Modern Wedding with a Black-and-White Palette in Washington, DC

Madeline Strawn and Corey Kaufmann

Photographed by: Abby Jiu Photography Location: Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States

Although Madeline Strawn and Corey Kaufmann were only 15 and 16, respectively, when they met, it’s still surprisingly that it took so long. They grew up only a few streets away from each other in Potomac, Maryland and even had soccer practice on the same fields as children. It wasn’t until high school that they were on the same campus, with several mutual friends. Having yet to meet his crush, Corey decided to be bold on Valentine’s Day, when the school sold roses to be delivered to students. “I decided to not just send her one rose but instead to send her a rose in every class she had that day,” he says. “I was flattered but confused,” explains Madeline, who still didn’t know who Corey was. At a school basketball game that night, a friend pointed him out to her. “We’ve been inseparable best friends ever since,” Madeline reveals. 

After 10 years of dating, Corey knew it would be difficult to surprise his beloved with a proposal, so he gave her a ring on her birthday. As a fourth-generation jeweler, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to give his beloved beautiful jewelry, and the morganite-and-diamond ring was seen as an unspoken promise ring. Only a few weeks later, the pair was on their way to dinner in Washington, DC but when it started to rain, Corey suggested they go somewhere closer, such as the restaurant owned by Madeline’s godparents. Somehow the inclement weather worked to Corey’s advantage, as it was the perfect excuse to detour to the night he had been planning for months. Corey had the restaurant closed for just the two of them and had spent the day decorating for their proposal. “I turned my head towards the outdoor beer garden and saw it lit up with candles and string lights, and decorated with flowers and photos filled with memories. [Then I] realized that Corey’s hand was gripping mine tighter than ever just as it stopped raining,” shares Madeline. He presented a stunning marquise diamond ring inspired by his grandmother’s, which his longtime love had always admired, and she joyfully said yes. “Our engagement was thoughtful, personal, and intimate – I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” the bride muses. 

As a member of the team at Carine’s Bridal Atelier, Madeline was both prepared for the wedding planning process and knew exactly where to find her dress. She selected a striking Romona Keveža gown featuring a striking neckline that plunged to the waistline and a full silk shantung ball gown skirt with pockets. The bride even originally planned to walk down the aisle with one arm linked with her father and her other hand in her pocket; however, at the last minute, she instead decided to stick with tradition and carry a bouquet of white roses, which her prepared planner had arranged for just in case. 

To honor the variety of cultures in their backgrounds, the couple had a nondenominational ceremony officiated by the brother of the groom that celebrated how they were raised. In lieu of a bridal party, Madeline and Corey had their mutual best friend say a few words before the exchange of handwritten vows. Corey was especially impressed with the vows of his bride: “Maddie is so creative and smart, and the way she put her vows together and delivered them was so beautiful. She not only told our story but she also captured what makes us work and why, and what we would promise to each other for the rest of our lives.” 

The newlyweds were careful to make sure that their own style was reflected in the design of the celebration. “We wanted clean, modern lines mixed with edgy pops of eclectic surprises,” Madeline illustrates. Stark white linens that appeared to be liquid draped over the tables, which were adorned with grey Lucite placemats instead of more traditional charger plates. “Our centerpieces were towers of heavy glass, lined like a cityscape down the entire lengths of the tables with a maximal amount of candles and a minimal amount of white flowers,” she adds. “The tables looked cool and cold, yet sleek and sexy.” The cake fit with the aesthetic, featuring square alabaster layers and Roman numerals proclaiming the date in matching hues. 

Madeline and Corey wouldn’t have changed a thing about their big day, though the groom still can’t believe how quickly the momentous occasion goes by. “There is an overwhelming feeling of support, love, and gratitude on your own wedding night that is hard to imagine replicating ever again,” he reflects.