk to design and printer all her own paper and signage. So timeless! The day was coordinated by An Enlightened Event, with beautiful classic florals by Belle of the Ball and it’s all captured by Ashley Dang Photography.


What made the wedding special and unique?

Groom: We wanted to keep the traditional wedding aspects (ceremony, speeches, first dance, etc.) short and sweet to maximize the time we could spend talking and dancing with our friends and family. Basically, we wanted to host the best, most beautiful and fun party of our lives. Thankfully, with all the legwork we did and all the amazing vendors we hired, I think we succeeded.

Bride: At one point during the night our coordinator approached us and asked if I wanted to do the bouquet toss. I remember looking around and seeing all our guests under the twinkling lights – some feverishly dancing, some deep in conversation, some raucously utilizing the flip book and photo booths. Everyone was having so much fun. Jeff and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Naw, let’s just keep the party going!”

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

Bride: Creating and personalizing was a huge component of the wedding decor. I love designing and crafting and the wedding was the perfect opportunity to do so! Much of the wedding décor was painstakingly found or made by either myself or my family members–a true labor of love!

I found an amazing vendor on Etsy who sold handmade paper for a steal and I purchased it in all sizes to print our save the dates, programs, menus, table numbers, and seating arrangements. For the table numbers, we used only numbers that were special to us (and wrote a little blurb below each table number with its significance) instead of simply using sequential table numbers. The same monogram that I designed for our wedding papers is also embroidered on Jeff’s pocket square that he used on the big day.

My mom and aunt helped me wrap each jam favor with twine and cheesecloth and my dad made the countless wax stamps that were used in my invitations and favors. I rented some items but also found many other items by scouring flea markets, Etsy, eBay, and thrift stores. Jeff had to come with me one night to a Craigslist seller’s home to pick up a heavy iron trellis that I wanted to use to display the seating arrangements. To keep the signage natural looking and consistent with the Tuscan garden theme, I wrote with chalk paint on slate cheeseboards that I bought for a steal at World Market. The ring bag was a linen pouch I found that I hand-stamped with our initials.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

Bride & Groom: We talked about this and discovered that we share the same one–our first look! After so many hours of being apart and busily prepping all morning for the wedding, finally seeing each other alone under the archway of vines and flowers was magical. Time–well it just kind of stopped.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Groom: Ha! This is a bit funny–so we met each other back in 2009 in law school. We were both California transplants who found ourselves in DC. We became fast friends but after I asked Abby out and she said “no” we sort of drifted apart for the remainder of law school. However, after graduation we both found ourselves in Southern California and we reconnected again over frequent hiking outings. Long story short: I asked her out again, she said yes, and we lived happily ever after. Just kidding–sadly that’s not how it happened. I asked her out again and she said no. Then asked her out again–another no. Then finally, I asked her out again and just told her to think about it. That was the key because after we took a trip (still as friends) to New York, she finally said yes! After dating for about a year and half I surprised Abby with a proposal while out on a hike at Will Rogers, something that was special to us because hiking was how we initially reconnected after law school.

Coordination: An Enlightened Event // Photographer: Ashley Dang Photography // Florist: Belle of the Ball // Venue: Hartley Botanica // Design: Bride // Cake: Skiff’s Cakes // Desserts: Carrara Pastries // Hair & Makeup: Grace Lin // Bride’s Dress: GP Wedding // Bridal Crown: Erica Elizabeth Designs on Etsy // Bride’s Shoes: Chloe // Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie // Groom & Groomsmen’s Suits: Men’s Warehouse // Paper: Papel Vivo // Engagement Ring: Jean Dousset // Wedding Bands: Tacori // Caterer: Command Performance // Decor Rentals: My Lovely Events
// Decor Rentals: Party Pleasers // Videographer: Buckley Videography // DJ: Jonathan Rosales of Red Shoe // Photo Booth: Foto Snap // Flipbook Booth: A Little Scene