Weddings

This Biden Campaigner’s Black Tie Wedding Showcases Classic DC Style

Both grooms put their event-planning backgrounds to work.

Photographs by Kerry Renee Photography

Andrew, a marketing and publishing professional from Annapolis, Maryland, and Ari, a former Biden-Harris campaign staffer-turned-director of scheduling and advance at the Treasury Department, who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were introduced at a New Year’s Eve party by mutual friends. Lots of conversation, a couple glasses of champagne and one New Year’s kiss later, they say what they thought would be typical D.C. chatter turned into plans for a date. “We’ve been together ever since!”

For their first date, they enjoyed dinner and wine at Trattoria Alberto in Barracks Row. After seven years of dating, Ari proposed to Andrew at the Jefferson Memorial, with the help of Ari’s family.

Ari told Andrew that Ari’s mom was making a game for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and that all four kids and their partners needed to take a photo at a location in their respective cities assigned by Ari’s mom. According to the couple the scenario was “very believable,” but “Andrew is suspicious by nature and knew something was going on.” Still, they headed to the memorial and while “completing their assignment,” Ari popped the question. “There was a small crowd at the Jefferson, and they all cheered, clapped, and congratulated us,” they say. “We rounded out the morning with high tea at the Willard Hotel.”

Eleven months later, on October 19, 2019, they exchanged bows at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue, and celebrated with 200 guests at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The theme, they say, was classic black tie, and the wedding colors were silver and navy. See the details of their big day below.

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The Ceremony

“Our ceremony was incredibly special,” say the pair. “The synagogue is a beautiful building, and we were able to add some personal touches to make it really be ours.” The prayer shawl on the Chuppah, for example, was from the Louisiana synagogue Ari grew up in, and the poles were wrapped in a garland of greenery that the couples says related to the holiday of Sukkot, since their wedding “fell during those festival days.” The sacramental objects traditionally featured in Jewish weddings, they say, were family heirlooms, and to make the ceremony a bit more special, they picked out music and crafted a ceremony that brought their families and friends together to participate.

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The Reception

The reception, though, was Ari’s favorite part. “We designed everything around a beautiful pavilion space at the Regan Center,” he says. “We both come from an events background, so no detail was left to chance.  We chose to decorated the pre-function space with large murals on the walls of Baton Rouge, Annapolis, and D.C. The entry way and coat check were designed to welcome guests and set the tone for the evening. We also made sure to have ample access to the bars because we knew our guests wanted fast access. The reception area was in the round with the dance floor in the center. We wanted to encourage people to talk and dance so we made sure that centerpieces were above peoples eye-lines and each table could easily access the dance floor.” The soaring ceilings, he added, were draped in lit fabric. “Each detail was meant to bring our personalities to the day!”

Their sister-in-law designed a logo for the wedding, which the grooms use to tie all of the events together, including using it on the jars of candy that served as favors for the guests.

In lieu of a signature cocktail, they say, they had a custom Champagne wall, which doubled as table assignments. “As guests entered the main reception space, they grabbed the glass of champagne with their name on it.” And after “a myriad of passed hors d’oeuvres,” including empanadas, filet mignon crostini, and ceviche, dinner included a duo of filet mignon and lobster tail on a bed of corn and morrell with a chive burre blanc to round out a menu they called “outstanding.”

In the end, the couples say, the whole celebration was much bigger than they’d originally intended. “For two people that started off wanting a small destination wedding on an island, we ended up with the opposite.”

Following the big day, the newlyweds spent “four quiet wine and food filled days” in Napa, California. 

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The Details

Photographer: Kerry Renee Photography | Venue: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue (ceremony); Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center (reception) | Florals: Twinbrook Floral Design | Production (Lighting, Reception Installation, etc.): Syzygy Events | Wedding Coordinator: Completely Coordinated | Hair & Make-up: Conceptual Beauty | Transportation: K & V Limousine | Cake: Edibles Incredible | Rehearsal Dinner: Medium Rare, Barracks Row | Groom’s Tuxedos: Lustre Formal Wear | Wedding Party Dresses: Alfred Sung | Wedding Party Tuxedos: The Black Tux and Lustre Formal Wear | Paper: Minted | Music/Entertainment: Bachelor Boys Band | Videographer: Quixotic Worx (https://vimeo.com/374196972) | Photo Booth: Monumental Photo Booths

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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.