Monica McLendon + Dominic Saunders

Story by Liesel Schmidt + Photography by Wanakhavi Wakhisi, Lucky Dog Media



The classic “meet cute” is something that films are famous for, but they never seem to happen in real life. But the charmingly sweet first encounter between this couple is definitely one for the movies. “I was walking through the HomeGoods in Bailey’s Crossroads with my son, and there I saw Monica!” says Dominic of the June day in 2018 when he and Monica met. “She was holding a piece of art, and I walked up to her and made small talk, but I continued to follow her throughout the store. At one point, I thought I’d lost her; and I ran outside and then came back and walked all around the store to find her. When I did, she offered me her business card and left to meet her daughter for lunch. I bought the piece of art she’d been looking at and told my son that we would hang it in our house.”


After the first date at Mike’s Grill in Springfield, they continued to date; and five months later, Dominic sealed their fate. “On Monica’s birthday, she came home from an office party to find rose petals that I’d scattered from her garage to the dining room,” Dominic recalls. “I’d also decorated the living room, and she was walking through the house asking who was going to clean up the rose petals. To her surprise, I was on one knee ready to ask her to marry me.”


After a celebratory trip to Vegas, the planning commenced; and nearly two years after their first encounter, Monica dressed in a full-length gown to exchange vows with Dominic on July 4, 2020. As 40 friends and family gathered around outside on the grounds of 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, the couple were pronounced man and wife, feeling blessed that love had won the day. “We weren’t able to have the wedding we’d planned because of the uncertainty of people attending,” explains Dominic, who is the owner of both Mid Atlantic Distribution Services, LLC, and Omni Design and Development, LLC, while Monica is a vice president and corporate controller. “We

returned our custom tuxedo and dress two weeks before our wedding date and then decided to have a wedding at Monica’s home. But as we got close, we didn’t feel the same excitement. Monica’s sister Marsha and our wedding coordinator, Marilyn Patterson, saw that we weren’t so excited and advised having the wedding as planned and to call the restaurant to see if our original date of July 5th was available. I stepped out in faith and called, and they had the 4th available—which was actually our ideal day. With Marilyn’s help, we started planning a wedding in one week!”


After dining on an elegant plated meal catered by the restaurant, the couple cut into a three-tier yellow and chocolate cake before being waved off with well-wishes for the future. Looking forward to a real honeymoon in 2021, they took a mini-moon in August at the Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach. Now back home in Virginia, they have a home together filled with love—and, of course, the beautiful piece of art.


The Details

Venue / Catering / Cake: 2941 Restaurant • Dress: Say Yes For Less • Tux: Jos. A Banks Flowers: Conklyn’s Florist • Wedding Coordinator: Marilyn Patterson, Joyous Events, LLC

Photographer: Wanakhavi Wakhisi, Lucky Dog Media • Music: Common Ground Band

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