Real Weddings Archive
Please select the links below to view previously featured Real Weddings

Tracy and Duane - A Celebration of the Arts in DC

Sheeva and Brendan - Elegance and Magic at a Pennsylvania Mansion

Ariana and David - An Oceanside Celebration in Newport, RI

Randi and Christian - A Destination Wedding and a Re-creation

Allison and Andy - Hurricane Katrina Can't Breach their Determination to Marry

Bonnie and Michael - An Elegant Boston Fairytale

Cori and Jeff - Southern Hospitality
in Georgia

Sara and Justin - Classic Seaside Style in Connecticut

Marcy and Nick - Oceanfront Elegance in La Jolla, California

Melanie and Tim - Southern-Style Splendor in Alabama

Chaney and Chris -
Birmingham Romance

Lindsey and Tim - Relaxed Seacoast-style
in Rye, NH

Mary and Toby - Palm Beach Florida

Jessica and Dante - Bermuda
Real Weddings
Read inspriational Real Weddings stories. This month:
A heart-warming celebration uniting the bride's Greek heritage and a love of St. Valentine's Day.
Real Weddings Photo
The Bride:
Maria Athena Kelly, Business Development, ESI International

The Groom:
Christopher Paul Kelly, Business Development/Marketing, Dun and Bradstreet

The Date:
February 12, 2005
Real Weddings Photo
The Stage:
An elegant Valentine's Day Celebration in our Nation's capitol.

Washington DC made the perfect backdrop for a weekend of fun for the 225 guests. The magnificent St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral created a grand atmosphere for the ceremony, while the black tie reception was held at the Park Hyatt, the very location that hosted the bride's mother and stepfather's wedding 9 years earlier.
Real Weddings Photo
The Question:
A surprise gift and a marriage proposal.

A few weeks after graduating from Columbia Business School, Chris presented Maria with a music box engraved with the words, "Maria, Always and Forever." As she opened the box filled with red rose petals and found "the ring," Chris was down on one knee. The music box played, and Chris asked Maria to be his wife.
Real Weddings Photo
A Celebration rooted in Greek Tradition
In honor of the bride's Greek background, the couple infused many elements of the day with Greek traditions.

As guests arrived, they were treated to Greek music and a spectacular life-sized row boat painted in the Greek colors of blue and white and the name "Port of Piraeus," the third largest city in Greece, on the front. The boat contained a raw bar filled with shrimp, clams, ahi tuna, oysters and shots of Ouzo, the famous Greek liquor. Two bands entertained a festive crowd at the spirited reception, one for traditional Greek dancing and a popular 11-piece band for contemporary American rock. The combination of musical styles and cultures created an evening that was unique and fun! Towards the end of the reception, all the ladies received a silver heart box engraved with the couple's initials. Coinciding with the Greek tradition of presenting almonds, "called Koufeta," to women at weddings, the box was filled with jordan almonds wrapped in white tulle. They chose the silver heart box as the keepsake so guests could keep it in their homes.
Real Weddings Photo
A Valentines Day motif
Maria spread the color of love throughout the wedding dÈcor.

Red and white flowers of varying types and heights adorned table tops during the cocktail hour. An aura of romance enveloped guests as they entered the reception ballroom, with dozens and dozens of candles casting a luminous hue on the room draped with 3 types of cream flowered arrangements featuring roses, French tulips, babies breath, hydrangeas and greenery. A "tented" ceiling with sparkling lights underneath completed the fairy-tale like setting. The thirteen bridesmaids wore ruby-red classic cut satin floor-length dresses, and to complete the magical evening, guests shot tufts of white "flutter fetti" into the air, falling onto the couple as they danced their last dance. As guests reluctantly departed, they were treated to a to-go coffee and cookie station that included coffees, teas and cordials and a special festively wrapped "Happy Valentines Day" cookie.
Real Weddings Photo
A Night to Remember
The entire occasion was a reflection of love, friendship and family. Above all, the couple wanted their guests to enjoy themselves. Maria and Chris successfully crafted an event that was both formal and fun. From the fabulous and beautifully presented food stations to the elaborate ice sculptures and martini bar, every element came together to set a mood of understated elegance. Amidst this luxurious opulence, however, the atmosphere remained relaxed and joyous, creating the perfect combination of refined elegance and lively festivity.
How it All Came Together

Photographer: Rodney Bailey - WASHINGTONIAN MAGAZINE's TOP VOTE GETTER 2004 & 2005 for Wedding Photojournalism. "Washingtonian" Best since 1999. "Was the nicest, easiest to work with and he followed through before, during and after the wedding. We spent many hours with him, about 13. His pictures are beautiful and complete, tell a story, and he is fast, efficient and wants very much to please. A pleasure to be around and it is obvious he loves what he does."

Ceiling: Ben and Jerry's Special Effects did the tenting of the ceiling and the extra lighting.

Flowers: Angelo Bonito did the beautiful flowers and understood our vision, from the church, bridal party and many arrangements at the hotel.

Band: Free Spirit Band-Entertainment Exchange. The Manager, Mike, was great to work with. They made the evening fun; everyone packed the dance floor. They also followed our "script" very well.

Steele Stevenson: Director of Social Catering at the Park Hyatt was just tremendous. Always returning phone calls promptly and willing to do anything to please.

Brian McBride: Executive Chef at the Park Hyatt. He did an outstanding job with food presentation, and everything was delicious from the hors d'oeuvres to the plated dinner.

Bridal Gown: Yolanda Couture

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff

Mother of the Bride Gown: Stephen Yearick

Videography: Michael Brazda did a great job all day from getting the video in the suite of the bride and bridesmaids, mother and grandmother getting dressed, make-up etc to the ceremony at the church. An Assistant did the hotel video.

Wedding Cake: Mata's Confections. I had chosen the 5-tier wedding cake from US Weekly Magazine and Mata made it exactly the way I had wanted to every detail.

Groom's Cake and Valentines cookies: Alliescakes. She does a great job designing cakes for any occasion and is willing to try anything new!

Programs and ribbon: Creative Occasions in McLean, VA

Invitations: William Arthur Stationery

Flutter fetti: From New Orleans

Make-up: Barbara Zatcoff

Hair: Jean Paul Achour at†Dolce Vita in McLean, VA

Home  Ι  About Us  Ι  Advertise with Us  Ι  Info for Event Professionals  Ι  Link to Us
© Hawthorn Publications