Molly describes herself as a bit OCD when it comes to wedding-planning—a holdover from her former life as an event coordinator. But even the most carefully laid plans can get derailed: Just days before their August wedding in her hometown of Annapolis, Maryland, Molly, now an advertising assistant, and Matthew, a tech-sales account manager, learned that Hurricane Irene was going to hit the waterfront city. "We rearranged a year's worth of details in three hours!" recalls Molly.
They moved the party inside their venue, the Annapolis Yacht Club, whose staff, knowing rain would keep members home, let the 175 guests take over all three floors of the club instead of just the ground level. "We added a few extra bar stations; we knew our crowd would take advantage," Molly explains. "And there were gorgeous flower garlands to show off the dramatic staircases and bring the outside in."
But there was one detail the storm couldn't upend: the spirit of the day itself, celebrating the seven-year courtship of the L.A.-based couple, who met as Penn State lacrosse recruits. "Irene actually took a lot of the pressure off--by the time I found out our church had lost power, it was too late to worry. And sure, we had no-shows, and not everyone got to blow-dry their hair or wear exactly what they'd planned, but that's not what a wedding's about. We were getting married with our favorite people all in one place, so we knew it was going to be great.
"For my shoes, I wanted something classy and neutral," says Molly of her pearl-embellished Kate Spade heels. Molly wore her mother's veil—months after her sister had worn it at her own wedding. The bride decided on "universally flattering" white bridesmaids' dresses: "When [Prince William and Kate's] wedding aired, my mother called and said, 'You definitely made the right decision.'"
The couple's church ceremony was candlelit due to Hurricane Irene and the outage it caused; as though on cue, the power came back just after Molly and Matt were pronounced husband and wife. The newlyweds shared a post-ceremony kiss in their limo: "I still can't believe Matt wore saddle shoes, but he totally rocked them," says Molly.
The escort-card table incorporated the couple's colors via blue votives, white hydrangeas, and red ink-stamped cards. The almond-flavored cake—loosely based on their favorite candy bar, Almond Joy—had coconut-and-chocolate ganache filling. The bride and her dad hugged after his toast: "I'm the youngest, and he had just told me for the first time that I was a happy surprise." Molly's mom hung a custom life preserver on the main bar, which was built to resemble a ship. Matt ordered so many beer-koozie favors (the flip side reads, "To have and to hold and keep your beer cold") that the bartenders started handing them out with drinks: "One guest wore them as gloves on the dance floor," recalls Molly.
Matt (holding a Yuengling beer, brewed near his hometown of Philadelphia) and Molly embraced at the end of the evening. The head table was decorated with hydrangeas, roses, and artemisia in tall vases, along with the bridesmaids' bouquets in mint-julep cups: "I found inspiration on sites like Ralph Lauren Home and the Brabourne Farm blog," Molly explains.
Photos: Kate Headley
Venue and caterer: Annapolis Yacht Club || Cake: Palate Pleasers || Day-of coordinator: Raquel Shutt, Wedding Savvy || Rentals: Capital Party Rentals || Floral designer: Romance of Flowers || Lighting & Decor: Event Dynamics || Bride's dress: Amsale || Bridesmaids' dresses: Thread, available at Bella Bridesmaid || Band: Sound Nation
Visit our Real Weddings page to find more preppy style inspiration.