If there were two things that could make my day no questions asked, it’s Holly Heider Chapple Flowers and her gorgeous blooms and a winter wedding. Scratch that – there are three things, and the final is a handful of absolutely stunning photos from Love Life Images. So today, my loves, is a good day. Filled with an adorable couple, sweetly in love, and snowflakes falling from a Washington D.C. sky. This gallery is the epitome of my happiness.
I am an attorney with the government, and Christian works in banking. Christian caught my eye at an ‘after party’ following a birthday party in the spring of 2010. Feeling confident that day, I walked right up to him, and we had a conversation about my native country, Poland. It was a couple weeks before our first date, during which we shared fun facts about each other via text message. Not too long after that, we were inseparable, eating all of our meals together and talking constantly when we were apart.
Christian proposed in a very special and personal way. We were traveling to Poland and Sweden to meet family and attend a friends wedding in Stockholm. We had an agonizing layover in Frankfurt on our way to Gdansk, our first stop. Once we arrived, we had dinner in a seaside cafe and sang Polish folk songs in an antique pirate ship that had been turned into a floating bar/museum. Despite the late hour, Christian insisted that we wind through the ancient cobblestone streets only to stop me in front of the Cathedral of St. Kataryna, the Cathedral of my name Saint. He pulled me into an alley, dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him in adorable broken Polish, which I later learned that he asked my dad to say into his voicemail so he could practice. I was quite surprised. To celebrate, we managed to find a wine bar to toast with champagne and call our parents to deliver the good news.
When I think of the most beautiful and historic Catholic church in Washington, D.C., I think of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the church of the funeral Mass of President Kennedy, and when I think of the most “old world” elegant Washington hotel, it is the historic Mayflower Hotel, which is just around the corner from the Cathedral. After we were lucky enough to pencil in a date at St. Matthew’s, we immediately thought of the Mayflower as the perfect extension of an elegant winter wedding in downtown Washington. (President Truman called the hotel Washington, DC’s “Second Best Address” after the White House.) It is so elegant in a grown up way, with ballrooms fulls of beautiful drapes and chandeliers. It is not a space that you have to spend a lot of energy decorating.
Since our wedding was in mid-February, winter in Washington was our inspiration. The decor at the hotel is traditional and classic, no need to overwhelm it by adding any other bright colors. All of the finishing touches we chose were black, white, and silver – the colors I think of when I think of winter. Our wedding cake was white and silver, inspired by the snow, and Fluffy Thoughts did a great job making a modern, topsy-turvy cake with snowflakes and a branch. The cake was so gorgeous that we decided to make it a focal point by placing it right at the entrance to the reception ballroom. My mom and I spent a weekend covering over 100 pine cones with glitter for a snowy effect. The pine cones served as place cards at each table setting.
The material of my Nicole Miller wedding gown was a metallic crinkle metal taffeta, which also had a winter feel, like an ice skating rink. When I was getting fitted for the dress, my wedding planner Lauryn wrapped a black sash around my waist, which was the perfect contrast. A silver pair of Badgley Mischka peeptoe pups finished the look. My four bridesmaids and I went to Nordstrom one afternoon looking for something other than the traditional-bridesmaid dress, and quickly set our eyes on a simple, black cocktail dress that looked so elegant on each of them, and that the girls have worn again and again to various events since the wedding. Christian and his groomsmen all wore custom-made black tuxedos, so the whole wedding party looked like a cohesive group, but not matchy-matchy. The girls’ sashes and the ribbon on my bouquet were hand made by my future mother in law from the same metallic tafetta as my gown, which I custom ordered from Nicole Miller.
My bouquet, designed masterfully by Holly Chapple, was also wintery white — a natural stem bouquet of white roses, dusty miller, white peony, white ranunculus, with small pine cones and silver brunia. It was so gorgeous that I carefully preserved it after the wedding, and it is now displayed in our living room. The reception tables had elevated designs created with balls of white hydrangea and carnations. Snow covered branches flew out of the vases. All of the table names were Washington metro stops, chosen based on the stops we lived or worked near: Clarendon, Rosslyn, Farragut West, Metrocenter, Dupont Circle, Tenleytown.
Despite the high winds and temperatures in the teens, Jennifer Domenick managed to get the most terrific photos of us and our bridal party walking across and down Pennsylvania Avenue, with the Capitol in the background. These were our favorite photos from the day.
My “something borrowed” was a strand of pearls borrowed from Christian’s mom. It is a tradition for brides in Christian’s family to wear the pears at their weddings, and I was lucky to be able to continue the tradition. I mixed the pearls with a sparkly earring-necklace set from Nicole Miller for a fun modern & traditional look.
My grandmothers, who traveled to D.C. from Poland for the wedding, along with my godfather and first cousin, do not speak English, so we wanted to be sure to have a few segments of the wedding Mass they could understand. Luckily, our priest, Father Alexei, was fluent in Polish, and was able to deliver the nuptial blessing in both languages. My cousin Nina read each of the Bible readings in Polish, and another friend read them in English. The dinner menu was also inspired by traditional Polish dishes, with pickled herring and a sip of vodka as the starter.
I was so happy that my hands were trembling a bit when I got to the altar, and so were Christian’s. I don’t think we let go of each other during the whole ceremony. This is how our relationship is in general — we are always holding hands and making decisions as a team, and I felt so lucky to have such a caring and wonderful life partner at that moment. About halfway through the Mass, Christian turned to me and whispered “look outside, it’s snowing!” After the Mass, we exited to a flurry of real snowflakes and bubbles.
Photographer: Jennifer Domenick, Love Life Images / Coordinator: Lauryn Prattes, Table Six Productions / Dress Designer: Nicole Miller / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Florist: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers / Ceremony: St. Matthews Cathedral / Reception: The Mayflower Hotel / Cake: Fluffy Thoughts / Officiant: Father Alexei Michalenko / Invitations: Paper Daisies