In August of 2015 I received the best birthday gift ever for this mom/caterer/eventplanner/hopeless romantic. My son called to wish me a happy birthday and confided that he was (finally!) going to propose to his long time girlfriend, Samantha.
A few weeks later I was beyond delighted to help him pick out the ring (bling bling bling!). And a few weeks after that, after first asking her father for her hand (who replied “absolutely not!” I LOVE this family!) he got on one knee and she said yes.
Meanwhile, I had started a secret Pinterest board and had a ton of ideas for a fun, delicious, unique country wedding on our farm all ready to share with the happy couple.
They definitely wanted to get married near their home in Alexandria where their friends could metro or Uber to the party. Another definite was an indoor venue as the wedding date was set for April 1st.
Next came several super fun week-ends in Alexandria with the kids and Samantha’s parents - brunching, wedding planning, visiting venues, discussing wedding menus, wedding colors, wedding dresses, bridesmaids' dresses, mothers' dresses, flower girls' dresses, invitations, programs, wedding flowers and save-the date coasters.
Decisions were made.
We all loved the iconic George Washington Memorial Masonic Temple as the perfect venue. The intimate theatre for the ceremony and the glorious marble ballroom for the reception.
The wedding would be at 6:00 and the attire would be black tie. Their good friend Geoff would officiate.
A full bar and plenty of Champagne were a must.
The decor would be Samantha’s favorite colors, red and sparkle - embodied in her linen choices of Garnet Satin and Silver Sequins, in the gray sofas with bejeweled pillows, and in the silver mercury glass candles scattered everywhere.
The bridal attendants would wear long pewter colored dresses, the two flower girls (one of whom was just about to be born!) would wear red.
Though dress and decor were formal, the reception would be very unstructured, lots and lots of hors d’oeuvre and small plates stations.
Passed Hors d’oeuvre
Hanky Pankys * Caramelized Onion Swirls * Spicy Glazed Shrimp Skewers
Bourbon Glazed Angus Beef Meatballs * County Fair Corn Fritters * Bacon-Wrapped Scallops withChili Butter
Hors d’oeuvre Tables
Cheese Array * Antipasto * Sushi Station
Small Plates Stations
Crab and Corn Chowder * French Onion Soup
Chopped Caesar Salad * Thai Cashew Chopped Salad * Magnolia Bread Basket
Scalloped Potato Cakes * Angus Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream
Roasted Asparagus * Chicken and Wild Mushroom Lasagna
We'd have mix of dining tables, lots of cocktail tables with bar stools and some cushy lounge areas.
And a Red Velvet wedding cake.
After 20 months of planning (and dieting, argh!) the wedding day arrived, the only April Fool’s prank was deftly pulled off by the tiniest flower girl who had a massive melt down and was whisked away by her father as we were lining up for the ceremony. She was next seen with a huge smile dropping petals up the aisle before the bride.
It’s been over 30 years since I was a bride and almost as many years since I was the caterer/planner/bridesmaid at three siblings’ weddings. I have a renewed understanding of what it’s like to be on the other side of the reception, to be the MOG or the wedding guest. How very much I appreciated and enjoyed being served a yummy hors d’oeuvre, a sparkling flute of Champagne, how wonderful to hear a favorite song and be pulled onto the dance floor, and how very very real is the joy of witnessing and celebrating with dearest friends and family.
A HUGE thank you to the amazing Annabelle Dando
whose beautiful photos are seen above.
Catering: Magnolia Caterers
Coordinator: Paige Barton Evans
DJ: DJ Brian at MyDeejay
Event Design: Magnolia Caterers
Photographer: Annabelle Dando Photography
Venue: George Washington Memorial Masonic Temple
Wedding Cake: Magnolia Caterers
Rentals: DC Rental
AFR Event Furnishings
Dover Rent All Tents & Events