A Parisian-Inspired Wedding at a Historical Washington, D.C., Mansion

bride and groom walking on pathway in garden
Jacqueline Benét

When Byung Kyu saw Soyoung in the first row of their STAT 503 graduate school class in September of 2016, he "fell in love at first sight," he says. "I asked Soyoung out for coffee the next class." After "one semester's worth of caffeine," Byung Kyu fell in love all over again with Soyoung, the kindest and most unique and caring person he has ever met. Luckily, Soyoung loved Byung Kyu, who she calls affectionate and absurdly understanding, right back.

In November 2019, they proposed to each other—Byung Kyu to Soyoung in Death Valley National Park, and Soyoung to Byung Kyu at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City—and decided on a destination wedding at the Ritz Paris, in France. But when they were forced to scrap their plans for a European affair, planner Raela Gore of RSVP Events helped them find a little piece of Paris in Washington, D.C., at the Larz Anderson House. "It had that old European charm, amazing artwork inside, and an amazing little garden with a pond that felt like a dream come true," they say.

The couple hosted 50 friends and family for a ceremony in the property's ornate art gallery, followed by an outdoor luncheon, on June 27, 2021. They chose a color palette inspired by springtime in Paris, adding delicate Rococo flourishes and exquisite garden blooms to create a romantic atmosphere; gifted small bottles of their favorite perfume to each guest; and wrote their own vows, which illustrated the true meaning of the day: "My vow," says Soyoung, "was focused on how I lucky I was to have found my best friend in life."

01 of 18

Suite Spot

blue font with raw edge white invitation suite
Jacqueline Benét

French blue script on the couple's invitation from The Vintage Inkwell matched the colors in a Rococo-inspired envelope liner, while a custom crest appeared both at the top of the invitation and on a wax seal on the envelopes and escort cards. The lush garden roses, gold accents, and artistic flourishes of the envelope liner also previewed the aesthetic of the reception.

02 of 18

A Lucky Find

bride wearing sleeveless one shoulder a-line wedding dress with long veil
Jacqueline Benét

Soyoung's Viktor & Rolf Mariage silk column wedding dress featured an asymmetrical neckline and dramatic back bow. Though she had seen the gown online before visiting a boutique, Soyoung expected it to be out of her price range—but she saved an image of the number for inspiration. "When I arrived at the bridal shop, they told me that they had that dress in my size and it was on sale—what a coincidence!" she says. "As soon as I tried it on, it just felt so me. Of course, I tried on tons of other dresses, but at the end I came back to this one."

03 of 18


pearl embellished wedding veil
Jacqueline Benét

A pearl-studded veil added a modern touch to her ensemble.

04 of 18

Heirlooms Made New

bride standing by window holding spring hued floral bouquet
Jacqueline Benét

Soyoung carried a pastel bouquet of lavender clematis, butterfly ranunculus, garden roses, sweet pea, Princess Charlene of Monaco roses, and peonies, her favorite flower, from Nava Floral. "My jewelry was gifted by my mother-in-law," says Soyoung. "She created beautiful diamond earrings and a necklace using diamonds from her own engagement ring and my father-in-law's wedding ring. They were so meaningful and brought tears to my eyes."

05 of 18


groom smiling wearing dark gray suit
Jacqueline Benét

Byung Kyu chose a Thom Browne suit with a tone-on-tone bow tie and white shirt with contrasting buttonholes. "Byung Kyu always wanted a suit from Thom Browne and we thought the wedding was a perfect opportunity. It was less formal and more playful, which was perfectly Kyu," says Soyoung. A spray of butterfly ranunculus, clematis, and jasmine vine surrounding a distant drum garden rose satisfied his request for a colorful boutonnière.

06 of 18

All Dressed Up

bride and groom share first look inside
Jacqueline Benét

Soyoung and Byung Kyu planned to pose for portraits for before the ceremony—though they didn't surprise each other with their attire. "Having moved to a new state during the pandemic and having no family members in the U.S., Kyu was my best friend/maid-of-honor during the wedding planning process," says Soyoung. "He had already seen me in the dress; he helped me choose it and my accessories." Still, the bride and groom savored the moments they had together before the rest of their guests arrived. "The Larz Anderson House reminded us of our trips to France and brought back memories," they say.

07 of 18

Gallery Space

large greenery floral wedding arch indoors
Jacqueline Benét

For their ceremony location, Soyoung and Byung Kyu chose the Olmstead Gallery, surrounded by Flemish tapestries from the 16th century. An asymmetrical broken arbor, laden with distant drum roses, delphinium, white jasmine vine, and peonies—among other blooms—framed them as they said their vows.

