A Parisian, Ballet-Inspired Wedding in D.C.
Elizabeth and Cody
The courtship of Elizabeth Slotwinski and Cody Arnett had more than one hint of a fairy tale. First there was the mutual "love at first sight." (Elizabeth called her mom after their initial date to declare that she had just met "the one.") A month later, Cody watched Elizabeth, a ballerina, dance the role of Princess Aurora in a rehearsal of The Sleeping Beauty. "I was totally mesmerized by her grace and beauty," says Cody, a sales manager for Tesla Motors. "I even got a little teary. I was in love." A mere four months after that, Cody proposed during a horse-drawn carriage ride through New York City's Central Park. It was just like Cinderella, except this carriage never turned into a pumpkin.
For their own royal ball, um, wedding, the Washington, D.C.-based couple wanted to celebrate their two great passions: the ballet and all things French. (Elizabeth grew up traveling to Europe, and she and Cody visited Paris, along with her parents, soon after their engagement.) They found the right venue in the Meridian House, a 1919 Louis XVI–style vision of marble, antiques, and tapestries, designed by the architect of the Jefferson Memorial.
On June 21, 2014, the Christian ceremony took place in the mansion's pebbled courtyard, while the garden was the scene for the elegant cocktail hour that followed. A six-piece ensemble played French jazz of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, as 150 guests found their escort cards on a 12-foot-tall vintage replica of the Eiffel Tower. Inside the mansion, the dinner of lobster salad and glazed duckling was modeled on memorable meals the pair shared during their post-engagement trip. And the menu wasn't the only souvenir of that vacation; on a side trip to Reims, Elizabeth's parents bought Champagne that they secretly earmarked for the wedding toast.
After dinner, the bride surprised her new husband by performing a short ballet set to music from the wedding scene in the third act of The Sleeping Beauty, wearing her pointe shoes along with her gown. "She took my breath away," Cody says. It was a grand finale for the evening, but for the newlyweds, just a prelude to living happily ever after.
A Parisian Welcome
Welcome boxes, hand-painted by the mother of the bride and bridesmaids, played up the French theme with macarons, mini bottles of champagne, lavender and honey lollipops, and other goodies.
Prevows, the couple rode around D.C. in a 1962 Bentley, stopping at the Jefferson Memorial for photos.
In Black and White
Elizabeth's cheeky Dolce Gabbana lace booties were a perfect match for the French Old World-meets-fin-de-siecle vibe of the wedding.
The Bridal Bouquet
The bride's bouquet (by Edge Floral) was a lush texture of roses, hydrangeas, peonies, and other seasonal greens, the stems secured with a thick band of ivory ribbon and a tailored bow.
The Ceremony Setting
A natural aisle was formed by linden trees on the grounds of the Meridian House, enhanced by a large floral swag and three-foot floral wreath populated with white peonies, phalaenopsis orchids, majolica spray roses, hydrangea, and other blooms.
Elizabeth and her father walked down a natural "aisle" formed by linden trees hung with chandeliers and roses.
The Ceremony Backdrop
A flower-covered gate made a romantic backdrop for the vow exchange.
Pretty in Pink
Bridesmaids in BCBG Max Azria carried peonies, phalaenopsis orchids, hydrangeas, ranunculus, dusty miller, and roses.
Two signature cocktails were on offer at the bar: a French 75 and a lavender gin Collins.
The Reception Setup
Custom tutu-style linens and chair covers gave the tables a ballerina feel.
The Place Settings
The menu's gold foil garland reflected the gilt details in the china and flatware.
The Wedding Cake
Elizabeth and Cody's four-tier cake by Maggie Austin featured ballet-pink highlights and a band of shimmering pearls at the base, and was topped with delicate sugar flowers. The flavors: white velvet cake with raspberry and lime-flecked buttercream, and Dutch chocolate cake with vanilla bean buttercream.
Location, Meridian House
Event design and styling, Strawberry Milk Events & Styling
Catering, Design Cuisine
Cake, Maggie Austin Cake
Flowers, Edge Floral
Photography, Abby Jiu Photography
Videography, East West
Officiant, Rev. Settembrini
Stationery, Aerialist Press
Calligraphy, Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Rentals, La Bella Luce
Bride's hair, Hair by Giselle
Bridesmaids' hair, Up-Do's for I Do's
Makeup, Liz Wegrzyn
Bride's gown, Enzoani Couture
Bride's shoes, Dolce & Gabbana
Bridesmaids' dresses, BCBG Max Azria
Groom's tuxedo, Canali
Groom's bow tie, Armani