A Romantic Garden Wedding at a Maryland Manor

bride groom wedding day pose outdoors
Jen Huang

Though Christina and Matt had crossed paths a few times thanks to mutual friends, their official first meeting took place at a local Maryland college bar—and they never looked back. After dating for several years, Christina and Matt were overjoyed to learn that they were pregnant, given that Matt is a testicular cancer survivor. They planned to tell their family and friends the surprise news during a Fourth of July weekend beach getaway, but Matt had an additional surprise planned for Christina. During the trip, he got down on one knee; after his future bride accepted, their friends and family rushed out onto the beach walkway to celebrate with the newly-engaged couple.

Christina and Matt knew that planning a wedding with a baby on the way, while also juggling their careers, would be difficult, so they enlisted Adriana Gorman of Adriana Marie Events to pull their nuptials together; to this day, the bride says hiring Adriana was "the best decision [they] ever made." On October 20, 2018, the couple married at the Brittland Manor in Chestertown, Maryland—the venue's rolling hills and pastoral atmosphere recalled their hometown of Davidsonville, Maryland; the natural setting served as the perfect backdrop to the organic, effortless ceremony—in front of 296 guests, who flew and drove in from all over the country to witness their special day.

Personal details, including an original first dance song, a dreamy color palette, and a softly-lit reception space all contributed to the simple and romantic vibe of Christina and Matt's perfect wedding day.

Watch Christina and Matt's wedding video by Cana Family.

01 of 19

Setting the Tone

wedding invitations blue calligraphy
Jen Huang

The couple worked closely with Kelsey Malie Calligraphy, who helped realize their vision of a minimalist, romantic stationery suite. The invitations' French blue lettering was echoed throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Additional calligraphy was provided by Grove Lettering Company.

02 of 19

Forever With Me

wedding bands diamond ring over invitation
Jen Huang

Both the engagement ring and wedding bands were designed by Anna Sheffield; the center stone in Christina's engagement ring was the diamond her late father had once given her mother. "I love having a piece of that history on my hand and with me always," says Christina.

03 of 19

Role Reversal

bride mother getting ready for wedding
Jen Huang

As the co-owner of Wren Bridal in Annapolis, Christina found it an enjoyably "surreal experience" to be the customer at a bridal shop—especially since she had never actually tried on a wedding dress. A day trip to New York City with her mother led her to Spina Bride, where she found a Lee Petra Grebenau gown she loved.

04 of 19

Elegant Cape(s)

bride dress full length cape
Jen Huang

One absolute essential for Christina's bridal look was a cape. While the Lee Petra Grebenau wedding dress came with a shorter version, she collaborated with Spina Bride to create a custom, full-length iteration. "Its beauty blew me away," the bride says. "I wish I could live in that cape."

05 of 19

Simple Accessories

bride twig and honey hair vine
Jen Huang

Beyond her eye-catching cape, Christina kept it simple with her other accessories. A Twigs and Honey hair vine was artfully cut by her hair stylist and worked into Christina's low, messy chignon; diamond studs were her only jewelry. She polished off her look with comfortable heels from Steve Madden.

06 of 19

Mini Me

flower girl sitting in matching bridal dress
Jen Huang

Flower girl Charlotte wore a BHLDN dress that perfectly matched Christina's gown. "The floral appliqués and mini cape made her so very happy," the bride says.

07 of 19

An Accommodating Venue

outdoor wedding venue gated entryway brick walkway
Jen Huang

When searching for a venue, the couple was drawn to the fact that Brittland Manor could accommodate her large bridal party—featuring 32 members!—for the weekend. Split between the Manor House and River Lodge, a giant sleepover with loved ones made the weekend that much more special for the couple. Their group, comprised of friends, family, and close neighbors, included four best men and four maids of honor.

08 of 19

Cohesive, Not Identical

outdoor wedding bridesmaids blue pink dresses
Jen Huang

The bridesmaids' dresses were Jenny Yoo creations from Wren Bridal; they aligned perfectly with the romantic, dreamy vibe of the celebration. The 'maids all selected different chiffon dresses in shades of pale blue, creamy neutrals, and rosy pink, and were all able to find a dress style in a color they loved.

09 of 19

A True Classic

groomsmen posing tuxedos outdoors
Jen Huang

Groomsmen rented black Vera Wang tuxes from Men's Wearhouse, keeping it simple and classic.

10 of 19

Back to Nature

outdoor wedding seating wooden fold chairs
Jen Huang

The ceremony took place in a lush, tree-lined area in front of the Manor House, large enough to accommodate the 296 guests in attendance. The aisle was sprinkled with white rose petals and the trees formed a canopy above the guests. While the day began with misting rain and gray clouds, the bad weather had given way to bright sunshine by the start of the ceremony.

