offbeat maryland wedding

Matthew & Ian’s Laid Back Patapsco Female Institute Wedding in Maryland

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Images: Russ Hickman Photography

Couple-submitted weddings just never get old to me. Especially when the submission comes with an amazing email thanking me for my blog and the resources I provide. Such was the case with the grooms of today’s real Maryland wedding feature. Matt & Ian emailed me to not only tell me they used Capitol Romance to find venues, resources, and inspiration for their wedding, but would love to have their wedding featured back on the blog. This just gives me all the feels. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe that people want to be featured on this little blog I started over 4 years ago :)

Anyway, Matt & Ian planned and executed a STUNNING wedding – full of DIY projects, focusing on the things that were super important to them (a mixologist! a country/swing band!) AND hiring only vendors from jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legal. The end result is a wedding that is completely their own and SO much fun to blog! You guys are gonna love this one :)

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When Ian and I first sat down to start wedding planning, we came up with some non-negotiables – the things that mattered most to us. For me, I wanted the event to reflect us, which meant something classy, but casual. I also wanted good food and good music. Ian wanted handmade cocktails from an old-school mixologist, and also felt very strongly about only working with vendors in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legalized.

The wedding stationary (Save the Date, Invitation, Menu’s, etc.) were designed by us and printed by a local printer. It was important that we continue the playful, laid-back feel of the wedding through the stationary, as this was going to set the tone for the wedding and our guests. We chose recycled paper and a young, fresh font that was used on all stationary items. The colors dusty blue, orange, and slate were chosen as they felt modern yet masculine.

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The venue came first, and we were challenged with finding a unique venue that was not too stuffy, had a laid back atmosphere, and wouldn’t break the bank. I think we checked out half-a-dozen, which was entirely too many, before we happened upon the Patapsco Female Institute (PFI).

We first saw PFI on Capital Romance and fell in love. The feature was gorgeous, and the wedding looked so interesting that we couldn’t stop coming back to it over and over during our venue search. Initially, there were some aspects of PFI that scared us off: no bathrooms, no indoor rain plan, and just the notion of having to rent and place every piece of furniture, every decorative element, and every light fixture in order to warm up the space and make it our own. However, as other venues got ruled out along the way, PFI kept moving higher on the list, and the challenge of taking the dilapidated ruins of an old girl’s school, and turning them into a cool event space were appealing.

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The history of PFI is really interesting, and slightly dark. We were intrigued by rumors that the venue was haunted by the ghost of Annie Van Derlott, a girl who died in the Institute after coming down with pneumonia. We wanted to own the uniqueness of the space, and make it our own, so we paid tribute to the ghost by naming one of our speakeasy cocktails, “Annie Van Derlott’s Punch.” It was made with aged rum, xo cognac, lemon, sugar, and green tea, served over hand hewn ice with a lemon wheel and freshly grated nutmeg. It must’ve worked because no one reported any hauntings. In fact, on the day of our wedding it rained starting at sunrise. Once we arrived to the venue, however, it stopped. Literally as we pulled up, the clouds parted and the sun came up. I think maybe Annie made that happen, as a way of saying thanks for the booze…

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With a venue nailed down, we were able to piece together other big elements. I’m a vegetarian, have been since high school, so we needed to find a caterer with a good vision for exciting vegetarian options. Ian and I wanted to go with an eco-friendly caterer who worked with locally sourced ingredients, so we did some research on caterers who fit that bill. It didn’t take us long to find Catering By Seasons, a newer eco-caterer that had sprouted up in DC. Bob Sieralta, the catering manager, is a gem; he’s just one of the most energetic people you could meet. Hearing our vision, he got to work on executing it.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Matthew & Ian’s amazing, homegrown Patapsco Female Institute Wedding in Maryland!

