From the beautiful blooms, to the gorgeous in love couple, to the tented reception on the stunning lawn, this wedding is capital FABULOUS. We filled a gallery with amazing images of this soiree from Merkle Photography because it was near impossible to see all the lovely in just this post. Soak it up, LBBers, because this wedding is the perfect compliment to your Friday morning.
James and I met in New York City....and the beginning was a bit scandalous! I was dating one of his friends when we first met at a happy hour outing. We remained friends for a few months before realizing that we were actually meant to be together - it thankfully all went well though, and thanks to his friend being incredibly nice and understanding, we are all still great friends.
We had been dating for three years, and decided to plan a little weekend getaway to California. We charted out a trip to Napa Valley, and then had plans to camp in Big Sur for a few days following our wine tours. I had packed one nice dress and lots (lots!) of yoga pants and camping clothes, and thought that if there was any chance he was going to propose, surely it would be during the 'swanky' portion of our trip. When dinnertime rolled around in Napa, I pulled out my new dress and caught him eyeing it. I asked if he thought that it would look nice (fully expecting him to grin and say yes!) and he said "Eh....I don't know how fancy this place is. I think you can actually get away with jeans tonight." At that moment I thought for sure that we weren't getting engaged - but we still went on to have a fabulous night, and I was excited to go camping with him.
The next day we were making the drive South down the windy Pacific Coast Highway, and the weather was atrocious - we are talking zero visibility on hairpin turns and white knuckles the whole way. I was dreading setting up a tent in the rain - nevermind sleeping in it, cooking in it, and enjoying ourselves one bit in it. We passed a few bedraggled looking motels, and I tried to cheerfully suggest that if the weather was too bad, maybe one of those would do for a night or two? Before we left, his Mom had even sent me a book called "Backcountry Betty: Roughing It In Style" - I was totally prepared to spend three days in the woods - but at this point, not looking forward to it one bit.
We pulled into the "camping depot," and the fog was too thick for me to see any signs or buildings. As soon as I went to open my door, I knew something was up: there stood a man in a nice suit holding a silver tray with a glass of champagne. James flashed a wide grin at me, and I still had no idea what was happening -- what kind of camping depot serves champagne on arrival? I stepped out of the car and we were immediately directed into a waiting SUV. At that point I noticed the seal on the car's floor mats, and I realized that we were at the amazing Post Ranch Inn - an incredibly unique boutique hotel, that has rooms perched in the cliffs high above the waters of the Pacific Ocean below. As soon as we arrived at our beautiful bungalow, he pulled me out onto the balcony, and proposed to me right there, in the fog, sixteen-hundred feet above the crashing waves below. It was perfect.
Oh, and I got to wear the dress that very night - the sneaky little bugger knew I had only packed one, and wanted to make sure I had one to wear the night of the engagement. I've never been happier to not be camping in my whole life!
We had gone back and forth over venues for a couple of months; we are both from different states (he, from Baltimore, Maryland, and I, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts), and with both of us having gone to college in far off locations (he, Colorado, and I, Florida) and then having lived in New York City for years, we were all over the map with friends and family. On the recommendation of his Mother and Father, we traveled out for the first time to see the house they recently bought on the Eastern Shore, and something just clicked - it was a gorgeous setting, right up on the Choptank River, and the rolling green lawns and cool breeze set the stage for a perfect Fall wedding. It felt very right, and we loved the personal touch it had, rather than simply settling on a venue that didn't have any meaning to us.
I wanted to let the beauty of the setting speak for itself, and thus I kept my color palette simple, with my bridesmaids wearing long charcoal gray Amsale dresses, and the boys in simple black suits. I had a black belt made for my dress, (which I thought tied the black and gray together well), and with the green lawn and dusky blue river I had hoped to play to a bit of a 'rustically elegant' color scheme. The flowers were in shades of apricot, pale pink, and ivory, with lots of greenery, and we under-lit the tent in a pale peach color to create a feeling of warmth.
We wanted our ceremony to be very meaningful, but also on the short and sweet side. We had wanted to feel comfortable and natural on the big day, and I wanted everyone who was a part of it to have a special meaning to us. We asked one of James' families close friends - one of the doctors who helped his Dad beat oral cancer - to be our officiant, and we decided to write our own vows. We did not read them to each other at all beforehand (we simply agreed 'roughly' on length), so it was a complete surprise to both of us to hear what the other one had written. The reception was just as rowdy as we expected! Not a soul wasn't on the dance floor, and at one point James best friends decided to take us totally by surprise by thrusting chairs under us and heaving us into the air! I was totally terrified - and am still in disbelief that I did not go flying off into the air (it was very close!).
It sounds trite, but my most vivid memory is the look on James' face when he saw me for the very first time that day. We had a private moment just before the ceremony under a shaded tree on the far side of the property, and the look of genuine happiness in his eyes as the tears welled in their corners is a moment I will cherish forever.
Photography: Merkle Photography / Flowers: Petals Florist / Event Design: Eastern Shore Tenting & Events / Event Planning: Gourmet on the Bay / Ceremony and Reception Location: Private Residence, Trappe, MD / Shoes: Michael Kors / Tuxedo: Hugo Boss / Invitations: Minted / Dress Designer: Rivini / Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Amsale / Earrings & Bracelet: J. Brown Jewelers