When this couple couldn’t decide whether to go for the grandeur of Washington D.C. or the serenity of Maryland for their nuptials, they did what any normal bride and groom would do – and went for both. They were married at a romantic Maryland park, but not before a few phenom photo ops at the U.S. Capitol. To execute this beyond amazing wedding, the smart twosome hired some of the best in the business – from Pineapple Productions and Rodney Bailey to Holly Heider Chapple and Catering by Windows among other A-listers. Click here for the gallery!

When Ben and I first started considering wedding venues, we couldn’t decide whether we wanted to have our wedding in a downtown D.C. location where we could enjoy views of the city and its monuments, or whether we preferred a more quiet, rural setting with space to enjoy the outdoors. Although we did ultimately choose a venue on a forty-acre nature preserve in the Maryland suburbs, we were able to sneak in a little time at an unmistakably “D.C.” spot.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to stop by the U.S. Capitol (where my dad has worked for over 30 years) for a few pictures before heading to our venue. We almost decided to forgo the photo op during the planning stages because access to the Capitol is extremely limited for professional photographers, not to mention that the building is open to the public on Saturdays so we knew we’d have crowds to contend with. We are SO glad we made the trip! As it turned out, the tourists were really receptive to us – we were even greeted by applause when we walked into the jam-packed Rotunda! The building itself is magnificent and made for such spectacular pictures both inside and out! Also, we loved the contrast of starting the day at such an iconic D.C. location, since the rest of our day was spent at our far more rural venue.

Ben and I didn’t want to tie our wedding to one specific theme, but we were determined to make it feel personal and unique to us. He proposed on our six-year anniversary with my grandmother’s diamond ring, and from that moment I knew I wanted our wedding to feel intimate and family-oriented. From having my 101-year-old grandfather (a World War II veteran) walk me down the aisle with my dad, to asking our dear friend to officiate a ceremony filled with jokes and personal stories, to a reception complete with lawn games including a cornhole set handmade by Ben and his father and hand painted by me, we made sure to sprinkle the whole day with personal touches. The more details I selected and created myself, the more special the entire process felt to me. I scoured Etsy for unique items like the handcrafted bird cage for cards, the cake toppers shaped like birds as a tribute to our venue at the Audubon Naturalist Society, and the tiny logs and stationery that I combined to mimic a mini escort card forest. I picked up the miniature bird houses and wooden numbers at a craft store, and stained and painted them to turn them into table numbers. Although my grandmother passed away years ago, I pinned the heart necklace my grandfather had given her to my bouquet as my “something borrowed.”

We wanted the day to feel relaxed, so we extended the cocktail hour to an hour and a half and created an outdoor seating area so our guests could enjoy the beautiful setting. We wanted the vibe to be upbeat and energetic, so we chose “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles as our recessional and “If It’s Love” by Train as our first dance song. And we wanted to make sure our guests were taken care of from beginning to end, with everything from flip flops to avoid achy feet to buses to and from the hotels provided by Ben’s childhood camp. Our wedding turned out better than I could have ever imagined. But it wasn’t just the wedding day that stands out to me, as special as it truly was. We spent so many hours with our friends and families as we worked to put the various pieces together, bonding over wood glue and laughing during dance lessons. Now, as I think about our wedding, the journey to get there was an inseparable part of what made the whole thing so perfect.

Venue: U.S. Capitol + Woodend Sanctuary / Event Planner: Arney Walker, Pineapple Productions / Caterer: Catering By Windows / Photographer: Photos by RodneyBailey.com / Floral Design: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers / Outdoor Furniture: Capital Decor / Invitations: Jessica Stalnaker / Reception Entertainment: DJ Dan Goldman / Ceremony Music: Cherry Blossom String Quartet / Photobooth: Dan Goldman, Bialek’s

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