Making memories while keeping close to the family lineage — that’s how this adorable couple planned their wedding day! It was a picture-perfect view with a touch of elegance and simplicity in the overall preparations. Take a glimpse from the photos captured by HannahLane Photography.
From HannahLane Photography: “When I met Christen and Alex for the first time and asked them what the style of their wedding was going to be, they said elegant with no “colors” just white, greenery, and candles. I immediately knew it was going to be a wedding I would never forget and it was just that. Despite hurricane Florence bringing torrential rain all day, these two had a beautiful day on the prettiest historic plantation that Christen’s parents and grandparents were married on!”
Q&A with the bride and groom:
How did you meet?
Christen: We met at a bar in Federal Hill called “Don’t Know Tavern”. I was with my best friend Lexi and Alex was with his best friend Miles. Lexi was squinting across the bar at the boys as she was pretty sure she knew Miles. I hoped she did because his friend (Alex) was super cute 😉
Low and behold, she did know Miles and we all started talking. We exchanged numbers and that was that!
Alex: I would occasionally visit my former college roommate, Miles, in Baltimore, and usually do so with our other roommates. This particular Saturday, we went out for some food and drinks at Don’t Know Tavern in Federal Hill.
As Miles and I were ordering drinks at the bar, he told me he recognized the girl sitting at the other end, Lexi. I responded to him saying “I hope you know her, cause her friend next to her is pretty cute”. We made our way to the other end of the bar to strike up conversation. I came to find out that Lexi’s friend was named Christen, and as the day went on and we kept talking, we eventually exchanged numbers.
What about the other person caught your eye?
Christen: Literally, Alex’s green eyes!
Alex: I thought she was beautiful right off the bat, but once we started talking more I just felt a very comfortable and normal conversation.
Tell us about your first date!
Christen: So as I mentioned, I gave Alex my number and we had been texting for a few weeks. After telling him about a date I just went on with another guy, he texted “I could take you on a date too you know.” And I said well, sure. But you’d have to come to Baltimore to do that (Alex was living with his parents in Philly at the time). So Alex said great, I’ll be there Friday. He showed up at my apartment door that Friday with a bottle of wine in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other and said “I made two reservations, do you want to do Italian or Mexican for dinner?”. This was one of the first moments I knew he was the one. And of course I picked Mexican and we went to Barcocina! Alex also met my sister this night. This is important because my sister and I are very close so it wasn’t weird for us to meet potential S.Os very early. We went to The Horse You Came In On saloon to meet Marissa. She immediately connected with Alex too so that was a good sign 🙂
Alex: We had been texting and talking to each other for a few weeks . After learning that Christen went on a nice date with another guy, I felt that I could do better. We agreed to go out on a Friday night, and I would travel to Baltimore for the night. I did a little research and made reservations at an Italian restaurant and a Mexican restaurant. I showed up to Christen’s apartment with a bottle of wine, and bottle of tequila, and let her decide where we would have dinner. After finishing about half the bottle of tequila, we made our way to Barcocina for dinner.
After dinner, we made our way across the street to The Horse You Came In On Saloon where I met Christen’s sister, Marissa. After living with both Marissa and Christen for 2 years, I would say that I think I made a pretty good first impression.
How did Alex propose?
Christen: It wasn’t long after we got to know each other that we realized we were soul mates & best friends. Alex moved to Baltimore for our relationship and it flourished from there.
2.5 years later, Alex made another big move by inviting our family and friends to witness him propose at Barcocina, where we had our first date. Although a few unplanned events occurred (i.e. me chipping off all my nail polish the night before and it down pouring out of nowhere) plan B turned out even better. It wouldn’t be us if things went exactly as planned 😉
August 12th, 2017 remains the best night of our life until September 8th, 2018 when we became husband and wife!
Alex: After an event filled spring and summer where we did a ton of travelling, beach trips, and weekends with friends and family, I knew Christen was starting to get a little frustrated that I hadn’t proposed yet. I always told her that as well as she knew me, she was not going to know when it was going to happen.
We had a free, “low-key” weekend planned in mid-August that didn’t raise any suspicions. I decided that that was when I wanted to propose, and worked with Marissa to gather 40 of our closest friends and family at Barcocina, where we had our first date. The plan was to take her out to the pier next to Barcocina, propose, and head into the restaurant to celebrate. However, about 20 minutes before I had planned to propose, the skies opened up and it poured as hard as I have ever seen. Instead of proposing out on the pier, we scampered inside Barcocina from the Uber, and as we were drenched from head to toe, I got down on one knee and asked Christen to marry me in front of our friends, family, and random Barcocina patrons.
When it was all said and done, it was hands down (next to our wedding night) one of the best night of our lives.
What do you love to do together?
Christen: Everything LOL Alex and I joke that I don’t even let him fall asleep because I don’t want to watch T.V. without him.
But more seriously, we love to eat, cook, workout, take walks, try new restaurants, grab a glass of wine somewhere, listen to music, take road trips, travel, have beach days, go to the movies, watch Netflix together – the list goes on and on
Alex: An easier question would be what don’t we love to do together haha. We do everything from working out together, to ordering pounds and pounds of pasta and pigging out together, and anything in between. Some of our favorite activities include trying new restaurants and foods, wine tastings, traveling, Netflix shows, and walks/runs.
Tell us a little about yourselves!
Christen: Well, I’m a southern MD girl, born in San Diego but raised in Hollywood MD. I love love love my family and hometown. My mom, dad and sister are everything to me, including Alex. AND our cat Dwight, who’s basically a dog. I teach cycle class as a part time job and volunteer at Baltimore Animal Rescue Center and Shelter doing Cat Enrichment. I love to bake and have enjoyed being a tad more domestic now that I’m married. I love a chill Saturday with alex where we just get errands done and take a walk around Fed Hill park at the end of the day.
