This Historic Church Ceremony Was Followed By an Intimate Reception

Christopher and Rick

Kate Headley

November 18, 1994, is an important date for Christopher Vázquez and Rick Davis. It marks the night they met at a Capitol Hill watering hole. "Rick and I locked eyes across a crowded room," says Christopher, then a restaurant manager. "You think it could never happen, then it does." The next day, Christopher called to ask Rick out, and the rest is history.

Over the past two decades, the pair shared major life changes, with Christopher joining Rick's D.C.–area floral and event design business, Amaryllis, in 2005. They also planted roots (literally and figuratively) in Hollywood, Maryland, when they bought 27 acres of land in 2003 and built their home, No Fish Creek Farm. But one major step was still ahead. "Marriage was something we knew would happen down the road, but we wanted to get married in our home state," which wasn't an option, explains Christopher. Then, in January 2013, Maryland legalized same-sex marriage.

That November, on the anniversary of their meeting, Rick filled the house with yellow calla lilies—the bloom he had brought Christopher on their first date. Every year that followed, Rick mistakenly gave orange calla lilies (a glaring error for a floral buff), until Christopher set the record straight in 2012. With Rick's proposal in a house full of yellow flowers and Christopher's "yes" on record, they set about planning their ideal wedding on October 19, 2014—a non-denominational vow exchange in one of Maryland's most historic churches, followed by a 100-person Sunday supper at the farm. Most of the produce, as well as the goat, duck, and venison served for the farm-to-table meal, was raised right on-site by the grooms, while Rick's brother and sister-in-law prepared the stuffed ham (a southern Maryland delicacy), and his sister and niece baked desserts from scratch. In a nod to Christopher's birthplace, his mom brought Puerto Rican pasteles to round out the hearty spread. The celebration was a dinner at home, but one that was bigger, better, and way more special than usual. "It made our relationship even stronger," says Christopher. And gave them a second date to celebrate with flowers, friends, and family for years to come.

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The Save-the-Date

Kate Headley

The rustic invite's antler and feather motifs signaled the festivities to come at No Fish Creek Farm, the pair's home in Hollywood, Maryland.

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The Fashions

Kate Headley

"For 21 years, we've been together literally nonstop," says Christopher (right), in J.Crew and Hermès, of his relationship to Rick, in Ermenegildo Zegna.

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A Group Photo Op

Kate Headley

The afternoon of the wedding, attendees took a walking tour of St. Mary's City, visiting the first statehouse and the historic church where the couple would exchange vows later that day.

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History in the Making

Kate Headley

Christopher fell for the Historic Brick Chapel of 1667 in nearby St. Mary's City at first sight—a reaction that set other wedding decisions in motion. "I then knew we should have a small wedding at our farm that was about us, our home, and our roots." The pair processed into the chapel and down the aisle side-by-side to "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" by The Smiths.

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Old Meets New

Kate Headley

Selecting the burnt orange altar linen was Rick's first design decision, and from there, the autumnal color palette and woodsy arrangements took shape—décor fitting for both the chapel, situated on a vast open field, and their eclectic home decorated in earthy tones.

Naturally, the floral and event designers marked the stage for the nondenominational ceremony with topiaries and set out Lucite chairs for their guests to observe from.

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The Ceremony

Kate Headley

A local judge officiated the nondenominational ceremony in a chapel with an almost 350-year history.

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Walking Tour

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Guests spent the relaxed afternoon both indoors and outdoors taking in the farm's novelties. "The best thing was that we were able to entertain our friends and family but kept the celebration intimate enough to really visit with each guest," says Rick.

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A Reception at Home

Kate Headley

"It was an absolutely amazing October day," says Rick. "Crisp and cool."

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Season's Greetings

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"I come from a restaurant background, so I was passionate about developing a menu drawn from the farm" says Christopher. The couple also spent the summer tending to produce later transformed into wedding favors: hot pepper-rosemary jelly, "Three Notch" hot sauce (named after a nearby road), dilly green beans, curried pickles, marinara sauce, and pickled beets.

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Cocktail Hour Outside

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During cocktail hour on the deck, partygoers sipped bourbon-pear cider and snacked on fried oysters and homemade potato chips with caramelized onion dip while '80s music played.

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Simple Sourcing

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Rick and Christopher filled vases with blooms native to their home, such as dahlias, hydrangeas, bittersweet, berries, and other fall foliage.

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A Fall Feast

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The family-style dinner featured produce and game raised on their farm. Preferring to stay put for the fall harvest, the couple postponed a honeymoon.

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Sweet Bounty

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Taken with the age-old tradition of asking family members to prepare food for wedding receptions, Rick enlisted his sister and niece to bake the apple, cherry, and coconut cream pies, coconut cake, and cranberry-walnut bar—all from scratch—for the homespun, self-serve dessert bar. Vanilla ice cream from the local creamery was also on offer for a-la-mode creations.

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Homemade Favors

Kate Headley

Revelers left with jars of hot-pepper-rosemary jelly, pickled beets, marinara sauce, and curried pickles, all sourced from the farm.

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Kate Headley

Ceremony Location: The Historic Brick Chapel of St. Mary's City

Event Coordination: RJ Whyte Event Production

Catering: Canards Catering and Event Planning

Flowers, Décor, and Event Design: Amaryllis Floral + Event Design

Photography: Kate Headley

Stationery: Simplesong Design

Calligraphy: Arney Walker Calligraphy

Music: PopCulture Strings

Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.; DC Rental

Rick's Attire: Ermenegildo Zegna

Christopher's Attire: J.Crew

Rick's Shoes: Robert Graham

Christopher's Tie: Hermès

Transportation: Linder Global Events

Embroidered Cocktail Napkins: Whyte House Monograms

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