Tammy and Thomas said their ‘I Dos' at District Winery, a DC urban winery and restaurant that sits along the Anacostia River. They brought the fresh feeling of outdoors inside with lush florals from J.Morris Flowers and a full floral installation at the altar that modernized the traditional arch. Every little detail was thought of with this couple, from custom place cards by FranJohnsonHouse, to macaroons from Gateaux Bakery on each guest's place setting. The personal touches continued with a hanging seating sign and table numbers from Mantequillaco and elegant stationary from Artisan Matchmaker. The vibe of the paper goods was even tied in through the cake from Buttercream Bakeshop. Tammy looked like a vision in white in her Monique Lhuillier gown from Maddison Row South, while the bridesmaids rocked Show Me Your Mumu and the groom and groomsmen sported The Black Tux. The event was celebrated to the max with the Bachelor Boys Band keeping the party going with Mason Photography there to capture it all.
How did you meet?
We met in college while attending Villanova University together. Apparently, Tommy insists that we met sophomore year at a party, but I do not recall that evening (I still don't think it really happened hah!). We BOTH remember officially meeting when Tommy picked me up to drive to his fraternity formal… where we both had different dates! My date, Tommy's fraternity brother, had an interview that day, so I was fifth wheel in Tommy's car (Tommy, his date, friend, and friend's date). I happily sat in the car, chatting away to the two couples, all while having no idea that I would be sitting behind my future husband for an hour and half! Although we were the same year in college and had many overlapping friends, our paths never really crossed until Senior Week, which fell a month before we graduated. We connected during the events during Senior Week, graduated, and continued to stay in touch while Tommy went off to Washington D.C. and I moved to New York City. We never thought that we would begin a relationship while living 250 miles apart, but it was worth the risk.
What is your proposal story?
After doing 4.5 years of long distance between D.C. and NYC, (thank you Tripper Bus, Amtrak, and the countless rest stops on Interstate 95), we attended a friend's wedding on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The next morning, we were driving to Annapolis, Tommy's hometown, to meet his parents for brunch at the Annapolis Yacht Club. However, I saw the ring box in his pants pocket as he was driving! I'm not sure who was more nervous: Tommy about to propose, or me, knowing that we still had an hour on our drive to Annapolis and that it was going to happen that morning. We met up with his parents, and as his dad offered to take a photo of us on the waterfront, he proposed. We happily celebrated over brunch!
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
While Tommy and I both had a general vision in mind about our wedding, we didn't begin to think about the details until we found our venue. The vibe and atmosphere that a venue provides can really influence the decor of the wedding, so that was our first step. We looked at a few options in both the Washington, D.C. and NYC areas, since that is where we are both from respectively, and as soon as we took a tour of District Winery, we knew it would be the winner. We wanted our wedding to feel romantic, classic, and ethereal, with a lot of greenery and muted lighting. Since we got married in late November, we chose to begin our ceremony in the late afternoon to utilize District Winery's floor-to-ceiling windows to showcase the sunset as we said our vows. This let us celebrate into the late evening at our after party with our guests.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Unlike the majority of the other hundred details we had to decide on for the wedding, a wedding dress was surprisingly not one of them! I can't remember the exact moment that I saw the Monique Lhuillier Severine, but it was when I was in college and before Tommy and I had even met. Since that moment, I could not get that dress out of my mind and knew that I needed to try it on, even if I wouldn't end up choosing it. One summer afternoon, I was driving through our new hometown of Charleston, SC when I passed by a wedding boutique called Maddison Row (now Maddison Row South) and saw the Severine in the window.
At this point, it had been about 5 years since I first saw photos of the dress on my phone, and I immediately reached out to set up an appointment to try it on. I went to my appointment by myself, something my sister teases me about, to try on the dress and as soon as it was on, I knew it was the one. I did try on a few other gowns, and later had another appointment with my family members just to confirm that they loved it just as much as I did, but it felt so different than the other dresses that I tried on. While I wore my wedding heels for the ceremony and cocktail hour, I changed into my Superga platform sneakers for the remainder of the evening, which were very “me.” My feet were extremely thankful! Because our wedding was black tie optional, Tommy, his groomsmen, and my father rented tuxes from the Black Tux. He has used them before for friends' weddings, and they make the process so seamless.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
As we were planning our wedding, we both agreed that the vendors we chose would be our “splurges.” It was important that we find people who truly understood us as a couple and what we were looking for. The vendors we chose were people we really respect and trusted with our vision of what we wanted our wedding day to be. Tommy and I both agreed that we preferred a band over a DJ, and we are so thrilled that we went down that route. The Bachelor Boys Band were incredible and kept our guests dancing all night. When it came down to hair and makeup, it took me a few searches before I found Carla Pressley (Carla Pressley Hair and Makeup). I scheduled a trial with her to go through a few looks that I wanted to try, and after that day, I knew that she was it. She made me feel so comfortable during the trial, so I had complete faith in her for my wedding.
