We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to create Michelle and Neema’s maple foil invitations thanks to the help of our friends at the Dandelion Patch. We were even more excited to see their wedding come to life through the eyes of their photographer Katie Stoops. The couple was married at Union Market’s Dock 5 which they transformed into a space filled with gorgeous greenery, Persian rugs, and all their loved ones surrounding them. Michelle and Neema wanted their special day to be reminiscent of a dinner party on a much grander scale so they created a warm, intimate overall environment for their guests to experience. Their invitations reflected the color palette of their day with burgundies and blushes represented in the florals on the envelope liner and invitation backer. After attending 21 weddings with Neema by her side, we’ll let Michelle share more about the most special wedding of them all, her own:
What was the inspiration for the wedding?
We host dinner parties for friends at our home in DC all the time, and our goal was to create an (obviously much more elaborate) version of that. We wanted it to feel warm and personal, centered around delicious food paired with good wine and conversation. For example, we picked menu items that we like to cook at home (crab and avocado salad; duck breast with port wine sauce; vegetable wellington); we created versions of the dishes at home and tasted various wines alongside them to choose pairings for dinner; and we used our guests’ nicknames on the menus to serve as place cards. Hosting the wedding at Union Market, DC’s favorite food market was the perfect anchor for it all.
What surprised you the most and what was your favorite moment?
My answer to these two questions is the same – the ceremony! I was mostly looking forward to the dinner and dancing part of the evening and didn’t really expect how meaningful the ceremony would feel. Our officiant (a good friend) wrote a beautiful tribute to our relationship filled with insights from our family and friends; our mothers and my sister participated in a traditional Persian sugar ceremony (happily married female relatives grind sugar cubes over the couple to ‘sweeten’ the marriage) to honor Neema’s heritage; and instead of feeling self-conscious and overwhelmed as I expected, I felt so in tune and in love with Neema as we said our vows. The dinner and dancing parts of the evening were obviously amazing too, but I have to say the ceremony was my favorite part!
Advice to future couple’s planning their own wedding?
It’s easy to say “try to relax and have fun with it!” but the reality is, there will always be moments of stress, conflict, and indecision. Our best concrete advice is to sit down at the very beginning with your partner and make a list of which wedding elements are most important to each of you, and which elements you care less about. That way, down the road when it’s time to make decisions, compromise will be easier because you’ll have established priorities from the start. For example, I wanted a band but Neema felt very strongly from the beginning about having a DJ, so I compromised on that; I felt strongly about having a small bridal party (only our siblings) so Neema gave his group of five best friends the role of ushers.
How did you choose your invitation design and ink colors?
I was initially hesitant about sending paper invitations for environmental reasons, but after some urging from my more traditional mother, I did some research on printing options and learned about Bella Figura’s green printing commitments, which made me feel much better about the whole process. We visited The Dandelion Patch in Virginia who helped us create a gorgeous fall floral suite, again finding a compromise – I adore big splashy florals, but Neema preferred something more streamlined, so we designed a simple maple shine foil invitation card with Bella Figura’s amazing floral print on the back and on the envelope liner. The beautiful purples, burgundies, and blushes of this print matched perfectly with our décor colors. The wording on the invitation was very important to me as well – we avoided the standard language and crafted a message carefully to reflect the kind of evening we were planning and how much we appreciate our guests.
What’s next for the happy couple?
After our wedding, we took a couple months to enjoy some downtime before traveling to Sri Lanka and the Maldives for our honeymoon over the holidays. We can’t recommend this break between wedding and honeymoon enough – the comedown after a wedding is very real, and the delayed honeymoon gave us something additional to look forward to while allowing us to rest and recuperate in between.
Photographer: Katie Stoops | Venue: Dock 5 at Union Market | Event Planning & Design: Christie Yerks from Grit & Grace | Catering: Design Cuisine | Floral & Décor: Amaryllis | Marquee Dance Sign: Brightly Ever After | Lighting: John Farr Lighting | Hair and Make-up: Claudine Fay |