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As the sun set in Punta de Mita, Mexico, on Dec. 29, 2015, James “Jamie” O’Connor asked Emily Seldin to be his wife.

Emily, a St. Louis native, and Jamie, from Demarest, New Jersey, met the first week of college at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. The tropical seaside engagement marked the exciting start to the adventurous couple’s life together. “Jamie said he wanted to take a walk on the beach at sunset,” Emily says. “We held hands strolling on the beach, and when we came to rocks at a point, Jamie got down on a knee and proposed.”

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After snapping some selfies, the newly engaged pair walked back to find “felicitaciones” (Spanish for “congratulations”) spelled out in stones on the beach. “It is still a mystery to this day how they got there!” Emily says. “We then had Champagne and a lobster dinner with our family and closest family friends, who were there to celebrate.”

The following evening, Jamie arranged a candlelight, prix fixe dinner for his new fiancée on a private beach. “It was magical and exceeded every dream and expectation!” Emily says.

For Emily and Jamie, the focus always is fun and family – so it was no surprise they wanted their wedding to be a fun-filled, family-friendly day. “We cared a lot about keeping our guests together – hence, the ceremony, reception and after-party all at the same location [Westwood Country Club],” Emily says.

The couple also aimed to transform the venue to truly make it their own. The ceremony and reception spaces were adorned with sleek décor and fresh flowers, from geometric gold chandeliers to rust-colored roses suspended above the altar and the dance floor. “We used grass in some of the centerpieces for a clean, geometric look,” Emily says.

The ceremony, designed to be brief, personal and meaningful, was officiated by a friend, Steve Hurster. “We wrote every single piece of the ceremony – and our vows – ourselves,” Emily says. “I wore my mom’s veil that my grandmother made, which actually had the same exact lace that was on my wedding dress.”

The reception went off with a bang – courtesy of live music from Final Say, fabulous food and specialty cocktails, Emily says, adding: “We had an incredible band that maintained a constant dance party. We didn’t want the night to end!”

The pair’s ideal wedding came to fruition through “thinking big and creatively and working with incredible vendors throughout the entire process,” Emily says.

The newlyweds honeymooned in Australia and New Zealand – “a perfect combination of relaxation and adventure,” Emily says.

The pair is enjoying married life in the heart of Washington, D.C., where Emily works for a political issue advocacy nonprofit, The Hub Project, and Jamie works for Arlington, Virginia-based Opower, an energy-efficiency technology subsidiary of the Oracle Corporation.

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Details | Emily & James

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THE DATE: May 6, 2017

THE BRIDE: Emily Seldin

THE GROOM: James O’Connor

THE BRIDE’S PARENTS: James and Glenda Seldin

THE BRIDE’S GRANDPARENTS: Robert and Fern Poeschl, Suzy Seldin, Marge Seldin

THE GROOM’S PARENTS: Thomas and Maureen O’Connor

THE GROOM’S GRANDMOTHER: Jane O’Connor

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THE MAID OF HONOR: Annie Goldring

THE BEST MAN: Ian O’Connor

THE BRIDESMAIDS: Laura Haley, Ellie von Reyn, Bria Barker, Devin O’Connor, Kelly Smith

THE GROOMSMEN: Michael Dougherty, Jonathan Powanda, Grady Seldin, James Lawrence, Jones Epstein

THE OFFICIANT: Steve Hurster

THE CEREMONY: Westwood Country Club

THE RECEPTION: Westwood Country Club

THE WEDDING DRESS: Monique Lhuillier

THE MAKEUP: Annie Heyward with Danielle Style

THE HAIR: Annie Heyward with Danielle Style

THE BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Jenny Yoo

THE RINGS: Simons Jewelers

THE FLORIST: Festive Couture Floral

THE CAKE: The Cakery

THE BAND (MUSIC): Final Say

THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Lisa Hessel Photography

THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Ever After Films

THE INVITATIONS: The Service Bureau, M. Haley Design

THE WEDDING PLANNER: Jenny Kehm with Before I Do

THE EVENT DÉCOR: Exclusive Events Inc., BBJ Linen, The Aries Co.

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