A “Night at the Museum” Wedding at The National Museum of Women in the Arts
When most people think of a wedding at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC they imagine a very traditional and classic wedding. Although those weddings are beautiful and definitely reflective of the DC history and culture, that’s not what we did here. We kept the elegance and sophistication of the venue and layered on a modern and glamorous design.
Adriana and Marli are very fashion-forward, stylish, and wanted to celebrate their love and marriage in a way that most represented them as a couple. They asked for modern, reflective surfaces, elegant, moody, and a design that was baroque-inspired. We mixed and matched the old with the new to create a cohesive look that incorporated acrylic, mirrors, mixed metallics, and baroque textures and patterns. When speaking to the couple it became clear that their guests were those who love to have a good time. They wanted to socialize and dance. Sitting down for a formal dinner wouldn’t have really fit with their energy. We opted for a multi-station, roaming reception. Popularly known as a cocktail-style reception. The couple is big into food and wanted to showcase their love for the culinary arts, but also showcase cuisines that are indicative of their diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.
The wedding party got ready at the W Hotel in Washington DC. It was the perfect backdrop for the stylish group. The bride’s party wore long black gowns and the groom’s party showed up in sexy tuxedos. The groom wore a designer jacket and finished off his look with an outfit change for the reception. The bride wore a gorgeous sparkly gown, complete with a tiara, and she looked right out of a fairytale.
The couple’s best friend officiated the ceremony for them. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The ceremony altar was custom made and doubled as the DJ booth once we flipped the space for the reception. The couple had a greenery lasso made in the shape of the infinity sign. It was draped over them by the Groom’s parents and was symbolic of their everlasting love. The bride is part Mexican and this was a nod to her Mexican heritage.
After the ceremony, the guests were ushered upstairs to the art gallery for cocktail hour. They were encouraged to mingle, enjoy the art, appetizers, and signature drinks. The bride’s signature drink was a Sparkling Pear Mocktail and the Grooms signature drink was a Blueberry Lime Mocktail. A special feature of the National Museum of Women in the Arts is the Frida Kahlo portrait that is displayed here. This was a special detail for the Bride due to her Mexican heritage. As a design detail, I had the lighting company create a GOBO with a Frida Kahlo quote to shine on the floor of the museum during dancing. The quote reads ‘Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.” It was definitely a feature that surprised and delighted the guests.
After cocktail hour the guests were invited to the mezzanine. On this floor, we had staged all of the food stations. We had a variety of seating arrangements to keep the energy and flow of the party moving. There were traditional low tables and chairs, bar height tables with stools, and multiple lounges for the guests to enjoy. The bride and groom sat at an estate table at the head of the room with their family.
Once it was time for dances we cued the DJ. The wedding party was introduced down the double staircase and took their places on the dance floor. Once they were in position, and the guests were all looking over the balcony, the bride and groom had the most amazing entrance to their first dance. They each took a flight of stairs and came down in unison, meeting in the middle of the dance floor. Their first dance was nothing short of spectacular. They looked amazing dancing together with all of their guests watching from above. The guests then joined them and the party really took off. They even had a surprise song written and sung by a singer, to the groom from the bride.
When it was time to cut the cake, the amazing piece of art that was created for them, we moved them over to the vignette cake display and got them into position. The cake was a custom piece and had sugar flowers and leaves that their friends and family had written messages on to the couple. It was gorgeous. I didn’t feel that having this cake sit on a traditional cake table was going to be sufficient. We brought in a mirrored column, draped it in pink chiffon, and paired it with a tall baroque-inspired statue. In addition to the cake, there was a hot cocoa and coffee station, mini desserts, and a hydration station with fruit infused water.
The guests partied and danced until the very last minute. On their way out, the guests were presented with a “His and Hers” custom scent. The couple had been working with a custom perfume designer to create a scent that reminded them of their favorite memories. The scents were bottle and packaged with their custom labels. They were then displayed on gold and glass shelves for their guests to pick up on their way out.
Working with a venue that is open to the public is a bit challenging. There are very tight timelines with load-in and set up and every second count. Working in a historic building also has its challenges. There are several specialized rules and regulations that need to be followed and taken into account. Having a very clear design plan and logistics plan is key. However, a plan is only as good as it is executed and a strong vendor team is imperative.
As always, I would love to chat.
Photography: Ashleigh Bing Photography
Florals and Decor: Edge Floral Event Designer
Hair: Tress Arts Hair
Makeup: Taylor Simpson Artistry
Catering: Spilled Milk
Lighting: Electric Events DC
Cake: Fleur and Flour
Harpist and Strings: Capitol Harpist
DJ: DJ Reece
Videography: Paper Boy Films
Custom Scent Favors: DIY Scent Studio
Photobooth: Mr. Shuttersworth