This Couple Created Their Own Slice of Europe at Their Maryland Nuptials
Macey Lutz and Joshua Schumacher didn't meet while abroad—though their European-inspired wedding would suggest otherwise. The bride did, however, learn of her future husband while working as an au pair in Milan, Italy, during the summer of 2015. After joining an American au pair Facebook group, she met up with another member, Jessie, in Santa Margherita; she and Jessie quickly became close, and her friend soon realized that she attended Liberty University. Surprised, Jessie told her that she had another close friend (enter Joshua!) who would be transferring there in the fall. "I can distinctly remember Jessie saying, 'I'm not quite sure what it is, but I know that you two would be such great friends,'" recalls the bride.
Jessie was spot on. Back at school, Macey and Joshua connected over Reese's milkshakes; they sat at one of Liberty's lookout spots and talked for hours about anything and everything. "We both undoubtedly came to the conclusion that we had connected with each other in a way that we never had with anyone else before," adds Macey, noting that they established an incredible friendship before they took things further. "That's something we love about our story. We were best friends who fell in love." Joshua, however, didn't just ask Macey to be his girlfriend when he felt the time was right: "He drove seven hours roundtrip from Liberty University to Northern, Virginia, to take my mom out to dinner, asking her permission for us to date (my heart still melts knowing that he did all of this to just date me)." Naturally, the proposal was just as epic. After sweeping her away to Malibu and playing a prepared video—complete with poignant clips from so many of their family members, her mother included—Joshua got down on one knee, and was met with a resounding "Yes!" from Macey.
The couple spent the year they were engaged doing long distance, planning their black-tie garden wedding, which was held at Oxon Hill Manor in Maryland, while apart. Originally, they thought they'd plan a small ceremony in the Italian countryside (a nod to their roundabout meet-cute), but realized that they wanted to "celebrate with as many of our closest family and friends as possible." Still, they didn't want to give up on the idea of Italy's romantic aesthetic. Luckily, they didn't have to. They got a little more than they could have bargained for during their June 2, 2019, nuptials (which were witnessed by their 93 guests!), thanks to an epic rainbow (and then a double rainbow) that appeared during their portrait session.
"From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted custom wedding invitations," explains Macey, noting that a bespoke suite would set the tone for the black-tie affair to come. Though the bride worked closely with her sister-in-law, Taryn Schumacher, to create the set (which featured an illustration of the venue and a personalized crest), its overall design concept and (especially) its focal point—a vellum overlay emblazoned with their favorite engagement photo—were born from her ideas. She was incredibly proud of the final result; the cards were printed by CatPrint and topped with Minted stamps.
Macey posed for a few portraits—dressed in a gauzy white robe—before slipping into her wedding dress; the images previewed her statement earrings from J. Crew.
Hands on Deck
Her polished French manicure perfectly complemented her classic yellow gold engagement ring, comprised of an oval-cut diamond.
"My shoes were another favorite accessory. I randomly came across them online the day I got my wedding dress and ended up ordering them the same day," says Macey of her Betsy Johnson platform sandals. "I loved the Tiffany-blue accent on the bottom and the gorgeous satin and bead detailing; they went perfectly with my gown."
Macey was drawn to her wedding dress' presence before she even tried it on. "I fell in love with the hand-crafted beading and the statement the dress made, overall," she says. "I had never seen something so elegant and timeless, modern, yet classic—with just the perfect amount of drama."
The gown was designed specifically for the boutique she purchased it from—Global Bridal Gallery—so it was truly one of a kind. The bride's timing was just as rare: The gown was in the shop for exactly one day (the day Macey, by chance, walked through its doors) before it was shipped out to trunk shows over the next six months. "My incredible stylist Maria had pulled it for me, and it was the one dress I tried on that made my Mom cry."
Dressed in Black
The bride dressed her attendants in black—a decision she'd always known she'd make. The David's Bridal gowns flattered every figure, she says, and balanced "modern edge with a timeless look." Ahead of the wedding day, Macey worked with Monica Vinader to gift her bridesmaids custom sterling silver bracelets engraved with their initials; the women all wore their thank-you presents during the celebration.
To ensure her own ensemble felt cohesive with her bridesmaids', Macey carried a white-centric bouquet that was nearly identical to her counterparts'. Her large, loose arrangement from The Garden Studio was comprised of myra, tibet, and majolica roses, ranunculus, freesias, white lace cap hydrangeas, and peonies; Italian ruscus, variegated ivy, olive branches, jasmine vine, and salal added earthy green to the mix. The bridesmaids' smaller clutches featured many of the same varieties, sans peonies.
