August 9, 2018
In order to fully appreciate the history that brought them to this day, a little backstory…in the couples own words!
It was April 2015, when they each registered for a Shabbat dinner program. The program promised to assign everyone to a small group that would have Shabbat dinner together about once a month. Doug’s former roommate (and future best man) told him it was a good way to meet women. Jen was about to move to DC and wanted to reconnect with the local scene.
Upon registering for the Shabbat dinner, they each answered a series of questions:
Jen: 1. First location preference: H Street, NOMA, Capitol Hill 2. The types of Jewish events I enjoy the most are: Prayer and holiday services; Community service events 3. Which of the below sounds like a perfect evening?: Attending a cultural event, show, or new restaurant opening
Doug: 1. First location preference: Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown 2. The types of Jewish events I enjoy the most are: Happy hours and parties; outdoor and travel events 3. Which of the below sounds like a perfect evening?: Having a few friends over for dinner or a game night
Despite having apparently nothing in common, the JCC put Jen and Doug in the same group. They had actually answered one question the same. “My main reason for joining Shabbat Cluster is: I would like to mingle with other singles.” For Doug, the mingling odds were pretty good. At the first Shabbat dinner, there were 12 women and 3 men. That night, Doug somehow got the impression that he had a chance with Jen. (We know this because he wrote a brief note in his phone about each person to help remember them. Next to Jen’s name, he wrote: “Cute, think I have a chance.”)
After the next Shabbat dinner, Jen mentioned that she wasn’t sure how to get back to the metro. Doug gallantly offered to walk her there. He thought she was being coy. She was just kind of lost. To Jen’s surprise, at the top of the Dupont Metro escalator, Doug asked for her number. You may think that he quickly called to ask her out. You would be wrong. But after a few weeks, Jen caved and texted him. He seized back the momentum and asked her out. More dates followed. Doug says there were no red flags. Jen was in love by Halloween.
Their relationship grew as they met each other’s families, hunkered down together for a memorable DC snowstorm, took vacations near and far, hosted more Shabbats, and became roommates. Then, one Friday in September when Jen was away for work, Doug spent the day preparing for another special Shabbat dinner. He found leeks at the grocery store and twine at Ace Hardware. He watched a YouTube cooking video more than 20 times. By the end of the day, he had roasted a whole chicken. Not only that, he had made asparagus and Greek salad, and he had decorated the apartment with rose petals and tea candles.
When Jen walked in the door, music was playing and the table was set for Shabbat. After what Jen remembers as an exceedingly long meal, Doug left the table to get her something. He came back with a large Amazon box and said he had something that Jen had been asking for. In the box was – a salad spinner. But! Under the salad spinner was a book. The book was titled “Doug and Jen’s Love Story.” Each page of the book had a photo of the couple with a caption. When Jen turned to the last page, there was no picture. But there was a caption. It said “To the next chapter…”. At that point, Doug got down on one knee. Jen said yes. Then, they danced around the apartment to Bruno Mars.
Fast forward to a gorgeous, unseasonably mild day in July. After hearing their love story and getting to know this couple, I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised to see all of the history, meaning, joy, and love that they wove into the details of their wedding day. My favorite detail was the chuppah, under which the couple read their personalized vows. Jen told Doug, “you are my sunshine,” confessing how much joy he brings to her life in front of all of their loved ones. Doug admitted that one of things he loves most about Jen is that she governs her decisions by the mantra, “because it’s the right thing to do.” While they spoke these sweet words, above them hung a chuppah canopy made from Jen’s grandmother’s dress, which her mom also wore to her wedding. Pieces of Jen’s dress were added to the fabric too and the couple hopes to continue building on it and passing it down through generations.
There is so much more I could say about Jen & Doug, but I think the look of pure joy on their faces says it all! Thank you SO MUCH for letting me capture this special day! Cheers to a lifetime of laughter, dancing, new traditions, and Shabbat dinners!
Wedding Coordinator | Sara Muchnick Events
Ceremony & Reception Venue | National Museum of Women in the Arts
Getting Ready Venue | Grand Hyatt Washington
Portrait Location | DC War Memorial
Florist | Petal’s Edge
Caterer | Occasion’s Caterers
Makeup | Pattie Martin
Hair | Katherine Patsas Nevitt of KPN Hair & Makeup
Band | ONYX
Videographer | Bowen Films
Bridal Gown | Pronovias
Groom’s Tux | J Crew
Bridesmaid Dresses | Jenny Yoo