Washington Real Weddings: Maura and Patrick

A pair of Alexandria natives host a sweet, lively celebration in their hometown, featuring cute puppies, Patrón, and a gnome cake (we’ll get to that later).

Maura and Patrick made sure to pose with their two golden retrievers, Rumpelstiltskin (held by Patrick) and Riley, after the ceremony. All photographs by Deb Lindsey Photography.

Maura and Patrick both grew up in Alexandria, and attended grade school together. But they didn’t actually meet until a friend brought Maura to Patrick’s 30th birthday party.

“I bought the birthday boy a shot of Patrón—even though I hate tequila—and we’ve been together ever since,” recalls Maura.

After a Christmas Eve 2010 proposal, the couple planned their wedding for August 20, 2011, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where both the bride and the groom attended grade school, with a reception following at the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria.

“We really wanted to have a hometown wedding where everything was close by,” says Maura. “The ballroom at Belle Haven is gorgeous and five minutes from our house. And when we found out they would let the guys play golf on Friday, our search for the perfect venue was over.”

The couple wanted a wedding that was “pretty and elegant, but above all, fun.” They chose a bright color scheme of royal blue, kelly green, and white.


Both Maura and Patrick worked hard to plan a meaningful ceremony—they chose the readings and the music together. The bride carried her great-great-grandmother’s German prayer book down the aisle, as well as her colorful bouquet of hydrangeas, calla lilies, hypericum berries, and blue delphiniums. And the little flower girls toted pomanders of bells of Ireland (a nod to the bride’s Irish roots).


After the ceremony, the 185 guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the country club’s patio. A bagpiper led the wedding party and the newlyweds into the party, where everyone enjoyed a martini bar and a custom cornhole set, a gift from the bride’s sister. Hors d’oeuvres included Old Bay–spiced shrimp and Southern-style fried chicken strips (the bride’s favorite).

In lieu of traditional escort cards, Maura commissioned a custom magnetic board with cards that directed guests to their tables. Photos from a photo booth were placed in a guestbook as mementos.

At the reception, centerpieces included bells of Ireland, hydrangeas, lisianthus, Queen Anne’s lace, and delphiniums. Guests dined on wedge salad, chicken, beef, crabcakes, and twice-baked potatoes. Dessert consisted of several wedding cakes, including a small traditional version that the couple cut with the groom’s grandfather’s Marine sword, a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake (another of the bride’s favorites), and a surprise groom’s cake in the shape of a gnome—Patrick’s fantasy football mascot.


Patrick and Maura performed their first dance to “True Blue” by Madonna, since the bride is a “huge fan” and they wanted something upbeat and fun.

Afterward, everyone danced to Motown, ’80s tunes, and current pop hits, and the bride shared a special dance with her father, a Buffalo Bills fan whose birthday was the day of the wedding.

“My dad and I danced to ‘Tupelo Honey,’ followed by ‘Happy Birthday,’ where we brought out a Buffalo Bills birthday cake,” says Maura. “This led into ‘Shout,’ which is the Buffalo Bills theme song.”

As a wedding favor, each guest received a mini bottle of Patrón—a reminder of the shot Maura bought Patrick on the night they met.



Photographer: Deb Lindsey Photography via Two Bright Lights

Ceremony Venue: St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Reception Venue and Catering: Belle Haven Country Club

Wedding Planners: Vicki Grafton and Zoe Fernandez of My Simple Details

Gown: Anna Maier/Ulla-Maija Couture, purchased at Hitched

Hair: Andre Chreky: The Salon Spa

Makeup: Ali Wear

Bridesmaid Dresses: Phoebe Couture, purchased at Neiman Marcus

Tuxedo: Ralph Lauren

Invitation Designer: Smock, purchased at Hitched

Ceremony Floral Design: Sue Chamberlain Flowers

Reception Floral Design: Columbia Floral Gallery

Rentals: DC Rental

Cake: Sweet Ladies Bakery

Ceremony Music: Cherry Blossom String Quartet

Reception Music: High Society, booked through Washington Talent

Escort Card Board: Elegance Farm Homestead

Photo Booth: Booth-o-Rama