We have a treat for y’all today–a Maryland wedding! This northernmost Southern state (it is technically below the Mason-Dixon, after all) was the perfect place for Whitney and Benjamin to gather their loved ones from Savannah, Washington DC, and everywhere in between. The pastel colors and flowers they chose were undeniably feminine, but I love that Whitney made sure to include Benjamin’s two wedding requests: a choir to sing “Oh Happy Day” as they left their ceremony (so fun!) and a fabulous live band at the reception. After reading through their sweet interview though, I can’t help but wonder if these two even noticed all of the lovely details at their wedding–they are clearly so smitten with each other and were totally focused on becoming husband and wife!
Thanks so much to Karena Dixon for sharing this pretty day with us!
My something blue was a pair of beautiful blue topaz earrings Benj gave to me as a gift on our wedding day. For something old, I carried a crystal clutch that was once my Grandma Honey’s, and I had a piece of my momma’s wedding dress and my Grandma Gretchen’s wedding headpiece wrapped around my bouquet. It was so nice to honor both of my grandmothers and my mother in that way! My shoes and perfume were my something new.
From Benjamin: My most memorable moment of our wedding day was seeing Whitney for the first time on The Strand. I am usually tight with anticipation or anxiety about big moments, but when I saw her, everything washed away and I could not have been more relaxed. She looked drop-dead gorgeous, so I also realized that I was fighting way above my weight class. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this journey was going to be incredible.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our reception venue first. We wanted our reception to be close to the water near Easton, MD (where I am from), and the Tred Avon Yacht Club fit the bill! They have great spaces and delicious food as well. We didn’t want our guests to have to travel too far after the ceremony, so we started looking at churches in Oxford. After attending a service at Waters United Methodist Church and experiencing feelings of warmth and fun among the congregation (their choir is great!), I knew we had found the spot. It was also less than a mile from the Yacht Club, so it was a perfect fit!
Describe your wedding flowers. I LOVED my wedding flowers! I knew I wanted to combine the soft pastels of spring with romantic whites. I also knew I wanted to carry a full, lush, peony bouquet. The reception table arrangements alternated vases overflowing with white, pastel, peach, and pink garden flowers (hydrangeas, peonies, roses, football mums, and dusty miller), and candelabras with smaller satellite arrangements of the same pastel flowers. Everything was gorgeous!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? As a classic Southerner, Benj insisted on wearing a cream dinner jacket and a custom made houndstooth tie and cummerbund set. More importantly, we both agreed that keeping our guests limited to close family and friends would be central to our ceremony and celebration. The church felt like a giant hug and our reception was a huge party. No one celebrates like the South and very few places put so much emphasis on a family-based upbringing. Many of our guests were true Southerners, either by location or by heart, and that resonated throughout the weekend through everyone’s love and support.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Benjamin: I met Whitney in our freshman dorm at James Madison University in the fall of 2005. We immediately became great friends and partners in crime throughout our college years. Our relationship blossomed further when both of us moved to the Washington, DC area. As a native of Savannah, GA, this was quite a change of pace for me, so it was welcome news to hear that I would have my buddy in town. Eventually, we were hanging out with each other five nights a week, but we never saw each other much on the weekends, because Whitney had friends in Baltimore and Annapolis that she would visit regularly. As our relationship slowly turned into something that was more than friends, I finally convinced her to give me a weekend and go camping with me. When she started calling me “Ben” instead of “my friend, Ben,” her family knew the jig was up after months of telling her (rightfully so) that she was in love with me, and I had the same feelings.
Tell us all about the proposal! At 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 18, 2012, Benjamin woke me up saying it was time to go to the beach. I obviously protested, but my excuses didn’t work and we were out the door by 7:15. When we got to the beach, Benj pulled out a bag he had packed with blankets to lay on and get warm. We found a nice spot and sat there to watch the sunrise. As the sun peeked over the Atlantic, Benj suggested we take a walk to the water’s edge, where he got down on one knee in the early morning light and opened a box containing a gorgeous sparkling ring. I didn’t give him the chance to say anything before I emphatically said “YES!” He then got to say what he had planned, which was heartfelt and perfect, and I again gave him my answer. We returned to our blankets, popped a tasty bottle of champagne he had packed, and spent the next two hours alone with the excitement of our future life together before announcing it to our friends and family. It was a wonderful day!
When did y’all get married? May 18, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was actually a LOT easier than I thought it would be! I was sure I would be indecisive and not find “the dress” on my first trip. I was in Maryland for my friend’s bridal shower the weekend I bought my dress, so many of my bridesmaids were able to come with me. We went to Betsy Robinson’s Bridal in Baltimore, and surrounded by my momma and five of my best friends, I found my dress after only trying on about six! The choice was clear when I walked out and the tears started flowing from my companions, along with the comment “You look like a BRIDE!” I knew I had found the dress I would wear walking down the aisle.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One of Benj’s only requests for the wedding was to have a choir sing “Oh Happy Day” as we walked out of the church, so that is what we did, and it was amazing! For our first dance, we danced to Etta James’ “At Last” sang by our band. We have always loved that song and felt it spoke to our story as a couple. We had a very spirited first dance and the band was incredible!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? To save money, I kept one question in mind when making decisions: “Would I REALLY regret not having ___ for our wedding?” If the answer was not a definite yes, I moved on.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so happy my Grandma Gretchen could be at our wedding. She passed away over Christmas and always said she wanted to live to see her only granddaughter walk down the aisle. We are so thankful she was not only able to be there, but also to dance and enjoy our wedding with us.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment was right before dinner, sitting at the head table and taking in everything around me. I was sitting next to the love of my life at a table with our younger brothers and best friends, surrounded by both our families and family friends who have watched us grow into the people we are today. Behind us was the river I grew up on and the band was playing some soft tunes that sounded incredible. I felt so fortunate and blessed in that moment, it still gives me chills to this day!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try to incorporate both of you into the wedding! Benj’s only requests were for a choir at the ceremony and a large live band. Being able to see how happy he was with both of those things made the day even better for me too!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just bought our first house! We are excited to make it our own and live and grow in it together. I asked Benj this question and he said, “I am looking forward to growth. I look forward to growing as a person, as a friend, as a husband, and eventually as a father. My wife helps me every single day to become the best version of myself. I look forward to continuing to be able to look in the mirror and see someone that is worth the woman that God brought into my life. I look forward to teaching our kids how to fish, water-ski, and sail. I look forward to continuing to be happy with what I have been blessed with; now, today, and tomorrow. I do not look forward to losing my hair.” Who wouldn’t love this guy?!
Photographer: Karena Dixon / Planner: Kari Rider Weddings and Events / Ceremony Venue: Waters United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Tred Avon Yacht Club / Florist: Monteray Farms / Wedding Cake: Julie Bakes / Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents and Events / Band: The XPD’s / Bride’s Gown: “Mimi” by Watters / Bridal Salon: Betsy Robinson’s Bridal / Paper Products: La Paperie / Hair Stylist: Serendipidy / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Carol Hannah, Saja, Amsale / Custom Crab Mallets: Bay Imprint