The Couple: Joshua Simon, 30, grew up in Potomac and graduated from Winston Churchill High School. He is an actor and dog walker. Brandon Heishman, 38, grew up in Broadway, Virginia, and is a choir director and organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, and an optician at Village Eye Center in Potomac. They live in Kensington.
How they met: Hoping to make local theater connections after moving back to the area after graduating from New York University in 2014, Joshua went to an underground cabaret night hosted by LA TI DO Productions at the Black Fox Lounge (now closed) in Washington, D.C. Brandon was there as a piano accompanist for a musical about Edgar Allan Poe. “Even though Brandon is a really truly sweet, bubbly, kind person, when I first saw him, I’m like, ‘Who’s this dark mysterious raven of a man?’ ” Joshua recalls with a laugh. Though they chatted and exchanged phone numbers, they didn’t meet again until another cabaret night about six months later. “When they told me who to send my music to, I was like, ‘Gee, I hope it’s that same cute guy from earlier,’ ” Joshua says, “and it was.” In May 2015, they went on their first official date, to see mutual friends in a Falls Church, Virginia, production of the musical Once on This Island.
The proposal: On Oct. 13, 2018, Brandon surprised Joshua by popping the question with a flash mob in Blagden Alley in D.C. Brandon enlisted about 10 friends and family members to help him perform an a cappella mash-up of “Cheerleader” by Omi and “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston. “I kind of knew what was going on right away, because I knew that when Brandon was going to propose, it was going to be in a meaningful and also entertaining way,” Joshua says, “but I was just in such shock that I stood completely still.” Onlookers watched as Brandon got down on one knee in front of four garage doors, which spelled out “love” in large rainbow letters. The harmonizing continued even after Joshua said “yes.”
The ceremony: After COVID-19 forced the pair to reschedule their wedding twice, they decided to legally tie the knot in Joshua’s parents’ front yard in Potomac on a sunny day in September 2020. Joshua is Jewish, so a rabbi performed the ceremony, which was attended by about a dozen guests, plus some loved ones who watched at a distance from their cars. When they were finally able to hold a full-fledged celebration at the Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn in Middleburg, Virginia, on Oct. 31, 2021, they hosted another ceremony. With about 125 guests present, the couple wed under a chuppah (a canopy used in Jewish weddings) next to their ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract), on a hilltop with views of the Blue Ridge footfills. Brandon donned a blue suit and a floral bow tie while Joshua wore a green suit and a matching floral tie—“because of the fall colors, [our outfits] actually stood out,” Brandon says.
The reception: Guests headed indoors to the Briar Patch’s Fox Den building for the reception, where each of the four “best people” gave speeches as the newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table topped with floral arrangements of eucalyptus, waxflowers and hydrangeas. Halloween is Joshua’s favorite holiday, so to get in the spooky spirit, each table was assigned a scary movie, like Psycho or Jaws; later, tables were called up to eat by playing that film’s music. “It was really a night to remember,” Joshua says. “After so much rearranging and so much difficulty, it’s just so beautiful to see everything happen.”
The entertainment: “Working in the arts, you get to know some talented singers,” Joshua says. The pair enlisted friends to lend their musical chops to the day’s festivities. Joshua’s friend John Gargan sang “Extraordinary Magic” by Ben Rector as they walked down the aisle, a choir of friends sang “Set Me as a Seal” by René Clausen during the ceremony, and guests were accompanied out of the ceremony by friend Robbie Taylor strumming a guitar arrangement of “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada. The couple’s first dance was “All of Me” by John Legend, performed by Joshua’s best man, Daniel Zimmerman. The Bachelor Boys Band got guests grooving during cocktail hour and the reception, playing hits like “Shut Up and Dance,” one of the couple’s favorite moments from the evening. “We were on opposite ends of the dance floor somehow, and ended up running at each other and pointing and screaming and dancing,” Brandon says.
The food: After a dinner consisting of stations for tacos, poke and salads, a Carpe Donut truck pulled up, slinging fresh doughnuts, vanilla ice cream and hot apple cider, “which was great because by then it had gotten a little chilly at night,” Joshua says. The party favors were coffee beans from Compass Coffee, loose-leaf tea and cookies.
The honeymoon: The couple took a mini-moon to a Cancún resort right after the wedding—lounging by the beach and indulging in massages—and hope to travel to Greece once travel is more feasible.
The vendors: Dessert, Carpe Donut; flowers, Twinbrook Floral Design; food, Kevin’s Catering; grooms’ suits, Indochino; hair and makeup, DC Bridal Hair and Makeup; music, Bachelor Boys Band; photography, Lindsay Ladd of Ginger Fox Photography; transportation, Point to Point Limousines; venue, Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn; videography, Toast Wedding Films
This story appears in the September/October 2022 issue of Bethesda Magazine.