Washington, D.C.

Love is in the air, and we’re excited to say: Love Wins, for everyone! Here at Loews Madison Hotel, celebrating love of all kinds has been an everyday practice, but lately “the big day” has been on our minds even more as we are experiencing the joy of more couples being able to marry.

Male wedding

With tying the knot on so many couples’ minds, it’s a great time to catch up on fresh wedding ideas. Loews Madison’s Director of Catering and Conferences, Shelene Coward, shares 3 tips to make your wedding day un-cookie-cutter-like and as special as your love story.

1. Make your ‘guestbook’ digital

Selfie shot crop

Jennifer + Chris Wedding at Loews Madison: Nat Wongsaroj Photography

Sure, technology is everywhere at weddings these days — long live the hashtag. But how about upgrading your ‘guestbook’ experience with technology? Shelene suggests having an iPad at the reception so guests can record their own video messages for the couple, take selfies to create a fun and whimsical guest album, and even let guests go mobile with the iPad to record their well wishes and capture a quick video of the festivities from their point of view! (Cue the dance-floor videos!) By the way, we’re still huge fans of the wedding hashtag — in fact, Loews can provide you with a service to live stream all the images posted with your hashtag during the reception, so you and your guests can see their Instagram pics and tweets in real time.

2. Create experiences for your guests and wedding party

i-JmmCkWZ-X2

Nat Wongsaroj Photography

No matter the scale, the goal these days is to make the event feel intimate and unique, creating an environment where everyone can feel close to the couple. One inventive way to do this is to create unique spaces within one space, such as breaking up a room to make a lounge area with a different vibe than the main reception. With the unique layout of Loews Madison’s Dolley Madison Ballroom (which includes a higher-tier area separated by six stairs), Shelene and her team have been able to get really creative — letting the elevated area of the ballroom serve as a cocktail-creation station, an after-party space or the bride and groom’s grand entrance platform.

Before walking down the aisle, it’s also fun to see our wedding parties in a Presidential Suite, where friends can lounge together, toast on the outdoor terrace and take some fun, candid pre-wedding snapshots.

Girls and bride with champagne collage

Nat Wongsaroj Photography

After a long night of celebrating, many couples like to treat their guests to a next-day brunch. But, let’s face it, sometimes you just want to stay in bed! Shelene loves the idea of a “breakfast in bed” treat. We can arrange for guests to enjoy a breakfast selection privately in their hotel room, accompanied by a personal note from the newlyweds. There’s no formality of another get-together but you get to close out the weekend on a personal note with your guests.

3. Make your food and drink interactive

Cocktails

As an alternative to the “chicken, beef or veggies” check box, consider a family-style dinner. Although it may sound casual, it can be elegant and still take place at multiple tables for a seated dinner. By serving dishes family-style, guests get to try more or less of certain foods according to their tastes and can also interact with each other at the table as they pass the dishes. And for drinks? The signature cocktail has had its day — instead, we love a station where the basic drink components are provided but guests can pick from various ingredients to create their own craft cocktail.

A very special thanks to Loews Madison wedding couple Jennifer & Chris for letting us share their big day through their photos. Wedding photography by Nat Wongsaroj: www.natwongsaroj.com.

Cheers to love!

Kallie