Ashley Burneko (maiden name Parra), 32, grew up in Germantown and hopes to soon begin work as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Mike Burneko, 31, also grew up in Germantown and works as a customer success manager at Flxpoint, a software startup. They graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School and, after a stint in Jacksonville, Florida, are looking for a house in Montgomery County for themselves and their dog, a Shiba Inu named Rey.
How they met
Mike asked Ashley out in May 2006 after they sat next to each other in their ninth grade physics class. For their first date, they saw Stick It at the AMC movie theater in Gaithersburg’s Rio development, followed by a walk around the lake before their parents picked them up. “That ended up being our date spot” throughout high school, recalls Ashley. The pair decided to part ways during their senior year “so we could go do our own thing” at different colleges, Ashley says, but they reconnected in 2015 after they graduated. “I just always felt like there was just something missing,” says Ashley. “When I started talking to Mike again, I was like, Oh, this is what I was missing.”
On an unseasonably warm day just before Christmas in 2019, Mike and Ashley went shopping for last-minute gifts at Rio, and Mike suggested they take a stroll around the water. Eventually, they sat down on their usual bench, and Mike started reflecting on their years together. “I was like, He’s just being so sweet; what’s going on?” Ashley says. He asked her to stand up for a moment, and he got down on one knee. “It was honestly the most perfect thing, because everything came full circle,” Ashley says.
Ashley and Mike said “I do” on March 12, 2022, with 225 guests present, in a Catholic Mass ceremony underneath the marble paneling and intricate mosaics of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. Though it was nearly spring, the festivities fell on a snowy day. “As soon as they opened the church doors, it was just Ashley and her dad with snow flurries going behind her with the wind blowing,” recalls Mike. The reception was held around the corner at the Mayflower Hotel, where the newlyweds made their ballroom entrance on a balcony overlooking the monogrammed dance floor. “We were just full of adrenaline,” Ashley remembers.
A four-piece band, Lost in Paris, provided the wide-ranging soundtrack for the big day. The bride had only one request: No slow songs. “I just wanted everybody to go out, have a great time, and it [to] just be more an upbeat thing,” she says. After the newlyweds swayed to a high school favorite—“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain—for their first dance, bangers like “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Shout” by the Isley Brothers got guests onto the dance floor.
The couple originally intended to get married in 2021, so Ashley had already picked out a dress before COVID-19 forced them to reschedule. “The fact that I had an extra year made me second-guess my dress,” she says, so she visited a boutique in Jacksonville, where the couple was living at the time. There, she fell in love with a Martina Liana fit-and-flare gown bedecked with lace and sequins. “I had my mom FaceTime me, and it was one of those instant ‘when you know, you know’ type of situations,” Ashley says. A floor-length veil and a pair of diamond
earrings completed the ensemble.
Food & Drink
During cocktail hour, guests munched on passed appetizers such as shrimp cocktail and empanadas and grazed at a charcuterie station. The plated dinner was a fig-and-goat-cheese salad along with a choice of crab cakes, beer-brined chicken, grilled filet mignon or cannelloni as an entree. Dessert was a five-tier passion fruit-flavored cake, and the party favors—cookies called alfajores to honor Ashley’s Peruvian heritage—served as another sweet treat. One of the pair’s signature drinks was “Kiss Me Rey Now,” a bourbon-and-ginger-beer concoction named after the pair’s dog, whose likeness also adorned the cocktail napkins. At the afterparty, the hotel bar slung late-night bites including flatbread, fries and sliders.
Bouquets of white hydrangeas, pink roses and lush greenery festooned the tables at the reception, alongside clusters of candles. These touches against the backdrop of the gilded ballroom helped to achieve the “timeless” vision the bride was going for.
The newlyweds’ trip to Hawaii for their honeymoon this summer will come more than a year after they said “I do,” since Ashley was finishing up her doctorate degree. They hope to make the most of the tropical getaway, with plans to soak up some rays, sip a few cocktails and maybe try surfing.
Afterparty, Edgar Bar & Kitchen; band, Lost in Paris; bridesmaid dresses, Revelry; cake, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes; catering and venue, The Mayflower Hotel; ceremony, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle; dance floor wrap, Kundan Events; dress, Love, a Bridal Boutique; florist, Flowers ’n’ Ferns; hotel, The Mayflower Hotel and Moxy Washington, D.C.; invitations, Shine Wedding Invitations; makeup, Makeup by Ana B; photography, Liz Fogarty Photography; planner, Mallory Rood with All the Dainty Details; transportation, Unlimited Charters; tuxedos, The Black Tux; videography, Claude Rob TV.
This story appears in the May/June issue of Bethesda Magazine.