Real Wedding: Kendal Berner and Shawn Colligan

These former coworkers returned to the site of their first date for a romantic, elegant celebration.

All photographs by Genevieve Leiper Photography.

When Kendal Berner found out that her W Hotel colleague, Shawn Colligan, had tricked her into getting drinks with just him, rather than with a group as planned, she almost backed out of it. But the woman who didn’t believe in dating coworkers decided to give it a shot, and she soon changed her tune over drinks and appetizers at the Four Seasons. “Managers and guests kept coming up to us all evening to say hello, and they surprised us with a bottle of Champagne to enjoy,” says Kendal “Needless to say, I was swept off my feet right away.”

After the pair had been dating for two years, Shawn asked Kendal to get drinks with him once again, this time at POV. He excused himself from the table midway through the night, returning with Champagne, a ring, and a question. A hidden photographer snapped shots of the proposal, and then Shawn whisked Kendal off to a restaurant where their families awaited them, ready to celebrate.

The couple wed on September 20, 2014, at the Four Seasons, where they’d had their first date. Their favorite details: the gorgeous white orchids, a serenade of Leanne Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” by Kendal’s high school dance coach, and Shawn’s football-themed groom’s cake. At each guest’s place setting was a package of white Jordan almonds, which read, “Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat, to remind us that life is both bitter and sweet. Five wishes for the new husband and wife: health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life.”

Take a look at the wedding photos below, then check out their wedding video.

Ceremony Venue: Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Reception Venue: Four Seasons

Photographer: Genevieve Leiper Photography

Bride’s Gown: “Bliss” by Monique Lhuillier, Carine’s Bridal Atelier

Groom’s Tux: Black by Vera Wang, Men’s Warehouse

Hair: Julie Flury of Jewel Hair Design

Makeup: Carl Ray

Event Coordinator: Katie Shannon, Four Seasons

Cake: Four Seasons Pastry Team

Florist: Amaryllis

Caterer: Four Seasons

Transportation: Reston Limousine

Videographer: Freddy Galea of Bowen Films

Music/Entertainment: Spectrum, Washington Talent Agency

Invitations: The Dandelion Patch

Groom’s Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes

Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Nordstrom

Rings: Dominion Jewelers

Lighting: PSAV

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.