This Romantic Washington, D.C., Wedding Was Full of Ballet Motifs
What started out as an adorable misunderstanding actually ended up sending Stephanie and Andy's love story into motion. Stephanie's brother, Drew, and Andy's brother, Eddie, had been friends for over 10 years, and one day—when the whole group was together—Stephanie, home from college, announced that she wanted to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert. Luckily, Andy had a ticket—and offered to take her. While he initially thought he was just helping out Drew's little sister, Andy quickly realized from their first few texts pre-concert that there was more to it than that. He was right: They shared their first kiss by the fifth song, which just so happened to be "Promised Land."
Five years later, Andy and Stephanie's mom planned a graduation trip for Stephanie, which included visits to Uganda, Rwanda, and the Seychelles. He spent five months collaborating with Boone and Sons to create the perfect ring for Stephanie and planned a sunset proposal for their last night on the islands. Unfortunately, the ring wasn't set to arrive until their last day, which was extremely nerve-wracking for the future groom; proposing in Africa was especially significant because of the couple's shared passion for philanthropy. After much back and forth with Boone and Sons, the ring arrived at 5 PM, exactly one hour before the scheduled sunset. Andy was able to give Stephanie that fairy-tale proposal, as planned.
The couple wed a year later at the Washington National Cathedral on July 28, 2018, in front of 130 guests. Following the ceremony, guests celebrated at the stately Anderson House mansion, and enjoyed a candlelit dinner in the garden by the reflecting pool and dancing in the ballroom. Stephanie and Andy realized their goals of their Parisian ballet-inspired wedding through an abundance of white and blush pink florals, pointe shoe accents, faux Fabergé egg favors, and a black-tie dress code.
Both the save-the-date and the formal invitations were designed and executed by Kara Anne Paper; they illustrated the Parisian ballet theme. Their stationer designed a French-inspired postcard for the save-the-date, complete with gold foil lettering and illustrations. A monogrammed blush envelope, gold thread, and a pearl wax seal completed the look.
The invitation suite was sent out in a customized blue velvet folio. Inside was the blue letterpress invite with gold calligraphy, as well as a hand-drawn sketch of the Washington National Cathedral in D.C. The sketch was stenciled on transparent vellum paper, sealed with white wax, and finished with a gold tassel; Jeremiah 31:3, one of the couple's favorite Bible verses, was printed on the bottom of the vellum card.
Fit for a Ballerina
Stephanie started searching for the perfect wedding dress immediately—just a week after the proposal, she headed to the Carines Bridal Atelier in search of her dream gown. Her goal was to find a Vera Wang ball gown to match the grandeur of her cathedral ceremony location. When she asked Andy what his idea of a perfect look would be, he said he didn't want her to wear anything "too poofy"—but of course, she ended up falling in love with the "poofiest" dress at Carines. She was particularly drawn to the tulle skirt, which brought back memories of her time as a ballet dancer. She completed her ballerina-inspired ensemble with a Vera Wang veil, also from the atelier.
A Stephanotis by Any Other Name
Stephanie's "all blooms, no greenery" bouquet was comprised of David Austin Constance garden roses and white O'Hara roses, as well as white peonies and sweet pea. Holly Chapple Flowers also included stephanotis, an homage to the bride's nickname (and one of the bride's favorite flowers!).
Black and White
Andy and his groomsmen looked cohesive in a classic black-and-white color palette. The groomsmen were outfitted in matching tuxedos from Men's Wearhouse, while Andy's tuxedo and monogramed white shirt were from Brooks Brothers. He accessorized with white (for the ceremony) and black (for the reception) bow ties, a black cummerbund, and cuff links.
Stephanie included both bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids in her bridal party. Her younger attendants wore white flowing dresses with lace details and held floral wreaths with blush silk ribbon; the bridesmaids wore either blue sheath dresses with silver accents or white gowns with blue-and-white floral motifs. The bridesmaids' bouquets included white garden roses, blush spray roses, and pink and white ranunculus—they were also tied with a pink ribbon.
The wedding party consisted of an even mix of friends and family. Andy's best man was his brother, Eddie, who helped kick off their relationship; Stephanie asked her sister-in-law, Christina, to be her matron of honor.
Kiss Me, Steph
Their first look took place in the Bishop's Garden on the Cathedral's grounds. Once Andy knew Stephanie was behind him, he couldn't resist turning around and kissing her. The couple describes their first look as "a surreal moment that [they] will always cherish."
Can You Hear the Bells?
