It doesn't get much more romantic than a Valentine's Day first date, which is exactly how Jenny Hurley and Michael Eidsmoe kicked off their relationship in 2016. And, naturally, the loved-up holiday proved to be the perfect occasion for a proposal. On the following February 14th, the pair embarked on a weekend getaway to one of their favorite spots, Carmel, California, where Michael popped the question during a walk along the beach of the small city. "He surprised me by having my entire family in town to celebrate the engagement with us," Jenny recalls.
"It was the perfect weekend!"
Despite living on the West Coast, Michael and Jenny decided to venture across the country for their October 28, 2017 wedding, choosing the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond in St. Michaels, Maryland, for its charm and seaside locale. "St. Michaels has become a second home to us and a place where our family gathers," says the bride. "We’ve frequented the inn for special occasions, and we wanted our wedding to be one of them." With only seven months to plan their big day, making decisions from a different time zone presented a complicated factor, but that still didn't stop Jenny and Michael from incorporating a California vibe into their Chesapeake Bay venue.
"Since we met and fell in love in San Francisco, but were having an East Coast shore wedding, we wanted to give nods to both locations," says the bride.
Jenny went into dress shopping with a specific vision: simple elegance. Conveniently, the second gown she tried on—a fitted crepe Amsale design with a bateau neckline—happened to fit the bill exactly. "I felt sophisticated, classic, and yet the sheer back with buttons down the back added a fun twist," she says. As a something borrowed and blue, Jenny also accessorized with her mother's diamond-and-sapphire ring. The groom kept his look classic as well, in a Canali tuxedo.
Jenny's bouquet was made with blush and white garden roses, eucalyptus, and olive branch leaves, which also made appearances in the reception floral arrangements.
Michael and Jenny shared their first look before the ceremony. "It was so special to take in that moment on the beautiful property, on the water, just the two of us," says Jenny. "Plus, it took the pressure off walking down the aisle!"
The bride donned an Amsale tulle half skirt from the ceremony up until the first dance, removing it afterward for a second reception look of sorts.
The bridesmaids' looks followed suit, with Jenny's girls also wearing Amsale tulle gowns to complement her own.
The couple said "I do" at St. Michaels Mission Church in traditional Catholic nuptials, and they knew from the get-go that they wanted a priest who had remained close to the bride's family to do the honors. In fact, he perfectly personalized the homily, incorporating paragraphs that the bride and groom had written regarding the moment they knew their partner was "the one." The priest even jokingly added that Michael's resemblance to Prince Harry didn't hurt, which led to a few chuckles among guests.
Ceremony decor was kept on the lighter side, with olive branch wreaths hanging from the white arched front doors and simple altar urns inside.
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds made a grand entrance (in nautical style!) to their reception.
Adopting further inspiration from California wine country terrain, the couple filled the space with topiaries, lush greens, and faded wood farm tables. There were also additional seating options, including curved settees anchored by oversized pedestal urns.
Linens—in earth tones and soft textures—added more West Coast appeal to the Maryland venue, while pops of pink and burgundy from the centerpieces added a gorgeous contrast to each tablescape.
To be expected, California wine was a must, which the couple served alongside chicken, steak, salmon, and pork chops. And, the groom and Jenny's father loved the last menu option so much that the bride's mother secretly had a special pork chop made just for the two of them. "The look of surprise on their faces when it arrived to the table was priceless," says the bride.
Michael and Jenny's band, Rhythm 6, also proved to be quite the wedding highlight—so much so that some guests started hitting the dance floor during dinner! The bride herself even admits that she stopped to take a video of the dancers in the middle of the salad course. Rhythm 6 also learned the newlyweds' first dance song—"Ho Hey" by the Lumineers, in honor of the first concert they attended as a couple.
As for dessert, the pair selected a semi-naked, champagne-flavored cake with mascarpone filling, vanilla buttercream icing, and real flowers. The bride surprised Michael with his own Seattle Seahawks groom's cake as a nod to his Washington-based side of the family.
After her own nuptials, Jenny advises not to stress over the little things. "Pick one or two elements of the wedding day that are most important to you to really focus on in the planning process," she says. "Come the day of the wedding, so much is happening so quickly, you don’t even notice the small things or details that don’t mean as much to you."
Ceremony Venue: St. Michaels Mission Church || Reception Venue & Catering: Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond || Wedding Planning & Design: Kari Rider Events || Bride's Dress & Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Bride's Shoes: Valentino || Hair & Makeup: Amie Decker Beauty || Mother of the Bride Dress: Carolina Herrera || Groom's Attire: Canali || Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Floral Design: Amaryllis Floral & Event Design || Invitations & Paper Products: Stephanie B. Design || Music: Rhythm 6 || Cake: Steve Konopelski || Rentals: Sugarplum Tent Company, White Glove Rentals, La Tavola Linen || Transportation: Extroardinar Limousine || Photography: Eric Kelley