I think it should be a new thing that we ask all couples how to describe their wedding day in five words or less. Because this stunning duo, came up with THE best one: ‘Champagne-Soaked Dance Party’. Now, doesn’t that sound like a wedding you want to attend? SoCo Events added their pretty touch and it’s classic elegance at it’s best. Join me in The Vault for more captured by Bonnie Sen.
From the newlyweds… How We Met: This question has a few answers. According to Facebook, we cross paths at some point while we were both at Vanderbilt in 2009. Technically, we were first introduced, as grown ups, at Hill Country BBQ as we were both helping out with a young Vandy alumni fundraising event. It was an informal host committee meeting and Matt was the only person at the table that I did not know. I thought he was cute and he apparently thought I “looked SO Vanderbilt.” However, we did not speak much at the dinner, besides a few stolen glances and watching Matt spill BBQ sauce all over his suit. After that encounter, a mutual friend and I were gchatting as I was complaining about the lack of nice men in DC. This friend, Theo, suggested that he could set me up with his old Vandy buddy Matt McGrath the next time he was in DC and we’d be a good match. About two weeks later, I unexpectedly bumped into Matt at a friend of a friend’s house party in Adams Morgan. After asking him to pour a drink, for reasons unknown to me, the next words that blurted out of my mouth were “Theo says we should date” Matt took it in stride with some mild amusement.
What was the bride’s first impression? My first impression of Matt was that he was very cute and how did I never lay eyes on him while I was at Vanderbilt. He was charming, polite, and well dressed, albeit a messy eater.
What was the groom’s first impression? I have always found Sarah captivating because she’s this tall, beautiful woman who is charming, assertive and unafraid all at the same time. About two minutes into our first conversation, Sarah told me that we shared a close mutual friend in New York, who had told her that she and I should date. I took a sip of my drink and responded, “Well, I think we should try that.”
I also love to read, and Sarah said she did too, so I gave her a little test. After our first date I offered her a couple books on politics that I thought she’d like. (Sarah still makes fun of me for giving her “homework.”) But she thanked me for the recommendations and finished both books by our third date.
Our First Date: Our first real “date” was on a Wednesday night at Brasserie Beck on March 14, 2012. After hitting it off majorly on Saturday night, I was expecting Matt to immediately call/text/date me. By Tuesday morning and radio silence I was a bit panicked. But, rather than a rash of somewhat inconsequential texts or emails that I had come to expect in the DC dating pool, Matt actually CALLED me on Tuesday afternoon and asked me to meet him on Wednesday night. He suggested Brasserie Beck, which was about 5 minutes from my then apartment. He asked if I could do 8 PM. At the time, I was a teacher with the Teach For America program and started my days at 5:45 AM, meaning dinner time for me was the early bird special at 5:30 pm, so I assumed he meant for a drink. I admittedly tried to arrive late, against my natural inclination, and actually stood around the corner and waited for him to walk in first. When we were seated for actual dinner, I was surprised – he was so grown up was my initial reaction, an actual meal! I also had sort of already eaten dinner. He was very sweet and charming and tried to impress me with his French and his reasoning for choosing a Belgian restaurant (he interned at the EU in Brussels during college). We ended up talking until around midnight – way past my bedtime.
How long did you date before getting engaged: We dated from March 2012 to January 2015
Where and How We Got Engaged: (Matt and I had discussed getting engaged a bit and I already knew that over Christmas he was planning to ask my dad permission (over a scotch at 10 AM during my nephew’s breakfast with Santa, it turns out). In his very Matt way, he had told me to plan for “Q3 2015” – obviously trying to make light of the situation while reassuring me.
During 2013 and 2014, I was traveling quite a bit for work and had racked up a number of frequent flier miles. We were originally planning to take a trip to Argentina, but the flights and times didn’t seem to work out. Instead, we decided to go to Northern India. We arrived in Delhi in January 2015; I had gotten my nails done just in case he was going to pop the question. However, after our first night and nada, I sort of assumed that he wouldn’t want to carry a diamond all over India in the next 10 days, so assumed it wasn’t happening. During our amazing trip we kept get upgraded to nicer rooms or suites and the staff kept congratulating us and calling me Mrs. McGrath. Every time, Matt sort of nervously laughed – I assumed since he was getting awkward at the insinuation.
