On Love: Sami Engle marries Michael O’Bannon


Sami Engle and Michael O'Bannon at their wedding reception at Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont, Va., on September 24, 2011. (Anne Robert)
November 11, 2011
Sami Engle & Michael O’Bannon

Sami Engle, 24, is a marketing manager at Pender Veterinary Center in Fairfax. Michael O’Bannon, 28, is an electrician for Dominion Power and a volunteer firefighter. They live in Broad Run, Va.

Wedding date: Sept. 24

Location: Bluemont Vineyard, Bluemont, Va.

Guests: 185

How they met: In 2007, O’Bannon and Engle were flirting during line-dancing lessons at Ned Devine’s Irish Pub in Centreville when he asked her to be his partner for the weekly couples’ class. Two weeks later, he invited her to a friend’s farm for a bonfire and a ride on his ATV; they stopped on a hilltop, where they stargazed and talked until the early morning hours.

The proposal: In February 2009, they lunched at Griffin’s Tavern in Flint Hill and drove to Shenandoah National Park. Skyline Drive was closed because of a recent blizzard, but O’Bannon persuaded the park ranger to let them proceed to the overlook. Engle thought they were just going to take photos — until O’Bannon got down on one knee.

The wedding: The venue, a converted stable in the vineyard, appealed to the horse lover in Engle. The couple reinforced the rustic-chic theme with brass lanterns, moss drapery and a long, wooden farm table for the bridal party. Their line-dance instructor from Ned’s choreographed the first dance to Zach Brown’s “Whatever It Is.” They used a miniature fireman’s ax to cut the groom’s cake (which was shaped like a firefighter’s helmet) and left the party in a 1968 Pirsch fire truck.

The honeymoon: The two cruised to Turks and Caicos, where they rode horses on the beach, kayaked, snorkeled and swam with stingrays.

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