At Their Elegant Wedding in Maryland, This Couple Made Sure Their Globetrotting Guests Came First

bride and groom embracing
Rudney Novaes Photography

Anna might have been a sub on Lamin's co-ed recreational soccer team, but he—and the rest of the group—knew shortly after meeting her that she certainly wasn't temporary. She joined the team full-time after standing in for an absent player at the start of the season and began dating Lamin shortly thereafter. And five years later, in September 2018, the duo was enjoying a trip to Èze, France, when Lamin proposed, bending down on one knee at their resort overlooking the Mediterranean waters.

And nearly a year after that, on October 5, 2019, they were married; the couple celebrated with a global guest list of 130 at the Bretton Woods Recreation Center in Germantown, Maryland. Ahead of their celebration, the pair was surprised by the sheer amount of choices and decisions they had to make. "Selecting everything—from the venue, florals, and music to food, décor, and program—was a challenge," they say. "There are so many great options for everything these days, that it was difficult to stay on course and decide on one thing quickly." Enter Claire Duran of CEREMONIA. Also the principal planner, designer, and owner of Claire Duran Weddings & Events, she and her team kept Anna and Lamin focused, they say. "The planning process was intense, but our planners kept us on track—we could not have pulled off this wedding without them!"

Together, they crafted an elegant, classic event—complete with an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception, which offered panoramic views of the lush greenery beyond the windows—with a focus on the guest experience. They wanted all of their loved ones, who had traveled both near and very, very far, to feel included and reflected throughout their big day. As for Anna's best advice for couples looking to decompress post-party? If possible—and when travel conditions allow—try to have a semblance of a honeymoon. "Take a mini getaway, because you will be exhausted. Your wedding will be the most memorable, beautiful event, but it will also be taxing, so you will definitely want to relax right afterward," she says.

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Blush Blooms

close-up detailed shot of gown and bridal bouquet
Rudney Novaes Photography

"After months of searching and almost giving up, I found my Berta wedding dress randomly on a weekend trip to New York," says Anna, who held a blush bouquet filled with a variety of garden roses for the occasion.

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All in the Details

Up-close view of bride and engagement ring
Rudney Novaes Photography

For Anna, it was all about the lace. She loved that the fabric of her gown, complete with long sleeves, "was more modern than traditional" and that it made her feel "classy and unique at the same time."

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Sleek Tux

groom in black tux with white floral boutonniere
Rudney Novaes Photography

Speaking of classy—Lamin opted for a sleek, sharp tuxedo that was "fitted to a T," says his bride. A pair of leather Salvatore Ferragamo lace-ups completed the suit.

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Personal Touches

groom getting ready putting on cufflinks
Rudney Novaes Photography

Monogrammed cuffs offered a touch of personalization to his crisp white shirt.

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White Boutonnières

groomsmen boutonnieres
Rudney Novaes Photography

Small white ranunculus blossoms were the stars of the day's boutonnières, which were composed by the florists at We Do Event Design.

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The First Look

bride and groom first look
Rudney Novaes Photography

Ahead of their ceremony, Anna and Lamin shared a first look at their hotel. "I felt excited to see my husband-to-be and to get the evening started!" reflects the bride.

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What a Party

wedding party in grey suits and pink dresses
Rudney Novaes Photography

"We wanted the bridesmaids to look elegant and sweet with a touch of sophistication," says Anna of the rose-hued Dessy gowns her close friends wore. As for Lamin's half of the wedding party? Groomsmen donned charcoal suits—which helped Lamin stand out—complete with pink ties to match the ladies. "We were debating for a while whether to have a wedding party, but we're so glad we decided to go for it. Some of the most memorable parts of the day include the moments spent with our closest friends: enjoying breakfast and getting ready, having fun in the limo ride to the venue, and laughing together while taking wedding party portraits. Feeling the support of your best friends on such a momentous day really makes it that much more special!" shares Anna.

