Wedded: Annie Seibert and Arif Sorathia combined Pakistani, American cultures in two-day wedding

Annie Seibert and Arif Sorathia had two weddings over two days at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C.
Annie Seibert and Arif Sorathia had two weddings over two days at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C. (Jack Hartzman / Washington Talent Agency)

Date: Sept. 16 and 17

Her story: Annie Seibert, 29, grew up in Baltimore. She works as a Middle East researcher. Her parents, Jeff and Jane Seibert, live in Baltimore.


His story: Arif Sorathia, 28, grew up in Bethlehem, Pa. He is the co-founder of a digital health startup in Washington. His mother, Yasmeen Sorathia, lives in Annapolis, and his father, Iqbal Sorathia, lives in Bethlehem.

Their story: Annie and Arif met August 2006 when they lived on the same dorm floor as freshmen at Washington University in St. Louis.


"Arif was one of the nicest people I met freshman year," Annie recalled. "One of the first weeks of school, I wanted to try out for ultimate Frisbee, and he helped me practice. But we had different interests and different groups of friends throughout college, and never ended up spending much time together."

Although the two weren't close friends in college, they reconnected shortly after graduating at a birthday celebration of a mutual friend. Both had relocated to Washington.

"When we reconnected in D.C. in 2010, he was still one of the most genuine people I knew and quickly became someone I wanted to hang out with all the time," Annie said.

The two were close friends for two years before going on their first date in August 2012.

The couple live in D.C.

The proposal: On Valentine's Day 2014, Arif took Annie to Puerto Rico for the weekend. After a day of hiking, the two dressed up for a private dinner near the beach.

While waiting for a thunderstorm to pass, they chatted with a man at the bar; he predicted that Arif would propose to Annie.

Even though the proposal was foretold by a stranger, Annie said she was in shock when Arif revealed a diamond ring from under a dinner platter.

"I was so focused on the fact that it had been torrentially downpouring all day and that I was glad it cleared up that I didn't notice how nervous Arif was during dinner," Annie said. "Arif proposed about halfway through dinner, and after celebrating I remember thinking I had to find the guy we talked to at the bar to tell him he had been right about the occasion."

Venue: About 230 guests attended a two-day Pakistani-American fusion wedding at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Arif's family's Pakistani customs and culture were celebrated Friday night. The baraat, the groom's wedding procession, took place in front of the Omni Shoreham. Arif rode in on a decorated white horse accompanied by a drummer and dancers. The groomsmen carried Annie on their shoulders into the reception. On Saturday, a more traditional American wedding ceremony was held in the garden of the Omni Shoreham, followed by a reception.

Flowers and decor: Sarah Khan Event Styling provided flowers and decor for both evenings. Friday's celebration included red, purple and gold draperies and tables with purple umbrellas and gold lanterns. Saturday's arrangements included pink, cranberry and cream-colored flowers.

Bride's dress: Annie wore a red lehenga — a traditional Pakistani wedding garment — with gold brocade and gold jewelry for Friday's festivities. For Saturday's wedding ceremony, Annie wore an Alvina Valenta gown featuring ivory lace and champagne-colored charmeuse. She purchased the dress at Katherine's Bridal Boutique in Alexandria, Va. The Chantilly lace veil was designed by Sara Gabriel.


Bridesmaids' dresses: The bridesmaids wore royal blue and teal lehengas made in Pakistan on Friday night. They wore cranberry Bill Levkoff dresses in various styles on Saturday.

Men's attire: Arif wore a cream sherwani — a long, jacket-like garment — for the Pakistani ceremony. The groomsmen wore royal blue kurtas. For the American ceremony, Arif and the groomsmen wore charcoal tuxedos from the Black by Vera Wang collection.

Music: Elite Entertainment provided the music Friday, accompanied by a dholi or drummer. Prime Time from Washington Talent Agency was the band on Saturday. The couple's first dance was "Never Too Much" by Luther Vandross.

Food and dessert: IndAroma in Alexandria, Va., catered a buffet dinner Friday that featured numerous Pakistani dishes. Saturday's dinner was prepared by the Omni Shoreham and included sea bass, beef tenderloin and butternut squash ravioli. Fluffy Thoughts Cakes provided Saturday's dessert bar and small wedding cake, which was decorated in the shape of the D.C. skyline.

Favors: On Friday, guests received a small box filled with dates and sweets. On Saturday, guests received a small sachet of tea bags with each family's favorite tea — masala chai for Arif's and Earl Grey for Annie's.

Special touches: At the wedding ceremony, Annie and Arif planted a miniature tree using soil from each of their childhood homes; they now keep the tree at their home in Washington. They were married by a close friend, Greg Garrison.

The couple are traveling to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the spring for their honeymoon.


Just wedded? Or planning your nuptials? Tell us about it. Email your wedding details and contact information to weddings@baltsun.com.

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