This classic, romantic, timeless Washington DC Wedding at The Darcy Hotel will give you all of the feels! From the heartfelt outdoor ceremony beside the Foundry’s garden, to the way they graciously handled the Covid-19 pandemic (wait until you see her mask!), to a serendipitous rose petal-lined walk down the steps of the iconic Meridian Hill Park (that’s right it was totally unplanned), you won’t want to miss this incredible celebration:
Why Rhinehart Photography?
They shared, “Lisa was one of the very first vendors that we booked way back when we started planning our wedding in January 2019. We were drawn to her vibrant photography and how her work was both artistic and abstract but also creatively candid.”
Caitlin explained, “Lisa’s photos seem to capture all the best parts of a wedding day, from gorgeous portraits to funny candids to romantic moments between each couple. When everything started falling apart in the middle of 2020 and we had to make some tough decisions about whether and how to move forward with our wedding plans, one of the most important considerations was making sure that we could still work with Lisa. She was so supportive as we shared our concerns and evolving plans with her, and was awesome about working with us as we figured out a new tandem wedding plan for having a small wedding on our original date and postponing the big celebration to next year.”
Sean added, “Along with taking amazing pictures, another of Lisa’s many strengths is how stealthily she does her job. After our wedding, Caitlin and I both talked both about how there were many moments when we forgot there were even photographers there, and how we’re also incredibly confident that Lisa was, in reality, everywhere and took outstanding pictures.”
Classic DC Wedding Style
Sean shared, “I think Caitlin and I both lean toward a more classic style, but with a little pizazz and personality thrown in.”
Caitlin added, “My shoes were actually the very first thing I bought – I figured shoes that fabulous would go with any dress!”
Sometimes the smallest details make the biggest impact. These sexy Louboutin pumps have so much sparkle, that looks even more fun up close, that I incorporated it into the classic ring shot, I love their rose gold bands, too!
They explained, “The overall color scheme of the wedding came together pretty organically. We featured navy blue, burgundy, blush, and rose gold, which created a classic, glamorous, and romantic feel for the day.” As always it was a joy to work with Gerry from Petals Edge!
Caitlin and Sean were exceedingly careful when it came to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ll talk a lot about it at the end of the post, but Covid hit a year into planning their wedding, so they had to plan and re-plan. Their guestlist moved from 150 to 16, they all wore masks and had various other precautions in place.
If you look closely you can see the masked make-up artist also wearing a shield as she is subtly reflected in artwork in Caitlin’s Darcy Hotel suite.
Wedding Day Preparations
Caitlin reminisced, “I bought my dress on my first (and only) shopping trip; I knew as soon as I put it on that it was the one. I’d seen that moment on countless episodes of Say Yes to the Dress but didn’t actually believe it was real until it happened to me!”
Here the sunlight illuminates Caitlin’s perfume against the backdrop of yellow as so many details are visible in the frame:
Classic bride indeed!
Caitlin is pretty sentimental, so there were a few important pieces among her “details” that had a lot of emotional value: her maternal grandparents’ wedding rings, which she wore on her right hand as her “something borrowed.”
What Sean Loves
Sean smiled, “Caitlin is incredibly smart but is also incredibly down-to-earth, and kind. Just, for example, I love that she, 1) on a somewhat regular basis, uses words I don’t know; 2) doesn’t seem to realize I don’t know them; and 3) doesn’t even seem to notice when I Google them to figure out what she’s just said. Moreover, though, I love that she also has a huge heart and that she puts that huge heart to use in so many ways, whether it’s toward me, our cat, nearly every dog she ever comes into contact with, our friends, our family, or our world.”
Black and White Options
I photograph all of my images in color and then create duplicate copies of the images that I want to convert into black and white. It is more of a meticulous process but I love to give my clients options, and they come in hand, especially when designing wedding albums. The tulle beneath Caitlin’s dress was nothing short of stunning. I really liked how converting this into black and white gave that pattern all the more umph.
Yaaaas– I’m loving this image *in color*
Here I’m playing with reflections again, this time with the incredibly artistic bathroom tile as Caitlin’s veil is secured. I like to pair reflections with silhouettes and I’m very pleased with this one.
Everyone Loves Pockets!
While pockets always come in hand, they are especially so during a pandemic where one is taking on and off a mask throughout the day.
