After a chance meeting in Miami, Arlington couple Samantha and Clay hosted a Parisian-inspired St. Regis wedding in DC, chock full of live music. Check out their story below.
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Samantha, a business development professional from Massachusetts, and Clay, a commercial airline pilot from New Jersey, met by chance in Miami. When Samantha arrived for the weekend to visit, she swiped through a dating app while waiting to de-plane. They “matched” at 8:30 am on a Friday, during a 30-minute window that Samantha was sitting on the tarmac and Clay was passing through.
Messaging while she was in Miami turned to daily conversation once Samantha was back home in DC. Eventually, they set up a meeting, and the rest, they say was history. “Pure coincidence, but timing by fate.”
She was first taken aback by his pilot uniform and how polite he was–not as forward as other men she’d on the app. In person, he was even more handsome, she says. Clay says she was super outgoing, personable, and really seemed to have her life in order–something he loved about her right away.
For their first date, Clay visited Samantha in DC, where he’d lived as a child before moving to New Jersey, and they planned a night out in Clarendon. A year-and-a-half later, Clay proposed in front of the Eiffel Tower on a trip to Paris.
The Wedding Planning
Initially, the couple planned to marry in Paris in November 2020. In fact, in fall of 2019, they flew to Paris, booked their venue and vendors, had their tasting, and Samantha selected a wedding dress. “Everything was set.” They later talked about postponing the wedding in Paris to April 2021, but ultimately, they set up plan B–a DC wedding on October 23, 2021.
Veronica Reilly of White Dress Black Tie Events, they say, swooped in to suggest the St. Regis for the couple–it looked “identical” to their Paris venue–and began making plans for a DC wedding.
The Wedding Design
Inspired by the original whimsical Parisian vibe, the big day was designed with a “old world-meets-modern-day” theme, with “light and airy pinks and whites, with authentic coppers, light greens and fairy lights colliding with the accouterments of fall,” says Samantha. White pumpkins were carved with the couple’s married last name and filled with flowers for centerpieces.
A top floral moment: an oversized arch of pink baby’s breath that served as the backdrop for the ceremony and complemented the bridal and bridal party bouquets.
The music, however, was their favorite part, including a string quartet that played Avicii’s “Levels” as the recessional, a jazz band for cocktail hour, and a saxophonist and trombonist to pair with the DJ for an “epic evening.” “The brass instruments nailed the vision we had in mind,” says Samantha, “and totally lit up our dance floor.”
Traveling guests were greeted with American-flag-adorned welcome bags filled with local specialties like Levain Bakery cookies, Old Bay potato chips, bottles of water with “liquid IV” packets, and Starbucks gift cards. And for party favors at the reception, hand-crafted Moscow Mule mugs were etched with a map of Washington, DC, with a heart over where the venue is located.
For dinner, the menu included a choice of bone-in ribeye with truffle butter and whipped mashed potatoes, roasted duck with ten-layer potatoes au-gratin, and house-made gnocchi with a red sauce. For dessert: locally sourced Nice Cream in a variety of flavors, including chocolate salted, vanilla bean, poached pear, and apple cobbler, plus apple-cider donuts, churros, caramel cheesecake, and more. And for a late-night sip: espresso martinis were served after 9 p.m. as a pick-me-up.
“What was supposed to be a Parisian fairytale turned out to be a Washington, DC dream come true,” they say.
The newlyweds headed back to France, and Italy, for their honeymoon.
Photographer: Hana Gonzalez | Venue: St. Regis | Planning and design: White Dress Black Tie | Florist: Eight Tree Street Florists | Invitations: Appleberry Atelier | Hair and makeup: Georgetown Bride | Bride’s Attire: Galia Lahav | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Galia Lahav from Bridal Reflections of NYC | Groomsmen’s Attire: Hugo Boss (tuxedo), Gucci (shoes) | Music: Ryan Mosel (dj), Lucy Black Entertainment (string quartet, jazz band, and saxophone and trombonist at reception) | Transportation: Reston Limo | Videographer: Andres Salazar | Dessert: Nice Cream