Wedding Photographer

This rustic Virginia wedding included a dinosaur costume and a lightsaber battle

Gabriela, a community support worker from Burke, Va. (born El Salvador), and Alejandro, a program assistant from Arlington (born Bolivia), met, according to Ale, at a youth camp around 2008 when, during a group game, Gabriela and a friend tried to throw a trash can full of freezing water at him, but instead accidentally hit him with the edge of the trash can, all on video .

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She was first drawn to his “mismatched, weird” style and the confidence that goes with it; him to her “clumsy, clumsy…faithful to who she is” nature.

According to Gabriela, however, their real meeting took place a few years later when, after meeting at a summer fair hosted by Gabriela’s church, Alejandro commented on a “politically charged” tee. it was about the Salvadoran civil war. After a conversation and a disagreement agreement, the couple kept in touch – he at George Mason graduate school and she at George Mason University – and met regularly to share pizzas and watch Youtube videos on campus.

Their first date – which almost didn’t happen, when Gabriela expressed fear that a potentially failed romance could end a good friendship – was in Old Town Alexandria. They shared mini m&ms on the way, then parked and wandered around town before having dinner at II Porto Ristorante.

“We felt so out of place,” Gabriela says. “We were the youngest there, trying to dress up, but clearly outside our comfort zone. So what did we do? We made fun of ourselves and pointed out our lack of fantasy. We ordered snails and ate them shot style, challenging each other to be the first to try the dish. PS,” she adds, “we loved them and continue to order them wherever they are offered! After dinner, they headed to Wilkes St Tunnel and found a spot by the water to sit and chat. His feet were covered in blisters from his shoes, so Alejandro gave him his, and he came back barefoot, his shoes in his hands.

Four years later, Alejandro recreated that walk from their first date — M&Ms and all — but this time the question arose and the couple celebrated dinner with their families.

The couple wed on Nov. 1, 2019, at Warrenton, Virginia’s Inn at Vint Hill, which they decorated in champagne, burgundy and navy tones. The bride’s favorite detail was the foot-washing ceremony, which saw the newlyweds strolling barefoot down the aisle as they “jumped and danced their lives together as husband and wife.” From there, they wore custom vans to match Mr. and Mrs. Aguayo at the front desk – shoes they still wear in their day-to-day lives. The groom’s favorite part was the surprises that popped up throughout the day, from the first look at the dinosaur costume to the lightsaber fight between the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

For the flowers, they chose roses and baby’s breath with carnations, which was the first flower Ale gave Gabriela when they were dating. The menu included a choice of New York Strip, champagne chicken and mushrooms, or roasted vegetable tortellini, which they say guests are still talking about. And for the signature cocktail, they offered margaritas they called the “Rollercoaster” after the song by The Bleachers – a band they saw at the 9:30 Club in 2014, and a song Ale has played with his brothers at the reception.

Following the celebration, the couple go on their honeymoon to Cancun. Check out their wedding video here.

The details

Photographer: Mason Photography | Location: Hostel in Vint Hill @theinnatvinthill | Planning: Events Pearls and Bow Ties | Florist: LéRoy French Flowers | Invitations: Basic Invitation | Cake: Tres Leches House | Hairstylist: Gabby & Martha | Makeup artist: Camila Ceballos | Bride’s outfit: Oleg Cassini of David’s Bridal | Groom’s outfit: Kenneth Cole of Macy’s | Bridesmaid outfit: JJ’s House, Lulus, Etsy | Music: DJ TC Soundz | Videographer: Austin Uphoff | Photo Booth: 321 Flash Photo Booths | Custom Signs and Shoes: Find Your RARE | Head Table Backdrop: Clan Party Decor

Amy Moeller

Editor, Washington Weddings

Amy directs Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining the Washingtonian in March 2016, she was editor-in-chief of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor-in-chief of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.