Not to sound cliché, but Melissa and Erika’s wedding weekend was one for the books.
Marrying in the country’s capital, as per my destination wedding planning, flights were booked early and travel was set far ahead of time. That is, until Hurricane Florence whirled its way towards the East Coast. And so, the Monday before their wedding, I spent the afternoon canceling my flights and booking an extra hotel night so that I could drive in early and avoid flight delays, or worse, cancellations. But don’t worry, as the most magical wedding luck would have it, not a drop of rain was felt in DC that weekend.
On Friday, Melissa and Erika invited me to their rehearsal dinner where I enjoyed the company of Erika’s wedding party over a scrumptious multi-course seafood meal, before I photographed the brides-to-be enjoying the company of their guests. It was a wonderful evening, and I was grateful to spend time with the couple before their wedding day.
Speaking of, Saturday arrived, and I arrived at the St. Regis Hotel to photograph Melissa and Erika getting ready. I was completely in awe of their gorgeous, handmade dresses, designed and made with love by Melissa’s mom, Jennifer. When I said to Jennifer, “I assume you’re a dress designer then?” she replied, “Unofficially.” I laughed. She’s 100% official now.
After their first look at the hotel, we went to The Supreme Court for their portraits. Not only did they make a passerby offering well wishes happily cry, we had the entire stairs to ourselves for a short moment. It was epic and momentous. The historic ruling which made their union possible and legal came down just a few years prior, so visiting this location was quite meaningful.
In preparations for the evening, our next stop was the Decatur House for wedding party and family photos, before their ceremony in the courtyard.
Cocktail hour in the historic home followed, with belly-laughing speeches soon after. Post-dinner, a lovely first dance in the courtyard was shared between the brides, and their father-daughter dances followed. When the dance floor opened, it was a nonstop party all night. Giant Jenga and Cornhole games were popular reception activities, and the handmade ice cream sandwiches were a big hit with the guests (still semi-sad I had too much fun on the dance floor to get one myself).
My favorite Melissa and Erika show of affection is the way they look at one another. With tender, warm eyes, you can feel their love shared intimately in those quiet moments. They’re truly each other’s safe place, which is what marriage is all about.
So much love to the newlyweds.
Venue: Decatur House | Officiant: Michael Kusek
Wedding Planner: Charming Grace Events
Melissa + Erika’s Dresses: Jennifer Baum (Melissa’s Mom)
Hair: Perry Amati | Makeup: Behind the Veil
Florist: Park Florist | Event Rentals: Sugarplum Tent Company
Catering: RSVP Catering | Dessert: Ruby Scoops
DJ: Chris Laich Music Services; DJ Aaron Platt
Second Photographer: Tim Riddick