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Winter Wedding Dubbed by the Couple as a ‘Champagne-Soaked Dance Party’

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

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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

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Perfectly On Point Early Spring Wedding

When you know, you know. I’m talking about wedding dresses dear friends but let’s be honest, the search for that gorgeous gown can seem almost as intense as the hunt for your future hubby. So when this Bride tried on her Oscar de la Renta dress she just knew it was the one and the rest of her wedding planning was able to come together – thanks in part to the talented Holly Heider Chapple Flowers. Audra Wrisley captured the dress, the florals and more – see them all in our Vault right this way!

Country Club

From Audra WrisleyKristin and Dave were married on a beautiful early spring day in Washington, DC. They’d envisioned a classic, city chic wedding centered on celebrating with family and friends. Designed around Kristin’s breathtaking Oscar de la Renta gown, they chose a palette of classic ivory, blush, champagne with black accents to create a dreamy affair that was a joy to photograph. Beginning the day at the bridal suite at the Willard Intercontinental, we photographed all of Kristin’s exquisite details and a few bridal party portraits prior to the ceremony. After Kristin and Dave said their vows under the gorgeous Italian Fresco at Holy Rosary Church in DC, we headed to the Congressional Country Club for the reception. Dancing the night away with an incredible band, Kristin and Dave ended the evening with a fun bubble exit to conclude the beautiful wedding day.

From the Bride… Dave and I met through really good mutual friends of ours, Lauren and Justin. They were apart of our bridal party and we are getting ready to celebrate them, as they are engaged!

We were very fortunate to be able to have a big wedding with lots of support from our parents. It was truly important to us that our wedding day was all about being with our family and friends; and we wanted to make it a fun and memorable day for everyone! Father Ezio at Holy Rosary made our ceremony so special and helped us start off the day by celebrating our faith. The Congressional Country Club provided delicious food and a beautiful venue while the Winn Brothers Band was absolutely outstanding and helped us party till midnight!

My Mom and I planned a day to wedding dress shop and visited Jennifer at Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase first. The Oscar de la Renta dress was the second dress I put on. The way I felt in that dress and the luxurious fabric was what truly blew me away. We did end up visiting other shops but I compared all dresses to that one. My Mom knew it was THE DRESS before I did! I always thought I would never get a strapless wedding dress but she had the idea of creating a lace top which turned out so lovely. And gave me two different looks for the big day!!

I owe a lot of thanks to my Mom. She was my personal wedding planner and rock throughout the whole wedding process. We went on all of the appointments together with my Dad and Dave participating in some as well. She helped me design the invitation suite, flowers, welcome bags, my wedding look and the classic color scheme of the day!

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Photography: Audra Wrisley Photography | Floral Design: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers LTD | Wedding Dress: Oscar De La Renta | Reception Venue: Congressional Country Club | Bracelet: Kate Spade | Makeup: Amie Decker Beauty | Band: The Winn Brothers Band | Veil + Custom Lace Top: Oscar De La Renta | Bridal Boutique: Saks Jandel | Bridal Hair: Amber Mayo | Bridesmaids' Hair: Allison Brown | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Getting Ready Venue: Willard Hotel | Groom's Tux: Ralph Lauren | Invitation Suite: Old City Press

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The Most Gorgeous Dress We’ve Ever Seen

For all of the brides that are reading today, I think we can stand in solidarity on one very important thing…the gown. We want to look in the mirror and believe that this dress was made for this moment, this girl, this day. It’s everything. And one look at the bride in this next gorgeous wedding and I think the world will agree…this dress was made just for her. It’s perfection. Add in an incredibly gorgeous design plus photographs from Simply Sarah that will bring you to tears and you get a gallery to obsess over.

From the bride…We met the old fashion way! In March of 2010, we were both out with friends and as fate would have it, ended at a bar on the Lower East Side. We instantly caught each other’s eye, though much credit is also due to one friend (who shall remain nameless) and his funny but decidedly bad dance moves – they were quite the conversation starter! By the end of the evening, we had exchanged numbers and went on a date the following Monday.

When we got engaged, we had been together over five years and had recently celebrated my birthday, however this one was without physical presents as Craig claimed my gift was an activity “unavailable” until a later date. Weeks later, due to bad weather, the surprise kept getting rescheduled and Craig, dropping a series of bizarre and completely misleading hints, had me completely stumped. Finally, on October 7th – a Wednesday – Craig told me to pack an overnight bag & after much mystery, we eventually boarded a private yacht and I was told that my birthday gift was a re-creation of one of our first dates. At sunset he popped the question to which I replied “Yes, Really??? Thank you!!!”and rapidly put him in a loving chokehold-like hug. That evening we checked into a suite at the Standard Hotel (another special place for us), ordered room service, ate french fries, and were just happy to start the next part of our story.

My favorite part of the wedding had to be our ceremony, especially because of our amazing string quartet & our meaningful program. We had changed officiants two weeks prior which resulted in some INTENSE, last minute marriage preparation sessions that really reminded us of why & how much we love each other. Our priest took letters we had written about each other & incorporated it into our ceremony which was so heartfelt and meaningful. Our second favorite part was getting to see everyone in the Anderson House gallery at cocktail hour – it was so beautiful & the first time we got to greet all our loved ones, friends & family, finally celebrating our wedding day.

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Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Florals: Sweet Root Village | Wedding Dress: Legends by Romona Keveza | Catering: Well Dunn Catering | Makeup: Glam Qui | Hair: The Updo Specialist | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Wedding Venue: Anderson House | Day of Coordination: The Velvet Veil | Film Lab: PhotoVision Prints | Music: Sage String Quartet

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