A Garden-Inspired D.C. Wedding with an Urban Marketplace Reception
Caroline and Kyle
It all started with a hug. Caroline Kettler and Kyle Crosby first saw each other at a bar in Washington, D.C. "We locked eyes across the room," remembers Caroline, who teaches second grade in McLean, Virginia, near where the couple now live. Though they didn't even meet, "as I was leaving, Kyle asked me for a hug goodbye," says Caroline. "He was really sweet." For his part, Kyle describes an immediate connection. "I didn't know her name or anything. But we both remember this hug."
It made enough of an impression that five months later, when they met at a mutual friend's craft-beer taste-test party, sparks flew. Soon after, he asked her out for mussels and Belgian beer (a shared interest in beers and ciders was apparent early on), and their five-year relationship was on its way. They weren't always together—in fact, Kyle, a former energy consultant who is now opening a cidery in D.C., left for graduate school in Colorado just a few months in. But "it felt really good," says Caroline. "So we kept it going."
In July 2015, the couple took a vacation to Europe. They traveled to Iceland and saw purple fields of lupine flowers—blooms featured in Caroline's favorite childhood book—throughout the countryside before going on to visit the cideries of France. ("Normandy has the best in the world," says Kyle.) Unbeknownst to Caroline, Kyle carried a ring in his backpack through most of their journey. "I'm terrible at keeping secrets," he says. But he managed to hold out, and he found his moment when they stopped at Monet's garden in Giverny. It was a dream spot for Caroline, a lover of both art history and gardens. "I used to spend summers with my grandma in her garden instead of going to camp," she says. While she was taking pictures, he dropped to one knee and proposed.
Many elements of that eventful trip made it into their wedding a year later, on July 2, 2016. The couple chose Dock5 at D.C.'s Union Market for the reception; they already liked the market and the food vendors there, and since they both have large extended families, they knew they needed a roomy venue to accommodate their crowd. Caroline also saw the vast, industrial space as a blank canvas—one in which they could create a lush garden feeling. "Kyle is my mountain man," she says. "And I knew the more we made it feel like the big outside, the more comfortable he'd be."
Their planner, Pineapple Productions, and florist, Amaryllis, Inc. Floral & Event Design, helped them realize that vision, transforming the raw space into an organic, plant-filled setting—with touches of Monet's garden and a bountiful flower-market display.
Two hundred and sixty family members and friends gathered in Caroline's childhood church in Northwest D.C. and looked on as the couple exchanged vows in a Methodist ceremony. Afterward, all were shuttled to the reception for cocktail hour—featuring French and American hard ciders, of course—followed by a dreamy night of dinner and dancing amid the greenery.
A Storybook Save-the-Date
The laser-cut, accordion-folded save-the-dates featured relationship highlights: their first-date restaurant; images from D.C. and Colorado when they dated long-distance; a church and lupine flowers from a trip to Iceland; and Monet's garden.
Stationer Cheree Berry incorporated meaningful elements into the stone-gray letterpressed suite, including a wildflower pressed over the invitation itself, evoking artwork in the bride's parents' home and blooms in Monet's garden, the proposal site. A Monet quote was printed underneath the invitation, and watercolor illustrations tied the theme back to those on the save-the-dates, only in a more neutral palette.
The squirrel featured on Caroline and Kyle's stationery is an old pal. A few years ago in Colorado, they be-friended and fed a squirrel they nicknamed "Alberto." Afterward, a stuffed version of him became a running joke between them, popping up wherever they went. So naturally, Alberto was hiding in the bushes of Monet's garden for Caroline to find just before Kyle proposed.
Welcome to D.C.
Out-of-town guests received welcome baskets filled with craft beer, peanuts, popcorn, and other favorite local goodies from D.C. and Colorado. Customized packaging featuring the same watercolors used in the invitation suite tied the various elements of the welcome baskets together.
A Perfect Fit
"I fell in love with the way the skirt moved and the level of detail on the corset," says Caroline of her Monique Lhuillier two-piece wedding dress. "The flowers went with my personality and theme of the wedding, without being overly girly."
