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Taylor and John
Since Taylor, a behavioral therapist, and John, a sales manager, met during their junior year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, the couple has been inseparable. It was after four years of dating that John secretly flew out from Columbus, Ohio, where they live to D.C. to ask for her parents' blessing and—the cherry on top, says Taylor—her brother's blessing as well.
As soon as John returned home he began planning a romantic Easter weekend proposal on the back patio of a small neighborhood restaurant. With lights strung about and a beautiful table stocked with flowers and Champagne, John asked Taylor to marry him. Both of the couple's parents and siblings showed up a half hour later to celebrate the occasion. "As you can imagine, I was a ball of tears listening to how John orchestrated our perfect engagement," Taylor explains.
A year later, on May 30, 2015, Taylor and John had 255 guests for a lovely spring wedding filled with timeless style and sophisticated touches at the renowned Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington D.C., that ended in the same way they met—with sparks, well, sparklers to be exact.
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The couple worked with The Dandelion Patch and Stacey Shapiro Calligraphy to create a logo containing their first initials surrounded by a lily of the valley wreath—the bride's favorite flower and the one used in her bridal bouquet. The blush, cream, and gold suite was designed on horizontal cards and mailed in calligraphed envelopes.
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The Welcome Box
Because many of Taylor and John's guest were coming in from out of town, the couple created welcome boxes that represented the city well. They included hand-decorated sugar cookies shaped like cherry blossoms, the Capitol Building, and the White House made by Sugar Dot Cookies—a local bakery discovered by the bride's mother.
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For the Men
John picked a special bottle of bourbon for each groomsman and paired them with monogrammed drinking glasses from Williams-Sonoma.
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Taylor tried on 60 dresses before finding her gown, a Jesus Peiro design. "I'm a conservative gal, but that slit in the neck was just the classic look with a twist I was hoping for," says Taylor. With a crystal belt and satin-covered buttons down the back, Taylor's gown made her feel like the most beautiful version of herself on her special day.
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Taylor's ivory J.Crew satin pumps were customized by her local cobbler with a lace applique from her mother's wedding dress—a nod to her parents' 37-year marriage.
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Bridesmaids wore blue Erin Fetherston gowns with floral white lace overlays—an appropriate choice for the sunny, May weather.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Amaryllis, Inc. created the delicate bouquet of lily of the valley that Taylor carried down the aisle. For the bridesmaids? Small bouquets of garden roses, peonies, and various spring greens.
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"I was so excited to see Taylor walk through those doors since we didn't do a first look," explains John. "I thought she looked beautiful and couldn't take my eyes off her as she walked down the aisle with her dad."
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The traditional Catholic ceremony was held in the afternoon at the St. Bartholomew Catholic Church—Taylor's childhood church in her hometown of Bethesda, Maryland. The couple lit a unity candle to represent their two families becoming one while a vocalist sang Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer". Before the wedding, Father John Enzler asked the couple how they knew they were perfect for each other and read their answers as his homily.
Taylor's favorite moment of the entire day was exchanging vows with John. "There is something so special about looking someone in the eyes and vowing to love them unconditionally for your whole life in front of all your family and friends," she explains. "It's a part of every wedding ceremony that is considered routine, but I can't think of any moment more romantic."
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Although they had a D.C. wedding, the couple chose to focus their portraits on the people rather than the capital's scenery. A small park across the street from the Willard InterContinental hotel was an ideal spot to capture the couple and their bridal party immediately after the ceremony.
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A Guest Appearance
John's nephew, Jack, didn't attend the wedding, but luckily he joined the bridal party for a few pictures.
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The cocktail hour was held on the terrace of the Willard InterContinental hotel where the courtyard fountain contained floating gardenia blooms and was surrounded by white benches with monogrammed pillows. Passed hors d'oeuvres included corn and crab fritters with a remoulade sauce and goat cheese and duck prosciutto canapés.
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The couple's signature cocktails were named The Mr. G and The Mrs. G in honor of their new titles. John's signature cocktail was a classic old fashioned. Taylor's combined Champagne and a scoop of St. Germain-flavored sorbet. Hers was served in a coupe glass adorned by baby's breath, and the custom cocktail napkins were a fun gift from her mother.
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To accommodate the couple's large guest list, Taylor and John displayed their spring green escort cards against large, black and white, pinstriped boards.
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In the Willard's Grand Ballroom, the couple's reception was a vision of white, cream, and blush with pops of spring green and blue. The table arrangements alternated between tall glass hurricanes with white candles and low flower arrangements of hydrangeas, long stem roses, and small white flowers. Floral plates added to the springtime feel.
Without the couple knowing, Taylor's mother had worked with Sarah Drake Design to create the beautifully embroidered monogram on the bridal party's dinner napkins. "They were one of the many surprises up my mom's sleeve that night," says Taylor. "It was important to her that after a year of planning every detail John and I still had a few unexpected elements that night."
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A Special Display
John and Taylor made sure their family members were honored throughout the day. Wedding invitations from both of the couple's parents and grandparents were on display in cloches, along with the cake topper from Taylor's grandparents' wedding. All married couples took to the dance floor for a special number celebrating their anniversaries, as Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" played.
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For their first dance, the couple chose a classic—"Cheek to Cheek" by Fred Astaire.
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The couple chose an all-white, five-tier cake with a floral design for dessert. John likes banana cream while Taylor prefers almond, so they combined the two flavors for the cake's filling. Another sweet treat? The buckeye-flavored macaron favors that honored the newlyweds' beloved Ohio.
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In honor of their Italian honeymoon, Taylor's parents organized a sparkler send off complete with a sign saying, "Ciao Baby." The exit was yet another surprise from the bride's mother, and a very festive way to end the evening.
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Photography, Abby Jiu of Abby Jiu Photography
Locations, St. Bartholomew Catholic Church (ceremony); Willard InterContinental Washington (cocktail hour and reception)
Event planning, Anne Book
Catering, Willard InterContinental Washington
Flowers, Amaryllis, Inc.
Videography, Monachetti Weddings
Save-the-Dates, Magnificent Milestones
Stationery, The Dandelion Patch
Calligraphy, Stacey Shapiro Calligraphy
Cake, Willard InterContinental Washington
Cookies, Sugar Dot Cookies
Music, Nightsong of Entertainment Exchange
Rentals, DC Rental
Monogrammed napkins, pillows, Sarah Drake Design
Bride's gown, veil, and belt, Jesus Peiro
Bride's accessories, J.Crew shoes
Hair, Ian McCabe Studio
Makeup, Lorna Basse
Bridesmaids' dresses, Erin Fetherston
Groom's suit, 1812 Society
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Jeff Johnson & Co.
Lighting, Frost Lighting Company of DC