These high school sweethearts almost missed their chance to fall in love. They both spent a summer working as instructors at a tennis camp, but never spoke. “We met later in high school at a Halloween party where Mike drove me and my friends home. He told my best friend that night that he wanted to make me his wife and here we are, 10 years later!” reveals Kara. 

Throughout their courtship, the couple has maintained a yearly tradition where they visit a beach house in Amagansett, New York, for a summer trip. Every time, Kara asks Mike to join her on the beach to touch the ocean before they unpack. The groom kept this in mind as he planned his proposal. Sure enough, on July 6, 2014, the sweethearts arrived at the property and Kara said, “Let’s go touch the water!” As soon as they reached the ocean, Kara looked over to find Mike down on one knee. “After [I] said, “Yes!” [we] received a standing ovation from the July 4th crowd on the beach,” gushes the bride. As if the beach proposal were not enough, “The romantic in Mike had a private, surprise dinner planned on the beautiful beach in Amagansett that evening for me.”

Just over one year later, Kara walked down the candlelit aisle in a stunning Monique Lhuillier trumpet gown featuring delicate lace and a beaded belt at the waist. She met her groom – looking sharp in a classic tuxedo – beneath an elegant chuppah. Though the vow exchange was lovely, it was after the ceremony that served to be the most memorable moment for the bride. When asked what the most special part of her big day was, Kara shares: “Having 10 minutes of alone time with each other after the ceremony [but] before the reception to just celebrate our marriage.”

Having been told by a trusted friend to do what makes them happy and not get too caught up in the process of wedding planning, Kara turned to a wedding planner to help with their desired theme of bringing the outside indoors. Her future husband remained engaged in the planning process as well: “Mike was a huge help in making final decisions, as well as the EVOKE team – especially Jeannette! We could not have done it without them.” Since the summer celebration took place in Washington, DC, the indoors part of the theme was covered. Though the chuppah was composed of white drapery, large terracotta vases featured verdant greenery and blooms in purple, pink, and ivory. The centerpieces for the reception tables matched the outdoor theme, with further clay vases filled with colorful flowers and foliage. Up lighting highlighted the floral details and, combined with extensive candlelight, created a romantic fairy-tale atmosphere. 

Since Mike and Kara wanted to be sure to provide a great meal for their friends and family, the sit-down dinner not only featured a delicious summer wedge salad and herb-roasted chicken, but guests were also delighted to see grilled cheese sandwiches and donuts passed around as late-night snacks. The bride and groom selected their favorite flavor – red velvet – for their five-tier ombré wedding cake, which started with dark grey at the bottom and lightened until reaching the final tier, featuring a “Mr. and Mrs.” cake topper that matched the signs suspended from Mike and Kara’s seats. 

Throughout the celebration, the bride and groom were delighted that the band kept everyone dancing. After the crucial nuptials occurred, the couple's goal for the reception was to provide their friends and family with a fun evening, as a thank you for celebrating the big day. When asked how she would advise engaged couples on planning their own nuptials, Kara kept it simple: “Just have fun!”