Alex: I grew up outside of Philadelphia, where my parents still live and so do a lot of my friends. Being from there, I have always been a huge Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers fan, and have slowly recruited Christen as a fan since the first day we started dating. I played soccer in college and still am lucky enough to be able to play today, and Christen always makes an effort to come watch me play which I love. I enjoy working out, playing golf, cooking, and hanging out with our cat, Dwight (he is a 13 pound bundle of joy). I love having a good time, and also making sure those around me are always having a good time as well.
What was your favorite part of the wedding?
Christen: ugh, too many great parts. I guess one of my favorite parts was the band playing the acoustic version of September by Earth Wind and Fire for our first dance. That song is why we picked September to get married in
Alex: Besides seeing my gorgeous WIFE for the first time, definitely seeing all of our closest family in friends in one place was truly special. Many guests from both sides of the family travelled near and far to celebrate and witness our love. One memory that gives me chills is when we got off the bus from taking pictures and were introduced as husband and wife for our grand entrance. I’ve never smiled so hard. : ))
Do you have any advice for other couples planning their wedding?
Christen: My biggest piece of advice is to have a separate wedding email address LOL it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all things wedding, because it’s a super exciting time in your life. But you need to be able to separate personal, work and then wedding things at times. Also, take mental pictures with your partner throughout your wedding day. Alex would grab my hand and be like”take a mental pic” or just take it all in. That helped us remember the day even more.
Alex: Throughout the planning process it’s important to be patient and to listen. Christen did an amazing job planning and the way I found to help the most was to listen and reason with her. For the day of the wedding, we would either step back and take in the scene or “take a mental pic”. The day happens so fast that it’s important to take everything in.
How did you decide on Sotterley Plantation?
Christen: Sotterley Plantation has always been special to me and my family. The plantation has family lineage to my grandparents families (Briscoe & Gardiner) and my parents also had their wedding reception here. It’s cool to look at both sets of pictures now and compare the two weddings. Although they were able to have the reception on the back of the house 25+ years ago so that was a whole different ball game! It was also funny (frustrating) to try and explain to my parents that even though we are getting married at the same church and having the reception at the same location that our wedding is going to cost a WHOLEEE lot more than theirs did 😉
Alex: Christen’s family has a lot of ties to Sotterley. Her parents had their reception there and it is located close to their house. We used different locations on the ground than they did 25+ years ago, but the views never get old!
What makes your wedding special, highlighting the details and ideas you think were most important?
Christen: Here are a few things:
Getting married at St. John’s Church aka the church I’ve grown up going to since I was 5 and also the same church my parents got married in (also September wedding) is super special
Having our reception at Sotterley Plantation, where I grew up going on field trips to and is less than 2 miles away from my home AND my parents had their reception here, is very special.
Doing a first look with my dad, aka my best friend, was super special
Alex gave me two wedding bands – one for each of his best men, so both were represented
Our wedding favors were my granny lou’s crab muffin recipe tied to Old Bay shakers. This recipe was hand written to my dad when we first moved to Southern MD. My grandma was extremely special to me (and my whole family) as she was our rock and my 2nd mom. I’d run to her house (next door) when my parents would be mad at me. She’d give me a cookie and console me but ultimately send me home because she knew her daughter (my mom) was right
Alex’s cousins who own a polish bakery in Chicago did our 18 ft dessert table, wedding cake and grooms cake! The Grooms cake was a surprise to Alex that I arranged for them. They brought some items from Chicago in a van (yes, drove) and made some items in MD. Super special they did that for us
Alex’s mom had all the tuxedos made for the men through her company (Alex knows the name) and they got to keep them as gifts!
Alex’s mom also arranged for pierogis from a legit polish deli in NJ to be there for our late night snack. She traveled with them and gave them to Rouge catering with cooking instructions. SOOO GOOD
We did family style dinner because we wanted everyone to be social. We truly love our family and friends so much we knew they’d love each other too
Alex: A few things I loved:
The Friday before we received a blessing from both our parents to wish us the best for our marriage. This is an Eastern European tradition that my mom (who is from Poland) introduced to us and I wanted incorporated.
Having my Mom make the tuxedos for the Groomsmen and Dad’s. Last time both Father’s looked that good was on their own wedding days!
Christen surprised me with not only a Philadelphia Eagles grooms cake, but also an Eagles garter as well.
My cousins own a bakery in Chicago and were kind enough to bake our cake as well put EIGHTEEN FEET (18ft!!!) of dessert table. We also had a “late night snack” of pierogi’s that were absolutely delicious.
Definitely special for Christen to have her wedding at Sotterley, where she has so many family ties and history.
The crab muffin recipe that we dedicated to her Grandmother was amazing. Christen was extremely close to Granny Lou so it was special for her to be there with us. Also, you can’t take a trip to Southern Maryland and forget about crabs!
To sum up: Great family/friends, amazing food, lots of drinks, and good music is all you need.
Anything else you want to share with us?
Christen: We truly had an all star team of vendors that we couldn’t have done it without. Hannah and her crew HIGHLY included in that statement. So thank you so much Hannah!!
Alex: We had a lot of touches included throughout the wedding that made the day truly our own. That started with all our vendors. We were transparent with them as they were with us and made sure everything went off without a hitch. Each person has a passion for what they do and were able to work with us to make everything special. Also – super lucky to have found my wife, who is a rockstar and helped put together the day of our dreams!