Real Wedding: Kimberlee and Matthew

After an extended engagement, this couple tied the knot in a traditional ceremony with a few twists. 

Kimberlee and Matthew at their October 20 wedding in Oxon Hill, Maryland. All photographs courtesy of Carly Arnwine Photography

When Matthew Murphy first met Kimberlee Ryan, the chemistry was instantaneous. A public interest environmental lawyer by day, Matthew was bartending at Rhino Bar & Pumphouse where Kimberlee, then a senior in college, picked up a few waitressing shifts during her winter break. The only thing standing in Matthew’s way from asking her out was that their boss happened to  be Kimberlee’s uncle. “Everyone thought he was crazy to go for the owner’s niece, but we were both smitten,” says Kimberlee. 

Lucky for Matthew, it turned out to be a risk worth taking. After a first kiss on New Year’s Eve, the pair dated for two and a half years before a snowy proposal at the Georgetown Waterfront. They would be engaged for just as long—Kimberlee decided to go back to school to become a nurse, thus putting their nuptials on hold for a bit longer than initially planned. 

Finally, on October 20, 2012, the couple were married at Oxon Hill Manor. Colman McCarthy, renowned journalist and founder of Center for Teaching Peace and Matthew’s former Georgetown University professor, officiated the outdoor ceremony, at which Ralphie, the couple’s beloved Labrador pup, served as ring bearer. 

Kimberlee skipped the traditional bouquet and instead carried a handmade brooch bouquet down the aisle. “Close friends and family members each gave me a brooch that symbolized and represented our relationship. It was really important to me to honor those who have had a positive influence on my life,” says the bride. Brooches on Kimberlee’s bouquet included a swan from her mother, whose maiden name is Swan, dog tags from her father’s days in the Vietnam War, a nurse cap from a fellow nurse and mentor, and a four-leaf clover, a reference to Matthew’s Irish heritage, from her sister.

The couple added additional personal touches to the wedding. “Our table numbers were pictures of Ralphie with the table number written on a chalkboard hanging from his neck,” says the bride. Both vegetarians, the couple served a meat-free meal created by Culinary Delights by Feist. The night ended on a sweet note with a three-tier carrot cake with apricot filling and a bar of miniature desserts.


Photographer: Carly Arnwine Photography

Event Coordinator: Ashlee Virginia Events

Venue: Oxon Hill Manor 

Florist: Flowers ’n’ Ferns

Caterer and Cake: Culinary Delights by Feist 

First Dance Song: “At Last” by Etta James

Bride’s Gown: Anjolique from White Swan Bridal Boutique 

Groom’s Tux: Ralph Lauren

Hair:  Tammi Powers from Sana’s Hair Design

Makeup: Leigh Bradley Trefry

Videographer: Bride’s childhood best friend and bridesmaid, Crystal Thune 

Music/Entertainment: Smoky the DJ 

Invitations: Paper Talk USA 

Honeymoon Spot: Belize

Where They Currently Live: Bethesda