Rebecca and Andrew Spiegel didn’t want a long engagement, and with a calendar already filled with weddings and family events for much of 2014, the couple decided to plan a surprise wedding on a weekend that wasn’t already booked. Telling only their parents and a small bridal party about their plans, they invited close family and friends to an engagement party at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC. With the help of the staff, they were able to keep the ceremony a secret until the evening of the celebration. “When guests arrived for our engagement party dinner, the restaurant doors were opened, revealing our wedding ceremony,” says Rebecca. “From that moment on, our intimate wedding played out exactly as we had dreamed, and we couldn’t have been happier.”

The Scene: The couple chose a navy and metallic palette, which was complemented by whimsical details scattered throughout the venue. When guests entered the ceremony space, they were greeted with a custom, marquee-style “surprise” sign—the first clue that they were to be attending Rebecca and Andrew’s wedding that evening. The lights on the marquee mimicked the invitation’s gold dot design, which was also incorporated into the decoration of the wedding cake and the couple’s confetti send-off.

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Magical Moment: While it’s hard for Rebecca to choose just one unforgettable moment from their wedding, standing under the chuppah, surrounded by the most special people in their lives, is a memory she and Andrew will always cherish. “We chose to have our ceremony in the round, so we could achieve the effect of a very warm and intimate ceremony space,” she says. “The room was glowing from the beautiful lighting, as well as from the love that was surrounding us as we made our commitment to each other.”

The Bride and Groom: Rebecca and Andrew planned a “first look” at the Lincoln Memorial—“a pretty ambitious plan, in retrospect,” says the bride. In addition to avoiding the sight of each other until they arrived, the couple also had to leave the Hotel without being spotted by any of their guests. “Four Seasons had a security detail escort us out of a side entrance normally used for celebrities and foreign dignitaries, while shielding us with big umbrellas to obstruct the view,” recalls Rebecca. “The first moment we saw each other was perfect, the setting was beautiful, and we ended up with some truly spectacular shots.”

The Bride Wore: Rebecca wore a strapless ivory fit-and-flare gown by Alivina Valenta with Alençon lace on the bodice, a ruched natural waist and covered buttons down the back. “I loved how traditional and elegant it was, while also allowing me to incorporate fun accessories,” she says.

A Personal Touch:  On the day of her wedding, Rebecca accessorized with two family heirlooms: Her great-grandmother’s vintage cameo adorned her bridal bouquet, and her future mother-in-law lent her a bracelet that belonged to the groom’s late paternal grandmother.

Photography L. Hewitt Photography

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