Real Wedding: Lara and Steve

A Virginia couple’s November wedding is inspired by “a Gatsby garden party.”

Lara and Steve share a romantic stroll. All photographs by Kate Headley Photography


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Herndon couple Lara and Steve met the summer before their junior year at the University of Mary Washington, while working at the now-closed bar Buffalo Mo’s Wings on the Water. He proposed on the Mary Washington campus, and a yea and a half later, on November 27, 2010, the couple married in a Catholic mass at Saint John the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, in Leesburg.

“We loved how the Catholic mass allowed us to involve so many friends and family members,” says Lara. “We had two readers, two cantors, and two gift bearers.”

Following the ceremony, a reception was held at the Middleburg Community Center.

“We wanted to hold our reception somewhere historic and charming, a blank canvas that we could personalize with all of our dream design elements,” says Lara.

“The aim was definitely vintage romance,” says Lara of her wedding’s décor, which featured a color scheme of black, shades of pink, and metallics. “I wanted things to feel warm, inviting, soft, and pretty. My vision was almost a Gatsby garden party.”

Some of the reception décor highlights included an “escort board”—bride used a chalk market to write guests’ names and table numbers on an antique mirror, and lush centerpieces paired with tall crystal candle holders from Jamali Garden.

Lara and Steve performed their first dance to Jason Wade’s version of “You Belong to Me,” sung by one of their groomsmen, Liam Garland of the band the Silent Critics.

The couple’s 150 guests dined on paella­­—to honor Steve’s Portuguese heritage—as well as beef tenderloin, roasted potatoes, and portobello mushroom ravioli, and then danced the night away to hip hop tunes with a few special performances by the Silent Critics.


Photographer: Kate Headley Photography

Ceremony Venue: Saint John the Apostle Roman Catholic Church

Reception Venue: Middleburg Community Center

Wedding Planners: Jamie Sears of Simply Chic Events and Lisa Schulz of the Posh Planner

Floral Design: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers

Dress: J. Crew

Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie

Flower Girl Dresses: Crewcuts and Chasing Fireflies

Groom’s Attire: Hickey Freeman, from Nordstrom

Makeup: Victoria Stiles

Stationery Designer: Paperzest

Rentals: Capital Party Rentals

Caterer: Savoir Fare Limited

Cake: Taylor Made Cakes

DJ: Dynamo Entertainment in Fairfax, 703-623-6747

Band: Silent Critics