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E&B’s Brilliant DIY Wedding

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The happy couple, just married, with their dog Izzy. (Photo credit: John Waire)

How we met: E and I met in grad school. She and I bonded during one of those strange but wonderful evenings where crazy things happened. Let’s just say there was a cold tub involved (no nudity though, I swear!). My most memorable experience with E was when we drove across the country during my move to California. We spent almost every minute of every day together for 5 days, and yet we never came close to driving each other crazy. One thing that was solidified during our road trip was that we’re food twins — we’ll go to a restaurant and order the same exact dish without previous consultation. We’ve since discovered that we’re also music and movie twins.  Netflix says that we’re 89% similar, which is pretty frickin’ similar! Despite the physical distance between us over the past 5+ years, she has stayed one of my best friends, partially because we maintain an insane emailing rate of several hundred a year. (Thanks Gmail for keeping track of our email threads!)

How they met: B & E met after college at the University of Pittsburgh, where they were both working in labs. They hit it off right away: on their first date, they discovered that they both wanted to go to Belize, which they did the following year. In 2002, they moved down to Chapel Hill, NC where E eventually earned her PhD in Biology. In 2004, they embarked on a long-distance relationship as B moved to Baltimore to pursue his DDS/PhD. Finally, they were reunited in 2008, when E moved up to Baltimore. With their sweet dog Izzy and their wonderfully self-renovated row house, they were finally ready to take the next step towards marriage and a family.

How I would describe the couple: As I said during my toast at their rehearsal dinner, E & B complement each other very well. Both are very intelligent and have an easy-going, no-nonsense approach to life. They’re both stubborn and love to debate, but they also know when to compromise.

About the wedding: Like E & B, the wedding was laid-back and no-nonsense. But before I tell you about the wedding, I want to write about the rehearsal dinner. We returned to my favorite Baltimore restaurant, The Brewer’s Art. Dinner was absolutely amazing. We each had the choice of several appetizers and entrees, as well as many delicious wines and  in-house beers.  I had the Caesar salad and fried halibut. Luckily, my tablemates allowed me to photograph their meals before digging in.

A delicious beer from The Brewer's Art

Chevre and strawberries with butter lettuce, pistachios, and vanilla-tarragon vinaigrette

My fantastic Caesar salad, topped with anchovy and parmesan crisp

My Utz (potato chip)-encrusted halibut, atop green garlic mashed potatoes. Served with baby clams, in a caper brown butter sauce.

Grilled shrimp. I don't recall what was underneath that pile of spring peas, but I'm sure it was tasty.

Steak frites

Dessert: tres leches cake and a flourless chocolate cake (I think). It was so delicious but I was too stuffed at this point to eat anymore.

OK, back to the wedding! E is probably my most creative, crafty friend. I’m always in awe of her ability to make beautiful bags, quilts, and photo albums out of scraps of fabric and paper. That’s why I wasn’t at all surprised that she applied her crafty skills to her wedding. Here’s a list of the things that E&B made for their wedding, including some things contributed by friends and family:

  1. All of the bouquets and centerpieces.
  2. Giant tissue paper flowers for decorating the park, site of the ceremony.
  3. Table number signs (handwriting by yours truly).
  4. Personalized place card holders made out of champagne corks by E’s dad and step-dad, which doubled as wedding favors.
  5. Napkin ties.
  6. Cake(!) by bridesmaid ST.
  7. A whole table full of homemade cookies, courtesy of the bride’s mother’s side of the family. It’s a delicious tradition.
  8. From the bride’s dad’s side of the family, another yummy tradition: brandy slush! Strongly brewed tea, some OJ concentrate, lemon juice, tons of sugar, and about 50% peach brandy.
  9. The amazing transformation of the Lithuanian Hall from drab to fab (ha, I made a rhyme!).
  10. A great playlist on DJ iPod.
  11. The bridesmaid dresses were custom made by Amanda Archer via Etsy. (Amanda isn’t a personal friend, but these dresses definitely added to the uniqueness of the wedding.)
  12. For our bridesmaid gifts, E made us matching clutches. Ever the practical person, she also included a Baggu shopping bag inside for everyday use.

There were probably more things, but I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.

I got this red velvet cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake as a special wedding day treat for the bride. It was my duty as her bridesmaid to make sure she was fed and happy!

ST putting the finishing touches on her homemade wedding cake. Doesn't it look amazing?!

Me and my fellow bridesmaids (thoroughly) enjoying our brandy slush. So refreshing on a hot summer day! (Photo credit: NK)

The food was great too! Dinner was catered by Water for Chocolate. The menu, as sent to me by the bride, was:

Appetizers: pigs in a blanket, marinated grilled veggies, artichoke dip and focaccia
Main dishes: prime rib, crab cakes, and roasted pear and gorgonzola risotto
Sides: green beans and roasted red potatoes
Dessert: ST’s cake and the cookie table
Drinks: 10 cases of wine — 5 each red and white. As E wrote, “This was WAY too much.  Twice as much as we needed for 120 people. Luckily, B learned to love wine on our honeymoon. Also, 2 kegs of beer which was perfect but only because of the after-party.”

My dinner plate: roasted potatoes, green beans, crab cakes, and grilled veggies.

The amazing dessert spread. Made with love by family & friends.

The bride and groom after successfully cutting the cake and feeding it to each other.

The reception seemed to zip right by, and before we knew it, it was time to leave the Lithuanian Hall. Luckily, E & B’s friends, who own a building just a few doors down, invited us all over for an after party. We each grabbed a couple of bottles and a plate of cookies and headed over, where we hung out with the bride and groom for what was left of the lovely summer evening.

The after-party spread.

E & B hired an amazing photographer named John Waire. I loved the photojournalistic quality of his photos. Unfortunately, the images I posted here are low resolution, but I think you get the idea.

Photo credit: John Waire

Happy 3 month-a-versary, E & B!

Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

3 thoughts on “E&B’s Brilliant DIY Wedding

  1. Loved this post, Jen. I loved reliving the weekend. Thanks for sharing!

    PS- LOVE LOVE brandy slush!

  2. The cookie table was one of my favorite things! Fishers, Laneys, and friends from Pittsburgh and Baltimore contributed. I was eating them for days!

  3. I had so much fun with all of you at this wedding. It was my first trip to Baltimore. I loved the cookies! Oh my, and those brandy slushies were amazing!

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