A Glittering Outdoor Autumnal Wedding – Kristen & Derek


This week is all about my favourite season – Autumn. Later on in the week we have a beautiful Essences board full of earth tones, but today I get to share with you Kristen and Derek’s beautiful outdoor wedding that took place at The Kings Contrivance in Columbia, Maryland, full of lovely golden and brown tones from Sarah Culver Photography.


Our relationship has endured a lot of long-distance time in the almost 8 years that we have been together. Our relationship started out with Derek in Baltimore and me and Virginia and, most recently, we went through two years of me living in Toronto while Derek was still in Baltimore. Toronto was actually the backdrop for our engagement. I was preparing to attend the University of Toronto for graduate school, and needed to find an apartment. Derek travelled with me to Toronto to help me search for an apartment and proposed to me the first night we were there. He had this elaborate plan to go to the top of the CN Tower to propose, but I ruined it because I was exhausted after travelling all day and just wanted to get a bite to eat and head back to the hotel. So our proposal happened on the side of the street as we were walking back to our hotel after dinner and drinks! It was totally unexpected (as we still weren’t sure at that point if we were both going to move to Toronto) and was absolutely symbolic of the fact that he will always be there, no matter where I have to travel for either school or a job. He has always been supportive of me, and this was an amazing way for him to show it.


Derek and I hand picked everything about our wedding, so I’d say that all of the details represented us as a couple. The inspiration for our wedding came from our love of all things Autumn, while also staying light and airy. Derek and I always feel the most alive during the fall months, so of course we wanted to capture that for our wedding day. I also have an insatiable love for glitter and sparkle, so we threw touches of that throughout our decor without over-powering the rustic feel we were going for. It was also very important to us that we kept our wedding “all in the family”, per se. We are lucky that we know a ton of talented people, so we were able to have a close friend marry us (who also gave us matching love note tattoos shortly after we got engaged), as well as have friends film our day and provide services such as hair and makeup for the girls and barbering for the guys. And honestly, all throughout planning, we just wanted to have an awesome party for all of our friends and family. It was more important to have amazing music, food, and cake than it was for me to have some once-in-a-lifetime dress or expensive heels. We wanted the day to be about sharing our love with everyone that has always embraced us and supported us. 


However, the most straightforward detail of our wedding that represented us as a couple had to be our cake topper. Our baker, Charm City Cakes, made us into little figurines based on our own personalities. Derek’s figurine was in a hockey jersey, which is a nod to his love of sports, and my figurine had my cat Piper peeking out from under my dress. It was a perfect depiction of us.


Our entire wedding was DIY. The table numbers, programs, place cards, decorations, backdrops, etc. were all DIY. As I was planning the wedding while I was still living in Toronto, every time I was able to take a short trip home, I would go all out on making wedding decorations. Basically, the entire time I was home turned into a marathon crafting session. I think the most fun project that we did for our wedding was either the painted pumpkins or the backdrop for the ceremony. Derek and I had a lot of fun painting the pumpkins because, true to our relationship, he would be painting goofy ones while I was painting planned-out designs. My mom and I also had a lot of fun making the backdrop because we were just ripping a lot of fabric apart and it actually ended up looking really nice! Plus, we got to do a lot of fabric shopping, which is always fun.


I think we can both agree that our first look was extremely special. It was amazing because it was done under the trees in the woods just as the sun was setting…we couldn’t have asked for a better setting for the first look. That moment was probably the most nervous I was the entire day, but I’m so glad I was able to get those nerves out before I was in front of all of our guests. The pictures we have from before the wedding are some of our favorites because we are so relaxed and just enjoying the time together. 


Derek had two best men. Of course, neither of them remembered the rings. My dad and I were just about to walk down the aisle when one of them comes running back towards us. I, of course, have no idea what’s going on at this point, but he tells me to walk slowly. Everything worked out just fine and the best man was back by the time I got to the end of the aisle, but the story of what happened was hilarious. Apparently, Derek turned to them as soon as he got down the aisle and asked if they had the rings and it was the typical “You, have them, right?” “No, I thought you had them?” moment. After that, one of the best men said “I got it.” in the most straight-forward tone and rushes back towards the house. Derek said he was picturing his best man throwing a chair through the window and jumping through it like a mad man just to deliver our rings to us on time. We still joke about it to this day.


I did consider my tattoos when I was shopping for a dress, only because I didn’t want my dress and my tattoos to be competing. I didn’t want a dress with a ton of lace or beading on it because it would have been too busy in addition to my tattoos. I chose a dress that was understated and subtle, while still having amazing detail, without overpowering or adding to the visual interest in my tattoos. 


How amazing is Kristen & Derek’s wedding? I had such a hard time selecting my favourite photos for this – I wanted to show them all! (I especially love their first look photos). Thank you to them both and to Sarah Culver Photography and Monachetti Weddings for sharing their wedding images and video with Marry Me Ink – Be sure to leave them some love.

Kristen and Derek from Monachetti Weddings on Vimeo.

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Photography – Sarah Culver Photography
Venue – King’s Contrivance, Columbia, MD
Kristen’s Dress – Vera Wang
Veil – Aino Handmade
Bridesmaid Dresses – Carol Hannah
Derek & Groomsmen’s Suits – Vera Wang
Flowers – Malia Ray at River Hill Florist
Hair & Make up – Caitlyn Meyer
Music – Mixing Maryland
Video – Tyler Davis at Monachetti Weddings

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