Jenée Moore only needed 140 characters to get the attention of her future husband, Gerald Padmore. The couple met at a networking meeting for a group of young professionals, and hit it off when Jenée volunteered to write a tweet for Gerald promoting the event. While chatting at the social afterwards, Jenée and Gerald realized they had something else in common, in addition to their fondness for the organization. As it so happened, the two lived around the corner from each other!
They decided to carpool home together after the gathering, and had their first date the following week. Just one month later, Gerald realized that he wanted to pop the question. “All I could do was talk about how much Jenée meant to me!” he remembers. Following his family’s tradition, Gerald wrote Jenée’s father a letter asking for her hand and read it to him; then, after receiving permission, had an engagement ring made in his home country of Liberia. Nearly four months to the day after their first meeting, Gerald proposed to Jenée in their home.
With a guest list of 430 loved ones, the couple based their choice of locations on the venues’ ability to hold a large number of guests while maintaining a sense of elegance. After settling on a color scheme of aubergine and gold, and expressing their desire for a “unique, elegant, regal, and jaw-dropping” ceremony and reception, the couple let their wedding planner take control of the event’s design. “It was a complete surprise to us when we arrived,” Jenée reveals.
The ceremony venue, the storied Dunbarton Chapel at Howard University School of Law, was festooned with bunches of ivory and champagne roses wrapped with gold ribbon, perfectly complementing the chapel’s stained-glass windows. Bridesmaids walked down the aisle dressed in flowing strapless gowns in violet and taupe, and each carried a monochromatic bouquet of purple or fuchsia blooms. The bride was radiant in a ruched Pnina Tornai gown accented by a sparkling sapphire pendant. Throughout the Christian ceremony, an eight-person choir filled the chapel with passionate and soulful harmonies.
Following the ceremony, guests headed to the historic and grand Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium for the reception. Stately marble columns shone with deep purple, blue, green, and pink lighting, and delicate candles hung from towering trees interspersed throughout the space. Shimmering silver linens and gold-rimmed flatware topped the tables, which were each decorated with unique centerpieces: vases of ivory, champagne, and aubergine flowers in varying heights, and rectangular crystal candleholders.
Jenée and Gerald took the music selection especially seriously, deciding upon a DJ and two lively bands to entertain the crowd. The traditional first dance and parental dances were also very important to the couple, which included one less-traditional, yet sentimental dance. “We believe we started a special trend with our mother-of-the-bride/bride dance,” Jenée says proudly. West African music also featured prominently at the reception, as Gerald’s heritage was honored with a Liberian wedding custom known as the “Grand March,” which looks similar to a line dance.
Guests also enjoyed a magnificent six-tiered confection decorated with ivory and deep purple flowers in between tiers, each of which featured the design on the bride’s earrings. Guests were gifted with metallic gold boxes filled with sterling-silver wine corkscrews, stemless wine glasses, and a bottle of the couple’s favorite wine.
Jenée urges other brides to take advantage of wedding vendors’ expert skills and knowledge. “They have the ability to hone in on details that you wouldn’t have thought of. They also have this amazing ability to keep you grounded and focused,” she explains.
The music, dancing, and love that surrounded their wedding day will linger in Jenée and Gerald’s minds forever. Gerald says that two of his favorite moments were when his father-in-law put his arm around him and told him he was his son, and when a little girl called Jenée a princess during their portrait session at the U.S. Capitol.
“I like events where many are involved and have a great time,” Gerald explains. “I like to see people happy and our reception was a blessed one!”