This Couple's Six-Guest Wedding in Washington, D.C., Had a Disco Theme
Daniela and Faisal met at a work conference in Washington, D.C., in September of 2011. When they ended up in the same MBA program two years later, they became close and started dating when they were finishing up business school in 2015. Four years after that, the couple spent an evening walking around New York's West Village and Greenwich Village neighborhoods, grabbing drinks and ice cream. Around midnight the pair strolled through Washington Square Park, and Faisal popped the question in front of the Washington Square Arch. "The area is special to us because we had lived in that neighborhood for five years and spent a lot of time in that park," Faisal says. "I had also wanted to propose by an iconic New York landmark."
They teamed up with Kaitlin from Cheers Darling to plan and design an outdoor ceremony and a disco dance party reception. But when COVID-19 started to concern the couple, they decided to postpone-and eventually changed their plans one last time, hosting a small micro event for just six guests. Daniela and Faisal felt the need to prioritize their guests' health and are looking forward to hosting a larger celebration when it is safer to do so. "We were also concerned about any anxiety or tension that the prospect of our wedding would create for our guests in the weeks and months leading up to it," Faisal says.
Their November 21, 2020, nuptials at The Conrad Hotel in Washington, D.C., incorporated elements of their original celebration on a smaller scale. With just six guests-and a few attendees present on Zoom-Daniela and Faisal embraced the ease of planning for eight. "Given the smaller size of our intimate wedding, we had much more control over the setup, so the decisions were easier," says the bride. "It was a lot easier to be creative and test out different ideas, so we definitely had fun with it."
When the couple's big-day plans changed, Daniela decided to go with a different wedding dress altogether. Some stores were completely closed due to the pandemic, and others were not allowing groups of people in the boutique at one time. "There were many online options featuring plenty of photos and videos, so I had 15 dresses shipped to our home before I finally went into a few shops to find the right one," Daniela says. "With all the boxes I ordered, Faisal thought we were living in an Amazon warehouse." When she tried on this calf-length off-the-shoulder frock by Amsale, she immediately loved the draped bodice. "It was the right length for a more intimate family affair, but didn't take away from the experience of wearing a white wedding dress," she says.
A Few Accessories
Daniela donned a pair of heirloom sapphire earrings that once belonged to Faisal's grandmother, along with a simple tennis bracelet.
Sparkling shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood with small disco balls under each heel were the ultimate finishing touch to her big-day look.
The Vibrant Bouquet
Daniela's bouquet incorporated the wedding's autumnal color scheme of red, orange, pink, and yellow. The lively arrangement was tied with a white ribbon.
Faisal stepped into a tailored navy three-piece suit from Suitsupply with a glen check pattern on the day of the wedding. He wore his father's silk tie and an heirloom pair of sterling silver cuff links that once belonged to his grandfather.
The couple shared their first look on the Conrad Hotel's sweeping staircase, where they enjoyed a sense of calm before the ceremony. "The pandemic has been a challenging time for everybody, and it was nice to have a quiet moment with each other just before the fun started," Daniela says. The day was mild, so their photographer then took them downtown for a few shots on the Mall by the Lincoln Memorial. "Faisal is from D.C., and I lived and worked here for over five years," Daniela says. "We loved being able to memorialize our wedding in a city that is special to both of us."
Faisal's boutonnière featured a simple cluster of bright blooms.
The duo's six guests were some of their closest family and friends. Both sets of parents attended, along with Faisal's sister and Daniela's maid of honor, who is also her best friend.
The Special Shot
One of Faisal's favorite memories from the wedding day was the group photo shoot. "It's a small, quirky memory, but our photographer snapped a shot of my father holding Daniela's wedding bouquet in front of the Lincoln Memorial," he says. "Something about the photo just works, and it instantly became a favorite."
The couple changed their initial plan for an outdoor service and moved inside for more intimacy. An asymmetrical, detached flower arch was the focal point; the piece incorporated the same bold blooms from the bride's bouquet, plus plenty of seasonal greenery.
After Daniela's father accompanied her down the aisle, she met Faisal and his sister-their officiant-at the altar. The ceremony incorporated some cultural and religious elements, including prayers and blessings from each of their families.
Sealed with a Kiss
The couple exchanged handwritten vows. "We kept them simple and from the heart, as if it were just the two of us talking," Daniela says. As they exited the space as husband and wife, Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" played in the background.
Hello from Zoom
After the ceremony, Daniela and Faisal took a moment to virtually greet Faisal's aunt, uncle, and immediate family from his dad's side, as well as Daniela's grandmother and brother, who Zoomed in from Bulgaria and Hungary, respectively.
During the brief cocktail hour, Champagne, wine, and beer were poured for in-person guests. Daniela's grandparents had developed brandy specifically to be served at their grandchildren's wedding, so the bride's father brought along the 50-year-old bottle to share. "My grandfather's brandy was a very stiff drink that no one will ever forget!" the bride says.
At the reception, two tables-one for attendees and another for the newlyweds-were topped with white linens. Colorful florals, featuring bright orange, yellow, and pink hues, dressed up both stations. Taper candles, placed in matte black holders (which matched the flatware) were housed in hurricanes.
Place settings incorporated wooden chargers, white plates, and green linen napkins tied in a knot. A printed dinner menu, which rested on the top-most dish, was personalized for each guest. To nod to their subtle disco theme, Daniela and Faisal placed tiny decorative disco balls around the tablescapes.
Time to Eat
The small group enjoyed a four-course dinner, starting with a burrata and broccolini appetizer and a green salad. Guests chose between chicken, salmon, or hanger steak for the main course and enjoyed wedding cake for dessert. Daniela and Faisal put together a playlist for the reception with songs they knew their family would enjoy. "The main entertainment was the speeches our parents gave that used embarrassing anecdotes!" Daniela says.
Their vanilla wedding cake with lemon curd and fresh strawberry buttercream from Buttercream Bakeshop was embellished with fresh florals. Daniela also surprised Faisal with a separate cake just for him. "Knowing my love for the Washington Football Team and for chocolate, she ordered a devil's food cake shaped like a football with the team's logo," he shares.
Photography, Audra Wrisley
Videography, Shutter and Sound
Venue and Catering, Conrad Hotel DC
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Cheers Darling Events
Flowers, Sophie Felts Floral Design
Menu and Place Cards, Maya and Love
Bride's Gown, Amsale
Bride's Shoes, Nicholas Kirkwood
Bride's Hair, The Stylist Abroad
Bride's Makeup, Beauty n the Bride
Groom's Attire, Suit Supply
Cake, Buttercream Bakeshop
Rentals, Something Vintage Rentals; Table Manners; BBJ Linens
Transportation, Reston Limousine