A Summer Wedding at Washington Nationals Ballpark in D.C

Real Weddings

Kim and Emil's love of sports shown almost as brightly as their love for each other when they wed on June 29, exchanging heartfelt vows then partying with 240 guests inside Washington Nationals Ballpark in Washington, D.C. "We are avid sports fans and love to celebrate life," says Kim. "We wanted our guests to have a completely unique experience and feel what it would be like to be in a Major League dugout and batting cage."

But the couple is quick to stress that baseball was merely the backdrop to their big day. "While we wanted to tie in the baseball theme, we did not want it to overwhelm our wedding," Kim says. Incorporating a rich color palette of eggplant and pewter lent formality to the event, while the couple's event planner struck the perfect balance between traditional decor and "baseball design elements," Kim says.

Kim and Emil also had "an overarching, guiding principle that truly directed our planning process," Kim says. "We said we were going to do two things that day: marry each other and have a big, fun party."

Kim knew exactly the kind of dress she wanted—until she fell for a Watters gown that was the complete opposite of everything she had envisioned. "There is something about the dress that is so me," she says. "While it has a lot of intricate detail in terms of the stitching, the detail and pearls, it's very understated. It's not flashy, yet it's tremendously elegant."

Kim's six bridesmaids helped her narrow down their attire to two options: A lavender gown with a purple sash, and an eggplant dress with pockets. In the end, the eggplant-hued Alfred Angelo prevailed. "We think it was the pockets!" Kim jokes.

Kim's hand-tied round bouquet was arranged with lavender roses, violet stock, and mini calla lilies and agapanthus in shades of purple. Dusty miller accented the vibrant blooms.

"The ceremony was absolutely special, beautiful and sacred," Kim says of the couple's traditional service at historic Asbury United Methodist Church, where the bride attended services as a child. A florist accented the church's altar area with two towering arrangements of purple-hued agapanthus, roses, stock and larkspur.

Though Kim's mother passed away years ago, "it was very important for her to be included throughout the wedding," the bride says. "In the lighting of the unity candle, I had three special participants: My mother's best friends come down the aisle together and lit the candle in my mother's honor."

Kim and Emil asked bridesmaids and groomsmen to recite readings at the ceremony, including Wilfred Arlan Peterson's The Art of Marriage and an anonymous version of The Blessing of the Hands.

"Emil literally swept me off my feet when the pastor pronounced 'you may now kiss your bride,'" Kim recalls. "He picked me up about two feet off the ground and kissed me."

Held in the field, where guests could explore the dugout and batting cages, the couple's cocktail hour featured "typical all-American baseball classic favorites presented in a modern way," Kim says. Guests nibbled on popcorn sprinkled with rosemary and Parmesan, ballpark peanuts and warm, soft pretzels at cabaret tables draped in eggplant-colored satin linens.

Minor League players pitched to guests and the bride and groom in between bites at the cocktail hour. "Guests had a blast and got in a workout!" Kim says.

Dinner was served inside the ballpark's PNC Diamond Club, "a hotel-like banquet hall with one glass wall that overlooks the field," Kim describes. Here, guests could nosh on chef-carved grilled sirloin, pan-seared wild salmon and white truffle and Parmesan risotto at tables topped with deep purple linens and pewter-colored napkins. "Selecting the food was very important to us," Kim says.

Submerged dendrobium orchids and calla lilies filled cylindrical vases topped with white floating candles that dotted the round tables at the reception. A custom-designed pennant, bearing the table's name, adorned each tabletop. Table names included Pitcher, Catcher, and Home Run. And favors? "Each guest received a miniature baseball gumball machine that said, 'We hit it off.'" Kim says.

The couple's square, ivory wedding cake was accented with purple-swirled piping. Its layers of almond and red velvet cake and cream cheese filling were "delicious," the bride says.

A DJ "had all 240 guests up and dancing all night," Kim says. "At the end of the wedding, our planner said, "Wow, I've never seen an entire wedding dance all night," Kim says. "This totally fulfilled our goals—we got married and had a big, fun party!"

Kim and Emil walked onto the dance floor to Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight, "right at the point where there's the big breakdown," Kim explains. "So we walked out calmly and then broke out into drumming motions."

When it was time to slow things down, the couple swayed to Let's Stay Together by Al Green.

The DJ also spun tunes "from Washington, DC's native go-go music, to line dances like the Cupid Shuffle," Kim says. "The guests were up and having fun."

"Throughout the evening, we would find some guests outside on the balcony looking into the ballpark," Kim says. "When we asked why they were outside, they would say they were taking it all in and enjoying having a major league baseball stadium all to themselves."

In the weeks since their wedding, Kim and Emil are "still both on Cloud 9," Kim says. "On some days, we will just look at each other and say, 'hi husband,' and 'hi wife.' Other times, we have the weird realization that we're actually married, the wedding has happened and now we're in the next phase of our journey. All in all it's just a wonderful time."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Sparkling Events & Designs || Ceremony Venue: Asbury United Methodist Church || Reception Venue: Washington Nationals Park || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters || Bride's Veil: Love Couture Bridal || Bride's Shoes: David's Bridal || Groom's Tux: Black by Vera Wang || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo || Florist: Maryam Flowers || Caterer: Levy Restaurants || Cake Baker: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes || Favors: Wedding Star || Entertainment: DJ Oz || Photography: Connor Studios

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