July 3, 2023 Lori + Mary | National Arboretum Wedding Photos | Washington, DC
Mary and Lori were married this past weekend in the most perfect rainy wedding day of all time.
From the brides: “Our love story starts as most classic love stories do—at virtual lesbian speed dating! We have a mutual friend who works for an events company and hosted virtual speed dating nights throughout the pandemic. She asked Lori to sign up so she would have an even number, and Mary was already a speed dating regular so she could get stickers on her 100-date sticker chart (more on that later…) We had a great 6-minute first date via Zoom and discovered that we both went to University of Michigan (#GoBlue) and American University. We had our first in-person date shortly thereafter at Bluejacket Brewery (Date #45 on Mary’s 100-date chart). We were both pretty smitten right away and went on many more great dates—laughing over pizza at Matchbox, enjoying a custom Officina picnic at the park, and watching Booksmart at the drive-in. Lori asked Mary to be her girlfriend and Mary agreed under the condition that Lori take her out on 55 more dates. We reached 100 dates well before the end of 2021 and have continued going on wonderful, romantic, and exciting dates since!”
“It came up in conversation that Lori always envisioned being proposed to, and she wanted it to be a surprise. Mary took on the challenge to give Lori the proposal of her dreams. She started scheming— and soon began planning a top-secret proposal with both of their families in attendance. Conveniently, Lori’s dad Joe was turning 60, and her mom Donna was planning a surprise party for the occasion. A weekend where everyone would be in one place would be the perfect opportunity. And the two events provided excellent pretexts for Joe and Lori. Donna and Mary started working together as confidants and double agents, and they seamlessly planned back-to-back surprises.
“The Sunday morning after Joe’s party, Project Proposal went into effect. Donna asked Lori to go out and pick up egg sandies for breakfast. Lori left, and Mary gave the signal to her parents—who had flown in from Chicago and were lying in wait around the corner with a car full of balloons—to come to the house. Both families assembled in the back yard and waited… Lori came home to an empty house and confusion set in. She walked through the back door with bagels in hand to find Mary on one knee, holding a beautiful engagement watch, in front of a banner that read “Lori Will You Marry Me?” Lori immediately said yes, kissed Mary, and then suspiciously darted back into the house. Prepared for anything, she reemerged with an engagement ring she had designed and purchased for Mary that was packed in her luggage. It was a perfectly executed double (or triple?) surprise that couldn’t have happened without our wonderful families working so hard to make it a success!”
Lori and Mary’s wedding is one of my most anticipated weddings of the year. I first met them at Marlo and Allan’s wedding in 2021 and loved them right away. They were so emotionally engaged and present at the wedding and you could feel their kind hearts and love for each other. Needless to say, I was beyond excited when they reached out to me about photographing their wedding. We had an amazing time exploring DC for their engagement session and I’ve been psyched about this day ever since.
We started our day off with Mary and Lori at DC Firehouse 4, where they got ready together. Although they spent the whole morning together, their dresses were a surprise to each other, making for a really sweet moment when they saw each other for the first time. We spent the whole day dodging downpours with a crazy on/off weather cycle. When it would rain it would be brief, but it would rain hard, but we took advantage of the clear moments getting gorgeous photos around the grounds of the National Arboretum.
When it came time to do the ceremony, a call needed to be made, do we do the ceremony under the tent or take a risk and do it out by the meadow as originally planned? When we went to talk about options, I watched Lori’s heart break when we were going over the pros and cons of the various setups under the tent. She had dreamed of watching Mary walk down the beautiful aisle and saying their vows to each other by the meadow. The brides went outside and looked at the sky before ultimately deciding to take the risk and do it outdoors.
The guests took their seats with lightning off in the distance and thunder clapping loudly while the wedding party lined up. Because of the on and off rain, the DJ was unable to set up for the ceremony – so Mary walked down the aisle to their friends and family humming the bridal march. When Lori hit the aisle, (it’s a long aisle), everyone had stopped humming. So she exclaimed “What you guys can’t hum!?” leading to the whole crowd erupting in laughter. They shared their heartfelt vows, and had the ceremony they had always dreamed of – with only a handful of drops that left the sky. As soon as we wrapped up the post-ceremony family photos, the sky opened up for another downpour. We had *just* made it.
Speaking of *just*, we had just about given up on the chance of any sunset or golden light photos when the sun peeked out and finally made an appearance. We (and much of the wedding) ran quickly up to the columns for a ton of gorgeous photos with golden light. As we were wrapping up, Mary and Lori were gushing about how perfect everything turned out despite the weather. They got all of the photos they had dreamed of, the ceremony they had wanted when they chose the venue, and most importantly – the woman they wanted to marry. The rest of the night was an incredible celebration of a perfect couple and a perfect day. Here are some of the highlights!
National Arboretum Wedding Photos
DC Wedding Vendors
Venue: National Arboretum
Photographers: Breanna Shaw and Jim Heine, Photography by Brea
Photo Booth: Us!
DJ Brennan Sullivan w/ Dan Goldman Events
Graves Lee, friend of the brides
Mary: Pronovias; Lori: Justin Alexander
Bridal World, Freeport, NY
Audio guest book: Fete Phone