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Meg & Ray’s Sunny BBQ Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm in Maryland

Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm

[Images: Aimee Custis Photography]

SO many darling details from this real Maryland wedding from Aimee Custis Photography at Smokey Glen Farm. The couple took the farm theme to heart with so many handmade details that really came together beautifully!  Meg shared SO many details on their wedding day (that are all below) but I always love when the couple makes it a point to create a wedding that is a reflection of them. It’s always so apparent too (and they always seem to be the MOST fun weddings as well!). Meg & Ray depended on family & friends alike to create this beautiful BBQ farm wedding and if nothing else, the summery weather will hopefully bring you some warmth on this chilly December day :)

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From the bride:

It was important to both Ray and I that our wedding be a reflection of us, and most of all, we wanted the day to be super fun for all involved. Early on, Ray instituted the wedding planning motto “More fun, less formal!” Though there were plenty of traditional elements to our wedding, we did not want a cookie-cutter wedding ceremony & reception. And like the average bride & groom, we had to be extremely mindful of our budget when making decisions. What helped us out a lot was imagining the party we were throwing wasn’t a wedding. How would we go about spending our money to maximize fun? That helped us focus more on what we really wanted, and less on conventions.

Smokey Glen Farm - Gaithersburg, MD - April 13, 2014

We decided to DIY the wedding as much as possible, without driving ourselves crazy. We tried to keep it relatively simple, and enlisted the help of family and friends. My mom created the cloth banners to hang from the rafters and is turning them into a wedding quilt for us now. We created handstamped silverware pakcets using baker’s twine and kraft paper pouches. The bridesmaids and I also got together and created the centerpieces using dried flowers. My dad designed and built a wooden stand strung with twine for us to clip the seating cards onto. Ray got his Pinterest on and made wedding day madlibs for the guests, in lieu of a guest book (we are considering binding those into a keepsake book). My aunt Mary hand-painted pebbles as wedding favors for the guests – which was a nice family touch because Mary always handpaints gorgeous ornaments for the family every Christmas. Ray’s mom handpainted the table numbers, and also made an unforgettable pie-topper caricature of us out of clay. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about this one. She has made clay caricatures of a lot of family members, so we asked her to do a bride and groom one of us, maintaining veto power from the start. We laughed and laughed when we saw it, and the guests loved it. It will surely be a family treasure, even if Ray looks a little like Woody Allen and I a bit like Frida Kahlo! The whole event was a labor of love.

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Click inside for the rest of Meg & Ray’s DIY summer farm wedding at Smokey Glen Farm in Maryland!

Trish & Ned’s Vintage Inspired, DIY Maryland Wedding at Glen Echo Park

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Images: Cassidy Duhon Photography

 It’s no secret how I feel about Glen Echo Park and I am SO pumped to get to work my first wedding there next year. However, I especially love today’s real Maryland wedding at Glen Echo because of the way the couple chose to go more vintage than bright/carnival themed. It makes the Bumper car pavilion look SO different, no? Ned & Trish picked a FABULOUS list of DC area wedding vendors and threw in a ton of vintage touches and DIY projects. Trish, being a graphic designer, had fun with the wedding invitations, and I love the pop of whimsy the oversized paper flowers throw in! Plus the couple opted for good old fashioned ice cream cake and I think this is just the BEST wedding cake idea EVER! Thanks to Rebecca Dick of Blue Canary Events for submitting this one!

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We chose the venue because we just loved the vintage aspect to it and the open air of the structure. It gave us that barn/outdoor feel without being far from the city and it just had so much more character. The carousel was amazing and we wanted something fun for our guests to experience. Actually when we saw the carousel, we were just entranced and we even moved our wedding date from October to late September so we could make sure the carousel was going to be open. A lot of our family is from out of the area, so we wanted to give them a broad view of all that DC has to offer – it’s not just all monuments and pillars!

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However, with this awesome unique venue, we didn’t want to go too overboard with a carnival theme. A lot of people suggested things like balloons, pin stripes, and lollipops, but we really just wanted to let the setting speak for itself. I also tried to steer away from having set colors and make it a broad color palette. We ended up going with a lot of pinks, peaches, neutrals and turquoise.

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Click inside for vintage cars, DIY oversized paper flowers, ice cream cake, and MORE!

Andrea & Nate’s Colorful, Offbeat Maryland Wedding at American Visionary Arts Museum

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I mean COME ON. A bride rocking short red hair? With tattoos? An AWESOME wedding color palette? Mismatched bridesmaids dresses AND set at the American Visionary Arts Museum?! I mean, what else can I say?! I am IN LOVE with this Maryland wedding. Abram (of A.E. Landes Photography) emailed me about being a fellow PSU alum (we are!) and then dropped THIS stunner of a wedding in my inbox and I was pumped. I hope to have more awesome weddings like this from Abram. Happy Thursday all!

