Hannah the Bride:
Robert and I met in college, way back when. I was in need of a date to a sorority formal and pointed him out to one of my friends and told them to "bring me the big one with the mustache." We now live in Nashville with our fat pitbull TBone, and enjoy fixing up houses in our spare time. Robert originally hails from Alabama and I from Maryland, so this wedding brought together friends and family from different regions and cultures.
I always pictured getting married on my parents' farm in rural Maryland. This was the first time many of our guests had been north of the Carolinas and I was eager to show them my homeland. The green valley made the perfect backdrop for our lively field party. We rented a massive white tent from ABC Party and Tent Rental
and the menfolk strung bistro lights from the poles, teetering at the top of dizzying ladders. Being in the middle of a field, we also rented tables, chairs and the classiest restroom trailers I've ever had the pleasure of using. The setting perfectly captured our vision for a relaxed party filled with love, music and laughter. The fireflies came out during the reception and danced along with us in the grass.
We didn't have too many ideas for the ceremony going into the planning process, but what ideas we did have, we were sure of. We immediately knew we wanted to ask Robert's uncle Barry, a mattress salesman from Birmingham with an affinity for sarcasm, to officiate the wedding. We also knew that we absolutely did not want any mention of "obeying" or the word "flesh" involved. Once you start noticing/counting how many times people say "flesh" during wedding vows, it tends to make you squirm in your seat.
The Baltimore City Pipe Band
were NOT part of the original band. My dad is part of a Scottish mens club and let us know that he had access to a 15-piece pipe and drum band if we were interested. Obviously we were. We kept our surprise guests a secret until the day of, taking even our wedding party unawares as they paraded down the field and escorted everyone to the end of the aisle. Once the band and the wedding party made it to the aisle, my brother-in-law John and I followed behind in a gorgeous turquoise truck he restored just for us. My father let me out of the truck and walked me down to meet Robert. Barry prepared a humorous, poignant, and pleasantly brief ceremony that delighted our guests.
Robert and I have been to so many weddings where the food was your usual fare, and probably cost a pretty penny, but just wasn't very good. We put an emphasis on getting delicious and unique food for our wedding. Enter Timber Pizza Co.
out of DC. Chris and his merry band of pizza purveyors were delights from the beginning, answering every question and accommodating multiple tastings. We opted to skip the usual cocktail hour and instead begin cranking out pizzas and sides during the ceremony so our guests could start chowing down as soon as possible. We picked three unique flavours - the most amazing being their pesto-based "Green Monster" - to be served for two hours. They also served grilled shrimp skewers, pork tacos and a delightful summer salad. We loved the pizza so much, in fact, that we decided to forgo the usual cake cutting, and instead cut and feed each other pizza. Everyone always told us that you ever get to eat the food at your own wedding and we were bound and determined to avoid that. Timber even left the extra pizza in to-go boxes for the guests to take with them and, from what I've heard, eat in bed in their fluffy hotel bathrobes. Guests were able to wet their whistle at will from self-serve boxed wine out of crates and a vintage canoe full of beer. My brother-in-law also provided the awesome beer "canoe-ler."
Who needs cake when there are donuts? After a thankless search for cake that rang our chimes, we settled on a local favourite donut shop, Fractured Prune
. My sister and her husband graciously lent their taste-testing services to pick our four exciting flavours. John also built a massive wall to display the donuts.
The Flowers and Decor
Bouquets and my baby's breath crown were created with love by my mother with the assistance of Andrea, the mother of my co-matron of honour, Hilary. Andrea also served as my sassy British day-of coordinator. The greenery and baby's breath were sourced from Pennock Co.
by my mom's long-time friend Paisley as a wedding gift. Another friend, Sarah, and my sister/matron of honour, Grace, also contributed peonies from their gardens. We continued the theme of wild greens on the farm into the bouquets and running down the tables. The centerpiece lanterns were generously lent to me by Andrea. These lanterns have lit the tables on countless friends' weddings over the years, and I was delighted to continue the tradition.
My dress was a Jenny Yoo Monarch gown
that I purchased via Tradesy
. I had my eye on a dress ten times as expensive but had my second-hand dress altered to have an uncanny resemblance. I wore Steve Madden sandals for optimal danceability and earrings borrowed from my mother. Katie and Jamie from Image Is...Salon
worked their magic on my small army of 9 bridesmaids. They gave each one a unique and beautiful style. Katie created a classic yet effortless updo that accommodated my crown. They were both talented, professional, pleasant and finished in record time. I had eyelash extensions done by Chantel Jane Pulse
, eyelash girl to the stars in Nashville. I did my own makeup and my bridesmaids helped each other with theirs.
Robert actually acquired half of his outfit the day before the wedding. His pants were from Men's Wearhouse
and were let out to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions while he performed his signature Russian dance. His vest was from Joseph A. Bank
, a last-minute addition to the outfit. And last but not least, his Lucchese
cowboy boots gave him an extra spring in his step.
The Wedding Party
We weren't terribly concerned with what our wedding party would be wearing. We knew traveling to the wedding would be quite an expense so we preferred they save some money on their wardrobes. We also wanted them to be comfortable and feel great about the way they looked. My bridesmaids were given a few guidelines such as length and general range of colour, but the dresses were completely up to them. They found their dresses from a range of stores such as Lulu's, ASOS, Show Me Your Mumu and David's Bridal. I was blown away by how 9 bridesmaids from 5 different states, who hand only met once at most, were able to find dresses that coordinated so well. Groomsmen wore clothes they already owned - white or blue shirts with brown belt and shoes.
I found DJ Bruce with Platinum Mobile DJs
online and am so glad I did. He was affordable, accommodating and even saved our caterer from the muddy swamp that was our field. We danced until midnight to a wide range of songs and genres. Robert's parents even danced together for the first time in the history of their marriage!
I can't even say enough about how amazing our experience with Erin Krespan
has been. I swear she shoots like she has been doing it for 50 years. She was so helpful during our planning process, answering any question I had, coming out for a site visit and quelling my forecast fears the week leading up to the wedding. Erin and her second shooter Cory captured the pure joy that radiated throughout the day. Erin was great at capturing all the important aspects of our day, including Ned the sheep! He was quite a hit with the guests. We will cherish the photos of our first kiss as man and wife, dances with our parents and the open-mouthed belly laughs as our friends and family performed in a dance circle. The day was a blur but we can look back and remember every detail thanks to her.
Plan the work and work the plan. Planning a wedding from a different state was no easy feat but my family and I relied on detailed Google docs and a monthly checklist that I emailed out to everyone. Having a sassy British lady to boss people around on the day-of also helps. We kept decor and crafting to a minimum. I did not want to spend the weeks or months leading up to the wedding up to my elbow in glitter or stenciling our monogram on everything. Remember that even the best-laid plans fall through sometimes. On our wedding day, there were countless details we didn't think of and relied on the support of our friends and family to step in and handle. We will be eternally grateful to the uncles and uncles, cousins and significant others who willingly offered their services and were only paid in hugs and chicken fingers. The wedding is one big expression of love, so soak it all in. And don't forget to eat!