When imagining October weddings in the Mid-Atlantic, your first thought is likely not of a lush green outdoor celebration. But when Hailey & Taylor were married on what may have been the prettiest day of this fall, that’s exactly what the setting was like. Adriana Marie Events beautifully styled Historic London Town & Gardens for their ceremony and reception, accented with fall toned florals of mauves, light purples and burgundy dahlias. Located right along the beautiful Potomac River, it provided the perfect backdrop of a day that lingered like a warm summer breeze.
Hailey, who works at the Baltimore Zoo, and Taylor, a veterinarian, were joined by their beloved pup who served as the ringbearer at the ceremony, who of course was also heavily featured during bridal party photos! The couple then enjoyed the company of friends and family under the cover of the garden’s majestic oak tree, with a sun that never seemed to set and temperatures never reaching below 70. The laid-back evening ended an impeccable day with lots of dancing and laughter under a starry sky.
Photographer: Audra Wrisley
Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab
Stylist / Planner: Adriana Marie Events
Floral Designer: Steel Cut Flower Co
Rentals: White Glove Rentals
Venue: Historic London Town & Gardens
Cake Designer: Cakes by Rachael
Hair & Make-up Artist: Up Do’s for I Do’s
Catering: Zeffert & Gold
Rentals & Decor: Party Plus
Dress Boutique: Garnish
Cynthia & Matt’s beautiful spring wedding took place this past May at Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland. There was a threat of rain on their wedding day but Cynthia and Matt were unfazed-these two were just so excited to get married! The day ended up just beautiful and the rain clouds cleared out just in time for their heartfelt first look. After a beautiful ceremony we explored the stunning grounds of London Town for some of my favorite portraits to date! Laughter and happy tears filled the night and these two danced the evening away. Cynthia and Matt met in college at Florida State and are huge Seminole fans. They love entertaining friends, hiking and spending time with their pup Opie.
Venue: Historic London Town and Gardens
Florist: Flower Moxie
Baker: Cake Room DC
DJ Entertainment: Elite Mixers Entertainment
Hair: Heather Rea Style Studio
Makeup: Heather Rea Style Studio
Caterer & Event Coordinator: Ken’s Creative Kitchen
Fate…this is what brought my clients and now friends, Zachary and Kristine into my life. A little over two years ago we met for the first time at a settlement table. You see, this beautiful young couple was purchasing my husband’s and my first home. The very home he proposed to me in a few short months after we purchased it back in 2004. We exchanged pleasantries and shared with them how much we loved the home, and how much it meant to us. I recanted the tale of how my husband proposed to me in that very house, and the genuine smile on Kristine’s face made my day. I told her I hoped the home would bring her the same luck and memories that we were blessed to share under that roof.
A few months later, I received an email from Kristine sharing the wonderful news that Zach proposed to her in their home, and they wanted me to photograph their wedding! Talk about bringing our love stories full circle!
Fast forward to Zach and Kristine’s big day… stunning doesn’t even begin to describe the setting. The Chart House in Eastport provided amazing waterfront views of downtown Annapolis, the Naval Academy, and sailboats drifting by as the day’s festivities unfolded. Formal portraits after the ceremony were taken on the piers surrounding the restaurant, and just as we wrapped up the portraits, a trolley came cruising through the parking lot on a tour, and I seized the opportunity that the happy cover would never forget.
I wish Zachary and Kristine a lifetime of happiness. Your special day was undoubtedly one for the books!
Ana Maria and Ryan are the sweetest couple! I knew after meeting them for our engagement session in downtown Annapolis the wedding was going to be a joy to photograph.
The bride’s family and friends traveled all the way from Columbia, South America to witness her and Ryan exchange vows. The groom’s brothers and father were so happy for the couple and beaming with pride. The love that was present was truly inspirational.
It was a very cold, windy day, and I give props to the couple and wedding party for braving the elements for outdoor portraits. We even took golf carts through Renditions to the iconic stone bridge for portraits. I Love how they turned out! I was especially grateful to have my associate photographer, Maria, with me that day. Not only is she a phenomenal photographer, but she is fluent in both English and Spanish and was able to translate. The DJ, Jorge Valverde, with J Leon Productions helped to translate speeches as well and kept the dance floor packed all night. It was awesome! There was no shortage of hugs, kisses, laughs and blessings. Couples like Ana and Ryan remind me of what a gift it is to be in the presence of true love.
