Lynn Chheang and Ryan Hill took five years to make it to their first date. They were introduced by mutual coworkers and friends in 2005 during a happy hour. Despite instantly catching each other’s eye, it wasn’t until a chance encounter on Facebook that they forged a reconnection and set up a first date at Ray’s Hell-Burger in Arlington.
Madly in love, two and a half years later, Ryan, a fixed income trader at Fannie Mae and part-time graduate MBA student at Georgetown University, decided it was time to propose. He chose the scenic Japanese botanical gardens at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, to pop the question. Wanting to ask in Lynn’s native Cambodian, Ryan had turned to her family for the right words in Khmer weeks before. “At first I did not understand Ryan’s proposal because his Khmer was poorly enunciated,” says Lynn, an accountant. “I finally realized what was going on when he got down on one knee and in English said, ‘I love you; will you marry me?’” Seventeen months later, they were wed at Baltimore’s Evergreen Museum & Library.
If you are the type of bride who dreams of exchanging vows by the shore, with the sound of waves crashing in the not-too-far-off distance, Mara Hoffman’s bridal designs are just for you. Better known for her colorful apparel and bold swimwear, the New York-based designer launched a wedding collection late last year after famously designing a dress for the nuptials of jewelry designer Pamela Love, whose look is very much bohemian romantic. Hoffman’s line features four breezy gowns, a sassy bustier-skirt set, and two honeymoon-appropriate swimsuits—perfect for brides who wish to forgo veils for flower garlands and nix the heels for bare feet. Bonus: wallet-friendly prices ranging from $1,000 to $,1,700 per gown. Scroll down for photos of the dreamy looks.
If you are still unsure whether to take your soon-to-be spouse’s last name, there’s now a website that allows you to test the waters before you’re faced with having to sign your marriage license. Launched last week by Danielle Tate, the Maryland-based CEO and founder of MissNowMrs.com—a service that simplifies the legal name-change process without countless visits to government offices—MarriedNameGame is a free online game that allows soon-to-be brides to explore all their married name options before committing to one.
After a series of eight short multiple-choice questions, which take into account key life factors, individual preferences, and state of residence, the quiz will suggest to brides-to-be their ideal married name—whether it’s taking your spouse’s name, hyphenating both, or sticking with your maiden name. “There are many intricate life factors that influence a woman’s change of name after marriage,” said Tate in a press release. “Knowing your options makes this decision easier, yet few women know what they can actually do—if I had known that taking my maiden name as a middle name was an option, I would have done so. This is why I created this tool.” Check out the game online, then tell us what you think.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”: The old English rhyme is invoked by brides on their wedding day in hopes that it will bring good luck and fortune to their marriage. Blue represents love, fidelity, and purity, and there are more ways than ever to incorporate the hue into your bridal look. Flip through the slideshow for some cool, modern ways to get the bridal blues, from headbands to heels and everything in between.
It was initially friendship that brought Andrea Grassi and Paul Franklin together. The two grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and went to the same high school but didn’t get a chance to connect until Andrea’s older sister started dating Paul’s childhood best friend. Andrea and Paul quickly bonded over being the couple’s “wingmen,” and a friendship began. “Obviously Paul is quite the looker, but really my feelings for him just evolved into something much more deep over time,” says Andrea, a community manager. “He is my best friend in the entire world.”
Eventually their friendship blossomed into a relationship, which five years later led to a romantic proposal at the Nemacolin Woodland Resort’s Falling Rock. “We were going home to Cleveland for a weekend in August to see family, and he surprised me with a pit stop to Nemacolin, where we had stayed before,” says Andrea. “He got down on one knee right near the 18th green overlooking the mountains and popped the question! It was perfect and so romantic.” The next day, they arrived in Cleveland, where Paul, a financial adviser, had already organized a surprise party for Andrea with both of their families.
For their wedding, 14 months later, the couple knew they wanted an intimate celebration with just their closest friends and family. But they didn’t forget to give their Maryland wedding a Midwestern touch. “We had the [Ohio State] Buckeyes game playing during cocktail hour,” says Andrea.
From elaborate interactive booths to lavish table settings, intricately decorated cakes to spectacular floral arrangements, there was no shortage of inspiration at the sixth annual Washingtonian Bride & Groom Unveiled wedding showcase. Held this year at the beautiful Park Hyatt Washington, the sold-out event featured more than 50 of Washington’s best wedding vendors, as well as a breathtaking Vera Wang runway show from the Bridal Salon at Saks Jandel. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look and recap of the day.
Video by Suburban Video
It didn’t take long for Kelly Harper and Kyle Pumroy to realize they were meant to spend the rest of their lives together. The two were introduced by Kelly’s colleague Jen, who grew up with Kyle; sensing a possible love connection, she invited them on a boat ride. “I knew it was a setup; Kyle didn’t,” says Kelly, who works at the Pentagon. “At the end of the day Kyle asked for my phone number, and we went on our first date the very next night.” Just nine months after that first date, at Acqua Al 2, the two knew they wanted to tie the knot. “We knew we wanted to get married even sooner—it was right, and it was easy. Like no happiness we’ve ever known,” says the bride.
For the proposal, Kyle, who is in the Air Force and works at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chose the roof deck of his apartment, the same spot where the two shared their first kiss. “The deck was covered in candles, music was playing, and it was all about us. It was perfect,” says the bride. Nine months after that, they tied the knot in a Christmas-themed wedding, at which Kyle surprised his bride with a red raincoat similar to the one Kelly’s grandfather surprised her grandmother with on their wedding day. “My grandparents were married for almost 60 years. If we have a small bit of the success they had, we will have a very long, happy marriage,” says Kelly.
When Sean Garrity met Anna Frey, through mutual friends from college, he was instantly smitten. “I thought Anna was beautiful, had a great sense of humor, and seemed like a genuinely nice person,” says Sean, who works in federal affairs for a medical society. Anna reciprocated the attraction, and they had their first date at an outdoor concert. Seven years into their romance, Sean proposed to Anna, who works in commercial construction, on Christmas Day at her family house. For their wedding, 11 months later, the couple opted for an Eastern Shore inspired wedding full of nautical touches and thoughtful details.
When Felicia Fernandes and Armando Silva met, through mutual friends, they both agree they “instantly clicked.” A simple first date at the movies followed, and soon the pair were officially a “couple.” When it came to the engagement four years later, Armando chose to surprise Felicia with a proposal on her birthday. “We went out for dinner, and he popped the question before we headed home to celebrate with my entire family,” says the bride. “It was perfect, and a total surprise to everyone. There were a lot of happy tears that night.” After an 18-month engagement, they tied the knot in a celebration so joyful not even unexpected rain could put a damper on it.
When Christine Godsey saw Victor Bonomi at a bar, she thought he had the most beautiful eyes she’d ever seen; Victor, in turn, thought Christine was the prettiest girl in the bar. They exchanged numbers but didn’t go on their first date until a month later. After that, though, things were smooth sailing—and after almost four blissful years, Victor, the owner of Tech 24 Construction, decided to propose. “Victor wanted to do something intimate so that the moment was just ours, so he proposed on our last night in Miami at home,” says Christine. “It was such a perfect moment that we shared together, just us.”
When it came to the winter wedding, 18 months later, the couple opted for a destination celebration in Puerto Rico. The bride, a wedding planner with Engaging Affairs, naturally decided to organize her own big day. “I actually brought some of my dream team down with me to take care of me on my special day and even had my dear friend and colleague run my wedding day for me,” says Christine.