Weddings

These Navy Vets Pulled off a Timeless Science-Themed Wedding at DC’s Carnegie Institution for Science

Kathryn Phillips and William Buford wed in January of 2018 in Washington, DC.
Katy and Will's subtly science-themed wedding paid homage to the couple's shared interest, and took place at the Carnegie Institution of Science. All Photos Courtesy of K. Thompson Photography

Kathryn (Katy) Phillips, a graduate student from New Jersey, and William (Will) Buford, a naval officer from New Orleans, met almost 20 years before their science-themed wedding. They became friends during Navy ROTC at college and after receiving their commissions, their paths stayed unconnected. Collectively, their active-duty service included seven deployments, 23 foreign ports, and assignments in nine national and three international cities.

Sheer fate and mutual friends put them in touch again in 2016, and two months of Skyping and e-mails later, they shared their “first date”—a romantic weekend in Rome. Katy, traveling with family, invited Will to stop over on his way back stateside for a new post. He booked a ticket, and greeted her at 10 AM in a three-piece suit to offer “the best hug of my life,” Katy recalls. “It was like she was constantly standing in a spotlight, as if she were the only person I could see, even in a crowded room,” Will says of the reunion. Why was he looking so sharp at 10 in the morning, she asked. “When you meet the most beautiful woman in Rome, you suit up.” The next 48 hours were a blur of sightseeing, good wine, and good food in the Eternal City. From then on, say the pair, no distance could keep them apart, making 2016 a year of adventure, travel, and love. Exactly one year later, they were engaged on St. Patrick’s Day.

Katy and Will say their science-themed wedding at DC’s Carnegie Institution walked “a thin line between classic and modern,” and paid homage to their shared interest in science. The escort-card display was botanically inspired, and the tablescapes featured tapers and terrariums. The menu was highlighted with personal nods, including the soup trio of sweet crab, turtle, and sausage gumbo that represented his New Orleans roots and her father’s family’s Maryland heritage; the limoncello reflected their special time in Rome. An array of desserts included mini funfetti-and-vanilla wedding-cake cupcakes, dark-chocolate-pie pops, an apple-pie tartlet, and mini slices of Key-lime pie.

As they offered well-wishes, guests departed with Big Easy–inspired café au lait and beignets, after which the bride and groom set off to honeymoon on the Indian Ocean islands of Zanzibar, Mauritius, and Reunion.

This Science-themed wedding uses classic details to create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

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Sequin Badgley Mischka bridesmaid dresses also added to the couple’s science-themed wedding by giving off a celestial vibe.

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Katy and Will opted for a first look before heading down the altar.

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DC’s Carnegie Institution provides the perfect setting for a science-themed wedding.

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The couple set the tone for their science-themed wedding with the help of romantic candle lighting. science-themed weddingscience-themed wedding

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The Details

Photography: K. Thompson Photography | Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science | Event Planning & Design: Grit & Grace | Florist: Sweet Root Village | Branding: The Idea Emporium | Invitations: Minted | Caterer: Design Cuisine | Hair & Makeup: Hair & Makeup Artistry by Claudine | Bride’s Attire: Chantell Lauren; Signature Dresses (alterations) | Groom’s attire: Field English Custom Tailors | Bridesmaids’ attire: Rent the Runway | Music: Sage String Quartet; Dan Huynh, Premier DJ Services

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Amy Moeller
Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.