An Elegant Black-Tie Wedding in Washington, D.C.

bride and groom near stairs
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Ashley and Jon met in March 2018 on Hinge, but they actually started their relationship cross-continentally before meeting in person. "Jon was traveling for work overseas, so we spent the first couple of weeks texting with an eight-hour time difference," Ashley says. "When he got back to the States, we had an epic all-night phone conversation and went on our first date a couple days later." The rest, as they say, is history.

And on January 19, 2019, in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, they took the next step—Jon asked Ashley to marry him in a place that held special meaning to the bride's family. "I knew that Ashley's parents' first home in 1980 was in Old Town off St. Asaph Street (this would also later play into the name for one of our signature cocktails)," Jon shares. "Being a sucker for sentimentality, I thought it would be a nice way to begin our lives together—at the place where her parents had done the same." Their literal trip down memory lane involved some pretty heavy rain—but the downpour didn't stop Jon from getting on one knee to ask Ashley to be his wife.

Wedding planning was smooth sailing after they agreed on their vision, which, they say, always revolved around a winter wedding. Both originally from the Northeast, the cold-weather loving duo opted for a February 22, 2020, date, which turned out to be uncharacteristically warm (it was 60 degrees and sunny!); the Holy Trinity Catholic Church served as their ceremony site and the Perry Belmont House held their reception. Ashely and Jon also had a Parisian theme in mind to transport their guests from the Washington, D.C., locale to an intimate destination dinner party in the City of Lights. "I lived in Paris for several years in my teens," Ashley explains. "We wanted our family and friends to have a supremely perfect evening—and to be transported to another time through the Perry Belmont's décor, eat amazing food, and dance under the skylight in the ballroom."

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Something Green

black, green, and white wedding invitation suite
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Sugared Fig Paperie created the couple's save-the-dates, which featured a letterpress-printed illustration of the Perry Belmont House on hand-torn paper. The rest of the suite featured a cream invitation, gold foil print, a sage green velvet backing, and a monogram printed in gold foil by Emily Baird Design. The finishing touch? A custom envelope design inspired by the reception venue's oil paintings of botanical scenes with exotic birds.

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A Winter Welcome

wedding welcome box
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Ashley and Jon gifted each of their guests a welcome box, including hand-calligraphed tags by Laura Hooper Calligraphy and some of the couple's favorite items: La Colombe Coffee (the site of their first coffee date), a Jo Malone candle (the scent they burn at home), Virginia Cocktail peanuts (a nod to Ashley's parents' wedding, where they served peanut soup), and Sarah Bernhardt cookies from Buttercream Bakeshop (with buttercream made special for the event, since they were Ashley's favorites growing up).

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Dressed for the Day

bride wearing white Alexandra Grecco dress with floral details
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

A long-sleeved lace-covered Monique Lhuillier wedding dress was the perfect frock for Ashley's walk down the aisle. "I loved the color of the dress—Monique calls it silk white and cameo," she says. "The lace appliqué on the dress were white, but the different colored layers of tulle and silk created made the dress look off-white or even blush in some light."

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A Personal Touch

bride holding kerchief
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

The bride held onto a nostalgic handkerchief prior during the nuptials.

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Floral Affair

white and green bride's bouquet by Kaleidoscope Floral
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

"My bouquet included gardenias, which was a sweet memory of the perfume that my mother wore throughout my childhood," Ashley says. The floral arrangement was held together with a silk ribbon.

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Shoe Jewelry

Bride's Manolo Blahnik shoes with black sparkly buckle
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

A pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps in white lace were the finishing touch.

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Magical Moment

bride walking up stairs to groom for first look
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

After much anticipation, Jon finally got to see his bride ahead of the ceremony. "I remember standing at the top of the grand staircase with my back to her, hearing the shutter of camera lens," he says of the moment building up to their first look. "When I turned and saw her, I was so happy; she looked so beautiful. I truly felt like the luckiest guy ever in that moment."

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Wing Women

bride with bridesmaids wearing black dresses
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Each bridesmaid wore a different black dress, something Ashley prioritized when culling their looks. "I had a small bridal party—a maid of honor and two bridesmaids—and loved getting away from matching dresses," Ashley shares. "My wedding planner, Lauryn Prattes, sourced the dresses from different places and I let each of the girls choose their favorite."

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Right-Hand Men

Groom and groomsmen in black tuxes from Monetti Tailoring
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Jon wore a custom tuxedo with a black velvet jacket from Enzo Custom. He also paid tribute to Ashley's family with his ensemble—he wore his bride's grandfather's gold and onyx shirt studs and cuff links (which were all gifts from her grandmother to her grandfather on their 40th wedding anniversary).

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Almost the I Dos

bride stepping out of car onto brick sidewalk
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

A vintage car transported Ashley to the ceremony—and later, her and her groom to the reception.

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Father-Daughter Time

bride and father walking down aisle
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Ashley walked down the aisle at Holy Trinity Catholic Church with her father to "Canon in D" by Pachelbel.

