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After a scenic proposal abroad, this couple tied the knot in an elegant ceremony full of personalized touches. By Irina Grechko
All photographs by Megan Beth.

When Sophia Stuart met Nuvan Seneviratne, while both were students at the University of Maryland, she thought he was way too smart for her. But Nuvan, a partner at AV Divine, had other thoughts. “She took my breath away,” he says. They had their first date at Siri’s Chef Secret in College Park, coincidentally the same place where Sophia’s parents went on their first date. Five years into their relationship, Nuvan decided it was time to take Sophia’s breath away in a proposal to remember. “We took an ATV [all-terrain vehicle] tour in Costa Rica,” says Sophia, a marketing manager. “When we got to the top of the mountain, overlooking the ocean, Nuvan proposed.” Their equally scenic wedding followed in Rockville 18 months later.

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Posted at 10:43 AM/ET, 04/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Inspired by textures and neutrals, these invitations are made for a modern bride. By Jordan Muto

Your wedding may have just gotten a little more chic with the help of Kelly Weartsler’s eye for bold graphics. The interior-and-fashion designer and all-around style goddess recently collaborated with the popular online invitation site Paperless Post to create 50 unique invitations, which can be sent via e-mail or snail mail. Using her eclectic-luxe design aesthetic, Wearstler’s invitations are inspired by textured materials and neutral shades such as white and gold. Looking for that perfect save-the-date, engagement-party, or wedding invitation with just the right amount of flair? The search might be over. Take a look through the slideshow for our favorites, then shop the collection online.

Posted at 09:52 AM/ET, 04/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
These college sweethearts celebrated their engagement with a photo shoot inspired by changing seasons. By Irina Grechko
All photographs by Vicki Grafton.

When Mai Lan Aram and Alexander Lee went on their first date in August 2008—to watch the movie The Dark Knight—they weren’t sure their own story would have a happy ending. “I remember thinking, ‘Man, this guy talks a lot during movies,’” says Mai Lan, an engineer. Alex, a project manager, felt just the opposite. “I thought, ‘This girl doesn’t talk at all during movies,’” he says. Luckily, the two then-students at Virginia Tech got over their movie-going differences and discovered a host of other commonalities, which soon led to a relationship.

When planning his proposal, five years later, Alex opted for something intimate. “First we feasted at Fogo de Chão in DC. Afterward, we took a nice walk, and Alex got down on one knee and proposed,” says Mai Lan. For their engagement pictures, the duo opted for the same simple, romantic vibe, working with photographer Vicki Grafton to create lovely portraits that captured their happiness. They headed to Old Town Clifton to capture the beauty of fall and the changing leaves as they strolled around town. Alex and Mai Lan are set to wed at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg on April 26, 2014.

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Posted at 12:56 PM/ET, 04/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A two-day showcase to help you plan your dream wedding. By Jordan Muto

Whether you’re just starting to plan or have everything but the last-minute details nailed down for your special day, you’ll find helpful resources at Book Hill Says I Do on April 4 and 5. The neighborhood in Georgetown hosts a two-day event to help get brides, grooms, and their guests get prepared to get hitched.

Vendors will be on hand to aid you in making decisions, from selecting invitations at Dandelion Patch to picking the perfect dress at Lovely. Brides can visit Salon Ilo for hair and makeup suggestions, Patisserie Poupon and Macaron Bee for cake and dessert tastings, and Bacchus Wine Cellar for beverage samples. 

Be sure to check in at either Urban Chic or Sherman Pickey during the event to receive a gift bag with special offers. Participating stores will offer discounts, as well as gifts with purchase. Register for the Bridal Bliss raffle to be eligible to win a prize from participating stores.

No RSVP necessary. April 4 and 5, Book Hill neighborhood, Wisconsin Ave., NW.

Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 04/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This couple braved the snow for a winter wonderland shoot. By Irina Grechko
All photographs by Katie Pegher.