Both Joshua and his groomsmen wore traditional black tuxedos from The Black Tux.
The Finishing Touch
Before walking down the aisle, Joshua added a simple white boutonnière—made from the blooms used in his bride's bouquet—to his lapel.
Into the Garden
Two large arrangements, placed in rustic urns on ivory columns (Macey and her mother painted the columns themselves, to add soft, Romanesque texture to the space), anchored the ceremony altar; like Joshua's boutonnière, they featured the bride's signature blooms, as well as white stocks (including white hydrangeas, snapdragons, and loose greenery). The service unfolded on a picturesque pavilion, surrounded by Oxon Hill Manor's lush landscape: "The formal English gardens made it feel like you were swept away in some European fairytale," says the bride.
A sign positioned near the aisle's entrance encouraged guests to unplug for the duration of the ceremony.
Here She Comes
Both of Macey's parents walked her down the aisle to "Beautifully Evocative" by Roy Todd, before her mother lifted her veil and passed her on to Joshua.
A Christian Ceremony
Reverend Keaton of Joyful Day Ministries officiated the duos religious service, which was designed to reflect the couple's faith. They exchanged both traditional and personal vows, " something that was extremely important to us and we knew we would do from the very beginning," adds Macey.
The weather shifted just as they began reading their promises—but nothing, a little rain included, was stopping this union. "It started raining while we were reading our personal vows and our officiant stopped us at one point to see if we wanted to go inside. I peered out into the crowd and was very nonchalantly like, 'I'm good if you all are!'"
A Romantic First Kiss
Under a gentle rainfall, the couple shared their first kiss as husband and wife, before walking back up the aisle to "This Will Be an Everlasting Love" by Natalie Cole.
A Family Effort
Macey's father, a commercial graphics business owner, ideated and printed the calligraphy seen on the welcome sign, an antique mirror sourced (and painted!) by the bride and her mother.
Under the Tent
The couple's black-tie, European-inspired garden them was realized through the reception—held under a tent—décor. A mix of round and rectangular tables, circled by thematic acrylic chairs from Boda Belle Events, were topped with low, loose, and asymmetrical centerpieces held in gold mercury glass compotes. Soft, cream-colored chiffon runners were draped across each tablescape.
Romantic centerpieces were surrounded by gold votive candles, which cast a soft glow as late afternoon faded into night.
Several tables featured alternative arrangements: Halos of Italian ruscus and white wax flowers were arranged around pillar candles housed in glass hurricanes. Guests looked to the marble table numbers—another DIY by the bride and her mother—as they searched for their seats. " We loved how these turned out," says Macey. "I purchased marble and had it cut by one of my mom's friends and then found tin numbers at Hobby Lobby that we spray-painted gold; my mom then glued them onto the marble."
An On-Theme Cake
The duo's confection, baked by Cakes By Linda, featured a custom gold crest and floral and greenery wreath; the dessert was comprised of three flavors, including lemon cake with raspberry filling, chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling, and white almond cake with raspberry filling.
Before the treat was cut, however, the couple shared their first dance to "Best Part" by Daniel Caesar (featuring H.E.R.); Macey also took a spin with her father (to Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely) and mother (to "If I Could" by Regina Belle). " I'm extremely close with my mom and it was really important that we had a special dance together. She picked out this song and it was incredible to be able to have that moment with her," she recalls.
Photography, Du Soleil Photographie
Venue, Oxon Hill Manor
Catering, Putting On The Ritz
Videography, Cinematic Love Stories
Flowers, The Garden Studio
Stationery Design, Taryn Schumacher
Stationery Printing and Day-of Paper Goods, CatPrint
Stationery Stamps and Vellum Paper, Minted
Officiant, Reverend Keaton of Joyful Day Ministries
Bride's gown and veil, Global Bridal Gallery
Hair, Vera Wedding Hair
Makeup, Savannah Marie Schutzmeister
Bridesmaids' dresses, David's Bridal
Bridesmaid's bracelets and Mother of the bride's ring, Monica Vinader
Groom and Groomsmen's attire, The Black Tux
Guest book, Artifact Uprising
Music, Jeff Lang of Extraordinary Entertainment
Cake, Cakes By Linda
Rentals, Boda Belle Events
Transportation, Rebecca De Paris of Paris Caterers