Real Weddings: Jessica and Michael

The nuptials of our cover stars—a modern, vibrant affair at a DC hotel.

If you’ve seen our summer/fall issue, you probably already know Jessica and Michael—the kissing couple on the cover. We thought you might want to get a peek at their actual wedding, so we have the details.

Jessica and Michael both grew up in Northern Virginia, and attended Langley High School, but didn’t know each other. They first met at a bar in Adams Morgan.

“It was love at first sight,” says Jessica.

A year after a romantic, autumn proposal, the couple, who live in Clarendon, married at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park.

“We wanted our wedding to be in the city, at a historic venue with outdoor ceremony space—and could hold over 200 guests!” says Jessica. “We loved the idea that our guests could stay at the hotel and walk to the wedding with ease.”

The couple planned a wedding that incorporated a hot pink color scheme, along with their personalities and favorite things—especially penguins.

“I have an obsession with penguins because they’re adorable and I love how they mate for life,” says Jessica. “We used river rocks throughout the decor because male penguins offer a pebble to female penguins when they want to mate—like an engagement ring. We also had two penguins on our cupcake tree—the male penguin wore a Capitals jersey because Michael lives and breathes for the Caps.”

The couple’s dog, Potus, also played a big role in the day, serving as the couple’s ring bearer.

“He was walked down the aisle to ‘Hail to the Chief,” says Jessica.

Also at the ceremony, Michael’s cousins sang “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat, and the couple chose modern musical selections for the processional and recessional—the bride walked down the aisle to “Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice.

At the reception, tables were named for places the couple had visited—from Venice to Aruba and guests were given stickers that read “Wag More, Bark Less”—the bride’s favorite expression. In lieu of a traditional guestbook, guests wrote well-wishes on brightly-colored pieces of paper and stuck them into holes in a frame decorated with the couple’s monogram.

Guests dined on filet mignon, stuffed chicken breast, grilled salmon, and vegetarian lasagna, along with cupcakes for dessert. The menu cards featured photos of the couple’s dog, along with the bride’s parents’ dogs, and a note explaining the couple’s donations to various animal charities.

Jessica and Michael performed their first dance to “This Year’s Love” by David Gray. One memorable moment: the bride’s father surprising the couple by serenading them with “Take Good Care of My Baby” by Bobby McGee.

“It was the sweetest thing ever—everyone was crying,” says Jessica.

Later, guests changed into flip-flops provided by the couple, and danced late into the night.

“People still talk about how much fun the dancing was,” says Jessica. “We literally had people still dancing when they turned the lights on at the end of the night—they had to kick everyone out!”


Photographer: K. Thompson Photography

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Omni Shoreham Hotel

Wedding Planner: Chantal Rotondo of Cherry Blossom Events

Bride’s Gown: Kenneth Pool, purchased at Carine’s Bridal Atelier

Hair: Elegant Hair by Giselle

Makeup: Kim Giammaria of Beauty Mark

Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston

Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss, purchased at Bloomingdale’s

Invitations and Stationery: The Dandelion Patch

Floral Design: Multiflor

Rentals: DaVinci’s

Catering: Omni Shoreham Hotel

Cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcakes

Music: Aaron Couch of Disc Jockeys on Call

Lighting: Frost Lighting

Videography: Blue Sky Films