An Art-Filled, Fashion-Forward Wedding in D.C.
Lindsey and Will
Couples who wed in Washington, D.C., often head for the familiar photo ops: the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial. Not Lindsey Brittain and William Collins. "We didn't want to focus on the location, but on the people," Lindsey says. So they arranged for their loved ones to be photographed at their venue, Union Market's Dock 5, in front of a seamless backdrop of gray paper, Annie Leibovitz–style. The fashion-forward portraits gorgeously captured the joy and style of the day.
Lindsey, an artist, and Will, a business-development manager at a tech company, first met in 2003, when she was at the University of Virginia and he was a prospective student. They shared mutual friends, but not much spark—until about 10 years later, when both were living in New York City. Their relationship began one evening when a friend bailed on plans, leaving them alone at the Hudson hotel's bar. "We talked for five or six hours," Lindsey recalls.
A year and a half later, Will plotted a picnic-lunch proposal. "I did the whole traditional thing," he recalls—asking her mother for her blessing, then enlisting her best friends to help choose the ring. Lindsey accepted, and though they were living in New York, they both knew right away that they'd marry in D.C., where they'd both spent formative years and still had family.
Though wedding planning was primarily Lindsey's area (or "in the art department," as Will likes to say), he helped shape the event—in part by introducing Lindsey to the Pérez Art Museum Miami, where the dramatic hanging gardens captured her imagination. She wanted to bring that lush but unexpected aesthetic to a D.C. venue. She also wanted to incorporate her own art, subtly—"I wanted it to feel not like just my wedding," she says, "but reflective of us as a couple." And both wanted to skip traditional trappings—formal introductions, official first dances—and simply throw a great party.
They hired planner André Wells and Amaryllis Floral & Event Design to help realize that vision, and on September 10, 2016, they did, starting with the party bus that carried Lindsey and her 19 attendants to her childhood church in Virginia for the Baptist ceremony. At the reception, some 270 guests were treated to a three-part celebration: a street fair–style cocktail hour with a brass street band, passed hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails on rolling carts; a formal dinner; and finally a dance party with dessert stations, savory snacks, and a surprise performance by one of Will's favorite go-go bands.
By the time the empanada truck pulled away, it was 1:30 in the morning, and only the bride and groom and their closest friends lingered, enjoying the happy, tired feeling that comes from a beautiful and memorable party. Which was just as they'd imagined it would be.
An Artistic Invitation Suite
The Groom's Look
Will—in a style reminiscent of Leslie Odom Jr. at the prior year's Tony awards—wore a custom tux made by Sim Khan, owner of Brimble & Clark. "I love men's tailoring and custom suits so this was one aspect of the wedding experience I was really excited about," he recalls. "I wanted something very unique...the fabric that my tux was made with grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it, and Sim sold me on the vision of what he could do with it." He also wore his version of an "engagement ring"—Lindsey’s name, tattooed on his ring finger. "I wear my wedding band on that finger as well, but the tattoo still stands out and people compliment me on it all the time. It was a spontaneous thing. I was excited about the engagement, and I wanted something to mark the major life event," he explains.
The Bridal Bouquet
The same cherry-blossom painting that graced the invitations inspired these fondant-topped, gel-color-painted sugar cookies by Buttercream Bakeshop, a treat for the wedding party to enjoy during pre-ceremony preparations.
A Fashionable Bunch
Lindsey created a palette of muted metallic and natural tones for her bridal party, then let them choose their own attire. "I have very stylish friends and trust them very much," she says. Here, the women of the coed party—made up of friends from childhood, school, and New York, plus the groom's sister—posed together. In total, there were 31 members of the wedding party—12 on the groom's side, 19 on the bride's (including five bridesmen and two ushers). She chose a wedding dress and veil, by Reem Acra, that featured a pale-pink lining and white-and-pink-flower embroidered lace.
Three bridesmaids and a maid of honor (second from left) shared a toast.
A dashing group of friends surrounded the groom in front of the backdrop rigged for the preceremony portraits.
These two laughing members of the bridal party are friends from UVA.
Lindsey laughs with her MOH (man of honor) and BFF, Andre.
Friends and Family
More wedding-party members, including friends and the groom's sister, posed for a photo.
