An Elegant Black-Tie Wedding in Washington, D.C.
For Kendall and Will, the first day at a new job turned out to be the beginning of something even bigger: The two healthcare consultants met when they sat next to each other by chance at an employee orientation on their first day of work. They were just friends for three years while working in Chicago, but started dating when they were transferred together to the Bay Area.
After a two-year-long relationship, Will proposed to Kendall while on vacation with her extended family; the couple then began planning a formal summer wedding for 250 close friends and family in Washington, D.C. "We wanted a classic black-tie wedding that broke hard from the recent trend of rustic weddings that we had been to," says Will. They made it happen on August 4, 2018, with a full Catholic mass and an outdoor reception at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, complete with a color palette of creamy white, deep blue, and gold. They chose the forget-me-not flower as a floral focal point; colors and design choices related back to the "true blue" flower and its romantic symbolism.
But the elegance of the evening didn't distract from the guests having a crazy-good time: From the bride's surprise piano performance of a Springsteen classic to the consistently full dance floor, the party was truly one to remember. "One of Will's friends said it best," says Kendall: The wedding was "as classy as the royal wedding with the dance floor of a dive bar."
It's a Date
A watercolor sketch of a forget-me-not flower took center stage on the couple's save-the-dates, which arrived in envelopes with coordinating watercolor liners and sealed with a blue wax monogram. MLC Designs created two logos for the couple; on the seal, they used one with their initials bookending a silhouette of the forget-me-not bloom.
Blue and Gold
For their invitation, the couple chose a more formal design with white cardstock, traditional wording, and gold script. They incorporated the second logo from MLC Designs—an outline of their wedding flower—in gold print on their paper suite, and used crest's privet berry shade for their reply envelopes (which also included the initial monogram from the save-the-date).
The Family Stones
Before proposing, Will designed a custom engagement ring for Kendall with Chicago-based jeweler Rebecca Zemans. He selected an oval center stone set in a matte gold band, accenting it with two very special side stones that had belonged to his grandmother, who passed away before Kendall could meet her. The two women shared a chance connection: Kendall's family nickname is Dolly—the same nickname Will's grandfather used for Will's grandmother—leading the family to affectionately refer to her ring as "Dolly's diamonds." The couple returned to Zemans to design their wedding rings, too. "My ring includes all of Dolly's diamonds," says Kendall. "I wanted something asymmetrical that fit like a puzzle piece with my engagement ring, which is exactly what Rebecca was able to design for me."
Dressed to Impress
Kendall turned wedding dress shopping into a family affair, inviting her mother, sister, two aunts, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law for a weekend of browsing. Ultimately, their search was cut short when she found her dress, the "Langham" by Anne Barge, at the third appointment. "On the hanger, my dress didn't jump out at me, but once I put it on, it fit like a glove," she says, "and when my mom and aunts all started crying as I walked out of the dressing room, it sealed the deal." She customized the gown by removing the lace from the bodice and some of the tulle from under the skirt ("to make it a bit less poofy"). The dress, however, had one detail she never considered changing: "It also had pockets," she says, "which is always a plus in my book!"
Kendall kept the rest of her look low-key, accenting a low updo with privet berries instead of a veil, wearing simple drop pearl earrings that Will had given her for her birthday the year before, and adding an heirloom pearl bracelet from her mother-in-law. Will chose traditional formalwear from Suit Supply
with a few distinctive touches: a custom-made midnight blue dinner jacket that tied in with the wedding's color palette and personalized stitching (the wedding date was sewn onto his jacket collar).
For Kendall, choosing a florist who could bring her vision to life was essential. "Everything about the wedding was designed around the flowers," says Kendall. Diana Venditto of Eventi Floral and Events suggested the forget-me-not theme and incorporated the privet berries throughout the floral design. "I gave her a very specific photo and asked her to replicate it exactly, which she knocked out of the park," says Kendall. "Flowers were one of the most important design elements for me and she matched my inspiration perfectly."
Black and Blue
Kendall knew she didn't want her bridesmaids to wear traditional gowns, but finding the perfect look wasn't easy: It took her and her mom and sister seven trips to Jenny Yoo to come up with the right combination. "The skirts were easy, as I wanted to match the berry flower," says Kendall; the "Hampton" skirt in evening blue fit the color palette exactly. But the bodice selection was more difficult: "After trying out 10 tops from various stores, we were pointed in the direction of the bridal toppers, which is where we found the 'Riley' topper with the 'Laurel' camisole in ivory luxe." Will's groomsmen chose their classic tuxedos from The Black Tux.
