Rooted in love
A Gaithersburg couple who met in elementary school had a farm wedding that included a fig tree planting, a Blues Brothers dance, and the groom doing the worm
The couple: Emily Hough (maiden name Sarecky), 32, and Matt Hough, 32, both grew up in Olney and graduated from Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring in 2006. She is the social media director for Kensington-based Farmers Restaurant Group, and he is a landscape designer for Good Earth Garden Market in Potomac. They live in Gaithersburg.
How they met: Emily was the new girl in fourth grade at Greenwood Elementary School in Brookeville, where the couple began their relationship—which lasted for one lunch period. “The only thing I remember is that after lunch I decided I wasn’t into it anymore,” Emily says with a laugh. More than a decade later, they reconnected. “We really started hanging out in our college years when we’d all come home for the summer,” Matt says. “After that, sparks flew, and here we are.”
The first date: After finishing college at the University of Tampa, Emily remained in Florida, while Matt was living in Olney after graduating from Salisbury University. When Emily came to Maryland for Thanksgiving, Matt invited her to a Washington Redskins game. The next month, Emily moved back. “I was looking for an excuse to come home,” she says, “and then I found one.” They went on a few movie dates, then made their relationship official at a dinner before a New Year’s Eve party ringing in 2014.
The proposal: After three and a half years of dating, Matt planned to propose at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, where Emily and her family vacation every summer. At the beach, he asked Emily to record a video of him running into the ocean to make his coworkers jealous. “I was going to run by and jump into the water, but I stopped behind her and asked her to turn around,” he says. “I had my grandmother’s engagement ring, which was passed down to me, and she said yes.” The special moment wasn’t captured on video—as soon as Emily realized what was happening, she turned off the camera.
The wedding: The couple held their ceremony and reception at Glen Ellen Farm, near Frederick, on Oct. 19, 2018. They had 150 guests.
The ceremony: During the ceremony, standing under a flower-wrapped arbor that Emily’s uncle and Matt built, the couple planted a fig tree from Matt’s work. As they planted it, Emily’s cousin played a keyboard rendition of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. One of their best friends officiated the ceremony. “I think it was kind of neat how we used our network of our family and friends to see how they could help,” Emily says. “I think everyone was really proud to be part of it, too.” The pair wrote their own vows. “We kind of killed it,” Matt says. “We got a lot of reactions from people that we did not expect—like crying their eyes out.”
Football fans: The Redskins came up in both Emily’s and Matt’s vows. “[Guests] said, ‘Did you guys talk about what you guys were going to say in your vows before you said them? Because there were a lot of similarities,’ ” Emily says. “But we didn’t.” Their friend mentioned the football team as he officiated; Matt’s late father’s customized jersey was displayed in a frame at the reception; and both the maid of honor and the best man talked about the team in their remarks.
The reception: After Matt entered the string-lit reception tent by doing the worm, Emily’s father and uncle performed a dance to “Soul Man,” a family tradition. “I think it started at my dad’s wedding,” Emily says. “I’m the first in the family to get married, so my dad coordinated The Blues Brothers dance again.”
The food: “We wanted to keep it kind of casual,” Matt says. Frederick-based barbecue restaurant P. I.G.S. served brisket, chicken, pulled pork and veggie burgers. For dessert, guests enjoyed cookies and brownies, and the couple also had a small cake. “We didn’t want the traditional big cake,” Emily says. “We kind of just wanted something small that we could take a picture with and have for memories—and smush in each other’s faces.”
Special details: On a seating arrangement board, a calligraphist wrote guests’ names next to the favors—magnetic wine corks with tiny succulents from Matt’s landscaping work planted in each. “We didn’t really need to spend the money on that, but we thought it was going to be so pretty and cool,” Emily says.
The honeymoon: The newlyweds went on a “mini-moon” to Deep Creek. For their one-year anniversary, they flew to Phoenix to road-trip, visiting the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Page, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. One morning in Sedona, still jet-lagged, they woke up at 5 a.m. and decided to watch the sunrise. “We were kind of in the middle of this valley, watching all of these hot air balloons come above us, watching the sunrise,” Emily says. “That was beautiful.”
Vendors: Bridesmaids dresses, Azazie; cake/dessert, Classic Bakery; calligraphy, Calligraphette & Co.; catering, P. I.G.S.; favors, Good Earth Garden Market; florist, EDGE Floral Event Designers; gown, Posh Bridal; hair and makeup, Glam Bridal Beauty; invitations, Minted; music, AJDJ; photographer, Hannah Malloy Photography; suits, The Black Tux; videographer, Jon Key Photography; wedding planner, Brielle Davis Events.