Peter Silva jokes now that Rose Overbey was his “friend from college’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend’s best friend from college,” but when they first met at a mutual friend’s get-together in June 2008, she was the blonde who walked into the party with a huge smile and an even larger bottle of gin and tonic.
The two shared a group of mutual friends who all happened to go to George Washington University Law School (neither of them did), and on that night in June, those friends decided to go to Buddha Bar and then Sign of the Whale, as those in their young 20s in the District often did.
“Law school first year is like seventh grade, so this huge drama breaks out [at Buddha Bar] and we were completely disinterested since we didn’t go to GW, so we just ended up talking the entire time,” says Peter, a consumer protection lawyer.
But it’s not like their conversation was entirely sweet. The two clashed immediately about politics, with Peter making an off-the-cuff generalization about conservatives that prompted Rose to fight back.
“It was probably something really corny and probably something I wouldn’t even fight him on or even believe in now, but I remember liking this discourse we were having and how we were avoiding this weird conflict at the bar with our friends,” recalls Rose, an early childhood teacher who was in public relations at the time.
After escaping Buddha Bar and moving on to Sign of the Whale — where Peter made Rose feel like she “could actually dance” — the two realized that they had chemistry even though a majority of their evening was spent avoiding their friends’ quarrels and debating politics. (This was the summer of 2008, after all.) So they decided to go out on a date.
This wasn’t as easy as Peter had originally thought. Rose ignored his advances for two weeks before she called him out of the blue on a Wednesday. Since they lived two blocks from each other in Glover Park, Rose thought a walk down Wisconsin Avenue to the Georgetown Waterfront was fitting, and they decided to stop in Third Edition for drinks.
Peter describes there being a “huge spark” as the two finally talked about something other than the upcoming election. What Rose especially liked about the date was that after drinks and a little gelato, they stopped at the 14-foot-tall, green Adirondack chair on the front lawn of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown. She mentioned that she had always wanted to climb up, and it was Peter who finally encouraged her to do it.
“I’d say that’s the first example I have of Peter encouraging me to do what I really want,” Rose says. “That’s something that’s been constant in our relationship since then.”
Their relationship could have just escalated from there, but knowing that Peter had to return to Miami for law school at the end of July held them back. Without much serious talk of a relationship, they kept in touch via long phone calls and Gchatted every single day while he was away. He came up to have Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ home in Maryland, and on New Year’s Eve they made the decision to become exclusive, which meant traveling to see one another once a month the following semester. He vowed to get a Washington internship the following summer so they could be together, and he did just that.
In retrospect, they agree that their relationship got stronger after surviving three semesters away from each other because they learned the valuable lesson of how to properly convey emotions and communicate without being in the same room together.
“We built up a really intimate, private relationship that way because we were getting to know each other without a ton of people hanging around,” Peter says. “So, in a way, it was an entirely honest relationship with a lot of trust.”
He graduated in 2010 and moved to Washington for a year-long fellowship. Soon after, Peter found himself striving for a different role in the law. He wanted to help the “lower and middle class that are normally completely zoned out of the legal business” and provide law assistance they could afford. The only way he saw himself achieving this was by starting a law firm of his own with a friend. It was a big risk, both financially and emotionally for him and Rose, but he credits her support and insistence for its success. Then, shortly after Peter felt entirely secure in his new venture, Rose decided to change her career as well.
“I realized that I had been tutoring for a while, and with Peter feeling secure with what he was doing, I felt like it was the right time to fully realize my passion for teaching,” Rose says. “Last year was my first year teaching full time and it was a lot more stressful than I ever thought it was going to be, but Peter was always there to remind me that I was doing something that I loved.”
With both of them on their way to being happy and secure in their professional lives, they started to talk marriage. In April 2013, Peter bought the ring and soon proposed.
In a secluded section of Rock Creek Park behind Dumbarton Oaks they had affectionately called “the secret garden,” Peter set up a picnic with champagne and strawberries and, after telegraphing his intentions by constantly fiddling with the pocket where the ring was hiding, Peter asked her to marry him.
Rose Overbey, 28, and Peter Silva, 29, wed at Fort McNair Officers Club on May 31 in a red, white and blue ceremony officiated by Rose’s youth pastor from her childhood church. The 160 guests were given the option of swapping their classy footwear for “Freedom Flops,” and the wedding had the tagline “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happily Ever After.”
“We met when we were 22 and 23 and because we’ve grown up together, and matured together, I feel like we’ve become better people together,” Rose said before the wedding.
“Getting married is about taking the question that everyone asked us for so long out of our relationship,” Peter added. “Now we can think about us without any uncertainty.”