I can’t believe I’m writing this and 5 months have already gone by since our wedding day on September 28th, 2019! Buckle up, longgg post alert – I’m recapping everything from our plans, the entire weekend, gifts + goodies purchased, and all vendors! Be sure to check out our video at the end for a glimpse into the day. You’ll be able to shop nearly everything we chose for the wedding! If you are new here, I’ve already shared a few helpful posts from my experience planning our entire wedding without a planner:
When figuring out where to get married, we knew we wanted to find a new destination in Maryland to stamp in our hearts and return to every so often. We landed on Southern Maryland, specifically Solomons Island. It’s the cutest small, waterfront town with such charm! While our venue that we were staying at (more details later on it) was 30 minutes from town, it was important to make sure exploring Solomons was incorporated into the entire weekend. We made plans to head down on Thursday and it was the.best.decision.ever! It was so fantastic to ease into the weekend and start out with just family, and greet people as each day went on!
With a 2 hour drive ahead of us, we left mid-morning to head to the hotel in town and drop off our welcome bags! We went into the week entirely prepared, but as everyone says – things go wrong and it’s out of your control. I want to share these details as no wedding is perfect!! Greg woke up with a terrible cold, and literally never gets sick. About 30 minutes left in our drive, he realized he forgot our marriage license – the one thing he was responsible for that morning! A true test and glimpse into marriage, ha. But, that didn’t stop our excitement!
We spent the afternoon getting settled into our cottages and manor house at the venue, then headed back into town to treat my family to a sunset sail! I am beyond grateful that we decided to unwind and take it all in after a year of working our asses off to plan. We used Sail Solomons, and I cannot recommend them enough! Jeff was so easy to coordinate with and our captain, Chris, was a blast – chatting us up about the town, understanding the importance of our weekend, and allowing us to have a blast as we sailed around the Patuxent & Chesapeake Bay! We ended the night by grabbing a drink & some apps, and having many laughs at The Dry Dock.
It was truly magical (I now understand why everyone uses this word to describe their wedding weekend) to head back to the venue to take it all in, dance around our reception barn, and sit by the water before it all began!
Rehearsal Dinner + Welcome Party
Waking up at our venue was surreal. The property is beyond stunning and it was so relaxing to be on the river, in a peaceful setting, and get some quiet time before our wedding party arrived.
For those that are new here, I planned our entire wedding, so I spent the morning moving around decor + reception items and finishing up tasks, all while fighting the second-worst migraine I’ve ever had. Again, keeping it real…I started getting them in June and each time would end up nauseous for a week after. Thank god for adrenaline, however, it wasn’t fun feeling so ill on the most important weekend of my life, but that’s life! Anyway, our Friday timeline went as follows:
- 2:45 – Bridal Party Arrival at Venue for Happy Hour & Weekend Info Download
- 3:00 – Rehearsal Begins
- 3:45 – Shuttle Load & Depart for Rehearsal Dinner
- 5:00-7:00 – Rehearsal Dinner at The Lighthouse
- 7:00-9:30 – Welcome Party at The Pier
- 10:00 – Shuttle back to Venue
We had a super casual rehearsal at the venue to spend time catching up, grab drinks, and get on a fun shuttle ride to our rehearsal dinner. We had our rehearsal dinner in Solomons in the private room overlooking the water at The Lighthouse! We did a buffet style with some Maryland staple dishes and a few speeches, ending with a fun video we made featuring our family & bridal party!
Following dinner, we met up with about half of our guests that were already in town for cocktails at The Pier. It was beyond special to continue the build up and get genuine one-on-one time with so many of our guests! Highly recommend building this into your weekend to make the most of it, especially to truly take in your wedding day for you!
Wedding Day: Prep
Wedding Day Timeline
8:00am – Bridesmaids, Mothers meet up for Hair & Makeup. Champagne, Breakfast served.
8:10am – Hair Begins
9:00am – Makeup Begins
10:30am – Photographers & Videographers Arrive
11:30am – Early lunch served
12:15pm – Bridesmaids & Mothers Dressed
12:30pm – Bride Dressed
12:45pm – Bridesmaids Reveal
1:15pm – Father First Look
1:30pm – Bride & Groom First Look, Portraits
2:30pm – Wedding Party Formal Photos
2:45pm – Family Formal Photos
3:30pm – Bridal Party Inside, Await Guest Arrival!
