De­bra Smith & Pa­trick Belott

De­bra Smith, 28, is a lawyer at Jones Day in the District. Pa­trick Belott, 29, is the ath­letic di­rec­tor for Al­bert Ein­stein High School in Kens­ing­ton. They live in Bethesda.

The Washington Post Sunday - - ON LOVE - — Janet Ben­nett Kelly

Wed­ding date: Jan. 20.

Lo­ca­tion: Westin Re­sort & Casino, Aruba.

Guests: 70.

How they met: The cou­ple met in chem­istry class at Ma­gruder High School in Rockville in 1999. Smith told a mu­tual friend that she thought Belott was at­trac­tive. He got wind of that con­ver­sa­tion and asked her to the ju­nior prom. They dated un­til grad­u­a­tion in 2001. Although they both went to the Univer­sity of Mary­land, they did not date in col­lege but de­cided to re­main friends. When Smith left for law school at St. John’s Univer­sity in New York, they stayed in touch via text mes­sages, e-mail and phone calls and saw each other on week­end vis­its. In 2007, “they de­cided to give it an­other shot,” Smith said. “We al­ways have some­thing in­ter­est­ing to talk about. He’s my best friend.”

The pro­posal: Last Fe­bru­ary, when Smith walked in the house af­ter a spin class, she heard “The Light” by Com­mon, one of their fa­vorite songs from high school. Then she saw Belott dressed in a suit and on one knee, ask­ing her to marry him. She im­me­di­ately said yes and then asked whether Belott had spo­ken to her dad. He had.

The wed­ding: They de­cided on a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding to keep the cel­e­bra­tion in­ti­mate. “The best part was that our friends and fam­ily were [in Aruba] for a few days, and ev­ery­one got a chance to get to know one an­other,” Smith said. The shoes-off beach cer­e­mony was fol­lowed by a cock­tail hour, ac­com­pa­nied by all their fa­vorite love songs, in­clud­ing “Love You In­side Out” by the Bee Gees. Tiers of cup­cakes subbed for a wed­ding cake. A high­light of the re­cep­tion for Smith was hear­ing her 6-year-old niece singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

The hon­ey­moon: They will take a twoweek trip to Italy this sum­mer.

WENDY HICKOK

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