When Lauren Collier and Justin Ingram first connected over Facebook, they were both a bit hesitant to pursue a relationship. It took almost a year of talking online before they decided to take the plunge and meet in person. Lauren was having difficulty hanging a painting in her new apartment, and Justin offered to help. When he arrived at her apartment, says Lauren, who is in business development, “I was taken aback by his kind brown eyes and tall stature, but the fact that he had a tool box and was wearing a suit [he had just gotten off of work] only made him hotter.” After the painting was hung, the two agreed they should see each other again. Lauren jokingly suggested to make cookies, get wine, or give Justin an award to thank him for his picture-hanging work. “I said, ‘How about all three? I’ll bring a bottle of wine, we’ll make cookies, and you can present me with an award when I arrive,’” says Justin, a senior recruiter. That’s exactly what they did on their first official date, and thanks to their romantic spark (and Lauren’s oatmeal-cookie-baking skills) they soon began a relationship.

When planning his proposal, four years later, Justin wanted to make sure to include Lauren’s beloved horse, Zeke. On October 11, 2013, as Lauren was leaving work she got a call from River Chase Farm, where Zeke boards. The barn manager told her Zeke cut his leg and that Lauren urgently needed to come in and have a look. “I ran into the barn to find Zeke with a ‘Will you marry me?’ ribbon around his neck and Justin on one knee,” she says. Justin continued the night of surprises by taking Lauren for a celebratory dinner with friends.

For their engagement photographs, they got together with Katie Pegher for a snow-day shoot. Committed to getting photos taken after a snowfall, the couple, who will marry this May at the Meadow Event Park in Virginia, braved eight inches of fresh snow and freezing temperatures for a winter-inspired session.

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Posted at 01:03 PM/ET, 04/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This groom-to-be chose the iconic backdrop of the Jefferson Memorial to pop the question. By Irina Grechko
Joshua and Kristen got engaged at the Jefferson Memorial on January 25, 2014. All photographs by Brittany DeFrehn.

Kristen Callaway and Joshua Hoffman were friends in high school, but despite attending a homecoming dance together it was years before they went on a real first date. Their freshman year of college, Joshua, a financial analyst, sensed a potential romantic connection and began looking for the right moment to ask out Kristen, a legislative assistant. The opportunity came toward the end of the school year, when Kristen bought a brand new dress. “She loved the dress—in fact, it was a dress she had wanted for months. But she told me that she had no occasion to wear it,” says Joshua. “I took that opportunity to take our relationship beyond friendship and asked her out to one of the fancier restaurants I knew.” Lucky for Joshua, Kristen too felt a connection beyond friendship, and they began to date.

Nearly six years later, Joshua decided to propose. He wanted something grand yet still intimate and reflective of them as a couple, so he chose the Jefferson Memorial as the spot to pop the question. “Kristen is uncomfortable with a lot of attention, so I really wanted to be respectful of that and make the proposal very personal and intimate. For that reason, I planned it at night when, hopefully, no tourists would be around,” says Joshua.

After taking Kristen to dinner in Georgetown earlier in the evening, Joshua convinced her to go down to the memorial. When the two arrived, the place was deserted except for a couple of strategically placed “tourists”—Rich Barry, a Spanish guitarist who was playing at the foot of the steps, and Brittany DeFrehn, a photographer, both of whom Joshua hired for the occasion. “After listening to Rich for a bit, Kristen and I walked into the memorial briefly before returning to the top of the large marble steps,” says Joshua. “There, with the Washington Monument in the background, I asked Kristen to marry me.” Brittany captured the entire moment on camera.

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Posted at 01:11 PM/ET, 03/31/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Shop the entire ring collections of 11 designers at this two-day event. By Jordan Muto
Photograph courtesy of I.Gorman Jewelers.

The hunt for that all-important piece of jewelry could get a lot easier with a stop at I. Gorman on April 11 and 12. The jeweler hosts an Ultimate Ring Event at its DC store, where you can sip Champagne while shopping the entire ring collections of 11 designers, including Omi Prive, Kirk Kara, and Precision Set.

Think you’ll need help choosing? The event offers attendees the opportunity to work with designers to customize their selections. Loose diamonds will also be available, which can be matched with several settings options for a unique engagement or wedding band.