Our most important vendor splurge was our photographer. We knew from the beginning that we didn't want a videographer, so the photos taken from that day were going to be crucial. I had been following Adam on Instagram for a year before we even got engaged, and had jokingly said to Tommy that if we were to get married in DC, that we should use him as our photographer. Lo and behold, that's exactly what we did! From our initial consult with Adam, he made us feel really comfortable. We chose to use Adam for our engagement photos a little over a year before our wedding as well, which let us develop our relationship with him and get to know his style.
What were your favorite parts of the day? (memories and stories)
While it's difficult to narrow down our favorite parts of our wedding day, we have a few standout memories. Tommy and I chose to ask our friend Jeff to be our officiant for our ceremony. Jeff, a fraternity brother of Tommy's, is independently a good friend of mine as well, so we knew that he would do a great job of making the ceremony personal to us, but he completely blew it out of the water. In the few weeks leading up to our ceremony, he emailed our bridal party and family members and compiled marriage advice and favorite memories/stories of us as a couple. It was so thoughtfully done. During the ceremony, we honored our mothers' roles in our lives by having them light a unity candle together. We're both extremely close to our families, and both of our mothers play such an important role in our lives, so this was our way of thanking them.
One surprising memory that we still talk about is my dad's “father of the bride” speech. He had joked with me a couple of weeks before the wedding day that his speech was 30 seconds long, with 29 seconds out of the 30 consisting of tear shedding. I was constantly checking in with my sister to make sure that he was writing his speech, but little did I know that it would be one of the most memorable events of the evening. In his speech, he made an emotional remark to thank Tommy's grandfather who fought in the Korean War. Because my parents immigrated from South Korea, having Tommy's grandfather in attendance at our wedding felt like both families were truly intertwined and it was coming full circle.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Our flowers were created by J. Morris Flowers in Leesburg, VA. We didn't want the florals to be too flower-heavy, and liked the idea of incorporating a lot of greenery, which tied nicely with the venue's urban/modern accents. Our favorite feature that J. Morris made was our pampas grass arch that we would get married in front of. We went into the initial consultation with a few examples of what I had seen in the past, and they did such a great job of making our vision a reality. Adam, our photographer, had a great idea of utilizing this arch as the backdrop to our photo booth, so we love that it served another purpose!
What did you do for favors?
My mom works at Gateaux Bakery and Cafe in Closter, NJ and I (Tammy) actually spent a few summers working there with her. Whenever Tommy and I are in town visiting my family, we always stop by a few times throughout our visit to grab a pastry and coffee and to say “hi” to everyone working there. We knew that we wanted to incorporate something from the bakery into our wedding, but a cake would be a challenge, since we would need to transport it from NJ to D.C. We decided to do macarons from the bakery for our wedding favors, since it would be a great treat for guests to take back to their hotel rooms/homes for a sweet treat. We boxed macarons for each guest in a small acrylic box with a custom monogrammed sticker, which was displayed alongside our guests' place cards at every seat.
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
Tommy and I both wanted to make our wedding extremely personal to us as a couple. We wanted it to honor our families, whose relationships we admire and want to emulate, and our friends who have been such a great support system for us throughout our relationship. One of our favorite details of our wedding were framed photos of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents that lined the wall that led from our cocktail ceremony to the reception area. Another detail that we loved were the place cards for all of our wedding guests. Because we had long and narrow tables of 12-20 guests, we designated the seating arrangements. While we had a large custom seating chart that illustrated table numbers, we also had laser cut place cards of the guest's name that sat on each plate. We later found out that many guests took these back with them to display at home! In Tommy's family, most family members and couples have nicknames. Because our names are so similar, Tommy's dad began to call us “TnT” after we started dating, and it's stuck ever since. To honor that, our band played AC/DC's “T.N.T.” as our Mr. & Mrs. introduction song when we walked into our reception!
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
I am Korean American, and while we didn't incorporate any Korean wedding elements in our wedding, my mom wore a traditional dress called a Hanbok, which was custom made for her in Korea, for our ceremony.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
As you're going through the wedding planning process, it's so easy to get lost and overwhelmed with the details. From magazines, blogs, and Pinterest, it's difficult not to feel like you have to do everything. Make it personal, and do what makes you, as a couple, happy!
The below wedding pros made this amazing event happen. See more of their work by visiting their website.
- Gateaux Bakery & Cafe