These California residents wanted to bring casual elegance to their black-tie fête
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Arielle Goldberg and Matthew Houlihan met at college in California, where they were both playing Division I volleyball at the time. The two hit it off, and after six years of dating, Matt knew he wanted to surprise Arielle with a proposal in her hometown of Washington, D.C. So during a planned trip to visit her family and for a competition, Matt convinced Arielle to visit the Jefferson Memorial. With a hidden photographer nearby (orchestrated by Matt and his future mother-in-law), he completely surprised her and popped the question. "I didn't realize he was proposing until I looked over and saw my mom with her phone out, crying, and taking photos," the bride recalls.
The San Jose-based pair (who both serve as directors of the Bay to Bay Volleyball Club) wanted to incorporate California's effortless feel into their wedding, and had a laid-back black-tie wedding in the nation's capitol. On April 10th, 2016, Arielle and Matt exchanged vows in front of 100 guests and held a modern party at The National Headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The couple passed on traditional wedding elements, like a first dance and cake, and instead focused on having a joyous, memorable celebration for everyone.
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"We wanted something very simple and classic, and we both have really been into marble everything lately, so we decided to get a custom marbled liner for each invitation," explains Arielle. Keeping to their color palette of black and white, the couple worked with Paperzest to create their stationery suite.
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Arielle and Matt chose to wed at The National Headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Located right next to The White House and The Washington Monument, the venue provided guests with a quintessential D.C. experience.
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"Since we had a lot of guests flying in from out of town, we thought a welcome gift would be great when they checked into their hotels," says Matt. Keeping with their marble theme, little welcome boxes had custom chocolates that said "Welcome to Washington" created by Buttercream Bakeshop.
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"I had my eye on an Alexander McQueen gown when we first got engaged, but I didn't know if it would be acceptable to wear, since it wasn't your typical bridal gown," says Arielle, "I went to San Francisco to try on wedding gowns and realized very quickly that I am NOT a bridal gown girl. So, after thinking about it I realized that I needed to just order the Alexander McQueen dress and see how I felt after trying it on—it fit perfectly, and I completely fell in love!"
Keeping her look simple and classic, Arielle wore nude Christian Louboutin pumps and David Yurman jewelry. Matt looked dapper in a Vera Wang tuxedo, velvet bow tie, and black velvet loafers.
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"From the beginning, I knew I wanted to go with white flowers," says Arielle, "We had a mix of different flowers, but my favorites were the fringe tulips." Sweet Root Village created her clean, white bouquet, which also included smilax vines, garden roses, spray roses, ranunculus, peonies, and a mix of greenery.
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The Bride's Mother
Arielle and her mother, dressed in Badgley Mischka, took photos at DAR. "My mom has always been my biggest supporter," says the bride. "Throughout the months leading up to the wedding, she kept assuring me that I needed to choose what I liked and not to worry about what anyone else thinks. Even though that was really difficult for me, I think it's probably something that everyone goes through and it was advice I stuck to."
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The Ceremony Location
The ceremony took place on the portico of DAR with the Washington Monument in the background and was anchored by a large tree for décor. "After choosing a location like DAR, it was almost like it didn't matter what we put there because it was already so beautiful," says Arielle.
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The Bride's Entrance
Arielle's father walked her down the aisle as a string quartet played "Samskeyti" by Sigur Rós.
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During the service, Arielle and Matt exchanged traditional vows.
Following the ceremony, on the other side of the portico, a string quartet played as guests enjoyed different Northern California wines and ate a variety of hors d'oeuvres including fried macaroni and cheese bites, raw zucchini lasagna, glazed beets with mozzarella, and raspberries and brie.
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The Seating Chart
Grit & Grace created the blackboard seating chart that sat atop a clear easel draped with greenery and surrounded by black candles. "Having the seating chart was a last-minute decision, and it turned out to be a really cool addition to the wedding," says Arielle.
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The seated dinner took place in a room connected to the portico, allowing guests to pass through and be both inside and outside. Two long tables were decorated with vibrant eucalyptus from Sweet Root Village, which provided enough greenery to forgo florals. Candles in smoke glass vessels provided elegant décor and a warm glow. The room's architectural details and high ceilings added the finishing touch.
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For dinner, guests ate baby arugula with garden strawberries, beef short rib, short smoked salmon, and asparagus spears with velvety mashed potatoes prepared by Main Event Caterers. Afterwards, instead of serving a traditional wedding cake, s'mores on a stick were passed with berries and cream. Following dessert, the newlyweds and their guests walked over to the after-party location—which happened to be right nearby, with a backdrop of the Washington Monument and White House at night.
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Photography, Adam Barnes Photography
Event planning, Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace
Catering, Main Event Caterers
Flowers, Sweet Root Village
Videography, Bowen Films
Officiant, Matthew McCabe
Music, The Long Rangers
Rentals, DC Rental
Bride's gown, Alexander McQueen
Hair, Bridal Hair by Remona
Makeup, Carl Ray Makeup Artist
Groom's suit, accessories, and menswear, Black by Vera Wang
Chocolates, Buttercream Bakeshop