This Couple Transformed the Chic International Spy Museum Into a Garden Oasis

Photos by Caroline Lima Photography

When it comes to floral decorations, this couple’s vendor team knew exactly how to bring the outdoors “in” for the big day. Lara Abou-Rejaili and Josh Spirnak held a gorgeous wedding at the (NEW!) International Spy Museum where they decorated the space with lush greenery and pretty pale roses and hydrangeas to evoke an enchanting (and indoor!) garden setting. “I loved every single moment of that day,” says Lara. But her favorite wedding detail was how the reception space was transformed—adding that the details were “just breathtaking.” Check out their flower-filled museum wedding below to learn more about the couple and their special day. 

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The Getting Ready Details

Lara and her ‘maids got their hair and makeup done together in matching pajamas. After everyone was glamified, bridesmaids donned rose-colored gowns and for an extra pop, Lara had her maid-of-honor wear a gorgeous floral patterned gown. As for the bride herself, she dazzled in a fitted off-the-shoulder lace gown accessorized with a floor-length veil and bouquet overflowing with pastel blooms.

Josh and his groomsmen looked the part in navy suits paired with dusty-rose-patterned bow ties. Josh gifted each of his groomsmen matching socks to wear for a personalized touch.









How the Couple Met & Got Engaged

Lara and Josh claim “they fell in love in a hopeless place”—at a bar in DC.  The two were out at Public Bar Live in Dupont; Lara was there for a friend’s birthday and Josh had just finished a semester of medical school and decided to meet up with friends to celebrate. Josh saw Lara from across the bar and decided to approach her with a very unique opening line: “I have a very important question to ask you. What is your favorite ice cream?” Lara replied that hers was chocolate chip cookie dough, and after some light banter, Josh asked for her number. Lara agreed, but by then Lara says Josh had forgotten both her name and (more importantly) her favorite ice cream. So, she put her name in his phone as “girl whose name or favorite ice cream you can’t remember.” The next morning, Josh had a difficult time trying to find her number to reach out, but luckily he scrolled across her rather “unique” contact name and was able to text her.

The two slowly began to get to know each other through text, as Josh had left for a medical school rotation in San Diego for three months. After a month of texting, he made a visit back to DC over Halloween weekend where the two once again hit it off. Once his rotation was over and he moved back to DC the two began to go on real dates and on New Year’s Eve Josh asked Lara to be his girlfriend. The couple dated for two years until they got engaged at Villagio Restaurant in Clifton, Va. 




The Cocktail Hour

After the ceremony, the couple held a rooftop cocktail party at their venue where guests were greeted with a champagne tower upon arrival. A variety of passed hors d’oeuvres, such as baby lamb chops and goat-cheese-stuffed dates, were served as everyone enjoyed the scenic skyline views of DC. We got so lucky with a gorgeous day in September,” says the couple. “The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.”

The Reception

After the rooftop cocktail hour guests were invited to the seventh floor of the International Spy Museum for a formal sit-down dinner reception.

Guests were guided to their seats with the help of a modern seating chart display that featured three wooden installations with plexiglass and calligraphy. “Each guest’s name was handwritten on the front of it,” says Lara, and their florist “topped it off with gorgeous flower arrangements.” 

Once guests reached their seats, they were surrounded by hanging floral installations and towering centerpieces, which gave the whole room a romantic garden vibe. “We went above and beyond and totally splurged on the flowers,” says Lara, but it was totally worth it.

The couple made their grand entrance to a Lebanese Zaffe Band. “The DJ played Lebanese music as the drummers danced and we danced our way into the reception hall,” says Lara. “They then had allthe guests join in for the Dabke (Lebanese traditional dance) and for other fun dances. It really got the energy at a high and everyone was hyped for the night to come!”

For dinner they served a delicious soup and salad combo of butternut squash soup and roasted beet and arugula salad as a starter, followed by a duel entrée plate that included miso-glazed salmon and braised short rib.

As for dessert, they served a Milk Bar wedding cake, which was extra special to the couple. “Ever since Josh and I started dating, for any special occasion (birthday, passing an exam, Valentine’s Day, etc)., we would get a small milk bar cake to celebrate,” explains Lara. So, of course they opted for a four-tiered Milk Bar cake featuring their favorite flavors, including german chocolate, birthday cake, and dulce de leche. 

Lara and Josh also surprised guests at the end of the night with a few late night treats. Mini boozy milkshakes, waffles, chicken and burger sliders were passed and the couple says they were a major “hit!” 



The Details:

Photographer: Caroline Lima Photography | Venue: Saint Dominic Catholic Church (ceremony); The International Spy Museum | Planning & Design: Dragonfly Events & Design | Florist and Decor: Nova Florals | Invitations: | Catering: Spilled Milk Catering | Rentals: Something Vintage | Cake: Milk Bar DC | Makeup Artist: Georgetown Bride | Bride’s Attire: Pronovias from Urban Set Bride | Veil: Bel Air Bridal | Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Black Tux | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Dessy from Bella Bridesmaids | Music/Entertainment: DJ Adam Carluccio | Videographer: Olea Films 






Assistant Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Jacqueline comes to Washingtonian with close to five years of digital content experience and SEO best practices. She previously was a senior editorial associate at WeddingWire, specializing in wedding fashion, and before that, an assistant at Vow Bride. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she now lives in Columbia Heights.