Nicole Marriott noticed Maxwell Avery right away. It was August 2006, and she scanned the classroom of her freshman English class at Southern Methodist University in search of friendly faces. She admits she was already crafting potential topics of conversation with him while students took turns introducing themselves, just in case.
Her opportunity came when she found herself walking out of class alongside him. “He had such a sweet smile,” she recalls, “and we found we had a lot in common.”
“IT WAS OVERWHELMING AND CALMING TO BE COMMITTING OURSELVES TO A LIFETIME TOGETHER.”
Though they quip that Nicole was the one to ask him out first, it was Max that surprised her with a proposal in May 2012. Vacationing in New Orleans to celebrate her birthday, they were sitting in a city park when he broached the subject.
“We had been talking about our future,” says Nicole, “when Max told me he wanted to be with me for life.”
Plans for their wedding quickly followed. Determined to host the quintessential affair in her hometown of D.C., the couple’s goals were focused on maximum fun. Still, they also sought to include time-honored traditions in their event, beginning with the selection of the ceremony site, the Washington National Cathedral, a sanctuary close to the heart of the bride’s family since many relatives had attended its adjoining schools. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the oldest American art museum in the District, was chosen as the reception space. “All the details we chose were about mixing traditional with modern,” says the bride. “We felt the contrast perfectly reflected who we are.”
Even the two-piece gown Nicole wore down the aisle—a full, layered Monique Lhuillier skirt over a fitted, sleek Liancarlo sheath—was an experiment in classicNicole’s grandfather, who has presided over the marriages of several family members, gave the homily during the service.
“It was overwhelming and calming to be committing ourselves to a lifetime together,” recalls the bride of the ceremony. “That’s what happens when you know something is right.”
Once at the gallery, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in the Atrium before heading to dance. Both spaces were adorned in neutral shades of yellow and gray—a palette inspired by nature and chosen by the couple to symbolize their joyful new beginning.
Rather than host a formal meal, tables were kept to a minimum. Lounge areas and food stations stocked with comfort food and finger food, as well as Asian and Mexican cuisine kept their 375 guests content. A high-energy twelve-piece band, SoundNation, gave the crowd plenty of reasons to stay on the dance floor.
The couple’s exit came as the band performed “When the Saints Go Marching In,” a homage to their New Orleans engagement. Nicole and Max made a mad dash to her father’s 1974 Jaguar and waved as they sped away.“The memories from our wedding will be cherished forever,” says the bride. “We couldn’t be more grateful to have shared it with everyone we love.”
Following their wedding event, the newlyweds spent a week in Bali followed by a three-day excursion to Shanghai.
Ceremony Location: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.; Reception Location: Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Caterer: Occasions Caterers, Washington, D.C.; Photography: Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography, Lynchburg, VA; Cake: Maggie Austin Cake, Alexandria, VA; Event Design and Planner: SoCo Events, Washington, D.C.; Floral Design and Rentals: Amaryllis, Inc., Floral & Event Design, Washington, D.C. ; Linen: Roberta Karsch – Resource One Inc., Reseda, CA; Lighting: Digital Lightning, Gaithersburg, MD; Entertainment: Andy Kushner Entertainment Design, Washington, D.C.; Wedding Dress: Liancarlo; Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier; Veil: Tia Mazza; Bride’s Shoes: Roger Vivier; Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss; Cinematography: Institution One, Los Angeles, CA; Photography: Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography, Lynchburg, VA