Real Weddings: Kim and Jake

A pair of college sweethearts stage a June wedding that’s stylish, modern, warm, and romantic at once

The happy newlyweds share their first moments as husband and wife. All photographs by Elaine Studley of Hay McKenna Photography

Friendship Heights couple Kim and Jake first met as students at Elon University in North Carolina.

“Our first date was at Sandy’s, a nasty, hole-in-the-wall bar at Elon University,” recalls Kim. “I was incredibly studious in college, and Jake really brought me out of my shell.”

The couple chose to marry at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in DC on June 11.

“Jake grew up in Singapore, so we were immediately drawn to Mandarin’s Asian inspiration,” explains the bride.

“I wanted the décor of the wedding ceremony and reception to feel warm, elegant and romantic,” says Kim. “I also wanted to incorporate organic, rustic inspirations throughout. The chuppah was built to look like a canopy of tree branches. Willow branches were also incorporated in our centerpieces during the cocktail hour and reception.”

The couple’s dog, Puddles, served as the “flower dog,” wearing a necklace of white flowers. The bride’s sister walked Puddles down the aisle using a double-faced satin ribbon leash.

Richard McBride, the chaplain of Elon University, married the couple.

“Chaplain McBride managed to create a beautiful, fun, and light-hearted ceremony, which was exactly what we were going for,” says Kim. “My friends continue to tell me that the ceremony was ‘so Kim and Jake!’ ”

After the ceremony and cocktail hour (the couple’s specialty drinks included the ‘Kimipolitan’ and the ‘Jake and Ginger’), the couple’s 215 guests attended the reception where they dined on edamame-filled organic chicken breast, parmesan risotto, and asparagus. The wedding cake featured a tier of white velvet cake with lemon curd and elderflower buttercream, and a tier of Vietnamese cinnamon and chocolate cake with hazelnut praline and cappuccino buttercream. Milk and cookies were also served.

The reception decor featured centerpieces of willow branches, votive candles, and white flowers, including Dutch peonies, hydrangeas, David Austin roses, and tulips.

The couple performed their first dance to “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith, and later on, Kim, joined by her father and sister performed ‘Pulp Fiction’-inspired dance to “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry.

“I even crowd surfed at the end of the night!” says Kim.


Photographer: Elaine Studley of Hay McKenna Photography

Ceremony and Reception Venue:

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Washington, DC

Wedding Coordinator/Paper Goods:

Danielle Couick of EVOKE


Alison de Wit of Distinctive Floral Design


Amsale, purchased at Hitched


Enchanted Atelier, purchased at Hitched

Hair and Makeup:

Andre Chreky Salon

Groom’s Tuxedo:

Hugo Boss from Nordstrom

Bridesmaid Dresses:



Maggie Austin Cake


Mandarin Oriental

Ceremony Music:

Chris Dunn

Reception Music:

The band Amaretto, booked through Chris Grasso Music

Would you like your wedding to be featured on our Bridal Party blog? E-mail realweddings@washingtonian.comand we’d love to consider you.

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