Jessica, a native of South Carolina, and Chris, who grew up in Bethesda, first met at a mutual friend’s party and were friends for a year before they started dating. Chris proposed while the two were on a trip to Victoria, British Columbia.
“We were walking through the rose gardens of the Empress Hotel when Chris turned to me and said, ‘There’s something I want to ask you,’” recalls Jessica. “He then pulled an engagement ring out of his pocket. I was completely surprised.”
The couple decided on a theme of “Southern preppy elegance” to combine Jessica’s background with Chris’s DC roots.
“I wanted to bring a piece of South Carolina to Washington, DC, where we currently live,” says Jessica. “We wanted the event to feel like an elegant dinner party and to include a bit of Southern charm, elegance and grace.”
The wedding was held on June 18, 2011, with a ceremony at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral and a reception at Dumbarton House in Georgetown, which Jessica fell in love with for its homey Southern vibe.
Jessica wore a Modern Trousseau gown, paired with Kate Spade heels adorned with jeweled pineapples.
“We used a pineapple motif on our invitations because it’s the symbol for Southern hospitality,” she says. “As soon as I saw the pineapple shoes on Kate Spade’s website, I knew I had to have them.”
At the ceremony, Jessica carried a bouquet of ivory cabbage roses, and Chris sported a boutonniere of a green mum fastened with a blue-and-white-striped ribbon.
Afterward, the newlyweds and their 140 guests enjoyed a cocktail hour outdoors at the Dumbarton House. In another Southern nod, the drinks included John Dalys cocktails with Firefly sweet-tea vodka, which is made in Charleston. Hors d’oeuvres mixed Southern and DC favorites, from crabcakes to fried green tomatoes. The pineapple motif continued on the escort cards.
The reception was held on the lower terrace and inside the ballroom. Long tables featured centerpieces of hydrangeas, stock, peonies, and maidenhair ferns in mint julep cups. Guests dined on peppercorn-crusted filet mignon and yellow-beet-and-horseradish-crusted halibut. The wedding cake featured tiers of almond and chocolate.
The couple performed their first dance to “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison, and guests danced until late into the evening. Mini cones of raspberry and mango sorbet were passed out to revelers.
Photographer: Jennifer Domenick of Love Life Images
Ceremony Venue: Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Reception Venue: Dumbarton House
Wedding Planner: Jamie Sears of Simply Chic Events
Gown: Modern Trousseau, purchased at Hitched
Hair and Makeup: Marcella Johnson at Salon Ilo
Bridesmaid Dresses: LulaKate, purchased at Bella Bridesmaid
Tuxedo: Hugo Boss
Invitation Designer: The Lettered Olive
Floral Designer: Philippa Tarrant Floral Design
Cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie
Caterer: Main Event Caterers