This Personal Washington, D.C., Wedding Was Inspired by a Colorful Home Entryway
At a small Super Bowl party in February 2016, Meaghan McKiernan Coneys and David Henry Clark were grilled to the third degree by mutual friends in an effort to discover if they'd be a match. Meaghan wasn't convinced. "After the party he walked me home, told me he practiced jiu jitsu, and could protect me if needed. We went on our first date, which was nice, but I—being the strong, independent lady I am—was hesitant. It was the second date, brunch and [a stroll through] Philadelphia Magic Gardens, when I knew this was different. It sealed the deal," she says.
Two years later, on a secluded beach in Krabi, Thailand, David, a criminal defense attorney, asked Meaghan, a psychotherapist, to be his wife. "We had been in Thailand for a week and a half already—we'd traveled through Bangkok, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Chiang Mai—and he carried the ring with him the whole time! David says it was very nerve wracking," notes Meaghan. It was worth it, though, she says, since "the proposal was perfect for me."
The couple spent the next year planning their October 5, 2019, wedding at The Line Hotel in Washington, D.C.; during that year, they welcomed their son, James. As they adjusted to life as parents, they relied on Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace Inc to ideate and execute their celebration. "She would present us with ideas and all I had to do was say 'yes' or 'no,'" explains Meaghan, "which was perfect because we got pregnant a little over a year before our wedding. I honestly felt like planning the wedding was seamless and the least stressful thing in my life even while pregnant and with a newborn."
Laura was also integral to the event's overarching vision, since Meaghan and David truly didn't have one: "It's like she could see inside my head and created the perfect wedding for us." The result? A cozy, home-inspired party for their 169 guests, featuring décor culled from the prettiest entryway spaces the planning team could find—and an event that delighted the duo in ways they never saw coming.
The majority of the event's décor was inspired by an inviting home entryway—hence the Persian rug-inspired motifs splashed across the couple's invitation suite, which was designed by The Dandelion Patch. The set also introduced Meaghan and David's color palette: a deep, rich mix of reds, golds, and blues.
Easy Like Saturday Morning
Meaghan cites the morning of the wedding as one of the smoothest parts of the event: "It was simple and calm—exactly what I needed. I had all my close girlfriends with me, my son, my mom, and my two dogs, along with the best wedding team ever. It was quite perfect."
David also spent the morning surrounded by family—his brothers and closest friends helped him into his navy-and-blue Hugo Boss tuxedo; he accessorized with a feather bow tie from Brackish, a gift from his soon-to-be father-in-law, Captain America shield cuff links (a present from his bride!), and a watch, also from Hugo Boss.
The colorful boutonnière's spoke to the color palette—the red ranunculus buds were wrapped in navy velvet ribbon—and nodded to the bride's bouquet.
All About Comfort
"It was so comfortable!" says Meaghan of her Vera Wang wedding dress—a ball gown composed of voluminous tulle and lace—from Carines Bridal Atelier. "It was definitely something I never thought I would pick out or wear, but it just felt right."
She skipped the stilettos, opting for silver Gucci sneakers ("I would have had a hard time in heels and I was able to get away with it because I chose a ball gown," explains the bride); she also wore gold heart earrings from Tiffany & Co., which David had presented to her the night before.
The bride's monochromatic, structural bouquet was on the smaller side—but it was packed with color. Full, lush layers of red-centric blooms in rusty, ruby, coral, and deep scarlet shades made up the arrangement, primarily composed of garden roses, ranunculus, dahlias, scabiosa, and other coordinating blossoms, with a minimal ribbon wrap on the handle.
A First Look on the Balcony
Meaghan says that the duo's first look—which took place on the balcony of their suite at the event's venue, The Line Hotel—is her all-time favorite big-day memory: "We were both excited and nervous—and then I believe both very surprised during and after, as we didn't expect the other to look so amazing. We surprised one another with our attire; at least I know David didn't expect me to wear what I did."
