While getting her degree in Israel, Rachel Colburn was thrilled with the opportunity to spend time with her brother, Jacob. “I met Adrian through him when we all went out one night.” After both brother and sister struck up a friendship with professional European-league basketball player Adrian Banks, the three became very close, planning fun outings and activities as a group. “We [often hung out] as a threesome, and that is probably the most memorable part [of our courtship] – we made great memories as friends first.” Once the two had officially been dating for a time, the couple relocated to Italy, and Adrian popped the all-important question after a particularly disappointing game; the atmosphere instantly turned joyous. “It was so great,” beams Rachel. “Afterward, we went out with his teammates and their significant others in Milan to celebrate.”

Being a nomadic couple, the pair elected to hold their nuptials near Rachel’s “home base” in the United States – Washington, DC. With assistance provided by their planner, Amanda McCabe of Engaging Affairs, they set out to plan a refined event in just six months. As Adrian remained overseas for work, Rachel planned the wedding locally with Amanda’s help, as well as unyielding support from her mother. “My mom was my guide and right-hand man during the wedding planning,” smiles the bride. 

Of their vow exchange, Rachel notes: “I am Jewish and Adrian and his family are Christian. We wanted to keep with an all-Jewish ceremony, since my husband has chosen to adopt my religion. However, we made sure to make every aspect of the service all-inclusive and explained every custom we performed.” The bride and groom were given a moment of meditation by the rabbi, surrounded by close family members and friends, to allow them to soak in the happiness of the day before signing the traditional ketubah. Both sets of parents, their siblings, aunts, and uncles participated by carrying out certain customs or reading blessings.

The indoor reception space was conceptualized to feel like a whimsical garden escape. “I wanted everything to be very ethereal, so we went for natural greens and white colors,” tells Rachel. “I wanted to bring the outdoors in and make people feel like they were walking into a romantic fairy tale.” Attendees were greeted by escort cards on top of small elephant figurines in the bride and groom’s favorite hue – gold. The circular bar area included a grand Camellia Bonsai tree rising from the center. Long dinner tables were graced with connecting floral arrangements with dangling glass orbs suspended above revelers in a variety of unique vases. Smaller, round tablescapes incorporated the same alabaster linens, but were topped with either a thin crystal riser with cascading perennials and foliage or a trio of pillar candles of assorted heights with lower botanic accents.

In lieu of a guest book, Rachel and Adrian provided basketballs with metallic pens for friends and family to sign as a nod to the groom’s profession. “We have been stationed in Italy for the past three years and, at the suggestion of our planner, we wanted to go with something Italian [for the favors],” notes the bride. “We gave our guests mini olive oil bottles with custom labels and included an olive oil pasta recipe.” As for the most memorable moment, Rachel is certain: “The meditation moment,” she tells. “I felt so loved and I am so happy we had a chance to be close with our family and appreciate how special the day was.”