Stephanie and Andy were wed in a traditional Episcopal ceremony at the High Altar of the Washington National Cathedral. Reverend Brooks Hundley, Andy's second grade teacher and former chaplain, officiated the nuptials. The couple delighted their guests by playing the Game of Thrones theme song on the church carillon bells, but also included more traditional songs, such as "Amazing Grace" and "Morning Has Broken."
A Refreshing Treat
Post-ceremony, guests were offered Perrier and rosé outside the cathedral. They were served from a bicycle cart adorned with the same flowers used throughout the reception.
A Special Send Off
Cocktail hour was held on the top floor of the Anderson House. Celebrants were treated to the melodious sounds of a French jazz band as various hors d'oeuvres, including seared sesame tuna on wasabi risotto cakes and lamb and mint pesto lollipops, were passed around. The couple's signature cocktail, "The Blushing Ballerina," comprised of vodka, orange, rosewater lemonade, and St. Germain and a custom "mocktail" of lime and ginger juice, simple syrup, and grapefruit sparkling water were also served.
In lieu of traditional escort cards, Stephanie and Andy opted for a more unique approach. Guests' seating arrangements were displayed on a custom acrylic sign located inside of an ornate gray wardrobe. Selections of the days' florals spilled out of the dresser, which was artfully designed to look like it belonged to a ballerina. Stephanie's former pointe shoes hung from the doors.
Hold Me Closer
Stephanie and Andy held each other close during their first dance to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." This song was especially important to the couple, not only because it reminded Stephanie of her time as a ballet dancer, but also because it was one of the first songs the duo had ever danced to.
A Love That Blooms
The reception space, which was brought to life by BD3 Designs, was situated in the Anderson House garden; tables surrounded the reflecting pool. Hanging chandeliers were decorated with cascading wisteria and vines. String lights were hung above the tables, providing an ethereal ambience.
In addition to the hanging blooms, lush flowers decorated the tablescapes. Gold chargers, blue-and-white china (both from Arte Italica), and blue taper candles played into the celebration's color palette. Each plate was topped with a monogrammed white napkin; place cards were held in ornate faux Faberge eggs. Menus, decorated with two lovebirds as a symbol of Stephanie and Andy's relationship, offered beef tenderloin, seared sea bass, and grilled cauliflower.
During dinner, guests were serenaded by Melissa Dvorak of Capitol Harpist. She took her place on a custom platform, which appeared to be floating, in the center of the reflecting pool. Her station was adorned with rose petals, strands of ivy, and pillar candles. Stephanie and Andy describe the harpists' performance as a "magical moment and a true highlight" of the night.
While guests enjoyed dinner, painter Brittany Branson provided additional entertainment by creating a live painting of the couple's first dance.
Dessert featured an intricate Fleur and Flour three-tier cake, which incorporated blush pink and floral elements. The bottom tier was decorated with pink wafer paper, while the top two layers included handmade sugar flowers and hand-painted blooms.
In addition to the confection, guests were served various treats inspired by Stephanie and Andy's late grandparents, such as "Mimi and Francis' Ol' Fashioned Apple Dumplings." As a late night snack, Occasions Catering recreated The Blue Moon Café's Captain Crunch french toast, one of the first breakfasts Stephanie and Andy shared together.
A Vintage Exit
As a final farewell to an incredible night, guests formed two lines and sent Stephanie and Andy into married life with sparklers. Florals and a "Just Married" sign decorated Andy's late grandfathers' Mercedes convertible, which served as their exit car. Andy cites the exit and driving away with Stephanie in his grandpa's beloved car as his favorite moment of the day.
Photography, Abby Jiu
Venue, Washington National Cathedral (ceremony), Anderson House (reception)
Event planning and Design, Lauryn Prattes
Catering, Occasions Caterers
Flowers, Holly Chapple
Décor, BD3 Design
Videography, Monachetti Weddings
Stationery/Calligraphy, Kara Anne Paper
Cake, Fleur and Flour
Music, Nightsong Entertainment Exchang, Capitol Harpist
Live painter, Brittany Branson
Rentals, White Glove Rental, Nuage Linens
Plates, Arte Italica
Bride's gown and Veil, Vera Wang at Carines Bridal
Hair, Hair by Giselle
Makeup, Carl Ray
Bridal party hair and makeup, Georgetown Bride
Bridesmaids' dresses, BHLDN, Adrianna Papell
Groom's suit, Brooks Brothers
Menswear, Men's Wearhouse
Groom's accessories, J. Crew
Lighting, Frost Lighting
Transportation, Atlantic Transportation, Regal Limo