An animal lover and a Lord of the Rings buff marry by the water on a scorching day in June
THE RECEPTION: The band Nightsong performed at the reception. “They learned some special songs for us,” Courtney says. “One was our entrance song, ‘Circle of Life’ [from] Lion King.” The performance was a surprise; the couple thought the band would just play the song over the speakers. Courtney was eager to dance, but had trouble bustling her long train. “It was missing a button or something,” she says. Friends and family helped out with safety pins. “I was like, I don’t care what you do, just get it up so I can dance!”
BURIED TREASURE: It’s Southern tradition to bury a bottle of bourbon at the venue the month before the wedding so that it doesn’t rain. When Courtney and Ryan were in Chestertown to get their marriage license, they buried a bottle in the sand on the beach at Great Oak Manor. The night of the wedding, they were taking sunset pictures on the beach. “We had completely forgotten about it, but then remembered, Oh, the bourbon’s still here.” They found a hoe on the property and dug it up.
THE CAKE: Courtney and Ryan are big fans of their mothers’ baking, so their moms joined forces to make the wedding cake. Ryan’s mother, Laura Parios McBride, made a layer of pumpkin and a layer of carrot cake, and Courtney’s mom, Elizabeth Richmond, added a layer of pistachio. It was her idea to have a cake topper modeled after the couple’s cat, Olive. The couple says the cake-topper artist, Lorie Valko, took her job very seriously. “She asked for like 50 pictures of [Olive],” Courtney says. The couple still has the clay cake-topper on the mantel above their fireplace. Olive made a surprise cameo at the reception when Courtney’s mother brought her out on the dance floor in a cat stroller.
THE AFTER-PARTY: It was Ryan’s idea to host an after-party in the manor following the reception. He rented speakers and lights, and created a playlist of their favorite electronic dance music from college. “Both of our moms partied the whole after-party,” Courtney says. Everyone danced until 1 a.m.
THE HONEYMOON: The couple spent two days of downtime at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels after the wedding. Then they honeymooned in Australia and New Zealand for two weeks in February. They spent a day at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia, for Courtney, and visited The Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand for Ryan.
VENDORS: Bridesmaids dresses, Show Me Your Mumu; catering, Heirloom; engagement ring, Spectral Gems; florist, Love Blooms; music, Entertainment Exchange; gown, Rue de Seine/Lovely Bride D.C.; bride’s hair, Red Door Salon; bridesmaids hair, Amie Decker Beauty; makeup, Makeup by Kevan; photographer, Rachel May Photography; place cards, programs and table numbers, Saima Says Design; suits, Generation Tux; wedding planner, Cristina Calvert Signature; videographer, Paperboys.