Industrial Architecture and a Neutral Color Palette Defined This Wedding in Baltimore, Maryland
As Shelby Dorr adjusted to life as a college freshman at the University of Delaware in September 2011, she spent a lot of time with two of her high school friends who had enrolled on the same campus—and trying to catch the attention of their suite mate, David Tinsley. "Our interactions in the dorm were few and far between," says Shelby. "When I did see him, though, I was quick to rattle off a recent football stat or headline from ESPN, somehow thinking he would see me as 'with it' and maybe even cool." A few weeks into the semester, she and David realized they were in the same 300-person lecture class, and began sitting next to each other to fight their boredom. "We gained nothing from that awful class, but I do credit it for the start of our friendship," says Shelby.
Friendship turned into more over the course of their years at school, and in April 2018, David surprised Shelby with a proposal—but this pivotal moment took place at a different school. Shelby, now a teacher, was surprised in her own classroom, in front of her fourth grade students. For a week, her students kept "Operation Ms. Dorr" a secret—until one morning, when they each walked in holding a sunflower and a carefully written note describing what they loved about her. "I heard 28 love notes that morning," says Shelby. "As the last pair of students made their way to the back of the room, David walked in with a final love note. He dropped to one knee and my whole class cheered! A homemade banner reading 'Say yes, Ms. Dorr,' was unraveled and we spent the rest of the day celebrating together."
The couple continued that focus on love and celebration on their wedding day at the Mt. Washington Mill Dye House in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, 2019, surrounded by 134 of their closest friends and family. They worked towards "a vision of togetherness, saturated with love," when putting together the details, with some help from Diana Venditto at Eventi Floral & Events: They chose Baltimore to make travel easier for out-of-state guests; created a circular ceremony area that allowed them to exchange vows surrounded by, instead of in front of, their loved ones; and wrote personalized notes to each attendee, which served as escort cards. As for the bride's best advice to couples currently planning their own celebrations? "Enjoy every single moment, big and small," says Shelby. "Don't get caught up in the stress of any decision and keep your happiness as the driving focus for everything you do. It'll all work out—it always does."
Setting the Tone
Shelby and David wanted an invitation suite that was "classic, elegant, and timeless," they say, so they turned to Emily Baird Design for their notes, which paired gray text and thick, off-white paper. "The colors were intentionally used to mimic the soft, neutral tones of the wedding," says Shelby. "The liner in our invitation envelopes was also the exact design and pattern used for the groom's and groomsmen's ties."
On the morning of the wedding, Shelby and her bridesmaids posed with their handmade bouquets before putting on their dresses. In keeping with the natural tone of the event, the arrangements were loosely shaped; they featured bunches of pale-pink-and-white blooms (with one sunflower accent for the bride as a nod to David's proposal). "The girls and I all joined Diana [of Eventi Floral & Events] at her shop the Thursday before the wedding and made our bouquets together," says Shelby. "It was a blast and created a special memory for all of us."
Hoping for what she calls a "one-stop wedding-dress shopping experience," Shelby took her mother, two best friends, and brother to Kleinfeld. "My mom cried at every single dress, making it very hard to differentiate any sort of reaction," says Shelby. "My two dear friends were so kind and thoughtful, always pointing out positives. My brother, on the other hand, was the most decisive and helpful one of the bunch! His matter-of-fact attitude was exactly what I needed—he was the dark horse of the day!"
Though Shelby modeled a few more ensembles after trying on her organza Hayley Paige ball gown, she kept coming back to its draped ballerina bodice, curved V-neckline, and open back. "After trying it on in the plain white design, we all agreed that the striped version of the gown brought a certain level of fun and playfulness that wasn't replicated in any of the other dresses," she says.
Shades of Gray
Shelby's bridesmaids set the tone for the celebration's neutral palette with Bella Bridesmaids gowns in complementary gray hues.
The couple's dog, Tubby—decked out in a floral collar that matched Shelby's bouquet—walked down the aisle during the ceremony with the bride's brother.
All the men in the wedding party wore suits from Ike Behar in a navy blue tone that set off the pale florals and understated bridesmaids' dresses. David opted for a full-length tie while the groomsmen wore bow ties—all custom-made by The Cordial Churchman in a pattern that exactly matched the invitation's envelope liner.
Ready to Wed
"David claims he hates surprises, so a first look was a must," says Shelby. The couple met before their ceremony outside the Mt. Washington Mill Dye House, finding a secluded spot in a wooded corner. "Both of us were full of energy—giddy, almost—all day long," says the bride. "I couldn't wait to see my best friend, and post-first look, I couldn't wait to go get married!"
