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Matrimony in Maryland


March 30, 2022
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Kir2Ben Photography

Nicole and Chris’s story all starts with a little meet-cute. Specifically, Chris offered to take a look at Nicole’s car after she’d crashed into a pole at the gym parking garage.

“When he saw that I had a tennis racquet, he asked if I played,” Nicole says. “I thought he was really cute so I wanted to go on a tennis date… even though I didn’t really play. After that first match, he quickly caught on to my little fib and tennis turned into dinner and drinks which was definitely more my speed.”

For their wedding, Nicole and Chris wanted to wed in a location in the middle of where they each grew up (Nicole in New York and Chris in northern Virginia) for easier access to guests. A celebration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore would provide the coastal vibe the couple desired while allowing their closest friends and family to enjoy a weekend away without traveling too far.

Like many other couples, we toured a TON of venues and we figured that when we walked into the right venue, we would just know it was our place. That is what happened as soon as we pulled up to Great Oak Manor,” the couple says.

What Great Oak Manor in Chestertown had that others did not: laid back elegance and a close family-run and operated feel. Unfortunately, selecting this dreamy venue meant a limited vendor selection.

“We were lucky to have found an amazing wedding planner [Rachel Kendall Events] who was very familiar with the town we got married in,” the bride says. “She helped guide me on vendor options but ultimately, I had to either go with the local vendors or splurge and pay for the more well-known vendors to travel from DC to Chestertown.”

A lot came down to the couple’s budget and what they felt willing to splurge on. So, to help save in some areas and put her personal touch on the day, Nicole created all of the decor and signage for the wedding day including the welcome sign, unplugged signs, all decor table signs, bar signs, table numbers, and she even hand wrote the guest’s escort cards on oyster shells!

The weekend turned out to be exactly what Nicole and Chris envisioned, a time to catch up with loved ones and simply enjoy each moment. As the sun set over the calm waters of the Chester River painting the sky in shades of blue and pink, the whole crew partied into the Maryland night!

Advice from the bride:

“The most important thing you will be left with is your memories of that day. Do everything you can to prepare to make sure you are free from any worry on the day of your wedding. Delegate all the tasks and just enjoy watching all your hard work and planning unfold. Also.. don’t skimp on your photographer or videographer! Your memories will last a lot longer with photos and videos from the event.”

Vendors: Photographer: Kir Tuben; Wedding Planner: Rachel Kendall Events; Ceremony/Reception Site: Great Oak Manor; Florist: Wander + Whimsy; Stationery: Alison Pennline Design; Cake: Smith Island Baking Co.; Catering: Occasions Caterers;  Hair & Makeup: JKW Beauty; Gown Designer: Martina Liana; Men’s Attire: The Black Tux; Bridesmaids Dresses: Revelry; Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents & Events; Videography: ByDesign Films; Musicians + DJ: Washington Talent Agency; Officiant: Katie Bozarth in association with Ceremony by Rachael; Transportation: Bayside Limousines; Bride’s Rings: Good Old Gold; Bride’s Hair Accessories: Kleinfeld Bridal


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