Real Wedding: Zach & Clay

It’s been awhile since we had Katie Stoops‘ photography here on Snippet & Ink, so I’m happy she’s back today with this charming wedding. A rustic venue on a beautiful day, delicious local food, and lots of friends and family… it doesn’t get much better than that. Zach and Clay were kind enough to share some of the details about their wedding with us:

Finding the right venue was tough. D.C. is full of beautiful ballrooms and grand spaces, but those didn’t feel right to us. This barn was perfect – it’s only about 20 miles from Washington, but it feels a world away, like you’re really in the country. Although the barn was cleaned out and “finished,” with hardwood floors and so on, it’s still a functioning barn. There are goats in the lower level! On the day of our wedding, there were some other surprise guests – a small herd of alpacas had been moved there, too! The guests loved it. The alpacas were probably the single most photographed thing from our wedding. Hot new wedding trend: alpacas! You heard it here first.

Our ceremony was the best part of the entire day – it was very personal and meaningful and “us.” And we loved how informal it was, with the guests standing beneath a large tree there on the farm. We had friends do a handful of readings. It was a very special moment for us that we were so proud to share with family and friends.

The single most important aspect of the reception, though, was the food. We write about food on our blog, The Bitten Word, so we really wanted the food to be a special highlight of the day. We were thrilled to find our caterer, Oliver Friendly, who focuses on simple, seasonal foods using ingredients from within a 150-mile radius. One bite of Oliver’s baby BLT sandwiches (he cures his own bacon!), and we were hooked. (See the entire menu below.)

Flowers were from a floral wholesaler and were arranged by friends and family. Somewhat to our surprise, the DIY parts of our wedding ended up creating really fun memories. A small group of family and friends headed out to the barn the day before the wedding to string lights, clean up, arrange flowers and so on. It was actually really fun, and the “handmade” aspect of it really made the whole event feel special and personal.

Zach and Clay’s advice for anyone planning a wedding?

In general, just approach the entire event as a blank slate, and don’t do things because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do. For example, we mingled with the guests as they arrived at the barn and were served welcome glasses of Prosecco. Then, for the ceremony, we all headed over to a big evergreen tree and stood in the shade. It just seemed silly to us to “hide” until the ceremony. If that’s what you want to do, great! Just make sure it’s because you want to, and not because you think tradition compels you. Make the day what you want it to be – there are no rules.

One more piece of advice: Read Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding. It will help you keep your sanity about what’s really important about the wedding day, and about how you can have an amazing event on a small scale.

Photography: Katie Stoops

Venue: Agricultural History Farm Park in Montgomery County, Maryland

Clay’s navy blue suit, blue checkered shirt: J.Crew

Zach’s light gray pants, vest / necktie:  J.Crew / Banana Republic

Stationery: By Hand Invitations

Rentals / lighting: Capital Party Rentals / Atmosphere Lighting

Gypsy Jazz band: Hot Club of DC

Catering / drinks: Oliver Friendly from Eat & Smile Foods / Ace Beverage

Dessert: Dangerously Delicious Pies

Congratulations Zach and Clay! Yet another example of how simple can be just perfect. And thank you to Katie Stoops for sharing these lovely photos with us. You can see lots more from Zach and Clay’s wedding over on Katie’s blog.

Zach & Clay’s Wedding Menu


Watermelon Mint Julep

36-Hour Smoked Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches
with Homemade Pickle and Slaw

Roast Vegetable Crostini

Pork-and-Scallion Wontons and Vegetable Wontons

Trio of Soup Shots
Roasted Corn; Sweet Pea with Thai Basil; Mushroom with Homemade Bacon

Ratatouille Spoons
with Lime-Poached Shrimp

Baby BLTs with Homemade Bacon

Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
with Caramelized Onions

Mini Crab Cakes
with Roasted Corn Slaw

Choice of Pie
Peach, Blueberry, Chocolate-Peanut Butter, “The Baltimore Bomb”

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  • What a lovely wedding! The guys’ suits are so stylish and set a great tone (chic but not trying too hard). And I love their suggestion of not “hiding” before the ceremony–I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done before, but it makes so much sense!

  • craftykate says:

    i LOVE this post for oh-so-many-reasons.
    my partner & i are having a casual & very DIY wedding in a craft museum this July.
    can’t wait….really.
    where did those adorable string lights come from? i LOVE them.

  • Meigh says:

    Love it. My partner and I actually considered this venue before going with another MoCo property (sadly, sans alpacas). I hope our wedding looks half this good!
    Also, where did you get the flowers? They’re lovely, and we’re still trying to find a wholesaler we like in DC.

  • Zach says:

    Thanks again to Katie for these awesome photos! And thanks to everyone else for the nice comments on our wedding!

    To answer a couple questions:

    @craftykate: The lights were just summer patio lights from Target. You can find similar ones from lots of places, but the Target ones were the cheapest we found (on sale at the end of the summer last year for something like $9 a strand).

    @Meigh: We got the flowers from Mccallum Sauber, a wholesaler with a storefront in the Washington Flower Center on Eckington Pl. NE (just behind the big Fed Ex center on NY Ave., near the headquarters of XM). We had to get there at 6 a.m. (the good stuff goes early, apparently), but they were a STEAL. We got all of our flowers for about $200. SO worth arranging them ourselves.

  • Thanks so much for featuring a “gay” wedding! (In quotes because a wedding is a wedding is a wedding, of course!) I check this site all the time and as wonderful as it is to be constantly inspired by the different couples’ ceremonies, it’s particularly meaningful to see these two :) Thanks again!
    P.S. I hope it’s ok that I borrowed one of the pictures with full links back – but let me know if that needs to come down!

  • Kirstie Christopherson says:

    Inspiring how inclusive you are and Snippet & Ink is!
    I love the barn.
    Red and yellow are always in a good mood.
    Beautiful, simple and loving.

  • MeitsMo says:

    Love this!!! Zach and Clay look so happy and so in love! I adore the simple lighting and the attention to detail that emphasizes the natural beauty of the place and them! Thank you for sharing on your website, and thanks to Zach and Clay for sharing!!

  • I love that you made a feature out of this, good job in pioneering samesex marriage, the more we talk about it the more it will be accepted by all in the near future, and tolerance is what this world needs right now!

  • I’m so happy to be seeing pics of a same-sex wedding ceremony! Its literally the first that I’ve seen in a week of looking at dozens of wedding blogs.

    On a practical note, where can I get those cute portable size slates?

  • Zach says:

    @Luce — Are you asking about the little chalkboards? We made those ourselves using blocks of wood from a hardware store that we painted with chalkboard paint.

  • annie says:

    Thanks for featuring a gay wedding… too few of these wedding blogs do!

  • This wedding looks SO PERFECT! I love it. And, thanks for the reccomendation to read the Miss Manners book! I rented it from the library and am LOVING it!! It’s really changed the way I’m thinking about the reception and gift registry… definitely puts it all in perspective.

  • Nicole says:

    I absolutely love the atmosphere you created at the barn! So special, and the pictures really capture it well. That kind of ‘vibe’ is so special, and that’s what I’m trying to do with my wedding. I want it to be relaxed, enjoyable, fun, and significant of our personalities. Your advice is spot on, planning really should be a blank slate. I wish you two the best!

  • Rachel says:

    Beautiful! Please post more weddings that celebrate love and equality. They inspire so many.

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