• Home
  • >
  • Content
  • >
  • Real Weddings
  • >
  • An English Garden Inspired Wedding in Washington DC with Peachy Pink, White, and Blue Florals


  • Photography By:

    Anna Schmidt Photography

    Virginia Hiner and Alexander Antypas

    September 23, 2023 in Washington, DC


    Virginia Hiner and Alexander Antypas met during the summer of 2016 while interning as law students at the firm where they both now work. 

    “We became fast friends that summer and reconnected again when we both returned to the firm as associates after law school,” Virginia shares. “Over time, we bonded over our shared love of cooking, kombucha, and gourmet food – not to mention that Alex always had the best gossip.”

    “We just loved being around each other.”

    Sparks at the Office Holiday Party

    In December 2019, Virginia and Alex ran into each other at the office holiday party, where sparks really began to fly. The two hung out the entire night; and by the end of the evening, they realized they were the only ones left at the afterparty.

    “We just loved being around each other,” Virginia explains. “After that, Alex started coming by my office more often, and one Friday night while we were both working late, he invited me to dinner. I was so nervous that I could barely eat anything! We got drinks afterward and ended up staying up until 3 a.m. just talking. More dates followed, and pretty soon, we were inseparable. When everyone was sent home from work in March 2020, we decided to quarantine together in my apartment, thinking it would be a few weeks. A year later we bought a house together and ‘officially’ had the same address.”

    L’Auberge Chez Francois and a Diamond Ring

    In May 2022, Alex surprised his then-girlfriend with a special dinner at one of their favorite restaurants – L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia. Before they went inside, Alex announced that he wanted to take a walk around the property and see the restaurant’s famous gardens.

    “Just as we approached a patch of artisanal lettuces,” Virginia recalls, “Alex got down on one knee and proposed to me with the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen.  I said yes, of course! The moment was injected with a little bit of unexpected humor when I looked up mid-hug and noticed two strange men filming us from the parking lot.  At first, I thought Alex had convinced some of the restaurant’s staff to take pictures; but upon closer inspection I realized it was his brothers. They had been hiding in the parking lot the entire time to try and secretly capture the moment on film! The proposal was truly a team effort.”

    An English Garden Inspired Wedding

    The overall inspiration for Virginia and Alex’s wedding day was “English Garden” with a classic, timeless spin. Their color palette was a mixture of peachy pinks, whites, and blues, echoing the shades of the dahlias, roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, and blue delphiniums in the bride’s bouquet. Tables were decorated with a mixture of bouquets in compote bowls, smaller florals in bud vases, taper candles, and crystal candlesticks – all offset by classic blue and white china, light blue place cards, and light blue menu cards inside a floral vellum jacket and enclosed with wax seals. They also used alternating vellum jacket designs – some featuring monarch butterflies, and others featuring moody florals – for a full garden effect.  Vines and greenery, punctuated with an abundance of lush pink roses, draped the columns around the dance floor, gave guests the impression of walking into a scene from The Secret Garden as they entered the reception space. 

    “The table design held special significance for me because it was inspired by a combination of elements that symbolize both of my late grandmothers,” Virginia adds. “The heavy emphasis on lush florals and garden motifs was inspired by my father’s mother, who was an accomplished, lifelong gardener. I selected the blue and white china in honor of my mother’s mother, who was an avid collector of Spode Italian Blue and decorated her home with one-of-a-kind blue and white Delft tiles. This ode to my grandmothers – both of whom were so important to me – was my way of keeping their spirits present and close to me on this special day.”

    The couple’s beloved pug, Dolly, also made an appearance for portraits and at cocktail hour. Custom cocktail napkins were designed with a watercolor portrait of Dolly on them that said, “I do, too!” which turned out to be a fan favorite among the guests. The back side of the cake also featured a tiny replica figurine of Dolly, positioned with frosting on her nose as if she had just taken a bite.

    “Dolly is such a special part of our lives, and we could not have celebrated without her,” says the bride.

    A Traditional Greek Orthodox Ceremony

    Prior to celebrating amid their floral-filled secret garden reception, the bride and groom were married with a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony at the church where Alex grew up – Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Northwest Washington, D.C.

    “In addition to holding such special memories for my husband and his family,” Virginia says, “Saint Sophia is also a work of art in itself. Nearly every inch of the church is covered in spectacular, one-of-a-kind mosaic art, the focal point of which is a massive, glittering dome that rises above the pews below. The bridesmaids wore simple Jenny Yoo gowns in apricot champagne satin, which shimmered elegantly beneath the church’s low light, while the groomsmen looked sharp in classic black tuxedos.”

    The ceremony itself was beautiful, incorporating a series of ancient rituals – all of which have special meaning in the Greek Orthodox church. The most important of these is the “Rite of Crowning,” when beaded crowns are placed upon the bride and groom’s heads and exchanged back and forth several times. Since the bride and groom do not exchange vows in the Greek Orthodox tradition, this part of the ceremony served as the “I do,” symbolizing the moment when they were officially considered married. During the reception, the couple also incorporated a set of traditional Greek music and dancing, which was one of the most raucous parts of the night, and a highlight for both their Greek and non-Greek guests.

    “One of my most cherished memories of our wedding day was our room reveal,” Virginia reflects. “As we walked into the room, the band was playing our wedding song – ‘Let Me Roll It’ by Lake Street Dive – and I was instantly flooded with all of the emotion I had held back throughout the day. My planner, Amanda, and I poured so many hundreds of hours into selecting every detail of the room’s design, and I found it so deeply moving to see it all come together even more beautifully than I could have imagined.  After taking a moment to soak it all in, Alex and I did a practice run of our first dance, with the band playing our song just for the two of us. This was, without a doubt, the most romantic moment of our wedding day, and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”


    Location: The Fairmont Washington, Washington, DC; Planning & Event Design: Beacon & Berkeley Events, Washington, DC; Floral Design: Floral & Bloom Designs, Washington, DC; Rentals & Linen: DC Rental, Arlington, VA; Lighting: Encore Décor Inc., Washington, DC; Engagement Ring: Tiny Jewel Box; Wedding Dress: Monique L’Huillier; Bridal Salon: Carine’s Bridal Atelier; Reception Dress: A.L.C.; Hair & Makeup: Amie Decker Beauty, Savage, MD; Groom’s Attire: Emporio Armani; Groom’s Watch: Rolex; Entertainment: Rhythm 6, Washington Talent Agency, Rockville, MD; Photography: Anna Schmidt Photography, Washington, DC

    Follow us: