A Christmas-Themed Wedding at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland

Visiting the ICE! show at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is how Francesca Leo (28 and a registered nurse) and James Crandall, Jr. (

Visiting the ICE! show at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is how Francesca Leo (28 and a registered nurse) and James Crandall, Jr. (27 and a credit trader) celebrate their Christmases together as a couple. So when they chose a December wedding date, they looked no further than the resort for their venue. Because they knew Gaylord Resort would be decked out for the holiday season, Francesca and James decided on a Christmas-inspired, "Winter Wonderland" theme and used pops of claret, ivory and silver throughout the day. 

After a heartwarming ceremony in the resort's atrium, guests proceeded to the red-hued reception, complete with crystal chandeliers. Vases filled with glittering ornaments, white votive candles and silver table linens added to the festive theme without feeling over-the-top. As wedding favors, Francesca and James gave their guests mason jar mugs filled with the ingredients for peppermint hot cocoa, and even the cake sported snowflake details and red ribbon accents. The most Christmas-y detail of all? The adorable Santa-themed taper candles the couple used for the unity candle ceremony. 

A white winter cape kept the chill off Francesca's shoulders at the couple posed for photos by the National Harbor.
Francesca carried a bouquet of red roses that were accented by festive crystal studs.
The crystal bows on Francesca's shoes remind us of a Christmas present! How appropriate!
Francesca wore a mermaid-style silk mikado wedding dress with an empire bodice that was hand-beaded with Swarovski crystals and pearls. She bought her James Clifford gown at Park Avenue Bridals.
"The dresses tied in the holiday theme without being too flashy," Francesca says of the floor-length red bridesmaid dresses.
Tiered Ivory Flower Girl Dress
A red rose boutonniere and silver tie nodded to the Christmas season without looking like James was attending a holiday party.
The ceremony was held under the gazebo at Gaylord Convention Center. The gazebo was decorated with garlands and the red aisle was lined with white rose petals for the event. The ceremony was officiated by James' uncle, and Francesca and James opted to read both traditional vows and vows that they wrote themselves.
Francesca and James had a unity candle ceremony with their mothers during their nuptials, which included these adorable Santa candles and crystal candlesticks.
Red uplighting illuminated the ballroom and drew attention to the massive crystal chandeliers. Silver linens topped the tables and silver chiavari chairs kept the mood seasonally appropriate.
Vases filled with silver ornaments added festivity to the reception tables without feeling like guests walked into a Christmas store. Candles kept the mood warm and cozy.
As a last note of their Christmas theme, James and Francesca sent guests off with mason jars filled with peppermint hot cocoa ingredients. "We wanted to give our guests something fun and useful that would keep them warm during the winter," Francesca says of the DIY favor.
The square tiered cake, created by Charm City Cakes, had three flavors: almond amaretto, mint chocolate and pumpkin cinnamon. Fondant snowflakes and red ribbon decorated the exterior and the creation came topped with a winter-y version of the famous "Love" sculpture.
For the reception, Francesca wore a ivory lace overlay wedding dress with intricate rhinestone beading and a deep illusion neckline by Jovani. "It was extremely comfortable for dancing and was definitely a showstopper!" she says.