Washington Real Weddings: Sherri and Mike

An Alexandria winter wedding is warm, cozy, and intimate.

Sherri and Mike first met online, and had their first date at Il Fornaio Restaurant in Reston on a snowy winter evening.

“We ended up being the last ones to leave the restaurant despite the few inches of snow on the ground by the time we left,” says Sherri.

Mike proposed the night before Thanksgiving 2010 in front of the Old Town Alexandria Christmas tree.

The couple married on January 29, 2011, at the American Horticultural Society at River Farm in Alexandria, before 22 guests.

“I pictured a winter atmosphere that was elegant, personal, and romantic,” says Sherri. “We wanted to keep our wedding small, with only our closest family members, the people who mean the most to us. I was really hoping there would be snow on the ground, and we got lucky—it snowed just a few days before our wedding!”


The ceremony was held in River Farm’s parlor room. A harpist performed, and the bride carried a crisp bouquet of roses, hydrangeas, ranunculuses, tulips, anemones, berries, and foliage. During the ceremony, the couple stood before a large picture window.

“As we said our vows, the sun started shining brightly and reflected off the snow, making everything sparkle,” says Sherri.


Guests enjoyed hot mulled cider during cocktail hour, and then moved to the reception area, which had a winter forest theme. Centerpieces featured branches and white and cream blossoms, such as hydrangeas, snapdragons, roses, and tulips. Hand-calligraphed placecards were placed in real birchwood stands.

Dinner consisted of rustic winter salad, beef tenderloin medallions, and red snapper. A raspberry and lemon Chantilly wedding cake was served for dessert, along with a buffet of treats, including chocolate-dipped strawberries, macarons, s’mores parfaits, and mini cannolis.

Each guest received as a favor a mug from Anthropologie adorned with his or her initial and containing a serving of hot chocolate and a peppermint swizzle stick.

“We thought this was a fun way for our guests to remember our wedding day anytime they made coffee or tea for the rest of the winter,” says Sherri.

The couple performed their first dance to “At Last” by Etta James, and guests danced throughout the evening, even enjoying a unique family tradition.

“My uncle brings two powder-blue tuxedo jackets, and toward the end of the night, the band plays disco music,” says Sherri. “Everyone takes turns putting on the jackets and being the center of attention while disco dancing! Everyone was laughing as we took turns cutting a rug.”

Another memorable moment: the couple’s pre-ceremony outdoor portrait session in the snow.

“It was a chance for Mike and me to share a moment together prior to the guests arriving,” says Sherri. “The snow-covered ground with the beautiful blue sky was everything I’d hoped for.”



Photographer: Jan Michele Photography via Two Bright Lights

Ceremony and Reception Venue: American Horticultural Society at River Farm

Wedding Planner: Laura Ritchie of Events in the City

Gown: Casablanca Bridal, purchased at Leesburg Bridal

Makeup: Faces by SAM

Hair: Sommer Seneca (571-722-9219)

Invitations: Held Kaptive Media

Bridesmaid Dresses: Purchased at Nordstrom

Tuxedo: Purchased at Nordstrom

Floral Design: Janet Flowers

Rentals: DC Rental

Catering and Cake: Ridgewells

Ceremony Music: Janet Holland Harpist

Reception Music: Grabielismo Productions