Living just two doors down from one another during their freshman year at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, Jordanna Sussman and Joshua Pusateri were destined to meet. “He was truly unlike any of the other guys I had met at GWU – carefree, down to earth, and unassuming,” Jordanna remembers. Following an eight-year courtship, Joshua presented his beloved with his grandmother’s engagement ring during an at-home proposal after a romantic dinner, which was “exactly what I wanted,” says Jordanna. Knowing she would also want to share the moment with family, Joshua surprised his bride-to-be by having both of their parents come into town the next day to celebrate. “It was perfect!” she says.
When choosing a location to host their nuptials, the couple’s decision was easy: Washington, DC. “We wanted to have our wedding in the city in which we met, fell in love, and started our lives together,” shares the bride. Finding a venue, on the other hand, was not quite as simple. “Nothing really felt like us,” admits Jordanna. “Luckily, our fantastic wedding planner, Christine Godsey of Engaging Affairs, knew just the place: an empty warehouse with concrete floors, big garage doors, and an endless amount of opportunity.”
As a self-proclaimed nontypical bride, Jordanna didn’t want a wedding party, a bridal shower, or a cake. “I didn’t realize that I would challenge so many ‘standard wedding operating procedures,’ but I’m glad I did and stuck with what made sense for us as a couple. It truly made our wedding ours,” confirms the bride. With the help of their wedding professionals, they created a cohesive look for the ceremony and reception spaces. “I had a very distinct vision for the day and wanted people to walk in and feel like they were in the home we’d created together,” explains Jordanna of the warm and cozy event décor featuring neutral colors, natural woods, greenery, and pops of gold.
As guests entered the ceremony site, they discovered stylish, yet simplistic, décor to keep the focus on the blessings of the day. “Amaryllis, Inc. crafted the most incredible chuppah!” shares the bride of the pièce de résistance of the space: a wooden structure decorated with verdure and the tallit of the groom’s great-grandfather. Jordanna was beautiful in a strapless pleated silk organza ball gown; she carried a bouquet comprised of eucalyptus leaves, garden roses, ranunculus blossoms, scabiosa pods, hypericum berries, rosemary, and thyme. Her groom was classic in a handsome tuxedo; a rustic boutonniere featuring similar foliage was pinned to his lapel.
Following their traditional Jewish ceremony, which was performed by a rabbi who is also a close family friend of the groom, guests entered the main reception area through a wall of elegant drapery with eucalyptus-garland trim to find a sea of farm tables surrounded by cross-back chairs. Potted trees and walls of greenery gave the indoor space an alfresco feel, and two sitting areas with grey upholstered couches and chairs offered a comfortable space for guests to relax throughout the celebration. A rustic two-sided bar made of wood planks gave attendees the opportunity to grab drinks from inside the dinner area or outside on the dock, which was dotted with cocktail tables.
They found their seats at a mix of wooden tables left bare of linens that surrounded a dance floor with an Edison light bulb installation suspended overhead. Rectangular tables were adorned with eucalyptus-garland runners made up of garden roses, hypericum berries, and scabiosa pods, as well as tea lights in bronze votives next to brass table numbers. Square tables featured low centerpieces composed of the same floral elements, with the addition of ranunculuses, dahlias, and herbs. Each guest’s place setting was decorated with a kraft bag housing a baguette and denoting the dinner selections in letterpress printing. The clever detail was one of the couple's favorite paper items of the day.
Other personalized elements included invitations with white, gold, and kraft details – a motif that was incorporated throughout the day-of stationery. The mother of the bride’s dear friend created the couple’s wedding monogram – two Js in front of olive branches – which was weaved throughout the décor, from the verdant installation at the entrance to kraft tags on the mini-cake favors to the design used on thank-you cards. Since the bride’s parents own a textile design company, they also embroidered the monogram on handkerchiefs used during the ceremony, custom grey hemstitch napkins for the cocktail hour and dinner service, and even the servers’ aprons.
Eschewing tradition once again, the couple decided not to have a wedding cake. “We realized that [it] didn’t mean anything to us, so we did not have one,” notes the bride. Instead, they had their favorite local popsicle store set up a cart next to the dance floor and a few push carts topped with their treasured desserts moving around the room, so guests could grab a bite and keep on dancing. “Don’t be afraid to be different,” advises Jordanna. “If something doesn’t feel right for you as a couple, try and come up with an alternative that does. It takes a little extra work and creativity but it’s worth it.”
Jordanna and Joshua were certainly pleased with the outcome of their celebration. “The team went absolutely above and beyond my wildest dreams. It was an incredible feeling seeing our vision come to life far beyond our expectations,” describes the bride. The groom felt as though the day was the perfect representation of them as a couple. “The entire wedding was unique and we shaped each piece of it to reflect our lifestyle and ideas,” he says. “When I heard our good friends walk in and say, ‘This looks just like Josh and Jordie’s apartment,’ I knew we chose the right place. We wanted everyone to feel as if they were in our home celebrating with us.”