Rachel Gallagher & Michael Blumberg

Rachel Gallagher, 24, is a lactation expert at Sibley Memorial Hospital. Michael Blumberg, also 24, is a computer engineer. The couple lives in Sterling, Va.

Wedding date: Nov. 7, 2010

Location: Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast, Middleburg, Va.

Guests: 120

How they met: Rachel played clarinet; Michael, the tuba, in the Westfield High School band in Chantilly and found harmony when they began dating in their senior year. The summer after graduation, they had a serious conversation about their relationship and they agreed they had a future together. They continued to date through college — Rachel was at Radford University, Michael at Virginia Tech (only 20 minutes apart).

The proposal: Six months after their college graduation in 2009, they went shopping for all of Rachel’s favorite foods. After their dinner at home, they sat by the fire drinking wine. Michael said he had to go upstairs to get something. When he returned, he reminded her of the talk they had had four years ago about their relationship. Then, pretending he was going to stoke the wood, he got down on one knee and proposed.

The wedding: Disaster was narrowly avoided after the inn owner rushed back to the couple’s house to retrieve the marriage license that Michael had forgotten. The venue featured a picturesque view of the Virginia countryside. Rachel added her own special touches to the decorations; for example, in the cocktail area, she placed old frames that she had spray-painted and filled with pictures from their parents’ and grandparents’ weddings.

The honeymoon: The couple went on a week-long Caribbean cruise. They spent the days sea kayaking, snorkeling and singing along at the ship’s piano bar.

— Janet Bennett Kelly