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

offbeat alternative nautical maryland wedding


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!

groom yellow nautical tie

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.

offbeat alternative nautical maryland wedding invitationsmaryland first look pictures annapolis first look pictures annapolis first look pictures

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!

The bride designed and printed the programs herself to coordinate with their Etsy invitations using brown Kraft paper and similar fonts. She tied a bow around the spine of each one with blue-and-white baker’s twine. To add a pop of red, she bought bulk metal crab charms online and spray-painted them red. She fastened one to each bow. Some people ended up taking off the string and charms and wearing them as bracelets!

alternative creative nautical wedding programs

Josh’s cousin, Rabbi Brian Glusman, officiated the ceremony. During the ceremony, they used one kiddush cup from Josh’s family and one kiddush cup from Elisha’s family for the two blessings over the wine. Brian also said a prayer while wrapping the couple in the tallit, or prayer shawl, that belonged to Elisha’s late grandfather.

Both Josh’s mom and dad and Elisha’s mom and dad walked their children down the aisle. Josh’s brother Andrew was the best man, and Elisha’s brother Aaron was the “bride’s man.”

offbeat alternative nautical maryland wedding

The flowers were provided by a local farm rather than a florist, thus reducing the cost by eliminating the middle man. It was also more unique and sustainable!

seersucker bridesmaids dresses offbeat alternative nautical maryland wedding

We chose the venue, Herrington on the Bay, for the absolutely incredible view of the Chesapeake Bay. Someone was smiling on us Sept. 29, because the weather was warm, sunny and spectacular. The people that work there are consummate professionals and know how to make a good sales pitch. The food is tasty. The inn with its tiny bungalow-style rooms is enchanting. Elisha and Josh plan to go back to the inn to celebrate their first anniversary!

offbeat alternative nautical maryland wedding

The couple had a custom-made ketubah, or Jewish wedding contract, made by an Etsy artist, Jerise Fogel. The art features a paper cutout inspired by photos of Annapolis that Josh took. The ketubah also includes an image of the couple’s dog, Tyypo, and Josh and Elisha’s initials are cut into a tree.

offbeat alternative ketubah offbeat alternative nautical maryland wedding

The groomsmen’s ties were navy with an anchor pattern, and Josh’s was the same pattern only on yellow. The guys also wore red micro-check pocket squares (gift), navy socks with an anchor pattern from Gap (gift) and J.Crew whale tie clips (gift). The two ring bearers, Josh’s cousins Ben and Teddy, served to tie the whole wedding party together. They wore J.Crew Factory blue-and-white seersucker pants to match the girls and David Hart anchor bowties to match the guys. Their anchor brown leather belts from J. Crew Factory were too cute!

custom made blue groomsmen suits david hart

Elisha carried over some nautical elements in her ensemble as well. She wore a pair of navy-and-white striped peep toe pumps by Ted Baker, and her rope-and-pearls necklace was from Anthropologie. Her bridal bouquet was wrapped in the same David Hart anchor tie Josh was wearing. (BTW, one of Elisha’s favorite unique details were the mini orangey-red pumpkins incorporated in her bouquet!)

jessica simpson seersucker bridesmaids dresses

The escort cards were handmade by the bride and a few of her girlfriends. One Saturday they drank champagne and ate tapas while they folded origami sailboats using fun color-coordinating papers, embellished with blue-and-white striped flag toothpicks. Each table featured a photograph taken by either Josh or Elisha of a boat with a funny name at Annapolis’ downtown dock. Instead of table numbers, the origami boats had one of the boat names on it while the flags had each guest’s name.

eclectic handmade nautical escort cards

The bride and groom assembled the favors, which were 3-ounce tins of Old Bay. Each one had a tag tied on with more blue-and-white baker’s twine. The tags were made of off-white business cards that were fastened through an anchor hole-punch. The tags said: “To add spice to their marriage, a little Old Bay will go a long way! Josh likes it with his Bloody Mary. Elisha sprinkles it on her deviled eggs.”

simple nautical wedding centerpieces

Because the bride isn’t a big fan of icing, she wanted a small icing-less cake for pictures. She found inspiration on Pinterest decorated with strawberries and blueberries and powdered sugar. MOG Laurene baked and assembled the small cake. The main dessert, provided by the venue, was tiramisu, Elisha and Josh’s favorite!

no-icing wedding cake berries

The reception music was an ‘80s cover band called Weird Science that Elisha and Josh saw at a bar. It was the first wedding they had ever played, and they rocked! Everyone was up on the dance floor, even the older folks.

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Not having a wedding planner was at times really stressful, but in the end, it made the pay-off even better. Because every time someone complimented me or Josh on an element of the wedding, we could say, we did that or we made that! We got to take all of the credit. Honestly, there wasn’t a single hitch. We had a beautiful wedding. And though we’re extremely biased, Josh and I continue to say “That was the best wedding we’ve ever been to.”

offbeat alternative nautical maryland Jewish wedding

Congratulations Elisha & Josh! Thank you for sharing all the fun, personalized details of your alternative Nautical-themed Maryland wedding! A special thanks again to Sugar Farm Weddings for sharing their images with us via Two Bright Lights!

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