D.C. Wedding at Dumbarton House :: Ashley & Alejandro

You’d never know from the photos that this elegant Georgetown wedding took place on the hottest day of the year! Says bride, Ashley: “We planned a September wedding because September always has the perfect weather! Well, after a mild summer, the weather started to get a little crazy and we ended up getting married on the hottest day of the year. I think we broke records with 100+ degrees and insane humidity. By the time dancing came around, I was a little hot, and if I could redo one thing, I would have changed into a shorter dress for the late night dancing. But honestly, that’s it. Everything else was absolutely perfect.”


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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received as a bride was to take a moment during the day and step aside with my new husband. Just us. No photographers or videographers. We loved that moment alone while we reflected on what just happened. We were finally married! // Another friend had recommended that Alejandro and I go on one last date the week before our wedding, but there were two rules. No phones. No wedding talk. We went on a brunch date to one of our favorite restaurants and it was absolutely perfect. I would definitely recommend all brides and grooms go on one last date as an engaged couple.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Alejandro and I had an 18-month engagement and I was super eager to get the majority of the planning done early. While there are definitely pros and cons to planning early, my hard work up front paid off because the last month before our wedding I had nothing on my plate. We were also very fortunate to have the lovely ladies of Simply Chic Events by our side every step of the way. So if I had any advice, I would say plan early so you can enjoy your last weeks of being engaged and if you are fortunate to allocate money from your budget towards a wedding planner, it was the best investment of our day!


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Tell us about your welcome bags.  My “Mama” (grandma) made about 50 batches of her famous baked Chex mix, which was a huge hit! We also included mini bottles of San Pellegrino and mini peanut butter cups.


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The Ceremony

“We knew we wanted to have a Catholic ceremony, but we also wanted to have an intimate ceremony. We chose the Chapel of St. Ignatius because of its intimate size and timeless feel. Walking down the aisle in a large cathedral didn’t fit our vision of the day, however, standing in the middle of all our family and best friends in an 80-seat chapel as we confessed our love for each other felt perfect. It was perfect.”


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Your ceremony in three words.  Genuine, intimate, loving.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Growing up, Alejandro went to a Catholic school in D.C., and one of his classmates and friends became a priest. We knew immediately that we wanted Father Charlie to marry us! It was so special to have someone important to Alejandro and his family preside over our ceremony.

What was your ceremony music?
Wedding party processional: Arioso, J.S. Bach
Bride processional: Canon in D, J. Pachelbel
Hymn: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia, Give the Glory
Recessional: Hornpipe, G.F. Handel

What were your ceremony readings?  Our readings included one from the Old Testimate, Sirach 26: 1-4, 13-16, and one from the New Testimate, 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a. Our gospel reading was Mark 10:6-9.

What were your vows like?  In a Catholic ceremony, there are specific guidelines on the structure of the ceremony, including the vows. However, to keep the personal details present during our ceremony, we included our own vows to each other in our program.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  My favorite thing about the wedding ceremony was standing in the middle of all of our guests. Unlike a traditional church, our chapel had the chairs set up in a u-shape with us directly in the middle. There is no way to describe the love and joy we felt seeing all of our friends and families surround us and look at us with so much love and support.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  Our ceremony was unplugged. We encouraged our guests to put cell phones and cameras away. It was important to us to keep the ceremony timeless, so we didn’t want an iPhone 5 (already extinct) to show up in our photos that we want around for years to come. There are so few moments in our lives these days where we aren’t distracted by a text or social media, so it is kind of cool to know that for 45 minutes our nearest and dearest were focused on our love for each other. // We intentionally kept our wedding party small. The groomsmen were Alejandro’s brothers and the bridesmaids were my sister and best friends, as well as Alejandro’s two little sisters. We love that our wedding party was essentially our family. We included a few very close friends as readers and ushers.


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The Reception

“In the beginning our inspiration for the reception was ‘Rustic Pretty’ then ‘Parisian Garden’ – even ‘Tuscan Chic’ had been thrown around. But in the end, I don’t feel like our wedding had a theme; all of our details fell into place organically as a reflection of who we are as a couple and the things we love most. Our guests still comment on how they could see us reflected through each detail of the day. Some of our favorite details from the reception include the handmade walnut cheeseboards that my father made for the cheese course, a craft beer bar with handpicked beers from some of our favorite states, and a champagne greeting served on heirloom silver trays. One of our favorite moments from the reception was walking into cocktail hour in the garden and being surrounded by the 100 most important people in our lives. During the planning process I had visualized what the space would look like with our pretty linens, florals, and design details, however, I never could have imagined how perfect it would be when you added 100 wonderful people from the many different facets of our lives.”


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Three Four words that describe your reception: Perfect, personal, timeless, heartfelt.

