Anna Salzberg and Joshua Hoffman met for the first time as high school students in 2003. They were good friends for a year before anything became romantic, but from then on, the two knew they’d found the one. Over 10 years later, Josh popped the question on August 16, 2014 — but not in the way he’d imagined. “He had a big plan to take me on a walk to a park near out house,” Anna says. “He even borrowed his brother’s dog, thinking it would make me get out of bed. Of course, I refused, and he ended up proposing as I was ‘getting ready to go to brunch at my parents house’ while we were in our bedroom.”
When it came to wedding planning, though, these two got everything right. The couple knew they wanted a venue in heart of Washington, D.C., that was raw, industrial, and cool. Building 170 in the Navy Yard neighborhood, was the one place in town that fit the bill. Only problem? It had dirt floors, no power, and no restrooms. So they teamed up with A. Dominick Events to build a party space from the ground up, bringing in electricity, hardwood flooring, and bathrooms. “We knew it was a crazy idea,” says Anna. “The room was essentially a shell that we build on and around. It was quite the project but well worth the 11 months of work!”
Ready to see how this couple took a totally raw space and transformed it into one of the prettiest industrial-chic bashes we’ve ever seen? Then read on and take a look at every gorgeous detail from Anna and Josh’s October 24, 2015, wedding, expertly documented by photographer Kate Headley.
The little details of a wedding are what guests remember, and Anna and Josh made sure their guests had plenty to think back on from their big day, starting with their invitation suite and welcome baskets. Designed by Cheree Berry Paper, the bride and groom picked an elegant invitation suite with inserts in different shades of brown, pink, gray, and blue.
Their stationer also created labels and cards for Anna and Josh’s welcome baskets, which included their favorite beer, chips, seltzer, apples, and granola.
Anna knew she wanted a wedding dress that was timeless and the right fit for her venue, but, most importantly, it had to be comfortable. “I wanted a dress that I could put on Saturday afternoon and not have to think about it again until the night was over,” she says. Her lace Anna Maier gown, complete with a champagne silk underlay, fit her like a glove thanks to her expert tailor. “I loved the detail of the lace, the shape of the back, and that it had little buttons all the way down.”
She completed her look with a soft updo, studded with white and green flowers.
As for her dashing groom, Josh chose a traditional black tuxedo from Hugo Boss.
Despite choosing a fall wedding date, the bride wanted her an organic and natural bouquet with only a few pops of autumnal colors. White garden roses and ranunculus were accented with plenty of greenery and touches of burgundy berries.
Josh’s two nieces, the couple’s adorable flower girls, looked sweet as can be in their white dresses and flower crowns. “Both girls gave him a great hug-tackle when they reached Josh at the end of the aisle,” Anna remembers.
The bride’s attendants were made up of seven ‘maids, plus her brother, who served as her man of honor.
“All of the women selected their own dresses,” Anna says of her bridesmaids’ mismatched blush gowns. “I wanted people to feel totally comfortable in what they were wearing.” Josh’s groomsmen matched his formality in classic black tuxedos.
The couple says the team at A. Dominick Events is to thank for many of the great ideas at their wedding, but they were especially excited about their suggestion of a hot cider bar and blankets at the ceremony. Since Anna and Josh chose to say “I do” in a clear top tent in Yards Park at 6:18 PM (the exact time of sunset!), guests needed a warm welcome to stay comfortable during the proceedings.
“I wanted a really warm, organic, outdoors vibe for our ceremony,” Anna says. “We achieved this by using a lot of candles and warm lighting, neutral-colored floors, dark wood chairs, and a stunning suspended chuppah.” As 253 guests looked on, Anna and Josh exchanged vows they’d written themselves in a ceremony officiated by the bride’s cousin. They stuck with the general structure of a Jewish ceremony, but since they’d shared a private ceremony with their family rabbi earlier in the week, the bride and groom saw their big day as an opportunity to get creative.
After the “I do’s,” guests moved to an adjoining tent for cocktail hour, where another genius idea from A. Dominick Events was displayed. Viewfinders with photos from places the couple has traveled throughout their relationship were a hit with guests young and old.
Calligraphed escort cards were displayed in antique cases, and the couple chose to group their tables mainly by age. “We sat everyone with people we thought they would most enjoy getting to know and spending the night with,” says the bride.
Then, everyone moved into Building 170, where they saw all of Anna and Josh’s work come to life. “The space itself was stunning,” Anna says. “A true architectural gem. We were the first to turn it into a venue, and knew that it would be something special and memorable.” Although the space was big, the couple and their planners worked hard to make the party feel intimate, so they added tons of warm lighting and dressed tables with glowing candles.
Low, loose floral arrangements struck the right balance of romantic and industrial, and played up the venue’s unique aesthetic. “There’s an incredible, huge old crane hanging from the ceiling. It can’t be ignored,” says the bride. “We wanted to embrace the grittiness of the space, while also softening it.”
The couple knew just what they wanted when it came to their centerpieces, and tapped Beehive Events to bring their vision to life. Mushrooms, persimmons, and berries were mixed in with garden roses, dahlias, ranunculus, and greenery.
Food was important for this couple, so they asked one of their favorite local Italian restaurants to cater the party. A family-style meal of short ribs, zuchinni involtini, Brussels sprouts, and roasted carrots pleased every palette.
Since neither Anna nor Josh is big on cake, they skipped a traditional tiered dessert in favor of a wide selection of mini treats, like herbed shortbread, mini tartlettes, cookies, gelato, and petit fours.
For extra entertainment during the party, guests could pose for pictures in the couple’s photo booth or visit their specialty scotch and bourbon bar.
After the reception, guests moved back into the cocktail hour tent and partied until 3 a.m. To keep guests dancing, one of Josh’s groomsmen, the owner of a local pizza food truck, asked his crew to come out and serve up slices to all of the couple’s guests.
“Once the weekend begins, let go of all control,” the bride says. “What will be will be. If you’re happy and relaxed, your guests will be, too.”
Ceremony Venue: Yards Park
Reception Venue: Building 170
Wedding Planner: A. Dominick Events
Bride's Wedding Dress: Anna Maier Couture
Stationery: Cheree Berry Paper
Floral Design & Rentals: Beehive Events
Lighting: Frost Lighting
Photographer: Kate Headley