Society Weddings: Jessica Grounds and Wes McClelland

MARRIED MAY 23, 2015

Jessica Grounds and Wed McClelland (Photo Courtesy of Kassidy Mefford Love)

Jessica Grounds and Wed McClelland (Photo Courtesy of Kassidy Mefford Love)

She is the founder and principal strategist for Solid Grounds Strategy. After serving as the director of Women for Hillary, Jessica started her own shop to advise female political candidates and help companies develop women leaders. She also serves as co-chairman for Running Start, a nonprofit group she launched in 2007. Wes previously worked on Capitol Hill and as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s senior policy advisor, but left in 2015 to become vice president, Federal Affairs, for the American Insurance Association.

THE STORY: They met in 2009 at a Capitol Hill house party thrown by mutual friend Ryan Maxson. Jessica knew everyone there except for Wes,so she walked right up to him and said, “Who are you?” They went on their first date a few days later. Jessica’s friends were initially surprised, because Wes is a Republican and Jessica is “a huge Democrat,” but they never let that get in their way.

THE WEDDING: Both wine aficionados and originally from California, they decided to have the ceremony in Napa Valley at Solage Calistoga. They stayed in Napa for a mini- moon but are planning a more formal honeymoon in Provence, France this year.

Photo Courtesy of Kassidy Mefford Love

Photo Courtesy of Kassidy Mefford Love

DETAILS: The bride wore a simple and classic silk blend J.Crew dress from the shop’s bridal boutique on M Street NW. Alterations were done at Green & Blue Studio in Dupont Circle. Wes had a custom grey suit made at Suitsupply in Georgetown. The bridesmaids wore J.Crew chiffon dresses. The couple hired wedding planner Janice Twomey from Rue 29 Napa Valley. They designed their own wedding menu with the help of Brandon Sharp, resident chef at Solage’s Michelin-starred restaurant Solbar. In honor of Wes’s desert upbringing and the California-style wedding, the wedding flowers were succulents and cacti. Jessica’s bouquet weighed about seven pounds and included succulents and yellow billy balls.

THE MUSIC: Local funk band Fu Manchu provided tunes for the ceremony. Wes and the bridal party walked up to “Use Me” by Bill Withers and Jessica walked down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James. They recessed to ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder. At the dinner reception, a DJ played their favorite ’90s hits along with more recent chart-toppers.

Photo Courtesy of Kassidy Mefford Love

Photo Courtesy of Kassidy Mefford Love

SPECIAL TOUCHES: The night before the wedding, guests were invited to Calistoga favorite Buster’s Southern BBQ and for wine at Tank Garage Winery. A sand ceremony to symbolize the joining of their lives and families featured the pouring together of beach sand from La Jolla to represent Jessica and desert sand from Apple Valley to represent Wes. Jessica’s dad, Rev. Larry Grounds, a Presbyterian pastor, led the exchange of vows and exchange of rings and their good family friends Stephanie and David emceed the ceremony.

FAVORITE PART: “Wes was particularly proud that our guests drank the entire resort out of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon.”

NOTABLE GUESTS: Marty Stone, Lisa Sherman, George Rogers, Natalie Farr Rogers, Michael Calvo, Jim Billimoria, Liz Berry and Todd Sears.

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