Weddings of the year
In our annual feature, we take a peek inside the celebrations of four couples
Green With Love
Twenty years after meeting in kindergarten, a Rockville couple got married at an arts center with plant-filled decor and breakfast for dinner
By Hallie Kay
The couple: Stephanie Arrington (maiden name Rivero), 31, grew up in Bethesda and Rockville and graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. She is the customer success manager at Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters in Arlington, Virginia. Matthew Arrington, 31, graduated from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. He is the CEO of Rockville-based Arrington Training and Development, a company that coaches and trains soccer players. They live in Rockville.
How they met: Stephanie and Matthew met in their kindergarten class in the mid ’90s. After fifth grade, Stephanie moved to another school, but the two kept in touch and Stephanie would go to see Matthew play in his school soccer games. They maintained their friendship during high school and college, popping in and out of each other’s lives. “Everything was very much in passing…but Matt always initiated it,” Stephanie says.
The first date: While Stephanie was in graduate school at the University of Maryland, Matthew was playing on a soccer team in Rome, Italy, and they began communicating through Facebook Messenger. Though they hadn’t seen each other in seven years, Stephanie made the spontaneous decision to reconnect with him in Italy in the spring of 2011 for a seven-day trip. She pushed through her jet lag as the two enjoyed an “amazing” dinner and wandered around the streets on her first night there. “It was very natural,” Stephanie says.
The proposal: After eight years of dating, Matthew decided to pop the question in their living room. “She always said she didn’t want it to be a big event,” Matthew says. She immediately said yes. Later that day, they went to a Thanksgiving dinner with family. “We went to the event without saying anything. We wanted to see who noticed [the ring],” Stephanie says. They felt it would be a great way to announce their engagement. “You’d randomly hear a scream from the other room,” Matthew says. “Everyone was really excited.”
The wedding: Stephanie and Matthew were married on May 4, 2019, at VisArts, an arts center and gallery in Rockville. “The venue was beautiful, and it felt right,” Stephanie says. “We grew up here.” The couple wanted the wedding to have an outdoor feel despite its being inside. The space was transformed, featuring azalea bushes and hanging wisteria. Guests were able to bring home the flowers as favors. “I liked that concept of being able to reuse and not be wasteful…it was great to have plants there that people can take home and keep alive,” Stephanie says. They had 150 guests.