Though Kathryn and Ryan lived minutes apart in Arlington, Virginia, for years — and had a bunch of mutual friends to boot — the pair didn't meet until October of 2014, when they locked eyes across a crowded bar. Ryan was a complete gentleman, asking for Kathryn's number and taking her out to dinner later that week. A year and a day after that first date (and two rescue dogs later!), Kathryn watched as the youth lacrosse team Ryan coaches won their big game and posed for a celebratory photo. But it wasn't the snapshot she was expecting. "When I looked over, they were all holding up cards that spelled out 'Will You Marry Me' and Ryan was on bended knee!" she says.
With a groom who loves the sea and a bride who is all about flowers and gardens, the pair searched the Maryland coast for a venue that showcased both and fell in love with The Inn at Perry Cabin — the gorgeous locale you'll probably remember from the main party scene in Wedding Crashers. "The grounds are gorgeous, and the waterfront location meant we could have a ceremony with the sea in the background," says Kathryn. The twosome planned a sophisticated garden wedding for August 29, 2015, drawing inspiration from the Inn's property and incorporating a relaxed, nautical vibe with help from Elizabeth Duncan Events. From watercolor illustrations to soft raspberry blooms against boxwood bushes, the celebration perfectly captured who Ryan and Kathryn are as a couple. "It was a true escape for our guests, and all the details highlighted that relaxed, elegant style," says the bride. Take a look at the gorgeous event for yourself, photographed by Lisa Blume Photography.
Kathryn loves watercolor painting (and dabbles in it herself), so she and Ryan worked with Inslee by Design to create a custom botanic motif in soft blush and peach hues. The floral design was used on everything from the invitation suite to the welcome boxes.
"It was amazing how many ways our planner and the stationery designer were able to use the watercolor floral print," says Kathryn. Repeating the design from the beginning of the event to the day's final moments helped tie together the secret garden theme.
Kathryn was head-over-heels for her textured blush and ivory bouquet. "I really wanted peonies, but they weren't in season, so I settled on garden roses, dahlias, and veronica. Our planner found peonies online two days before the wedding, and had them shipped overnight as a surprise to tuck into my bouquet!"
Her bridesmaids all wore blush pink Donna Morgan gowns with strapless bodices and flowing skirts. "I knew they would want to dance all night, so I picked a style that would be comfortable and easy to move in," says the thoughtful bride.
The couple had two flower girls, who both wore white and pink organza dresses with a flower at the waist. Instead of baskets of petals, the girls carried a garland of greenery and garden roses down the aisle.
The ceremony overlooked the Miles River, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. An arbor of boxwood was draped with billowing white fabric, and topiaries of roses flanked the aisle. The front row on either side of the aisle was comprised of mismatched chairs in cream and white hues.
"Ryan insisted that we write our own vows, and we ended up saying incredibly similar things to one another," says Kathryn. "It's as if we knew what the other person was going to write!"
After the ceremony, the bride and groom took to the Inn's grounds for portraits. Kathryn stunned in a fluted Legends Romona Keveza wedding dress with re-embroidered lace details and cap sleeves. "I realized all the dresses I loved were by the same designer, and I liked each one that I tried on more than the last. Seven or so dresses later, I'd found the perfect one!" says the bride. She swapped the standard white shantung lining with blush pink for a little extra contrast. But even a shopping story that successful comes with a warning: "During my final fitting, I tried on one more dress that had just arrived at the salon. It was completely different from what I chose, and I was curious so I tried it on just for fun. I don't know what I was thinking!" Kathryn loved the dress, and worried that she'd made the wrong choice. Thankfully, with some reassurance from her bridesmaids, she remembered why she loved the first gown she'd chosen — and is so glad she didn't change her mind at the last minute!
Finding the perfect balance between a formal wedding and the afternoon outdoor setting, Ryan wore a gray slim-fit Black by Vera Wang tuxedo. "It was unique, but still classic," says Kathryn.
The reception took place in a tent on the Inn's lawn, with an archway draped in greenery and blooms marking the entrance.
Instead of traditional escort cards, table assignments were printed onto paper leaves that were tucked into garlands of roses, accented with watercolor butterflies and ladybugs. Says Kathryn, "I loved them! They were just the right touch of whimsy."
Before entering the tent, guests sipped cocktails (including a non-alcoholic rosemary lemonade and a bourbon, ginger beer, and lemon Shoofly Punch) on the lawn. Even the cocktail napkins featured the floral print used on the invitations!
Inside the tent, round tables were topped with blush linens, while long tables were topped with cloths in light green. Boxwood hedges and rose topiaries marked the corners, with white vases full of blush and pink roses in the middle of the room.
In low silver urns, dahlias were tucked between garden roses and veronica, with a few blooms in brighter pink for contrast.
Gold-rimmed chargers featured illustrations of leaves and dragonflies. Those mismatched chairs from the ceremony made another appearance at the head table, where they added a vintage, eclectic vibe to the romantic setting.
The tables topped with green linens featured white chargers with cutout details. In the bar area, a round couch flaunted sequined and plaid pink pillows, topped off with dozens of pink roses.
The pair's three-tiered wedding cake also featured the watercolor design used on the invitations, painstakingly applied to off-white fondant. Two tiers were red velvet cake, while the third was a coconut cake with fresh strawberry filling.
"I'm a little obsessed with music, and it was important to me that we have an epic dance party," says Kathryn. She and Ryan worked with their DJ to create a diverse and dynamic playlist — and it was a smashing success. "Our guests said it was the best dance party they'd ever been to!"
At the end of the night, Kathryn and Ryan made a photo-worthy exit beneath a shower of rose petals. "My best advice is to definitely have a first look," says the bride. "It was so romantic and meaningful to have time together, just the two of us, to wander through the gardens. It helped us connect and be even more present during our ceremony."
Venue, Catering & Cake: The Inn at Perry Cabin
Wedding Planner: Elizabeth Duncan Events
Bride's Wedding Dress: Legends Romona Keveza
Hair: Hair by Seven
Makeup: Kristina Em
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan
Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Black by Vera Wang
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Pavé Jewelers
Florist: Amaryllis Inc.
Invitations & Paper Goods: Winifred Paper
Watercolor Illustration: Inslee by Design
Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Music: Sage String Quartet; DJ D-Mac
Rentals: Amaryllis Inc., DC Rental
Tent: Sugarplum Tent Company
Videography: In Depth Photo & Video
Photography: Lisa Blume Photography