Just as Michelle Exline and Maziar Minovi knew for sure that they had the perfect partners in each other, the Washington, D.C., couple was certain that they had the right place for their wedding in Michelle's family's farm. For the bride, an attorney, the rambling white farmhouse near Charles City, Iowa, abounded in happy childhood memories. For Maziar, an emerging-markets investor born in Iran, it had become a second home. Even more significant, it was where they fell in love.
Members of a neighboring family planted colorful zinnias at the edge of the Exlines' field in preparation for the event; by the wedding day, the flowers were nearly four feet tall -- "It seemed everyone in town and our families pitched in to help in one way or another. It was like an old-fashioned barn-raising," says Michelle.
In an Iranian ceremony, married women rub sugar cubes over the cloth sheltering the couple to sweeten their marriage; when the ceremony ends, Michelle shakes the cloth over the heads of her single girlfriends to shower them with sugar and rose petals, symbolically passing her good fortune on to them.