Floor-to-Ceiling Windows Provided Sweeping Fall Views at This Simple, Elegant Wedding in Washington, D.C.
When Jesse met Katie in June 2010 at an Irish Pub—after a game of kickball—in Washington, D.C., he couldn't let her walk away without knowing more about her. As Katie hurried off to get some fresh air, Jesse called after her and they spent the rest of the evening talking. The pair's relationship kept growing from there, eventually culminating in their engagement on July 4, 2018, on Cape Cod.
Katie's family always celebrates the Fourth of July with a cookout, so Jesse took the occasion as an opportunity to ask his then-girlfriend for her hand in marriage. As he was in the middle of popping the question, her family interrupted on their way to the beach. Even though the ring was still in his pocket, he had already asked her to be his wife. They snuck away shortly thereafter to celebrate, just the two of them, before going back to announce the news to their family and friends.
The couple's big celebration took place on October 5, 2019, at the International Women's Commons at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) for their nuptials. "We knew that we wanted to be married in D.C., which is a central location for so many of our loved ones, both in the U.S. and abroad," Katie says. "When we walked in, we loved the soaring ceilings, prevalence of Jerusalem stone throughout the building, the incredible views of the monuments, the Mall, and the Potomac, especially when considering fall foliage as the backdrop for our ceremony." The 235-guest wedding came together beautifully, courtesy of simple décor and the help of Anne Kelley Events and Design, who brought the rest of the big-day details together.
Suite Tribute to the Venue
"I am stationery-obsessed, and the infinite options were too exciting," Katie says of selecting the invitations. "Ultimately, we settled on Chicago-based small business EVR Paper, founded by Christine Ross. Christine creates beautiful watercolor collections and developed the perfect suite for us, incorporating olive branches as a tribute to our venue, the United States Institute of Peace."
The bride found her simple, off-white Alexandra Grecco wedding dress, complete with a plunging V-neckline, at Lovely Bride in Georgetown. "As soon as I saw it, I knew that Jesse would love it, and from an architectural perspective, that it would be impossible to find something that better fit the clean lines of USIP," the bride says.
A hand-tied bouquet, filled with olive branch leaves, red king protea, and blue thistle, added a pop of color to her look and paid homage to the season.
Ready for Her Close-up
Dressed to Impress
All in Anticipation
Both Katie and Jesse were equally anxious to see each other ahead of their first look. Katie says spending the night and day apart in anticipation of the wedding was nerve-wracking, but made reuniting at last that much sweeter.
A Family Affair
The couple had a small bridal party—just four people in total. Katie asked her cousin and brother to be in the wedding, while Jesse had his brother and sister by his side.
Their bridesmaids wore emerald green BHLDN frocks and held the same style bouquet as Katie, just slightly smaller.
Simple Ceremony Details
At the ceremony, the venue's dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows were the focal point. The duo chose a simple chuppah draped in white, and decorated the structure with greens and rose-colored protea. White chairs—arranged in small, varied rows, which elongated and curved the aisle—spoke to the clean, streamlined space.
Katie's father and mother walked her down the aisle to "All of Me" by John Legend.
Officially Husband and Wife
Jesse's step-brother officiated the couple's service. "[He] approached this in the most thoughtful way, reaching out to loved ones, interviewing them, and weaving together a super tailored, special, and also funny ceremony," Katie shares. "We wrote our own vows and selected two readings that were delivered by our good friend, Kristen, and Jesse's step-father."
The pair also paid tribute to Jesse's religion with a few Jewish customs, including the wrapping of the bride and groom in a prayer shawl, or tallit. The couple's mothers joined them under the chuppah to help wrap them together before they were pronounced husband and wife.
"Our photographers took a few really incredible photos that captured the string band over our guests and looking towards the chuppah," Katie says. "These are some of our favorites from the wedding." The quartet continued to play during the cocktail hour.
Signature sips included "A Perfect Pair" and "To Have and Tequila." The first drink featured pear brandy, bourbon, and cider, while the second combined elderflower, tequila, ginger ale, and lime juice.
Cocktail Hour Details
Among the many special details that appeared at the cocktail hour and reception—including their custom matchbooks, displayed in glass jars on the bar—one do-it-yourself project hit close to home. The couple framed images of their grandparents and placed them around their guest book to pay tribute to the loved ones no longer with them.
Chic Reception Signage
"We worked with Just Write Studios to design and produce beautiful fabric signage," Katie notes, adding that they use varying shades of green and soft cream tones to construct the seating chart, in addition to the other big-day signs.
The venue was filled with cheerful, bright light all throughout the event. As the sun set, the couple wanted to continue that sense of warm ambience: Since the venue didn't allow real candles, their florist Duran Floral Design added flameless candles in hurricanes to the bases of the centerpieces to brighten the space after dark.
Large blooms, blended linens, and green-and-gold accents defined the tabletops.
The custom table numbers, as well as the other fabric big-day signage, blended in with the simple aesthetic of their wedding.
Gold silverware accented gray plates and crystal goblets at each setting.
Simplicity defined the cake—a white carrot-flavored confection accented with small flowers—as well.
Sealed with a Kiss
The newlyweds' best advice for couples? Cherish the journey to your wedding. "We thought that giving ourselves a little more than a year was plenty of time, but in retrospect, we would have loved to linger longer over the planning process," Katie says.
Photography, Bonnie Sen
Venue, United States Institute of Peace
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Anne Kelley Events and Design
Flowers, Duran Floral Design
Invitations, EVR Paper
Day-of Paper Products, Just Write Studios
Officiant, Justin Bolois
Bride's Gown and Veil, Alexandra Grecco via Lovely Bride
Shoes, Loeffler Randall
Hair, Roberto Alercon
Makeup, Leah Margosis
Bridesmaids' Dresses, BHLDN
Groom's Attire, Enzo; Sid Mashburn
Groomsmen's Attire, Suit Supply; Chipp Neckwear
Wedding Bands, Tiny Jewel Box; Bario Neal
Guest Book, Sugar Paper
Music, MSE Productions
Catering and Cake, Occasions Caterers
Rentals, Table Manners DC
Lighting, Frost DC
Favors, The Emerald Hound; The Paper Source