Christa Haddad met Daniel Skoloda when they were students at pharmacy school in January 2016. The pair quickly hit it off and just over five years later, Daniel popped the question in the Bishop's Garden at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. "Then, Daniel brought me to my family’s home where our families welcomed us with a surprise engagement party," reminisces Christa.
Before the two pharmacists would say "I do," they would have a few more opportunities to celebrate their love. First up was a charming bridal shower where Christa grew up in Germantown, Maryland. "It was incredibly special to be able to have the bridal shower at my family’s beautiful home," reflects Christa. "I could not imagine having it anywhere else. My home is my happy place and it was just amazing to be able to share it with our guests."
The aesthetic for the day was a garden tea party in the family's backyard. "I think my bridal shower was such a great reflection of me! We kept things sophisticated and fun with a modern twist," notes the bride. "We included lots of my favorite foods (mac and cheese, charcuterie, and sushi), my favorite colors (pink), my favorite flowers (orchids), and more."
To execute her vision, Christa and her mother worked with her planner for the big day, Lee Kendall with Elizabeth Bailey Weddings. "Lee was so incredible in executing the vision of my bridal shower (and my wedding) and turning it into a reality," Christa shares. "I cannot thank her enough for all of her time and beautiful work she did."
On June 18, 2021, Christa hosted 75 guests for her charming, floral-filled bridal shower, planned by Lee Kendall and photographed by Karena Dixon Photography.
As guests arrived, they were greeted with a stunning floral photo wall surrounded by balloons in various rose-y hues which set the tone for the event. "Lee helped draft the perfect vendor team to make the event so special," notes Christa. "I absolutely loved planning with Lee, but even more so I loved planning with my mom. My mom is my best friend and I will never forget this time we spent planning together. She went above and beyond to make sure this was the bridal shower of my dreams."
Christa looked bridal in a white linen dress with colorful floral details by Zimmermann. "It was so perfectly on theme with my modern garden tea party," she gushes. However, it wasn't her original pick for the day. "I actually had purchased a different dress for my bridal shower originally. I bought a Carolina Herrera dress that I already had tailored and everything! It was stunning but then I saw this Zimmermann dress on TikTok of all places."
"I immediately went online to order it, but the dress was sold out everywhere in my size. So, I ended up ordering it roughly four sizes too big! My amazing seamstress altered it down and it ended up being absolutely perfect and fitting like a dream. The other dress did not go to waste though. I wore it to my rehearsal dinner and it looked absolutely radiant!"
To accessorize, Christa wore her mother's jewelry and, unexpectedly, her heels as well. "The day of my bridal shower, I had a shoe malfunction," remembers Christa. "I was panicking because I did not have backup shoes. Without missing a beat my mom gave me the shoes she was going to wear that day so I could look my best! She is my angel."
"The vision for my hair and makeup that day was to feel as much as myself as possible," shares the bride of her beauty look. "This meant having my hair down in curls and having my makeup be light and glowy with a nice pink blush."
As a huge nail art fan, Christa also had to get a manicure for the shower. "You will never see me with a solid color nail so I had to do something extra special," she says. "My nail technician Rose absolutely killed it. We wanted something bridal, but still on theme. So, we did a classic french manicure with a twist by placing butterflies and flowers on top."
The tea party was set up in a mix of pink and white tables alongside the pool, which was also adorned with floral arrangements. "Watching the whole vendor team set up from the window as I was getting ready in the morning was so special," says Christa. "Seeing all of our plans coming to life felt like I was living in a dream."
The bride and her planning team rented colorful plates, modern tables and chairs, and gilded flatware to help create that perfect modern tea party look she envisioned. Large floral arrangements brought the garden theme to life. "Blue Vanda Designs created all of the florals, including centerpieces, pool installments, and presentation bouquet," notes Chrsita. "Jeff the designer has an absolutely amazing vision and eye for design. He did the florals for my weddings as well and I would trust him with my life at this point!"
Two white bookcases held an array of tea-inspired favors for all the guests. "My cousin has an artisan soap company called Cella Soaps and created three different custom soaps that were perfectly on theme," shares Christa. "The scents were earl gray, white rose, and black tea."
As a nod to the couple's careers as pharmacists, Christa's family created some fun games for the event including having guests guess how many capsules were in a jar or write the pair “prescriptions” for a happy marriage.
One fun edible touch was an acrylic wall full of charcuterie cones. "This was very me! If anyone knows me they know that one of my favorite things in the world is making and eating charcuterie boards, so including charcuterie at my bridal shower was a must," shares Christa.
Guests were greeted with two signature cocktails to enjoy as they arrived—a summer berry and lemon sparkling sangria and a zero-proof sparkling citrus juice blend.
"For our menu, we wanted to stay as close as possible to traditional food served at a tea party," shares Christa. "We hoped for the perfect combination to leave our guests feeling satisfied." Bites included tea sandwiches, macarons, fruit tartlets, and some of Christa's favorites like poke and mac and cheese.
"Even though we had everything else catered, my aunt and grandma are amazing cooks and could not resist making me something," adds the bride. "They made kibbeh, which is a Middle Eastern dish. My family is Lebanese and Iraqi, so this was a really special way to include my culture on this day because it is such a huge part of me."
Christa, her family, and friends clearly had a blast as the games of her bridal shower took place. "Enjoy everything," she advises fellow brides. "It goes by so fast!"
Later in the day, Daniel arrived to pay a visit to his bride-to-be. "Seeing my then-fiancé coming down the stairs with my dad was one of the most memorable moments for me," reflects Christa. "It was so surreal I could not wipe the biggest smile off of my face. He handed me the most beautiful bouquet of blush orchids—my favorite flower—and then I looked up and saw my dad smiling at us. Even retelling this moment is bringing tears to my eyes."
One final treat for the day was a candy-bar crunch and strawberry shortcake creation by Fluffy Thought Cakes. "It was whimsical, sophisticated, and perfect for a garden tea party," says the bride.
With their wedding just a short time away, Christa and Daniel got to practice their reception cake cutting together. "It was pure joy," reflects the bride.
Venue Private Home
Planner Elizabeth Bailey Weddings
Bridal Gown Designer Zimmermann
Mother of the Bride Dress Dolce and Gabbana
Engagement Ring Aebischer’s Jewelry
Floral Design Blue Vanda Designs
Catering Occasions Catering
Cake Fluffy Thoughts
Rentals Something Vintage Rentals
Favors Cella Soaps
Balloons Bashes. DC
Photo Booth Hot Pink Photo Booth
Charcuterie Cones Elise Hill
Photography Karena Dixon Photography