November-December 2016 | Wedding

Danai Mattison and Barak Sky

Couple married in front of a wall covered in 15,000 roses

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Photo by Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography

The couple: Danai Mattison, 29, grew up in Washington, D.C., and Potomac and graduated from Holton-Arms School in Bethesda. Barak Sky, 30, grew up in Bethesda and graduated from Walter Johnson High School. They both work for Long & Foster Real Estate—Danai as a sales manager for the Capitol Hill office, and Barak as a real estate agent for the Bethesda office. They live in Columbia Heights in D.C.

How they met: In 2010, Danai and Barak were both working for Long & Foster in Bethesda when they met at an office happy hour at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. “We talked the whole night,” Danai says. “He’s very easy to talk to—you instantly feel like you’ve known him forever.”

The first date: The couple considers that first time they met as their first date. After happy hour they went to Tommy Joe’s in Bethesda and a club in D.C. “From that day on, we were together,” Danai says.

The proposal: Barak wanted to propose at Ruth’s Chris because that’s where they had met. He reserved a private table that allowed friends and family to sneak into the bar area for a post-proposal celebration without Danai noticing. At the end of the meal, Barak handed her a photo album chronicling their three-year relationship. Each picture was paired with a hashtag, with the last page saying #ourfutureistogether, #iloveyou, #lookup. Barak was on one knee holding a ring he had bought at John Greenan & Sons in Silver Spring—the same store where Danai’s father had bought her mother’s engagement ring 30 years before. He had taken Danai’s mother with him to choose the ring. “I cried when he told me that,” Danai says.

Photo by Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography

The wedding: Danai and Barak were married on Sept. 13, 2014, at the Park Hyatt Washington in D.C. The venue held special meaning for Danai: Her godfather, who died when she was in third grade, had been the hotel’s first general manager. Celebrations for Danai’s first through eighth birthdays, her 16th birthday and her mother’s baby shower (when she was expecting Danai) had all been held there.

Number of guests: 208

The Ceremony: Danai, who was raised Baptist, had decided to convert to Judaism after getting engaged. “I wanted to convert, thinking about our future family,” says Danai. The process took almost a year, so Danai had gotten to know the rabbi, a close friend of Barak’s family who had officiated at the weddings of his parents and brother. In preparation for this wedding, the rabbi had asked the couple what they most loved about each other and during the ceremony, he spoke about their answers. Barak emphasized Danai’s willingness to talk about and resolve differences; Danai focused on Barak putting her feelings first and making her laugh every day.

Photo by Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography

Stunning surprise: While planning the wedding, Danai had an idea for a wall covered in flowers but scrapped it when costs were adding up. Her mom surprised the couple by including the wall, which was covered in 15,000 ivory roses and framed in gold. It was so large that it didn’t fit through the loading dock door; the florist’s staff had to wait until after midnight to bring it in the front door through the lobby. “I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was,” Danai says.

The Gown: Danai wore a Mark Zunino strapless silk chiffon gown with a sweetheart neck, crystal beading and a cathedral-length train from
Kleinfeld in New York.

Photo by Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography

#photobooth: The event included a photo booth outside the main ballroom. The printed photos were designed to resemble Instagrams and included the couple’s wedding hashtag, #closedonsky (a play on real estate closings to go with their line of work).

Favorite details: Along with the flower wall, Danai says the elaborate chuppah, custom-made with strings of crystals, was special.

Vendors: Band, The Source from Élan Artists; cake, Naomi Gallego of Park Hyatt Washington; calligraphy, Laura Hooper Calligraphy; catering, Blue Duck Tavern; DJ, DJ Basscamp; event planner, Jennifer Stiebel of Soco Events; flowers, design, lighting and production, Amaryllis, Inc. Floral + Event Design; hair, Antoinette Williams; linens, Nuage Designs; makeup, Jacqueline Gellner of Nour KazounArtistry; photo booth, OnomonoMEDIA; photography, Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography; videography, Noah Hayes of Moshe Zusman Photography.

Photo by Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography

The look: Wedding colors were gold and cream, with accents of black. The tables in the ballroom were in three designs: mirror-topped gold pedestal tables with a low flower arrangement and taper candles; gold urn-style vases on sequin-adorned linens; and votive candles with tall crystal vases, also on linens with sequins. A monogram logo was on the aisle runner, cocktail napkins and menus, and also stenciled in gold on the white dance floor.

The after party: In a room near the main ballroom that they dubbed “The Sky Lounge,” a DJ kept the celebration going until around 1:30 a.m. Couches and phone-charging stations were scattered around. When they left, guests were given “hangover kits” as favors (with an eye mask, Advil, Alka-Seltzer and mints).

Photo by Moshe Zusman of Moshe Zusman Photography

The honeymoon: The couple went on a two-week trip to Barcelona and Ibiza in Spain, and Paris.