Thursday, 28, June 2018

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Washington DC

Leah & Emily

In August 2016, Leah Neaderthal and Emily Monaghan had to abruptly put their wedding plans on hold when their lives changed forever due to a shocking health crisis.

Leah & Emily


At the age of 36, Leah suffered several strokes in a matter of 10 minutes, Emily right by her side watching it all unfold in the living room of their apartment and jumping into action to call emergency services. Emily never left Leah’s during her five-day hospitalization as doctors scrambled to understand why a healthy young woman had had a series of strokes.


Leah & Emily

“I started feeling weird; I lost part of my vision, I couldn't talk and I remember looking at Emily, like, trying to get some words out and her face just fell immediately,” Leah says. “She had me come over and sit on the couch, and I was still trying to talk, but also kind of laughing at how weird it was that I couldn't speak.” 

The situation was deadly serious for Emily, who called 911 and then Leah’s parents, cool, calm and collected throughout -- on the surface.

 “She told me later that she was sobbing outside because she knew exactly what was going on.  She knew that I was having a stroke.”

Emily went into full-on advocate, mode tirelessly pushing for more information from doctors and fast-tracking Leah to a Johns Hopkins’ neurologist, who said the stroke was caused by migraines and if it was to happen again -- although the likelihood would be exceptionally small -- it would be a very small stroke with hopefully no lasting deficits.

Leah & Emily

Fast forward a few months to December when, after several months of strange neurological symptoms and many doctor's visits, Emily was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After deliberating for weeks, and with no clear picture of the severity of the tumor, the couple decided to proceed with surgery to remove it. Emily had brain surgery on February 8, 2017, Leah never leaving her side over the six days she was in the hospital.

A few weeks after the surgery, the tumor was gone and Leah and Emily were relieved to learn that she wouldn’t need any chemotherapy or radiation. So, after the dust settled and Emily was recovering well, they revisited the conversation about the wedding … but there was yet another hitch in their plan to get hitched.

We were contracted with another venue that was being built and about 6 weeks before the wedding they said it wasn't going to be ready,” Leah says. “We came upon The Dupont Circle by accident and by a stroke of luck -- there happened to be a cancellation on our wedding date -- The Dupont Circle was available and we’re so glad it was!

Leah & Emily

Their event planner basically transferred over their original wedding package to The Dupont Circle, who worked at warp speed to get the couple’s tasting and other details locked in as quickly as possible. “Although we were bummed to lose the first venue, the wedding at Dupont Circle exceeded our expectations. It was everything we wanted and more.”

That included a venue that was centrally located and in the middle of everything and that appealed to their “low-maintenance” vibe. Because they love spending time on the rooftop of their building at home, they were drawn to the terrace off the ballroom at The Dupont Circle. And, when it came time for dessert, they knew exactly what they wanted: s’mores.

“It's my favorite dessert for nostalgic reasons,” Leah reveals. “Emily made s'mores on our second date, so we told David that and they came up with a passed s'mores snack with a chocolate ganache for us.”

And like their “absolutely perfect” celebration at The Dupont Circle, their love story has a happy ending.

“The hurdles we overcame taught us what only experience can teach -- what it means to really love someone. It taught us to be grateful, to cherish the little things and the sometimes monotonous moments of relationships, and perhaps more than anything, that nothing in life is a guarantee,” Emily muses.


Leah & Emily

Get to know the happy couple


Hometown: Leah is from Nashville and Emily hails from Garden City, NY. They live in northwest D.C. now.

Occupation: Leah is the founder of Smart Gets Paid, which teaches women entrepreneurs how to sign clients. Emily is a UX designer for healthcare technology, improving data quality and making healthcare tech more accessible.

Fun fact: Leah and Emily met at trivia night at Nellie’s, U Street’s most famous sports bar.


Leah + Emily’s wedding dream team:


Day-of coordinator: Laura Held, Ida Rose Events -
Photographer: Mary Sandoval -

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