Kismet brought Natalie Raps and Doug Farren together. An unexpected hailstorm in late April 2016 forced their group of friends to forgo the Nationals baseball game and instead hang out at the Brixton on U Street. They were quickly introduced, exchanged numbers, and went on their merry way to their dates that evening. But Doug couldn’t stop thinking about Natalie, and Natalie’s date stood her up. It didn’t take long until the two arranged a date of their own.
Four years later, Doug proposed at their favorite Sonoma vineyard, Scribe Winery. He asked the question by the estate’s palm trees where just behind, all of Natalie’s best friends were waiting with balloons and sparkling wine.
The couple brought their love of wine and Sonoma to the east coast and selected Pippin Hill Farm for their wedding venue. Its classic beauty evoked European vistas and offered a grand view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “We wanted the venue to match what we enjoy doing together as a couple: appreciating the beautiful outdoors and enjoying great food and wine,” Natalie says about their venue. “We also wanted a space that would be down for a good time. Pippin Hill definitely delivered!”
For Natalie’s rehearsal dinner ensemble, she began with the Aveline Jimmy Choo shoes before turning to OTM’s head stylist Anny Choi. “We went through many dresses to find the perfect, gorgeous silk Galvan London dress that was both fun, flirty but didn’t distract too much from the star of the show: the shoes!” Natalie explains. A perennial fan of a good hair accessory, Natalie wore the dress with a Jennifer Behr pearl bow barrette.
Natalie’s wedding day dress needed to match the romantic grandeur of Pippin Hill. She and Anny discovered a dreamy Marchesa gown with three dimensional appliqués on the bustier and skirt. They added draped sleeves and a beautiful Daphne Newman veil to complete the look. Her “something blue” was a pair of dainty bow-adorned Loeffler Randall heels. She recruited jeweler Stephanie Gottlieb to design cascade drop earrings using gems from her late grandmother Paula’s best brooch. Natalie reflects, “It was truly a special outfit to wear to blend my past with my future.”
For the after-party, Natalie slipped into another Galvan dress, a mini sequined chiffon number. “The intention was something simple, sleek and flattering but also with a spark of fun,” she shares. The piece allowed for ample sashaying on the dance floor that night.
On October 9, 2021, after a week of rain, the skies miraculously cleared for Doug and Natalie’s wedding ceremony. A string quartet from Perfect Harmony strummed out Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go,” an inside joke between the bride and groom, and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” Doug’s niece and nephew preceded the bride and perfectly completed their respective roles as ring bearer and flower girl. Natalie’s parents walked her down the aisle to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.” Natalie notes, “Who else captures the romantic millennial energy of love better than Taylor?!” Southern Blooms arranged the florals for the day.
Rabbi Batshir Torchio of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco officiated the service. The bride and groom shared their personal vows before their family members provided the seven blessings and Doug broke the glass. The newlyweds recessed to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love).”
During cocktail hour, guests sipped on specialty cocktails like the ‘California Dreamin’ Palomas and ‘Logan Circle’ Cucumber Coolers of Tito’s, cucumber, mint, and lime. They noshed on kimchi and skirt steak tacos, oyster mushroom tarts, and smoked salmon with caviar. The string quartet played hits like Portugal The Man’s “Feel it Still” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”
The sunset concluded the hour of hors d’oeuvres, and guests moved toward the reception space for dinner. The couple decided to forgo a traditional seven-piece band in favor for one of their favorite D.C. institutions. “We knew we needed to have White Ford Bronco, the pre-eminent ’90s cover band, as our wedding band,” Natalie says. “It was definitely a surprise to our friends and family, many of whom are huge fans, and who stayed on the dance floor all night.”
Dancing was only interrupted by marshmallows roasting breaks. At one point, friends hauled the bride up on their shoulders. The night ended with a group sing-a-long to Semisonic’s apropos “Closing Time.”
For those who wanted to keep the party going, an after-party continued in downtown Charlottesville. The newlyweds then jetted off for a Maldives honeymoon filled with scuba diving.