Rainy Weather Brought a Cozy Vibe to This Washington, D.C., Micro Wedding
When Alisha Ramos, the CEO and founder of Girls' Night In and Whiled, matched with Corey Speisman, a software developer at Etsy, on a dating app in 2014, it felt like fate: The two had already followed each other on Twitter and met through mutual friends. Corey picked her up at her apartment for dinner and drinks—a spot he returned to for the couple's eventual proposal. "We went out to dinner where we had our first date," he says. "I had our Lyft drop us off in front of Alisha's old apartment where I had picked her up for our first one. I tried to act as if it was an accident—I don't think she bought it. I got down on one knee in front of the doors where I had first picked her up four years prior."
Alisha and Corey's goal for their big day was clear: "Our original wedding plan was to throw a huge party that was fun and modern, with a touch of elegance," says Alisha. They booked The Line, a hotel in Washington, D.C.—and a favorite spot—for 130 guests. "We wanted a beautiful ceremony on the rooftop and a super fun dance party in the ballroom," says Alisha. But as COVID-19 spread throughout the country, limiting social gatherings and forcing many couples to cancel their weddings, Alisha and Corey pivoted to a seven-person micro wedding at the hotel on their original date, October 11, 2020.
They altered some of their plans for the smaller event but didn't compromise on atmosphere. "I know a lot of COVID couples leaned into keeping their micro ceremonies a very casual occasion, but I personally wanted this wedding to feel very special, so we did keep a lot of the formality," says Alisha. "I wore a formal wedding dress, for example, and I also was pretty adamant about keeping the huge floral display for the chuppah that was in my original vision." As they moved forward with an intimate ceremony, formal dinner, and personalized touches—and with the expectation of hosting a larger party when social gathering guidelines allow it—Alisha drew inspiration from other couples facing the same situation. "People were getting so creative with their weddings during this whole thing, so that was actually really energizing creatively," she says. "It felt like the rule book had been thrown out. By embracing this perspective, Corey and I were able to create a ceremony that felt pared down and like us, but was still special. We're also just relishing the fact that we now get to celebrate two times—instead of just one."
Girlfriends and Gowns
Alisha was lucky enough to find her wedding dress during her first—and only—shopping trip. "My last 'hang-out' with my friends before COVID-19 hit was actually when we all went wedding-dress shopping," she says. "At the time, we were drinking Champagne and having such a great time, giggling at each new dress we tried on. We had no idea that our worlds would be turned totally upside down in just a few days!" She tried on three gowns before deciding on a fitted halter number from BHLDN. "Although it was not my 'dream dress' that I would have chosen had COVID not happened and I had more time to shop around, I think it did the job beautifully and I felt comfortable and confident in it all day!" Strappy Vince Camuto sandals added something blue.
Back in Action
Alisha tied her gown's back bow between her shoulder blades, wore "something borrowed" from her mother-in-law—pearl earrings—and styled her hair in a low updo with a floral accent.
Far Away Friends
Without her bridesmaids on site for the wedding, Alisha organized a Zoom meeting while she got ready. "I sent them matching blush pink robes, personalized Champagne flutes with their names on them, and we all toasted!" she says. "It happened really quickly because I was running a little behind schedule and felt a little flustered, but it was so nice to see their faces and incorporate them into our day somehow."
Darling and Daughters created an asymmetrical bouquet of oversized blooms in shades of ivory, peach, and yellow. "I loved my wedding bouquet so much that I pressed some flowers from it and framed them so I could keep it forever," says Alisha.
Father and Daughter
Before her first look with Corey, Alisha and her dad spent a few private moments together. "It was really sweet!" says the bride. "My dad and I were planning to have a first dance together in our original, non-COVID wedding plans, but since we were now no longer going to have a dance party during this micro ceremony, we decided to do a mini 'first dance' in the bridal suite. My dad twirled me around a bunch!"
Eyes on Each Other
Before the first look, says Corey, "I was very nervous…I kept saying, 'I'm not hot, but for some reason I can't stop sweating!'" He almost came into the room too early, nearly spoiling the official moment, but when he and Alisha finally saw each other, he was "completely blown away," he says. "It almost makes my eyes tear up thinking about it now! She looked so beautiful and relaxed. I think after that moment I completely calmed down and enjoyed every moment after getting to take pictures with her and being surrounded by my family and loved ones."