Rhonda Kaplan is an artist, a true connoisseur of all things floral and bridal. Her expansive design experience combined with a genuine excitement towards every bride and wedding day exemplifies both the creativity and care Rhonda consistently employs in her art and at Rhonda Kaplan Floral Design.
I recently visited Rhonda in her design studio, located on Harness Creek in Annapolis, where she shared with me some of her bridal inspiration and behind-the-scenes details which all operate together to bring floral recipes (in this context, a system for planning, ordering and organizing floral designs) to life. “This is really personal,” Rhonda explained, referring to the working relationship and floral design process associated with each wedding “I don’t do what I want, I do what they [brides] want, in my style.” This is demonstrated in part by the setup of the studio; Walking around, the space offers a comfortable and neatly organized environment with a variety of pictures, vases and accessories on display.
In addition to the enjoyment of working with brides, Rhonda’s focus on learning and creativity provide for ongoing excitement in her work. Having had a background involving a variety of artistic mediums, her love of flowers and industry expertise contribute to her approach towards unique arrangements and challenging projects. Over nearly a decade since the opening of her floral design studio, Rhonda has grown her team with the addition of four design professionals.
She explained to me that their work week typically starts on a Wednesday, when flowers are delivered, and involves a substantial amount of time preparing the flowers with the proper care for arrangement, set up at the event, and clean up thereafter. The flowers are obtained from wholesalers as well as local farms, allowing Rhonda to find the exact variety needed for each wedding being served.
Rhonda’s passion for floral creativity and focus on every bride that walks through her doors is evident and consistent in the way she expresses herself through her website, social media, and in person; “I absolutely love what I do,” she told me. From the initial interview meeting, to the reviewing of a bride’s wish list, to the wedding day itself, Rhonda guides brides through each step in efforts of articulating and achieving their vision for the special day. It comes as no surprise that such commitment combined with her sincere and positive disposition often nurtures a relationship that lasts well beyond the wedding.
If you’re looking for a floral designer, I highly encourage you to reach out and connect with Rhonda – You’ll be in a for a special experience.
Images courtesy of Melissa Khuta and Rhonda Kaplan Floral Design
How we met
It was so random, but remarkably unforgettable. It was summer and traffic was heavy, so I allowed myself to be talked in to carpooling. I definitely noticed the grace with which she walked, spoke and how well dressed she was the first time I saw her. We exchanged pleasantries and didn’t think much of it. It will be a while before crossing paths again, when I, by chance, answered her call to the office. She remembered me, and we ended up having a 30 minutes conversation about what we have been up to and ended up meeting for a working lunch. She hated it and made it clear though, but I suspected she enjoyed being around me as much as I did, so I invited her to a social gathering to make up for that disastrous lunch and we just clicked. She was noticeably guarded and cultured but refreshingly curious. I now know we both found each other fascinating, which explains the volley of conversations afterwards. We harmonized naturally and most people assumed we had been friends for a while, naturally after that night, I started thinking “Okay, this could be something!”, the thought of which inexplicably felt like a billion joules. But again, it will be awhile before we will meet again and for the first time, I felt and noticed her absence.
How we got engaged
Kobby and I are both Marine Corps Officers, which has marked and define our relationship. It was days before Christmas, we had spent the day preparing for me to depart the United States and as usual he was playing our favorite song “Lay with you-El DeBarge”. I found myself screaming over the music for him to get my bags without success. The music suddenly died down, I walked in and there he was, down on one knee with a pretty little box! I’ve wondered how long he was in that position waiting for me to walk in. It took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on, I gasped out of surprise, I shouted “YES,” teared up and we were engaged! There were no cameras, no fanfare just the two of us. And just like that we were split up again, less than 24 hours after being engaged. While he was in North Carolina, I was on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was difficult for us to see each other and we only had an opportunity to do so twice in 2 years. During his last visit he spontaneously planned a backpacking tour overnight which took us from Okinawa and Hong Kong to Palawan, Philippines. After that trip, we decided it was time to let the world know of our love and commitment to each other and how excited we were about the next chapter in our lives.
Best & Worst About Wedding Planning
Best – it is so exciting, to see this picture of this day you have imagined all your life come to life! At a minimum you will be the star and the center of attention of your own coronation, at most you will probably over dose on excitement and love. Worst – wedding planning is a daunting task and should be approached accordingly to avoid chaos, frustration and exhaustion. Expect disagreements and stress and have a plan to handle it.
