Washington Real Weddings: Hillary and Matt

This whimsical fall event proves that weddings can be all fun and games.

Hillary, an account manager at a marketing firm (and a former Washingtonian intern!), and Matt, an account director at a public relations firm, met when they worked for the same company. Their first date was at Chef Geoff’s downtown.

In October 2010, the couple took a trip to New York City, and walked through Central Park. They stopped at the park’s Chess & Checkers House, where sets of both games abound.

“It was a quiet, secluded spot, which was exactly what Matt had been looking for,” recalls Hillary. “We sat down together at one of the tables, and that’s where he popped the question.”

The pair married on October 15, 2011, at Merriweather Manor in Leesburg.

“We just wanted it to be the most fun party everyone had been to all year, with delicious food, great drinks, and fun music to dance to,” says Hillary. “We had kind of a ‘game’ theme, inspired by our proposal site—checkerboards and Scrabble tiles were mixed into the decor.”

It was also important to Hillary and Matt that the wedding was held in the fall, their favorite time of year. They chose a yellow and gray color scheme, which sidestepped the typical red and orange autumn palette but still fit the season.

The bride wore a gown by Oleg Cassini for David’s Bridal, accessorized with a bright yellow statement necklace from South Moon Under.

“The best part is, I now wear the necklace on a day-to-day basis, and it always makes me think of the wedding day,” says Hillary.

The groom, a self-described “sneaker freak,” wore custom gray and yellow Nike Dunks with his tux.


At the ceremony, Hillary carried a bouquet of roses, craspedia, dahlias, coxcomb, alstroemeria, hypericum berries, and seeded eucalyptus, and walked down the aisle to a string trio rendition of “Your Song” by Elton John.

During cocktail hour, the couple’s 100 guests enjoyed tomato-and-basil bruschetta, spanakopita, and mini crab cakes. The escort cards were burlap bags stamped with the newlyweds’ initials and filled with chocolate candy. Attendees filled a wooden guestbook with well wishes, and played checkers on the boards scattered around the site.


At the reception, centerpieces featured succulents, craspedia, herbs, and greenery inside birchwood pots. Table names were spelled out using Scrabble tiles. Dinner, which included local rockfish, jasmine rice pilaf, and grilled flank steak, was served family style.

“It made the tables feel more intimate yet casual, and eliminated waiting in line at a buffet,” says Hillary. “I was hoping that everyone sharing food would make people talk a bit more and get to know each other.”

In lieu of the wedding cake, the Carpe Donut truck was on hand to provide fresh, hot apple cinnamon doughnuts, adorned with custom paper flags.

“We’re still getting compliments from our friends about how tasty the doughnuts were and how it was such a creative idea,” says Hillary.

The couple performed their first dance to “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke, and afterward, guests danced into the night to a variety of tunes.

“I don’t think I stopped dancing the entire night!” says Hillary.



Photographer: Kristen Gardner Photography, via Two Bright Lights

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Merriweather Manor

Wedding Planner: Erin Jay

Gown: Oleg Cassini for David’s Bridal

Hair: G5 Salon

Makeup: Ashley Branton

Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew

Tuxedo: Jos. A. Bank

Invitation Designer: The Perfect Pair

Floral Designer: Jerry’s Flowers and Gifts

Escort Cards and Guestbook: Quotes & Notes

Doughnuts: Carpe Donut

Doughnut Flags: The Polka Dotted Bee

Caterer: Savoir Fare

Ceremony Music: Hamilton Trio

Reception Music: Danny DJ