Dr. Salia Farrokh BCCCP, FNCS and Dr. William H. Merwin III M.D. first met through a window in a critical care unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Initially, the two doctors connected over their mutual love of fitness and medicine, which led to regularly talking and texting. About a year later, William officially asked Salia out on a date.
For their first date, the couple went to Gertrude’s restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. William thought Salia was “extremely genuine,” and Salia later texted him that she thought he was smart, handsome, and – most importantly – funny. Shortly after, they decided to go on a second date to get coffee at a Starbucks by the harbor in Baltimore.
“We fell in love with the spacious and rustic aspects of Kent Island.”
“Since starting dating,” the couple shares, “we’ve done goat yoga, often drive to DC (we’ve been down both years for cherry blossom festival), gone on hikes, we’ve driven to the mountains, and learned to ski. We like to cook each other gourmet meals – some of our favorites are Ratatouille, French onion soup, burgers with yogurt sauce, kabobs, and fish dishes.”
William proposed to Salia on the farm where they had done a yoga session for their sixth date. For months, he searched for the right engagement ring and hired a photographer to capture the moment on the scenic farm before meeting up with Salia’s family to celebrate.
Choosing a wedding destination was relatively simple, as Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay is a special place for both Salia and William.
“We’ve spent a lot of great times here, especially in the summer,” they say. “One our first fourth of July together, we drove up and spent the day exploring Kent Island. We’ve come back since and also had great days on the beach. After seeing Kent Island Resort, we fell in love with the spacious and rustic aspects of Kent Island. It was also a bonus that this gorgeous venue is right by the water, which was very important to us!”
The concept for their wedding day revolved around the idea that they’d be merging two cultures together. Salia is from a Persian family and William is from an Irish Catholic family. They knew they wanted to have two ceremonies; and because of the pandemic era rule in the Diocese of Baltimore, they had the rare opportunity to get married outside of a church, so they could host the two ceremonies back-to-back at the Kent Island Resort.
“Our Persian officiant and priest went above and beyond to make it personalized and tailored to what we had envisioned,” adds the couple. “Because we knew that William’s side of the family might not understand the Sofreh (ceremonial table spread), we made cards that explained the Persian Sofreh and ceremony. Additionally, at the ceremony each guest received a small box with homemade Persian baklava in it. It’s customary to eat these at the end of the ceremony to celebrate the sweetness of the marriage.”
“Our wedding planner Patrice has planned many multicultural weddings,” they continue. “She knew all the best local professionals and vendors. We envisioned our wedding to be elegant, romantic, and chic. The wedding colors were white, lavender, purple, lilac, and ivory. We incorporated white roses and white peonies since these are Salia’s favorite. Bridesmaid’s flowers were white and pale purple, lavender roses which matched their lilac/purple dresses.”
During the cocktail hour, guests were served a variety of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean finger foods as well as mini crab cakes and oysters – two seafood “musts” for Maryland weddings. Two signature drinks were also crafted so guests could choose between a Blushing Bride (a pink champagne margarita) or a Southern Gentleman (a classic Old Fashioned).
The reception space cultivated a rustic and romantic vibe with an abundance of candles and white flowers. The wedding cake looked exactly how the couple had envisioned it with beautiful butterflies on each tier. As an ode to William’s southern heritage, they also included a tiered donut display to serve as the groom’s cake.
“We knew that every wedding day has unpredictable issues and surprises,” the couple reflects. “Our bridesmaids and groomsmen were helpful and supportive. Although we had planned for an outdoor ceremony, it rained during the ceremony; and although it made Salia a little stressed that morning, our wonderful wedding planner was able to replan the day to have the ceremony inside and restructured our decor, flowers, and Sofreh. We were so lucky that we could still get our bride and groom portraits and champagne tower outside and in front of the water. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, and we were still able to have the wedding of our dreams!”
As a special touch, the bride’s mother gifted her a necklace that her great-grandmother wore for her own wedding more than 100 years ago. It’s a tradition that has continued since then, and Salia will treasure the necklace until she can pass it on to her own children someday.
Location: Kent Island Resort, Stevensville, MD; Event Design & Planner: Events by PG, Virginia, VA; Floral Design: Edge Floral, Gaithersburg, MD; Photography: Anna Schmidt Photography, Washington, DC