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.”
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.
Details | Emily & James
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
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.