Robin and Michael’s Carnegie Institution For Science wedding was really something! Heather Sala of HJ Planners brought the couple’s vision to life, creating a Downton Abbey themed celebration. How fun is that? Scroll down and read more to hear about all of the details!
From Heather of HJ Planners
Robin and Michael decided to have their wedding in DC because it’s the place that brought them together and the perfect destination for friends and family that are traveling from around the country — and even from around the world when it comes to some of Mike’s friends in the Navy. They chose a January wedding because they both love the winter (so much that they took a ski trip honeymoon to the Ritz Carlton in Vail, Colorado) and their venue, the Carnegie Institution, is not only historic, but lent itself perfectly to their theme.
We began working with Robin and her mom about 9 months before the wedding, and were thrilled when they told us the theme – Downton Abbey! We knew there was so much that could be done and so many fun angles to explore with inspiration from the show.
Downton Abbey is a a British television series set in the English countryside in the early 1900’s. Getting to know the show itself means understanding the time period and setting; the difference between 1915 United States (much more Gatsby and flapper-style) and 1915 England (more lace, pearls, tea cups – generally more conservative). To ensure that all of the vendors selected were on the same page, we asked each to watch the series.
We took an ultra classy, rich in era details approach to Robin’s wedding to make her day truly Royal.
The color palette was pearlescent pink, light gold, and jewel tones of purple, pink and gold.
It was all in the details, from the colors to the menu to the English touches that could be seen everywhere. The venue was grand with large pillars, marble, and a beautiful portico, similar to the feel of the Downton Estate.
The menu included English dishes: Mini Shepherd’s Pies, Beef and Yorksire Pudding Canapes, Goat Cheese and Figs, Rosemary Chicken, Sweet Cream Butter Biscuits, Port Poached Pears and Brie, and Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin. Each station was laid out in similar fashion to that of Downton’s Dining Room and named according to the characters – Lord Grantham’s Supper, Mrs. Patmore’s Garden, Lady Grantham’s Banquet, and Daisy’s Dessert Delights. Each table was named for a character in the series, as well – Mary and Matthew, Sybil and Branson. And the Signature Drink was the Lady Edith.
We intertwined satin ribbon with jewels and created hooks to give a more luxury feel to the Chiavari chairs. We searched antique stores in Berlin, MD for all of the photo booth props and accent table decor. The photo booth included pipes, hats, necklaces, tea cups, and gloves. Gold sequin linens were brought in to add a modern twist on this historic theme.
Each sign throughout the venue gave guests a reminder of the show with clever sayings. The stationery was a pink pearlescent with gold print.
Robin, the stunning bride, wore the hair piece that Lady Mary wore in the series on several occasions. Her shoes were shipped from London. The dresses for the bridesmaids were jewel toned and each bridesmaid wore a broach. Guests arrived in time period gowns and tuxedos.
The florals were different for every table – eucalyptus in a bell jar, candelabras, lush florals, candlesticks set in crystal holders. We wrapped the bannister to the rotunda in florals, similar to the show’s own bannister garland on Lady Mary’s wedding day.
The escort cards were on silver serving trays, surrounded by pearls, ladies gloves, perfume bottles and feathers. The scotch bar was written on an antique mirror. The favors were English Tea in small tins. Even the dessert diminutives were presented English style on a tiered silver server.
It was an enchanting night, and truly a Royal Affair.
The fabulous vendor team:
Venue: Carnegie Institution For Science
Wedding Designer & Planner: Heather Sala, HJ Planners
Wedding Dress: Christos from Bridals By Lori
Bridesmaids Dresses: Two Birds
Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.
Sequin Linens: Nuage Designs
Makeup Artist: Shaunda Jenkins, Bridal Artistry
Hair Stylist: Mandy Hollinger, Bridal Artistry
Beverages: ACE Beverage
Draping: Fabrication Events
Ceremony Music: Fred Lieder
Lighting & Photobooth: Dan Goldman
DJ: Dan Goldman, Bialek’s Music
Caterer: Main Event Caterers
Florist: Janet Flowers
Photographer: Ruben Photography, Ruben Gamarra
Invitations: The Dandelion Patch
Signs: Stationery by Stephanie