Washington, D.C.

 

BridesmaidAid.com visits the nation's capital!

BridesmaidAid.com hits the D.C. metro area to show you all the best spots both in and outside the Beltway.

A word to the wise -- be sure to confirm store hours and locations before making an in-person visit.

Where to Buy Your Bridesmaid Dress

  

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The D.C. metro area offers 'maids with many choices. For a sense of history, check out Rizik Brothers, which has been in business since 1919 (Rizik Brothers, 1100 Connecticut Ave. NW, second floor, 202-223-4050, Hours: M-W, F-S, 9-6; Th. 9-8). For you high-end types, Vera Wang also has two shops in town. Hannelore's of Old Towne is a traditional bridal shop with an enormous shoe and accessory department, but watch out: some 'maids have reported snooty service. Lady Hamilton, a smaller shop with nice, personal service is in nearby Arlington. Robinson's offers many dresses to choose from at its two Maryland locations. There are also David's Bridal shops throughout the area.

If you want to look for off-the-rack dresses, Nicole Miller, Jessica McClintock, AnnTaylor, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Hecht's, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penny and Lord & Taylor are all in town. For maximum efficiency, hit Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria. As the commercial says, that's where the stores are -- all of the above can be found there.

Thrifty bridesmaids should also make a trip to Loehmann's. One D.C. bride reportedly found designer dresses there for a mere $99 -- they were going for $400 at department stores. The Rockville and Falls Church branches have the best selection, we're told. D.C. is also home to two great outlet malls. You'll find premium deals at Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets. You never know what you'll find at the enormous Potomac Mills Mall, which is a short drive (depending on traffic) down 95 South.

For a wide selection of shoes, try DSW (locations throughout the area).

Bridesmaid Beauty (this is not an oxymoron)

Hair: Visit Hair International of Georgetown (1740 Wisconsin Ave., 202-337-0383, 202-337-7567, or 202-337-5377). Susie does great wedding up-dos. Lucier (1400 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, Va., 703-761-1111) is also highly recommended.

Make-up: Not sure how to avoid shine in all those wedding photos? Let one of the make-up artists from Faces by Gustavo take over for you.

Other: For great, no-nonsense waxing visit Cynia near Tysons Corner.

Where to Throw a Bridal Shower
or Bachelorette Party

SPA DAY

Located in North West, Celadon day spa offers a serene environment and sells luxurious products. Also in the city is Lillian Laurence, which offers packages with names that sound like the ideal marriage (joy, delight, happiness and bliss). Sugar House Day Spa is a friendly spa in a restored townhouse in Old Towne Alexandria.

TEA TIME

D.C. is a traditional town -- the perfect spot for an old-fashioned bridal tea. With three area locations (Tysons, D.C., Pentagon City), The Ritz Carlton makes it easy to throw a tea party. Also consider The Hay-Adams Hotel, a beautiful D.C. landmark. In Virginia, consider the Cedar Knoll Inn's English afternoon tea. Located along the George Washington Parkway, the Inn has a beautiful view of the Potomac River.

BRUNCH SPOTS

With an enormous menu and decadent desserts, the casual and affordable Peacock Cafe in Georgetown is a great place to take a group of ladies. Out in the suburbs, Reston's Jasmine Cafe has a tasty brunch overlooking a lake (1633-A Washington Plaza, Reston, Va., 703-471-9114). Many area hotels offer good brunches including the modern Westin Grand (2350 M St. N.W., 202-429-0100), which has a pretty outdoor patio; the Monarch, located right across the street; and the St. Regis. For great city views, try the Kitchen Brunch at the Kennedy Center's Roof Terrace Restaurant (Sun:11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.).

BACHELORETTE DINNER

For a night out, consider starting at the lively Georgetown waterfront. Both Tony & Joe's and Sequoia (3000 K St. NW, 202-944-4200) have enormous outdoor decks and are popular with bachelorette parties, but the average American food is a bit pricy. Other popular spots include Mexican at Lauriol Plaza (1835 18th St. NW, 202-387-0035) and Jaleo (480 17th St. NW, 202-628-7949), which has more than 50 different tapas to choose from.

