The Washington Post

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)
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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