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

Our matching wedding bands were made for us by a dear friend who honored Jae’s request. To continue the connection with our friends and family during the ceremony our rings were passed to all of our guests who were asked to hold them and share there best thoughts and wishes for us.

During the ceremony, Jae and I took pictures of our guests and each other. This gave us a moment to pause, and an opportunity to capture images that would allow us to look back at photos of our ceremony from our perspective.

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Growing up, I was used to large family gatherings and family style meals. This is something that Jae and I share. We wanted to share that experience at our wedding, as we were bringing our families and friends together. Nicole at Windows Catering worked with us to choose dishes that had elements from both of Jae’s and my cultures, especially ingredients that are shared between the two. Rather than individual tables and seat assignments, we had one long, t-shaped table for all of our guests, and asked everyone to choose their seat.

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Our wedding flowers came from Wollam Gardens. We were introduced to them at our local farmer’s market, and made arrangements with them to order flowers that would be in season on our wedding day. They were so great to work with! We picked the flowers up from the farmer’s market the day before the wedding. With the help of bagels from the amazing Brooklyn Bagel in Courthouse our friends and family came over to snack, chat, and put the bouquets and arrangements together. We also made the boutonnieres.

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All the glassware for the flower arrangements came from second hand stores. For almost a year I visited various stores on the weekends and slowly collected vintage cut glass and crystal to use for our flowers. An added bonus, following the wedding we kept most of the glassware, which we now use, bringing back wonderful memories.

Rather than a guest book, my dad helped find antique/vintage keys that he, my mom, and I cleaned. He then rubber stamped hang tags with the words “Believe” or “Always.” We found a spool holder that my dad painted and at the wedding we placed the keys in vintage glass bowls and asked our guests to write their “keys to a happy marriage” on the tags and hang them on the spool holder. The keys and messages now hang on the spool holder just inside of our front door.

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Our cake toppers were two Diné (Navajo) folk-art sheep wearing sneakers. These went with the black and white sheep cupcakes that were a surprise for Jae, as sheep play an important role in Diné (Navajo) culture.

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DIY/Handmade Details:
The hanging paper balls are each made-up of 60 individual pieces of folded paper. My dear friends here in the DC area helped me to cut, fold, and put them together. From Colorado, my parents’ also helped, they chose some of the paper, cut and folded, and sent boxes of the pieces to me to put together.

Jae’s boutonniere was made of a vanilla bean figure in the shape of a flower and lace from my wedding dress that was given back to me after alterations.

Vanilla originates in Mexico. We wanted to honor our friends from Mexico who were not able to join us for the wedding, so the wedding favors were bottles of homemade Mexican vanilla extract and vanilla sugar that were prepared several months before the wedding with the help of friends.

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Congratulations Jae & Shannon! Thank you for sharing your beautiful, handmade & personalized Maryland wedding with us. A special thanks again to The Happy Couple for sharing their images for today’s Maryland wedding feature!

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