Though the couple scaled back much of their wedding to accommodate a smaller group, Alisha didn't compromise on the "huge, show-stopping floral chuppah, filled to the brim with some of my favorite fall flowers, like dahlias and hydrangeas," that she had designed for the original ceremony.
One Very Special Guest
The couple's pup was the VIP at their rooftop ceremony.
Words from the Heart
Alisha's father escorted her down the aisle to "10,000 Hours" by Dan + Shay. "We actually worked really hard finding string arrangements of popular songs to play during our processional," says Corey. "I originally wanted to walk down the aisle to a string quartet version of Ginuwine's 'Pony,' but Alisha quickly vetoed that idea." Corey had strong feelings about Alisha's processional, too. "Honestly, I begged Corey to let me walk down the aisle to 'Lover' by Taylor Swift but he wasn't having it," she says. "I compromised—because that's what marriage is all about, right?"
Rabbi Baht Yameem Weiss led the couple's Jewish ceremony, which included Alisha's dad sharing a reading from Ecclesiastes and personalized promises. "I loved writing our own vows," says Alisha. "I remember mine mentioning Corey's love and passion for music and how that intrigued me on our first date. During our first date, he tried to explain what a theremin was—a musical instrument—and did an impression of the sound it made, so that got a mention to demonstrate his quirkiness and curiosity."
Many of the couple's friends and family viewed the wedding over Zoom and shared selfies of themselves watching the vows at the couple's request. "That's one of my favorite memories from our wedding, going through all the selfies everyone took of themselves watching our wedding," says Alisha. "Some people even dressed up and toasted to us with drinks. It was all really sweet and we could feel everyone's love and support from afar."
A Smash Hit
Alisha and Corey modernized the traditional glass breaking with a double glass smash—but it didn't go as smoothly as they expected. "When the moment came to smash our two glasses, I had trouble with breaking mine," says Alisha. "It turned out that our glasses got switched up, and Corey got the thinner glass to break! It was actually pretty funny trying several times to break my glass. It created a lighter and humorous mood during the ceremony after some tear-jerking vows had been read."
Rain on Your Wedding Day
A dreary forecast for the wedding day disappointed the couple—at first. "It rained very heavily throughout the night which we were originally bummed about," says Alisha, "but it ended up making the evening so cozy and intimate. It ended up being very perfect."
A Perfect Pour
The newlyweds poured a small Champagne tower to welcome their guests to the reception, where the food included deviled crab dip, kimchi, and a charcuterie board. "An over-the-top charcuterie board was one of the details that was part of our original vision for our big wedding that made it into our mini ceremony," says Corey.
Alisha and Corey personalized the intimate space with baby photos of themselves, and provided hand sanitizer and masks for their guests.
Attendees sat at a single formal table in a private room, where a dramatic black table and gold-framed chairs were arranged under a modern gold light fixture, creating a luxe, sophisticated ambience.
Dinner by Candlelight
A runner of vibrant leaves, warm-toned blooms, and elegant candles decorated the table. "We wanted to keep the same aesthetic of cozy, modern, romantic, and elegant as intended in our original wedding plans," says Alisha. "I also wanted to lean into some warm fall colors, as it's such a beautiful season."
Alisha and Corey didn't include dancing at their post-ceremony celebration, but did "work pretty tirelessly" to put together a customized playlist that included Outkast, Prince, the Beatles, and Troye Sivan. "The playlist is one of my favorite things from our wedding because both Corey and I contributed to it and spent a lot of time putting it together," says Alisha. "It had a wide range of music but also flowed together seamlessly! Both of our tastes are represented, and, overall, it sets a cozy and happy mood."
Photography, Astrid Photography
Venue and Catering, The Line D.C.
Event Planning, Evoke Design and Creative
Flowers, Darling & Daughters
Officiant, Rabbi Baht Weiss
Cake, Buttercream Bake Shop
Rentals, Something Vintage
Bride's Gown, BHLDN
Bride's Shoes, Vince Camuto
Hair and Makeup, Carola Myers
Rings, Mallory Shelter Jewelry
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