Caitlin shared, “We’d chosen all of our attire well before the pandemic hit, and decided that even though the wedding itself had to be downsized, we definitely still wanted to wear everything we’d planned on. The only things we added were our masks!”
Safe & Stunning: Covid-19 Masks
She continued, “I found my amazing mask serendipitously: I was walking down King Street and passed a bridal boutique that had a bunch of wedding masks in a window display. One of them had this amazing beadwork that I knew would match my belt perfectly! Wearing a mask on our wedding day certainly wasn’t part of my original vision, but I actually love the way my mask complemented my other accessories, and I was happy to be able to have some fashionable fun with our safety measures.”
First Look with Dad
So I fully realize this is way too many photos in this section, but I couldn’t help it, her first look with her dad was just that incredible.
Here she touches his shoulder and he turns around:
When I showed Caitlin all four of these images she said, “this one is my favorite! This is his classic sentimental face dialed up to 11.”
Here, tears drop from his eyes as he holds his heart…
Caitlin shared, “My dad and I have always been very close, and while my sister and I tease him a little bit for being a softie, I actually love how free he is with his emotions.”
Yes, wow is all I can say! Just beautiful…
Her parents beamed, “Words can’t capture our pride in the woman Caitlin has become, our joy in her marriage, and our love for her and Sean.”
Sean’s Turn in the Spotlight
My second photographer, Darren, photographed Sean and his party while I was with the ladies in the bridal suite. He captured this awesome shot that actually features one of my photos!
Sean explained, “I arranged for the inner lining of my tux to feature one of my favorite shots that Lisa took during our engagement shoot. It was another way to have some fun by throwing in something cool, different, and personal, but without being too loud about it.”
Sean laughed, “Personally, I’ve always liked classic black tuxes but I’m a redhead so can’t help but be a little different. (I’m pretty sure that if James Bond had been a redhead, he would have worn a blue tux, too.)”
Sean explained, “I hand-wrote my own vows, and they felt so natural to me. That is not to say that I was unemotional when writing them. On the contrary, I cried while writing my vows and rehearsing them.”
I love how the blue matches his suit so well…
The Groom’s Custom Mask
Sean shared, “Caitlin had actually contacted Sean’s Tom James Company consultant shortly after Sean ordered his tux (pre-pandemic) to ask for some extra material for the tux to incorporate into her garter as “something blue,” and it worked out well that Milo sent Caitlin plenty of extra fabric so her mom could also make Sean a matching mask in addition to the garter!”
What Caitlin Loves
Caitlin revealed, “Sean is one of the most deeply good people I’ve ever known. He is tremendously compassionate and thoughtful, and his drive to do good in the world inspires me. He’s also super smart, and I love that he challenges me to approach things from new perspectives.”
The Groom’s Party
Stunning attire and it matches the classic look of the church so well!
While they were masked for closer portraits Darren got creative with this shot ensuring that each member was 6 feet apart, love it!
Ready for the First Look
Caitlin’s mom made custom masks for all the attendants and parents! For the bridesmaids, she bought a sale dress in the same fabric and color as the bridesmaids’ dresses and used the material to make their masks:
Caitlin, you are stunning and I can’t even tell you how obsessed I am with this image– “It has pockets!!”
Sean smiled, “When I first saw her on our wedding day, I mostly remember not only how beautiful she looked but how calm she seemed.”
He continued, “I knew she’d look amazing but I didn’t expect her to be so relaxed! And the combination of the two–how great she looked and how ready she was to get married–caused me to choke up more than I expected.”
All of Washington DC Celebrated!
Caitlin articulated, “One of the most fun parts of the day was feeling like the whole city was cheering us on! So many cars honked for us and drivers cheered out their windows as they drove by!”
Sean added, “During a time when things have been so stressful and challenging, it was so cool to hear people rooting for us and sharing in our joy. Without the pandemic, we wouldn’t have spent nearly as much time outside so there wouldn’t have been the same opportunity to interact with people.”
Here she beams at passers-by shouting their congratulations…
The vast majority of a wedding day for me is spent capturing real moments as they occur. Here Caitlin climbs from the limo.
I *love* this moment, Caitlin arriving at the church with her bridesmaids masked up and ready to go… I love that she is stepping into the light:
Wedding Ceremony Ready!