With their bridal party, the couple posed for portraits backed by the brick and metal accents of the venue. "We purposely looked for industrial venues—places there were strong in foundation and material, but could complement soft flowers," says Shelby. "The Dye House was a perfect match."
As guests entered the space for the ceremony, they were greeted by a large welcome sign printed in the same text style and colors as the invitation suite. A tall arrangement of foliage and flowers softened the look of the industrial brick building.
Circle of Love
Shelby and David created a round ceremony space by arranging wooden chairs in a circle four rows deep, divided by three aisles that allowed easy access to each seating area. A larger aisle, down which the bridal party and family entered, ended under a large hanging floral arrangement that balanced out the industrial exposed beams and concrete floor.
The bride's mother and father walked her down the aisle together as violinists Daniel D. and Eric Stanley played Daniel Caesar's "Best Part." David's uncle recited a blessing to begin the ceremony, and Shelby's grandfather officiated the rest of the program.
Saying "I Do"
After readings that included the works of Maya Angelou and Sarah Kay, Shelby and David exchanged traditional promises during their non-religious service. "David and I did not write our own vows," says Shelby. "However, my grandfather made certain that his remarks were wonderfully personal and purposeful."
After the ceremony, Shelby and David joined their guests at the cocktail hour, where bartenders served up the couple's favorite beers and wines. Violinist Daniel D. continued to provide the music. "He, along with his violist parter Eric Stanley, played a variety of 2000s hits and had a loyal audience the entire time," says Shelby. "People are still talking about Daniel D.!"
A hand-drawn sketch of Tubby that the couple had included on their save-the-dates reappeared at the cocktail hour on custom napkins.
The celebrants were treated to a slew of light bites during the interlude, including mini cheese popovers, Cuban sliders, and crab cakes.
A post office window framed by abundant florals served as the basis for the couple's escort card display. Each mail window included a personalized letter attached to a fresh flower.
"One of my favorite features of the wedding was our personally-written love notes to our guests," says Shelby. "To mimic the love and thoughtfulness displayed by David and my fourth grade students in the proposal, we carefully crafted love notes to each of our attending friends and family."
In the Round
Inside the reception hall, staff built three circular tables around live trees that spoke to the other floral arrangements in the room. Two long tables ran down either side of the rounds.
"We were really big on portraying a feeling of unity," says Shelby. "Our circular ceremony and use of family-style farm tables allowed groups of family and friends to flow into one another, facilitating one large group rather than separate clusters of guests."
Shelby and David insisted on keeping the wooden farm tables bare—sans runners or cloths—and accenting them only with low flower arrangements so that the natural wood could complement the concrete, brick, and metalwork of the room. "We enjoyed playing up the raw feature of the Mt. Washington Mill Dye House," says the bride. "The exposed wood tables, bar, and chairs added to the natural feel of everything, all while maintaining a heightened level of elegance."
At each setting, beveled white plates, minimalist silver flatware, and pale pink napkins set off dark gray menus that also served as place cards. Copper Kitchen served up a meal that included strawberry salad, grilled hanger steak, pan-seared salmon, vegetable pot pie, and succotash.
The couple's one layer, semi-naked carrot cake from Copper Kitchen was decorated with a few blooms. During dessert, guests were also treated to a pound cake bar where toppings like strawberries, peaches, chocolate sauce, and salted caramel were offered.
Photography, Lisa Blume Photography
Venue, Mt. Washington Mill Dye House
Event Planning and Flowers, Eventi Floral and Events
Catering and Cake, Copper Kitchen
Videography, Lee Russell Films
Stationery, Emily Baird Design
Music, Daniel D. (ceremony and cocktail hour); Michael Cruz (reception)
Rentals, BBJ Linen; Party Rentals Ltd.; Something Vintage
Bride's gown, Hayley Paige
Bride's accessories, Chrissy Marie Designs (jewelry); Tiffany & Co. (jewelry); Keds (reception shoes); Sam Edelman (ceremony shoes)
Hair and Makeup, Gloss Salon Delaware
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Bella Bridesmaids
Menswear, Ike Behar
Men's Ties, The Cordial Churchman
Lighting, Event Dynamics, Inc.
Transportation, American Limousines, Inc.
Guest Book, Artifact Uprising
Rings, David Yurman (groom); Tiffany & Co. (bride)