Wedding: Sarah and Brad

Sarah Omenitsch and Brad Larson infused their wedding with the flavors and hospitality of North Carolina

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The couple: Born and raised in Bethesda, Sarah Omenitsch, 25, graduated in 2008 from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. The couple lives in San Francisco where Sarah is a senior analyst at McKesson, a health care services company. Brad Larson, 26, grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin, and is a software engineer at Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet and exchange service, also based in San Francisco. 

The wedding: The wedding was held May 31, 2014, at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, followed by a reception at Bretton Woods in Germantown.
How they met: In 2007, Sarah was visiting Duke University in North Carolina, which she planned to attend, when she met Brad at a powderpuff football game held outside his freshman dorm.

The proposal: Brad put a new diamond in a ring that Sarah’s grandmother had received on her 16th birthday and later given to Sarah. He tied it around the neck of Jeb, the couple’s 6-month-old puppy, and proposed Oct. 5, 2012, at the couple’s house in Richmond, Virginia.

Wedding theme: Classic Southern hospitality featuring blush and hunter-green accents

Number of guests: 150

What made the event special: “Since our relationship began at Duke, we really wanted our guests to experience some old-fashioned southern hospitality,” Sarah says. A few months before the wedding, the couple sent guests a guide to D.C. that included all of their favorite sightseeing options and activities. On the Friday night before the wedding, the couple hosted a party at the home of Sarah’s parents. “My parents turned our backyard into an amazing Duke-themed pig roast, complete with a 70-pound pig,” she says.

Food also played an important role at the reception. “We had Bretton Woods design a totally personalized menu full of all of our North Carolina favorites,” Sarah says. Guests feasted on mini chicken ’n’ waffles, pigs in a blanket, a biscuit bar, deviled eggs, hush puppies, brisket, mac and cheese, and pie. “Each dish was a nod to a favorite meal in Durham and we had a great time introducing them to our guests,” she says. “We even served bottled Cheerwine, a North Carolina cola that is delicious.”

Thinking it would be fun to invite a celebrity to their wedding, the couple sent an invitation to well-known Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who autographed it before sending it back. “We now have it framed in my office,” Sarah says.

Favorite moment: Sitting outside the ballroom at Bretton Woods during the reception, the couple enjoyed watching through the three walls of windows as their guests danced and celebrated. “It was the only time when it was just the two of us,” Sarah says. “We were alone for a couple of minutes.”

Cost-cutting tips: Looking to family and friends to help out. “My good friend’s mother has great handwriting and a knack for calligraphy, so we asked her to address our envelopes and escort cards. She was happy to help and it only cost us a few bottles of wine and lots of thank-yous,” she says. Her brother did all the ceremony music and the groom’s sister was the cantor.

The couple also served mini pies, which were less expensive than buying a wedding cake, and hired a photographer and videographer who charged less because they are building their businesses. “These professionals are often looking for great weddings to add to their portfolios and I am convinced we got an even better product because they were trying so hard to prove themselves,” Sarah says.

Something to laugh about: “I was very excited about our mantel décor—there was a huge, beautiful fireplace that we had decorated with magnolia leaves and lots of candles,” Sarah says. “When we arrived, the DJ had set up lighting there for the dance floor that blocked most of the mantel. We never noticed and no one remembered to light the candles. The lesson learned was don’t sweat the miscellaneous decorations. I wish I had saved all the money from that décor and put it towards something people would have noticed.”

Gown: Strapless lace A-line with custom sheer-lace top

The honeymoon: A trip to Costa Rica

The details: Catering was provided by Bretton Woods; wedding pie, The Pie Life; flowers, Suzann Stotlemyer; hair, Drew Connelly; makeup; Lindsey Clark; photography, Kait Winston; and music, Mixing Maryland.

 

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