Caitlin shared, “The feeling I remember most was pure excitement. As soon as Sean and I did our first look (another thing that we wouldn’t have done but for the pandemic, because we’d be wearing our masks as I walked up the aisle and we didn’t want our first time seeing each other to be with our faces covered), I just felt so excited to finally be marrying him – twenty-one months is a long time to be engaged!”
Caitlin smiled, “A really special, meaningful moment was when my dad and I were walking up the sidewalk towards the tent together. Just before we entered the tent he stopped and gave me a quiet blessing. This is the same blessing he’s given me whenever we part ways, whether when it was me driving back up to college, or leaving my parents’ house in Massachusetts to come home to DC, or when my parents have left after a visit here. To have him give me that blessing as I embark on this new journey with Sean was really beautiful.”
Tented Foundry Wedding Ceremony
Caitlin laughed, “Really none of our wedding day locations were in our original plans, but they all turned out to be wonderful! Our ceremony was always supposed to be held at Foundry United Methodist Church, but the plan was to be inside the beautiful sanctuary. Due to the pandemic, we weren’t allowed to use the interior of the building at all so we had to move our ceremony to the front patio, which caused no small amount of worrying about the weather! But being outside was definitely safer for everyone, and that was our #1 priority.”
Caitlin continued, “Aside from working with Lisa, another big must-have for our wedding was having Pastor Ginger officiate.”
Sean added, “I’ve been a member of Foundry for around 20 years. The senior pastor there, Ginger, is incredibly powerful and has been very important to me. In late 2017 and early 2018, several sermons Ginger delivered helped re-inspire me to do more to engage with the world around me, including by searching again for someone to share my life with.”
He concluded, ” And it didn’t take long to meet and fall in love with Caitlin. Having our wedding at Foundry, and having Ginger officiate, was absolutely perfect.”
Caitlin recounted, “I attribute a lot of my spirituality to my dad, and his own faith journey and vocation as a Catholic deacon have always inspired me. It was really special to have him give the closing blessing at the ceremony in his deacon vestments, bringing his joint identities as dad and clergy together.”
Husband and Wife!
Sean explained, “As much as I cried while writing my vows and rehearsing them ahead of time, they felt amazingly natural to give when the actual time came. And I loved Caitlin’s vows. Many parts stand out but one is how she essentially described vowing to actively step into our life together, each and every day, and being on the same team. It aligned perfectly with what I tried to communicate in my vows.”
Foundry United Methodist Church is a gorgeous and historic structure and a beautiful place for a Washington DC wedding:
The mother-of-the-Bride Sewed Custom Masks
Caitlin’s mom used black satin for the men’s masks to match their tuxes. She also made her own mask and Sean’s mom’s mask to match their lovely jewel-tone dresses, and she made Sean’s mask out of extra material from his custom tuxedo.”
Meridian Hill Park Romantic Getaway
Caitlin shared, “Getting to take pictures in Meridian Hill Park was really special because I lived right across the street from the park while Sean and I were dating, and we spent a lot of time strolling through the park while we were getting to know each other. Incorporating this much-loved piece of my old neighborhood into our wedding meant a lot, and was something we couldn’t have done if our original plans had been possible.”
Caitlin smiled, “We always knew that marriage would inevitably have plenty of ups and downs over the years, but the craziness of 2020 has made me even more certain that Sean is the person I want to navigate those bumps with.”
She added, “I think our Pastor said to us once that planning a wedding together is great practice for marriage, and we had the “benefit” of not just planning one wedding together, but un-planning and re-planning at least two more versions of our wedding mid-pandemic!”
She summarized, “And the fact that we’ve been able to focus on the most essential parts of those plans and keep each other laughing through all of it gives me so much faith in our ability to take on just about anything in our life together.”
Planning a Wedding During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Caitlin, laughing, “I was definitely that little girl who dreamed of her wedding! I dressed up as a bride for Halloween when I was 5 or 6, and imagined my perfect wedding long before I knew who might be standing at the end of the aisle – and my visions certainly never involved wearing a mask down the aisle!”
Sean added, “We’d been planning our wedding for over a year already when the pandemic started and probably had about 95% of our plans in place by the time it became clear that we would need to make some drastic changes.”
Caitlin recalled, “It was pretty tough to let go of our original plans for our wedding day, especially after we’d put so much effort into planning a day that seemed so perfect. But our most important priority was keeping our loved ones safe, and making all these changes was absolutely the right thing to do.”