Why did you choose this location for your reception?  We already knew we wanted to get married in the DC/Virginia area where Alejandro is from. After meeting with potential wedding planners, we drove by The Dumbarton House that one of the planners mentioned when I described my dream venue as an old, historic home with gardens. When we got out and walked through the garden, Alejandro’s eyes lit up. It was the first time I saw him really excited about the wedding details. We never looked at any other location – we were hooked. We love that we found our space in the historic, quaint neighborhood of Georgetown. It was a city wedding without the big city feeling.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Our relationship inspired us throughout the entire planning process. On our first date, we ordered a cheese board, so we knew we had to have a cheese course at the wedding. During our time together, we had both acquired a love for all things spicy (especially jalapeños), so we served Tipsy Jalapeños as one of our signature cocktails. We love, love ice cream, so it was important that we serve our favorite, Jeni’s Ice Cream. I guess we were inspired by food? We love food!

What was your wedding menu?  Our menu was AMAZING! Actually, both Alejandro and I wish we could go back to our wedding as guests so we would have time to eat and enjoy the food.

Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Maryland Crab Cake with Avocado Salsa / Mediterranean Lamb Sliders / Chorizo Flatbread / Tomato Mozzarella Kabobs / and Roasted Peewee Potatoes // Cheese Course: Herbed Goat Cheese, Brie, Saint André, and Morbier served with Candied Walnuts, Red Grapes, Crackers, Tiptree Honey, and Rosemary // Main Course: Pan Roasted Diver Scallop with Lump Maryland Crab Cake / Petite Black Angus Filet

Did you have a signature cocktail?  Our guests were greeted with glasses of champagne and during cocktail hour we served two signature cocktails, a greyhound & a tipsy jalapeno [served on heirloom silver trays]. We also had a craft beer bar with four handpicked beers from our favorite states: Fat Tire, Allagash White, Victory Prima, and Lagunitas IPA.


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What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a gorgeous Maggie Austin cake with two flavors, Pear Cake with Blackberry and White Chocolate Buttercream and Dutch Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream. Our cake was so yummy that we ate our anniversary tier the morning after our wedding. We both woke up hungry and we thought to ourselves, we have two options. One, we could take our anniversary cake home to live in our crappy NYC freezer for a year, or we could enjoy it fresh, right now. So that’s what we did and we don’t regret it at all. // We also served ice cream that we flew in from Jeni’s in Ohio (my home state and our favorite ice cream, ever). Mini cones of Salty Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, and Buckeye State ice cream were passed during dancing toward the end of the night.

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  My dad handmade 100 walnut cheeseboards for the cheese course and branded each one with a custom monogram using a hand held branding iron. Each guest was able to take home his or her cheeseboard at the end of the night.


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Any special songs?  Our first dance song was Kenny Chesney, “Me and You.” The lyrics were perfect for us. We had picked a song that we liked for a joint father/daughter and mother/son dance, but the week before the wedding my dad called me and told me about a song he heard that reminded him of me and asked if we could dance to it at the wedding. Since my dad hardly asks anything of me, I surprised him by changing the song last minute and playing his choice, “Child of Mine” by Anne Murray! He was so happy!

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  At the last minute, the best man (Alejandro’s older brother) could not be at our wedding; however, he recorded and sent in the most heartfelt, sincere wedding speech all the way from Australia. It was a huge surprise to us and moved every guest to tears (happy tears).


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Mid Atlantic

Vendor Credits

Photography: Kate Headley / Event Planning & Design: Jamie Sears and Kate Harlan at Simply Chic Events / Venue: The Dumbarton House in Washington, DC / Church: The Chapel at St. Ignatius at Holy Trinity / Officiant: Father Charlie Gallagher / Dress: Custom Carol Hannah Gown / Shoes: BHLDN / Jewelry: Ben Amun / Bridesmaid Dresses: Joanna August Ceremony Collection / Suit, Groomsmen Attire: Banana Republic Monogram Collection Suit / Tie: Burberry / Shoes: Ferragamo / Stationery: Holly Hollon / Calligraphy: Paper Tangent / Floral Design: Southern Blooms / Hair: Amanda Huff / Makeup: Leah Margosis / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Gold Flatware: Ultrapom / Rentals: Party Rentals LTD, DC Rentals / Tent: Sugarplum Tent Company / Reception Music: DJ Dan Goldman; Palm Strings / Catering: Windows Catering Company / Cake: Maggie Austin Cake / Transportation: MJ Valet, Regal Limousine / Videography: Toast Wedding Films / Bridal Suite: Martha Jefferson Suite at The Jefferson Hotel / Rehearsal Dinner: 1789


Kate Headley and La Tavola Linens are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.


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