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The former Secretary of the Army and National Gallery of Art budget analyst wed at Longview Gallery.

After nearly a decade of seeing one another at the gym, Eric Fanning and Ben Masri-Cohen finally managed to schedule their first official dinner date. Dinner, Eric says, “must have been good–we were a committed couple within a month.” Two years later they got engaged while on vacation in Santorini.

It took a year for the couple to plan their New Year’s Eve wedding bash–but they didn’t wait until December 31 to exchange their vows. Instead, nearly two weeks before the big New Year’s event, the couple was secretly married by Senator Cory Booker in a private ceremony. They filmed their ceremony, and when the celebration day arrived, they aired the clips as a surprise for family and friends who thought they were enjoying a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. The clips included messages from Joe Biden, actress Allison Janey, and more, and at the end of the video, the couple took the stage before the best men gave their toasts. 

Finally, curtains opened to reveal a dinner set-up where guests had expected the ceremony. The wedding was complete with a custom midnight ‘balloon drop’ and personalized setlist chock-full of the couple’s favorite songs. They skipped over some traditional wedding details like the wedding cake for the sake of a good party–“we wanted to eat dinner and get dancing,” says Ben. Instead, guests snacked on an assortment of miniature desserts paired with espresso martinis as they rang in the New Year.

Before settling into married life in their Dupont Circle home, the newlyweds honeymooned throughout Argentina and Chile.

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The Details:

Photographer: Khue Bai | Venue: Longview Gallery | Event Coordinator: Nora Lee by Brandt Ricca | Florist: Amaryllis Floral & Event Design | Invitations: By Hand Invitations | Caterers: Design Cuisine | Grooms’ Attire: Ralph Lauren Made to Measure Purple Label from Madison Avenue store in New York | Music/Entertainment: Perfekt Blend Band, DJ Farrah Flosscett | Transportation: Uber, RMA | Ceremony Video Producer: Firefly Imageworks | Balloons: All About Balloons | Wedding Bands: Cartier

Natalie Colonna

Natalie is an Editorial Fellow at Washingtonian Weddings. She is a senior Media Studies student at The Catholic University of America in DC.