Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Alison and Michael 6.10.17, Washington, DC

You can tell I'm rusty at blogging. I didn't take my normal wedding shots so had to steal many a FaceBook picture from the sister of the bride and sweet Melissa. Thanks in advance guys. 

Ali got ready at the Sulgrave Club with her cute, smart and really fun bridesmaids. Her dear friend David reminded her that it was gay pride weekend. She was in the heart of Dupont Circle getting ready. Nary a hot pink pump got in the way of being at the church on time.

The nervous Nellie in me got to the church a little early too. E was driving back in from Baltimore. Poor guy had to do a work thing that morning so he met me in the pew, perfectly on time. I love you Charlie. Thanks for loving me despite my nervousness. 

I was a little jittery because I was also a reader. I love reading at weddings. It's such an honor, but you really have to hold it together. 

I also cry at weddings. Every wedding. Even the ones where I'm working. Watching Stuart walk Alison down the aisle was beautiful, touching and the moment I lost it in the tear department. He finally got to be the father of the bride, not the rector. Stuart was beaming with emotion and they both had tears in their eyes on that lovely walk to Michael. Photos weren't allowed during the ceremony but I'm so glad a friend caught this moment. Alison's veil looked so elegant. By the time they made it to the front I was using Linda's vintage handkerchief from the luncheon the day before and thanking God we had a four verse hymn before I had to read. By the fourth verse I got it together, wiped my tears and headed up to the lectern for the first reading from Michah. 

Micah 6:6-8

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

The ceremony was holy and wonderful. The new rector was adorably funny, touching and knocked it out of the park with a reference to the two rivers in New York City joining, like this marriage. Such a fantastic visual. I also caught Stuart smile with pride to Michael's parents after the choir sung. Christ Church has the most talented choir.

It was all smiles and alleluias as they took their first steps down the aisle as man and wife. Another church friend, Tess, wrote how many on the flower committee cried after putting the final touches on the church flowers.  

The guests immediately got into shuttles heading to the reception. The bridal party headed up the hill to Tudor Place for group photos. I love this one of the Koenigs that Margaret shot.

We drove our car from Georgetown, ran into the Pride Parade in Dupont and had to turn around. What a beautiful sea of hot pink up at the Dupont fountain. I've never seen so many people up there at once. We were far enough away that we weren't affected, but it was so fun to see all those people partying in the streets. And we almost got a ticket a half a block from the reception. We got off with a warning. Praise God. We were greeted by beautiful place cards, signatures cocktails, tasty lamb lolly's and the gorgeous big bar on the first floor of the Metropolitan Club in Washington, DC.  Franny had the Aperol Spritz signature cocktail and Manhattan's were also a hit.  My former boss from The George Town Club was the Kenworthy's contact for the wedding at the club. Loved seeing you Melanie.

This was one of those weddings were we had more fun because we knew most of the guests. Alison babysat for James and John when the kids were little. James gave Alison her first job in DC at a TV station. It was so fun seeing our Baltimore besties at "home" in DC. 

Photo credit Melissa Overmyer

Poor E was coming down with a head cold so we scooted upstairs early to take pictures of the ballrooms and find a quiet seat in the upstairs bar. 

There is something magical about a room moments before the guests sit down. It's as if the chairs sit up straighter, the flowers open just so to show off and the candles flicker like the wink of a snowman. Magic.

The photographer was shooting these same moments. 

The escort cards had a beautifully painted table number with gorgeous watercolor flower details. The welcome card had the same artwork with a little froggy in the corner. Mike calls Alison Froggy because she is always hopping from one thing to the next. One country. One event. One segment. Michael gave the most romantic toast to his bride that evening. He mentioned that when Ali travels he would create a little doodle artwork of a froggy hopping to the next adventure. He did this as a coping mechanism because he missed her so much. He created a little story with each trip. And Froggy is always the hero! It was so eloquent and adorable. Froggy is ALWAYS the hero. 

The calligraphy on the place cards, monogrammed stemware, navy base plates, menu cards with the gorgeous watercolor K and frog details were subtle and classic touches.

The grooms cake.

The flowers were so gorgeous on the wedding cake and her bouquet. 

We sat at the top of the stairs with a great view of the dance floor. We sat with some of our favorite people in DC and enjoyed a gorgeous meal. For club food no one does it better than The Metropolitan Club.

We sat down with Stuart, James and John for a visit. I mentioned how pretty each of the flower arrangements were and he sort of snapped into the present and said, "Are those on every table?" Isn't it funny when you are so wrapped up at weddings that you forget to look around? It all goes by so fast too. Look around my dears. Especially you couples who may be reading who haven't yet tied the knot. I charge you to sit and listen to your wedding. Take 5-10 seconds and just listen to how much love is in the room. Listen to the candles showing off. Listen to your flowers. Can you hear them telling you how beautiful you are, and that they are there to make YOU happy?! Enjoy that sip of your Manhattan. Listen to the love that is in the room. It will carry you for your entire marriage. It's not just a party. It's a reflection of God's love. The couple is a reflection. The people there to support you are a reflection. Enjoy it and savor every second that you can to really be present.

