Only In DC: For Their First Date This Couple Watched the 2012 Election Results Come in Over Pizza and Beer



Behnaz Bonyadian and Brian Akinyanju met in college, but it wasn’t until the two Hokies ran into one another on the Metro in Northern Virginia that sparks flew. They spent their first date watching the 2012 election results roll in at California Pizza Kitchen. Four years later, they married in an early spring outdoor wedding ceremony at Pippin Hill Vineyard and Farms in Charlottesville. Photographs by Jen Fariello.

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Behnaz, who works in International Development, and Brian, who works in Consulting, first met as Hokies at Virginia Tech University, but were just acquaintances until they ran into each other years later on the Clarendon Metro. Brian was en route to happy hour and Behnaz was headed to the gym. Instead, he convinced her to join him and his friends. She couldn’t get over his smile, and he was drawn to her personality.


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For their first date—”as friends,” they claimed at first—they watched the 2012 Election Results roll in at California Pizza Kitchen in Montgomery Mall.

“We shared a momentous and historic, occasion over Buffalo-style pizza and wine,” says Behnaz. Three years to the day, on a misty November day, after that unofficial first date, Brian took Behnaz to her favorite vineyard, Pippin Hill. “He pulled the old, ‘I have to tie my shoe,’ before dropping to one knee to pop the question,” Behnaz recalls.


It was only fitting, they say, that they get married at that same site. So a year-and-a-half later, in March, they said “I do” in a stunning indoor-outdoor early spring wedding.


The couple opted for a romantic first look outside on the Vineyards’ grounds, then headed to a covered patio for their outdoor ceremony.


Behnaz walked herself down the aisle and Brian met her halfway. He wore a tuxedo by Lutwyche, and she wore an Austin Scarlett gown, carrying a bouquet of white ohara garden roses, ranunculus, peonies, silver dollar eucalyptus, sweet peas, stephanotis, jasmine foliage, and white cherry branches. A romantic floral arch marked the spot where the two exchanged vows and said, “I do.”



Inside at the reception, the newlyweds shared their first dance to Luther Vandross’s “If This World Were Mine.” They chose rich scenery in a simple white-and-green color palette that, peppered with wood finishes and twinkling white lights, was the perfect choice for the early spring wedding. A grand floral ladder hung over the head table, signature cocktails included whiskey-on-the-rocks and Moscow Mules, and for dessert, guests enjoyed a cake of layered lemon chiffon brushed with Framboise and filled with raspberry curd, mascarpone cream and fresh raspberries.


As parting favors, the couple gifted guests Persian Nougat, pastries, and cookies as a not to Behnaz’s Persian roots.


Following the celebration, the pair honeymooned in Bali.

The Details

Photography: Jen Fariello Photography | Event Coordinator: Amore Events by Cody | Venue: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards | Florist: Blue Ridge Floral Design | Bride’s Gown: Austin Scarlett, Hitched | Groom’s Attire: Lutwyche, Saks 5th Avenue Chevy Chase | Hair Dresser: Top Knot Studio | Makeup Artist: Gohar Beaver | Cake: Honey Hive home of Cakes by Rachael | Caterers: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine | Videographer: JoyGaba Photo | Music/Entertainment: DJ D-Mac & Associates  | Invitations: Bella Figura and Just Paper & Tea | Rental: MS Events Charlottesville | Stationery & Matches: PipkinPaperCompany (Etsy) | Guestbook: clairemagnolia | (Etsy) Signage: LoveAndPetals