Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Debra Smith attended law school at New York University. Smith attended St. John’s University School of Law. This version has been updated.
Debra Smith, 28, is a lawyer at Jones Day in the District. Patrick Belott, 29, is the athletic director for Albert Einstein High School in Kensington. They live in Bethesda.
Wedding date: Jan. 20
Location: Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba
How they met: The couple met in chemistry class at Magruder High School in Rockville in 1999. Smith told a mutual friend that she thought Belott was attractive. He got wind of that conversation and asked her to the junior prom. They dated until graduation in 2001. Although they both went to the University of Maryland, they did not date in college and decided to remain friends. When Smith left for law school at St. John’s University, they stayed in touch via text messages, e-mail and phone and saw each other on weekend visits. In 2007, “they decided to give it another shot,” Smith said. “We always have something interesting to talk about. He’s my best friend.”
The proposal: Last February, when Smith walked in the house after a spin class, she heard “The Light” by Common, one of their favorite songs from high school. Then she saw Belott dressed in a suit and on one knee, asking her to marry him. She immediately said yes and then asked whether Belott had spoken to her dad. He had.
The wedding: They decided on a destination wedding to keep the celebration intimate. “The best part was that our friends and family were [in Aruba] for a few days, and everyone got a chance to get to know one another,” Smith said. The shoes-off beach ceremony was followed by a cocktail hour, accompanied by all their favorite love songs, including “Love You Inside Out” by the Bee Gees. Tiers of cupcakes subbed for a traditional wedding cake. A highlight of the reception for Smith was hearing her 6-year-old niece singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
The honeymoon: They will take a two-week trip to Italy this summer.