Michael is a medical officer in the Navy and the couple did an amazing job incorporating details of the Navy into every aspect of their wedding day, without making it feel too over the top. Some of the military wedding details include the following. An anchor bottle opener was given to the groomsman as their proposal gifts. In addition, eagle cuff links with the symbol of USN were worn by the groom and given to the groomsman as gifts as well.The groom’s gift was an engraved compass with the USN shield on it. The detail work on the cake was insignia from Navy Medical Corps which Michael is a Medical Officer. There was a special dedication to the military, as well as the very traditional sword ceremony on the steps of St. Matthews Cathedral. We love that Michael was able to incorporate something so special to him in the big day!
Tell us your proposal story. Bringing our families together was my ultimate goal when planning the marriage proposal. The Dowling’s and Wilinski’s had not yet met, and it was very important to us to show both families the depth of our love for each other. It was equally important to show Kirsten that we had the love and support from both families. Anna Maria Island would be our home for our long weekend for my graduation and promotion and was the ideal backdrop to propose marriage. Christina, Kirsten’s best friend, had stolen Kirsten away for the day for pampering and high tea so my family and I could plot the proposal.
Dinner at the Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant, near Bean Point of AMI, was locale for the pre-proposal dinner. Mojitos were flowing, and our parents hit it off immediately! Despite the outstanding food and the high-pitched sounds of our mothers laughing at our fathers, I was anxious with my eye on the clock; I wanted to time the proposal for sunset. Kirsten was beaming, with a radiant smile in her favorite bright canary dress. Despite my anxiety, I was in love; this beautiful angel will be my wife.
Kirsten says that she’d figured the proposal would occur that weekend, but she didn’t realize it would be that day. However, it could not have been more obvious to her when everyone gathered behind us and pulled out their cell phones and cameras. My Dad even pulled out his video camera, stuck it in both of our faces, ordered us in his deep Polish accent, “Okay, you go,” and nudged us onto the beach with our paparazzi close in tow.
Did I have the ring on me though? Nope! My family and I determined earlier that day that if I carried the ring in my pocket, Kirsten would notice. So, my Mom had it in her purse, and before we went outside, she passed it off to my brother. Matthew, in perfect stealth form, slipped it to me behind my back as Kirsten and I strolled out to a spot clear of the nearby crowd. Upon reaching the edge of the surf, I turned and faced Kirsten, knelt down in the soft, white Gulf sand and asked, “Kirsten Dowling, would you do me the honor of marrying me?” She said “Yes!” and we fell into a long, tender embrace. A loud cheer of approval erupted from both families. We walked back to them, together and hand in hand, toward our future as husband and wife.
The following Washington DC wedding professionals contributed to this St. Francis Hall DC wedding:
Church: St Matthews Cathedral | Reception Venue: St Francis Hall | Photography: KP and Co. Photography and Design | Catering: Puttin on the Ritz | Beauty: Makeup by Ana B | Videography: Shutter and Sound Film | DJ and Photobooth: Bryan George Music | Florals: The Rosy Posy | Bakery: Sweet and Savory