Congratulations to Jessica & Matt, who took advantage of New Year’s Eve’s inherent celebratory qualities and invited their friends and family to celebrate not just ringing in the new year, but Jessica & Matt’s quite obvious love for one another. We started documenting their wedding day at the ever-elegant Willard Hotel across from the White House in Washington, DC. Jessica had donned her sleek Monique L’huillier gown earlier, just prior to starting her hair and make-up, which was expertly done by Zak, her stylist who had worked with her for the past eight years and who cut quite a rug at the reception, but more on that later.

The couple decided to see each other before their ceremony in a private moment in the hotel’s Jenny Lind suite overlooking the Washington Monument. Right afterwards, with the sun close to the horizon, we all drove to the Jefferson Memorial for some quick and fun portraits of the two of them. It was beautiful out there! Because there were nary a cloud in the sky, the warm afternoon light shone softly on their faces and we shot along the monument’s western edge until the sun set. Returning to the hotel, they had gotten their families together for a short portrait session just before the start of the ceremony, which was held in the gorgeous Crystal Room. It was officiated by Michael, a close family friend of theirs, and filled with incredibly humorous and touching moments. Jessica & Matt joyously bounded down the aisle afterwards for an impromptu receiving line, followed by a bagpiper leading the guests downstairs to the ballroom and cocktail hour.

To say the ballroom was an elegant mix of winter bliss and holiday fun would be a profound understatement. The fabulous Michele Hodges, who had helped with the wedding’s planning, coordinated the layout for one of the hotel’s most visually stunning weddings. None other than Petal’s Edge designed the festive glittery tablescapes (and had made Jessica’s bouquet chiefly of large white peonies blooms, which made for one of the more aromatic bouquets we’ve seen). Everything behind the scenes worked so smoothly, and we hadn’t ever seen a hotel staff so friendly and eager to help as the Willard’s.

Escapade Band started the night off with the perfect energy level and kept it there throughout the night and into the start of the new year. After announcing Jessica & Matt and their first dance, Jessica’s parents welcomed everyone and signaled the start of dinner. After dinner, and some incredibly funny toasts, notably by Jessica’s two sisters, you couldn’t keep people off the dance floor, as the band kept everyone moving. Things continued into 2008, as everyone toasted to the couple and just kept dancing. Things wound down around 1am, at least in the ballroom, but the party was to continue until the wee hours elsewhere in the hotel. This was our first wedding on New Year’s Eve, and we had an absolute blast. Jessica & Matt, you were such a pleasure to be around–thank you and congratulations!

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