4:00 – Guests Arrive
4:30 – Processional
5:00 – Recessional
6:00 – Cocktail Hour Ends
6:10 – Bride & Groom Announced In
6:12 – First Dance
6:15 – Father of Bride Speech
6:30 – Father of Bride Dance
6:20 – Dinner Served
6:55 – MOH & BM Speeches
7:10 – Mother of Groom Dance
7:15 – Dance Floor Open
10:00 – Last Song
10:15 – Exit to After Party
Getting Ready Details
I gifted matching robes for my bridal party and our mothers to make everyone feel special that morning, while also having a beautiful gift to take home! I also got my bridesmaids custom hangers, and a vintage hanger for my gown. As part of my bridesmaids proposals, I also sent them monogrammed champagne flutes to bring for the morning of, which made for a great photo!
I knew I wanted a cool grey/blue color for the bridesmaids and after ordering a ton of swatches from nearly all options, we landed on Morning Mist by Jenny Yoo! It’s always been my favorite color, but more importantly I knew that the venue had a ton of lush green grass, water, whites & woods. I think if I had a huge wedding party and a simpler venue, I would’ve gone with a mixed matched print – but this was perfect for our day!
We spent the day in the city for the girls to pick out which style they liked best at Bella Bridesmaids, which made the ordering process very easy as everyone could see the dresses IRL before ordering with no option of turning back. Also, since they are made to order, we were told it’s important to order all at once as sometimes the fabric can be slightly different! As you can see, they all looked so stunning! 🙂
Styles: Charlie, Amara, Mira
In addition to the robes, flutes, and hangers, I wanted to show my girls my appreciation for not only all they have done for the wedding over the past year, but for our 10 & 25 year deep friendships! I got each of them their wedding day jewelry, a monogrammed travel jewelry box, and a special watch for my MOH. I topped it all off with a special note to each of them going through my favorite memories & more!
They wore the marmalade drop earrings but wanted to provide the other options in the collection that was available to choose from when I was browsing!
Mother of The Bride Details
In talking with my mom, we both wanted to go beyond the typical MOB look and get something she really felt good in! We had decided on blue and a print, to fit within our overall aesthetic. After looking all over, we ended up back at Bella Bridesmaids to try on this print that I absolutely loved for her. She ended up going with the Claire Dress in Blue Agate by Jenny Yoo.
For her gifts, we both can never think of something we “want”, so she left it up to me to decide. I wanted to treat her to some special jewelry for the day of, and found the perfect pieces to pull her look together! Her bracelet is a handmade piece that is no longer available, but I linked similar options.
I’ve always thought about what I would wear, but thought it was a bad omen to look into or plan anything before we were engaged. So, shortly after booking our venue (September 2018) I began browsing. I wanted to have fun with it as the process can be so overwhelming with the age of social media. So, I started by researching shops in the Baltimore/D.C. area and would browse through the designers they offered. If they had a decent amount of things I liked, I went to look. My first stop was at Garnish Boutique and they were so great in helping me start out by figuring out what shape I prefer, then move to the details. I didn’t quite find my dress, so I went on to looking at Lovely Bride and Love Couture Bridal. I had seen that Love Couture had a stunning designer, Anne Barge. I found a dress on the designer’s site that made my heart drop – it had every detail I wanted! While they didn’t carry it at LCB at the time, they ended up requesting it for a trunk show that would be months later. In the meantime, I kept looking around and really took my time to organically see what I would be gravitated to.
Fast forward to December, and my appointment for the trunk show was here! My mom and I were so nervous to try the dress as it was a lot of build up. As soon as I put it on, I finally had that feeling and knew it was it. We had such a fun afternoon trying on veils, moving around to see different looks, and sipping champagne. Overall, the process at Love Couture was amazing. They were so on top of things, not pushy at all, and made me feel like I could trust them with each step.
My dress is the Aubrey Dress by Anne Barge and I couldn’t be more happy with it. I wanted a form fitting dress, with straps, a floral detail (but not lace) and one that incorporated trends while still looking simple, timeless, and elegant for an outdoor venue.
Hair, Makeup, Accessories
I always knew my hair would be down for my wedding. I believe that it’s important to look like yourself, and I never wear my hair up, so why now? I researched a few styles but wanted to keep it simple given my dress. I decided to pull half back for the veil and then all down for portraits before the wedding & reception. I was so happy with my choice, however, we stepped out for our first look and it spiked up to 85 degrees with some drizzles, it was humid as hell and my hair fell! My MOH came to the rescue and recurled it before the ceremony.
I went with a simple, short veil that didn’t take over the dress and allowed the lines to stand out. In the same theme, I wanted no necklace or bracelet to keep it clean and focused on the dress. I had ordered about 10 different pairs of earrings and took them to my fittings. I wasn’t quite sure, and then two weeks before the wedding ordered a gorgeous pair of white earrings that I said “I’ll just see on the day”. I’m so glad I did, because they were perfect! I loved them so much that I broke the rules and wore them to our night before events, too. They were a limited pair by Anton Heunis, but I linked similar options below.
