Nicole Melnick and Justin Miller

Couple ties the knot in St. Regis hotel where the bride's parents married

Photos by Michael Bennett Kress Photography

The couple: Nicole Melnick, 27, grew up in Bethesda, graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac and teaches kindergarten at Bannockburn Elementary School in Bethesda. Justin Miller, 32, grew up in Cabin John, graduated from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda and works as vice president of acquisitions for CIBT—a company that helps travelers get passports and visas—in McLean, Virginia. They live in the McLean Gardens neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

How they met: Online in 2012 through the Jewish dating website JDate

The first date: Justin asked Nicole to dinner, and they met at Sorriso, an Italian restaurant in D.C. “We knew some of the same people, and I was working at the elementary school where he went,” Nicole says.

The proposal: After dating for three years, Justin surprised Nicole with a home-cooked meal when she returned from a trip. “I love to cook—he can’t cook,” Nicole says. “While I was away, he practiced and looked for recipes from a show I watch called The Kitchen.” After dinner Justin got down on one knee and proposed. “We didn’t tell anyone until the next morning. It was good to keep it to ourselves for a little because after you tell everyone, it explodes,” she says.

The wedding: July 23, 2016, at the St. Regis hotel in D.C., where Nicole’s parents were married. The outdoor ceremony took place in front of a fountain on the hotel’s terrace, and the cocktail hour and reception followed indoors.

Number of guests: 176

Feeling hot, hot, hot: Nicole and Justin were glad they planned a short ceremony because even at 6:30 p.m., the terrace felt sweltering (the high for that day was 98 degrees). The cocktail hour and reception were both indoors, but the terrace was open to guests—none of whom chose to leave the air conditioning for the heat.

Anniversary antics: To acknowledge that Nicole’s parents had been married at the St. Regis 30 years before, the couple ordered a mini cake along with their wedding cake. “When they brought the cake out for my parents, my dad put it in my mom’s face,” Nicole says with a laugh.

A little bit country: A string trio played during the ceremony and a pianist performed in the lobby of the St. Regis during cocktail hour. While dinner was served, the wedding band Millennium played an acoustic set that included a lot of country music, including Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel,” one of the couple’s favorite songs.

The look: “The venue itself had so much character and elegance that we didn’t need to add much,” Nicole says. The wedding colors were gold and cream. For place cards that doubled as favors, Nicole bought mini gold frames and then traced numbers onto cardstock to put inside.

Sweet ending: “Justin loves chocolate-chip cookies so we served a late-night treat of chocolate-chip cookies and milkshakes,” Nicole says.

Tee time: One of Justin’s favorite pastimes is golf, so the cocktail hour and reception included a putting green for guests. The golf balls featured the couple’s new monogram.

The honeymoon: A trip to Italy’s Sicily and Amalfi Coast, then London for a few nights. For their one-year anniversary this summer, the couple is planning a return trip to the hotel where they stayed in Sicily.

Vendors: Cake and catering, St. Regis; event planner, Cheers Darling Events; flowers, Blue Vanda Designs; hair, Renee Benedict of one80 salon; makeup, Carl Ray of one80 salon; music, Millennium from Washington Talent Agency; photography, Michael Bennett Kress; stationery, Creative Parties.

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