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 :)

Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm

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.

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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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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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Vendors:

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

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