Claire Marks and Ryan Smith’s wedding story began like so many modern couples’: with the creation of an online dating profile. But Claire was spared the frustrating (and occasionally traumatizing) bad dates and horrifying etiquette that mars so many internet dating experiences. In fact, she met her future husband on her very first online date ever. Check out their classic wedding, captured beautifully by Abby Grace Photography, below.
For their very first date, Ryan invited Claire to join him for a nice dinner. She declined. Rather than gamble on a long meal, she suggested a quick drink instead and they decided to meet at Cava Mezze. Claire needn’t have worried. Almost immediately she was struck by Ryan’s easy conversation and friendly, welcoming demeanor. Ryan, in turn, liked her bubbly and outgoing personality. Just a year and a half later they were engaged.
Ryan planned a surprise proposal, using a scheme to get Claire up to the seventh floor of the Hay-Adams Hotel, where he had arranged for champagne and flowers. He’d chosen a room with French doors that opened out onto a patio. It was there, with views of the White House and the Washington Monument in the distance, that he asked Claire to be his companion for life. The couple wed ten months later at Saint Dominic Catholic Church. The bridesmaids wore blush tones and held bouquets of white roses and thick gardenia greenery. But it was the dress that stole the show. Claire layered a strapless Mira Zwillinger gown with a tulle princess skirt by Monique Lhullier for the ceremony, ditching the skirt for the reception for a more relaxed (not to mention danceable) look.
The reception, held at the Four Seasons, came with other surprises as well, including an elaborate floral tree put together by Yellow Door Floral Design. Using roses, peonies, freesia, and gardenia, along with foliage from gardenias, camellias and magnolias, the florist created a “tree” with vines of fragrant white blooms and delicate hanging bee lights. The night ended on a sweet note with a candy bar as pop-y and playful as a window display at Dylan’s Candy Bar, followed by a decadent hazelnut cake with caramelized apples and chocolate toffee nut crunch.
Ceremony Venue: Saint Dominic Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Four Seasons DC | Photographer: Abby Grace Photography | Wedding Planner: Christine Godsey of Engaging Affairs | Bride’s Gown: Dress, Mira Zwillinger via Carine’s Bridal Atelier. Tulle Skirt, Monique Lhuillier | Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss | Hair Dresser: Amie Adkins of Bang Salon | Makeup Artist: Carl Ray | Cake: Four Seasons | Florist: Yellow Door Floral Design | Caterers: Four Seasons | Music/Entertainment: Trademark from EastCoast