Justin & Judie
A summer wedding in North Bethesda, MD.
About the Wedding
Please, tell us your engagement story!
Funnily enough, I knew when we would get engaged by accident! There was a slight miscommunication and the date was accidentally blurted out, so I knew when it would happen but not where nor how it would happen. Plus, both of my parents are deaf, and Justin's parents were flying in, and I am usually the interpreter, so it was pretty obvious it was going to be on the weekend of March 13th (haha).
Justin, my now husband, and I met at a church in the DC/Maryland area, so he proposed to me at a park (sort of) nearby. I thought I knew every nook and cranny of our area, but he found this small park that I barely go to that I forgot existed! He often goes running and explores, which was how he found this place. We love quiet, dainty, places in nature, as we often walk in parks and do hiking trails with my two dogs, so this park was quite fitting.
It started with a friend of mine who took me out to grab Boba and catch up. He drove me around and was like, "let's check this place out!" This was how we ended up at this park. We were walking around when we suddenly spotted Justin who nudged me to come over and my friend disappeared. I walked straight over and it was just me and Justin as he shared his piece and proposed. After I said yes, he surprised me by yelling out, "She said yes! You all can honk now everyone!" Little did I know that he had an audience on Zoom who was listening to everything over a mic that Justin hid in his suit jacket! I confusingly looked to our right, where there was a parking lot behind a few trees and was completely overwhelmed by everyone's love as I did not expect to see a bunch of cars there! Justin knows I get quite shy when it comes to romantic things and that I preferred a proposal with just us two there, but I still somehow wanted everyone else to be around to celebrate after or to watch from afar. He did a great job surprising me because while I do get shy about it, I love my family and friends so much that I was extremely ecstatic that they were all around to celebrate.
On an extra note, we also decided to take our first look photos at this same park on our wedding day before the ceremony. :)
What made you choose your venue and theme?
Our ceremony venue actually belongs to a dear long-time friend and church mentor of mine who was also our realtor. She is like another mother or sister to me, and she was so kind to offer her home for us to use for free! Justin and I had a tight timeline since he just got into a PhD program at Harvard Medical School (we didn't even know which school he was going to choose and where we were going to move to when we got engaged). Because of this tight timeline, it was extremely difficult to find a venue, especially when so many weddings from 2020 got pushed back to 2021. So our friend was (and still is) SUCH a blessing to us! As mentioned earlier, we love quiet, and dainty places in nature, so this venue was perfect already. The space was big enough to allow us to host up to around 105 guests in person (we also had our wedding on YouTube Live for approximately 300 people to watch) and we were able to cater lots of Boba in the back for our guests to enjoy during "Boba hour" as we took pictures! This space also went really well with the décor we wanted to put up, which was mostly nature-looking and romantic. The colors of the suits and bridesmaid dresses complemented the space and theme well too.
We'd love to know more about your experience in working with SuitShop!
Our engagement was quite short -- a little over 3 months to be exact. So SuitShop was AMAZING and quick to work with. One of our groomsmen from California (where Justin grew up) found SuitShop, and was able to receive some suits to try on and test out. We were stuck between the charcoal and blue grey colors, but he received the suits quickly and it definitely helped to see some pictures and videos of how it looked, so we decided on the blue grey one. The groomsmen were able to order in time, as it got shipped quickly and we still had enough time for anyone who needed to get it slightly tailored. My husband loved the slim fit as he is on the skinnier side, so it was nice to see how it fitted him so well!
Any advice for brides/grooms to be?
1. On top of having lots of clear communication and patience, it is also important to be in the moment and not only prepare for your wedding day but to very much prepare for your marriage, as this is a life-long commitment we are making. We may have had a short engagement, but we are so immensely thankful for our family and friends and church communities who have supported us in various ways. We made sure to set aside time to receive pre-marital counseling, even in the midst of busily working, planning a wedding, selling my home and planning to move! I would definitely recommend pre-marital counseling to all couples.
2. So many friends have offered to help us, so I would also advise to humbly accept help! Our friends helped us with décor, serving Boba, setting up a photo booth, and more. I know it can be tempting to want to do everything on your own and try to make everything perfect, but it definitely helps when your loved ones are a part of the process. Logistically, I would also recommend making an excel sheet that lists priorities and timelines to meet. It helped us prioritize what was important, and it helps everyone else to understand what's going on and how they can help.
3. Even though our engagement was only 3 months, a LOT of things actually went extremely smoothly on the day of our wedding. We felt so at peace (praise the Lord for this) and we were able to really live in the moment. So last piece of advice, enjoy your wedding day. I hear so many times from brides/grooms that the day went by so fast as some would worry about small details about this and that, and some may not remember certain parts of their day. Of course, do what you can to prepare the logistics for your wedding day so it goes smoothly. However, unexpected things may happen all the time and it is okay. I know it is tempting to want your day to be perfect for your guests, but you should enjoy it more! No one will really remember the littlest details except you, and you don't want to let that ruin your day. We are SO thankful to have two of our dear friends be our day-of wedding coordinators -- they helped make sure all the logistics went smoothly according to the timeline and plan I created. So an extra last piece of advice is to leave your wedding to a day-of coordinator(s) who you trust will help you handle these things so you can thoroughly enjoy your wedding. :)
Our engagement was quite short -- a little over 3 months to be exact. So SuitShop was AMAZING and quick to work with. The groomsmen were able to order in time, as it got shipped quickly and we still had enough time for anyone who needed to get it slightly tailored.
— Judie, SuitShop Bride