This Couple Had an Evening Ceremony at the Groom’s Parents’ Backyard

Twinkling string lights, check. romantic ceremony, check. Tented reception, oh, but of course.

Melanie and BenjaminOctober celebration is filled with romantic backyard wedding ideas. It’s also perfect for those who are planning a smaller sized ceremony and reception and are looking for ideas. The couple, who currently live in San Diego, opted to hold their nightfall wedding at the groom’s parents’ house in Potomac, Maryland, exchanging  “I dos” underneath a flower-filled wreath chuppah and then inviting guests to a tented-outdoor reception, which featured cuisine delights and dancing. Pre-pandemic, it was important to Melanie and Benjamin to have an intimate celebration that felt warm and personalized. “We didn’t want to do a big over-the-top wedding with lots of people at a fancy venue,” explains the couple. “We wanted to do something comfortable that truly felt like us.” Check out their outdoor English-garden-inspired wedding below for more details. 

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How the Couple Met

The couple thank the dating app, Tinder, for introducing them, but it wasn’t exactly love at first swipe—the couple’s age difference made Melanie apprehensive. In fact, when Melanie first saw the match, she didn’t believe it. “I quickly wrote Benjamin a message telling him how I was flattered, but he was definitely too young for me,” says Melanie. But, Benjamin was persistent and replied by asking her out to dinner. After a few days of messaging, Melanie accepted the offer and met Benjamin for dinner at a restaurant she had been dying to try. They went to dinner on a Tuesday and have been together ever since.




The Romantic Evening Ceremony

The bride’s favorite part of the big day was the ceremony. “I honestly thought that the big party after the ceremony was going to be the part of the night that we would relish in and remember forever,” says Melanie, adding that she could not have been more wrong. “Standing there under the chuppah with the sun setting, I felt so much warmth.” The couple made their ceremony even more special by inviting both of their family members to stand under the chuppah with them during the vows. 




The Tented English Garden Party-Inspired Reception

Benjamin’s little sister doubled as the couple’s planner and helped make their wedding-day vision come to life. She was able to find vintage blue-and-white china place settings which she paired with eclectic wine glasses and gold flatware. “The inspiration was an English garden party,” says Benjamin, adding that Melanie is British and she moved to the U.S. with her mother when she was six. Benjamin’s sister worked closely with Melanie to create the ultimate outdoor tea-party reception. 


The Details:

Photographer: Stefanie Kamerman Photography | Venue: Private Home | Planning & Design: Jessica Cherner | Florist: Westvirjeni | Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations | Catering & Cake: Ridgewells Catering | Hair & Makeup Stylist: Glam Squad | Bride’s Attire: Lazaro from Love Couture Bridal | Groom’s Attire:  SuitSupply | Music/Entertainment: DJ Stavros 

Assistant Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Jacqueline comes to Washingtonian with close to five years of digital content experience and SEO best practices. She previously was a senior editorial associate at WeddingWire, specializing in wedding fashion, and before that, an assistant at Vow Bride. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she now lives in Columbia Heights.