Weddings of the Year
A peek inside the celebrations of four couples
Take Me Home
The couple: Emily Simon (maiden name Dill), 28, grew up in Scott Depot, West Virginia. She is an implementation specialist for Bethesda-based Teaching Strategies, an early childhood curriculum and assessment company. Adam Simon, 34, was raised in North Bethesda and graduated from Walter Johnson High School. He’s a partner at Encore Tickets, a ticket resale marketplace, also based in Bethesda. The couple lives in Chevy Chase.
How they met: When Emily moved to Fairfax, Virginia, for a teaching job in 2013, her friend encouraged her to create an account on OkCupid, an online dating site, to meet people. Adam, who was living in Bethesda, reached out to Emily, writing, “Hey, there,” but Emily wasn’t impressed with the message and didn’t respond. A few days later Adam sent another message: “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Tara Reid?” Emily thought the question comparing her to the actress was so outrageous that she had to answer him. She responded, “No, no one has. But that’s nice. And I think you’re a little crazy for thinking that, actually.” After more back and forth, the pair arranged a date.
The first date: Emily and Adam met at Bethesda’s Nest Café (now closed) for dinner. The conversation flowed easily, and they went to Max Brenner in Bethesda (also closed) for dessert. Adam, who says his generation tends to text rather than talk on the phone, called her the next day. “I think it caught her off guard a little bit, but she liked that I gave her a call.”
The proposal: After about three years of dating, Adam decided to propose. He thought that if he took Emily on a trip, she’d be suspicious, so he planned to pop the question during their normal routine. It was the night before Christmas Eve and the couple was in their Bethesda Row apartment getting ready to go to dinner. Adam took their mixed-breed dog, Eddie, on a walk, and when they returned, the dog was wearing a red bow. At first, Emily thought Adam was making a joke, re-gifting the dog she’d rescued when she was a student at West Virginia University. But when Eddie got closer, she saw “Will you marry my dad?” on the gift tag he was wearing. “I wanted to incorporate the dog because he’s so special to both of us,” says Adam, who got down on one knee in the living room. “Emily immediately grabbed her face, and that’s how I could tell her emotions were catching up to her.”
The wedding: On March 10, 2018, Emily and Adam were married in Charleston, West Virginia. Even though most of their 165 guests were from the D.C. area, it was important to Emily that she marry in her home state. The ceremony, cocktail hour and reception were at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences, a 240,000-square-foot facility that houses two museums and several performing arts spaces. The couple chose the venue for its grand two-story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows, where their reception was held.
New traditions: Emily, who was raised Baptist, and Adam, who is Jewish, decided to weave Emily’s family traditions into a Jewish ceremony. “It was important to us to represent both of our families’ traditions and backgrounds, but also create our own,” Emily says. Her parents built the Jewish canopy called a chuppah that the couple was married under by a rabbi. Their ceremony included a Bible passage that was read at Emily’s parents’ wedding.
The dessert: The couple had a dessert bar that included a simple white cake. “We didn’t even announce the cake cutting,” Emily says. All the attention was on the “hot dogs”—oblong pastries with cream in the middle. “Everyone local to West Virginia knows them,” she says. “You just call it a hot dog and they know what you’re talking about.”
The final song: It’s a West Virginia tradition to gather in a circle and sing whenever “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver is played. Emily thought it would be a poignant way to end the reception, and asked the band to play it as the final song of the night. “It was a really nice, intimate moment with all of the guests,” she says. But then the band surprised the couple with an encore—“Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. “It was just so funny to watch everyone go from this very intimate country song, this kumbaya feeling, to breaking it down for ‘Turn Down for What,’ ” she says.
The honeymoon: Emily and Adam took a 16-day trip to South Africa. They spent a few nights in Cape Town, drove along the coast on the Garden Route and went on safari in Kruger National Park.
Vendors: Catering, Embassy Suites; engagement ring setting and wedding bands, Boone & Sons Jewelers; florist, Winter Floral & Antiques; gown, Love Couture Bridal; hair and makeup, Spa Bliss; “hot dogs,” Spring Hill Pastry Shop; music, Affirmative Groove (Sam Hill Entertainment); photographer, The Oberports; videographer, Studio 213; wedding planning, Ren + Ott Events.