Weddings

The Couple’s Two Bernedoodles Were the Witnesses at Their Goodstone Elopement

Raiza and Zbynek will celebrate in the same spot with family and friends later this year.

Photographs by Krysta Norman Photography

Raiza, from Chantilly, and Zbynek, from Zulova, Czech Republic, met working at IBM—she works in sales as an account executive, and he’s a partner, consulting clients in finance and emerging technology. After attending a few of the same business meetings the pair hit it off, and over happy hour and other work functions realized they share similar interests: traveling, going to concerts, dining out, and playing golf.

“We found each other at critical moments in our lives,” they say. “How many people get second chances for life, or love, for that matter? We have, thankfully.” Sparks flew for the pair, who say they are an unlikely couple who “probably surprised a lot of people,” and they haven’t stopped flying since.

In September 2019, the couple got engaged and sent out save-the-dates, finalized their wedding party, and booked vendors, including their venue, Goodstone Inn, for an October 2020 wedding. Just after their engagement party, Covid hit, and while they say they spent months agonizing over what to do, in July, they pushed the wedding to October 2021. 

“We wanted to have a great time with people we love and that was no longer possible with travel from all over the globe (eg. Philippines and Europe) and many other restrictions,” they say. “So instead of forcing everyone we care about to make tough decisions, we decided to postpone and elope instead!”

On September 5, 2020 the two eloped at Goodstone Inn, where they’ll host that larger, 100-person celebration, this fall. 

Ultimately, they say, they loved the intimacy of their elopement. But, it wasn’t without additional scramble: not only did tropical storm Isaias require the couple push the ceremony back by a day, but they also didn’t realize until the last minute that they’d need an officiant, and then ended up finding one online the night before. In the end, it turned out perfectly. “Everything was quaint and peaceful which allowed us to focus on each other.”

Raiza got her hair and makeup done on the property at 5 a.m., and the pair said “I do” at 8 a.m., with their two Bernedoodles, Oris and Koda, in tow. “They were the best, most supportive witnesses we could have hoped for,” they say. After the ceremony, the newlyweds ended the day with an intimate dinner in Goodstone’s wine cellar.

This fall, they’ll “celebrate at Goodstone, walk down the aisle and enjoy the moment—all over again!” even, they say, if they have to push the date again. “We had so much fun with our elopement that we want to have a big party the way we planned… We and our guests are always down for a good party!”

Check out their elopement below.

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The Details

Photography: Krysta Norman Photography | Venue: Goodstone Inn & Restaurant | Planning & Design: Vida Events | Hair & Makeup Stylist: Agape Beauty Studio | Dress: Lulus | Florals: Springvale Florals

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Amy Moeller
Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.