Ashley and David met, fittingly, at the perfect place for a new beginning: a party honoring Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009. "There was instant chemistry from the moment we met, and we were glued to the hip for the rest of the evening," says the bride. When David proposed three years later, in July 2012, Ashley was taken completely by surprise. A master planner, Ashley blocked out her and David's daily schedule in a shared Google calendar, so a surprise proposal wasn't exactly a cinch. David caught her off guard by scheduling the one thing Ashley, a competitive tennis player, can't say no to—a spur-of-the-moment match. Little did she know, he'd spent the whole day working with her best friend to build a pergola out of tulle and roses. When Ashley arrived, David was waiting under the ultra-romantic structure with a bottle of champagne—and a ring!
Eighteen months later, the Washington, D.C. based couple—one a business power player, and one a laid-back former hippie—said "I do" in an elegant outdoor ceremony at the historical Meridian House, designed by the same architect who gave us the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art. The reception to follow featured romantic, summery blooms and a truly kick-ass band, making for a celebration that was equal parts classic, timeless, and rock and roll.Paper Tangent.
Ashley fell in love with her Vera Wang strapless gown the second she put it on—it was the first dress she tried! She complemented its romantic, flowy silhouette with a bouquet of white and blush peonies and dahlias with dusty miller.
Ashley's bridesmaids wore navy gowns by Jenny Yoo. Ashley gave each of them Ippolita tear drop earrings in her color palette of peach, cream, and white, as gifts. "I wanted them to have a piece of jewelry that would last a lifetime," she says. Her flower girl, Charlotte, wore a dress from Crewcuts and a gorgeous floral crown to match the petals she carried.
David's groomsmen wore Ralph Lauren tuxes, and David went for a custom suit.
Ashley arrived at the couple's venue, the gracious, Greco-Roman Meridian House, in a vintage Rolls Royce. The outdoor ceremony was officiated by the host of the inauguration party where they met, and was chock-full of humor, emotion, and stories about Ashley and David.
Ashley is a lifelong architecture nerd, and after decades of poring over Architectural Digest, she knew she'd need a house with "good bones." With the help of Jamie Sears and Jessica Brown of Simply Chic Events, she pulled off a sunny, romantic reception in the house's lush Linden Grove. "I could immediately tell they had similar taste to my own, so I felt comfortable (and relieved!) to leave a lot of of decisions up to their discretion," she says.
Ashley and David's color palette was navy and white, with hints of blush and peach. Her main goal? To create an inviting environment for family and friends traveling from far and wide—and, of course, to provide good food, wine, music, and company.
During the cocktail hour, guests sipped microbrews and munched on mini lobster rolls tucked into custom cocktail napkins. Each was printed with a lyric from "Hard to Concentrate" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a song that the couple felt encapsulated how they felt about each other.
Ashley and David filled the space with a mix of round and long tables, but kept centerpieces low: "My father had a rule that no centerpiece could be higher than his wrist, so we stuck with that," says the bride. They filled in flower arrangements with rosemary and olive to reflect David's enviable cooking skills.
Guests chose between filet mignon, sea bass, and halloumi (a vegetarian cheese option). Ashley's favorite item on the menu? The mini lobster rolls!
Music was very important to the couple, and they wanted to make sure they could find a band that truly rocked—not just one who would play Beyonce covers all night long. After an exhaustive search, Ashley finally found the perfect group thanks to a tip from her manager at work. The couple's first dance (helped along by foxtrot lessons) was to "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" by Frank Sinatra.
Ashley and David's three-tiered cake was made by Maggie Austin. "I heard it was delicious, but sadly I missed eating the cake—other than the piece I artfully smeared all over my husband's face," Ashley says.
How does Ashley feel after the wedding? "Relief! I'm happy to get my life back. David and I are blissfully enjoying our time together," she says.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Meridian House || Wedding Planner: Jamie and Jessica of Simply Chic Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Jewelry: Ippolita || Makeup: Carl Ray || Hair: Remona Solemani || Groomsmen Attire: Ralph Lauren || Wedding Bands: Boone and Sons || Florist and Rentals: Bee Hive Events || Invitations: Bridget Rose Fine Stationery|| Other Paper Goods: Paper Tangent || Catering: Design Cuisine || Cake: Maggie Austin Cakes || Favors: Bijoux Fine Cakes || Music, Ceremony: Sage String Quartet; Reception: Red Hook Orchestra || Photography: Kate Headley