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From the couple:

We chose AVAM because we are both art lovers. Nate teaches music, and I teach visual art. The quirkiness of the venue made it so easy to incorporate lots of DIY details, like our table adjective flags. We chose adjectives instead of numbers because we wanted our guests to feel really special. For us, the most important part of our wedding planning process was creating our dream party, where we and everyone that we love could feel loved and joyful.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE awesome from this wedding feature – including dinosaur details and bridesmaids in a gorgeous mismatched palette of blue!

Shannon & Jae’s Eclectic, Handmade Woodend Sanctuary Wedding

Every detail and decision was made with this in mind, everything had purpose.

Today we have a lovely, handmade Maryland wedding at Woodend Sanctuary thanks to The Happy Couple! Shannon & Jae had been together for 7 years before deciding to get married. Shannon wrote such lovely words about this time spent together and what that meant for their wedding – I really can’t do a paraphrase justice, and so, I’ll just do a direct copy/paste of her words:

Jae and I had been together for seven years when we were married. Over the years we have found that while we come from different backgrounds, we share many experiences and have far more in common than what separates us. On our wedding day, we wanted to celebrate our love for each other and share our gratitude for our friends and family who have helped us to grow into who we are both individually and as a couple. On our wedding day we wanted to feel like ourselves, to make our guests feel comfortable, and to enjoy the time bringing our friends and family, our community, together in celebration. Every detail and decision was made with this in mind, everything had purpose.

Shannon & Jae’s Personalized, Family Oriented Maryland Wedding at Woodend Sanctuary

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Photographer:  The Happy Couple Photography | Bride’s Dress: Justin Alexander | Event Planner: Denise Robinson Simms | Bride’s Earrings: DIYed by Bride | Hair Stylist: Elena Gioacchini, Bang Salon Metropole Caterer: Windows Catering Company | Floral Designer: Wollam  Gardens | Reception Venue: Woodend Sanctuary | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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I was very close to my Grandmother who passed away the year before I met Jae. The lace wrapped around my bouquet was found in my Grandmother’s sewing kit and was a way of keeping her close to us that day. I (also) made my own earrings, piecing together elements of different pairs I had seen and liked.

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We were married by Brenda, a very close friend and extended family member. She and her husband Scott traveled from New Mexico to be with us for our wedding day and Brenda worked with us ahead of time to create our own ceremony. With the help of Jae’s parents, we incorporated an important aspect of his culture and family tradition during private family time prior to the ceremony.

As part of our ceremony, we asked friends and family to read quotes that reflect our thoughts on marriage. The four quotes also represented the four directions.

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Click inside for the rest of Shannon & Jae’s eclectic, handmade wedding at Woodend Sanctuary

Kevin & Mary’s Pink & Orange Maryland Wedding at Milton Ridge

Kevin & Mary both love Maryland. They are huge Orioles fans and Kevin even proposed at Camden Yards. So when it came time to plan their wedding – obviously the color orange needed to be included. They also decided to use a ton of fun Maryland themed details for their wedding day that gave it a super fun, and personalized touch. Throw in a touch of pink (Mary’s favorite color), a bunch of handmade wedding details, and the bride & groom both in chucks – and well, we’ve got another fine Capitol Romance Maryland wedding feature on our hands! Thanks to Tori Nefores Photography for sharing this one with us via Two Bright Lights.

Kevin & Mary’s Pink and Orange, Maryland Themed Wedding at Milton Ridge

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PhotographyTori Nefores Photography & Design | VenueMilton Ridge | Officiant: Father Rob (Milton Ridge) | StationeryThe Inked Leaf | Floral DesignEvents Plus | DJ: DJ Bob Popik | Catering and LinensMilton Ridge | Cake and DessertsHerman’s Bakery | Hair and MakeupMilton Ridge | Bridal AttireSimone’s Bridal  | VeilJ. Crew | Bridesmaids AttireSimone’s Bridal | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Westminster Tuxedos | ShoesConverse | FavorsOriental Trading and Utz | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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For their wedding, they were inspired by their home state and included special touches throughout their special day. Kevin and Mary are huge Orioles fans (hence the orange) and Mary’s favorite color is pink. Kevin even proposed at Camden Yards with special help from the Oriole bird himself.

