Real Wedding: Madeline and Derek

For this wedding ceremony, the groom surprised his bride with 52 handwritten love letters.

Madeline and Derek sharing a kiss on their wedding day on July 13, 2013. All photographs by Kate Triano Photography.

The night Derek Bakker’s roommate introduced him to Madeline Teague, while he was spending the summer interning in New York, he called his best friends afterward to tell them he had met the woman he was going to marry. A “fairy-tale” first-date weekend in the city ensued, with strolls through Central Park and a first kiss on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They met up for another date in Baltimore at an Orioles game, which cemented what Derek already felt. “I knew I was in love when Madi said that she really wanted a hot dog and a margarita,” says the groom, a national account manager for a software company.

Madi, now a third-year law student, was equally taken with Derek, and could not stop “gushing about him” to her friends. After being separated by 600 miles for their last year of college—the groom in Philadelphia, the bride in Knoxville—they reunited when both moved to Washington in May 2011. The following summer, Derek proposed to Madi at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, while they were taking a walk with their Labradoodle, Dupont. A year later they returned to Sugarloaf for their wedding at the Strong Mansion.


Photographer: Kate Triano Photography

Wedding Venue: Strong Mansion

Bride’s Gown: Casablanca, Ellie’s Bridal Boutique

Hair: Drybar

Makeup: Smooch Studio

Groom’s Tux: Jos. A. Bank

Cake: Canapés Catering

Cake Flavors: Lemon-poppyseed, butter rum, and carrot cake with assorted French macarons

Cocktails: Bubbles & Bliss, the Silver Bullet, Dubai Dancing Belly, and French 75 cocktails

Florist: Janet Flowers

Wedding Flowers: Tall and short arrangements of hydrangeas, roses, green dianthus, bells of Ireland, thistles, dusty miller, nigella, Queen Anne’s lace, and delphiniums

Videographer: Milestone Pictures

Music/Entertainment: The Cherry Blossom String Quartet for the ceremony, Doctors Orders for the reception

First Dance Song: “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show

Invitations: Dodeline Design

Bride’s Favorite Wedding Detail: “My veil, which my mother wore when she married my father 31 years prior, and our puppy as our ring ‘barker.’”

Groom’s Favorite Wedding Detail: “The signature Silver Bullet cocktail.”

Biggest Surprise of the Wedding: Derek’s present to Madeline. “He has many strong suits, but writing isn’t normally one of them. However, on our wedding day he surprised me with a book of 52 sealed love letters he had handwritten—one to open each week of the first year of our marriage— and an anniversary trip to Paris. He really outdid himself. The book of letters is something I’ll cherish forever, and they have brought a smile to my face every week so far!”

Decor Details: A Maryland oyster and Southern biscuit bar with seersucker-bow-tie biscuit toppers, an engraved padlock for the guests to pray over so the couple could ‘lock their love’ on the Pont des Arts in Paris on their honeymoon, wooden shoes from Holland as the guest book to represent Derek’s Dutch heritage, and surprise late-night Philly cheesesteaks for the groom because he went to college in Philadelphia

Favors: Bags of Old Bay that said “Maryland & Many Thanks” and bags of grits that said “Grits & Gratitude”

Theme: “Blessed be the tie that binds”

Four Words That Describe the Wedding: Love, blessed, seersucker, us

Honeymoon Spot: Paris and Dubai

Where They Currently Live: Kensington, Maryland