Clad in bathing suits and flip flops, these two eloped in Florida. But a year later, they decided to tie the knot a little tighter in a backyard wedding and boy are we glad they did. Wedding’s at home are the best, but when you throw in food handmade by the bride, a puppy in a bowtie, and Mary Kate McKenna (and her camera) you’ve got a wedding that is not only the best, but it’s making me weak in the knees.
Fome the lovely bride… ‘Blue Moon no orange’ were the first words spoken. Alex may not remember, but that was also the first night he ‘unofficially’ told me… and the rest of the bar… he loved me.
I was General Manager at a tapas restaurant in Downtown Frederick, and Alex was in on a Friday night with his work for happy hour. According to him it was my ‘sassy lime green skirt and red hair’ that caught his eye. Much like a Friday night at any restaurant, I was running around making sure operations were running smoothly, so I paid no attention the 6’5” guy giving me googly eyes. As time and Blue Moons went by, Alex had drunk up enough courage to introduce himself to me. Cheesing like a cheshire cat he says to me in a nutshell, “I’m Alex, I’m Russian…date me” How could I resist such a smooth talker? Sometime later, I returned with my number on a yellow post it the old fashioned way…and yes, I did throw away a few post-its until I was fully satisfied with my handwriting.
Come to find out, Alex and I lived within a block of each other Downtown. Our first date was at Café Nola, an eclectic little coffeehouse with constant bookings of live bands and local DJ’s. I will never forget where we sat, what we were drinking, and the black t-shirt and jeans he had on. Thinking back on it now, we both laugh at the fact that we couldn’t hear a word the other was saying over the music… just smiled and nodded at each other the whole time.
Alex and I eloped while on vacation in Miami in September of last year. It was the very last day that we were there, and we planned to wake up early and drive down to the Keys to go snorkeling. It was the perfect day…the weather was gorgeous, the scenery on the way there was mesmerizing, and thank God I did not get stung by a jellyfish! After snorkeling we drove to a nearby mom and pop shop, bought our $30 sterling silver wedding bands, and then to a nearby courthouse. There we tied the knot, bathing suits, flip flops and all. I thought that was the best day of my life… until we did it again.
A year later, Alex and I decided to get married again and include our closest family and friends. We wanted the ceremony to be in Baker Park where Alex proposed, and the reception to be in our backyard. After my brother’s wedding, we knew exactly who we wanted our photographer to be, the exact cake flavor… and who we wanted to make it. We wanted the wedding to have a rustic feel to it, and I wanted to make as much of the decorations as I could. We hired a friend of a friend to man the grill, and he served hot off the grill hotdogs, burgers, and chicken skewers. Maybe it’s from being in the hospitality industry for so many years or maybe it’s from my down south momma, but I love cooking/baking and making people feel at home when they come to my house. So because of this I wanted to cater the wedding myself too. There were a lot of long nights before the wedding, and I couldn’t have finished it without the help of my mom and my maid of honor. As another Bride once said, ‘If you want it done right, do it yourself. But if you want it done at all, let people help.’
It is hard to say what my favorite part of the day was. I definitely loved every single second of the ceremony. Because our ceremony was located under one of many trees in Baker Park, it was proving to be quite difficult to give exact directions to every guest. So to take the stress off everyone, including us, we arranged for an old fashion trolley to pick the guests up from our house, take them to the ceremony, and then back to our house were the reception was. For us, and our bridal party we rented pedicabs to take us around Downtown Frederick to snap pictures, and then back to our house. Alex and I wanted a short ceremony, so we decided to keep it standing with a few benches made by Alex, for those that needed to sit. We also wanted to make sure Cooper, our foxhound, was involved in the ceremony. We even got him a bowtie for the occasion.
We chose two songs that were sung to guitar by a friend of ours. To walk down the isle we picked ‘You Got Me’ by Colbie Caillat, and while we were getting our pictures taken she sang ‘Young Love’ by Sammy Jones. Alex and I decided to write our own vows, and to decide who went first we did ‘Rock Paper Scissors’.
Being that Alex is Russian, we wanted to incorporate some Russian Wedding Traditions. The first one was the lock and key. Right after the ceremony, we all walked to a nearby bridge and took a lock brought by Alex’s mom from Russia and locked it on the bridge. We then took the key and threw it in the water below to show that our love is locked forever. The next tradition that we did was the throwing of rice and Russian coins at our feet as we walked up to our house. There we were greeted by Alex’s mom who had a loaf of bread and salt. Her offering it to us showed the acceptance of welcoming me into the family. Alex and I then were to take a bite of the bread at the same time, and whoever took the biggest bite was the ‘ head of the household’.
We wanted the reception to be a party, just a good casual backyard barbecue with our closest friends and family, and to be a reflection of us. I really wanted a dessert table, and champagne glasses filled with rock candy – Alex was all about the whiskey and cigar table for the ‘men’. For the guestbook we wanted it to be something that didn’t get stashed away, but that we could look at every day and be reminded of the people that shared that special day with us – so we did a paint canvas that now hangs on a wall in our house. We did an assortment of old fashion glass bottle soda pops, some southern ice tea and made fresh sangria to drink.
All of the small details that were incorporated in the wedding were a representation of ourselves, and made for one amazing day that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
Photography: Mary Kate McKenna Photography | Venue: Couple’s Home | Cake: Sweet & Savory | Music: Erin Frisby from Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray | Hair: Structures Salon | Pedicabs: MacFawn’s Green Rides | Barrels: McCutcheon’s Apple Products | Vintage Sodas: North Market Pop Shop