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Both being natives of Maryland, the wedding theme was “From Maryland with Love.” Showing their Maryland pride throughout the entire event. From Maryland themed wedding invitations (The Inked Leaf – Etsy) to having each reception table have a Maryland theme (Orioles, Ravens, Under Armor, UMD, Ocean City, Deep Creek Lake, etc.) the theme was clear to all guests.

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Mary’s cousins served as her “Pink Ladies” helping her with many details.

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Click inside for the rest of Kevin & Mary’s hot pink & orange, Maryland themed wedding at Milton Ridge!

Chuck & Marcia’s Renaissance Fair, Handfasting Ceremony in Maryland

Lately I’ve found myself in a few situations where the topics of wedding themes have come up and those around me have been super judgey about couples doing something “tacky” “nerdy” or “weird” for their wedding. I really don’t understand why people feel the need to judge someone else’s wedding. It’s not your wedding – so it really doesn’t matter what you think. I’ve always taken the mindset that as long as the couple is making meaningful decisions (and not decisions based soley on ‘how can I get my wedding on a blog?!?!?!’), then really, that’s all that matters.

It’s YOUR wedding day. Do what makes you and your partner happy – and that’s exactly what Chuck and Marcia did. Thanks to Douglas Pettway for sharing his images of this offbeat Maryland wedding ceremony to us!

Chuck & Marcia’s Handfasting Ceremony at a Maryland Renaissance Fair

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We met through At the time my dad’s health was declining, and I had decided to sign off for a while since most guys I was meeting didn’t understand. The night I was going to sign off, I was sent some new matches for the week and he was among them. His profile included some photos of him at Renaissance events. I had been attending Renaissance fairs for a few years and really loved them, so I figured I would go ahead and email him. He emailed back and the rest is history!

In addition to our common interest in Renaissance festivals, we discovered a shared love of the outdoors, camping, family, and interest in our Celtic heritages.

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Click inside for the rest of Marcia & Chuck’s Maryland Renaissance Fair handfasting ceremony!

Elisha & Josh’s Eclectic and Offbeat, Nautical-Themed Maryland Wedding

Today’s real Maryland wedding feature encompasses so many things I love! A couple took a sometimes cliched theme (nautical) and made it their own! They embraced local culture, included special and handmade details, and instead of sticking to a strict color palette, the bride answered, “Meh I’m not putting myself in a box.” HAH! I love it! The result was an eclectic, offbeat nautical-themed Maryland wedding that was mostly just jam packed with FUN. My favorite detail might be the totally NOT-bridesmaids dresses that the bride had her maid’s wear (adorable, off the rack seersucker dresses) but the mini pumpkins in the bouquet are a close second! Hold on to your hats Romancers because we have a long post for you today with images from Sugar Farms Weddings!

Elisha & Josh’s Eclectic, Offbeat Nautical Themed Maryland Wedding

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Photography: Sugar Farms Weddings | Venue: Herrington on the Bay | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jessica Simpson | Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Custom, Made to Measure suits by David Hart | Cake: Made by Groom’s Mother | Groomsmen Anchor Pocket Squares: Gap | Groomsmen Whale Tie Clips: J. Crew | Yarmulkes: Handmade | Bride’s Shoes: Ted Baker  | Bride’s Jewelry: Anthropologie | Chuppah: Handmade (from Target linens!) | Invitations: Etsy | Programs: DIY by Bride | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

While having a nautical-themed wedding in Maryland can be cliche, the bride, Elisha, is from Knoxville, Tenn., originally. Knowing that many guests would be coming from out of town and seeing the Chesapeake Bay for the first time, the couple decided to just go ahead and embrace the local culture and style for their nuptials. They wanted a lot of special details, so the wedding was chocked full of handmade touches. The color scheme came together rather organically. Instead of picking the pallet first, Elisha and Josh found the vintage nautical invitations and let them serve as the inspiration.  After finding a bridesmaid dress evocative of the invitations, everything else – the groomsmen clothing, yarmulkes and flowers – all just started to fall in place. There were no strict rules about what was or wasn’t in the scheme; everything just had to sort of “go.” It drove some people crazy when they asked the bride what her color scheme was and for the first few months, her answer was “Meh, I’m not putting myself in a box.”

