Tuesday’s real Virginia wedding brings us to the Fort Belvoir’s Officers Club in Northern Virginia. Jessica & Ken were taken by the beautiful outdoor setting and the venue’s southern charm. They incorporate a TON of their family’s history into their wedding day through reusing family heirlooms and the decor was accented by beautiful hydrangeas and handmade paper flowers.

But I think the best detail of their wedding day comes in the form of their AWESOME table names. I won’t ruin too much, but Ken & Jessica decided to have some fun involving roller coaster pictures. The images are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. A special thanks to Porter Watkins Photography for submitting her images for this feature!

Jessica & Ken’s Family-Infused, Personalized Northern Virginia Wedding at Fort Belvoir’s Officers Club

 How they met:

On January 12, 2010, we had our first date at DC Chophouse. Jessica, a constantly tardy, fickle metro rider, was late and refused to change trains, Ken ever the gentleman, met Jessica at Metro Center and they walked to dinner together. At dinner, Jessica talked and talked and talked. Ken tried not to fall in love too quickly. Since that day, the two have been together.

Through snow-mageddon just after they began dating to both their best friends getting married, vacations into Luray Caverns, the beach, Tallahassee, Tampa, and Ohio; time apart because of Army training and everything in between, Ken and Jessica have been in love the whole time and will be forever.

The proposal story:

My momma and brother, Jeff, were in town for Yom Kippur during Columbus weekend, 2011. Ken knew we’d be out of the house for a while for services, which gave him the chance to get the ring. At the end of the weekend, after I took Momma and Jeff to the airport, Ken decided we should go to Great Falls, MD to hike the Billy Goat Trail–something I had been begging to do for months, but Ken knew the next time he took me there he wanted to propose.

Knowing we were just hiking, I threw on some hiking clothes and was ready to hit the road. As we reached the park, Ken was acting a little funny (in hindsight), not letting me touch the backpack or anything in the trunk of the car.

Jessica DIYed not only her OWN wedding hair and makeup – but her bridesmaids’ hair too!

As we traipsed through the rocks and hiked along the trails, we got hungry — we both couldn’t wait to get to the rocky look-out point to eat Panera picnic lunch. When we rounded the corner to get to the rocks, the rocks were overtaken with people. Ken tells me he freaked out in his head. He suggested we go out a little farther, to an empty outcropping of rocks.

Ken is a member of the Army Nurse Corps–each corps has their own pins for their dress blue uniforms. Darby and Aubrey purchased several of Ken’s Army Nurse Corps pins. They used the pins to pin their sashes to together to their dresses–so sweet!! They also bought one for me to pin Darby’s borrowed bouquet ribbon–tears!

Once to the secluded rocks, Ken suggested he take a picture of me with the fall foliage in the background; always wanting my picture taken, I said, “Yeah, take my picture!” To my excitement instead of taking the camera out of the backpack, Ken removed a ring box and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said, “YES! YES! YES! YES!” After I finished hugging Ken, he said, “Well, are you going to look at the ring?” To say the least, it was stunning. As he placed the ring on my finger, three pre-pubescent boys and their dad yelled, “CONGRATULATIONS!” from another rock group. It was a great first congratulatory message for our engagement. As we finished our hike through the Billy Goat trail, our excitement was barely contained and we made it out of there in record time. :)

On their venue selection:

Ken is in the Army and we just feel in love with the Southern charm of the look of the Fort Belvoir Officers’ Club. It had the perfect gazebo and garden and I always loved the idea of having part of our wedding outside. We loved the banquet hall’s amazing view of the Potomac. Additionally, we really wanted our family and friends to see what an Army post looks like.

Being Jewish our parents and bridal party stand with us under our chuppah (in our case the gazebo) and celebrate the whole ceremony with us. Our best man Joe was so funny when he showed off our ketubah (Jewish wedding contract) to our friends and family, but I love having our matron of honor and best man sign our ketubah with us. We have it hanging in our house with the photos Porter took of us all signing it–we love it!

Click inside for the rest of this beautiful Northern Virginia Fort Belvoir Wedding from Porter Watkins Photography.

On their wedding colors:

Our main colors were navy and pink with green and blue accents in the flowers. I’ve always loved the color navy and Ken wore his dress blues so navy bridesmaids dresses looked great next to his uniform. I picked light pink because I always thought I wanted a light/blush wedding dress (it looked too much like my skin tone) but I ended up with pink sashes for mine and my bridesmaids dresses as well as around our bouquets.

Jessica claims not to be crafty, but she handmade all those awesome, giane Mexican paper flowers that adorned the ceremony space above.

I am the first to admit I am NOT a crafting queen nor am I a DIY duchess. However, I did do a little DIY for my wedding.

I made ~35 giant Mexican paper flowers for our ceremony. To decorate the chairs on the aisle and the gazebo–we got married outside. Thanks to my Momma and Ken (who was bleeding and has scars from this project!)

Family heirlooms: my mom carried my grandfather’s Tallis (we had a Jewish wedding) which the rabbi used to bless us at the end of our ceremony. The Tallis has been in every momentous family event for every member of my family: weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, namings, etc.

I wore my grandmother’s pearls and diamond earrings, which she gave me when I was in high school.

Some of my most favorite little details: My happily married bridesmaids let me borrow some little details from their gorgeous weddings. Darby wrapped my beautiful hydrangea bouquet in her ribbon from her bouquet. Aubrey placed her earrings from her wedding in the netting underneath my wedding dress. Lucky charms for my wedding day from theirs.


OK on to the amazing table names …. prepare yourselves:

Our centerpieces are interesting: we had traditional flowers (hydrangeas were EVERYWHERE) but then we added in pictures of us on roller coasters. We did these instead of having table numbers for everyone. Yes, we did every, single one of these.

How did this all start? It started with our first trip to roller coasters (Ken loves them, I love…Ken, not roller coasters) at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I always make really scary faces (because I’m scared) and Ken makes faces like he knows where the camera is (he does!) and is enjoying the ride (he is!). We ended up buying Le Scoot when we were first dating because we switched up our faces: I look happy, Ken looks scared, but it really just ended up funny.

Then…we were getting married and we needed table assignment, so we went on and bought 13 other roller coaster photos at several different amusement parks.

 Talk about alternative table names right?! Love these!

Congratulations Jessica & Ken! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Northern Virginia wedding with us. A special thanks again to Porter Watkins Photography for sharing her images.


  1. Absolutely love your story and photos! The roller coaster part was incredibly fun and special. I could have seen my son doing something like that with his bride if he were not already married. <3

  2. I’m the bride, Jessica, and I am SO in love with our feature on Capitol Romance. Heather and Stephen, thanks for liking our wedding–we think it’s pretty special.

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