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Classic Ceremony

rows of white chairs set in the grass with white and pink flowers
Rudney Novaes Photography

Bright white Chiavari chairs paired prettily with the boxes of florals that edged the aisle.

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Drapes and Blooms

wedding arch with white and pink flowers
Rudney Novaes Photography

The focal point of the ceremony's décor—and the anchor of the duo's vow exchange—was a wooden arch draped in gauzy white linen and punctuated with two greenery-centric arrangements.

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A Lovely Crowd

wedding ceremony guests seated outside
Rudney Novaes Photography

Lamin and Anna's fashionably-dressed guests waited patiently for the processional to begin at the start of the ceremony.

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Anyone Seen the Rings?

ring bearer wearing a black tux
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Ahead of Anna's arrival, the couple's ring bearer made his own walk down the aisle, proudly holding a cheeky sign.

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With Mom and Dad

bride walking with parents
Rudney Novaes Photography

"​Both of my parents walked me down the aisle. I'm an only child, so the three of us have always been close and done everything together. Walking down the aisle, the three of us arm in arm, was just perfect," reflects Anna.

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With These Rings

Bride and groom exchanging vows
Rudney Novaes Photography

The couple exchanged traditional vows during the service, which is when Lamin added a band from Belmont Jewelers to his new wife's left hand. After, Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" filled the air, "a fantastic segue after all of the emotions of the ceremony!" says Anna.

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Textural Lounges

outdoor lounge area on deck with couch and chairs
Rudney Novaes Photography

On the deck, a textural lounge—composed of a tufted pale blue couch, wing-back chairs, comfy poufs, and lantern accents—was set up for guests, so they could comfortably enjoy the cocktail hour fare (which included caprese salad skewers, mini empanadas, and lamb chops).

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Kora Music

wedding musician with instrument
Rudney Novaes Photography

"We had many guests join us from all corners of the world, so it was important for us to make them feel comfortable, even with the smallest of details. For example, we had live kora music—a kora is a string instrument popular in West Africa—during our cocktail hour, as a nod to our African family and friends," shares Anna.

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Classic Cards

escort cards on table with gold holders
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Crisp, calligraphed escort cards were housed in weighted gold stands and placed at the entry of the reception space.

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Time to Celebrate

indoor table setting with pink and white accents
Rudney Novaes Photography

Attendees sat at a mix of long rectangular and circular tables covered in creamy linens; coral-hued napkins brought a pop of color to the scene and referenced the subtle blush shades in the boxed centerpieces.

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In the Round

table floral arrangement with pink and white flowers and greenery
Rudney Novaes Photography

The round tables' shapes were reinforced by circular floral arrangements, complete with ranunculus, garden roses, tulips, wax flowers, and plenty of greenery.

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Cutting the Cake

bride and groom cutting the three-tier cake
Rudney Novaes Photography

Anna and Lamin's ivory cake, provided by the nearby The St. Regis Hotel, was enhanced by a few florals; the duo cut into the vanilla and raspberry confection before rejoining their loved ones on the dance floor, which was a particular highlight.

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On the Dance Floor

wedding reception dance floor
Rudney Novaes Photography

"Seeing our guests enjoy themselves on the dance floor, mingle with old friends and make new ones, and just have a great time throughout the evening meant a lot to us," they say.

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Sources

bride and groom on the green
Rudney Novaes Photography

Photography, Rudney Novaes Photography
Venue and Catering, Bretton Woods Recreation Center Wedding Planning and Event Design, CEREMONIA, a sister company of Claire Duran Weddings & Events
Videography, Moo Jae of Into the Story
Flowers and Décor, We Do Event Design
Bride's Gown, Berta
Bride's Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Hair, Styled by Anna Fazio
Makeup, Katie Gant
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Dessy
Groom's Shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo
Engagement Ring, Brilliant Earth
Wedding Bands, Belmont Jewelers
Music, DJ Reece
Cake, The St. Regis Hotel

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