The wedding party playfully "hails" a cab. (Rachel Smith Photography )
Wedding day: Aug. 25, 2012
The bride: Nikki Addison Hart, 24, grew up in Gaithersburg. She is an Under Armour sports marketing customer sales representative. Her father, Scott Addison, is vice president of finance for Fitzgerald Auto Mall. Her mother, Ann Addison, is vice president of human resources at Lockheed Martin.
The groom: Jeff Hart, 25, grew up in Beaverdam, Va. He is regional sales manager for Centric Business Systems. His father, Mac Hart, is a clinical psychologist in Richmond, Va. His mother, Louise Hart, is a retired Beaverdam special-education teacher.
Their story: Nikki and Jeff met their first week at James Madison University and became a couple soon after.
Early on, he showed her how to make rings out of acorns, and they each made one for the other. She kept hers.
On the fifth anniversary of the day they met, he proposed by saying, "The last ring I made you lasted for five years, but now I want to give you one that lasts forever."
And he presented her with a ring he had designed with Harrisonburg, Va., jeweler James McHone — a 1.2-carat solitaire round diamond with small diamonds on either side of the band.
Bonus: A surprise awaited Nikki when she awoke the morning of her wedding.
"[There were] two jewelry boxes from Jeff with jewelry to wear that day — a beautiful diamond necklace and earrings to match, from Jared," she says. "It was so sweet it made me cry. So, that was my something new."
The place: About 200 guests attended the ceremony at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Mount Vernon.
Bridesmaids' dresses: Her two maids-of-honor — sisters, Krissy, 22, and Katie, 19 — and six bridesmaids all wore short navy silk taffeta cocktail dresses with sweetheart necklines from J. Crew.
"Krissy and Katie had gold monogram necklaces that made them stand out as well," says Nikki.
Her dress: She wore a fitted lace strapless gown that was "a hybrid between a mermaid and an A-line" by Watters, from Betsy Robinson's Bridal. It also featured a sweetheart neckline, an embellished beaded belt and a four-foot long train, which was bustled for the reception.
Flowers: She carried a mix of white roses, white hydrangeas and white calla lilies, accented with small bright blue flowers. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of white hydrangeas and white roses, while the maids of honor carried blue hydrangeas and white roses. All the flowers were done by Teresa Kastner at Floral Impressions.
Men's apparel: The eight groomsmen wore black tuxes and black long ties, while Jeff wore a Vera Wang black tux with black bow tie and vest, all rented from Men's Wearhouse.
Reception: Black-tie optional. The couple wanted a real Baltimore feel to the event and chose the Belvedere because it "is the epitome of Baltimore."
The cocktail hour was held in the Platinum Room on the 13th floor, and the dinner reception next door in the Grand Ballroom. Onsite Truffles Catering supplied all the food, except the cake.
Personal touch: The takeaway gifts to wedding guests later that evening were also a hit. Nikki and Jeff had ordered online custom-made koozies in blue and white, which read, "To have and to hold, and to keep your beer cold."
"We didn't think they'd be enough, so we stuffed them with popcorn because every night Jeff and I have popcorn," says Nikki. "It's a running joke with friends. We have about four popcorn makers. We just love any kind of gourmet popcorn. I am obsessed with popcorn."
Apparently, the obsession caught on with the wedding crowd. Despite hors d'oeuvres that included mini crab cakes, crab dip and little beef Wellingtons (which are Nikki's parents' "very, very favorite food") and an entree of horseradish-crusted salmon and gorgonzola-topped filet mignon, people were munching on popcorn all night.
"It was hilarious," says Nikki.
The cake: It was a red velvet, four-tiered ivory cake from Baltimore Cakery, with navy ribbon at the base of each tier and icing accents that looked like pearls dotting the cake.
"Baltimore Cakery was awesome," says Nikki. "The Belvedere recommended them and they were so easy to work with. They had me send them exactly what I wanted and it didn't taste like wedding cake. It tasted like homemade fabulous cake."
Music: The New Monopoly 10-piece band. "They really interacted with the crowd," says Nikki.
The band also provided the perfect backup to one surprise of the evening, a choreographed father-daughter dance.
"We started out doing a slow dance called 'Free Falling,' " says Nikki. "Then, about 20 seconds in, we switched to 'Party Anthem' and started almost break dancing. My dad is a total jokester and wanted to do something like that. ...We had practiced it a hundred times."
Life-saver: The day-of-wedding coordinator, Jackie Chandler from Truffles Catering.
As the bridal party spent the first part of the cocktail hour downstairs in the Owl Bar, taking wedding pictures, Jackie brought everyone wine to keep them happy.
At dinner, even though the couple had a sweetheart table where they were supposed to enjoy their dinner, they spent the evening up and socializing. However, Nikki says, Jackie kept them fed and hydrated, bringing them food and drink.
"I would turn around and there would be Jackie," says Nikki.
"I am very well organized," she says. But Truffles Catering event coordinator Kat Philgreen "told me to have fun — that they would make sure everything was executed well. And Jackie did that. It felt so natural. It was great."
Honeymoon: Luxuriating for a week in Aruba.