This past Tuesday, local couple Marcos and Karen exchanged vows 180 feet in the air in a gondola on the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, after getting engaged in the same spot exactly one year earlier.
Overlooking the Potomac River, the pair said “I do” with their dog Mellow, a friend/photographer, and an officiant on board. Afterwards, they exited the gondola through an arch of bubble wands courtesy of the Capital Wheel staff, then headed to the National Harbor’s Flight Deck waterfront bar and lounge for bubbly and cake.
The date, October 3, is a significant one, and the location was ideal for the DC couple. Eleven years after they first met, Marcos recalls taking a photo of Karen in a gondola on the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57. “I wanted to marry her years before, but that moment spoke to me,” he says. He’d thought he’d eventually propose at Pier 57 but when the travel plans didn’t come together, he crafted plan B: a proposal on the Capital Wheel on October 3, 2022.
Once they were engaged, they say, they started daydreaming about wedding plans and almost jokingly tossed out the idea of getting married where they got engaged—with their pup Mellow along for the ride. They reached out—not thinking the folks at the Capital Wheel would go for it—and were amazed to get a “yes” in response. “You can imagine how surprised we were—our hearts were overflowing!” says Karen.
After that, everything came together in about a month. On October 3, 2023, they got married.
Though proposals are not at all uncommon on the wheel—technically called an “observation wheel,” since the gondolas are enclosed—vice president and general manager Derek Lovato said the proposal and subsequent wedding was a first for the location.
“We always knew we wanted an intimate wedding,” says Karen—and the observation wheel idea delivered. “Our ceremony felt more personal, simple and truly a special way to tie the knot!”