08 of 18

Fan Art

white wedding fan with pink floral design
Jacqueline Benét

The bride's cousin provided fans for guests to pick up as they entered the ceremony. "My cousin's fans added a bit of Korean culture to the wedding as she painted oriental peonies that represent promise of love and happy marriage," says Soyoung.

09 of 18

A Family Affair

bride and groom sharing a kiss under floral wedding arch
Jacqueline Benét

Soyoung's father walked her down the aisle as a harpist played "Can't Help Falling in Love" for the bridal processional. At the beginning of the ceremony, the bride's and groom's mothers each lit a candle to symbolize "lighting up the future of their children." Soyoung and Byung Kyu also wrote their own vows to further personalize the service.

"We really wanted to involve our parents in the wedding," says the couple, "because we are always away from them in another country. They wrote the readings, and we helped them translate them to English." Hearing their parents' letters during the ceremony brought both the bride and groom to tears. "I tried to hold back my emotions when Soyoung burst into tears during the ceremony because I knew I wouldn't be able to stop if I started," he shares.

10 of 18

A Personal Touch

large gold framed escort display board
Jacqueline Benét

At the entrance to the reception, a gold-framed linen display held calligraphed escort cards, stamped with the couple's custom crest on a wax seal. "To honor their Korean heritage, the escort cards were tasseled with norigae, a traditional Korean accessory," says planner Raela Gore of RSVP Events. "Family brought the norigae to the United States from Korea, and Soyoung and Byung Kyu hand-tied them to the escort cards for every guest. It was such a beautiful, personal touch." Next to the display, the couple set out two Polaroid cameras, and asked guests to put a photo of themselves on the board as they took their seating assignment.

11 of 18

Fresh and Fruity

blue and yellow wedding drink menu
Jacqueline Benét

They surrounded their signature drink menu with an installation of summery florals. Custom mocktails—"Mandarin Lemonade," a mix of fresh lemonade and mandarin oranges, and "Brighton Boulevard," a blend of chamomile tea, lavender-infused simple syrup, and grapefruit bitters shaken with ginger beer—complemented the al fresco luncheon.

12 of 18

Garden Party

long linen draped tables outside
Jacqueline Benét

The walled garden, aged magnolia trees, and reflecting pool created a European-inspired oasis for the couple's outdoor reception. Linen Louis chairs lined the long tables, where tablecloths with a Rococo scroll pattern added a traditionally elegant accent.

13 of 18

Bright and Beautiful

spring hued floral centerpieces in gold low vases
Jacqueline Benét

Colorful garden-style centerpieces in low, shimmering vessels comprised garden roses, butterfly ranunculus, lavender clematis, and French tulips. At the end of the event, the couple displayed the centerpieces on a single table where guests could choose one to bring home. "We just wanted our guests to enjoy the flowers for longer!" says Soyoung.

14 of 18

Scallops and Scrolls

blue and white wedding menu on white plate with gold silverware
Jacqueline Benét

Ivory plates with a delicate scalloped edge and simple, hand-scrolled place cards added a pretty flourish to the place settings. Ladurée macarons in pale green boxes—a Parisian-inspired favor—were a sweet accent.

15 of 18

The First Cut

two tier simplistic wedding cake with floral decor
Jacqueline Benét

The couple's two-tier wedding cake, draped with fresh flowers, came in their favorite flavor—carrot cake with cream cheese filling and buttercream; they also served a vanilla millefeuille with puff pastry and vanilla cream.

16 of 18

Pretty in Pink

bride and groom standing outside in second outfits
Jacqueline Benét

For the reception, Soyoung chose a pink Kate Spade mini dress with a bright bow in the back. "I had purchased this dress in 2017 when I was a graduate student and had nowhere to wear it," she says. "The dress was just so me and I had to have it in my closet! I believe it captured my personality and the idea of Paris perfectly."

17 of 18

Eat, Drink, and Be Married

bride fanning herself at wedding dinner table
Jacqueline Benét

The couple sat with their friends to enjoy a menu from Occasions Caterers, which included burrata with elderflower syrup and melon, an entrée of lobster and beef filets served with saffron rice and grilled asparagus, and rosemary focaccia.

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bride and groom walking up staircase
Jacqueline Benét

Photography, Jacqueline Benét
Venue, Larz Anderson House
Event Planning, RSVP Events
Catering and Cake, Occasions Catering
Flowers, Nava Floral
Stationery, The Vintage Inkwell
Music, Melissa Dvorak, Capitol Harpist
Rentals, The Collection by Courtney Inghram; La Tavola; Something Vintage
Bride's gown, Viktor and Rolf
Bride's shoes, Stuart Weitzman
Hair and makeup, Anna Breeding
Groom's attire, Thom Browne
Macarons, Ladurée
Rings, Tiffany and Co.

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