11 of 19

A Unique Ceremony

outdoor wedding ceremony bride groom bridesmaids
Jen Huang

Matt and Christina both describe the ceremony as their favorite part of the day. Christina was walked down the aisle by her younger brother, which was incredibly special to the bride, since their late father couldn't be there. The couple's first look happened on the aisle. "[When] I saw Christina, [I] instantly felt like the luckiest man in the world," says Matt. "The love and energy from everyone there was infectious." R&B singer Kenny Sharp, one of the groom's high school friends, performed an acoustic cover of Trevor Hall's "Lime Tree" for the processional.

The officiant, the couple's mutual friend, Chris, made their ceremony one to remember. He was both hilarious and touching, and even delighted guests with a Seth Rogen impression. The couple exchanged their own vows, after which Kenny sang Andrew Bell's "The Ladder" for the recessional.

12 of 19

Simply Refreshing

outdoor wedding reception bartenders lemonade cocktails
Jen Huang

After the ceremony, guests were happily surprised by bartenders waiting for them on the top of the hill with beers, lemonades, and the couple's signature cocktail: bourbon punch.

13 of 19

Cocktails, Anyone?

outdoor wedding reception cocktail bar
Jen Huang

Portraits, taken on the venue's rolling grounds, were kept short so the couple wouldn't miss out on the cocktail hour, which was held in the rose garden. Guests enjoyed Ken's Creative Kitchen hors d'oeuvres, as well as both a buffalo chicken dip and crab dip station. A circular bar set the communal tone for the evening, and guests had their choice of lounge chairs or high top tables. As the sun set, the string lights hung throughout the trees illuminated the garden.

14 of 19

Chic and Inviting

outdoor wedding acrylic wooden seating chart blue cards
Jen Huang

The theme of community was also conveyed through a custom escort card display. Two acrylic and wooden walls displayed the light blue cards, which were adorned with white calligraphy. At top of the display, the phrase "Dine with Us" served as an invitation for attendees.

15 of 19

Low Light, High Energy

wedding reception tablescape wooden chandeliers
Jen Huang

The reception was held in a white sailcloth tent on the red brick patio next to the rose garden. The tables were a mixture of square and rectangular shapes to evoke an open floor plan; a few large wooden chandeliers added to the magical atmosphere of the already-candlelit dining space. Guests danced the night away on an all-white dance floor while listening to DJ Dan Huynh of Premier DJ Services.

16 of 19

Minimalist Approach

minimalist table setting rose floral arrangement blue napkin
Jen Huang

Christina and Matt used a minimalist approach when it came to the table settings. Guests preselected their entrées, so no menu was needed. Pops of color came from the artfully arranged light blue napkins and gold flatware. Loosely-formed floral arrangements of rosy peach and soft mauve, interspersed with the different sized candles, also added to the simple and romantic layout.

17 of 19

Sweet Treats

molasses cream cheese wedding cake with roses
Jen Huang

A spice cake, crafted by Catherine George Cakes, was covered with molasses cream cheese icing and accented by drum roses and greenery. For a non-cake option, guests also enjoyed cannolis—Matt's favorite dessert.

18 of 19

"A Transformative Experience"

wedding reception bride and groom table black and white
Jen Huang

Matt and Christina's big-day goal was to create a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere for their guests. "We are blessed to know and love so many incredible souls, so we wanted our day to include and honor them as well," says Christina. One attendee described the day as "a transformative experience," and, while the couple laughed off that characterization at the time, the bride says they were continuously told by loved ones that their "love [was] felt throughout the evening."

19 of 19


christina matt weddiing couple with son
Jen Huang

Photography, Jen Huang

Location, Brittland Manor

Event planning, Adriana Marie Events

Catering, Ken's Creative Kitchen

Flowers, Sophie Felts

Videography, Cana Family

Officiant, Christopher Walsh

Stationery, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy

Calligraphy, Grove Lettering Co.

Cake, Catherine George Cakes

Music, Dan Huynh of Premier DJ Services

Rentals, White Glove Rentals

Bride's gown and cape, Lee Petra Grebenau, Spina Bride

Hair, Amy Shaw of Z&Z Hair Artistry, Paige Clifton of PSC Hair Artistry

Makeup, Kelley Unthank

Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo, Wren Bridal

Flower girl dresses, BHLDN

Groom's tuxedo and Menswear, Men's Wearhouse

Lighting and Tent, Eastern Shore Tents and Events

Transportation, Extraordinair Limousine

Rings, Anna Sheffield

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