Matthew Ambler  & Matthew Shuman

Sept. 21, 2019 • Hermitage Museum & Gardens, Norfolk

To say their engagement was elaborate doesn’t do it justice. The day began with a citywide scavenger hunt, custom-designed by one of D.C.’s foremost puzzle hunt authors. The hunt ended at the U.S. Capitol Building, where Matthew Ambler was met by a friend holding a suit for him to change into before being led onto the Speaker’s Balcony, where his then-boyfriend Matthew Shuman waited with the final puzzle: Matt A., will you marry Matt S.?

“The Speaker’s Balcony overlooks the city and is the most beautiful spot in D.C.,” Shuman says. “In front of 22 parents, life-long friends, and others—he said yes.”

The couple exchanged wooden rings for the duration of their engagement (“Wood is not permanent,” Shuman says), and they were married Sept. 21 at Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk.

The dress code was “colorful cocktail” and the grooms walked down the aisle together, wearing complementary three-piece suits—Yale Blue for Ambler’s alma mater and lime green, which is Shuman’s favorite color. During the ceremony, “the Matts” exchanged their wooden engagement rings for yellow and white gold bands.

“When I stepped forward to begin walking down the aisle, I looked into my husband’s eyes and I saw the most amazing smile,” Shuman says. “That warmed my heart so much.” During the reception, guests of the wedding received personalized, handwritten notes to explain why they were invited to be witnesses at the grooms’ wedding.

“It took a lot of time, but it was important for us to share why we chose who we chose,” Shuman says, “and how important to our hearts they were.”

Details

Photographer: Lindsay Collette Photography, Hampton Planner: Crystal Salazar, Cherry Blossom Planning Factory, Chesapeake Officiants: Father Jess Striebling & Dr. Brian Flanningan Grooms’ Attire: Indochino.com Caterer: East Beach Catering, Norfolk Cake: Kadi Bakes, Lanexa Music, reception: Astro Entertainment, DJ Valente Haynes, Virginia Beach Favors: Taco Bell Takeout Lighting: Blue Steele Lighting Design, Chesapeake


This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue.

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