The Bridal Bouquet
Caroline loved the lush garden look, but wanted something more constrained for her bouquet. Included were Duchesse de Nemours peony, Veronica, astrantia, and freesia blooms, as well as hosta leaf, scented geranium, mint, variegated ivy, and Solomon's Seal.
Ladies in Lace
Caroline's nine bridesmaids included friends, family, and two of Kyle's sisters, who all wore Dolce and Gabbana frocks. The sizable wedding party (19 total) included Kyle's three sisters, but one, Kara, had to drop out. She went into labor on the night of the wedding! Kyle's newest nephew, Jackson, was born the next morning. "He was the best present we were given," says Kyle.
"Boutonnieres usually get short shrift during consultations, but Caroline and Kyle were specific about wanting 'specimen' boutonnieres," says Nick Watts of Amaryllis, Inc. The bouts were crafted from small batch, local foliages and blooms including ivy, variegated oregano, fittonia, rosemary, boxwood, geranium foliage, ornamental thistle, white clover, cottage yarrow, lavender, and Star of Bethlehem.
Mom and Dad
The bride's proud parents, Robert (Bob) and Charlotte Kettler, hosted the wedding.
The Little Ones
Twenty kids under 16 attended the wedding, and Caroline, ever the elementary-school teacher, decided to give each a copy of her favorite childhood picture book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney, with a wedding-logo bookplate inside. "It's about a woman wanting to make the world better," says Caroline. The character does that by planting lupine flowers—the very kind Caroline and Kyle traveled to see in Iceland on their engagement trip.
Saying "I Do"
The couple took their vows in the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, which Caroline grew up attending. "We wrote to our officiant ahead of time, answering her questions about how we met, what we loved about each other. She surprised us by reading what we'd written during the ceremony," says Caroline of "accidentally" writing their own vows.
One Sweet Ride
A garland of silver-dollar eucalyptus adorned the getaway car.
The florists set up a flower-market station with buckets of blooms inside Dock5, using the roll-up garage doors to create a true market feeling. The station began as an escort-card display and later became a working floral bench, where designers made nosegays for guests to take home. Guests took home 150 mini bouquets, all made from 1,500 stems.
At the Bar
Twinkling lights and greenery warmed up and helped define distinct areas within the open space. Arch spans were installed to enhance the support beams and columns—not to disguise them—helping to create, as Watts noted, "a very nice juxtaposition of the industrial and the organic." The floral design team adorned the arches with southern smilax vine, and planted each of the bar pedestals with white delphinium, bupleurum, clematis vine, and miniature white phalaenopsis orchids.
For the dining tables, florists created a garden look in composed arrangements using a mix of blooms, including blush peonies, garden roses, and local lavender with foliage.
Cheree Berry Paper created table numbers that were an evolution on the invitation design, with real pressed flowers held against stone gray paper within a glass and antique zinc metal frame.
Transforming the Space
Archways, greenery, and twinkling lights warmed up the warehouse-like reception space.
Caroline shared a happy moment with her grandmother, Nancy.
Individual cakelets by Maggie Austin Cake—each painted with an impressionist-style pastoral scene—were a dessert highlight. "They were beautiful," says Caroline, "but also ridiculously delicious." There were four other desserts—a cutting cake, a crêpe station, pies, and miniature cookies.
Nosegays in paper cones from the flower station became guest favors.
A Sparkling Send-Off
The couple made a sparkling exit. The following day, the bride's parents hosted a July Fourth-themed bash at their house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Ceremony location, Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church
Reception location, Dock5 at Union Market
Event planning and design, Pineapple Productions
Catering, Susan Gage Caterers
Floral design and décor, Amaryllis, Inc. Floral & Event Design
Photography, Kate Headley
Videography, Bowen Films
Stationery, Cheree Berry Paper
Calligraphy, Arney Walker Studio
Cake and cakelets, Maggie Austin Cake
Bride's gown and veil, Monique Lhuillier
Hair, Christophe Saluzzo
Makeup, Johny Saade
Bridesmaids' dresses, Dolce & Gabbana
Ring bearer's attire, Janie and Jack
Groom's tuxedo, Burberry
Lighting, Digital Lightning
Valet parking, MJ Valet
Wedding rings, Blue Nile