I had an amazing time capturing this beautiful DIY wedding at The Great Room at Savage Mill in Maryland! Read along with the amazing wedding story forwarded to me by Justin & Joe to go along with these images:
Our journey to marital bliss began long before Joe proposed on a warm evening on March 12th. It began 3 years prior when we decided to go "Steady" during a late night phone call at 12:03am.
Joe and I first met in December of 2009 at Gay District during a discussion that I facilitated. With humor and brevity being a major role in both of our lives, Joe and I initially bonded over MST3K: Mystery Science Theater 3000, an irreverent television show that rifted movies! While forming a love for each other, we also found our love for Sushi, picnic dates, volunteering and of course our love for old hollywood films and the actresses that starred in them.
With the last of these being a theme for our wedding, we were excited to share our love for each other and the honor and commitment it represents with our family and loved ones on May 25th, 2014 , when we finally said, "I DO!"
Justin and Joe prepared for their big day at the Courtyard Fort Meade BWI
Our 3-year anniversary was on March 12, 2012 and, after arriving home to surprise Joe with word of the new job I had just landed, we decided to go on a picnic at a beautiful park not far from our apartment. With blankets, candles, soft music, pizza and a poorly wrapped Wok we enjoyed our evening and exchanged presents. When time came for me to receive my Wok (which Joe replaced because his former roommate stole mine) he told me that there was something for me at the bottom of the box. I dug around in am mixture of newspaper and scholastic currency which Joes school uses as an incentive for students...and Joe uses as stuffing I found a small lump of wrapping paper. I opened it and thought, "Aww...what a beautiful ring...." . Then Joe grabbed it from me and got very serious. I don't remember what he said after that, he could have been giving me a recipe for blueberry muffins but I knew whatever it was...he wanted to give it to me and that made me feel special. Immediately after he slipped the ring on my finger a small group of people walked past us and smiled politely at our picnic. I called out, "Hello" They replied...and I yelled, "IM ENGAGED!!!!" Being an interracial Gay couple you can never know how people will respond and in that moment i didn't care. As luck would have it they were very excited for us and even stopped to take our photos so we could remember that evening forever.
Joe found The Great Room at Savage Mill in Washington in an ad in Bride and Groom magazine. I of course had to research them via wedding wire as we have all of our vendors and found amazing reviews and called in for a visit. The space was spectacular; huge floor to ceiling windows, vaulted ceiling, sconces, pillars, a balcony overlooking a beautiful forest...everything. We also loved the history (having been built in 1820) and how unique the space was.
Our reception theme was Old Hollywood / New Romantic. We incorporated bright colors, tangerine and lemon, with our love of black and white movies to create a unique space and feel. With the golden up lighting the reception was bathed in an old Hollywood glow which set the mood for the evening. Our DJ, DJ Myra, worked with us to incorporate beautifully timed period love songs for the cocktail hour and dinner. Love songs by Gershwin and Porter. Our first dance was to, "You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger" modern take on an old jazz sound and feel. We worked quite extensively on our ceremony and reception decorations, and much of it was DIY, including the shadowbox portraits of old Hollywood actresses, flower mason jars, small jars coated in glitter with tealights, and what was quite the hit, three lounge spaces with themes from three of our most favorite movies to go with the Old Hollywood theme: Singin in the Rain, Pillow Talk, and Gaslight which we turned into photo booths. Each having an instant Polaroid camera and a guest book. We knew we couldn't be everywhere at once so we tried to have people capture their moments on the lounge spaces and write us well wishes to go along with them. With our good friends, Aaron and Rebecca, we made these unique places great opportunities for cuddling with your special someone, photo ops, or making new friends. Thankfully our photographer, Jon Fleming, was there to capture all of these moments beautifully and still allow our guests to maintain their moments uninterrupted. He even took the time to photograph all of the small DIY details throughout the wedding and ceremony! He was AMAZING!
The reception included a first dance with Joe and I, a dance with my mother, and a tossing of the groomsmaids bouquets to a crowd full of unattached people, both male and female! However, what was perhaps the greatest effect of the night, was a unity circle that was directed by our DJ, DJ Myra of HB Productions. This circle started with us in the center slow dancing. All of our guests joined hands around us to the sounds of Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed. Myra directed people to come towards us with personal messages throughout the song. The words that people had for us were so beautiful and touching; both of us started to tear up. Finally, towards the end of the song, people came together and enclosed us, and we really felt their love. It was an unexpectedly beautiful ending to our wedding.
Vendors involved (click to visit their sites!):
Venue: Great Room at Savage Mill
Photography: Jon Fleming Photography
DJ: DJ Myra
Cake: Edibles Incredibles
Makeup: Faces by Brandi