Hey LBBers, I want to introduce you to Mary Kate McKenna Photography. Some of you may already know and love her, and the rest of you? Well, you will know and love her after spending all afternoon with this classic Washington DC affair. The wedding was pure perfection on a stick – and MK was there to capture it all beautifully. From the gorgeous bride, to the adorable flower girl, to the handsome groom – and every little detail in between – are fab. Double fab. Maybe even triple fab. Click here for more!
We met at American University in Washington, DC, where we were both students and working in the same campus office. It took a little while for the first date to happen, but when it did, it was a sushi dinner and a walk around the Jefferson Memorial, which Mark knew to be Katie’s favorite. When Mark proposed five years later, he did so by recreating this first date (on the sly, with the help of Katie’s maid of honor, Flannery) and asked Katie to marry him on the steps of the Jefferson.
The Meridian House was the first venue that we visited and we knew immediately that it was the right place for our wedding. We were looking for an elegant Washington, DC venue that had both indoor and outdoor spaces, as we hoped to hold the ceremony outdoors and then move indoors for dinner and dancing. The Meridian House exceeded all expectations. Nestled on a one-way street across from Meridian Hill Park, it is a hidden gem that offers beautiful gardens, a one-of-a-kind linden tree grove, and classic beauty, inside and out. It was instantly our wedding style inspiration, which our florist described perfectly: Old World Luxe.
Our colors were bronze, chocolate and cream, which were featured in our save the dates, invitations, escort cards, place cards, programs, and guest book. We wanted to do as much ourselves as possible, and worked hard to put personal touches on everything: the save the dates were designed and printed by Mark (and hand-embellished by, with envelopes embossed by Katie); the invitations were hand wax-sealed; the escort cards were hand-stamped and handwritten; the guests’ gift bags were hand-stamped and filled with goodies, including homemade chocolate chip cookies that Katie baked; and the guest book was carefully pieced together by Katie – she filled a photo album with chocolate and bronze envelopes, and stamped and embossed coordinating stickers to seal the “secret notes” guests were encouraged to leave behind. After reading the entire guest book, we can safely say that while some of these secret notes contained words of wisdom and best wishes, others were more reminders of how much fun everyone had at the reception!
Other personal touches were special to us, because we were able to incorporate, or ask the advice of, people close to us. Mark’s aunt is an accomplished musician and former U.S. Marine String Orchestra member – she and her quartet, Montebello Strings, provided the music for the ceremony and cocktail hour. Katie’s good friend from high school is well connected in the music and DJ scene and was happy to introduce us to DJ Cuzzin B, who absolutely rocked out the reception. Our wonderful photographer, MK, is an old friend from college, who we have known for years and we were so happy to share this event with her.
The day of our wedding, the weather called for rain. We were lucky enough to take photos outside (slightly cloudy is great light for photos!) but had to take advantage of our Plan B and move the ceremony inside. This, too, ended up being lucky, as the room we moved into was filled to the brim and made for a very intimate, and very personal, wedding ceremony. One of Katie’s favorite memories is walking into the room and just filling up with an overwhelming happiness of seeing, so close together, all of the people who mean so much to us in our lives. It was a very, very special moment.
We worked with our minister, Rev. Jeff Maszal, to create our own ceremony, one that would be very special and personal to us. Our readings were excerpts from larger works that have great meaning for us: from Love and Living by Thomas Merton (Mark) and from Le Petit Prince by Antoine de St-Exupery (Katie). In this second reading, the Little Prince is reminded by the Fox he meets that only with the heart can one see rightly and that he, the Little Prince, is forever responsible for his rose, the rose that he has chosen.
One of Mark’s favorite memories from the wedding is the curveball Jeff threw at us—ad libbing from the ceremony script following this reading, Jeff asked Katie and Mark to look into each other’s eyes and repeat after him: “I am responsible for my rose.” It was an incredibly unexpected, emotional, and beautiful moment.
After the ceremony, the weather held off just enough so that guests could mingle in the linden grove and stroll through Meridian’s beautiful gardens. Out on the lawn, guests played our favorite lawn sports while sipping cocktails. Everyone then moved inside for a family-style dinner, catered by Lebanese Taverna. As food and travel are important parts of our lives, we wanted to incorporate both of these elements into the wedding dinner. An exotic yet accessible cuisine like Lebanese—which is also very conducive to sharing family style—fit that vision perfectly. We also chose French wines to serve to our guests, to reflect both of our years spent studying in France and our shared love for the country (including a white from the Loire Valley, made not 30 miles from where Mark lived). Mark also chose to serve one of his favorite beers, Porkslap Farmhouse Ale, which is brewed in upstate New York not far from Katie’s hometown of Rochester and is known for its refreshing ginger flavor and distinctive bright orange can.
To bid guests thank you and farewell, we sent them off with boxes of French macarons, Katie’s favorite cookie, from Michel Patisserie. The flavors were Katie’s favorites: rose, pistachio, cafe, and vanilla. Our favorite photos from the wedding, in addition to the ones we took with family and friends and the ones that show everyone having a great time, are those that look timeless and will age gracefully.
Photography: Mary Kate McKenna Photography / Event Design: Friends of the bride / Ceremony Location: The Meridian House / Reception Location: The Meridian House / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Floral Designer: Beehive Events / String quartet: Montebello Strings / Reception DJ: DJ Cuzzin B, Robert Carter / Day-of Coordinator: Ashley J. Bolding / Invitation Designer: Paper Source / Caterer: Lebanese Taverna / Cake & Desserts: CakeLove, Michel Patisserie / Wedding Gown Designer: Modern Trousseau, from Hitched / Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Joanna August, from Bella Bridesmaid / Veil: Sara Gabriel, from Gabriella New York / Hair and Makeup: Madeline Wade