Real Wedding: Andrea and Paul

These two best friends brought a touch of the Midwest to their bayside nuptials in Maryland.

Andrea and Paul on their wedding day on October 19, 2013. All photographs by Katie Pegher.

It was initially friendship that brought Andrea Grassi and Paul Franklin together. The two grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and went to the same high school but didn’t get a chance to connect until Andrea’s older sister started dating Paul’s childhood best friend. Andrea and Paul quickly bonded over being the couple’s “wingmen,” and a friendship began. “Obviously Paul is quite the looker, but really my feelings for him just evolved into something much more deep over time,” says Andrea, a community manager. “He is my best friend in the entire world.”

Eventually their friendship blossomed into a relationship, which five years later led to a romantic proposal at the Nemacolin Woodland Resort’s Falling Rock. “We were going home to Cleveland for a weekend in August to see family, and he surprised me with a pit stop to Nemacolin, where we had stayed before,” says Andrea. “He got down on one knee right near the 18th green overlooking the mountains and popped the question! It was perfect and so romantic.” The next day, they arrived in Cleveland, where Paul, a financial adviser, had already organized a surprise party for Andrea with both of their families.

For their wedding, 14 months later, the couple knew they wanted an intimate celebration with just their closest friends and family. But they didn’t forget to give their Maryland wedding a Midwestern touch. “We had the [Ohio State] Buckeyes game playing during cocktail hour,” says Andrea.



Photographer: Katie Pegher, Fine Portraiture

Photographer’s Assist: Erin Wheeler

Wedding Venue: Chesapeake Bay Beach Club

Event Planning: Kari Rider, Kari Rider Events

Officiants: Father Michael Kelley and Rabbi Block. “Paul and I are interfaith, so we had a rabbi and a priest officiate our wedding and traditions from both Judaism and Catholicism,” says Andrea.

Gown: Anna Maier, Hitched

Hair/Makeup: Shanna Beisel, Hair for a Special Affair

Bridesmaid Dresses: Elie Tahari

Groom’s Tux: Bespoke by Alexander Nash

Groomsman Attire: Bonobos

Rings: Ascot Diamonds

Cake: “No cake for us! Instead we had cranberry apple, pumpkin, pecan, and chocolate-peanut-butter pies; cinnamon, maple-bacon, and ‘death by chocolate’ doughnuts; and ice cream.”

Florist: Amy Wilkins, Monteray Farms

Flowers: Hydrangeas, dahlias, garden roses, cymbidium orchids, makara orchids, blue thistles, silver king artemisias, seeded eucalyptus, and classic fall-colored foliage

Music/Entertainment: Nathan Pacheco for ceremony and first dance, Keltia for ceremony and cocktail hour, and Free Spirit from Entertainment Exchange for the reception

First Look Videographer: Cecile Davis

Videographer: Blue Sky Films

Transportation: Extraordinar Limousine 

Getaway Car: Her Majesty’s Service. “We had a sparkler exit into a 1962 Rolls Royce to conclude the evening.”

Invitations: Elum, Hitched

Paper Goods: Michele Pentecost, Intrigue Design

Bride’s Favorite Detail: “The music! We had an incredible lineup of talent from our ceremony through the reception, including the international recording artist Nathan Pacheco.”

Groom’s Favorite Detail: “A Buckeyes game on the TVs during cocktail hour!”

Biggest Surprise: “I think the guests were most surprised by the Chick-fil-A sandwiches we gave them at the end of the wedding!”

Decor Details: “We had every fireplace at our venue lit for our wedding. It made for such a cozy and inviting touch. We had a table with all of our extended family’s wedding photos on it for guests to browse, and our guest book was a signed canvas of Paul and me from our engagement session. My dog died the week of my wedding, so my ‘something blue’ was his dog charm on my bouquet. It was a great way to keep him in spirit on my special day.”

Favors: Orange scarves for all the ladies, DIY vintage compass escort cards, and flip-flops for dancing

Theme: Fall formal on the bay

Four Words That Describe the Wedding: Bayside, fall, relaxed, fun!

Honeymoon Spot: St. Barth and Anguilla

Where They Currently Live: Arlington, VA