An Elegant New Orleans-Inspired Wedding at DAR

When you hear the words “themed wedding” you might think you’re in for something cheesy, but we assure you that Sarah Conley and Bryan Newman’s New Orleans-inspired celebration is nothing but classic elegance, with a fun French twist. Their stunning wedding was captured by Bonnie Sen Photography in the images below.

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When Sarah was preparing to give a talk as a part of her job interview at the University of Michigan Cancer Center, she had an extra incentive to get the job: she’d spotted Bryan in the audience, and she immediately knew she wouldn’t mind getting to know him better. After she got the job and the pair started working together, shared lunch breaks and time in the lab together helped them form a quick bond. Salsa dancing with friends and a sushi first date initiated their dating relationship, but things took a more serious turn when Bryan told Sarah that’d he’d accepted a new job and would be moving to Washington, DC.

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Three years into their relationship, Bryan purchased tickets to a musical at The Kennedy Center for Sarah’s birthday. During the intermission, he asked her to join him outside, which she agreed to, despite the freezing temperature. She soon realized why he’d wanted to step outside so badly, as he used the quiet terrace to propose. When they returned for the second act, Sarah had trouble concentrating on the show, as her attention was now focused on her very sparkly left hand. 

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For their May 16 wedding at DAR, the pair planned a New Orleans-inspired celebration in honor of Bryan’s Louisiana family. A brass band played the wedding party into the reception, where guests ate French macarons and sipped dark and stormy cocktails, which matched the thunderclouds that had showed up during the ceremony.

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To round out the New Orleans wedding theme, guests ate from a late-night beignet bar before bidding adieu to the bride and groom as they departed for their honeymoon in Rome and the Amalfi Coast.


Venue: DAR Memorial Continental Hall | Photographer: Bonnie Sen Photography | Event Coordinator: Jennifer Bryan of Elegantly Chic Events | Bride’s Gown: Mikaella, Love Couture Bridal | Groom’s Tux: Vera Wang, Men’s Wearhouse | Hair & Makeup Artist: Modern Bridal Studio | Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes | Florist: Petal’s Edge | Caterers: Main Event Caterers | Transportation: Uber | Music/Entertainment: Bachelor Boys Band | Invitations: The Dandelion Patch | Calligraphy: Just Write Studios | Officiant: Reverend Bill Cochran of Say I Do Your Way

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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.