Kaelynn Stanton (maiden name Serena), 28, grew up in Bethesda and graduated from the Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac. She is a health and wellness coach and a podcast host. JC Stanton, 34, grew up in Potomac and attended Winston Churchill High School. He is the chief financial officer of the New York-based health care software company HHAeXchange. They live in North Bethesda with their golden retriever, Wally.
How they met
The future lovebirds first met as kids—Kaelynn took ballet classes with JC’s younger sister—but didn’t know each other well. Fast forward to June 16, 2017, when they were reacquainted at a summer party at Bethesda’s Congressional Country Club. “I see this young lady walk up to my mother and say hi,” remembers JC, who went over, reintroduced himself, and asked a skeptical Kaelynn if they could dance later. “I’m like, I’m never seeing this guy again,” she says. But sure enough, later, when they were both on the dance floor, he saw his chance. “I kind of just reached out and was like, ‘Hey, you owe me a dance,’ ” he says, and Kaelynn was drawn to his confidence. He got her phone number and soon they went out to the (now-closed) Mussel Bar & Grille in downtown Bethesda. “We shut down the restaurant,” recalls Kaelynn of the five-hour-long first date.
JC popped the question on Labor Day weekend in 2020, along the Georgetown waterfront. Because it was a nice day, the area was well populated, so Kaelynn’s “yes” was met with spectators cheering and boats honking. “It was way more public than I planned for it to be,” JC says. A photographer captured the whole thing, and afterward, they celebrated with friends and family at an engagement party on the rooftop of the Line DC hotel.
The couple wed on July 2, 2022, with about 220 guests present in a Catholic ceremony under the vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows of the chapel at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda. After the bridal party got ready at the hotel, a retro trolley ferried them to the church and then the reception. “I thought it was more beautiful than a bus, and more unique and fun,” Kaelynn says.
Originally, the bride didn’t have her sights set on the Congressional Country Club as the venue, but the space could accommodate their big guest list—and the “full circle” moment, she says, was the cherry on top. “It was really cool to be able to look down at the exact spot that we met,” she says.
Food and drink
The day’s wide-ranging menu began with passed hors d’oeuvres during the alfresco cocktail hour—such as bacon-and-goat-cheese-stuffed dates and Vietnamese spring rolls—and an “ode to Maryland” raw bar complete with crab claws, oysters, clams, mussels and shrimp. The main course was a choice of London broil, roasted chicken breast or a cauliflower steak, paired with a hand-picked wine selection. Alongside the wedding cake—a chocolate confection with raspberry filling and buttercream icing—the couple laid out a dessert bar filled with sweet treats homemade by loved ones for guests to take home. Toward the end of the reception, the newlyweds did a “champagne tower,” pouring bubbly over a pyramid of coupe glasses, a clip of which racked up over a million views on Kaelynn’s TikTok account. “It’s weird, but then it’s really flattering,” she says. A build-your-own crab cake slider bar and French fry cones served as late-night bites, and when guests migrated to the Pearl Street Warehouse in D.C. for the afterparty, a breakfast taco spread kept people energized into the wee hours.
The bride tried on over a dozen dresses before falling in love with the sleek Ines Di Santo gown she wore on the big day. “I started to tear up when I tried it on because I envisioned myself as the woman that I want to grow into,” she says. A flowing veil and sparkly Jimmy Choo shoes finished off the bridal look. The groom sported a custom three-piece, double-breasted suit, along with Christian Louboutin shoes and an Omega watch.
The 10-piece band, the bride remembers, was “so good that people, during dinner, left their seats to dance during when the salads were passed out.” After the newlyweds’ first dance to “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole and the joint parent dance to “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, the band upped the energy with hits like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and “Dream On” by Aerosmith. A highlight of the night? “ ‘Mr. Brightside’ comes on and they throw us to the middle of the dance floor and they put us up in chairs,” the groom remembers—an homage to the hora, the beloved Jewish wedding tradition.
Luscious florals and tablescapes helped bring the couple’s black-and-white, “modern timeless” vision to life. Arrangements of all-white blooms like orchids, peonies, panda anemones and roses, some cradled in black vases, served as centerpieces, alongside an array of pillar and taper candles. White drapery curtaining the walls, a monogrammed dance floor and pops of gold from the chairs gave the ambience its finishing touches.
Days after they said “I do,” the newlyweds jetted off to the Maldives for a 15-day trip at two resorts, where they filled their days with activities like snorkeling, yoga and meditation. “On the rainy days, we would just stay in and binge-watch Netflix and order cheeseburgers,” says the bride.
Afterparty, Pearl Street Warehouse; band, Millennium; ceremony, the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes at Georgetown Preparatory School; design and planning, Marriage and Mimosas; dress, Carine’s Bridal Atelier; florist, Petals by the Shore; hair and makeup, JKW Beauty; hotel, InterContinental Washington D.C.–The Wharf; paper goods, Paper and Petals; photography, Asha Bailey Photography; rentals: Perfect Settings and White Glove Rentals; suit, Black Menswear; transportation, American Limousines; venue, cake and catering, Congressional Country Club; videography, Paperboys.
This story appears in the July/August issue of Bethesda Magazine.
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