July-August 2020 | Weddings

Waterside wedding

At a resort in Cambridge, Maryland, a Potomac couple’s celebration included a sand ceremony and a packed dance floor

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Photo by Manda Weaver

The couple: Kristi Sherman, 35, grew up in Potomac and is a graduate of Thomas S. Wootton High School. She is a regional vice president at Greenbelt-based real estate company Bozzuto. Aregay Wondwossen, 41, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to Northern Virginia with his family when he was 9 years old. He is a project manager for construction at AvalonBay Communities, a real estate company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The couple lives in Potomac.

Photo by Manda Weaver

How they met: The day Kristi moved into an apartment in Crystal City, Virginia, in 2013, Aregay was working the front desk. He was the building’s maintenance manager, and Kristi was starting a new job with the same real estate company, Bozzuto, as a property manager at a building nearby. “We ended up making a friendship through living in the same building and working for the same company,” Kristi says. But when Kristi transitioned to another role and moved back to Maryland less than a year later, the pair lost touch. About four years later, their paths crossed when they found themselves working down the street from each other in Merrifield, Virginia. “There was a Dunkin’ Donuts in my building so he’d come get coffee and we’d chitchat and catch up,” Kristi says. “That grew to him courting me, if you will, and asking me on a date.”

The first date: Aregay and Kristi met for lunch at Four Sisters, a Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church. “I’ve always had a crush on her,” Aregay says. “It’s just that I didn’t have the opportunity to go full steam ahead and pursue her.” The date went well, and they continued to meet for lunch during the workweek, which quickly led to dinner dates. “After the first few dinner dates we were pretty much a couple,” Aregay says. A year into dating, Aregay introduced Kristi to his daughters, Yanet, now 13, and Hazel, 7. “I remember them just taking me by the hand,” Kristi says. “It was very sweet and made me feel very welcome.”

Photo by Manda Weaver

The proposal: Aregay planned a weeklong vacation to Antigua in the spring of 2018. “He was getting me pumped up about it,” Kristi says. “He told me it would be the best vacation of my life and I would understand later.” One evening at their resort, Aregay took Kristi on a sunset walk on the beach. “I pretended that I found something in the sand,” Aregay says. He got down on one knee and showed her the ring, which he’d put in a shell case he’d found on Etsy. After Kristi said yes, they had dinner and champagne on the shoreline at a table set up by the resort staff. During the meal, the newly engaged couple called friends and family to tell them the news. “It was hard to get the words out with all the tears,” Kristi says.

The wedding: Kristi and Aregay married on July 5, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Maryland. They had 133 guests. At their rehearsal dinner at the resort on July 4, the couple and their guests watched the town’s fireworks.

The ceremony: The bride and groom wanted to include Aregay’s daughters in their special day and decided on a sand ceremony, in which each participant pours a different color of sand into a vase to represent the growing family. The girls were also in the wedding party—Yanet was a junior bridesmaid and Hazel was the flower girl. Aregay’s mother passed away in February 2018, so the couple honored her by placing flowers and a plaque in her memory on a seat in the front row.

Photo by Manda Weaver

The reception: Aregay and Kristi made their entrance to the reception in traditional Ethiopian wedding garb. “There was a his-and-hers cape that my dad brought from Ethiopia,” Aregay says. They had a nine-piece band, The Bachelor Boys, that played everything from funk to Motown. “They were a hit,” Kristi says. “The dance floor was packed the whole night.” After the bride and groom’s first dance, Kristi and her father kicked off a triple father-daughter dance, with Aregay and Yanet joining in, and Hazel dancing with Aregay’s father.

The honeymoon: The couple spent six nights in the Maldives, an island nation in South Asia. On the way, they opted for an 18-hour layover in Dubai. They crammed in sightseeing and pool parties, then got a few hours’ sleep before getting on their connecting flight to the Maldives. They stayed on the island of Kedhigandu, where they had an over-water bungalow with a private pool. The newlyweds spent the rest of their trip swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. “After the hustle and bustle of the wedding, it was time to relax,” Kristi says. “And we did.”
Vendors: Boutonnieres and arch flowers, Monteray Farms; bridesmaids’ dresses and wedding gown, David’s Bridal; cake, Bay Country Bakery; catering, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay; hair, Behind the Veil; makeup, Kara Waggoner Beauty; photographer, Manda Weaver; wedding coordinator, Belle of the Ball Events.