Real Wedding: Lauren and Joseph

After an eight-year courtship, it was a wedding worth waiting for.

Lauren and Joseph at their March 3, 2013, wedding in Old Town Alexandria. All photographs courtesy of Wade Chi.

By the time Lauren Sugierski and Joseph Kuchta got married on March 3, 2013, they had been dating for almost a decade. Wanting to keep their nuptials intimate and personal, they decided to ditch many conventional elements of a wedding and instead focus on celebrating their love. “I will never forget Joe saying that he didn’t care where we got married—that the only thing that mattered was that we were marrying each other,” says Lauren, who works for the federal government.

The couple met at the Georgetown Waterfront over Labor Day weekend eight years ago. After they’d eyed each other from across a bar, Joseph, a DC Police officer, finally asked for Lauren’s phone number. A first date at Carlyle restaurant in Arlington, which would later serve as their rehearsal dinner venue, ultimately led to a proposal at the Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, Virginia.

Eight of Lauren and Joseph’s closest family and friends attended the outdoor ceremony at the Carlyle House Historic Park, with a reception afterward at Lorien Hotel & Spa. The bride wore an elegant little white dress paired with her “something borrowed and something blue”: a diamond and sapphire pendant loaned to her by a friend the couple consider their second mom. The necklace had been worn by all of the women in the family on their wedding day, and Lauren was honored to be included in the tradition. “It was so special to wear,” she says.

Opting for casual fun, Lauren and Joseph nixed the traditional first dance and wedding cake for assorted cupcakes and cigars after dinner. The celebration came full circle when the bride’s parents gave the newlyweds a membership to the winery where they got engaged. “It includes four years of free wine and tastings, and then we get to keep one of the oak barrels used to age the wine with a special plaque that has our names and our wedding date,” says Lauren. A fitting way to capture the spirit of enduring love.


Photographer: Wade Chi

Bride’s Gown: Diane von Furstenberg

Groom’s Tux: Jos. A. Bank

Hair: Nathan from Salon Cielo

Makeup: Leah McKay

Cake: Red velvet, cherry blossom, carrot cake, and chocolate-coconut cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake

Wedding Venue: Carlyle House Historic Park 

Reception Venue: Lorien Hotel & Spa

Florist: Petal’s Edge Floral Design

Caterer: Brabo Restaurant

Invitations: LilyPad Weddings 

Where They Currently Live: Falls Church, Virginia