Real Wedding: Nicholas and Caitlin

A ceremony celebrating family and tradition meant all the more to this couple, who met as children.

Caitlin and Nicholas having their first dance as husband and wife at their June 2012 wedding in Bethesda. All photographs courtesy of Ampersand Photography.

Nicholas Wiesner and Caitlin McGowan’s love story started at the age of 12 when the two met while vacationing on Washington Island in Wisconsin. After spending the entire summer together, crushing on one another in the way first loves often do, the two returned to their homes at the end of the season—Caitlin to Silver Spring, Maryland, and Nicholas to Chicago. They promised to be pen pals. Ten years passed before the couple reconnected in person once again, this time in Chicago, where Caitlin was visiting her sister and Nicholas was attending the Art Institute.

Their spark was rekindled, and a love affair ensued, only this time they didn’t have to leave each other when summer was over. A romantic rooftop proposal in Rome followed suit, and the bride, a clinical psychologist, and groom, a creative director, would eventually return to Caitlin’s hometown for the wedding celebration. The ceremony was held at Potomac’s Our Lady of Mercy church, where Caitlin was baptized, and the reception followed at the Congressional Country Club, where her family has held memberships for two generations. The bride and groom both donned family heirlooms—Caitlin wore her grandmother’s earrings and Nicholas his grandfather’s wedding ring—and the bride rode to church in style in her grandfather’s 1966 SS Chevelle.


Photographer: Sarah Danaher, Ampersand Photography

Engagement Story: Nicholas proposed to Caitlin on a rooftop restaurant in Rome overlooking the Coliseum. The day after the proposal they met up with Caitlin’s family in Florence and spent a week there celebrating together. Nicholas also surprised Caitlin with an iPad so that after the proposal she could Skype family and friends who were not there.

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church

Wedding Reception Venue/Caterer/Cake: Congressional Country Club

Event Coordinator: Marlene Gusella, Congressional Country Club

Bride’s Gown: Romona Keveza

Groom’s Suit: John Varvatos

Hair: Seema Khanna

Makeup: Susie Kim

Florist: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore 

Wedding Flowers: Pink and white peonies, white hydrangeas, pink ranunculuses, white lamb’s ear, pink sweet peas, white astilbe, and bupleurum

Wedding Cake Flavors: White cake, fresh summer strawberry filling, and white wedding icing

Invitations: Design by Nicholas Wiesner; printing by Rohner Letterpress; calligraphy by Stacey Shapiro

First Dance Song: “Loving Wings” by Dave Matthews Band

Biggest Surprise of the Wedding: Caitlin’s maids of honor (her two younger sisters) had the wedding band play “Jump” by Van Halen as the bridal party entered the reception and then had each couple choreograph their own jump. This was all photographed, including the last-minute addition of the bride and groom jump, which turned out to be one of the couple’s favorite wedding pictures.

Four Words That Describe the Wedding: Elegant, classic, traditional, beautiful

Honeymoon Spot: Washington Island, Wisconsin, and Negril, Jamaica

Where They Currently Live: Chicago, IL

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