Ok, shoes. This was a tough one and to be honest I was never in love with any option. I needed a higher block heel because I am much shorter than my husband and wanted height to be lifted to feel good in my dress but also make dancing and such a bit easier. I have terrible nerve damage, and tested 5 pairs leading up to it. The ones I went with were the most comfortable of the “bridal shoe” look, and were super affordable. I threw them off as soon as we got to our reception (oops) but they did the job!
Groom + Groomsmen Details
To keep with the timeless look, we looked around for a deep, classic navy suit that would photograph well. We looked all over, and since my husband works from home, he felt ridiculous splurging on a suit. We actually ended up doing a custom Reserve suit at Jos. A Bank and had a great experience. He had a fun time picking samples, lining, etc. and was easily able to match (to the eye) his groomsmen suits that were from there as well.
For the ties, we ordered a few options to try to best match the girls and The Tie Bar ended up being our best bet. We had all the men, including Greg wear the same one to keep it simple!
Greg gifted the guys personalized collar stays and monogrammed socks for the day.
At the core of our wedding was a focus on providing a great experience for our guests. We had a fun idea to have the guests arrive a little earlier, provide a welcome drink, and allow them to take in the views in the ceremony area. Our hopes that people would have time to catch up, capture their photos, and enjoy it!
We’ve been to handful of weddings as a couple now and knew we wanted something short, but meaningful. The sun came out right as it started and we were baking in the sun, so this was much appreciated by all. We are not sappy and really don’t like attention, so we constructed one that was perfect to us! We had Greg’s brother become an officiant online, as we really wanted someone special up there with us! I did some research on what to include and rewrote some things to include our personality, and ended up with this outline:
Honor the Departed
Definition of Marriage
The Love Story
Exchange of Vows
Exchange of Rings
We hired an amazing String Quartet, Rockville Strings, that has a focus on fun & modern music. We selected a bunch of our favorite modern love songs for them to play as guests arrived.
For the ceremony, we chose songs that meant a lot to us for different reasons. Pro tip: Almost every song covered by strings can be found on Spotify for you to get a taste of how it would sound. We went with:
Processional: Firestone, Kygo
This is so beautiful on the strings! We wanted something different and was perfect to have them play on loop as we went through the family members, bridal party, and Hudson going down the aisle.
Bridal Processional: Yellow, Coldplay
I almost didn’t do this as everyone does Coldplay, but this song is typically blasted in our home, on drives, and means a lot to us. The build up is so pretty, and it was perfect!
Recessional: We Found Love, Rihanna & Calvin Harris
Again, so pretty on the strings but more importantly is just an inside running joke, IFYKYK.
Our cocktail hour was on the other side of the Manor House in a courtyard setting, surrounded by Greg’s cottage he stayed in leading up to the wedding and the wine cottage. This was our favorite part of the property so we definitely wanted to attend our cocktail hour. We quickly signed our marriage license, had a cheers with our bridal party and were able to come out and said hello before taking some photos and seeing our reception space!
We chose a big graze table full of our favorite charcuterie and passed appetizers. We had some nods to Maryland with shrimp, crab balls, an oyster shucker, and more.
We picked some refreshing cocktails that are not only our favorites but popular local ones since most people came from out of town. We went with a traditional moscow mule and a Grapefruit crush (the crush originated in MD), with a full bar & variety of beers including our favorite, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA which is near our beach town.
We had our quartet come over and continue to play and create a space where people could really unwind.
Our reception was on the opposite side of the Manor House in their barn inspired by the barn at Pippin Hill Winery in VA. We decided on doing a layout that hadn’t done before, mixing rounds and rectangle tables with a large head table for all of our bridal party and their dates. It worked out really well (despite being a tad toasty due to the spike in weather) and was a painless process to figure out seating arrangements!
We had planned on the band playing as guests got drinks, found their seats, and started with their salad. Wires got a little crossed and they had played our dinner playlist, but we ended up getting a nice little preview of the night with them playing during dinner instead!
Greg and I were announced in and went right into our first dance. Music is something that means a lot to our family and Greg and I as a couple. We had toyed around with a few songs, but I was pressed to turn one of our favorites into an option for slow dancing. One day we were driving, and it just clicked! We absolutely love “This Must Be The Place” by the Talking Heads and one of our favorite bands is the Lumineers, (just got back from our second show of theirs two days ago) whom have an amazing slow cover of the song! It was a perfect mix of slow to a little upbeat, the lyrics were so fitting, and now is that much more meaningful to us.
My Dad then gave his Welcome speech that was a bit of a roast mixed with admission of love for Greg, a little bit of history mixed in, with a bunch of laughs. This set the tone for our father-daughter dance, which was to “I’ll Be Around” by the Spinners. We then broke for dinner.
