Images: Jessica Nazarova Photography
Oh you are just going to LOVE today’s real Maryland wedding at Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, Maryland. So much DIY goodness, a British tea & garden party theme, and so many touching details that hint back to the couples’ love story and their early beginnings in the UK. This one was just pure joy to blog. Enjoy.
Will and I met on our first day of law school. Our 8:30am Contracts class was in one of those big auditorium-style lecture halls. When I walked in, there was one person seated in each of the three sections of the classroom (literally as far away from each other as possible). I chose to sit next to a guy in the middle section: Will, my future husband.
Our wedding was inspired by my experience living in the UK. I attended college at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and one of my favorite traditions was the spring garden parties.
We decided that going with a British garden party theme would be the best way to structure a fun, relaxed, day-time wedding. I mean, who doesn’t love lawn games and Pim’s cup?
The officiant for the ceremony was my friend Alice. Alice and I met in college and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to include her in the wedding. As for the ceremony itself, I knew I wanted two things: (1) a champagne toast; and (2) traditional vows. For the toast, we handed out champagne before the ceremony. I designed the programs to be coasters (yes, I cut 100 programs into coaster-sized circles by hand). As for the vows, my view is that the wedding is for the guests, but the marriage is for the couple. When my husband and I got married a bit before the wedding day in a private ceremony, we wrote our own vows. For the wedding we used traditional, secular vows. We wrote the ceremony primarily through meaningful quotes that we chose together.
My engagement ring belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Before he proposed, I had been thinking about an opal engagement ring. Opals are my favorite – I love the different colors! Anyway, since there are no opals on my engagement ring I wanted an opal wedding band. The trick was to design something that would stand up to my grandmother-in-law’s 5-carat diamond ring. I worked with a designer to select five oval-cut natural blue Australian opals, each separated by a small diamond. As you can tell from Jessica’s photos, the effect is beautiful!
For my husband’s wedding band, I wanted something vintage since my engagement ring was also vintage. I didn’t have the option of a family ring, so I did what any resourceful fiancé would do: I stalked estate sales! Soon I found my husband the perfect ring- a platinum Tiffany’s band with delicate braided detail. We didn’t even need to resize it!
The faux hawk was entirely for me. Before I became a lawyer I had wild hair. Imagine pink and platinum, half-shaved head, the works. I wanted my hair style on the wedding day to be a throw-back to my pre-law hair preferences. Yisell Santos, my hair stylist for the day, KILLED IT for me. It was glamorous, non-traditional, and per my husband’s (and my employer’s) preference, not permanent.
Another of my favorite traditions from when I lived in the UK was afternoon tea. I decided to integrate that tradition with the garden party theme via my centerpieces. All the china featured in the centerpieces was thrifted. I felt that using dried flowers in the centerpieces would be too flat- like literally, it would lay flat on the two-tier trays and in the tea cups. So I devised the idea of the wooden flowers! I found a woman in the Philippians that makes flowers from peeled birch bark and I bought hundreds of plain flowers in different styles (roses, dahlias, lilies, etc.) And then I had to paint them. It took so long to paint each flower that by August I had enlisted all the bridesmaids and my husband to paint flowers. I’m pretty sure each of my friends painted at least 25, and my husband finished the last 50 when I couldn’t stand painting the little wooden flowers anymore. For one flower, the poor man didn’t realize that I was mixing my own custom paint colors and he painted it this horrible purple right out of the tube. On the wedding day, we had a scavenger hunt for what we dubbed “the ugly Willy flower”. Regardless, the wooden flowers gave the centerpieces the pop I wanted. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all the china and flowers…
I had never made a cake higher than two layers or made the particular recipe before I made my wedding cake. Honestly, I’m not sure what I was thinking. It took me all day Thursday before the wedding to make that cake (about 10 hours) and I could not have been more proud. The flavor was inspired both by fall and by my family history. My mother’s side has a strong history as orchardists in eastern Washington state. I grew up on fresh fruit and apples are one of the family’s biggest crops. I made the filling using my grandmother’s old applesauce recipe!
I absolutely love to craft, so I knew right away that I wanted to do as much for the wedding by myself as possible. I gave myself 20 months of lead time to get things moving.
My favorite part was the invitations. I selected the paper, the interior and exterior envelopes, the graphics, the fonts… everything. I even bought stamps from 2015 because I wanted the design to match my theme and look nice on the envelope. I chose peach and sage green as the base colors for the invitation suite because they are scalable colors (not too pastel, not too rich) that would allow me to build in additional dimension through the graphics and other small details.
Another favorite project was the bouquets. Since my wedding was in October, using fresh flowers seemed out of place so I chose dried ones. While I purchased mostly previously dried flowers, I did make my Maid of Honor’s bouquet using flowers I dried myself from her wedding in April. For my own bouquet I used flowers from her wedding as well as home-dried flowers. Each bridesmaid’s bouquet was inspired by her individual personality. I think it was really special!