Kara Ward and Michael Kessler at their wedding reception June 4, 2011 at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, S.C. (Juliet Jones)
Kara Ward & Michael Kessler

Kara Ward, 29, works for the Treasury Department. Michael Kessler, 38, teaches at Georgetown University. They live in Georgetown.

Wedding date: June 4

Location: Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston, S.C.

Guests: 120

How they met: Ward and Kessler met in September 2007, when they started taking their puppies to the same park. They planned a first date for October and ran into each other the rainy night before while walking their dogs. Both went home to clean up their muddy pets, but when Ward knocked over a light fixture and sliced her foot, she called Kessler for a ride to the hospital. A nine-hour “date” in the ER ensued; she ended up on crutches, so for the next few weeks, he helped her walk her dog and get to and from her George Washington University law school classes. At Thanksgiving, she took him to Charleston to meet her family.

The proposal: In April 2010, Kessler called Ward and suggested a walk with the dogs; she met him at Montrose Park, where he pulled out a ring.

The wedding: They had a church ceremony followed by a reception at a rustic barn on Boone Hall Plantation, the site Ward had chosen for her wedding when she was 12. Instead of a traditional cake, they served strawberry rhubarb pie and pecan pie. An eight-piece band played everything from jazz to big band to classic rock; the couple’s first dance was to the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.”

The honeymoon: The newlyweds went to Biras Creek, a resort in the British Virgin Islands accessible only by boat or helicopter. With fewer than a dozen other guests, the resort allowed the couple a sense of privacy.