Meron Paulos, a US foreign service officer, and Adam Aberra, general counsel for Five Guys International, knew each other on Facebook but arranged to meet for the first time when both were coincidentally in Addis Ababa. After an initial case of mistaken identity at the hotel bar in which Adam chatted up a local, he spotted Meron arriving with two of her girlfriends. “I was focused on her and only her,” he says.
After a first date to a Michael Jackson–themed house party back in DC, Adam and Meron became official. Four years later, Adam orchestrated an elaborate proposal that took place while the two were on vacation in Bali with Meron’s family. The surprise began with a “girls’ afternoon,” during which Meron was strategically abandoned at a spa. The hotel offered her a lift to dinner, leaving her with a short walk down a garden stairway and across a secluded bridge where Adam was waiting. “I floated across the bridge, which was lined with beautiful pictures from our adventures together. Off in the distance, I could hear an orchestra playing ‘Edelweiss,’ ” she says. “When I reached him, Adam got down on one knee. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, he walked me to an infinity-edge lotus pond where the other loves of my life—my family—were waiting to celebrate.”
The couple’s wedding a year later was a sophisticated white-and-gold affair. Meron carried a bouquet of white roses, and her bridesmaids wore all-white as the couple recited their vows at the Cosmos Club. Afterwards guests headed to the Mayflower Hotel to find their places for dinner laid out on mirrored banquet tables with globe-shaped crystal chandeliers twinkling overhead. Meron and Adam selected a menu of Western dishes infused with Ethiopian elements, and incorporated their heritage into the celebration in other ways, including custom print pillows, coffee favors, and a display of Ethiopian artifacts. A four-layer cake featured novel flavors including a playful strawberry-and-vanilla layer with Cap’n Crunch–infused buttercream. And there was still one more treat to come: a late-night snack of—what else?— burgers from Five Guys.
Photography: Bonnie Sen Photography | Venue: Cosmos Club the Mayflower Hotel | Event Planning: Favored by Yodit Events & Design | Florals & Decor: Amaryllis Floral & Event Design | Invitations: The Wells Makery | Caterer: The Mayflower Hotel | Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes | Hairstylist: Yene Damtew | Makeup Artist: Marquia James | Bride’s Attire: Berta | Groom’s Attire: Suitsupply | Music: DJ Harry Hotter | Videographer: Bowen Films
This article appears in the Winter/Spring 2019 issue of Washingtonian Weddings.