St. Matthew’s Cathedral and Iron Gate brunch wedding. What started as casual date-night conversation over dinner under the wisteria canopy and beside the warm fire pits at Iron Gate turned into an idyllic wedding at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Emily Michael and Adam Buckalew, best known as Buck, met as neighbors near Union Station and began the tradition of Thursday night date night as a way to maintain a dynamic relationship and explore Washington’s imaginative restaurant scene. Their first date was at Chaplin’s Restaurant & Bar, which the owners brand as a ramen house and cocktail bar based on silent film that emulates the 1930’s Golden age of Hollywood.

The couple continued the tradition, crisscrossing the district every Thursday trying new eateries and local pubs.

Their second Christmas date was at Iron Gate — a Mediterranean-inspired, mezze driven upscale restaurant, featuring a wood burning hearth and rotisserie. While enjoying Greek wine and creative small plates, Emily and Buck noticed the illuminated dome of St. Matthews shining through the barren wisteria vines.

The couple joked about how romantic it would be if a couple got married at St. Matthews and walked with their entire wedding party to Iron Gate for a brunch reception.

Two years later, Emily and Buck’s charming nuptials and intimate brunch reception would capture the couple’s attention to detail, embodying generations of love, their journey as a couple, as well as the flavors and flowers of the region.

From the outset, guests were invited into Emily and Buck’s relationship. Their save the date postcard donned a picture from that very first date at Iron Gate. Invitations were hand-drawn by Rococoloco Design (a college friend), who personalized a contemporary sketch of St. Matthew’s. And the wedding party joined the soon-to-be wed couple at Chaplin’s two nights before the ceremony to recreate their first date and the location Buck also asked for Emily’s hand in marriage.

Personal Touches:
Personal touches were sustained throughout the ceremony, with Buck wearing his grandfather’s wedding band first blessed on December 10, 1940, when his namesake married his grandmother, and Emily carrying a bouquet accented by her “something blue” — a tiny charm shaped like her dog, Pip, who first led the couple to each other while living on the same street.

Having lost both of his grandparents during their engagement, Buck wore his other grandfather’s cuff links and the newly-weds’ cake stand was heirloom silver — a gift discovered days before his grandmother passed. The cake topper belongs to Emily’s  grandparents, who recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and joined the couple to celebrate one of their 14 grandchildren’s nuptials.

Iron Gate’s rustic ambiance and regional cuisine was accentuated by flowers from nearby LynnVale Studios, where owners Andrea and Lou Gagnon are passionately committed to sustainable horticulture and open farmlands.

For this couple, nothing could be complete without party favors from House of Crumbs, honoring the dog that brought them together and the icon of their employment. After a cheerful departure from friends and family, Emily and Buck held a private photography session with Karena Dixon in the United States Capitol, idolizing the day they once and for all united their love for each other and memorializing their families’ generational love for our country.

The next day, Emily and Buck treated all guests to a day trip to the award-winning Creek’s Edge Winery, located in Lovettsville, Virginia, sharing one last peek into the couples’ passion for the region by experiencing one of their favorite escapes from the city.

Additional touches:

  • The flower girls and ring bearers were Emily and Buck’s 10 nieces and nephews. The oldest was a junior bridesmaid.
  • The cake was a custom, two-tier cake by Buzz Bakery, surrounded by a variety of cupcakes and accented by greenery from LynnVale Studios.
  • Buck wore a custom Indochino suit with the couples’ wedding date embroidered into the jacket lining.
  • Emily and her bridal party had their hair and makeup designed and completed by Anna Breeding.
  • Buck and his groomsmen had their hair styled by Barber of Hell’s Bottom’s Jordan Fulls, who also did straight razor neck shaves for the men.
  • The Bumper Jacksons played their root jazz, country swing, and street blues classics during the brunch reception.

© 2024 karena dixon