Real Weddings: Laura and Jesse

A pair of GW grads host a cheerful, sunflower-filled wedding with lots of “beer-themed” elements at a DC hotel.

Laura and Jesse met as students at the George Washington University—their first date was at Jaleo in Penn Quarter. A year and a half after a romantic proposal in Switzerland, they married at the Hay-Adams hotel in DC.

“Like any couple, we wanted the wedding to represent us,” says Laura. “DC has been our home since attending college at GW, so we wanted a classic DC affair but very fun and relaxed.”

The bride’s favorite blossoms—sunflowers—and her favorite color, blue, appeared throughout the wedding decor, as did several beer-themed elements.

“Jesse is a beer enthusiast; we have spent many vacations touring breweries, and he brews his own beer,” says Laura. “As such, many beer elements appeared throughout the day, from the escort cards to the table names at the reception to one of the favors—pint glasses.” (The escort cards, mini envelopes with the table assignments on a card inside, featured beer bottle caps from breweries the couple had toured over the years.) Guests also received a mix CD of the bride and groom’s favorite tunes.

Another special detail: Laura’s mother, Jean Z. Mitchell, designed her wedding gown. “My favorite part of planning the wedding was designing and making my dress with my mother—she made her own wedding gown back in 1981,” says Laura. “We loved every minute of the process, from picking out the fabric to designing the dress and accessories to the final fittings.”

At the ceremony, the recessional was set to the tune “Simple Gifts,” because “it is such a joyful song and so fitting with the magnificent view of DC at the Hay-Adams,” says Laura. Afterward, the 125 guests enjoyed a
cocktail hour, featuring—what else?—specialty microbrew beers.

In lieu of a traditional guestbook, Laura and Jesse asked attendees to leave well wishes on postcards featuring vintage book covers.

At the reception, guests dined on Southern- and Asian-influenced cuisine—Jesse grew up mostly in Malaysia, and Laura spent much of her childhood in Louisiana. Tables were adorned with centerpieces of sunflowers, roses, dahlias, hydrangeas, and other lush blooms.

Dessert was a tupelo honey, lavender, and white chocolate wedding cake, along with Swiss Lindt chocolates—a nod to where Laura and Jesse got engaged.

After the couple performed their first dance to “Lovelier Than You” by B.O.B., guests danced to a variety of tunes, from classic rock to electronic, hip-hop to Top 40.

“Our most memorable moments of the day were on the dance floor,” says Laura. “We loved seeing our family and friends from all different periods of our life join and dance together as they celebrated us. Everyone had a blast.”


Photographer: The Happy Couple via Two Bright Lights

Ceremony and reception venue: The Hay-Adams

Wedding planner: Aimee Dominick and Danielle Freedman of A.Dominick Events

Gown: Designed and created by the bride’s mother

Hair: Kelley Small of Amie Decker Beauty

Makeup: Amie Decker of Amie Decker Beauty

Bridesmaid dresses: J.Crew

Groom’s suit: J.Crew

Invitation designer: Gina R. Enberg of Hop Ink Studios

Floral design: Beehive Events

Cake Baker: Kendall’s Cakes

Catering: The Hay-Adams

Ceremony music: Celebrated String Quartet

Reception music: Evan Reitmeyer of MyDeejay