Surrounded by Love
The couple skipped a formal wedding party, and instead posed for portraits with their closest friends and family members. Coincidentally, both the bride and groom's loved ones wore unintentionally coordinating ensembles, which "wound up working out for pictures," says Meaghan.
On the Steps
As the couple posed for portraits on the hotel's front steps ("People were everywhere, clapping and taking pictures of us. The experience was surreal. And as much as everyone was focused on us, it felt like we were the only people there. It was so nice to feel so connected to David during that moment," shares Meaghan), the bride revealed her shoe choice to her groom (he approved).
Better Than Planned
"During the ceremony, James, our five-month-old son, was not the best behaved," shares Meaghan. "He was fussy and crying at moments. Still, I wanted to make sure he wasn't taken out of the room. I had him brought up to us in the front, and as our officiant, Leora Willis of With This Ring I Thee Wedd, went through the script of our ceremony, David and I passed him back and forth. I love that our ceremony was so inclusive of James—and that Leora was so wonderful with ad-libbing the experience."
The pair's service was tailored to reflect who they were as a couple; Leora spoke about their mutual love for jiu jitsu, comic books, and fantasy novels. The soundtrack—a mix of songs from Zelda and Star Wars, which carried into the cocktail hour—was just as personal.
Vows, Just for Them
The couple skipped vows during the non-religious ceremony—they had written their own and shared them privately the night prior—and, after formally being pronounced husband and wife, recessed back up the aisle hand-in-hand to the "Throne Room" song from Star Wars, played by Sage String Quartet.
Held on the hotel's tented outdoor patio, the cocktail hour reinforced the party's home-inspired design scheme; cozy lounges, defined by colorful rugs and living room furniture (like coffee tables!) dotted the space.
A Bite to Eat
A myriad of passed appetizers, from pigs in a blanket and flat-iron steak skewers to deviled eggs and cheese-and-corn cakes, made the rounds during the interlude, which the couple attended (in lieu of post-ceremony portraits).
Just Our Type
Guests were directed towards the couple's life-sized seating chart, which was creative in more ways than just its design—the signs featured attendees' nicknames, as opposed to their first and last.
Persian rug-inspired tablecloths defined the majority of the reception's décor, courtesy of Grit & Grace Inc; other tables were topped in navy linens to balance out the more eclectic, colorful stations.
On the navy tables, clear, gold-rimmed chargers added a bit of glam. Colorful yellow-and-red centerpieces, filled with dahlias, ranunculus, and roses, provided contrast.
Wooden motifs—in the form of chargers, napkin rings, and coasters—added texture to the colorful tablescapes.
During dinner, the newlyweds and their guests noshed on beet salad, braised beef short ribs, crab cakes, and a mix of sides, from buttermilk mashed potatoes to seasonal vegetables.
A Nod Back
The duo's table numbers recalled the invitation suite's design; the sans serif digits were filled with the same rug pattern on the paper goods' detail cards.
Meaghan and David took their first dance to "Downtown" by Majical Cloudz, which they came across while watching Netflix's The OA. "The song itself is beautiful and romantic," says the bride.
After their spin, guests took the dance floor, where they danced to a set—which included a few hits from David's brother's band, 2012 Bid Adieu—curated by Premier DJ Services.
A Colorful Confection
Buttercream Bakeshop created the pair's hand-painted brushstroke wedding cake, an amalgamation of their blue-and-red color scheme.
Photography, Abby Jiu
Venue, The Line Hotel
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Grit & Grace Inc
Flowers, Sweet Root Village
Invitations and Day-of Paper, The Dandelion Patch
Seating Chart Lettering, George & Willy
Officiant, With This Ring I Thee Wedd
Hair and Makeup, Hair and Makeup by Claudine
Groom's Attire, Hugo Boss
Groom's Bow Tie, Brackish Bow Tie
Engagement Ring, Susie Saltzman
Wedding Bands, Bario Neal
Cake, Buttercream Bakeshop
Welcome Gifts, Marigold & Grey