She said she’d never date a colleague. He never thought he’d fall for an American girl. But they fell in love and got married, with a wedding at Iron Gate. Dana Lehr and Phil Puxley, two Washington, D.C.-area astronomers, met at work, where they were partners, then later roommates. Phil, who is English, gifted Dana, an American from Pennsylvania, a copy of “Watching the English.” Eventually things turned romantic. On a trip to Scotland, Phil proposed. “He asked while we walked the grounds of Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness,” Dana recalls. “We were still learning to understand one another’s form of English.”
With subtly known only to the English, she says, the proposal went something like this:
Phil: I thought this might be an appropriate setting to ask you to consider marrying me.
Dana: What? Is that a question?
Dana: Then yes, that would be lovely.
For the wedding, the two agreed on an “intimate, stylish setting,” Dana says,“where a simple ceremony could flow straight into fabulous cocktails and incredible food.” A wedding at Iron Gate perfectly fit the bill.
“During brunch under the grapevines and wisteria of Iron Gate’s hidden courtyard in Dupont Circle, we knew we had found the perfect spot,” Dana says. “Part speakeasy, part Grecian-Italian villa, part neighborhood gem.”
For the stationery suite, the couple took aesthetic cues from Iron Gate itself. Dana, with the help of the pros at The Dandelion Patch, chose an art-deco inspired suite with gold lettering on deep gray paper, enveloped in a die-cut sleeve that featured the Iron Gate, combined with the couple’s monogram (designed by Dana.) The monogram detail was carried throughout other wedding day details including a custom ring by from The Mrs. Box, and a seal on the favor boxes, which held a pair of macarons from Macaron Bee—a nod to the couple’s honeymoon planned for Paris and Lucerne.
On April 30, they welcomed guests to the garden patio with prosecco-filled flutes and bites of rabbit terrine and spring pea bruschetta. Soon after guests arrived, the couple hosted their ceremony on the iron steps, (Dana donning a modern, silk Carolina Herrera gown with a dramatic bow and a cathedral-length veil by Toni Federici—she’d surprise her groom with a dress change later!) flanked by lanterns.
Immediately following the ceremony, they enjoyed cocktails and dancing under twinkling courtyard lights. With the help of planner Julie Vieira, the farmhouse table was transformed into “a dark velvet tableau highlighted with lush florals and silvered compotes brimming with berries and fruits,” says Dana. “Vintage photos framed in gold, zinc and mercury glass lined the shelves near the fireplace, so family both near and far could look upon the party.”
Signature drinks were inspired by the couple’s travels, and the “Mediterranean-inspired, mezze-driven” menu included such dishes as green tomato keftedes, deviled blue crab crostini, shrimp escabeche, and savory gyro bomboloni. Back in the carriage house, the dining table offered guests plates of grilled lamb meatballs, black angus sliders, spring vegetable frittata, seasonal focaccia, and a whole slow-roasted lamb served with warm pita.
Just before the first dance, the bride snuck away from the party to surprise her groom with a change into a custom Enaura gown with vintage-inspired beading, scalloped tulle, and alluring wide-set beaded straps. She’d found it with Phil, then regretted that he’d not be surprised on the big day. So she found the Herrera with her mother and made of honor, but—to the surprise of the groom—held on to the Enaura for the reception.
At the end of the celebration, the guests enjoy cake and cocktails in the garden under a vintage chandelier, as the newlyweds made one last toast—“to the inspired selection of this special venue,” says Dana, “which gratefully will be the perfect spot for many anniversary celebrations to come.”
Photographer: Bonnie Sen Photography
Planner & Florist: Kruse and Vieira Events | Venue: Iron Gate | Stationery: The Dandelion Patch | Caterer: Iron Gate | Hair & Makeup: Karma by Erwin Gomez | Bride’s Gown (ceremony): Carolina Herrera | Bride’s Gown (reception:) Enaura Bridal | Vintage Rentals: White Glove Rental Entertainment: Kyle Moore, Mixing Maryland