We’re so happy today to celebrate the wedding of Stephanie and Ryan! Stephanie is the sister of Chris, whose wedding to Spring we documented this past Spring, so it was wonderful seeing so many of the family members at Hotel Monaco in Alexandria to celebrate with them. Stephanie is also an avid photographer specializing in B&W work, and works as an archivist for the Smithsonian, so no pressure on us at all! 😉 The November day, while perhaps a little chilly, couldn’t have been sunnier, and we started out at the hotel for their getting-ready with their respective wedding parties before heading over to the Church of the Annunciation in Washington, DC for their ceremony and mass.

Their wedding was truly a labor of love, too. Stephanie designed all of the paper goods, had collected the white pine cones used for the escort card table display and their favor was a stunning b/w floral photo that she had taken and printed on glossy art paper. Stephanie’s Mom got into the act by designing all of the flowers – bouquets, flower girl bucket, bout’s, pew buckets and the tabletop arrangements. Talk about work, but everything looked incredible. We love such personal touches on a wedding day.

(To see their entire wedding, click here and enter the password, which is Stephanie’s maiden name. Enjoy!)

Ryan getting ready with his mom pinning on his boutonniere.

Stephanie and Michele secretly watch the men board the limo shuttle for the church.

Their little flower girl, Ryan’s God-daughter Ryan (yes, same name – so sweet!) was, as little girls usually are, absolutely adorable the entire day. She was pensive on the shuttle ride over to the church, at least until falling fast asleep…

At the church and reconsidering waking up from her nap.

We love watching the fathers of the bride during the day, especially before the ceremony. Stephanie’s dad, pausing for a minute just before the processional.

Hydrangea’s are particularly susceptible to drying out, so the bridesmaids kept them in the church’s kitchen sink before the ceremony. Anne loved the dichotomy between beauty and utility.

Here is Ryan’s reaction at the instant he sees Stephanie step onto the aisle, one of awe…

And one second later…

This cracked us up, given the “assist” by their priest during the unity candle lighting.

During the mass, there was a separate chapel off to the side of the altar where they offered gifts to Mary, and the room was bathed in this warm glow that lit up Stephanie’s gorgeous gown. Another sweet touch – Michele, Stephanie’s Maid of Honor, played a piano solo during the offering.

Celebrating with family right afterwards…

Following the ceremony we did some family photos before heading over to the Jefferson Memorial to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon light that was bathing the Tidal Basin. Stephanie was a real trooper against the cool breeze coming across the water, and we got some wonderful late-afternoon portraits of the two of them (and their wedding party) before heading back to Hotel Monaco for cocktails.

Stephanie workin’ it at the Jefferson Memorial. Gorgeous! Bill loves this shot Anne got of her.

And Anne loves this one that Bill took. LOVE those long veils!

What a cool idea to get members of the wedding party to sign the inaugural whiskey bottle!

Bill’s camera straps are actually rifle slings(!), and his cameras will occasionally hit his hips when he’s walking from Point A to B. This is what sometimes happens when it trips the shutter, and was apparently shot somewhere inside Hotel Monaco. We thought it was totally cool accident shot, so it included it here for the heck of it. 🙂

Back at the hotel, the spacious courtyard was set up for their guests for drinks and socializing and many stayed outside until the very last minute when call to dinner was made. As they made their way inside, they found their their names inscribed on table cards placed in neat rows among Stephanie’s white pine cones. Stephanie’s mom had expertly put together the delicate floral displays on each table top, and the room looked great–exactly as Stephanie had envisioned it would.

Spring and Chris brought their little boy Henry downstairs for a few minutes to say hi to the happy couple. We were amazed at how much he had grown in the few short months it had been since we last saw them.

Another fun personal touch was that they served Polish cookies at each table following the cake-cutting, in a nod to her family’s heritage. Following the scrumptious buffet-style dinner, the string quartet plus drummer kept everyone completely entertained the entire night, playing a wide range of songs including, no kidding, YMCA.

Stephanie and Ryan also surprised their parents with anniversary dances for them, with music from each parents’ own wedding, which we thought was a wonderful nod to their parents and the importance they had in their lives. There was also a late-night anniversary dance for some of Stephanie’s relatives, another couple who were also celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary that very evening.

Family was clearly a big part of this wedding, and Stephanie and Ryan made it show just how much they loved them all. It was a wonderful evening, and we were honored to have been able to document it for them. Congratulations, you two – we had so much fun with you all!

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