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Touch of Florals

white roses and green vines in classic pots
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Off-white ceramic urns full of lush white florals and greens—including hydrangea, garden roses, ivy, blackberry foliage, and more—lined the altar.

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Officially Newlyweds

bride and groom kissing after ceremony
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Ashley and Jon concluded their ceremony with a kiss on the church steps, surrounded by loved ones. To duos planning their own nuptials, the couple says it is important to be fully present. "Make sure to be in the moment. It's not very often that everyone you love is in one room," the bride shares. "Enjoy every conversation, dance, interaction—they will be special memories of your favorite people."

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Sweet Sips

hot chocolate at wedding reception
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Each guest was treated to a cup of Ladurée hot chocolate and a macaron on their way out of the ceremony.

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Here Comes the Bride and Groom

wedding reception bells
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

The newlyweds' loved ones rang bells to welcome them into married life.

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Loved Ones

guests holding hot chocolate at wedding
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Guests were all smiles—and dressed (warmly!) to the nines—for the black-tie dinner party, which followed the vow exchange.

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Golden Hour

gold and white reception space
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Perry Belmont House hosted the cocktail hour and reception—and included provided a lavish, Parisian vibe for the event.

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Right This Way

candle seating chart at wedding
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

"At the top of the grand staircase, a display of candles in various heights sat atop a gilded vintage table," Ashley says of their seating chart. "Each guest's name was calligraphed in gold onto a black wrap around the candle. Ivy was intertwined throughout."

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Custom Drinks

wedding cocktails during reception
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Two custom cocktails nodded to the married couple's personalities, favorite drinks, and significant relationship moments ( including their first date and proposal). The "St. Asaph Proposition"—which paid homage to the proposal location—included rosemary simple syrup, vodka, lemon juice, and pear brandy; it was shaken and garnished with rosemary. Jon's drink—which honored their first date—was the "7th Street Rendezvous." It featured warm apple cider, a cinnamon stick, and Calvados, and was topped off with star anise and gingerbread grissini.

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One Big Family

long tables with white linens at wedding reception
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Jon and Ashley set up two 30-foot-long tables for their 62 guests.

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Parisian Place Settings

white and gold wedding place settings
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

The intricate place settings, sourced from Maison de Carine, "were reminiscent of those you may find at a formal dinner in a Parisian home," the bride says.

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Tabletop Décor

table numbers on vintage stand at wedding reception
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

To make sure guests could mingle without any obstructions, the couple opted for smaller centerpieces, which were composed of greenery and lush white flowers held in small vessels. The tablescapes were then filled in with topiaries, small greenery urns, more floral compotes, trailing ivy vines, and pillar, taper, and votive candles for texture.

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Words of Love

guest speech during wedding reception
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

The toasts were a highlight—specifically Ashley's father's. Her dad read a poem that his best man (the bride's godfather) read at her parents' wedding 40 years prior.

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Couple's Confection

white and gold wedding croquembouche
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Instead of the traditional wedding cake, Ashley and Jon chose a Parisian-inspired confection: a croquembouche. This treat by Buttercream Bakeshop was filled with Nutella and wedding cake cream. The puffs were dipped in white chocolate and decorated with sugar flowers in the style of sweet peas, cherry blossoms, and garden roses, the bride says.

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Mini Sweets

Mini croquembouches at each place setting
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

The couple gave each of their guests their own mini croquembouche filled with either wedding cake cream or raspberry cream. They were topped with gold flecks and a black bow.

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Live Bar

wedding bar with ivy decor
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

A bar covered in ivy was placed in the ballroom so attendees could continue sipping as they made their way to the dance floor.

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Dancing the Night Away

Bride and groom during reception dance
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

"(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" by Sam Cooke played as the newlyweds shared their first dance. The song holds meaning for them both. "Jon played this song for me early on in our relationship and it's always been special to us," the bride adds.

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groom and bride smiling at each other in car
Lisa Ziesing (Abby Jiu Photography)

Photographer, Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography
Ceremony Venue, Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Reception Venue, Perry Belmont House
Planner, Lauryn Prattes
Florist, Floral & Bloom
Invitations and Day-of Paper, Emily Baird Design
Calligraphy, Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Save the Dates, Sugared Fig Paperie
Officiant, Paul Brian Campbell S.J.
Bridal Gown and Veil, Monique Lhuillier
Hair Jewels, Jennifer Behr
Shoes, Manolo Blahnik; Magnanni
Hair, Julianne Yapur of Parlour Beauty Boutique
Makeup, Nikki Fraser of Beauty 'N The Bride
Bridesmaids' Dresses, BHLDN; TadashiShoji
Groom's Attire, Enzo Custom
Groomsmen's Attire, Lapel
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands, Brilliant Earth
Ceremony Music, Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Reception Music, Kushner Entertainment
Catering, Occasions Caterers
Cake, Buttercream Bakeshop
Rentals, White Glove Rentals
Chairs, Nostalgia Event Rentals
Linens, Nüage Designs
Tabletop Rentals, Maison de Carine
Favors, Ladurée Hot Chocolate
Transportation, RMA; VintageLimos.Biz

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