Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography by Emily Chastain
With all the romance in the air at weddings, it isn’t surprising that more than a few couples have started out their own relationships after watching the exchange of vows and sipping a few celebratory glasses of champagne. And while Monica Trigoso and Richard Patterson originally met during their first semester of law school, it wasn’t until five years later, when they reconnected at a mutual friend’s wedding in 2014, that the two made a real connection and decided to start dating.
Over the next three years, Monica and Rich continued dating, traveling together and adding new chapters to their love story. Despite the fact that their romance could have been considered picture perfect, there was still a missing chapter waiting to be added. “One night, we had plans to have a nice dinner after work, and I almost ruined everything because I kept wanting to head home early to freshen up,” recalls Monica, who works as an Assistant United States Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. “Rich and I were living together, so he had spoken to a good friend of mine at work and told her to not let me leave to go home until he was ready. When I got home, our living room was filled with candles and a photo book waiting for me on the dinner table. I always make a photo book to recap our year together and title them, ‘The Story of Us.’ Each year, I add another chapter. This time, Rich had made his own—‘The Story of Us: Special Edition.’ It was filled with pictures from law school, the wedding where we’d reconnected, and the day he had secretly gone to ask for my parents’ blessing in California. By the time I was done looking at it all, he was down on one knee.”
Less than two years later, on April 25, 2019, Rich and Monica married one another in a civil ceremony at the D.C. Superior Court before joining their friends and family for the real celebration on April 27, when Monica walked down the aisle at Woodlawn Estate wearing a strapless fit-and-flare Martina Liana gown adorned with applique flowers to meet Rich at the altar. “When I saw it, the dress reminded me of cherry blossoms, so I knew it would be perfect for an April wedding,” Monica says.
After the exchanging of their vows, the newly married couple joined their guests at an elegant reception on the grounds for a seated dinner and a party with some unexpected surprises. “Rich and his college friends are obsessed with Stephen Kellogg; so I reached out to him, and he agreed to play a couple of songs after our first dance,” says Monica. “I kept it a secret from everyone except some of the vendors, and he was set to come out after the first dance to play an additional ‘first dance.’ Rich doesn’t like a lot of attention and was relieved to have our first dance wrapping up and get off of the dance floor, but then our DJ announced that there was still something more. All of a sudden, Stephen Kellogg came out and started playing ‘Diamond,’ which was the song I had walked down the aisle to. Rich was shocked and ecstatic,” she continues with a smile.
Naturally, the newlyweds had plenty to smile about on their big day; and after cutting into a two-tiered chocolate cake covered in white buttercream and adorned with greenery and flowers, Monica Trigoso and Rich Patterson were sent off to start their new life together… And to begin writing a brand new chapter in their “Story of Us.”
Venue: Woodlawn Estate and Pope-Leighey House
Photographer: Emily Chastain
Planner: B. Mingled (Senta Keegan)
Dress: Martina Liana, Carine's Bridal
Tux: Geoffrey Lewis
Flowers: All in the Details
Cake: Dog Tag Bakery
Catering: Design Cuisine
Entertainment: DJ Dan/Premiere DJ Services and Stephen Kellogg
Car Services: A La Carte Limousine