“Florent and I were so close to never meeting,” Carsen Zarin divulges about her future husband. “Fortunately, we both ended up dragging our feet to meet our friends for a drink, and that’s the same evening we met.” Although they left the bar without exchanging contact information, Florent eventually got Carsen’s number and the two went on a date. As time passed and their love grew stronger, Florent popped the question at a popular botanical garden in the nation’s capital. “I believe I interrupted him a few times and gave him his answer before he was finished, but the moment was perfect,” reminisces Carsen.

Although they moved to Seattle during planning process, the couple still wanted to host their nuptials in DC. “While I originally lived down the street from our venue and most vendors, it suddenly, and unexpectedly, became a destination wedding,” the bride explains. With help from Evoke Design & Creative, the lovebirds arranged a sophisticated fête for 200 friends and relatives to celebrate. The evening commenced with an intercultural ceremony. “Blending our two cultural traditions meant completely creating our own ceremony from scratch,” the bride says. “We stood under a chuppah, and there were other small traditionally Jewish details, but it was certainly not an overwhelmingly religious ceremony.” It also included a nod to Florent’s home country – “One of our ceremony readings was recited in French,” she notes.

The French inspiration carried over into the reception decor. “Our floral arrangements had fresh fruit, including grapes and figs,” the bride details. “Dinner menus were wrapped around freshly baked baguettes, which were handed out in big, woven baskets.” Guests also indulged in crêpes as the evening progressed. Another special aspect to the big day was a performance by The Howard Gospel Choir. “It’s something I’ve always wanted, and it definitely kick-started the party,” Carsen smiles. The special performers sang “Seasons of Love” from Rent during the father-daughter dance. “It started off as the two of us, but quickly became a ‘family’ dance, when my mother and brother joined us on the dance floor,” smiles Carsen, who affirms it was unforgettable and one of her favored moments.

Lastly, she thanks her planner Jeannette Tavares for making her dream come true. “Whether it was a function problem, a budgetary restraint, or time limitation, I felt like there was always a work-around or an alternative to make something happen,” Carsen confides. “I couldn’t have done it without her.”