A Wintry Josephine Butler Parks Center Jewish Washington DC Wedding

As we move into our true winter months, we start to dream of gorgeous winter weddings were snow is on the ground and brides can bundle up in the most delicious of ways.  Margaret O’Connor & Christian Richards capitalized on the beauty that is a Washington DC wedding, hosting a lovely daytime Jewish wedding for close family and friends.  Simple was the name of the game keeping details limited but impactful like hearty organic bowls of succulent filled life and a hot cider bar for guests to sip on.  While simple may have been in the extra cards, sophistication was the name when it came to Margaret & Christian’s winter wedding style.  Donning a dress from BHLDN’s bridesmaid line, Margaret injected colorful detailing with a gorgeous jewel toned crystal belt while keeping herself cozy in a hand knitted baby blue shawl.  For that extra touch of winter magic, the last piece to the puzzle were Margaret’s sparkling silver heels, putting together a dreamy winter bridal look that is equal parts elegant as it is low fuss.  This lovely little DC wedding is the perfect start to the winter wedding season, especially when it comes wrapped in hand knitted shawls!

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Novella of the Bride…

Christian is originally from Rhode Island and New England still runs deeply in his blood. He grew up in a large Italian family where his 13 cousins all feel like brothers and sisters. He sailed and played soccer when he was younger, attended the University of Vermont, and came to DC after graduating and found himself working on the Hill. In typical DC fashion, he then found a job on K Street. Christian is now attending American University for a master’s in public policy.  Margaret grew up in Seattle and played the flute with the intention of becoming a professional musician. Her interests changed in college and she ended up with a Political Science and Jewish Studies degree. She came to DC right after college for AVODAH, a Jewish Americorps program, and fell in love with the city. She got her master’s degree in international relations and now works at the State Department.

Christian and Margaret met while working at a running store. After they went on a couple of bike rides together, Christian worked up the nerve to ask Margaret on a proper date. While their relationship started out of a mutual love of running and triathlon (something that continues to be a big part of their lives), they quickly discovered that they connect over so much else and complement each other perfectly.  Margaret is Jewish and feels it is important to create a Jewish home, something Christian was on board with. We participated in an interfaith couples workshop with the rabbi who ultimately married us, and it was such an important time for us to reflect on and clarify how we want to grow in our relationship.

We did not have a theme for the wedding, but we did incorporate a lot of personal touches throughout the ceremony and reception that really made the wedding feel intimate and reflect who we are as a couple and as individuals. We chose to have our wedding at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, in part because it is a beautiful venue, but more importantly because it is owned by a non-profit organization that reflects our values, and we were excited to be able to support them.

We had a Jewish wedding because we decided that it was a first and crucial step in creating a Jewish home together. The ceremony itself had a number of personal details: we used Margaret’s grandfather’s tallit for the chuppah (wedding canopy); near the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom are wrapped in a tallit and the parents say a blessing over them – we used Margaret’s mom’s tallit, who died a few years earlier; Christian walked into “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppets – his childhood nickname was Kermit; Margaret and Christian wrote the language for their ketubah (marriage contract).

We decided to have a Sunday brunch wedding because we both go to bed early (a side effect of triathlon training) and breakfast is our favorite meal of the day! We started with coffee hour (another favorite – Margaret is from Seattle, after all) and Grandma cookies – homemade cookies from Christian’s grandmother are a staple at all of the grandchildren’s weddings and family holidays. For decorations, we hung up old running and triathlon race bibs and had pictures of us as children scattered throughout the venue. Margaret would can jam every summer with her mom, a tradition she and Christian continue today, so they canned applesauce as wedding favors.

A Little Help From Their Friends ~ So many people! We are bound to miss someone in this list, because so many people pitched in, which really means the world to us. But we first have to acknowledge our parents and Margaret’s Aunt Judy for all of their support and help throughout the process. Suzzanne not only provided moral support throughout the process, she made sure none of the details got lost. Her husband Nate created our amazing playlist for the reception. Jessie was also so supportive while we were planning the wedding and hosted me and all of the girls the morning of the wedding while we were getting ready. Joanie and Jessie made the centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres. Yael, Margaret’s good friend sang the seven blessings during the ceremony with such beauty and grace that people were talking about it for months after. Amy, Margaret’s cousin did her hair. Jillian, Margaret’s friend did her makeup. The groomsmen schlepped everything up to the venue. Anna and Aaron picked up the all important coffee and doughnuts, and cake. Christian’s grandmother made delicious cookies for the coffee hour.

Favorite Moments ~

Margaret: I loved the ceremony. I am not a fan of being the center of attention, but there was something so special about being surrounded by all of the people I love. I was really able to be present in that moment – under the chuppah with our siblings and parents right next to us, reciting the ketubah to one another, hearing the rabbi’s sermon, circling each other, listening to our loved ones sing and read the seven blessings, and publicly proclaiming our love and devotion to each other.

Christian: In Jewish tradition the bride and groom take some time alone together immediately after the ceremony (called yichud). We ran upstairs to the top floor of the Josephine Butler Center and were both high on adrenaline. We kept looking at each other say, “holy viagra s*&$, we’re married!” But seriously, it was pretty much the only time throughout the wedding that we got to be alone together. We drank mimosas and savored the moment.

Vendor Love

Photographer: Katie DeLorme Photography Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center  | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Bridal Accessories: {Shawl} Elegant Knitting, {Belt} Anthropologie  | Shoes: John Fluevog  | Hair: Amy Hall  | Makeup: Jillian Foster  | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic  | Music: Mary Wilkerson  | Florist: Joanie LaPorte  | Caterer: Omelette Guys  | Baker: Sticky Fingers  | Wedding/Event Planner: Bree Ryback  | Officiant: Rabbi Shira  | Ketubah: Lauren Rosenthal

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