"I knew she didn't want anything too extravagant...and I knew she would like the nature connection," he says. "I knew she wouldn't care whether it was a diamond or not. There's a lot of negative association with diamond mining in lower income countries. I communicated back and forth with the jewelry designer in California. She made me feel very comfortable."
The wedding: About 100 guests will come to the Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens in Druid Hill Park for the wedding celebration.
"We've always talked about having an outdoor wedding," Angela says. "It's a place we both really like and have been to several times. It was a good compromise about feeling like it's outdoors and not worrying about the weather. And there are so many flowers, we hardly have to decorate."
The couple decided on a non-traditional format, getting married earlier in the day in a small ceremony, officiated by a reverend who is a friend of Chris' parents.
"The reason that we're having an actual wedding is to celebrate with the people we love," Chris says. "The marriage and the wedding itself is something special to us and doesn't really have anything to do with anyone else. So we wanted the ceremony simple and meaningful to us and then to just celebrate.".
Late that afternoon, the guests will gather first in the Conservatory's Palm House. A violinist will be playing as the couple enters together.
"We'll actually be married by then. So, we're just going to have a 10 to 15 minute vow exchange — vows we're writing together," she says. After those vows, the couple will then walk out of the room together.
"It's about what we wanted to do specific to the nature of our relationship," Chris says. "The fact that we're [walking] in together —- that this is something we're taking on together — isn't so much of a new step or a change, but an acknowledgement of what we've found together."
"We'll probably be holding hands, so there's no room [to carry] flowers," Angela says.
But she will be wearing a dress she and her mom are making.
"I got two different patterns and we're using the top from one dress and the skirt from another. It's going to be very simple and lightweight. I want it to be like a Grace Kelly dress," she says.
It will have a certain retro feel, with a skirt made of tulle and the top probably cotton. Angela's thinking of getting shoes to match Chris' shirt, which he hasn't gotten yet.
"I'm thinking something blue, because I know she likes the way I look in blue," Chris says. "And I'm thinking French cuffs, because there's a pair of cufflinks she gave me."
He'll be wearing a gray three-piece suit made for him by Annapolis Custom Tailor.
"I just wanted to get something that was cut to me because it's tough finding things that fit my lanky figure," he says.
The rest of the evening will be the celebration taking place in other parts of the conservatory, where Sascha's catering will offer two "waves" of displays of heavy hors d'oeuvres for guests to browse, with tables scattered about so they can sit anywhere they'd like.
"My mom and I are going to make the tablecloths in plain white or brown cloth," says Angela. "Chris's sister sends donations [through Latin American Relief Network, Inc.] down to Panama, to families in need. They always need material. So, instead of renting tablecloths, we decided to buy fabric to use and then donate the fabric [afterward]."
Angela will also do the tabletop centerpieces herself using wildflowers — or whatever's in season — tucked into Mason jars.
They'll serve Heavy Seas beer and wine.
The cake is still up in the air.
"I really like cheese," says Angela. "I saw a picture of a wedding cake made of stacked wheels of cake, but Chris said no. That it wasn't a real cake."
"Sascha's suggested a cannoli cake and that sounded good to me," Chris says.
The music for rest of evening will come from a playlist on a laptop, set up by friend Chris Oberdalhof on his own deejay sound system.
"But he won't actually be deejaying because we want him to have fun at the party," Angela says.
There will be a small dance space, where Angela hopes to have a first dance.
"If I can convince Chris to. He's pretty shy," she adds.
Other elements of the wedding carry through the Conservatory's nature theme. The wedding favors will be packets of wildflower seeds.
"And our guest book is kind of decorative," Angela says.
"We're buying river stones and having people write messages on those, so that will be part of the decoration [that night]. Then, we're going to put them in our garden and around the house — tuck them into corners — so we'll have people's good wishes and blessings scattered all over the house," she explains.
"Our whole attitude is that we're not going to stress about it," says Angela. "If it's not the absolutely perfect set up and day, that's fine. Because we're going to be married at the end of the day, and that's what's important."
The honeymoon: The couple is going on a trip to Italy, including stops in Rome, Florence and Venice.
"It's my first time," Angela says. "Chris went several years ago. But it's been on our list to go together. It's an incredibly romantic place and we wanted to go together."
"I'm excited about getting to show her the things I got to see when I went there before," Chris says.