Dinner was served family style, meaning the staff brings out bigger dishes of each part of the main meal and sides for the table to share. They could request more as they wish, everyone gets served at the exact same time, and still has a seated meal. Highly recommend! We loved everything we chose, a mix of beef and a seafood trio dish with a bunch of our favorite sides. I also surprised Greg with a charcuterie board for the two of us, but we were both too sick to even eat hah!
Once dinner wrapped up, we got into speeches, Greg’s dance with his mom, and then Greg gave a short speech to open the dance floor! Though, we lost power for a few minutes so that fell a little short – all things to laugh about now.
We chose to serve a variety of Smith Island Cakes. If you don’t know / aren’t from Maryland, in the 1800’s, when Smith Island men went on the autumn oyster harvest, their wives would send Smith Island Cakes as a special treat to remind them of their families and the community they had left behind. The bakers took pride in making Smith Island Cakes with the thinnest possible layers and they began using fudge instead of buttercream frosting. The watermen loved the presentation, and cakes frosted with fudge lasted much longer than cakes with other frostings. In 2008, Maryland named the Smith Island Cake its State Dessert. They are the BEST!
We really wanted to be dancing all night, and I did not leave it once! We had created a specific set list with the band and they did a good job choosing what they felt the crowd would want next. It was full of a mix of classics and modern songs, of all genres (except country, and no line dances).
We played a ton of games to make people feel comfortable – spin the bottle (dance floor version), dance tunnel, limbo, jump rope, etc.
We also got foam light sticks from Flashing Blinky Lights to give out later on to get the party going, which added to making people feel like they can dance!
Late Night Food
Greg was really excited to utilize the late night food as a way to pull in his PA roots. We served soft pretzels with all kinds of toppings and mini-cheesesteaks. They were all gone, and were a massive hit!
We wanted the end of our reception to be something a little extra, so we chose for our last song to be “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire given that our wedding was in September (duh, Meg) and ordered a bunch of confetti poppers to give to our guests to pop off towards the end of the song. It was so fun, and I’m so glad we did it!
Our exit area wasn’t lit, so we had to go with the standard sparkler exit but I ended up liking it more than I thought! We ended the night back in town at an after party across from the hotel. All in all, it was such an amazing thing to see all of our worlds come together and have people tell us how genuinely happy we looked, despite our sickness 🙂
A HUGE thank you to my parents for their help with our wedding!
In case you don’t know, I am a brand and web designer by day. I came up with a direction and designed our Save the Dates, invitations, menus, name cards, seating chart, etc. incorporating watercolor illustrations by a dear friend of mine, Hailey Hays. She created a beautiful crest and venue illustration, as well as our cocktails for the bar signs and it was so fun to really brand our wedding!
My other friend, Ally Meyer designed some calligraphy signs for our welcome table and banners!
Our invitations were printed with Alpha Graphics, a local print shop that was so beyond helpful in helping with all the moving pieces! I found a great etsy shop owner to do some last minute signage printing, too.
Other Wedding Day Items
Here are a bunch of other items purchased for our wedding day. Vendors below will be who provided items that aren’t linked!
For our pre-wedding notes, I decided to write 100 things I love about Greg – one per day from 100 days out of our wedding! We also opted for no gifts as we are going on a great honeymoon soon!
We got keepsake journals for our vows and notes to each other that now make great shelf decor!
Our guestbook is of course a coffee table book, but is that of our honeymoon destination! It’s fun to flip through and read messages every so often and is easy to display.
Wedding planning on my own was no joke at times, but so fun thanks to all of our friends we met along the way!
Venue: Woodlawn Estate Farm in Ridge, MD website
Caterer: Dreamweaver website
Photographer: Alysia & Jayson website
Videographer: Love in Color Films website
Florist: Days of May Florals website
Band: 10 Spot Band, Sam Hill Entertainment website
String Quartet: Rockville Strings website
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids, Jenny Yoo Morning Mist Color website
Suits: Jos. A. Bank website
Hair & Makeup: Miranda Paige Beauty website
Head Table & Chairs Rentals: Bailey Party Rentals website
Colored Linens & Silverware: Party Rental LTD website
Day of Planner: Jeannae Pinno
Planner & Design: Bride
About the Venue
Woodlawn is an intimate and stunning 400 year old property, where the Manor House is sited on Calvert Creek at the end of a mile long driveway. The arrival to the house is magical, with the Creek, the Potomac River and the distant shoreline of Virginia as a backdrop to an understated elegance.
We were able to have my bridesmaids and myself stay in the Manor House the night before, and our families in two cottages located on the property. Greg stayed in his own cottage with Hudson, as well.
I hope you enjoyed every detail! It was such a special ride that we’d do all over again. Any questions? Comment below!