Angie Hamouie has been in a very serious relationship for nine years: a long-term commitment to her medical education. So to celebrate her leap from student to resident at a hospital, the 27-year-old native Texan decided to throw a party to mark the occasion. And not just any party; a full-on formal “Graduwedding.”
“It’s the union of two souls, in this case Angie and her Medical Degree (MD),” she explains on an elaborate site dedicated to the upcoming event. Like many wedding sites these days, Hamouie documents the long road to her “enmatchment” and the many things she’s thrilled about when it comes to her new venture as a degree-holding doctor. There’s also an “enmatchment” photo shoot on the beach.
The party, to be held May 13, will check off all the boxes of a classic celebration of matrimony: Angie will enter wearing a white dress, and besides dancing, there will be “speeches, a delicious dinner, a traditional Graduwedding cake, and a specially designed Snapchat filter to savor the memories!” as she explains on the site. She’s expecting about 70 to 80 guests to attend—those who have been with her “every step of my educational journey,” as she told TIME.
Why the wedding-themed party? “I think a lot of people, women in particular, feel pressure to pursue one or the other: the career or the marriage. And when we really only celebrate one, it sends a clear message about what we’re expected to focus on,” Hamouie told TIME. “I don’t necessarily hope the ‘wedding’ part of the Graduwedding tradition continues, but I hope more people will focus on celebrating their educational achievements in a huge way, whatever type of training, degree, or certificate they’ve earned.” So far, the response to her plan has been “overwhelmingly positive,” she added. “What surprises me most is how tickled other folks seem to be by the idea.” Perhaps Hamouie has kicked off a whole new trend—one that doesn’t require compromises on the guest list.
Hamouie attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, she writes, before heading to Columbia University in New York to pursue a Master of Public Health. She returned to Texas to finish off her degree, and has matched with a residency at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she plans to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology.