A Church Ceremony and Tented Reception on Chesapeake Bay

This black-tie affair fulfilled the bride's dream of a big summer wedding

Updated 04/26/18
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Photo by Rachel May Photography

For years, a mutual friend insisted that Julia Fehrenbach and Peter Baldwin needed to meet. But they didn't actually cross paths until December 2012, when they ran into each other at a charity fundraiser and exchanged numbers. And their first date didn't happen until more than a month after that—thanks, Julia’s travel schedule! “As Peter likes to say, ‘It was worth the wait!’ After our first date, the rest is history,” says Julia, adding they moved to London together a short four months later. “People must have thought we were crazy, but we knew exactly what we were doing!”

Peter's over-the-top proposal in 2016 was evidence of that. To pop the question, he rented out an entire movie theater to project a beautiful film about their love story on the big screen. Julia was (naturally!!) sobbing tears of joy as he got down on one knee. But that wasn't the only surprise: Their families and closest friends were on standby and jumped out to say, “Congratulations!” Afterwards, they all toasted to the engagement at the restaurant where Julia and Peter had their first date. And, as one final surprise, Peter planned an engagement party brunch for the next day—complete with hair, makeup, and outfits her friends had thoughtfully arranged.

After a proposal like that, it's no surprise that Julia and Peter's big day was just as thoughtfully arranged. On August 26, 2017, the couple married in Chestertown, at Maryland’s First Methodist Church, with a reception following at Brittland Estate, one of the oldest and most historically significant properties on the Eastern Shore. (George Washington was rumored to have visited the estate, a fact that this pair of history nerds loved!) Their vision: "I wanted everyone to feel like they traveled back in time to an elaborate black-tie, Gatsby-inspired garden party," says the bride. "I wanted the ambience and environment to feel warm and welcoming with a hint of European flair in an English countryside setting.”

Adriana Gorman of Adriana Marie Events brought that vision to life, and Rachel May was on hand to capture every detail. Keep reading for more!

<p>bride and bridesmaids in different dresses</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

bridesmaid helping bride get dressed

Photo by Rachel May Photography

While dress shopping, Julia decided that her dress "needed to stand the test of time." “I wanted the spirit of romantic elegance threaded through the entire gown but in an understated way," she explains. To do that, she looked to iconic brides like Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton, and ultimately selected a Monique Lhuillier gown with a train lined with French buttons.

The bride accessorized with custom pearl-and-diamond earrings, a gift from her mother that acted as her "something new." She borrowed a veil from her bridesmaid, Lindsey, as two of their other best friends have done.

bridesmaids mix matched dress

Rachel May Photography

Julia asked her bridesmaids to pick their own dresses in gold, rose gold, pink or neutral tones. ”I was slightly nervous they wouldn’t go together but it ended up looking fabulous," she says. "My sister, who was the maid of honor, was the only one in floral, to stand out. She looked gorgeous and radiant!”

groom and groomsman laughing happy

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Julia loves Peter in a tux so he wore a black tux for the ceremony and white dinner jacket for the reception. His groomsmen wore classic tuxes and slippers from the Black Tux—sans socks! “It feels relaxed but sharp,” says Julia.

<p>groom crying at altar</p>

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<p>first kiss church ceremony</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

Julia’s father walked her down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon D, which she says she started listening to at age of six. During the wedding ceremony, the couple recited traditional vows as well as ones they'd written themselves. “Peter was adorable and crying the whole time,” she says.

<p>ceremony exit and petal toss</p>

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Following their first kiss, Julia and Peter recessed to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

<p>bride and groom on bus reception transportation</p>

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The couple—and their wedding party—rode in an old fashioned school bus to the reception.

<p>Brittland Estate near Chesapeake bay</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

Selecting Chesapeake Bay as the location was an important destination for the couple, who took vacations there while they were dating. "Brittland Estate fit my vision of timeless elegance, simplistic beauty with a dash of old-world romance and charm," says the bride. "The place felt magical and rich with history.”

<p>cocktail hour</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

When they arrived at the estate, guests were served bubbly and escorted to the pool area for cocktail hour with French 75s, Maryland crab cakes, and Mediterranean skewers.

<p>cocktail hour setup by the pool</p>

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Julia says that everything for the reception was vintage or custom-made and styled to fit their "throwback timeless romance theme." “It felt like an old world European-inspired garden party," she says.

mirror escort card display

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<p>escort card display with monograms</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

After the cocktail hour, guests strolled through the rose garden and into the tent, where calligraphed escort cards were placed on a statement gold-framed mirror, each accented with a monogrammed wax seal.

<p>reception entrance</p>

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"I have always envisioned a big summer wedding that was outdoors under a gorgeous Sperry-cloth tent ,” says the bride. And the couple's romantic wedding had just that! Inside, it was styled with a black-and-white checkerboard floor and crystal chandeliers dripping in greenery. During their wedding after party, Julia and Peter recreated the night of their first date, first dance, and first kiss—and even their parents danced until 3 a.m.!

<p>tall brass vases and green floral arrangements</p>

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<p>napkins tied in ribbons on place settings</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

Dinner tables were lined with three elevated designs of lush foliage, accented with white roses and hydrangeas. The gold theme extended through the glassware, china, and flatware, while napkins were tied in silk ribbons that added a pop of red coloring.

<p>sweetheart table draped in vines, foliage, floral accents</p>

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The couple opted for a sweetheart table, which was decorated with a lush garland and scattered gold mercury votives. The backdrop, designed by Crimson & Clover, was a birch arch covered in foliage with floral accents.

four-tiered wedding cake with flowers

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<p>bride and groom cutting cake</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

For the cake cutting, Julia slipped into an short A-line dress that was also fun for dancing. Their four-tiered cake featured five rows of white roses and white hydrangea, and featured three flavors inside: amaretto raspberry, peach melba, and strawberry breeze.

<p>rose gold champagne tower</p>

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<p>champagne tower</p>

Photo by Rachel May Photography

The couple had a final party trick up their sleeves: A hand-crafted champagne tower of rose gold goblets imported from France! Talk about a perfect ending to a classic, elegant, and fun evening.

Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church || Reception Venue: Brittland Estate || Planner: Adriana Marie Events || Bride’s Dress: Monique Lhuillier, Anna Maier || Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Groom’s Attire: Bonobos, Ralph Lauren || Hair: Kristi Crawford || Makeup: Kelley Unthank || Floral Design: Crimson & Clover || Music: Hill Chamber Music, Affirmative Groove || Invitations & Paper Products: EVR Paper Company || Calligraphy & Place Cards: Grove Lettering Co. || Gold Wax Seals: Stationery Bliss || Rentals: White Glove Rentals, Eastern Shore Tents, La Tavola Fine Linen || Catering: Rouge Fine Catering || Cake: Sugar Bakers Cake || Photography: Rachel May Photography || Videography: Monachetti Weddings

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