Photo by Michael Bennett Kress

THE COUPLE: Amanda Whitaker (maiden name Shapiro), 27, and Colin Whitaker, 27, grew up in Potomac and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in 2010. They work together at Amanda’s father’s contracting company, Shapiro & Duncan, in Rockville; Amanda is an engineer and Colin is a project manager. They live in Silver Spring.

The first date: Amanda and Colin met through friends during their freshman year at Churchill. “She needed help with her homework,” Colin says, “so I volunteered to help.” Amanda doesn’t remember him being all that helpful. “He would come over and play video games with my brother.” Nevertheless, the pair continued to spend time together and had their first official date junior year. “She picked me up in her mom’s minivan,” Colin says. “I had to have my mom drive me over to the flower store to get flowers.” They saw a movie at Rockville Regal Cinema.

Photo by Michael Bennett Kress

Going the distance: When it came time to apply for college, Colin helped Amanda with her applications. He gave her extra help with her application for James Madison University in Virginia, he says, because he’d heard there weren’t as many male students there. She got in, and Colin attended Ohio State University before transferring to the University of Maryland as a sophomore. They dated long distance, visiting each other at school and spending time together over breaks.

THE PROPOSAL: After graduating from college, Amanda and Colin moved back into their parents’ houses. In the spring of 2017, the couple decided to make their commitment official and went ring shopping. Colin wanted to propose on April 1 but Amanda talked him out of it. “I thought it would be hilarious because anytime [Amanda] made me mad I could say ‘April fools.’ ” They got engaged on April 2 instead, during a sunrise picnic at the Jefferson Memorial while the cherry blossoms were in bloom. After breakfast, they checked out wedding venues.

THE WEDDING: The couple wed on Sept. 22, 2018, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. They had 274 guests.
The venue: Amanda and Colin considered other hotels, but felt the Trump was the best fit. “There was no political reason for us going there,” Colin says. Not everyone was thrilled with their decision. “Some people in my family didn’t even come to the wedding because it was at the Trump,” Amanda says. Unlike other venues they considered, the hotel hosts only one wedding per day, which made the couple feel special. “And [the hotel] was brand new so everything was very nice,” Colin says.