Real Weddings: Ashley and Matthew

A bright and joyous wedding on the Chesapeake Bay.

The newlyweds take a stroll by the bay. All photographs by The Happy Couple Photography

Ashley and Matt first met as seniors at the University of Richmond—he and a friend helped her move a couch into her apartment. After three years of dating, Matt proposed in their apartment in DC with Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, a ring—and a stack of bridal magazines.

“He knew I would want to start planning right away,” says Ashley.

The couple married on October 21, 2011, at Celebrations by the Bay in Pasadena, Maryland, near the bride’s hometown of Annapolis.

“We wanted a venue that would allow us to get married outside on the water,” says Ashley.

At the 4:30 PM ceremony, the bride carried a lush bouquet of hydrangeas, dahlias, garden roses, berzillia berries, orchids, and dusty miller wrapped with lace from her mother’s wedding gown. Pomanders of yellow button mums served as aisle markers. The newly married couple recessed to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.


Cocktail hour featured a signature Orange Crush cocktail called “I’ve Got a Crush On You,” lobster bisque in martini glasses, vegetarian spring rolls, chicken quesadillas with homemade guacamole, and shrimp cocktail.

Afterward, the 155 guests moved into the tented reception, which was lit with twinkle lights. Table numbers were stamped with an image of a greyhond, in honor of the couple’s beloved dog. Tables were decorated with either tall centerpieces of orchids, curly willow, and dahlias, or low arrangements of hydrangeas, berzillia berries, lilies, and dahlias.

Guests dined on a duet plate of crabcakes and filet mignon with roasted potatoes and asparagus. The wedding cake featured many layers sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter icing, plus toasted coconut, and was adorned with the topper used at Ashley’s parents’ wedding. A greyhound figurine stood watch on the first tier.

Each guest received crab-shaped chocolates, which sat on a bed on crushed graham crackers (to look like sand).

“They represented something Matt and I love to do together—eat crabs!” says Ashley.

A donation was also made to the greyhound rescue organization the couple adopted their dog from.

The evening ended with guests waving sparklers as Ashley and Matt made their exit.

“It was the perfect end to a perfect night,” says the bride.



Photographer: The Happy Couple Photography via Two Bright Lights

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Celebrations at the Bay

Wedding Gown: Mary’s Bridal Designer Boutique

Bride’s Reception Dress: Laundry, purchased at Nordstrom

Hair and Makeup: Amie Decker Beauty

Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston

Groom’s Tuxedo: Men’s Wearhouse

Invitation Designer: Wedding Paper Divas

Floral Designer: My Flower Box Events

Favors: Sweet Cascades

Cake: SugarBakers

Caterer: Catering by Uptown

Ceremony Music: Classical Guitar Ceremonies

Reception Music: DJ Chris Timko of Steve Moody’s Entertainment Connection