An Intimate Parisian-Inspired Ceremony in Virginia Filled with Special Touches

bride and groom hand in hand outside venue
Bonnie Sen Photography

For years, Morgan and Sameer nearly crossed paths, but never met: They attended neighboring high schools, both studied in Paris, and finally ended up living in Washington, D.C., after their law school graduations. When they finally met, Sameer invited Morgan out for an after-work drink, which turned into dinner at their now-favorite restaurant, which led, four years later, to a proposal in Paris.

After their 2018 engagement, Morgan and Sameer planned a celebration for their extended family and friends—one that was delayed twice due to COVID-19. "We got tired of waiting," says Morgan, "and decided to proceed with an intimate wedding ceremony." With the help of Julie Vieira of Vieira Events, the couple organized a family-only ceremony and formal dinner for six guests at the Goodstone Inn on October 25, 2021. "The quick planning period—under six months—forced us to be decisive," says Morgan. "But it also forced us to focus on what was most important to us and our families."

Ultimately, they wanted to create a modern, romantic event with hints of Parisian influence: all-white florals, sleek black accents, a private strings performance during cocktails, vintage Champagne popped on the terrace after their ceremony, and an elegant five-course meal. And though the wedding wasn't the one they had initially imagined, Morgan and Sameer now know it was exactly right for them. "Remain laser focused on what really matters to you, but be flexible with the rest," they say. "Despite the frustrations of planning and re-planning, we now feel we were always meant to have our ceremony happen in such an intimate manner."

01 of 14

Old and New

bride wearing long sleeve lace dress holding bouquet
Bonnie Sen Photography

Though Morgan found herself drawn to wedding dresses with intricate accents, none gave her the same feeling as the long-sleeved, backless lace Lihi Hod gown she finally chose. "I had been circling around fitted dresses with a lace element, but when I tried on the dress at Wedding Atelier in New York and looked in the mirror, I felt an immediate spark," she says. "I found myself going back to it in my mind over the coming weeks, and tried it on a second time just to be absolutely sure."

She encourages other brides to avoid rushing into their gown purchase, too. "Take the time you need to figure out what you actually like and don't like," she says. "The rush from trying on the first few dresses may not be reflective of what you will actually ultimately want to wear."

Her "organic, lush, gathered-style bouquet" from Wander + Whimsy Floral, with blooms in shades of white and ivory, was a romantic touch; it included roses, hydrangeas, ranunculus, and hellebore, all set off by fresh greenery that called back to the venue's hills and landscaping.

02 of 14

Careful Consideration

bride getting ready putting on her earrings
Bonnie Sen Photography

Morgan curated a set of thoughtful big-day accessories: new Stuart Weitzman heels complemented several pieces passed down from the women in her family. "I borrowed a brooch from my godmother that all of the women in her family wore at their weddings," says Morgan. "My 'something old' was a vintage evening clutch that I inherited from my great-grandmother, while my 'something blue' was a handkerchief that is also a family heirloom."

03 of 14

Time to Remember

bride and groom looking into each other's eyes
Bonnie Sen Photography

Sameer donned a custom black tuxedo from Brimble and Clark, which he wore with a vintage watch that belonged to his late father.

04 of 14

Meant to Be

bride and groom first look
Bonnie Sen Photography

The rolling green hills behind Goodstone Inn and Restaurant provided a pastoral backdrop for the couple's first look. "We each remarked that we felt the most butterflies the entire day right before and during the first look!" says Morgan. "When we looked into each other's eyes, however, we were overcome with a sense of calm and purpose."

05 of 14

Natural Beauty

wedding ceremony setup with white roses and wooden cushioned chairs
Bonnie Sen Photography

When Morgan and Sameer decided to postpone their larger wedding and host a family-only ceremony, selecting their venue was the easiest part of the process. "We loved the historic, but natural feel of the property as well as the flexibility it offered, particularly for smaller groups," says Morgan. "When you know, you know!"

Morgan and Sameer exchanged vows on a brick terrace overlooking the verdant fields. By keeping their ceremony florals low—just two garden-inspired arrangements designed to look like they were growing out of the existing stone wall—they accented the view without blocking it. Guests sat on French cane-back chairs upholstered in ivory fabric.