Throughout the two-day event, the Wine Specialist holds a Champagne tasting; if you find one you like, a 15 percent discount will be offered on any cases ordered at the event.

No RSVP is necessary. To find out more information, visit I. Gorman’s website or email info@igorman.com.

I. Gorman Jewelers. 1133 20th St., NW; 202-775-8544.

Posted at 02:39 PM/ET, 03/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
We caught up with the bride-to-be at the opening of Blo Blow Dry Bar in Dupont. By Irina Grechko, Diana Elbasha
Blo Dupont owner Maha Sharma and Whitney Port at the opening of the blowout bar on Friday. Photographs by Joy Asico.

We’ve got serious hair envy when it comes to Whitney Port’s locks. Port, a TV personality, fashion designer, and soon-to-be bride, was in Washington on Friday to host the opening of Blo Blow Dry Bar in Dupont, and we got a chance to chat with her about her upcoming wedding day. “Tim [Rosenman] and I are taking our time,” she said. “We don’t have anything locked down yet in terms of location or anything; we just want to take it easy and try to enjoy and remember every moment of it.”

In addition to planning the wedding, Port is collaborating with stationery brand Wedding Paper Divas on an invitation suite set to debut later this year. “They’re amazing,” said Port of working with the company. “They’re working with us on some designs for our own wedding, and they’ve just been so great.”

For brides looking to channel Port’s wavy mane on their big day, Blo offers wedding styling services as well as the option to host bachelorette parties and bridal showers. The Signature Blo Bridal package includes a pre-wedding day consultation ($65) and a wedding-day updo or styled blowout ($95). Need to book services for your entire wedding party? The Blo on the Go services bring stylists to your primping location, where they create a look for the bride ($125), with additional styles for $75 each.

Blo Dupont. 2127 P St., NW; 202-293-2256.

Posted at 09:58 AM/ET, 03/26/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This couple’s romance began with a road trip. By Irina Grechko
Laura and Robert on their wedding day on April 21, 2014. All photographs by Spence Photographics.

They say you really get to know someone when you travel with them. That was the case with Laura Gorog and Robert Walburn, who connected while on a road trip to North Carolina. “I was going down to visit my sister, and Rob was going down to visit her boyfriend” (now husband), a good friend of Rob’s, Laura explains. “They suggested that we drive together, so we did.” That first trip led to several more, and within six months Laura and Rob had begun dating.

When it came to the proposal, almost five years later, Rob, a restaurant manager, knew it would be a challenge to catch Laura by surprise. “I am never surprised, so he had to pop the question in a way that was not obvious,” says Laura, an executive team lead. “One night I was driving home from a night out with the girls, and he was waiting outside for me. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him.” Six months later they were married in a spring-inspired celebration at the Stone Manor Country Club in Maryland.

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 03/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
After an Annapolis proposal, this couple returned to the waterfront for a nautical photo shoot. By Irina Grechko
Katie and Ryan are set to marry in Edgewater, Maryland, on May 30, 2014. All photographs by TPoz Photography.

“I hope he buys the next pitcher,” says Katelyn Rowe, a Department of Justice case analyst, of her first thought when meeting Ryan Gallucci, who was introduced to her by a mutual friend at Dr. Dremo’s while he was visiting Washington for a job interview. He in turn thought that she was “really loud and outgoing,” and they quickly became friends. Several years later, Katie mentioned how much she missed New England’s food, and Ryan seized the opportunity to invite her over to cook a lobster steam pot as their official first date.

Nearly three years after that, Ryan, the deputy legislative director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, took Katie to Annapolis to propose. After an Easter-morning brunch, the groom-to-be suggested they walk to the edge of the pier to take a photo. “It was cold and overcast, so we had the pier to ourselves. I took out the ring and asked her to marry me,” says Ryan. “After an awkward, surprised pause, I asked her, ‘So is that yes?’ before she finally confirmed.”

Katie and Ryan, who are set to marry in Edgewater, Maryland, on May 30, 2014, returned to the water for their engagement session with TPoz Photography.

Would you like to see your engagement session or wedding on our blog? E-mail us at realweddings@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured.

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Posted at 02:21 PM/ET, 03/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()