Life is a journey. Dance your little faces off and love each other for the rest of your days. 

As we left, satisfied by the beautiful meal, wonderful music, dancing with old friends and cake in the bar, we were greeted by an ICE CREAM sandwich truck. What an absolute surprise and delightful moment. We got huge ice cream sandwiches to go and headed straight to the CVS for a Mucinex/Tylenol Cold nightcap desperately needed for my Charlie. 

If you want to see more fun photos from the weekend go follow the hilariously named hash tag #KoenigsIsWorthy. Also, here is a little video from Magesto that sums up this wonderful couple dancing their hearts off. Sparkle on you darling creatures. We love you.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Alison and Michael's Rehearsal Dinner, The Hay-Adams, 6.9.17

Friday evening was a perfectly glorious, eighty degree, no humidity night for the rehearsal dinner at The Hay-Adams. Secret service guys were checking into our hotel as I left to walk down the street two blocks to dinner. E met me there coming in from Baltimore. All were greeted by these Shinola bikes at The Hay-Adams Hotel. Such a nice nod for this bike loving couple.

Don't you love a gorgeous invitation? The gray ink. The ecru paper? Love it. The lipstick is covering up the private email address of Momma Bear Jeanne. Michael calls his mom, Momma Bear and it suits. She is a rock star!!! Thank you Koenigs for such a perfect night. One of the best parts of weddings is getting real mail and stamps. As a side note, this lipstick is a good one if anyone is looking for a perfect matte. Thank you Brittany from House Lars Built Instastory for the makeup tip. And can we discuss balloon arches for anything event related? How fun for an art college event. 

The flower boxes at the Hay-Adams were simple red begonias. I can't get enough of flower boxes now that we only have a porch, no more Stone Hill Farm...but that's a story for another post.

Again, the weather was perfection. Guests gathered for cocktails on the terrace. They passed crab cakes and the most wonderful Manchego cheese and fig bites.

We were told to go to the 9th floor. The rooftop. If you've never been to the top of The Hay-Adams Hotel, do whatever you can to get there. The views of the White House, monuments and all of DC are second to none. Yes, it's even better than being at the W hotel. Back in the 1990s when I worked at WashingtonInc we did World Bank dinners here often. My colleague Nancy had the first wedding EVER on the roof of The Hay-Adams in a tent. You can tell they've updated the roof and it was climate controlled and elegantly latticed.

Two long tables of 40 each made for an intimate feel for speeches and toasts.

Photo credit, Emily Stephen
The gorgeous bride.

Fran and Margaret enjoying cocktails on the terrace.

The Kenworthy crew.

Name that monument. It's a truly breathtaking view. Eric and I could even see the Mandarin Oriental where we found our love from the roof.

E arrived as we sat down for dinner. He sat next to Stuart's brother and sister-in-law. Emily, another youth groupie, took pictures for the night. The next three are Emily's photos. 

I will cherish this one Emily. Nothing like a ring shot with snuggles on the side. Do you see the bracelet nearest Ali's elbow? Michael's mother gave Alison this gift at the bridesmaid luncheon earlier that day. Chris, Mike's dad, gave it to Jeanne when Michael was BORN. Oh my tears. What a gorgeous gift and as you can see, Alison collects these antique bangles. 

You truly couldn't pick better role models for marriage than these parents. Mike spoke about the way his Dad still grabs Momma Bear for a dance around the kitchen. Be still my dancing heart. Stuart has often told us that marriage is work but it truly gets better with age, like wine!

We had an excellent meal that Jeanne organized to perfection. The lobster bisque started us off. I nearly used the cream soup bowl handles to chug the last drop. Did you know that's actually what the handles are for, per my mother's stories. Mac and Elise have Grandmommy Nancy's china and Mom always said the cream soup bowls were the coolest part of that set.

A simple wedge salad rounded out the second course. 

I admit I stole this picture from little Margaret Grace's FB page. Love you Phoof. The entrees arrived and each guest had a choice of fish or beef. The gratin potatoes were a decadent treat of crunchy cheese topping and heavy cream layers. My filet was perfectly prepared and I know E enjoyed his salmon. Jacqueline and I broke our bread literally so we could share my olive bread and her French roll. It felt like a family gathering. It was such an elegant evening, but everyone was so wonderfully authentic and casual like old friends.

The red wine was also so good I took a picture of the label so I wouldn't forget it for my next event. I need to get this for our fall board meeting. This Pinot packed a punch of dark cherry and forward fruit. Ha! My notes pale in comparison to the Food Network writer at our table.

This bride left no stone un-turned! Ali paired us next to the biggest foodies in the room. When your husband ends up talking the whole night to his neighbor you know the bromance is real. Follow our new foodie friends @eriniam and @uneviecreative on Instagram, and this beautifully written fashion blog from Jen.