Across the Potomac, you can also check out Old Towne Alexandria's famous Fish Market, which offers traditional seafood along with boisterous sing-alongs to live piano music in the upstairs dining room. The accommodating piano players take requests and have no problem embarrassing your bride-to-be. In nice weather, the waterfront patio at the the Alexandria Chart House is another good place to kick off your night.

THE PERFORMING ARTS: THE KENNEDY CENTER

Want to bring a little culture to your evening? Check out Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. It's been running for 14 years and the ending changes every night (the audience solves the crime at the center of the show). Tickets cost $32.00 and group rates are available. There are even places to eat at the Kennedy Center: With phenomenal views of the city, the Roof Terrace Restaurant is a perfect place for a pre-show dinner or you can stop by Hors D'Oeuvrerie for appetizers, drinks, dessert or coffee afterwards.

KARAOKE

Feel like flexing those vocal cords? Try Peyote Café (2319 18th St., NW, 202-462-8330) or the sushi bar/karaoke lounge upstairs at Cafe Japone. Sing it baby.

READY TO GET RAUCOUS?

Grab a fist full o' one-dollar-bills and take the party to see the naughty male dancers at the Hanger Club (6410 Old Branch Ave., Camp Springs, Md., 301-449-6970). If you want to stay in D.C., try Wet (52 L St. SE, 202-488-1200), an all-nude gay strip club that is popular with the ladies. The clever dancers wear socks so they have a place to hold their tips.

For dancing try the New Orleans' themed Lulu's or the enormous Third Edition (1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW at M St., 202-333-3700, open 'til 3 a.m. on weekends), which has several dance floors, bars and an outside patio. There's plenty of young eye-candy to help your party celebrate. For disco fun there's a Polly Esthers (605 12th St. NW, 202-737-1970, Th only, open 'til 3 a.m.). You can also head over to Adam's Morgan and stop by the very cool Madam's Organ, which was recently named to Playboy's best bars list. One patron described the suave 1223 Club (1223 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-822-1800) as "heroin chic, techo, trendy."

If you want to stay in Virginia, check out the Clarendon section of Arlington where you can find a friendly, kick-back, remember-your-college-days atmosphere at Clarendon Ballroom, Clarendon Grill and Mr. Days (3100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, 703-527-1600, open 'til 2 a.m.). They're all within walking distance of one another so if you get sick of one, you can easily move on to another.

You can find some fun bachelorette items at Night Dreams (4866 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, 301-986-4711) or the Pleasure Place (1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-333-8570). Spencer Gifts also has a good selection of gag gifts and ways to embarrass the bride.

Where to Buy Gifts

There's no shortage of shopping in the metro area. You can order online (our suggestion) or take a trip to the mall or one of the area's shopping districts to fulfill your gift-giving needs.

Tysons Corner Center (Bloomingdale's, JC Penny, Restoration Hardware) and Tysons Galleria (Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Sur la Table) have almost every national chain store your bride-to-be could chose for registering. Nearby is also a giant Crate & Barrel store (1800 International Dr.) Tiffany & Co. has two area locations, in Chevy Chase, Md. and at Fairfax Square, across from Tysons Corner. The always-popular Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond are located throughout the area. There's a Crate & Barrel outlet in Alexandria (1700 Prince St., 703-739-8800), but gift registries cannot be printed out there. A great Virginia-based store is Michael Round, where you can find high-quality crystal, silver and china at discount prices. Located in Bethesda and Fair Oaks Mall.

Going off the registry? We love stores around King Street in Old Towne Alexandria. Visit Random Harvest (1117 King St., 703-548-8820) or browse the collection of French imports at Sister's Maison Unique (116 S. Royal St., 703-683-7533) where they'll even wrap your selection with a sprig of fresh lavender. Appalachian Spring, with locations in Reston (Reston Town Center, Reston Parkway, 703-478-2218) and Georgetown (1415 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., 202-337-5780), offers a good selection of American crafts.

Where Else to Look

Want more Washington, D.C. information? Visit Washington.org, Washingtonian.com, Zagat.com or TimeOut.com.

BridesmaidAid.com's next "City of the Month" stops include San Francisco and Miami. Help us bring you more cities! Send information about these cities, or hot spots in any town to penelope@bridesmaidaid.com.

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