Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography by Marianne Wiest & Christian Saab
When Caitlin Brown and Spencer Ong met as teenagers, it was only in passing; a brief moment that led to nothing more than becoming connected on LinkedIn. Years later their tenuous connection on social media was brought into real time when Spencer recognized Caitlin one night as she was leaving a local restaurant. Seeing her face he called out to her, though darkness kept her from knowing who was saying her name. Naturally, she continued on her way home, still unaware of the identity of the man that had tried to get her attention. The mystery was solved at 12:57 a.m. when Spencer messaged Caitlin on LinkedIn, asking her simply: “Where do I know you from?”
That question marked the beginning of their relationship. After several years of dating, Spencer knew that the time had come to make sure that they never again lost contact. After spending time with Caitlin’s family on a trip to her uncle’s log cabin in Kalispell, Montana for Thanksgiving, the two broke off to take a side-trip to visit Glacier National Park on their last full day in Montana. That Friday, November 23, 2018, they drove to their destination and parked at the Apgar campgrounds to begin walking along Lake McDonald until they reached a pier. Hoping for a good shot of the snow-capped mountains in the background, the couple walked to the end of the pier. “I took a photo and turned to see Spencer on one knee with a ring in his hand,” says Caitlin of the moment when she was presented with the stunning cushion-cut diamond that would soon grace her finger, its brilliance set off by a slender band of micro-pave stones. “It was photographed by a secret photographer, and Spencer did an absolutely wonderful job arranging the entire proposal and making it one of the most memorable, beautiful moments.”
There were more beautiful moments in store on August 17, 2019, when Caitlin walked down the aisle at the Middleburg Barn at Fox Chase Farms to meet Spencer at the altar. “After attending our friends' barn wedding, we fell in love with the casual yet romantic atmosphere of a rustic wedding. We loved the idea of a wedding in a place as picturesque as Middleburg, and the Middleburg Barn provided a rustic yet elegant venue for the kind of wedding we envisioned,” Caitlin says. “From its scenic drive to the beauty of the venue and the equestrian feel, the Middleburg Barn was an absolute dream.”
Wearing a Pronovias gown with a sweetheart neckline and lace bodice that flowed into a tulle skirt with lace accents from Elegance by Roya in Tysons Corner, Caitlin spoke her vows to Spencer. Looking every bit the part of the expectant groom in a suit worn with suspenders and bowtie, Spencer offered his own promises to Caitlin. Having been pronounced man and wife by Caitlin’s uncle, the newlyweds joined their guests for a lively celebration filled with fantastic food from the Purple Onion, sinfully delightful desserts, and a full night of music and dancing. After cutting into a delicious bourbon cake with maple whiskey filling and a buttercream frosting made by Signature Sweets by Amanda, Caitlin and Spencer were sent on their way. Amidst the glow of sparklers they left to begin the first night of their honeymoon in a guest cottage on the farm. Ready for their full getaway after having brunch with their families the following day, the newly wed Ongs spent the next two weeks relaxing, golfing and exploring the beaches of Hilton Head, Savannah and Daufuskie Island.
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