Julie Straus-Harris, 32, grew up in Potomac. She is a law clerk in the Baltimore chambers of Judge Diana Gribbon Motz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Her late father, Dr. Stephen E. Straus, was the director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Her mother, Barbara E. Straus, retired as the assistant to the principal at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville.
Adam Harris, 38, grew up in Detroit. He is an assistant public defender for the state of Maryland in Rockville. His mother, Judy Harris, is a writer and lives outside Cleveland. His father, Ira Harris, is a defense attorney in Detroit. His stepmother is Kay Harris and his stepfather is Alan Lipson.
Julie and Adam met through his stepsister, Deena Roth, who was involved in a Jewish community organization in Washington, D.C.
"She was keeping an eye out for single Jewish women in that group, and she thought that Julie was a good pick, and she was right," says Adam.
The couple went on their first date in August 2010 and became engaged this past February 2012 when Adam proposed during a weekend vacation to Miami.
"I persuaded her during a storm to come outside on the boardwalk along the beach at night and that's where and when I proposed," he says.
Adam worked with his cousin, Ronnie Fink, a jeweler in Michigan, to design Julie's platinum engagement ring — a round cut solitaire diamond in a half-bezel setting
About 200 guests attended the traditional Jewish ceremony and reception, which took place at the bride's childhood home in Potomac. Margo Fischer, of Bright Occasions in Silver Spring, coordinated the event.
"We wanted to find a way to bring my dad into the wedding," says Julie. "This is the house he loved and where he passed away. I feel closer to him when I'm there."
In lieu of a bridal party, the couple had family members escort them down the aisle and stand under the chuppah with them. Rabbis Joel Tessler and Joel Roth officiated.
The bride wore a strapless satin Anna Maier Ulla-Maija gown with a sweetheart neckline and natural waist from Hitched in Georgetown. To this "somethng new," she added something old (Adam's grandmother's gold bracelet and her grandmother's pearl necklace); something borrowed (her friend's pearl earrings); and something blue (strapless navy sandals from the Ann Taylor wedding collection).
Instead of the customary wedding cake, the couple served birthday cake for the bride's grandmother, who turned 87 on Sept. 2. They also served petits fours and fruit.
Inspired by a trip to the state of Washington last August, the couple gave guests small jars of blackberry jam.
"We came across some blackberry bushes by the side of the road, and we plucked some," says Adam. "Her mom suggested we give away jam as favors, so we picked blackberries at a place in Montgomery County."
The Baltimore-based band Zemer Orchestra played traditional Jewish wedding music — and even "Happy Birthday" for the bride's grandmother.
"We wanted a live band that was well-versed in Jewish wedding music and could play a lively set, as well as American dance music so everyone could participate," Julie says. "They played the traditional hora, and we danced around in a circle. They were excellent and did a great job with all the music. People danced the whole night."
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