Ryan Jeffers, 35, is a fifth-grade teacher at Steuart Weller Elementary in Loudoun County. Kevin Hetman, 32, is a systems engineer. They live in Arlington County.
Wedding date: March 23
Location: Top of the Town, Arlington
How they met: Ryan Jeffers and Kevin Hetman had a lively exchange via e-Harmony in the summer of 2011, but before they met in person, they both began dating other people and told each other. Several months later, an unattached Kevin took a chance and sent Ryan a note about meeting for a drink. Single again, too, Ryan agreed. The first date went well and soon after, Kevin accepted Ryan’s invitation to her cousin’s wedding. Ryan was encouraged by the signal that he was comfortable meeting her family. The week after Christmas, Kevin told Ryan he loved her in Rockefeller Center.
The proposal: On March 23, 2012, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and Kevin suggested they go for a picnic on the Mall. It was a hot day, and Ryan kept finding picturesque places to stop, but Kevin insisted they keep going. When they got close to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Kevin was satisfied, and they laid down their blanket. Noticing a painter nearby, Ryan got up to observe and turned back to tell Kevin to come see. When she turned around, Kevin was on one knee holding a ring and asking her to marry him. Ryan gasped and said nothing until prompted by a voice from the crowd saying “Just say yes.” She did. After slipping the ring on her finger, Kevin told her he had hired the painter to capture the moment. The picture was complete when a few little girls skipped around them singing “Ring Around the Rosie” and sprinkled Kevin and Ryan with fallen petals.
The wedding: Planned to fall on the anniversary of their engagement, the wedding was an ode to the District, beginning with Top of the Town’s panoramic view of the city. An art teacher friend of Ryan’s created hand-drawn pictures of the monuments for each table. Guests picked up their seating assignments at the entry table, labeled Metro Center. The buffet-style dinner included a mashed potato bar with a choice of toppings and allowed the couple to easily mingle with their guests. Kevin and Ryan led the dance-filled evening with Dave Matthews’ “Loving Wings.” At reception’s end, guests were treated to Swedish fish, Hershey bars, and blue and white cotton candy. Georgetown Cupcakes stood in for a wedding cake.
The honeymoon: Kevin and Ryan went on a cruise of the southern Caribbean, stopping in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Grand Cayman. They went horseback riding on a beach, toured Mayan ruins and zip-lined through the Costa Rican rain forest.