Brides Host a Colorful Multicultural Wedding at the Park Hyatt in Washington DC

Karen Gouws and Jordan Dewar first met in middle school, not in the hallways or classrooms, but in the boundless world of an online novel writing grou

Karen Gouws and Jordan Dewar first met in middle school, not in the hallways or classrooms, but in the boundless world of an online novel writing group. Their bond deepened with every shared word and imaginative venture as they crafted stories. Karen fondly reminisces, “It’s amazing, in hindsight, that we witnessed each other’s middle school phases and stayed friends!” Their connection, nurtured through the years, transcended their physical distance. “Our friendship grew over several years as we wrote stories and swapped them with each other,” Karen reflects.

As time passed, their paths finally aligned, leading to a pivotal moment in Karen’s life. After college graduation, she invited Jordan to a beach celebration, a four-day adventure that would forever change their lives. “Despite witnessing my poor decisions involving beach prep and sunscreen, Jordan decided she wanted to go out with me!” Karen laughs. Their romance blossomed, surviving the challenges of distance and time, ultimately leading them both to Washington, DC. Then, their story reached a new crescendo at the iconic Hay-Adams Hotel. Here, they each planned a unique proposal, a testament to their deep understanding and love for each other. “Each of us proposed to each other, though Jordan beat me by 45 minutes!” Karen recalls. Jordan’s elaborate scavenger hunt led them on an enchanting journey across DC, culminating in her heartfelt proposal at the historic hotel. Karen’s response was equally thoughtful, a series of cards weaving together the tapestry of their shared history.

With a shared vision to honor the mosaic of cultures that shaped them and a dash of their own whimsical flair, the planning for their special day began. The brides set out to weave a tapestry of traditions representing their American, Christian, Jewish, Guyanese, Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese and indigenous heritages. “We really wanted to incorporate all of our different cultures and backgrounds into the ceremony and reception as much as we could!” they explain. The couple envisioned a celebration that was not just a union of two souls but a kaleidoscope of the many cultures that colored their lives.

One of their first and most heartfelt decisions was to include a cross-stitch for the ring bearer’s pillow, a nod to Jordan’s late grandmother’s exquisite art. It was a tender tribute, and Jordan also chose to wear earrings crafted from her grandmother’s engagement ring. Karen, in a similar gesture, decided to don her mother’s dress and veil, adding a sweet, sentimental touch to their fashion choices.

The theme of their wedding was clear: a garden of bright, joyous colors. “We chose the colors and flowers because we wanted everything to feel gardeny and bright!” they share. This theme was vividly reflected in their attire; Jordan’s dress was a vision of sparkle and fluff, with ruffles and intricate detailing, while Karen’s vintage gown shimmered with delicate puffy sleeves.

On the big day, guests arrived, eagerly anticipating the ceremony. They were greeted by a setting that seemed to have leaped out of a fairy tale—a symphony of yellow, purple, greens and pinks. The venue was adorned with hand-painted candles and floral arrangements that paid homage to DC’s native flora. As Karen and Jordan walked down the aisle, there was an air of enchantment.

The ceremony was a beautiful blend of their diverse backgrounds, complete with a ketubah adorned with symbols from their cherished cities and cultures. “We had a ketubah—the Jewish marriage contract—painted for us by an artist we found on Etsy,” Jordan explains. The chuppah, draped in lush floral garlands, stood as a symbol of their unity, with each side representing their families.

The cocktail hour brought an element of fun and whimsy, with gourmet desserts and light-up sticks delighting guests, especially the little ones. “We brought in some fun and silliness with the cotton candy,” they laugh. The reception unfolded under the same magical chuppah, now repurposed to canopy their sweetheart table. The tables themselves were named after cities meaningful to them, with the couple seated at the DC table, symbolizing their shared future.

The first dance was a moment of pure joy as Karen and Jordan twirled and laughed, their elegant dresses creating a whirlwind of happiness. “We started taking dance lessons about a year before the wedding and really enjoyed it,” Jordan reminisces. The live painter captured this and other precious moments, adding an artistic touch to their memories.

As the night drew to a close, Karen and Jordan shared their wisdom with other couples planning their big day. “Get a planner! Don’t think you can do all the wedding-related things on the day,” Karen advises. “Be sure to take a moment during the day just to take it in,” Jordan adds, reflecting on the importance of savoring every moment.

Bride With Henna Tattoo on Arm and Unique Engagement Ring
A whimsical, custom watercolor invitation suite featuring shades of pink and cherry blossoms, an illustrated envelope liner and a save-the-date with an illustration of the same-sex couple.
Brides in Different White Dresses Holding Different Pastel Bouquets, Pink and Purple
Pastel Rainbow Colorful Ketubah Contract With Flowers and Illustrations
Brides Under Pastel Colorful Chuppah With Strings of Flowers on Stage
Brides Breaking the Glass Under Chuppah at Same-Sex Jewish Wedding Ceremony
A bride in an a-line gown with a plunging neckline and floral detailing with a headpiece and a purple-and-coral bouquet holding hands with her bride in a vintage gown that her mother wore on her wedding day, as well as a retro headpiece and veil and a pink bouquet.
A unique and artist three-tier wedding cake with a vintage globe depiction and watercolor elements of pink, orange and purple with a cascade of colorful flowers and greenery with their cute custom cake topper featuring both brides below.
Bride in A-Line Gown Twirling Bride in Vintage Sheath Gown During First Dance
Wedding Live Painter Illustrating Couple's Colorful Pastel Chuppah
Black-and-White Stylized Photo of Brides in Two Different Dresses, Flowing Veils in Garden