A Bethesda couple's Halloween-themed wedding included Harry Potter wands and a guest dressed as a chicken
THE COUPLE: Maya Fox, 33, grew up in Rockville and graduated from Thomas S. Wootton High School. She works as a program analyst for the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland. Jeff Robinson, 33, grew up in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, and is a D.C.-based consultant for Accenture. They live in Bethesda.
HOW THEY MET: In February 2013, they were each attending a weekend-long anime convention at National Harbor. On the first night, they both went solo to the convention’s formal ball. “I asked him to dance and he said yes,” Maya says. “It was on the darker side, so I couldn’t really see what he looked like specifically.” They danced a few more songs together. “She mentioned that she was going to go get water outside of the room, and I’m like, OK, that sounds like a great idea,” Jeff says. Maya didn’t expect him to join her. “I was trying to give him an out. He didn’t take it,” she says. Her reaction when she saw him in better lighting: Oh, shoot, he’s cute. This is bad. “He lived up in Philadelphia and I lived in Bethesda and I did not want a long-distance relationship.”
THE FIRST DATE: The next night at the convention, Jeff asked Maya to grab a bite to eat. “We were eating at a restaurant and she was holding my hand and looking into my eyes and was like, ‘This is a date, isn’t it?’ And I was like, ‘kinda, yeah,’ ” Jeff says. The pair decided to stay in touch as friends. They texted and emailed a few times a week, then talked on the phone over the next two months. Says Maya, “I realized that he’s pretty fantastic and I would be stupid not to give him a real shot.” They had honest talks about marriage, religion, politics and what would happen if their relationship got serious. A few months after they met, Jeff came to visit. They went to dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C. and then to a Dr. Who-themed happy hour at the Black Cat, since both are fans of the British television show.
THE PROPOSAL: Early on, Maya told Jeff about a dream she had. In it, Jeff had a bunch of balloons with all of the things he liked about her printed on them. He made a mental note. “I was like, I could do that,” he says. After he moved from Philadelphia and they had lived together for about a year in Bethesda, he decided to propose in July 2015. He got helium tanks and 125 balloons (50 were preprinted with “Will you marry me?”) and filled vases with roses in their apartment. “I had a whole spreadsheet of things about her that I loved that I wrote on the balloons,” Jeff says. He made a special dinner, put on dressy clothes and had music playing when Maya got home from work. “She had a long day and she comes in, she looks at me and goes, ‘Oh, there are balloons. I’m gonna go wash my hands and then you can tell me why there are balloons,’ ” he says. (The couple’s rule is that when you get home you take off your shoes and wash your hands.) Then Jeff asked if she’d like to marry him. She said she would someday, not realizing that he was proposing. “And then 20 seconds later, she was like, wait, really?” says Jeff, who handed her a custom ring box from Etsy. The box was shaped like the TARDIS—a dark blue time-traveling telephone booth from Dr. Who.
THE WEDDING: Maya and Jeff were married on Oct. 29, 2016, at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. Their favorite holiday is Halloween, so they held a Halloween-themed wedding with 95 guests. They asked everyone to wear costumes.
THE ATTIRE: For the ceremony, Maya wore a vintage-style dress that she found online and boots she’d owned for many years. For makeup, she just wore lipstick. The couple’s costumes for the reception (pictured here) were made by a friend who was working as a costume designer for Imagination Stage. Jeff’s costume was a variation on Prince Charming from Once Upon a Time. “Mine was just a pretty dress that I wanted,” says Maya, who paired the dress with Keds.
THE CEREMONY: The couple wrote their own ceremony. Once guests were seated for the outdoor event, the song “The Final Countdown” by Europe played. Then the two walked down the aisle with their maternal grandmothers. Jeff’s dad was the officiant, and the opening lines were from The Princess Bride. “We didn’t actually expect him to dress up as the priest from Princess Bride. I definitely didn’t expect him to do the voice,” Maya says. But he did. “So as soon as he started, I was losing it. I was laughing so hard.” During their vows, the couple pointed wands they had bought at Universal Studios to reference the “unbreakable vow” from Harry Potter.
CREATIVE COSTUMES: Jeff’s dad changed out of his officiant outfit into a Jim Perdue costume to coordinate with his wife’s chicken costume. There were superheroes, villains and Star Trek costumes. “One of the more notable ones was a creepy Elf on the Shelf,” Jeff says.
THE DÉCOR: At the reception inside the mansion, the décor included black tablecloths, red napkins and lanterns. On the dining tables were two favors—costumed rubber duckies and owl-shaped boxes filled with Halloween candy.
DR. WHO DEVOTION: The couple’s fondness for the TARDIS showed up in the bowtie Jeff wore during the ceremony and as a charm in Maya’s bouquet of paper flowers made of book pages. A friend made a painting for guests to sign that also featured the phone booth. “It’s the TARDIS and it’s held up by a bunch of balloons, like in Up,” Maya says. The cake (at left) was TARDIS-shaped, complete with a light at the top.
THE MUSIC: Everyone danced to Halloween-themed music, including “The Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “At the end of ‘The Time Warp,’ traditionally you drop down to the ground,” Maya says. “I fell across Jeff and someone else fell across me and there’s a picture and I’m laughing so hard. I remember the looks of dismay from some of the guests who didn’t know what was going on.”
THE HONEYMOON: In May 2017 the couple went on a three-week trip to Japan. They took a soba noodle-making class, went to a tea ceremony, watched sumo wrestling and dressed in kimonos for a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony.
VENDORS: Cake and cupcakes, Savvy Treats; catering, Stone Soup Catering; ceremony dress, Unique Vintage; flowers, Etsy (DiddleBug); music, Bryan George Music; painting for guests to sign, Brittany Branson; photo booth, A Click in Time Photo Booths; photography, Theresa Choi Photography; reception gown/costumes, Buttons and Lace Design; wedding coordinator, Wild Thyme Event Studio.