Ellen Jordan and Trevor Michaels planned their big day around three important details, food, wine, and—interestingly enough—George Washington. Yes, you read that right. The first president accidentally found his way into the couple’s theme, thanks to their historic venue, The Duvall House. The pair, who met on Tinder, played off of the historic home’s charm and backstory (it’s the place where George Washington celebrated his return for the Revolutionary War) and ran with it for a tastefully designed George Washington-inspired wedding. The evening included a private ceremony in the venue’s outdoor patio followed by an evening of fine dining, featuring a nine-course menu and hand-picked wine pairings. The sweetest part? They kept things small and hosted only 15 of their closest friends and family. Check out their George Washington-themed wedding below to learn more about the various dishes they served and how they planned their intimate event.
The Historic Wedding Venue
Nestled in the heart of Old Town, Alexandria, The Duvall House provided Ellen and Trevor with a venue filled with history and charm. The Historic brick home is actually the same locale that hosted George Washington back in 1783 to celebrate his return from the Revolutionary War. The couple opted to exchange “I dos” outside in the venue’s courtyard and then moved their reception indoors where they had a sit-down dinner “in the same room where [George Washington] was toasted and feted,” says the couple. Because their venue featured such a strong tie to history and George Washington, the couple also chose to take their portraits in front of a statue of the first President and few pictures with an American flag as a backdrop. “So [our wedding] theme chose us really,” adds the couple.
The Proposal Story
Ellen and Trevor got engaged fittingly enough, at The Inn at Little Washington. “When the Inn got its third Michelin star over the summer of 2018, I immediately made a reservation,” says Ellen. Adding that she had never been and decided to book a table for two in advance for her birthday weekend in February. “Trevor, ever the opportunist,” describes Ellen, proposed with his great-grandmother’s diamond after dinner in the Inn’s back lounge area. “Quietly and without a spectacle, which is how [we] wanted it.”
The Delicious Food and Wine Driven Reception
Since Ellen is the daughter of a chef who not only owned a restaurant in Leesburg for many years, but who also taught at the Culinary Institute of America, the menu became a top priority their George Washington-themed wedding. Family friend, and notable chef Edward Cummings, cooked the one-of-a-kind dinner, which also doubled as a wedding gift to the couple. Cummings used his expertise to create a mouthwatering nine-course meal featuring “sprouts from our garden, crabs and oysters from Cambridge, and morels Trevor had foraged in Washington State,” Ellen says. Courses also included charred octopus, fried oysters, veal sliders, tart au gratin, roasted red pepper soup, crab agnolotti, filet mignon, a cheese course, finished with café gourmand and macarons—yum! Ellen’s sister, who owns and operates a travel company in Bordeaux, France, hand-picked various wine pairings for the evening.
Along with their exquisite meal, it was also important to the couple to create an experience that would allow for their families to bond at their wedding. “It’s unlikely that our families will ever be in the same place at the same time again and we really wanted them to spend the weekend getting to know each other beyond exchanging pleasantries,” explains the couple. That’s why they stuck to a small guest list and focused on an intimate sit-down dinner for their reception.
Photographer: Katherine Elizabeth Photography | Venue: The Duvall House | Florist: Rachael Jordan | Catering: Edward Cumming | Wine: Aquitaine Travel Guide | Cake: The Happy Tart | Hair and Makeup Artist: Renata Kelly-Rippy | Bride’s Attire: Jill by Jill Stuart from Anthropologie (ceremony dress); Dress the Population (reception) | Groom’s Attire: Macy’s