Kate, Graduate Student & David, Patent Attorney
One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: An intimate afternoon celebration of love and family, with dancing, live music, games, laughter, and light.
Soundtrack for reading: “Mo’ Better Blues” by Gordon Webster
Wedding Dress: I started with this dress from ModCloth. Then I added a ball gown skirt with pockets and made sleeves from lace salvaged off the skirt. I added buttons from Bliss Buttons. I waited to do the bustle until my mom was in town so we could work on it together.
Venue and Decorations: We selected our venue with three unshakeable criteria: it had to have a lot of light, a good dance floor, and be beautiful without added decoration. The only decorating we did were the centerpieces and the mantle arrangements from the florist.
Seating Arrangements: The only room large enough to seat everyone for lunch was also the only room large enough to seat everyone for the ceremony. A number of solutions were proposed, but eventually we decided to just seat everyone at their reception tables for the ceremony. When the ceremony ended, the wedding party walked to our seats and the caterers came out with the first course.
Officiant: My dad officiated for us. Last year DC passed a regulation allowing anyone, regardless of religious affiliation or ordination, to receive a temporary officiant license.
Dancing: Swing and blues social dancing is a huge part of our lives; it’s how we met, it’s how we know most of our friends, and it brings us so much joy, so of course it was also a major part of our celebration.
The After-Party: Our wedding ended at 5pm, so David and I were back at our hotel by 5:40pm for a nap and some alone time. Our family spread the word for us that anyone not done partying could meet us at the hotel bar at 9pm, so we spent the evening there.
Favorite Thing About The Wedding
There were two moments that I felt overwhelmed with love: when everyone stood up as David and I walked in, arm-in-arm, for the ceremony and when we had the “jam.” Dance jams are a way of making someone feel special at a dance event—often to commemorate a birthday or to thank an event organizer. Everyone stands in a circle, with the honorees in the center, and as the song plays, people leave the circle to come in and dance with the persons being honored. So over the course of one song, the people in the center dance with twenty or thirty partners for just a few bars of music each. I’ve never really liked jam circles because you never know who you’ll end up dancing with, but at our wedding a friend came up to me and told me they were going to have a jam, and I couldn’t very well say no.
When it started, I realized that I was going to dance with all the people I love to dance with most, all in one song, and how could that be anything but wonderful? When I thought the song was ending, I realized that I wanted to end it with my husband, so I told my partner at the time and left her to “steal” David from the person he was with. Our photographer, bless her heart, managed to photograph both our faces as we spun, and the joy in those photographs captures exactly how it felt.