It doesn’t get much sweeter than getting married in a childhood home. Bride, Jess, had always known since she was a little girl that she would someday get married at her grandparent’s home in Maryland. And with the man she has been friends with since they were sixteen? It’s a real life love story. We love this intimate wedding filled with love, laughter, and thoughtful details all throughout the day.
Photography by Justin DeMutiis.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? I had everything but the “something blue”, but I wasn’t too concerned about adding anything blue. My most important pieces are my “something old”. My grandmother gave me her engagement ring and the diamonds to make my band before she passed away, so having her with me every day means more to me than anything!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Our wedding was very DIY heavy. My dad is extremely handy and built so many elements for our wedding. He made the cocktail tables, the driveway sign, the table numbers, the cake stands…and probably more! And a good friend of ours owns her own branding and stationary company designed every piece of paper in our invitation suite, as well as the seating chart, menu cards, and programs and our logo. The amount of help we received from friends and family really made our wedding what it was. I think we realized that was what our wedding was all about, it was an outpouring of love and support for us as a couple, and it was truly amazing!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t sweat the small stuff.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? There are a few things that didn’t turn out like I planned (from a design standpoint), but no one else will ever know what they were because I was the only one who even knew what was missing. My best advice is to realize what is the most important to you as a couple and focus on that. Don’t worry about the small details—they’ll fall into place and it will all work out. And don’t forget to breathe and eat!
“We were married at my grandparent’s home. I grew up spending every summer there, and I’ve wanted to have my wedding on their property since I was little. It was an absolute dream to have our wedding in such a special location!”
Your ceremony in three words. Non-traditional, fun and personal
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I used a lot of different templates from various different google searches and I also used a few friend’s weddings as examples.
Who officiated your ceremony? My cousin’s husband was our officiant. We knew we wanted a family member to be a part of the ceremony, and knew Paul was the perfect choice! He is a natural public speaker, he and Richard have the same sense of humor, and we are very comfortable with him. He really should moon-light as an officiant, b/c he did an AMAZING job.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Not really, we are not a very traditional couple and we wanted to make the ceremony feel as “us” as possible.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows. We didn’t work on them together, or tell each other anything about our vows beforehand. He surprised me with rhyming vows, which is not something I expected at all. I saved the papers we read our vows off of and will be putting them in a wedding album that I plan on making.
What was your ceremony music? All of our music was from the Vitamin String Quartet. I’m slightly obsessed with everything they do!
What were your ceremony readings? Two of my best friends from grade school did a toast after we said “I Do!” Again, we aren’t very traditional, so we opted for a champagne toast that was written by Lindsay and Amy. It was PERFECT!
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? It was full of laughter and emotion. It was intimate and 100% true to our personality as a couple. I will never forget how I felt reading my vows to Richard.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Our dog Hugo surprised us by acting like a total gentleman the entire ceremony! He’s usually a wild animal, so we were a little worried about how he would handle all the attention. He is such a huge part of our lives, and we couldn’t imagine him not being there!
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Richard and I have been friends since we were 16. We’ve been dating since 2009, but our friends and family knew we would end up together since we were teens! Our relationship has been evolving since we were too young to realize what love really was, and we feel beyond lucky to have what we do!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? It’s so important to come up with a budget in the beginning so you know where you can spend and where you can’t. On the other hand, it’s also so hard to try and pin down a budget. I would say give yourself a number, and then add a decent cushion. We did a pretty good job of staying in budget, but we did have to ask ourselves if we really needed a few things at the very end. The other thing that I didn’t think of, and no one told us, was to determine how many of your vendors require cash or check and how many will take credit cards. Saving your cash budget is very important for the end when your vendors require their remaining budget the night of.
“We were both inspired by elements that felt natural to us and to the space. The property is very green and lush, not too groomed or perfect—we loved that! We wanted everything to be simple with pops of touches we love. We were very lucky to be able to use a lot of props and furniture from my grandparents house.”
How would you describe your reception? An intimate garden party. Our parents keep using the word “magical”, which we think is really special.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We had a Moscow Mule and Bullet Rye on the rocks—our favorite drinks.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Honestly, the day was perfect! If we were to have a vow renewal, we would have a “first” dance.
What was your wedding menu? Richard is a chef and he loves to eat, so we knew we wanted a menu that everyone would enjoy and would actually want to eat! No traditional wedding food for us. A Burger Bar: Bison Burger, Portabello Burger, and Turkey Burger / Grill Station: Lamp Chops, Salmon, and Chicken Satay / Salad Bar: Custom Salads from a plethora of salad toppings / Late Night Snack: Grilled Cheese and Caramel Popcorn. We loved the food and the stations worked out perfectly for us!
Catering by Gourmet by the Bay.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We served three cakes: Vanilla Cake, Chocolate Cake, Funfetti Cake with Sprinkles. We also had two pies (Richard loves pie!). Our cake toppers were J & R sparklers—that was one of my favorite details!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We bought lots of fun props to hand out during the dancing. Hats, sunglasses, beach balls, neon necklaces and bracelets, and temporary tattoos from our favorite friends at Rifle Paper Co. It really helped people get in the spirit of partying and have fun!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Dancing the night away!