A Sophisticated Wedding at Decatur House in Washington, DC

Danielle Couick (34 and a wedding and event planner) and Doug Sandler (50 and a professional speaker and emcee) planned a sophisticated and original soiree at the Decatur House in Washington, DC. Just steps from the White House, the mansion gave guests a “true DC experience,” with a refined color scheme of black, white, navy and emerald with pops of vibrant magenta and gold. “We are both in the special-events industry, so it was really important for us to keep our guest list intimate and the feeling of the wedding personal,” Danielle says. “We really wanted our day to be a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a couple.” During the ceremony, a unique layout allowed Danielle and Doug to be surrounded by friends and family, giving the ceremony an intimate feel. Danielle designed a dramatic ceremony backdrop—a boxwood wall adorned with white flowers at the top and a sea of floating candles at the base. As a surprise to Doug, Danielle arranged for a small gospel choir to sing “You Are My Sunshine” and “Oh Happy Day” for the recessional. The couple even incorporated the breaking of the glass, commemorating Doug’s Jewish faith. The glass was a gift to the couple, which was then made into a custom mezuzah that hangs by their door, reminding them of their union. A cocktail-style reception followed, including food stations, several of the couple’s favorite cocktails (they couldn’t settle on one), a dessert bar and late-night snacks. Other surprises included the maid of honor rapping her entire speech to the song "Bust a Move," Danielle's go-to karaoke song, with the bridal party as backup, and the couple's grand exit in a rickshaw. —Marissa Hermanson