This Ballerina Bride Wore an 18th-Century-Style Corset for Her “Enchanted Forest” Wedding


Eva Alt likens meeting Sharif Khalje to getting “hit by lightning.” Introduced by mutual friends in 2019, they fell in love almost instantly after their first kiss on her Soho stoop: “It was one of those all-consuming, fast, amazing loves, like in the movies. Except that it actually happened and it’s our real life,” Eva says.

In 2022, Sharif proposed to Eva on a small, rocky beach on Shelter Island only reachable by sailboat. “It was the last weekend of the season and we went for a long walk to the beach to the end of the point. The weather was overcast, with a sky full of dramatic clouds, a little cool and gray. Eva was wandering around collecting shells when I asked her to come sit with me,” Sharif says. He pulled out a Mughal-cut diamond ring, a symbolic shape for the couple: “It was the first way diamonds were ever cut, where the facets follow the unique shape of the stone, as opposed to a symmetrical, arbitrary geometry,” he explains. Such a concept reminded him of Eva, who he considers to be a true original. “I encouraged her to ‘be the rarest,’ and this metaphor became a touchstone in our relationship,” he says.

She said yes. As they embraced on the shore, passing boats honked and cheered.

Eva and Sharif wed on September 9, 2023, at his family’s 100-acre farm outside Baltimore which dates back to the 18th century. “We always knew we would get married at the farm,” says Eva. “The farm has rolling green hills as far as the eye can see, big red barns, and a white farmhouse with black shutters. Very idyllic and classic.”

Eva, a ballet dancer, and Sharif, an architect, knew they wanted to plan the wedding themselves. Inspired by visual references from Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antionette, Eva dreamed up a grand black-tie outdoor party with pastel and feminine accents. Meanwhile, Sharif built the infrastructure—including a bucolic path that led from their farmhouse to their ceremony site in the middle of the woods. Amanda Shulkin of Muse and Co. helped with day-of coordination, while Pomona Florals sourced their garden roses, sweet peas, and hydrangeas.

On a moody afternoon in Maryland, Eva walked down an aisle of antique oriental rugs to meet Sharif in a poplar tree grove planted by the groom’s grandfather 60 years ago. “The path through the forest to reach the ceremony was mysterious and winding, which dramatized the arrival, and created a beautiful surprise. We covered the forest floor with my father’s antique oriental rugs, arranged the wood benches like pews, and hoisted ribbons from the altar tree to the flanking rows,” Sharif says.

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