Kendall and Will shared their first look before departing for the ceremony. "Walking out the front doors and seeing Will's back, I was overcome with excitement and goosebumps," says Kendall. "Then finally getting to see and talk to Will was so special. It was such a snapshot memory of the day, but also felt like a completely normal, yet still very intimate, moment." At the suggestion of their priest, the couple traded notes they had written about the beginning of their relationship and when they each fell in love. "I remember feeling relieved to be with her again at the first look," says Will. "She calmed my nerves, and seeing her reminded me what the day was truly about."
Father and Daughter
Kendall's father escorted her down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony to Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." "Picking the ceremony music was one of my favorite parts," says Kendall. "I grew up playing classical music, and still do, so leading up to the wedding day, I was very excited about the ceremony music."
Faith, Love, and Joy
Father John Enzler, a friend of Kendall's family, performed the traditional religious ceremony at St. Aloysius Catholic Church
, the parish at Gonzaga High School. Will's older sister, his cousins, and a friend, along with Kendall's godmother and one of her cousins, all had roles in the ceremony; the homily included a verbatim reading of the notes the couple shared during their first look.
The New Mr. and Mrs.
After the ceremony, the couple exited the church while Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary in D Major" played—a moment that quickly became Kendall's favorite of the day. "Walking down the aisle with Will after we were married, passing by each of our most beloved family and friends—at that moment St. Al's was filled with such happiness," she says. "And then about halfway down the aisle, Will stopped me and leaned down to kiss me."
A Few Private Moments
After the ceremony, the couple climbed into a 1952 Bentley R from Vintage Limos Biz for their trip from the church to the reception. "The vintage car was one of our favorite parts, as it was special to have time alone with Will right after the ceremony on our way to the reception," says Kendall. Calligrapher Laura Hooper created a "Just Married" banner that the couple displayed on a floral wreath to spread their good news during the drive.
Under the Lights
After an indoor cocktail hour at the Congressional Country Club
in Bethesda, Maryland, the newlyweds and their guests walked outside to the dining area, where a mix of long and round tables were set for dinner. Pale blue tablecloths, white linens, and gold chairs mimicked the colors used on the invitation, while overhead tea lights wrapped in ivy created what Kendall calls a "Tuscan patio feel."
The couple alternated centerpieces on the tables throughout the space: Some had low arrangements of white blooms, lambs ear, and bright foliage in gold vessels, while others included six pillar candles of different heights surrounded by privet berries and greenery set directly on the table.
Gold-rimmed, scalloped-edge plates, gold silverware, and chargers with gold scrollwork around the edges added a luxe gleam to the place settings, which also included menus printed on dark blue cardstock. Guests found their seat by looking for their names on blue ribbons securing a privet berry branch and a forget-me-not—then dined on brisket, crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp, asparagus, and parmesan potato pavé.
A Surprise Serenade
From the beginning of their friendship, Will was clear about his first love: The music of Bruce Springsteen. His favorite song, "New York City Serenade," was the last tune on the first mix-tape he made Kendall when they started dating. The day after they got engaged she decided to surprise him by learning it and performing it at the reception. A trained pianist, she practiced it for 13 months—sometimes with headphones at her keyboard while he was in the same room—and surprised nearly everyone at the reception. "Both our families are huge Bruce fans, so I could hear whispers through the crowd as people started to identify the song," Kendall says. For Will, the serenade became one of his favorite moments of the day.
After dinner, the couple served a three-tiered gluten-free lemon cake with lemon and vanilla cream filling from Artistic Desserts; the confection was decorated with sugar-coated berries and lamb's ear. "Will didn't have a cake preference, as I'm the one with the sweet tooth, so he gave me full creative control," says Kendall. "It was a naked cake, so very little frosting—I'm more of a cake than frosting person."
Treats and Tunes
Kendall's sweet tooth also inspired another reception treat: A hanging donut display. "Cake wasn't enough for me," she says. "Cinnamon sugar donuts are one of my many other favorite desserts, so that's what we used for the donut installation." The donuts gave guests plenty of energy as they danced to music from the band Blue Label. "All Kendall and I really wanted was for everyone to dance the night away," says Will, "and the band kept the dance floor packed." They finished the night by playing a guaranteed crowd-pleaser: "The band wrapped with Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run,'" says Kendall, "and everyone left everything they had left on the dance floor."
Photography, Sarah Ingram
Location, Gonzaga High School Chapel
Event planning and lowers, Eventi Floral and Events
Reception location and catering, Congressional Country Club
Videography, Lee Russell Films
Stationery, MLC Designs
Calligraphy, Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Cake, Artistic Desserts
Music, Blue Label Band
Rentals, Party Rental; Revolution; Select Event Group
Bride's gown, Anne Barge
Hair and makeup, Behind the Veil
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's suit and accessories, Suit Supply
Menswear, The Black Tux
Rings, Rebecca Zemans
Vintage Car, Vintage Limo Biz