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Wedded: Dena Cohen and Ryan Blaustein had their fortune come true

Dena Cohen and Ryan Blaustein were introduced by Ryan's cousin, who was a friend of Dena's from high school.
Dena Cohen and Ryan Blaustein were introduced by Ryan's cousin, who was a friend of Dena's from high school. (Artful Weddings Sachs Photography)

Date: May 29

Her story: Dena Cohen, 27, grew up in Richmond, Va., and Owings Mills. She is the program director for Stop Children's Cancer, a nonprofit that raises funds for pediatric cancer research in Gainesville, Fla. Her parents, Ilene and Neri Cohen, live in Baltimore.

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His story: Ryan Blaustein, 26, grew up in Olney. He is a doctoral student in environmental microbiology at the University of Florida. His parents, Sharon and Eddie Blaustein, live in Olney.

Their story: The couple were introduced by Ryan's cousin, who was a friend of Dena's from high school, in December 2011

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Their first date was a sushi dinner. Ryan was late because of a rainstorm and a bad sense of direction, Dena said.

"It didn't matter though, because the conversation flowed nicely and at the end of the meal, he suggested we swap fortune cookies," Dena recalled.

Ryan's fortune predicted a successful love match: "Your love life will bring you great happiness."

Ryan certainly made a good impression on Dena, who called her best friend on the way home from the first date and let her know that she would never be going on another first date.

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After three years of dating, the two moved in together in College Park while Ryan finished up his master's degree at the University of Maryland.

The couple relocated to Gainesville in summer 2015 when Ryan started at the the University of Florida.

The proposal: Ryan proposed on a cold and rainy day in January 2015.

He asked Dena to check the mailbox on her way up to their apartment. She found a long-stemmed red rose and a note that read: "Come upstairs to fill in the blanks: Will ___ ___ ___?"

She followed a trail of petals leading to their front door.

When she opened the door to their apartment, Dena found Ryan surrounded by photos of the couple throughout their relationship and more roses. Music was playing in the background and a sushi dinner awaited to commemorate their first date.

Ryan invited their parents and siblings to come over for dessert and champagne later that evening.

Venue: About 220 guests attended the wedding and reception at Elkridge Furnace Inn. After searching the state for a location, the couple fell in love with the ambience and greenery of the venue.

Flowers and decor: Dena chose a peacock feather color palette of teal, purple and green, with coral as an accent shade. Flower arrangements were provided by Fleur de Lis Florist. Table linens and tent decor were provided by Select Event Group and Event Dynamics.

Her dress: Dena wore an ivory lace overlay dress by Watters with an illusion neckline and illusion detailed back; she purchased it at Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection. Dena added a pair of sparkly wedges, vintage teal earrings, and a small peacock-feather hair piece to complete the look.

Bridesmaid dresses: The maid of honor and bridesmaids wore short teal Watters dresses.

Men's attire: Ryan and the groomsmen wore gray tuxedos with ivory shirts and black shoes, from the Vera Wang Black collection at Men's Wearhouse. Ryan wore a paisley-patterned ivory bow tie and the groomsmen wore long ties.

Music: Onyx, a Washington Talent Agency band, provided the music. The couple's first dance was choreographed by the bride to "Yellow" by Coldplay.

Food and dessert: Elkridge Furnace Inn catered the reception, with an array of appetizers followed by a choice of salmon or filet mignon with fresh vegetables from the on-site garden for dinner. The couple chose a small carrot cake for the cake-cutting ceremony. Guests were served a buffet of bite-size desserts.

Special touches: The couple honeymooned for five days in Puerto Rico.

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