Florencia Segura and Al Damavandy first met in 2008 at a medical school event in Washington, D.C., where Al introduced himself as a "helpful second year" to Florencia, who was a first year student. They hit it off but it took over a month to finally organize a first date due to their equally-busy med school schedules. Al finally nailed down a time and place for that much-awaited date, and after a successful sushi dinner, the two enjoyed many more evenings out. "We knew if we could make it through that then we could most likely make it through anything," Florencia says. They were right! Five years later, Al surprised Florencia with another well-orchestrated date — and a proposal. "I thought we were seeing a show at the Kennedy Center but when we arrived, he led me to a private picnic spot and proposed on bended knee," she remembers.
For their August 30, 2014 wedding, the D.C. natives invited 455 guests (yes, really!) to Saint Mary Mother of God Parish and the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium for an international affair planned by Pineapple Productions that was inspired by their love of Italy, their multi-cultural heritages, and the brightest hues of summer. Keep reading to see Kate Headley's gorgeous photos of their spectacular celebration.
Florencia asked pro-stationer Cheree Berry Paper to create a custom suite with orange-and-pink save-the-date cards and invitations.
On a mission to find her dream dress, Florencia took a trip to New York City, where she fell in love with a tiered lace Pnina Tornai gown. "I wanted a dress that was romantic, elegant, and traditional but also had a bit of glamour to it," she says.
The bride accessorized with a cathedral length veil, Jimmy Choo heels, and her mom's pearl earrings. She carried a white rose bouquet and wore a custom lace bolero for the Catholic ceremony.
Florencia and her bridesmaids, in coral J. Crew dresses, stopped by Lafayette Park to take photos in front of the White House — classic D.C.!
The pair spent six months planning a super-personal Catholic ceremony, which included music by an Argentinian opera singer and a Persian santoor player, a nod to both the bride and groom's backgrounds. "A Catholic mass takes time. Ours was two hours," says the bride. "But we wanted the ceremony to be a core part of the day and not just a prelude."
Later that evening, the couple met their guests for a black-tie bash at the historic Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. "We needed at venue that fit 450 people comfortably," says Florencia. "And we loved the classic look of the space!"
The couple worked with event planner Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions to personalize the stately space, starting with a monogramed carpet at the entrance.
After hitting "the bubbly bar" in the auditorium's gilded Green Room, the group moved to the massive Great Hall, which was filled with tables covered in "macro ombré" tablecloths that faded from dark to light green.
The green tables were topped with a mix of low and tall arrangements of pink garden roses, coral free spirit roses, and purple hydrangeas.
In the center of the room, the 30-seat head table made a statement thanks to an Italian-style pergola that was wrapped with greenery and an abundance of garden roses. "We wanted to incorporate happy, bright hues that reflected the vibrant summer season," says the bride.
The couple stocked the bar with pink and green stemware.
The fondant on the six-tiered gold and ivory cake was made to match the lace on Florencia's gown.
Hudson Project played until 11 p.m., when DJ Chris Stiles took over for the after-party, spinning old favorites (Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was a floor filler) and newer hits (like Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass"). "We had a strict no-slow-songs policy," says the bride. "We danced until they kicked us out at 1 a.m."
After their fun-filled night, the couple honeymooned in Italy (of course!), where they re-wore their wedding best to meet the pope at his weekly audience for newlyweds.
Ceremony Venue: Saint Mary Mother of God Parish || Reception Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium || Wedding Planner: Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions || Invitations & Paper Products: Cheree Berry Paper || Flowers: Jack Lucky Floral Design || Ceremony Music: Cathedral of Saint Mary Matthew the Apostle || Reception Music: MSE Productions; Hudson Project; DJ Chris Stiles || Sofreh Table: Sofreh Atelier Argentinean Pastries: Daniel Godor of the Alvear Palace Hotel || Iranian Teas & Pastries: Amoo House of Kabob || Caterer: Design Cuisine || Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes || Lighting: Frost Lighting || Fabrication & Art Installation: Fabrication Events || Monogrammed Napkins & Chair Covers: Abrielle Linens || Favors: District Doughnut || Mass Program: Accurate World, LLC || Rentals: Amaryllis Inc.; Design Foundry || Videography: Bowen Films || Photography: Kate Headley
Want more classic wedding inspiration? Then watch one couple's traditional I do's in the video below.