Twenty-one boutonnières were created for the bridal party, each a little different from the next.
The Young Attendants
Three flower girls—a MOH's daughter, a cousin, and Will's goddaughter—and a ring bearer, Lindsey's godson, were charming participants in the day.
Lindsey is a vegetarian and Will a vegan, so cocktail hour and dinner were designed with a good selection of meatless picks, including portobello fries and black-bean sliders among the passed hors d'oeuvres, and cauliflower steaks as a main-course option. In the spirit of having something for everyone, though, they also had plenty of fish, seafood, and meat choices, including a rack-of-lamb entrée. Here, a tray of guava barbecued-salmon skewers, prepared by Design Cuisine.
A Collins bar (what else, for a Collins family wedding?) offered a variety of fresh fruits, herbs, juices, and flavored syrups. Cocktail hour also featured Virginia wines exclusively, in honor of the state where they met.
Having a Good Time
A groomsman chatted with his fiancée.
The Escort Cards
Escort cards were pinned to a moss-covered wall.
Ready to Party
Friends from college and New York laughed together at the reception.
A Rustic, Modern Table
Wood-pallet wall panels and lots of greenery warmed up the industrial space. Lindsey painted regal wedding portraits of Will and herself for the backs of the menu cards. "I’m inspired by portraying African Americans in a way they traditionally aren't," she says. "It was us, but in a way they hadn't seen before."
After cocktails and passed hors d'ouevres, and before dessert stations, the first course and entrée were served in the seated dinner space. The menu featured local and fresh late-summer fare—including this palate-cleansing yellow watermelon salad with red watermelon juice, garnished with mint, lime dust, and lavender.
Up on the Roof
Bride and groom paused on the Union Market rooftop.
Living plant towers of moss, greenery, and vines suspended from the ceiling— and garlands of greenery, roses, and dahlias draped along the tables—transformed the raw Dock 5 space. "What I liked best was the combination of organic and chic elements," says Rick David, president and owner of Amaryllis Floral & Event Design. "Crystal chandeliers paired with the hanging plant cylinders, pallet walls with plants to hold her paintings. These are the elements that really set the look of a wedding apart."
With the dance party in full swing, the DJ announced a surprise performance: Lindsey and friends had arranged for UCB—the Uncalled 4 Band, a mainstay of the D.C. go-go music scene, and Will's favorite band in high school—to perform. "I was pretty excited," he recalls. "I had joked about getting UCB to come to the wedding. But they actually did it!"
Layers of Love
Vivid bursts of jewel tones throughout the party enlivened the natural palette. Lindsey and Will are not big cake eaters, but a small cutting cake—created by Buttercream Bakeshop, with swirled icing inspired by the bride's abstract watercolors—was a pretty nod to tradition.
Dock 5 is conveniently located above Union Market, which is a rich resource for foodies. Lindsey and Will chose Righteous Cheese, a vendor in the market, as the source for their cheese cart at dessert, and the BBQ Joint, a new addition to the market, for passed snacks.
Ceremony location, Mount Olive Baptist Church
Reception location, Dock 5 at Union Market
Event planning, Events by André Wells
Catering and rentals, Design Cuisine
Flowers, décor, and rentals, Amaryllis Floral & Event Design
Photography, Abby Jiu Photography
Videography, Courtney Harvier
Stationery and calligraphy, Ellen Weldon Design
Cake and bridesmaids' cookies, Buttercream Bakeshop
Bride's gown and veil, and aunt of the bride's gown, Reem Acra
Bride's shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair, Brooke Morgan of Sisterly Love
Makeup, Germaine Williams of the Red Bloom Wellness Spa
Groom's tuxedo, shirt, bow tie, and pocket square, Brimble & Clark
Groom's shoes, Tom Ford
Lighting, Breasia Productions
Vintage Bentley, Regal Limousine
Other transportation, Crown Sedan & Limousine
Mother of the bride's gown, Oscar de la Renta
Cheese display, Righteous Cheese
Late-night food truck, DC Empanadas
Late-night snacks, the BBQ Joint
Photo booth, Hot Pink Photo Booth
Security, Claviger Security
Sound, DAL Production
Valet, MJ Valet
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Michael Herman NY