When Richard Essig asked Christine Nolan to marry him, he planned an evening that epitomized the phrase go big or go home: He asked Christine to join him for a moonlit walk on a waterfront dock, then cued the perfect tunes on his iPhone so the two could share a dance before he dropped to one knee and pulled out a diamond ring. "I was totally swept off my feet," Christine says.
In keeping with the style of their engagement, the couple decided they'd go big for their big day, too, choosing two major sites in Washington, D.C., as the backdrop for their nuptials on July 18, 2015, wedding. For their ceremony, Christine and Richard chose St. John's Church of the Presidents (where every single president has attended services!) and the Hay-Adams, which boasts spectacular view of the White House, for their reception. Even the couple's invitations were modeled after the Kennedy's own wedding paper suite!
"We thought this was a beautiful way for our guests to celebrate the history of our nation's capital, and we could not be prouder to start our lives in D.C. together," Christine says. And with Morby Photography there to capture every detail, we can't help but think this is one wedding that will go down in history.
Christine knew she should found her wedding dress when she slipped on this ivory organza Monique Lhuillier gown. "I could imagine myself walking down the aisle toward Richard in it," she says. She finished her wedding day look with an Italian lace veil, teardrop earrings, and golden peep-toe pumps.
The bride's bouquet was a mixture of roses, blush astilbe, heather, baptisia, seeded eucalyptus, and gardenia foliage, in the couple's wedding color palette of blush, ivory and green.
Richard donned a black and white tuxedo and bow tie, paired with patent leather shoes.
Bridesmaids wore formal, floor-length black organza gowns and carried ivory rose bouquets that were accented with greens. Richard's groomsmen all wore classic tuxes. As for a flower girl, they didn't have one, per se. "The flower girl was my grandmother, who carried five flower bundles to give to all my bridesmaids," Christine says. "She is almost 90 years old, and it meant so much to her to walk down the aisle and be a part of the special day."
Christine's father led her down the historic aisle of St. John's Church of the Presidents as tunes from the couple's favorite pianist played. Although the couple exchanged traditional Episcopalian vows during the ceremony, they shared a made-just-for-them moment in the minutes before. "I saved all the little items since Richard and my first date, including plane tickets, notes sketched on paper napkins, and pictures," says Christine. "I put them into a scrapbook for him and shared it right before our ceremony."
At the Hay-Adams, guests found a vintage-inspired reception. "Richard and I really wanted to celebrate the fact that we are starting our lives together in Washington, D.C., so incorporating classic, historic elements into the event was important to the two of us," Christine explains.
Plus, with a background in Broadway performance, the bride wanted the event to be inspired by 1920s touches, so Christine and Richard found a vintage gramophone that played Cole Porter's classic music during cocktail hour and then decorated several tables with timeless centerpieces of roses and greenery.
Other tables were decorated with long green garlands. No matter the decoration was on their table, each guest had the chance to nibble on an all-American menu of lobster salad, chicken breast or sea bass, and of course, wedding cake.
Christine and Richard's three-tiered white-lavender and tupelo honey wedding cake was decorated with fresh flowers and dusted with rose-colored sugar.
The couple shared their first dance to Monsters and Men's "Slow and Steady" and then opened up the dance floor to all their guests.
For their honeymoon, Christine and Richard returned to the spot where they got engaged: St. Michaels, Maryland.
Looking back on the day they became husband and wife, Christine offers this advice for future couples: "Planning a wedding with a life partner is a beautiful introduction to see how, as a married couple, you will solve problems," she says. "Remember to stay relaxed and be open to each other's opinions. After all, you are planning a celebration to mark the beginning of your lives together."
Ceremony Venue: St. John's Church of the Presidents || Reception Venue, Catering & Accommodations: The Hay-Adams || Bride's Wedding Dress & Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Veil: Wedding Belles || Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. || Hair: Elle Alise Artistry || Wedding Bands: A Wedding Ring Experience || Florist: The Ociana Group || Music: Michael Cumella || Cake: Kendall's Cakes || Photographer: Morby Photography
Did you love this D.C. wedding? There's more where that came from! Check out another couple's capital celebration in the video below.