It was three years between the time Chloe Kontos and Jonathan Hamburg got engaged and married. But on July 1, 2017, their outdoor Charlottesville wedding was well worth the wait. The pair, who met in 2012, became betrothed in 2014 at a Kennedy Center concert by Crush Funk Brass—Chloe’s favorite D.C. band—after Jonathan coordinated with them to play “On Bended Knee” by Boyz II Men as their last song, dedicated to the couple.
The pair planned their wedding over two years, with one devoted solely to finding the right venue. Their selection, which they were thrilled with, was the Clifton Inn. "It has a beautiful sailcloth tent where we had our reception and the ceremony was also outside on the front lawn with a view of the mountains, says the bride.” For the weekend, their families and bridal party—including four-legged friends—took over the hotel. Another thing that took time was figuring out how to blend their two families’ traditions, given that the bride is Greek Orthodox and the groom is Jewish.
“The end result was a beautiful ceremony and reception that demonstrated how the two cultures really intersected and melded together,” says Chloe.
Organizing their Independence Day weekend wedding rehearsal dinner was yet another challenge, and ended up including 90 of the 160 total wedding guests. The pair spent a month designing DIY decor and Clifton Inn’s coordinator, Fotini Williams, collaborated on tablescapes. They also infused the wedding weekend with personal touches. “One of the goals of our wedding was for our family and friends was to come away and know us better as a couple,” says Chloe. Their multicultural wedding favors were green match boxes with “Mazel Tov” written on one side in gold, and the Greek equivalent, “Na Zasete” on the other, with their names and wedding date.
Keep reading to see more of this couple's multicultural wedding ceremony—and their dog, Oso!—as captured by Caroline Lima.
The invitation suite was the first signal of the the couple’s color scheme: white, gold and green. “We envisioned a day that was warm and intimate, yet also classy with a clean palette and a tent that glowed with white candles, mercury votives and twinkle lights,” says Chloe.
The couple’s dog, Oso, was their ceremonial ring bearer. He got ready with the girls and later walked down the aisle (wearing an elegant black bow tie!) with a bridesmaid.
Chloe's bridesmaids spent the day getting ready with her—and helped her into her gorgeous dress!
Although Chloe always envisioned herself in a backless silk dress with a train, she loved the plunging neckline and mermaid silhouette of this Berta Bridal gown, which she found during her lunch break at a sample sale at Carine’s. Her favorite part: “The illusion back with a row of pearls. Berta uses flesh-colored mesh so it literally looks like your dress is magical, because you can’t see the mash so it truly looks backless.”
Chloe’s bouquet featured all-white everything: orchids, roses, freesia, and ribbon.
Each bridesmaid wore a long dress in a neutral color palette, which allowed their individual personalities and styles to come through.
The couple decided to “let the scenery and beautiful grounds provide the stunning backdrop of mountains and blue skies,” and accented the natural beauty with a chuppah decorated with lush greenery and baby’s breath.
Blending their respective cultures was easy in some regards. In both Greek and Jewish traditions, the bride and groom are honored as a "king and queen" on their wedding day. In Greece, there’s a tradition of “crowning” the bride and groom with crowns connected by a ribbon symbolizing unity of the couple. The Jewish Hora tradition (which they did at the reception) is another form of that as well.
After finding a spider in his bride’s veil, which took several minutes and people to remove, the ceremony went off without a hitch. The newly married duo recessed to a live cello and flutist duo, Terra Voce, playing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ “Home.”
Chloe accessorized with a long, dramatic veil, while her new husband donned a navy blue tuxedo and silver cufflinks featuring a picture of the White House (his day-of wedding gift from Chloe). “Given our jobs working for the government and Chloe’s latest position, the White House has been a central part of our lives since 2015,” says Jonathan.
An escort card display directed guests to the tent, where they would sit for a dinner. The bride and groom hand-selected that featured a garden arugula salad and continued onto pan-seared snapper and carved beef tenderloin.
For the dinner tables, Chloe and Jonathan chose white linens and paired them with all-white flowers, like orchids submerged in water. They did add a pop of color on the back of their chairs, which featured mini wreaths to indicate where the bride and groom were sitting.
During the reception, a band played plenty of traditional Greek and Jewish wedding music, and the newlyweds’ families taught each other the appropriate steps. “Our parents all danced together as did our close family and friends, and we ended with the Hora,” recalls Chloe. “It was a true blending of our two families.”
Venue, Catering & Cake: Clifton Inn || Planner & Floral Design: Elegance and Simplicity || Bride’s Attire: Berta, from Carine’s Bridal || Groom’s Attire: DC Custom Clothiers || Hair & Makeup: Ave42Style ||Music: Terra Voce, The Free ||Invitations & Paper Products: Minted || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Charles Schwartz & Sons, Blue Nile, Sydel and Sydel Jewelry || Transportation: A&A Limo || Photography: Caroline Lima