06 of 14

Family Matters

bride and groom wedding ceremony
Bonnie Sen Photography

Morgan's younger brother, Geoff, officiated the ceremony, working with the bride and groom to customize a script that felt uniquely personal. "We included readings and a handfasting ritual that honored our respective heritages," says Morgan. "Our aim was not to have a rigid schedule, but to build in time throughout for us to meaningfully connect with each of our family members, and give us the chance to soak it all in."

07 of 14

Words of Love

bride and groom kiss at wedding ceremony overlooking trees and hills
Bonnie Sen Photography

The couple's "cultural and spiritual" ceremony included vows the bride and groom developed on their own and had printed in custom booklets. "It is a good thing we wrote our vows out in vow books," says Morgan, "because I don't think either of us remembers reading them—we were so caught up in the moment!"

After the newlyweds were pronounced husband and wife, their guests tossed white petals from individual packets pre-set on each chair.

08 of 14

Ready to Pop

champagne table with glassware and roses
Bonnie Sen Photography

A vintage Champagne bucket, glass coupes, and a small green-and-white floral arrangement sat adjacent to the ceremony spot, prepared for the newlyweds' first toast with their families.

  • Who Should Plan to Give a Wedding Toast?
09 of 14

Room with a View

dinner reception table with white linens and gold accents
Bonnie Sen Photography

For dinner, a single dining table was dressed with an ivory-and-metallic print linen, topped with black taper candles in etched crystal holders, and adorned with a runner of textural white-and-green floral arrangements.

10 of 14


set dinner table with white rose centerpiece with high and low candles
Bonnie Sen Photography

The couple chose the solarium for its oversized windows and sweeping views—an unexpectedly cozy space during a post-ceremony rainstorm. "The rain created an amazing environment for dinner, giving it a romantic feel as we sat around a candlelit dining table in the Manor's greenhouse, with the rain beating down on the farmhouse windows all around us," says Morgan.

11 of 14

Going for the Gold

dinner reception place setting with gold wax seal and napkin ring
Bonnie Sen Photography

Morgan and Sameer chose shimmering accents for their subtly Parisian atmosphere, including gold napkin rings crafted to mimic different herbs. Scalloped white plates, booklet-style menus secured with gold wax seals, and black place cards were thoughtful and elegant details.

12 of 14

Dinner Party Vibes

bride and groom at dinner reception
Bonnie Sen Photography

The couple chose a five-course menu, whipped up by the inn's chefs, that showed off their love of food and cooking: a salad with truffle vinaigrette; celery root velouté with black truffle tortellini and chives; lobster with spinach, fennel, and sherry sauce; sous vide pork belly or pan-seared cod with white wine sauce; and dark chocolate mousse with fresh berries. They also planned the playlist—a labor of love. "We both love music," says Morgan, "and spent hours putting together a jazz playlist to complement the intimate dinner party we envisioned."

13 of 14

A Private Concert

bride and groom first dance to violinists
Bonnie Sen Photography

Morgan and Sameer asked DC String Machine to provide their ceremony music, and then to perform a private concert during their cocktail hour. The bride made a few special requests: "We surprised Sameer and his mother with string renditions of some classic Bollywood songs that were his late father's favorites," she says. "It was a lovely moment to see the surprise and delight on their faces!" They also found themselves having an impromptu first dance to "La Vie En Rose" during the performance. "We spontaneously started slow dancing," says the bride. "It was completely unplanned, but absolutely perfect."

While they still plan to host a larger reception to celebrate their nuptials, Morgan and Sameer found their family-only celebration undeniably special. "The intimate guest list led to a number of impromptu toasts and surprise moments throughout the entire weekend," says the couple. "It was truly special to be able to celebrate in such a beautiful but authentic and unscripted manner."

14 of 14


groom kissing bride's forehead
Bonnie Sen Photography

Photography, Robert Aveau for Bonnie Sen Photography
Venue and Catering,
Goodstone Inn and Restaurant
Event Planning,
Vieira Events
Wander + Whimsy Floral and Event Styling
Day-of Stationery,
Lucy Black Entertainment
La Tavola Fine Linen; White Glove Rentals
Bride's Gown,
Lihi Hod
Bride's Accessories,
Stuart Weitzman shoes; Boone and Sons Jewelers earrings
Hair and Makeup, Hair and Makeup Artistry by Claudine
Groom's Attire,
Brimble and Clark
Market Street Diamonds

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