You know what this Friday needs? Some stunning pink hues, an adorable duo saying “I do” and one seriously cute puppy. Lucky for us, this charming Maryland affair happens to have all three, plus one amazing tented reception and a jaw-droppingly gorgeous setting. It’s basically the perfect way to start the weekend, lovelies… and you can see every last heartwarming moment captured by Eli Turner right here in the full gallery.
From the Bride… When Blake and I were first engaged, we loved the idea of having a destination wedding. We both loved the idea of getting all of our friends together for a weekend long party full of long dinners and celebrations that stretched into the night. Once we started exploring the idea, we quickly realized that an international destination would leave a lot of our friends and family out. With this in mind, we decided to throw a “Destination Maryland” themed wedding where I grew up on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore.
Selecting a venue was easy. We knew the moment that we stepped on to the grounds of the Combsberry Inn that we had to get married there. The combination of history, beauty and elegant luxury that the Inn offered was perfect for us- two somewhat nerdy lawyers who prefer books and adventure to parties and glamour. The venue was a blank canvas and allowed us to create our dream wedding in the midst of several hundred years of history in the small town of Oxford, Maryland. Blake and I were so pleased to be able to make use of the venue for the entire weekend. We even held our rehearsal dinner- a Maryland Blue Crab Feast featuring local craft brews- in the Inn’s historic barn and were up into the early hours of the morning catching up with old friends and welcoming arrivals from out of town.
On the day of the wedding, the bridesmaids and I got ready in the 17th century manor house, while Blake and the groomsmen readied themselves in one of the cottages. Selecting my dress was almost as easy as selecting the venue (and saying “Yes” to Blake!). I always envisioned myself in a form fitting lace dress with a little bit of a sexy flare. When I tried on my Jim Hjelm Blush gown at Garnish Boutique, it just spoke to me and I knew it was the one. Shortly thereafter, Blake’s mother offered to lend me the veil she wore when she married his father. Her vintage cathedral length lace edged Priscilla of Boston veil matched my gown perfectly and like so many things having to do with Blake and I, I knew it was meant to be.
A limousine transported the bridesmaids and I to the church the same church my grandparents were married in and where Blake and I were married in front of our friends and family. A classic Bentley carried the newlyweds back to the Combsberry Inn where our loved ones were waiting for us and enjoying a cocktail hour of fresh Maryland seafood, local wines and draft microbrews.
When Blake and I thought of how we wanted our wedding to feel, one phrase kept coming to mind: casual elegance. We both love to dress up and put on a great event, but our personalities are naturally very laid back and natural. Our goal was to have everyone dress up and look amazing, but feel as relaxed as if they were attending a summer bonfire on the beach. We were so inspired by the natural surroundings offered by the Inn’s location on the water that we knew wanted to keep the decorations in our crisp white tent at a minimum. Cream and ivory tablecloths covered alternating round and square tables that we paired with light wooded folding chairs. We kept the centerpieces simple, decorating with old law textbooks and mason jars that I wrapped with lace myself. Pink and white hydrangeas filled large mason jars while smaller jars held tea lights, creating a light romantic effect. Lace doilies, a play off of my dress, provided a base for the jars. I got a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest and thus we involved ourselves in several DIY projects, including making our own invitations and place cards and making the menu board for the oyster shucker and the bar. For the church, we made our own moss covered letters for the front doors and designed our own programs.
After several heartwarming toasts from friends, parents and siblings, the guests dined on a buffet of chicken chesapeake, ratatouille, and other organic, local dishes prepared by the local culinary school. We wanted to focus on local delicacies and ingredients and were very lucky to have been referred to some of the best vendors. The food was a big highlight of the event, especially the gentleman we hired to shuck fresh oysters during our cocktail hour. The emphasis on local food went a long way toward giving our local wedding the destination feel that we wanted for our guests.
Blake and I share a love of cupcakes that we decided to pass on to our guests, in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. We had a selection of a few of our favorite flavors made available from a local bakery that had recently opened. Not only were they a big hit at our reception, but we were able to take a few with us to snack on at the airport en route to our honeymoon!
As the reception wound down, we moved the party to one of the cottages at the Inn and kept it going until the sun came up the next day. We were even able to share some of nature’s wonder- the stars- with some of our guests from Korea who had not seen such a clear nights sky in years. The wonder of the entire night and all the love and support that was shared, right up until the sun came up the next morning, is a feeling that stays with us still. Many couples say that they never wanted their wedding to end, and Blake and I feel very blessed that we can say ours never did!
Photography: Eli Turner Photography | Floral Design: Patti's Petals | Wedding Dress: Garnish Boutique | Cake: JoJo's Cupcakes And Cream | Invitations: Vistaprint | Ceremony Venue: St. Benedict's Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Combsberry Inn | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: J Crew | Catering: Chesapeake Culinary Center | Groomsmen's Bowties: Vineyard Vines | Grooms Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Limousine: Gene's Limousine Service | Bridal Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Brides Earrings: Links Of London | Classic Car: Regal Limousine | Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents And Events | Vendor: The Bride's Aunt & Grandmother