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Sasha and Tyler
A surprise proposal has a dark side: the level of deception involved. "It was so hard to keep lying to the person I would never want to lie to," says Tyler Felous of his elaborate plan to pop the question to Sasha Taskier on a trip to Napa Valley. "I actually asked him at one point, 'Are you going to propose to me or not?' and he said, 'No, sorry, I'm not,'" Sasha laughs. "I was so disappointed! And he's not usually a good liar, which is why I believed him."
Then he got down on one knee at the top of a bell tower at Groth Vineyards, and she tearfully said yes. That wasn't all, though. Afterward they went to the tasting room, which was crowded with many of their relatives—Tyler had secretly summoned them from all over the country. "I didn't have a clue!" Sasha marvels. "It was a pretty spectacular thing." From then on, it was clear the nuptials would be a family affair.
The two, who met as students at Northwestern University in 2010, launched into wedding plans. First up: finding a venue near Sasha's hometown of Washington, D.C., which made it a destination wedding for the Chicago-based couple. "I had a vision of an amazing barn that was big enough for everyone," says Sasha, and her mother found it—at Riverside on the Potomac, a sprawling farm with views of Sugarloaf Mountain. Sasha, who is finishing a master's degree in family therapy, and Tyler, an entrepreneur, infused their heritage into the menu, including Tyler's father's Greek background (spanakopita, lamb, baklava) and his mother's fifth-generation American roots (mini apple pies)."We wanted to make choices that had meaning," says Sasha.
Over Memorial Day weekend in 2015, the two welcomed 230 of their nearest and dearest to a traditional Jewish ceremony under a flower-bedecked chuppah, officiated by a cantor who had a close relationship with the bride's family. The party then proceeded to the stone-and-timber barn. After heartfelt toasts, the couple danced to "La Vie en Rose." "It was such a great night," says Tyler—with all honesty.
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A Colorful Invitation
The flat-printed suite featured watercolor renderings and gold-foil calligraphed accents by Julie Song Ink.
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Welcome to Virginia
Sasha and her sister put together the welcome boxes, which included a sea-salt and chocolate bar, cashews, water bottles, and a note designed by calligrapher Julie Ha that outlined the weekend's events.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Coral and red charm peonies and roses were the focal point of the bridal bouquet, made by Holly Heider Chapple, which also included dramatic Japanese red-leaf maple foliage.
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Gray Bridesmaids' Dresses
The bridesmaids' gowns, by Joanna August, were all in the same color, but each 'maid chose her own style. "I wanted them all to have a look they felt good in," says Sasha.
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A chuppah entwined with coral and red charm peonies and roses framed the couple and their officiant, a cantor and longtime family friend of the bride.
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Oak barrels at the cocktail station were a nod to the couple's engagement venue.
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The cocktail station, set up on wine barrels to commemorate the vineyard proposal, included signature Old Fashioneds and sangria.
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Escort cards were pinned to a board outside the barn.
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Both the plates and the glassware were gold-rimmed, which was echoed in the brass bowls and vases that held the centerpieces.
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The Table Décor
Brass bowls and vases for the centerpieces picked up the gold accents of the plates and glassware.
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The couple did their first dance to "La Vie en Rose" by Louis Armstrong—but this perfect dip was not practiced, says Sasha. "It was completely improvised. Tyler just led the way, and it worked out!"
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In lieu of a grand cake, the couple opted for a buffet of sweet treats that included carrot cake, mini pies, and baklava.
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Location, Riverside on the Potomac
Event planning and design, Kelley Cannon Events
Catering and cake, Occasions Caterers
Flowers, Holly Heider Chapple of Hope Flower Farm
Photography, Jodi & Kurt Photography
Invitations, menus, and table numbers, Julie Song Ink
Calligraphy, Julie Ha Calligraphy and Design
Ceremony and cocktail-hour music, Sam Hill Entertainment
Reception music, Bialek's Music
Rentals, Something Vintage Rentals
Videography, Bowen Films
Bride's gown, Sarah Seven, from Lovely DC
Bride's shoes, Stuart Weitzman
Hair and makeup, Amie Decker Beauty
Bridesmaids' dresses, Joanna August
Groom's suit, Armani Made to Measure
Groom's tie, Lanvin
Groom's shoes, Gucci
Transportation, Reston Limousine
Draping and escort-card wall, Revolution Event Design and Production
Ribbons and flags, Froufrou Chic