When Mark Ein took Sally Stiebel on their first date — front-row seats at a Wizards game — one of his closest friends spotted him and shot him an e-mail. “I’ve never seen you so happy,” he wrote. “Marry her.”
Five years later, he did.
The millionaire businessman and Washington Kastles owner, 48, and the policy analyst, 28, exchanged vows Saturday night in his historic Georgetown home. First marriage for both, so the wedding was big: big crowd (350 guests), big names (a cross-section of Washington A-listers), big emotions (the bride teared up walking down the aisle), and big smiles, especially from friends of the longtime bachelor who wondered whether he’d ever find true love.
Friends such as Sen. Mark Warner, who co-officiated the ceremony with Rabbi Peter Hyman. “Considering my day job, I’m glad I’m finally doing something productive,” said Warner with a grin. The bride, wearing an ivory Vera Wang gown, and the groom proclaimed their love for each other: She called him her “North Star;” he said that she’s the “kindest, best-hearted person I know…eventually, I came to realize my long journey was over.”
The guest list was full of boldface names from D.C. sports, politics and business (including lots of tennis buddies): Ted Leonsis, Raul Fernandez, Debra Lerner Cohen, Russ Ramsey, Vernon Jordan, Valerie Jarrett, Debra Lee, Catherine Reynolds, Vicki Sant, Gene Sperling, Larry Summers, David Bradley, Adrian Fenty, Jack Evans, Calvin Cafritz, Cora Masters Barry, Murphy Jensen, Sam Kass, Capricia Marshall and Mitch Rales, who just went into business with Ein and designer Reed Krakoff.
They all spilled across the patio of Ein’s house — he bought the former home of Katharine Graham years ago and finally has a good reason to move in — and into the tented pavilion on the front lawn for dinner and dancing.
The crasher at the party? Rain: drenching, nonstop, first-storm-in-two-weeks rain that pelted down throughout the ceremony and reception. But even that was okay, explained the newly sentimental groom.
“Before I met Sally, I would have been: ‘Stop the rain! Somehow stop the rain. You’ve got to do something!’ ” he told the crowd. “Now, I was like: ‘You know what? The rain is — and I really felt this — tears of joy from people who came before us who are just so happy for us.’ ”
There were more toasts: the traditional best man teasing, and special tributes by the bride and groom to their parents (Ein’s mother is a Holocaust survivor) and grandparents. After dinner, guests were encouraged to dig in — actually dig in using their forks — into the fancy six-tier wedding cake.
Then the biggest surprise: the Village People. The newlyweds wanted entertainment that would appeal to the multi-generational crowd, and performers delivered with a spirited private concert. And yes, everyone danced to “YMCA.” You had to ask?
The couple will honeymoon in Lake Como, Italy and then — when it’s finally finished — settle into their Georgetown home.
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