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Instead of typical bridesmaids’ dresses, Elisha chose an off-the-rack Jessica Simpson seersucker dress for her friends that could be reworn for other occasions. (They were $80!) It had a fun blue-and-white stripe with triangle back cutout and tomato red piping. They wore blue nautical knot earrings (gift), their own red pumps and little gold anchor necklaces with lapis stones (gift). Full disclosure: The bride liked the dress so much, she bought one for herself, too, to wear to the next Preakness!

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Josh, the fathers, Elisha’s “bride’s man” (her brother) and Josh’s groomsmen wore custom-made suits and ties designed by Josh’s friend, menswear designer David Hart. Hart is originally from Severna Park, Md., and is now making his own clothing line in NY. The suits were one-of-a-kind, which David kindly made at cost for the guys.

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Elisha’s favorite DIY detail was the nearly 90 yarmulkes her mother handmade (enough for each man) for the ceremony. Elisha got the idea that she wanted quirky, nautical yarmulkes for her Jewish wedding. After searching the Internet and not finding what she was looking for, she realized her mother Megan, who is a sewing wiz, could make them. Elisha bought an assortment of coordinating nautical fabrics online and shipped them to her mom in Tennessee. She also had a custom-made rubber stamp made with the wedding details (names, date, location) and some fabric ink pads and sent them to her mom. She found a free yarmulke pattern online. Even FOB Isidor helped with the process by cutting fabric and ironing! Strips of the leftover fabric were used to wrap the bridesmaids’ bouquets.

The chupah – or wedding canopy – was one of the most romantic easy-breezy ones this biased bride has ever seen! Learning that Jewish canopies can be hundreds of dollars to buy or rent, the bride brainstormed a cheaper solution. After explaining over and over to people that the fabric she was looking for would be similar to the sheer linen curtains in her living room, she decided: Why not use them? She bought five panels at Target for about $70 total and the groomsmen stapled them to the pergola making a canopy.

handmade DIY yarmulkes chuppah

Click inside for the rest of Elisha & Josh’s eclectic, handmade Nautical Maryland wedding in Annapolis!

Ashley & Jon’s Elegant Warehouse Wedding at the Annapolis Fairgrounds in Maryland

Yowza, I just can’t seem to get this post written. Between the snow, some personal things, my regenerating unread inbox folder, and my wedding this weekend – I am all over the place! I even had one of my crazy stress dreams last night where I flipped out/yelled at some spa pedicurist and then stole lipstick to get back at them for making me wait 5 hours to never get a pedicure. Haha – what does THAT mean ?! Anyway, today we have a super cute Annapolis Fairground Wedding from Eastport Photography. It features Ashley & John, some fun baseball themed portraits, and an elegant warehouse wedding reception. Yes, I did say elegant warehouse – because that’s exactly what their reception looked like! They DIYed a TON of the wedding and it included a Smores bar, popcorn bar, and a funfetti cake (yes!). Slightly ironic consider the bride is a dentist. Check all the full set below!

Ashley & Jon’s Elegant Warehouse Wedding at the Annapolis Fairgrounds in Maryland

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Photography: Eastport Photography | Catering: Main Ingredient | DJ: DJ K Rock | Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang | Venue: Annapolis Fairgrounds | Flowers: DIY | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Ashley and Jon’s Annapolis Fairgrounds wedding was a long time coming! The couple met almost 10 years ago when they were just young teenagers! They tied the knot this past weekend at the Annapolis Evangelical Presbyterian Church in front of 300 guests and then celebrated in an elegantly decorated warehouse at the Annapolis Fairgrounds.

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Ashley and the girls got ready in the bridal suite of the church. Ashley’s bouquet was a delicate pink paper-flower bouquet and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were simple baby’s breath and twine. Her dress was a beautiful Vera Wang gown with a white flower sash.

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Meanwhile, Jon and the guys were busy getting ready at Jon’s house. He gave each of his groomsmen personalized baseball bats as gifts. I must say, the guys look pretty tough with their bats!

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Click inside for the rest of Ashley & Jon’s Elegant Warehouse Wedding at the Annapolis Fairgrounds in Maryland!

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