Two years after Stefanie and Ian first met (on JDate!) — and the day before her birthday —, Ian decided to use his summer Friday as an excuse to meet Stefanie for lunch in Central Park. "We lived near the park and had picnicked there before, so I didn't think it was too out of the ordinary," she says. When she found Ian, he'd set up a beautiful spread beneath a tree in an open area. But before he let her eat, he said he wanted to give her a birthday present and then recited a poem he'd written inside her birthday card. "By the time he got to the end, I realized it was no ordinary card, and I started crying. I was hysterical by the time he got on one knee!" Stefanie remembers. Little did she know, he'd invited her brother and a photographer to capture the whole thing on camera.
The city-dwellers decided to head to the country for their October 10, 2015, wedding, choosing Inverness Farm in Monkton, Maryland, as the perfect place to show off the foliage and host a rustic, romantic celebration for 205 guests. "The barn is filled with antiques and lots of charm. We knew it was the right place as soon as we saw it!" says the bride. They went for a refined version of a fall palette, with shades of navy, aubergine, larkspur blue, and blush, and skipped the seated dinner in favor of a cocktail-style reception full of delicious hors d'oeuvres, cozy lounge seating, and lots of dancing. Take a look at this elegant fall wedding, photographed by Lindsay Hite for Readyluck, below!
Stefanie tried on over 100 dresses (and narrowed it down to 12!) before deciding on this silk taffeta Amsale ball gown, with a sweetheart neckline, low back, and a brooch at the waist. "I only shopped with my mom," she says. "We live far apart and I'm her only daughter, so it was special to have this ultimate shopping experience together."
She paired her wedding dress with loose curls and a romantic bouquet of dahlias, amnesia, Juliette roses, anemones, and seeded eucalyptus.
Stefanie is really close with her dad and knew she wanted to do a first look with him on her wedding day. "He wouldn't let me see his new tux before the wedding!" she laughs — and we love that he chose velvet!. "I'll never forget that moment."
She also had a first look with her groom, who wore a bespoke tuxedo for the couple's big day.
"Planning a wedding from out of town is tough," says Stefanie. "We relied on my mom a lot to meet with vendors and approve the details we couldn't be there to see."
With 25(!) people in their wedding party, Stefanie and Ian knocked it out of the park fashion-wise. The groomsmen wore classic tuxedos, while the bridesmaids donned chiffon dresses in navy, eggplant, light blue, and blush. "I had them pick their own silhouettes, and every one of their 12 dresses is different!" says the bride.
The pair's watercolor invitations perfectly set the scene for the airy fall celebration.
The ceremony took place beneath a chuppah decorated with garden roses and olive branches. "We wanted the focus to be on the elegant flowers, so we kept the structure simple," says the bride. "The weather ended up being unseasonably chilly, so we erected a tent over the ceremony site to fight the cool breeze. It still turned out absolutely stunning!"
The couple had a traditional Jewish ceremony, but did add their own twist to the content of their Ketubah, writing their own vows of love to one another along with the ancient text.
With so many bridesmaids and groomsmen, the pair reserved the front rows for their wedding party to sit, with their family joining them beneath the chuppah.
Guests were able to mingle both inside and out of the multi-level barn. Outdoors, café lights were strung from the trees, while inside vignettes of furniture were arranged throughout the space.
"For our cocktail-style reception, we served things like tuna tartar tacos and butternut squash ravioli," says Stefanie, who chose heavier passed hors d'oeuvres to help fill up her guests. Tables were topped with sequined linens and seasonal blooms in bud vases, while a vintage bathtub next to the bar was filled with craft beers.
The pair cut into a naked cake with layers of almond and marble cake filled with chocolate and vanilla buttercream.
"I loved having my best friends from all eras of my life gathered together in one place," says Stefanie. "Getting ready with my girls was one of the highlights of my day." She also advises being as organized as possible: "The more organized you can be, the smoother the process will go, and you won't miss a single detail!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Inverness Farm || Wedding Planner: Sharlene Sherman Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Amsale || Shoes: Valentino || Hair: Form Salon || Makeup: Glamaloft || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy || Groom's Attire: Michael Andrews Bespoke || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Radcliffe Jewelers || Floral Design: Amaryllis, Inc. || Invitations: Julie Song Ink || Music: Nightsong || Catering: Linwoods || Cake: Graul's Market || Rentals: Amaryllis, Inc.; Loane Bros., Inc. || Favors: Parker's Crazy Cookies || Videographer: Eric Tomakin Films || Photographer: Lindsay Hite for Readyluck
Feeling inspired by this beautiful fall wedding? Then we bet you'll love watching another couple's autumnal nuptials in the video below.