Caitlin added, ‘While the changes were challenging in many aspects, like only having 10% of our guests in attendance for example, but there were so many silver linings as well. The first look, our time in Meridian Hill, the extra speeches, all the people cheering us on from DC.”
Sean concluded, “At the end of the day, I believe Caitlin & I have successfully built a strong foundation to our relationship that I’m confident will serve us well for a long time.”
Rose Petals Lining Meridian Hill
We actually came upon thousands of rose petals lining the steps of lining the Meridian Hill Fountain, that was for sure lucky.
For me, it was so beautiful to see the two of them taking lemons and making them into lemonade, and I think that Pastor Ginger is right, it does bode very well for their relationship, as challenges will undoubtedly present themselves.
They agreed, “The completely different day we had was filled with so many special moments and memories that we wouldn’t have experienced under normal circumstances, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
Reminiscing about their First Date
Sean shared, “I love that Caitlin knows so much about so many different things, and that she remains curious about the things she doesn’t know. That curiosity is one of the first things I noticed about her when we met (along with how she looked in a romper).”
Caitlin, laughing at the romper comment, “My very first thought about Sean was that he was even cuter than his Bumble profile photos, but that thought was quickly surpassed by the realization of how much I loved talking with him. It felt like we could have talked about pretty much anything for hours, and honestly we haven’t stopped since then. He’s my favorite person to talk to about everything from silly animal videos to political theory to current events to whatever might be frustrating me about work or running or whatever else is going on.”
They’ve definitely found their “other half” 🙂
Rose Gold Wedding Bands
I bring several lenses along with me on a wedding day. One of those is the Canon L Series Macro Lens. I love the way it can capture even the slightest of details. I love the lighting and composition of this show that captures the rose gold wedding bands, the detailing on Caitlin’s dress, and her bouquet and tattoo, too. 😉
Blagden Alley Rainbow LOVE Mural
We took a couple of minutes to pop by the LOVE mural on our way back to the Darcy Hotel…
I love the colors and especially Sean’s authentic expression in this image:
Wedding Reception at The Darcy Hotel
Sean explained, “The Darcy Hotel was where we’d planned to stay and have our out of town guests stay, but it ended up also being the venue for our scaled-down wedding dinner and they went above and beyond in making our huge changes in plans safe for everyone and still so special for us.”
I love everything about The Darcy, really, but the entry is especially stunning. Caitlin was big on me including the pandemic in the wedding and being authentic about that because it is part of the history, part of the story. Here as they hurried in from outside, I quickly focused on the social distancing sign and showed Caitlin’s movement and part of that stunning entry.
The Crowd Goes Wild
Everyone rose to their feet and enthusiastically cheered as Caitlin and Sean entered the room. Something else that is really special about these micro weddings is that the only people who are there are very very invested in being there and overwhelmingly excited for the happy couple.
Wedding Reception Traditions
Caitlin recalled, “I remember feeling like I just couldn’t stop smiling the whole day: during our photos, through the ceremony, while we did our first dance, all of it.”
Warm, vibrant light shines throughout the room creating ambiance and I custom set all of my flashes to perfectly match that light and really catch that beauty…
Caitlin mentioned, “Another thing we did because of the pandemic that ended up being incredibly special was opening up the floor for “open mic” style toasts from anyone who wanted to give one. Since we couldn’t have dancing, we needed a way to fill some of the time after dinner, and we ended up hearing some absolutely beautiful tributes from friends and family who wouldn’t have had the chance to speak at our original big reception.”
Sean chimed in, “Hearing from some of the people who know us best and being able to see our love for each other through their eyes was so meaningful, and we’re really grateful that our unexpectedly intimate wedding dinner offered us the chance to do that.”
Cailin beamed, “My father’s love and support have always been unconditional and unwavering, and choosing a special song for our father-daughter dance was a no-brainer for me.”
She continued, “I’ve been a huge fan of Josh Groban since high school, and listened to his first two albums incessantly when I lived at home. The song “You Raise Me Up” has always made me think of Dad, and I’ve known that it’s what I wanted to dance with him to at my wedding since 2003. I didn’t tell Dad that ahead of time, though, so it was a surprise when the music started playing and he recognized the song almost immediately and started crying (he said he’s glad the mask hid most of his tears this time!).
All of the guests were very emotionally present throughout the evening at every point it was so beautiful to witness.
