A Cozy Winter Wedding in Washington, D.C

This strolling reception was designed for mingling

Updated 12/21/17

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

If you thought a vacation to California’s wine country couldn't get any better, Gina has you beat. She met her future husband, Peter, there while tasting a glass of Chardonnay! In July of 2014, Gina and Peter were both touring and tasting wine with friends when they crossed paths. Less than a year later, Peter brought Gina back to the vineyard where they’d first been introduced and, as the sun began to set, he got down on one knee. But instead of rushing to tie the knot, the couple enjoyed a long engagement, spending almost a year and a half planning their wedding in Washington, D.C. “Having a date so far out ended up working to our advantage,” she says. “We were able to get the venues and vendors we really wanted!”

The couple had a vision of a free-flowing celebration, with guests chatting, dancing, and creating friendships—with the bride and groom right alongside them (of course!). “We wanted to minimize interruptions and allow people to eat, dance, and hit the bar whenever they wanted,” the bride explains. Their reception venue, the Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Memorial Hall, made it all possible with its classic architecture—a nod to Gina’s college studies and current profession—and a multitude of spaces that encouraged guests to mix and mingle. The couple's fresh, neutral palette featured pops of burgundy and warm grey, while the sprawling flowers softened the traditional setting.

This wedding is one you really don't want to miss—especially if you want to find out how Peter and Gina made the most of their reception and really did get to spend time with their guests! Keep reading to see more, and check out the gorgeous photos by Kelsey Thompson Photography and designs by A. Dominick Events.

Bride holding bouquet

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

Bride and groom in front of church

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

The mauve berries in Gina’s rose, ranunculus, and cosmo bouquet echoed the delicate pearls on her Maggie Sottero gown. “I saw the dress in an ad in BRIDES and fell in love," says the bride. "Once I tried it on, I knew it was the one!” Peter is a Marine, and looked absolutely dashing in his dress blues.

Bride and groom at altar

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

Bride and groom kissing under marine line

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

When they first moved to D.C., Peter and Gina chose St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill as their parish, loving the church’s inspiring atmosphere and making it the perfect place for their Catholic ceremony. “We decorated the altar with large arrangements of hydrangeas and roses, and kept our vows traditional,” Gina describes. After tying the knot, they made their exit beneath an arch of sabers.

Bride and groom military recessional

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

Bride and groom recessional

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

“It’s a tradition for the bride to be tapped on the butt with a saber by the final Marine in the lineup to welcome her to the Marine Corps,” says Gina. “It was one of my favorite moments!”

Reception lounge

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

Reception Venue

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

At the reception, Gina and Peter arranged for three different settings to welcome their guests. Cozy couches were draped with cable-knit blankets, inviting guests to settle in and get to know one another. The arrangements combined seeded eucalyptus, privet berries, and roses, lit with candles in tinted candle holders.

Floral arrangement on fireplace

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

The band was set up in the O’Byrne Gallery, where Sweet Root Village created a lush arrangement of dinner plate dahlias, pomegranates, hydrangeas, and smilax vines to cover the mantle.

Library reception venue

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

Reception Dinner Tablescape

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

They left the library’s wooden tables bare, placing coordinating arrangements between the ivory-topped lamps.

Instead of a seated dinner, food stations encouraged guests to grab something to eat and take a seat wherever they liked, whether at one of the indoor tables or on a couch beneath the portico. Stations included a carving station with lamb and salmon, a taco bar with carnitas and steak, and a salad station. There was also a raw bar with oysters, shrimp, and ceviche—the perfect pairing for the couple’s signature cocktail. “It was called ‘The Pina’ and was a matador combining tequila, pineapple juice, lime, club soda, and a grilled pineapple garnish,” Gina describes.

Bride and groom first dance

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

Bride and groom first dance

Photo by Kelsey Thompson Photography

“Our band was amazing, so we wanted to be on the dance floor as much as possible!” says Gina. After the couple’s last twirl to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” their loved flooded the dance floor.

Looking back, Gina has a few words of wisdom for brides to be: “Don’t worry about having a longer engagement,” she says. “It can be a blessing in disguise. We had no trouble getting all of our top picks for vendors because we were booking them so far in advance!”

Wedding Coordinator: A. Dominick Events || Ceremony Venue: St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill || Reception Venue: Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Memorial Hall || Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero || Bride's Veil: Love Couture Bridal|| Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Hair & Makeup: Abigail De Casanova || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Vera Wang || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Shah and Shah Jewelers || Floral Design: Sweet Root Village || Paper Products: Union Street Papery || Catering: Spilled Milk Catering || Cake: Dog Tag Bakery || Entertainment: Attraction || Rentals: DC Rentals, AFR Furniture Rental || Transportation: Lasting Impressions Limo || Videography: Mwendo Weddings || Photography: Kelsey Thompson Photography

Related Stories