Beth and Scott’s Sweet Summer Wedding at a Maryland Nature Sanctuary
Beth and Scott, a physician assistant and international business consultant, were set up by mutual friends after graduating from college and moving to Washington, D.C. A few years later, they didn’t look too far when planning their Labor Day weekend wedding—returning to Chevy Chase, Maryland, where Beth grew up. Their August 31, 2014, nuptials, which took place at Woodend Sanctuary, were just one portion of the weekend’s celebration, which kicked off with an intimate casual dinner at the bride’s parents’ home, a bridesmaids’ luncheon, rehearsal dinner aboard a riverboat with views of the nation’s capital, a party at a bar the night before the wedding, and an unplanned football game, ultimately culminating with the wedding and all its revelry.
The 155 guests joined the bride and groom at the indoor-outdoor event space, which is part of the Audubon Society and boasts historic charm. It all came together with a common thread of spring green, navy blue, and Champagne with a classic and slightly preppy style throughout. “I wanted friends and family to feel like they were at an upscale garden party,” Beth says. “And it felt like a very intimate wedding while also seeming like a big family dinner gathering.”
Suann Song of Simplesong Design created the navy-and-white stationery suite, accented with a laurel-style illustration.
The day prior to the wedding, the bridesmaids gathered for a lunch while the groom and his buddies played a game of touch football in the park next to the hotel.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The night before the wedding, guests joined the bride and groom for a dinner cruise on the Potomac River aboard the Cherry Blossom riverboat.
The Love Boat
Scott and Beth shared a moment together on the water during their rehearsal dinner.
A Bridal Updo
Because of the humid weather on the big day, Beth opted for an updo. Her hairstylist, Carissa Lawlor of Locks and Lace, used extensions to add volume before braiding and twisting Beth’s hair into place. White spring roses were the finishing touch.
The bride and her bridesmaids primped for the wedding at Beth’s childhood home, located just a few miles away from the ceremony location. The girls couldn’t help but peek out the window as Beth posed for her bridal portraits on the front porch.
The First Look
“My favorite moment of the day was probably the first look,” Beth says. “All of the chaos of the beginning of the day was over and it was just us, together, reflecting on everything and getting excited for what lay ahead.”
Beth chose a Modern Trousseau dress (to which she added a bit of lace along the neckline), a fingertip veil with organza trim from Bride’s Head Revisited, Pink 2 Blue flats, earrings from her mother, and a Mikimoto pearl bracelet that her dad had given her mom.
In addition to her all-white bouquet, Beth carried a petite book of common prayer, which both her mother and grandmother had also clutched as they walked down the aisle at their own weddings.
Bridesmaids wore short J.Crew dresses and carried petite bouquets that complemented the bride’s.
A few minutes prior to the ceremony, the bride and groom signed their Jewish marriage license with two friends serving as witnesses on the document.
The Bride’s Entrance
“I had an emotional moment during the processional, when all the bridal party had gone and it was just my dad and I, standing there together overlooking it all,” Beth remembers, particularly since there was a storm looming over the horizon. “It felt like this quiet moment carved out of the day for just the two of us to share.” The duo entered the ceremony to David Gray’s “This Year’s Love.”
The ceremony, which took place in the grove at Woodend Sanctuary, was primarily Jewish, but it mixed in some traditions to honor Beth being half Episcopalian. Portions of the ketubah were recited as vows between the bride and groom.
White hydrangea clusters were tied to the chairs along the aisle.
Beth’s uncle played guitar and sang a traditional Irish wedding blessing, and in keeping with the upbeat song selection, the couple chose a Coldplay song (“Hurts Like Heaven”) for their recessional.
The Little Ones
A Custom Bar
A custom bar, outfitted with dark green trim, anchored cocktail hour. “Looking back, I think it changed the entire feel of the venue, and made it unique and memorable,” says Beth.
A Wreath Above
The couple’s wedding planners, floral designer, and stationer banded together to create the showpiece of the custom bar—a wreath of fresh flowers and greenery surrounding a 3-D blue cutout of the bride and groom’s new shared initial.
Arrangements of assorted ferns and greenery paired with white roses and astilbes accented the celebration.
Cheers for Beers
Though cocktail hour was cut short due to a thunderstorm, the menu had a lasting impact—including this pairing of Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA and Chesapeake Bay waffle chips. Mini margaritas served with petite duck confit tacos were also passed, as were hot wing mini cakes, mini chicken and waffles, barbacoa tacos, grilled cilantro shrimp, and tiny lobster rolls.
Please Be Seated
To create a focal point that blended in with the woodsy surroundings in the cocktail area, floral designer Amaryllis, Inc. decorated a large wooden sideboard buffet table for the escort-card display. A lush mix of flora and fauna covered elevated tiers, while wood sticks with notches held the escort cards, calligraphed by a family friend.
On the Menu
Dinner was mostly upscale comfort food, with a touch of barbecue as a nod to the bride’s time living in North Carolina. It began with a caprese salad, which was followed by a crab cake (because you can’t have a Maryland wedding without a crab cake!) before a main course of Dijon potato gratin, corn purée, coleslaw, field green bundles, corn muffins, smoked brisket, barbecue chicken, and corn off the cob. The menu was printed on large chalkboards displayed throughout the tent.
Table for Two
The newlyweds opted to sit at a sweetheart table. “It was nice to have our own little space to return back to and be together,” Beth says. The larger rounds for the guests were set with the same place settings of simple etched glassware, flatware, and a white ceramic bistro-style plate with a subtle raised pattern on the rim. A green ticking stripe napkin sat atop the plates with a sprig of rosemary.
The traditional white cake was dressed up with fresh flowers. Inside was an almond cake with a buttercream praline filling.
Scott loved the moment that he and his wife gave short speeches after cutting the cake. “We were married, so happy, and having so much fun,” he recalls. “And then just looking around the room and seeing everyone was so exciting and emotional.”
Desserts for Days
Beth’s major sweet tooth meant there’d be a dessert table at the reception. It boasted mini chocolate-chip ice-cream sandwiches, tiny Key lime pie slices, carrot-cream-cheese sandwich cookies, chocolate-chip-cookie-dough bonbons, heart-shaped brownie bites, and fresh fruit.
Mini root beer floats were also passed.
The First Dance
“Maybe I’m Amazed” by the Beatles played as the newlyweds took to the dance floor. “It is such a classic,” Beth recalls. “And it was the first song Scott learned how to play on the piano.”
Up in the Air
The reception space was a bit too small for the typical hora—or rather, the dance floor was packed and people couldn’t get a circle moving. So instead, everyone clapped along and the couple still was lifted up on chairs, followed by their parents, brothers, best man, and maid of honor.
A Salty Treat
Since soft pretzels are the bride’s favorite indulgence, it was a no-brainer to add them to the menu and serve with individual packets of mustard.
The Sign Says It All
A sign reading “The Most Amazing Day Ever” was intended to go on the getaway car in lieu of the traditional “Just Married” number, but because of the rain, the send-off was modified to the venue’s staircase, and the sign was held instead for a photo op. It now hangs as a special memento in the couple’s home.