Well Wishes Continued Outside the Darcy Hotel
As Sean spun Caitlin under the awning of The Darcy Hotel, Washington DC well-wishers continued to shout their congratulations and comment on Caitlin’s beautiful wedding gown.
Sean shared, “I’m proud of what Caitlin and I have built together. We’ve learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses and have chosen to focus on the former. We have faith that we each want the same fundamental things in our relationship, now and going forward. Plus, I think we’re pretty good about finding ways to share fun and joy with one another, too.”
Anyone else getting Beauty and the Beast vibes with this last image?
Sean and Caitlin, thank you so much for including Darren and I in your incredibly intimate guest list and giving us the same *incredible food* as your wedding guests, too! You were nothing but generous, and we felt totally safe in the midst of a global pandemic, which is no easy feat, especially with Darren preparing to tie the not within a week! Thank you for your hospitality and kindness and I can’t wait to do it all again, but this time with the huge party you dreamed of!
- Dinner reception: The Darcy Hotel, special shout-out to Joy Kosmela who held down their events department single-handedly for months and was so helpful as we tried to pivot to a totally new plan for a dinner reception all while making us and our guests feel very safe.
- Coordination: Sara Muchnick Events for coordination, special shout-out to Cassie Harwood, our coordinator, who was amazing at rolling with the punches through all of our changing plans and who made everything come together so smoothly on our wedding day.
- Flowers: Petals Edge Floral Design
- Caitlin’s dress/veil/belt: Love Couture Bridal
- Caitlin’s mask: Elegance by Roya
- Makeup and Hair: Salon Tres Chic, shout-outs to Christina, Justine, and Briana who drove down from Massachusetts to be there for us and never once wavered in their commitment to making Caitlin’s wedding morning experience so fun and special and relaxing despite all the pandemic-related challenges.
- Sean’s tuxedo: Tom James Company, special shout-out to Sean’s personal consultant Milo, who worked with Sean on designing his tux and making the photo liner surprise happen
- Cake: Buttercream Bakeshop
- Caitlin’s nails: Salon Meraki
- Rings: Brilliant Earth
- Bridesmaids’ and Groomswoman’s dresses: David’s Bridal
- Groomsmen and dads’ tuxes: Tuxedo by Sarno
Covid-19 Pandemic Precautions
I asked Caitlin for a detailed list incase it might help others planning their weddings during these crazy times…
Caitlin explained, “A lot of our planning and re-planning conversations revolved around what the most essential elements of the day were, and how to make them as safe as possible for everyone there. Masks were an obvious must-have for us, for both our wedding party and our guests. We communicated with our guests in advance to make sure that everyone knew that masks would be required throughout the day, and we included masks in everyone’s favor bags just in case someone needed an extra. For the wedding party and ourselves, we wanted to integrate everyone’s masks into their outfits as much as possible, so Caitlin’s mom made custom masks for all the attendants and parents!
She continued, “We cut the guest list down to 16 from 150 and required all guests to wear masks throughout the day except when eating; we provided extra masks and hand sanitizers in the favor bags, and boxed waters with paper straws so people could stay hydrated without removing their masks; we moved the ceremony outside; we rented commercial-grade UV air filters for both the bridal suite (for bridal party getting ready) and the ballroom for dinner; we only did the 3 special dances (our first dance, father/daughter and mother/son) canceling the dance party with all our guests; we kept our masks on while dancing with our parents; we had the appetizers pre-plated for everyone instead of having passed hors d’oeuvres; we asked guests to place drink orders through the waitstaff so fewer people were interacting.”
She added, “All the hair & makeup artists wore masks and face-shields while working on us; we created assigned seating for both the ceremony and the dinner reception so that people in the same households or pods were sitting together, but each pod was very well spaced – the ceremony chair clusters were at least 6 feet apart, and the dinner tables were 6-feet across and each only had one or two households, and the tables were at least 10 feet apart from each other. We also opted to not have our wedding party process in together, since none of the bridesmaids or groomspeople are in the same household, and we wanted to minimize the number of people walking past everyone up the center aisle. Instead, the groomspeople came in from the side of the tent with Sean, and the bridesmaids came in from the other side shortly before Caitlin and her dad walked up the aisle (wearing their masks).”
Want to see more?
Caitlin & Sean’s Engagement Session at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC
Nina & Michael’s vibrant, joyful Darcy Hotel Wedding preparations in Washington DC
Dozens of other Washington DC Weddings and Engagements