Advice for Future Couples
Hire a wedding planner, it will be worth it. But if you decide to go our route then have at least one person who can be counted on when you need a hand, you will need it. I am stationed in California and he is Stationed in North Carolina, we planned our wedding from conception to completion. It was stressful at times and we disagreed on a number of things but it was rewarding, fulfilling and helped us build a baseline on how we will handle stress, disagreement and future collaborations. Invest in a wedding website with RSVP, Registry and schedule, it will help you manage and disseminate information effectively. Choose your wedding gown, caterer, and most important your photographer wisely, that is what will define your wedding how you will memorialize your wedding. In general, recognize that your family and friends are there to help you celebrate, do not let them distract or keep you apart! They will out of excitement. Spend time with them during the wedding rehearsal and at the rehearsal dinner. Last, for the first and probably last time it’s about you, you planned it, you created it, it is your coronation! your wedding day! Enjoy it! That cannot be overstated. You will have more fun if you lose your phones, only exchange pleasantries or 30sec conversations, focus on each other and dance the night away!
Videography: David Smith
Ceremony: St Mary’s Parish, Annapolis MD
Reception: Byzantium Banquet Hall, Annapolis MD
Make-up Artist: https://www.facebook.com/cmakeup19/
Hair Stylist: https://www.instagram.com/silk_hairstudio/
Gown: Allure Romance 3059, Brides of California San Jose CA
Bridesmaids gowns: #131933, JJ’s House
Groomsmen suits: Midnight Blue Tuxedo
DJ: Valere Entertainment
MC: Brice Jokung, https://www.jbeventsplanning.com/
Caterer: Jasmin Haralambatos, Custom Catering Annapolis MD
Cake: Cakes Plus, Laurel MD
Florist: Potomac Floral Wholesale MD
Abby and Harry are probably one of the cutest couples ever. They were just so happy all day and just seemed to have such a blast on their wedding day. We ended up with some unfortunate rainy (shocker) weather day of, but The Hotel Annapolis is so pretty inside that it didn’t matter at all! We got all the family shots and couple portraits done no problem! Check out these pics as they had one of the prettiest set ups I have seen!
Looking back at this past year, one of the weddings that stood out the most for me was Brittany and Norwood’s wedding. As soon as I arrived to their venue I could tell a lot of time and effort went into pulling off their DIY wedding. So much so, that I wanted to ask Brittany a few questions on how to create a DIY backyard wedding.
- What made you and Norwood decide to do a DIY backyard wedding?
- It was really important that we picked a venue that was unique and held some special meaning – and for Norwood that was his brother-in-law’s 100-acre farm in Lothian. Norwood grew up working on his grandfather’s farm in Deale and always held fond memories of being outside in a field surrounded by corn, so it felt like some sweet ode to his grandfather’s memory.
- Where did you grab inspiration for your wedding?
- When getting married on a farm, you have to do the rustic thing. We stepped it up by doing what I called “rustic elegance” with lots of natural greenery, golds accents and wood textures.
- We were also super inspired by our venue. It’s an old working farm and we wanted to incorporate that into various element of our wedding. From the ceremony arbor, which my little brother built from the old barn wood, to the farm honey we gave to our guests as a favor. Nearly every single piece of our wedding was hand-painted, drawn, stamped, tied, recycled or built by myself or a family member or friend.
- What was your favorite part of your wedding?
- I truly loved everything about our wedding, but my favorite part were the small details, which went into one big, epic event. For us, we knew we just wanted to throw a good party for our family and friends who we don’t get to see a lot, being as we moved from Maryland to Tennessee. So we wanted them to feel the love in every single piece of the wedding – whether it was from 200 planted succulents guests got as favors, to the signature cocktails we made ourselves, or the take home mason jars they drank them from – everything was about our guests having a good time.
- What would you recommend to others looking to do a similar wedding?
- Through the process, I learned that it’s good to delegate and not get overwhelmed with the small details because it will all come together. We wouldn’t have been able to pull of this wedding off it wasn’t for our amazingly talented friends and family that pitched in:
- My brother built the arbor from old barn wood on the farm, put together the door entrance from old doors we found there as well, and cut the wooden centerpieces and cake stand.
- My dad, a former baker, made my favorite tea cookies from my grandparents old bakery recipe — and my brother made the donuts from the same recipes.
- I made the cake, topped with a cake topper my childhood best friend made.
- A friend designed my jewelry. The pearls were taken from a pearl necklace my grandma gave me for my 16th birthday.
If you or someone you know is planning a wedding in the near future, I hope this post gives you some inspiration to pull off a DIY wedding!