While attending a conference at the University of Pennsylvania, Abby Majlak met a fellow college student named Jack Vine, who decided to treat her to ice cream after dinner. That encounter would blossom into nine years of dating, with Jack also serving as a Naval Aviator. After returning from his third deployment, Jack surprised Abby with a weekend getaway in Hot Springs, Virginia. Little did she know that Jack would be her fiancé by the end of the trip.

The couple spent a year planning their destination wedding, which took place in the nation’s capital. It was very important to the couple that their ceremony be a personal celebration. Since they both have a passion for politics, Abby’s college roommate read a love letter written by Ronald Reagan to his wife Nancy Reagan on Air Force One in 1983. The groom also wore his Navy uniform and ring to commemorate his service, and the ceremony ended with the couple exiting through a Navy arch of swords and entering the reception in the same fashion. 

“Finding ways to personally recognize friends and family while getting ready, but also at the wedding and reception, is so important to a very special day.”

Personality was a key element to the pair’s wedding day as well, but they also wanted to honor their guests throughout the celebration. They decided to not have a “first look” so that they could spend more time with all who arrived.

Since friends and family traveled from all across the country, Abby and Jack wanted to ensure that they could enjoy a delicious meal complemented with unforgettable libations, so the couple paid particular attention to the fare and beverages served throughout the day. They also chose low centerpieces so that attendees could see each other from across the table and engage in conversation throughout the reception. 

The classic décor showcased a soft palette of white and blush hues, which appeared in the florals, linens, and centerpieces. Guests were also able to enjoy a Champagne tower in honor of the bride's favorite drink. Her favorite floral arrangements, which were two wreaths that were displayed on the front door of the spacious wedding reception venue, incorporated elegant garden roses and hydrangeas.

The couple also took precious photos with their adorable fox terrier, Henry, outside of the venue. Towards the end of the reception, they shared their first dance to “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra – a song beloved by Abby’s late grandfather. 

Staying true to themselves was important to the duo, but loved ones mattered just as much. “Wedding planning is all-consuming. But remember, life goes on around you!” the bride confides. “Finding ways to personally recognize friends and family while getting ready, but also at the wedding and reception, is so important to a very special day.”

Some of the links included may be affiliate; however, everything we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. When you make a purchase, we may receive revenue. Thank you for your support!