Images: L.A. Birdie Photography

Having a day off is sort of a double edge sword. I loved the extra day to work on the #CapRoShop, catch up on some rest, and generally not be thinking about my day job, but now it’s already Wednesday and I feel SO BEHIND for the week. I just can’t win! Today’s real Maryland wedding is a stunner though – gorgeous couple, with such a sweet love story, and an adorable DIY backyard wedding full of love & music (something they share in common as they both work in the music industry in NYC). Grace, the bride, also hand-drew all the signs — lots of insight from the couple for this real wedding today. Enjoy.

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[We met] at a winter getaway camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania when we were 16.

Tolu got together family and a slew of friends to participate in a music performance video of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”. 5 years before, Tolu had surprised Grace at her high school with a barbershop rendition of the same song, after which he asked her to prom. Each person recorded themselves singing the song from wherever they were and Tolu cut the different performances into a film complete with his own performance and music composition.

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In place of traditional elements like tying the cord, breaking the glass, or pouring sand, we decided to write our own tradition because there was only so much we could connect to the usual. We are both avid music lovers as well as music professionals so we wrote a piece for the ceremony called the Chord Accord. In this piece, we used the symbolism of a chord (accompanied by a live performance of a piano piece that Tolu wrote followed the narration) to depict how we came together in love and life. And then the piano piece segued into music for the procession out.

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We made it a point to involve as many friends and family as we could in the ceremony. Because we work in music and a lot of our friends are musicians, we used that to our advantage. Guests arrived arrived to the sound of our friends playing the piano and guitar to set the mood. One of them, the guitarist, played the music that Grace walked down the aisle to. We had a college friend of each of us come together to sing an arrangement of a song special to us, in which Tolu did a surprise performance ( In fact, it was a complete surprise to Grace the choice of song. Tolu had rehearsed in secret with the duo.) We had Tolu’s sister read a poem. Then have another friend, a pianist, accompany the Chord Accord. It was chock full of guest appearances

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The night before, we had a version of a Nigerian wedding that was another sort of ceremony and reception combined. Filled with music, costume changes, a hilarious MC, a presentation of gifts, prayer, dancing, laugher, food and more dancing!

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Our whole reception was DIY, held under a tent in Tolu’s parents’ spacious backyard. Grace, skilled at calligraphy, did all the signs for the reception with chalk and ornate frames painted over with black chalkboard paint. We had friends do the flower arrangements and beautiful table settings.

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