We are completely obsessed with Cara Shugoll and Stephen Wilken’s graphic black and white wedding. They took a classic Washington space, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and with Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace, transformed it into a chic, modern wedding venue filled with cherry blossoms and personal touches. This creative wedding was expertly captured by K. Thompson Photography.
Connected via Match.com, Cara and Stephen spent two months emailing before ever hearing each other’s voice. Set to meet after he returned from deployment—Stephen is a pilot with JetBlue and the Air Force—the unexpected passing of Cara’s grandmother delayed their in-person introduction. Their first conversation was on the phone: Stephen called to offer condolences, and supplied a supportive (if virtual) shoulder while Cara, a marketing research director, was away at the funeral.
Once both were back in Washington, they bumped their Friday first date at Alexandria’s Cheesetique to an impromptu Monday-night home-cooked meal at Stephen’s apartment. Sparks flew at the first kiss; California native Stephen proposed one year later in Napa Valley.
At their modern blush-and-black-themed wedding, the pair exchanged vows in front of 129 guests under a cherry-blossom chuppah. He’s a classically trained tuba and piano player, she sang a cappella during and after college, and their shared love of music was reflected in silhouettes of famous composers on the escort cards and matching golden busts atop the dining tables.
Plated coconut squares, dulce de leche brownies, and mint-ganache cookie sandwiches took the place of cake (the couple didn’t want to interrupt the dancing); at the end of the night, guests departed with takeout boxes of gourmet popcorn. The newlyweds continued the celebration with a Turks and Caicos honeymoon.
Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science | Photographer: K. Thompson Photography |Event Coordinator: Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace | Flowers: Sweet Root Village | Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo, Carine’s Bridal Atelier | Hair & Makeup: Claudine Fay | Groom’s Tux: Hugo Boss, Nordstrom | Caterer: Design Cuisine | Music: Sage String Quartet and Nightsong, Entertainment Exchange | Invitations: The Dandelion Patch | Calligraphy: Meant To Be Calligraphy | Graphic Design: Brave Creative Design | Lighting: Atmosphere Inc.
Need a city chic wedding venue for your upcoming nuptials? You can find the best in DC here.