Today I am thrilled to share this gorgeous multicultural Washington Wedding with pretty monochrome details and peach and blush accents.
Images were captured by Ana Isabel Photography.
Ana Isabel is a Wedding, portrait and event photographer in Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, TX.
Stunning Bride Melva says of the couples love story, and their Washington Wedding Day…
How did you meet?
We met in February 2019 at Shaw’s Tavern in Washington, DC while he was waiting for a concert.
I heard his accent and was desperate to talk to him so I asked him, “how’s the chicken?” Yes, that was verbatim my pick up line but it worked and we became life partners.
The day the country went into lockdown, we moved in together.
Tell us about the Proposal…
What I think would have broken many couples (business loss, my parents and I had COVID, he had a trip to the ER, etc.) brought us together and, one day in December 2020 in the quiet of our home, I said yes to his proposal, which included a beautiful estate ring that is 100 years old.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?
Once I received my ring which is a 100 year old estate ring, I knew I wanted a vintage look and we also knew we were going to recreate some pictures from his parents and grandparents.
To compliment the style of the dress, I chose subtle jewellery and was gifted a birdcage veil.
My desire was to look mature, feminine and refined while not being weighted down by a heavy dress.
My husband Emmanuel never dresses up and in true French fashion he only wears black.
We agreed not to share each other’s looks and so I was pleasantly surprised to see him in a Calvin Klein tuxedo.
What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or colour palette?
Our intimate affair was intentionally designed to reflect our multi-cultural union since Emmanuel is French and white and the I’m black and American.
Additionally, it was important for us to include music since Emmanuel is a former Billboard Magazine Global Editor and music brought us together 2 1/2 years ago while he was waiting to attend an Afro beat drum concert at a bar in my neighbourhood.
Our palette was centred around black and white and we knew that our core floral had to be the anemone with other touches to reflect what we call understated elegance.
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?
Part of what sold us on the Conrad DC outside of their impeccable service was the fact that we could have outdoor space for the ceremony.
Since we knew our affair would have to be small due to COVID, it was important for us to invest in small, refined choices.
We partnered with Sarah Khan Event Styling who understood and elevated our vision.
Guests were greeted with personalized multi-lingual welcome note, petals placed in a jewellery box to keep and we were married under an abstract/art deco arch with our core design element the anemone.
For us, these small, significant and thoughtful touches were perfect and served as a great accent to the the string trio and two fantastic vocalists provided by Lucy Black Entertainment.
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
Once we selected Sarah Khan Event Styling it was very easy for us to let go but we did have some requirements.
First, the anemone had to be dominantly featured.
Second, black touches were important which is why we selected black chairs and if you look closely there were black candles and finally, to appease me (the bride) the floral arrangements had to have a feminine nod which is why peach and blush roses were included.
We were thrilled but it goes without saying that the most significant arrangement was my bridal bouquet because my father due to his long battle with dementia could not be there and he was perfectly wrapped into my bouquet which Sarah personally delivered.
That bouquet sits in my living room as a nod to his presence.
Did you personalise the day / include special touches?
We personalised everything but here are some items we are really proud of.
1. First, Oh Eleven Studio did an amazing job creating custom acrylic menus in French/English that provided a guess a summary of their personal menu. Intentionally all menus were names Monsieur or Madame with their last name.
2. To include Emmanuel’s parents who are no longer living, every wine pairing represented his father’s career as a diplomat, where is mother lived her last years and where is siblings now live.
As such, during our dinner service, the sommelier presented each wine and Emmanuel followed up with his family connection.
3. In lieu of gifts, we asked all guests to donate to the National Capitol Region Alzheimer’s Association in honour of my Dad’s upcoming 80th birthday and inability to attend.
4. The cake crafted by Buttercream was intentionally a Parisienne inspired as an oversized Eiffel Tower which served as a compliment to LaDuree macaroons.
5. We ended the evening of our Washington wedding in the Presidential Suite in a very French way with a fromage (cheese in English) from various regions of France and more French wines.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
The most special moment was two things:
1. Before I walked out, I looked down at my bouquet and said “Dad are you ready?” I immediately cried after.
2. For both of us, it was our entire ceremony, the way we expressed our commitment to each other (me through over sharing and him through a series of love songs he compiled to speak to me).
Others told us that they could feel the love and the commitment in the air. I think they were right and we were both worth waiting for.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
Throughout this time, I have been capturing wedding advice because I know couples feel cheated because of COVID and the restrictions are stressful, and I shared it in a Blog series.
As a mature bride, I am fortunate to be a witness to my parents love story a couple who has been married 54 years and together 55 and below are my top three pieces of advice.
1. Be present because it goes by so quickly.
2. Financial plan and hire vendors you trust. It is an investment but it was worth every single penny to enter the day worry free.
3. Prioritize each other above everything else, literally everything else. My husband is 61 and a first time groom and I am also mature and we waited a long time for this.
It goes without saying “Do it your way” and I want anyone who, especially women who are looking at life and thinking it hasn’t happened and I am so old (usually what we say at 40) to know that it is coming, it is possible and when it happens you will be so glad that you waited.
Washington Wedding Vendors
Ceremony Location – Conrad Washington DC
Photographer – Ana Isabel Photography
Event Planner – LaJoy Plans
Hair Stylist – Cosmo Crush
Makeup Artist – Makeup With Jossy
Grooms wear – Calvin Klein tuxedo
Calligrapher – Oh Eleven Studio
Floral Designer – Sarah Khan Event Styling
Bakery – Buttercream Bake Shop
Linens and Coverings – BBJ Linens
Equipment Rentals – Select Event Group
Musicians – Lucy Black Entertainment
PR Rep – Woke Media