From our first phone call, I fell in love with Melissa and Michael’s vision for their wedding - a ceremony in the forest surrounded by family and friends followed by dancing under the stars in a tent amidst a meadow. Every decision was made so consciously to encompass their love for each other, their family & friends, along with their immense love of nature.
Melissa’s mother had a very old family heirloom necklace that she wore in her wedding that Melissa’s sister wore at her wedding as well. Originally Melissa was not going to wear it because of the neckline of her gown, but she decided to have her dress altered in secret to make the necklace work and as a special gift to her mother. When the necklace was put on, it took a few moments and a little explaining for Melissa’s mother to realize the thought and effort that had gone into making sure this heirloom was a part of the wedding. The happiness was palpable! Another special addition was with Melissa’s wedding ring whose diamond was originally one of two in a family heirloom pin. Now, Melissa and her sister each have one to continue sharing this heirloom.
Before the wedding, Melissa shared with me that her favorite wedding scene in a movie was the 1994 version of Little Women where Meg gets married outside among her family and following everyone dances in a circle wearing floral crowns. This nature inspiration and family tradition of visiting the arboretum made Adkins the perfect setting and venue for Michael and Melissa’s special day! Michael and Melissa actually went for a hike at this location as well on their first big trips together in March of 2016. Ahead of time, the wedding guests were given small fabric squares to decorate and hang amidst the trees surrounding the ceremony space as a very special added touch of community unity for the happy couple. I also HAD to snap a picture of Melissa and Michael’s bridal party encircling them in honor of the Little Women inspiration!
I also think Louisa May Alcott’s description of Meg fits perfectly for Melissa and for the heart and soul of their wedding day: “Meg looked very like a rose herself, for all that was best and sweetest in heart and soul seemed to bloom into her face that day, making it fair and tender, with a charm more beautiful than beauty..."I don't want a fashionable wedding, but only those about me whom I love, and to them I wish to look and be my familiar self."
Congratulations Michael and Melissa!
Photography by Maryland Wedding Photographer, Katherine Elizabeth Photography
Venue: Adkins Arboretum
Florals: Honeybee Flower Farm
Catering and Pies: Magnolia Caterers
Second Photographer: Love to the Core Photo
DJ: House Monsters DJ
Hair and Makeup Artist: Lindsay with #NoFilter
BHLDN dress by Tadashi Shoji, purchased through Still White
Ideal Cut Custom Jeweler, DC (diamond was one of 2 in a family heirloom pin - the bride's sister's ring had the other)
Transportation: First Student Charter school buses
Invitations: Paperless Post, Minted
Cocktail Hour Music: Stone Mt. Road Bluegrass Band
Rentals: Dover Tents & Events