We are all smiles sharing part two of this stunning downtown Washington DC wedding! Sara and Jesse held their beautifully rustic, yet elegant, DC wedding reception at Dumbarton House, following their sweet wedding ceremony at St. Stephen Martyr. To see their traditional church wedding ceremony, be sure to check it all out here. For their wedding reception, the garden inspired rustic details were perfectly placed – from lanterns all around to little touches of fresh rosemary on the wedding guests’ escort cards. Planned and perfected by Elegance & Simplicity, their big day was a big success and from the look of this dancing duo, a great time was had by all! And, when they weren’t on the dance floor, their weddings guests were able to enjoy some pretty amazing food – my favorite are the mini tacos! Wedding miniatures made for great bites and delicious surprises for their guests. Yum! A special thanks to Bonnie Sen for sharing Sara and Jesse’s Washington DC wedding photos.

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From the bride: We aren’t a fancy couple – our idea of a perfect evening consists of a delicious meal and great drinks under the stars with our closest friends and best music. We wanted to translate this ideal Saturday evening into a perfect Saturday wedding – and I think we did it pretty well! Our wedding was held at Dumbarton House – a cozy garden location with beautiful flowers and greenery. I knew that our wedding evening needed to have lots and lots of fresh light once the sun went down. I worked with my wedding planner to buy out all of the local lanterns, votives, and bistro lights she could get her hands on!

Underneath the lights, I wanted to have the wedding reception room covered with fresh greenery, so we balanced as many gorgeous flowers with equal amounts of leafy vibrant greens with a special addition of fresh herbs (rosemary and lavender) as a nod to Jesse’s and my love for cooking and the garden we were celebrating in. I couldn’t believe it when the flowers and greenery fit in flawlessly with my bridesmaids’ mix-matched wedding dresses and the groomsmens’ navy blue suits and earthy accents! This all came together as our perfect Saturday evening as Jesse and I made sure to spend as much time as possible dancing together and with our guests to our band – who always knew exactly what song to play next.

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Advice from the bride for other Washington DC area couples:

Definitely try to find something that says “Washington DC!” for your wedding. We opted for Lincoln Restaurant as our rehearsal dinner location. It is a fun spin on President Lincoln, and also offers farm-to-table cuisine (a popular Washington DC food trend).

At the same time, make it a “Washington DC” that surprises your wedding guests – even local residents. We wanted our wedding reception day to be an escape from the DC as commonly known to tourists. We intentionally did not consider any monuments or popular tourist spots for a wedding reception venue or even a photo opportunity. However, once wedding guests left the reception they were back in Dupont (staying at the Palomar Hotel), Georgetown (where the reception was held) or by the White House (our after-party was at The Hamilton). That way, I think we offered our wedding guests the best of both worlds!


Congratulations to Sara and Jesse! Thank you for sharing your stunning elegant, garden inspired Washington DC wedding reception with us!

The following Washington DC wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:

Wedding Planner + Floral Designer + Lighting: Elegance and Simplicity
Photography: Bonnie Sen Photography
Stationery: Minted and Wedding Paper Divas
Transportation: A La Care Limousine
Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist: Claudine Fay
Bridal Gown: Justin Alexander
Bridal Salon: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique
Bridal Shoes: Jack Rogers
Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Groom’s Shoes: Florsheim
Ceremony Venue: St. Stephen Martyr
Officiant: Msgr. Paul Dudziak
Reception Venue: Dumbarton House
Rentals + Linens: DC Rentals
Caterer: Spilled Milk
Cake/Dessert: Baked and Wired Cupcakes

For more wedding vendors, please visit our Washington DC area wedding vendor guide and for even more amazing local ideas, check out our wedding inspiration galleries and other Washington DC area real weddings.

Photo Credits: Bonnie Sen

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