Zoë & Kenyon’s Chic and Cozy DIY City Wedding


Today I am featuring an intimate, elegant and heartfelt city wedding with a touching story behind it. Zoë’s son Ben suffered an illness prior to the wedding so she and Kenyon didn’t have much time to prepare for the wedding, had a tight budget, and invited only 15 guests… but it turned out WONDERFUL. Everyone present were people they loved.

They only had two on-site vendors, their hotel venue and the awesome Charo Donohue of Charo Photo who photographed their special moments beautifully (as always)…

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Virginia city wedding

Virginia city wedding

I love receiving submissions from Charo (whose camera work can also be seen at Martha & Neil’s wedding) because her photos tell a story so well. Here’s what she had to say about Zoë & Kenyon’s special day:

This is one of those weddings I won’t forget. Almost 100% DIY, intimate, limited-budget, multi-cultural 30-something couple with so much emotion, laughter, and hope for the future… so freaking great. I fell in love with Zoe’s spirit and her adorable accent when she called to talk about her plans and budget so I gave them a crazy deal that included the travel up there. How could I not – I knew it would be a great wedding.

Even with a tight budget and a very short engagement, Zoe pulled details together that were adorable, and appropriate for the 15-person guestlist and the setting. It comes across very accessible, you know what I mean? My fiance shoots with me and he said to me during the wedding, “this. THIS is what we can do! It’s not outrageous but it looks gorgeous… and everyone is happy.”

We only covered three hours worth which was practically more than enough for their event. At one point before the ceremony, Zoe called me in to the dressing room and handed me an envelope with the balance of the contract amount. With tears in her eyes (not kidding) she thanked me, profusely, for being there and for agreeing to her “insane” budget and that she felt like the luckiest person in the world having me there to document this day. It was… well, one of the more touching moments of my career, really.

Aww. I am sincerely happy for Zoe and Kenyon too and am extremely honored to be able to share their inspiring wedding with all of you.

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Alexandria Virginia city wedding

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Alexandria city wedding

The gorgeous bride is here to tell us more about the story behind her wedding:

Kenyon and I work together and have been friends for a long time before we started dating. Last year, my son got really sick and was in the ICU for 2 weeks. During that time Kenyon gave me so much support. He really helped me and my son Ben through the rough time. While we were still in the hospital I proposed… and he said yes! :)

Charo further adds:

Standing around waiting for the right time to do what you want just results in never doing what you want so she proposed to him, which is *awesome*. And, obviously, he said yes. :).  I love their story. Ben is recovered now but the hospital bills and time off from work left them with little to spend on their wedding but with mail-order florals and a lot of creativity, Zoe and her maid of honor Nunu made something very special and lovely for the guests.

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multicultural city wedding

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alexandria city wedding

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Alexandria city wedding

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Zoë and Kenyon make such a handsome and stylish couple, don’t you think? Our lovely bride further intimates:

We didn’t want a big wedding so all the guests are family members and close friends — people whom we love dearly. We just wanted the wedding to represent us. Kenyon and I laugh and joke all the time. Everything at the wedding represents us in our everyday life. It was fun and casual but sophisticated. Be who you are!! Save your money people. :D

We planned to go the court house but we couldn’t find a court house around here that we like (I love the SF courthouse). I came across the Lorien Hotel and Spa and it was within our budget so we went for it. :) The staff at the hotel are amazing. We’re glad we found this place.

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chic multicultural wedding

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chic city wedding

The wedding and the details are exquisite but surprisingly, they didn’t have to spend that much for it! Zoë spills the beans on ways they were able to save:

Kenyon loves to play golf so the cake topper represents him. Mine said “still shopping” and, well, that’s me. :) We love cupcakes so instead of having a wedding cake and paying extra because it’s a “wedding cake” (I find that ridiculous) we just ordered cupcakes from the store and everyone loved them!!! Why limit yourself to one flavor when you can have 10 flavors of cupcake! :D

I bought my dress online and didn’t pick a traditional wedding dress because I refuse to pay thousands of dollars and wear it for just one day (bad investment). I can wear my dress again anytime. :) As for the jewelry, I rented them from rent-a-runway.com for $45. Thank you internet, you saved me money. :)

I arranged all the flowers myself: my bouquet, my maid of honor’s bouquet, Kenyon’s and his best man’s boutonierre, and the flower arrangement in the room. It cost about $180.

Instead of getting wedding gifts or registering for stuff we don’t need, Kenyon’s brother bought all the champagne and wine and his parents helped pay for the photographer. :) Charo is amazing!!! She made our wedding look 10 times better.

For the champagne toast, I had this amazing drink in Vegas a couple years a ago so I borrowed the idea. Basically you just mix hibiscus syrup with elderflower and champagne and voila!! You have a unique, delicious, and beautiful drink. The whole wedding cost about $2500.

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Such a lovely wedding! It only proves that creativity and resourcefulness + good taste + a whole lot of love, anyone can have a stunningly beautiful wedding even on a limited budget.  Of course it also helps to have a talented photographer on hand so thank you Charo for sending in these amazing images and congratulations and thank you to Zoë and Kenyon for sharing your special day with us!

Photographer: Charo Photo
Reception Venue: Lorien Hotel & Spa (Old Town Alexandria, Virginia)
Cupcakes:  Georgetown Cupcake
Attire: Robert Rodriguez (bride’s),  Ted Baker (groom’s — they got it on sale!)
Wedding topper: WedClix
Wedding Favors: Beau Coup
Wedding Flowers: Afloral and Flower Wholesale
Decorations: Ikea (vase, candle, champagne glass ect.)
Fondue set: Maria Rinaldi (she let the couple borrow her fondue set and bought them all the strawberries and marshmallows)
Hair & Make up:  Zoë  (the bride!)
Champagne & wine: Khwai & Jim

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One Comment

  1. Gorgeous shoot! I love the bride’s dress, the couple look so happy! Congrats

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  1. DC MD VA Weddings Blog ~ Intimate, Multicultural Small Budget Wedding | Capitol Romance ~ Offbeat DC Weddings & DIY Resources - [...] For more photos & a TON of inside details from Zoe on their love story, wedding planning and details, …
  2. featured on Poptastic Bride! » Wedding Photography in Wilmington NC | Charo Photo - [...] Here’s the feature, and please take some time to poke around Poptastic Bride while you’re over there, because there’s …

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