By all accounts, Danielle Schovee and Eric Sipf, Jr. were destined to fall in love for their entire lives – though they might never have realized it had it not been for their parents’ serendipitous encounter. While mingling with families at Danielle and Eric’s college freshman orientation, Eric’s mother recognized Danielle’s father from across the room as the spitting image of Danielle’s uncle. They soon discovered Eric’s family and Danielle’s cousins had actually been neighbors since childhood. After that fateful meeting, Danielle and Eric’s parents introduced their respective children at a business school orientation, and sparks immediately flew. “While we only had ten minutes to talk, we became best friends, and six years later, Eric was down on one knee asking me to be his wife!” Danielle marvels.
Eric proposed while he and Danielle vacationed in Vail, Colorado, presenting her with a one-of-a-kind ring that featured a stone from his grandmother’s engagement ring. Danielle happily accepted, and she and Eric began their search for a meaningful wedding venue in their hometown of Washington, D.C. Every day for three weeks, the couple toured potential venues after work. “This actually ended up being such a fun part of the process and a great way to get to know some amazing places in Washington, D.C.,” Danielle recalls fondly. They finally selected their home church for the ceremony and an opulent, historic ballroom for the reception. The bride’s mother and sister also lent their “impeccable fashion sense," offering creative ideas and sharing “unforgettable girls’ nights” throughout the wedding-planning process.
With its ivory columns and gold moldings, the church needed little embellishment, save for two gilded urns atop the marble altar that were filled with blush hydrangeas and coral and purple roses. As light streamed in through stained-glass windows, bridesmaids clad in navy blue gowns walked down the aisle clutching bouquets of hydrangeas, roses, and dahlias in shades of pink. Danielle was a classic beauty in a ball gown featuring a ruffled skirt and jeweled belt. Her veil was secured with a sparkling tiara, and she carried a sizeable bouquet of cascading white calla lilies, stephanotis blossoms and vines, and ivory gladiolus.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds hopped into the mother-of-the-bride’s convertible, decorated with colorful balloons, and took a private sunset tour of the city’s museums and monuments on their way to the reception. “We got a million congratulatory honks driving around the National Mall,” Eric says. Upon arrival at the reception, guests were greeted by an incredible installation of ivory and pale pink ribbons hanging from a four-poster canopy. Secured to the end of each ribbon was either a dazzling crystal or an escort card tied to a lavender-hued cake pop.
Inside the ballroom, glorious rose-colored uplighting cast a romantic glow on the floor-to-ceiling columns. Rectangular and round tables were arranged in view of the stage and dance floor. Each table was decorated with one of three distinct designs –all guided by Danielle’s declaration for “everything to sparkle!” The rectangular tables featured taper candles, silver candelabra topped with pillar candles, and an assortment of pink and lavender flowers gathered in antique-style vases. A few round tables showcased a tall glass vases that carried lush florals. Small blooms were suspended from the arrangements on crystal-embellished votive holders. The remaining round tables displayed crystal candelabra, taper candles, garlands of ivy, and silver containers filled with moss and accented with dahlia blooms. “[Although we] spent a year piecing together every detail, it was more perfect, whimsical, and magical then I could have ever imagined,” Danielle exclaims.
Instrumental in selecting the musical entertainment, Eric affirms that the rock band he and Danielle chose transformed the reception into a huge dance party. “The ensemble was supposed to take a few breaks during the reception. They never did, because they thought the crowd was having too much fun – which was true,” Eric boasts. “We split the dance floor right down the middle because we were dancing so hard!” Guests took their dancing feet home after indulging in the blush cake embellished with a cascading fondant rose, as well as gelato served from old-fashioned carts.
Looking back on their wedding day, Eric reveals his amazement at it passing so quickly – and that nerves didn’t faze him. “I was expecting to be extremely nervous before the ceremony with so many guests watching us,” Eric admits, “but I was surprisingly relaxed!” Though the day may have flown by, Danielle affirms that the beauty and details of the event will not be soon forgotten. “Everything – from the candlelit and sparkling décor, to the gorgeous centerpieces, to the majestic ceilings of the venue – will remain etched in my memory forever,” Danielle declares.