As we were eating our entree I noticed four helicopters flying, not landing, outside of the open balcony windows. The sun was setting. Then I heard the the whap-whap of blades and noticed this across the lawn.

I stole this from another friend on FaceBook via Instagram, from Friday, June 9, 2017. His timing had this at 5:30 pm. So my story may not be completely factual since cocktails began at six. But why let facts get in the way of a good story, right? I did notice the fire alarm lights go on, and did actually see a helicopter fly over somewhere before dessert. But we were all so engrossed in the conversation and Alison and Michael's love fest that no one paid attention. Maybe Emily caught it on camera? 

A trio of desserts and coffee were served while the speeches began. Strawberry eclairs anyone? This event space was so special even for the lifetime Washingtonians in the room, which Hadley pointed out so eloquently in her toast.

We left as the waiters passed mini sliders and sorbet cones to keep the party going for guests who arrived in town late. Nice touch Mamma Bear Jeanne!!!

There were no tears in the toasts. Everyone was so focused on the present moment, the goodness of fate bringing these two together, and the stories of friendship. If we could bottle the love from this evening we could cure all the world's problem. 

That evening I took Ali and Michael into a quiet corner and prayed for them. I asked them to imagine Alison's veil as a covering over both of them in the next hours before their wedding, and all throughout their marriage in their minds eye. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would cover them, like this veil, and protect them from any harm, anxious thoughts or negative energy as they prepared for their journey together as husband and wife. I asked it in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Alison's Bridemaid's Luncheon, The George Town Club, Washington DC

Hello dear ones. I had to dust off the 'ole blog to share Alison and Michael's wedding weekend adventures.  It's been over a year since my last blog post. Feels like confession. That's three Bloody Mary's.

Driving into Washington, DC from Baltimore felt like coming home for a family reunion. The bride, Alison, was one of my "youth groupies" so hilariously named by Lizzo years after the actual J2A classes. Alison was 13 when she was in my class. She admitted she HATED it at first. Man, I'm so glad she stuck with our youth group at Christ Church over 20 years ago.  

Ewalking and I left DC ten years ago. I was the Director of Catering at The George Town Club then and ironically, the luncheon was held at the club on Friday. It really was a blast from the past. They have opened up the windows in the Main Dining Room, refreshed the sofas in lighter shades of beige, and done an outstanding renovation in the Club Room. It was such a treat to see it looking so fresh. 

I also worked for Ali's dad, Stuart when I was at Christ Church, Georgetown. I remember Fran opening their home for a rectory new member reception, I was maybe 23 years old and remember hanging out in the kitchen with their youngest daughter Margaret Grace and middle child Stuart. Ali's dad was the rector of Christ Church and married us 10 years ago. When Stuart came to our wedding my cousins all greeted him like an old friend, since he had been participating in our football and basketball bowl pools for years. When Stuart finally won the pot one year, I remember everyone cheering for him on-line because it had been quiet a long, dry run of loosing. 

But I digress. See, I still go around the world to tell a story. Back to Bridesmaids and bubbly.

And garlic scapes in the flower arrangements. Be still my locally grown heart. Fran and Linda hosted this beautiful party and the flowers were from Ultra Violet. 

Franny, these are all for you. Since we love to document all the little details,especially the food.

The mother's were beaming ear to ear. Laughter and wise womanly advice was given freely. And a few tears were shared when Michael's sister told us all how much Michael comes alive when Alison is in the room.

Alison, Fran and Jeanne.

Linda thought of absolutely everything. She gave each friend a vintage handkerchief tucked in a Victorian paper nosegay cone. I desperately needed this gift on Saturday watching Stuart walk Ali down the aisle. But let's not jump ahead. She also asked friends to write letters of advice to the bride.

Alison's fabulous vintage dress was a score on one of her many trips around the country at Bad Granny's Bazaar in Oklahoma City. She is an award winning producer at ABC for Good Morning America and met Mike on a Bike at work. Watch their video below learning to tango!

I'm sure I'm not the only one having a wedding weekend happy hangover. I loved meeting all of these smart, brilliant and beautiful women. And of course hugging your faces, Hadley, Margaret and our beautiful bride!

As we left, Fran gave us these fabulous Scout bags. Expertly filled with comforting welcome goodies. That Popped Republic Popcorn is a game changer!

Words and pictures really can't express the love I have for the Kenworthy's. Stuart gave me a job after loosing mine after 9/11. Teaching J2A at Christ Church with Shep and Ann will still be one of the favorite seasons of my life. Ali loves to travel and I think, just maybe, it's because we all went to England on a holy pilgrimage together in 1999. Then in 2001 we camped in the dessert of Mexico on a mission trip. We took bucket showers and grilled our food. Now she jet sets all over the world telling stories. By the grace of God she found Michael who is the perfect ying to her yang. Michael's mother hugged me as if we had known each other for decades too. It was a full-on-love-fest and we truly couldn't be happier for you both.