Our final night in India, we were in Jaipur – the Gem City in Rajasthan. Matt arranged for us to have dinner at the Rambagh Palace, once the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, which was converted to a hotel when the royal family moved out in the late 1950s. Before we left for dinner, he had arranged for a nail appointment for me in the hotel. I wasn’t sure if it was a sign or if he was just thinking my curry stained polish was looking a little rough. Once we left for dinner, Matt started to sweat profusely. Arriving at the hotel, the GM met us at the door and gave us a tour of the palace. Again, the royal treatment seemed a bit odd. Finally we concluded at a giant fountain in the back of the palace that was spraying water way into the air and beautifully lit up. Matt got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Earlier in the day, he had bought a little emerald bracelet to propose with and had the real ring waiting for me in DC. We then had the most amazing 6 course menu on gold plates, followed by a huge chocolate cake on a bed of roses. Truly magical!
How long were you engaged before getting married: We were engaged exactly 1 year and 7 days. We initially thought about the weekend prior, so we would have an exactly one year engagement, but thank GOD we did not as that turned out to be the weekend of the snowpocalypse and were totally snowed in. I really wanted a winter wedding and Matt did not want a long engagement. He asked if we could go to the court house multiple times to just make it official already.
Bride’s Favorite Wedding Detail: I have too many to count, but I think my favorite detail was the custom made soft seating from Edge Floral. It was a beautiful mirrored gold chair, couch and table, covered in a rich velvet. It was so beautiful and made the space cozy and comfortable and kept everyone in the room.
I also LOVED the welcome bag details – the theme of DC came across with all of the customized stickers and the water bottle wraps, not to mention the capital shaped cookies and campaign pins! The velvet bags that held the hangover kits were also so fun and luxe.
Groom’s Favorite Wedding Detail: I was totally blown away by the attention to detail that Soco Events and the Four Seasons put into the wedding reception. We really wanted a reception where all our family and friends would dance, so I appreciated the cocktail napkins that helped people build their confidence. I think one said, “Trust me, you can dance. -Vodka”. Note from Sarah – Matt picked out great crushed velvet tuxedo slippers for himself and all the groomsmen
Biggest Surprise of Wedding: (from Matt) When Sarah and I started our first dance, I was totally confused when at first I couldn’t recognize what the band was playing. Little did I know, Sarah had asked them to play an acoustic version of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, which was the first song we danced to when we started dating in 2012. We still laugh about “Call Me Maybe” being our first dance — maybe one day it will be a classic!
From Sarah: I loved surprising Matt with our first dance song. Call Me Maybe always makes me think of our first few months of dating, when we would listen and dance to it nonstop. But my favorite surprise of the wedding was my parent’s participating in the Horah! It was SO funny to watch my very catholic mom get hoisted up in a chair – something she vowed she would never do (“too dangerous”). As they lifted her into the air she made the sign of the cross – which just made the whole thing funnier.
Most Sentimental/Touching Moment of the Wedding: (from Matt) Sarah was raised Catholic and I was raised Jewish, so we wanted a wedding service that would reflect who we are together and be inclusive of our families. I spent a lot of time writing our own wedding service with my cousins Monsignor Robert Harris of Brooklyn, New York and Rabbi Dan Levin of Boca Raton, Florida. We absolutely loved the sermons they gave, where Monsignor Bob talked about the theme of “harmony” from the Old Testament and Rabbi Dan talked about the theme of “love” from the New Testament. We felt a lot of love in the chapel and it really set the tone for the rest of the evening.
From Sarah: My dad is a big dude. Very manly and tough, but when he came into the room to see me in my dress for the first time he was basically a crying ball of mush. It was so sweet and touching to see how much he cares and loves my family in a moment like that.
Wedding Favors or any special décor details: I LOVED the customized wedding campaign pins that Blair designed. During the wedding, I was working on the Jeb 2016 campaign and had worked in republican fundraising for the past 3 years, while Matt is an Obama White House alumnae and works with Sec. Madeline Albright. Since our wedding was the day before the Iowa primaries and everyone who knows us, knows our political involvement, it was a really fun way to incorporate the election year, DC and politics in a fun and playful (read no political arguing!) way.
First Dance Song: Call Me Maybe – acoustic. A fun surprise to Matt. By the end, all of our guests were clapping and singing along.
Wedding Theme: My vision for the theme, was a black tie evening, that was still a cozy escape from the winter, like a warm fire and hot drink. I wanted it to feel a little old school in that way.
Four Words that Describe the Wedding: Champagne soaked dance party
Photography: Bonnie Sen | Event Planning: SoCo Events | Floral Design: Edge Flowers | Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau | Invitations: Creative Parties | Church: Dahlgreen Chapel | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Makeup: Lorna Basse | Hair: Bridal Hair By Remona | Lighting: Digital Lightning | Hotel: Four Seasons | Bridal Boutique: Hitched Salon | Groom's Tux: The Black Tux | Linens: Nuage Designs | Music: Elan Artists | Rentals: DC Rentals