After Rachel Feldman, a girl from the boating and farming town of Cambridge, Maryland, met Alex Fishman – a boy from New York City who wanted to find a small-town girl who shared his passion for travel, food, and adventure – they became an inseparable match. Following an incredible courtship, Alex surprised his beloved with a proposal most women only dream of: He woke Rachel up and told her to pack a bag, whisked her away on a whirlwind trip to Paris, France, and got down on one knee during a romantic stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries.

When the time came to begin planning their nuptials, the couple desired a serene setting in close proximity to the bride’s family’s home in Trappe, Maryland, located on the Choptank River. A charming resort on the opposite side of the waterway – which leads to Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean – was selected as the location of the celebration for its comfortable accommodations available to out-of-town guests and its accessibility by boat to and from the family farm across the way. “We wanted a place that was close to my family’s farm and also wanted guests to have fun, so having everyone stay on-site was ideal,” shares the bride.

The spirit of the coastal celebration was set with the couple’s wedding invitation. “I had strong opinions about our calligraphy,” admits Alex, who helped select a stationery suite that focused on elegant hand lettering, a theme that was carried throughout the event on seating and menu cards. The bride’s favored color scheme – “I am very drawn to greys, blues, and whites,” says Rachel – was utilized not only in the stationery but also in the stylish florals and décor for both the alfresco ceremony and ballroom reception, as well as bridesmaids’ attire. 

Just before sunset, over 200 loved ones gathered at the end of a pier for the seaside ceremony. The bride looked radiant in a strapless, lace mermaid gown. Her long brunette locks were pulled away from her face and styled in loose curls beneath an elegant veil. She carried a vibrant bouquet composed primarily of peonies and ranunculus blossoms in shades of ivory, hot pink, and scarlet. Bridesmaids clutching nosegays of white peonies or garden roses accented with dusty miller wore floor-length gowns in tones of ocean blue, navy, and sea-haze grey; and the groom and his groomsmen donned sharp tuxedos. 

Since Rachel’s grandfather had passed away shortly before the wedding, his memory was honored when the bride’s cousin escorted their grandmother down the aisle wearing their grandfather’s favorite white tuxedo jacket. “It was incredibly touching and absolutely wonderful,” remembers Rachel. 

The vow exchange took place beneath a chuppah decorated with branches, vines, and cream flowers to achieve the “natural garden look” Rachel desired. “The familiar smell of the beautiful river, the gorgeous sunset on a cool spring night, and the feeling of standing [before] all of our family and friends was incredible,” reminisces the bride. 

Once the sun went down, guests gathered in a ballroom overlooking the river for a sit-down dinner service. Table assignments were found on a large hand-lettered seating chart displayed in a gold frame embellished with crème brûlée roses and pale blue florals. To ensure the design of the outdoor ceremony décor transitioned smoothly to the indoor reception, large trees, vines, and twinkling lights were installed in the space to provide an organic ambience. “Everything had to look natural, as if the garden were brought inside,” Rachel explains.

Wooden guest tables surrounded by white chairs were either left bare or strewn with luxurious vanilla linens. Centerpieces alternated between multiple low arrangements or a towering glass vase filled with greenery, ivory blooms with light blue accents, and trailing amaranthus. Place settings featured a garden-inspired china pattern topped with sprigs of dried lavender tied with twine. Though tablescapes were designed with soft, coastal-inspired shades in mind, the pièce de résistance of the room was a large floral chandelier in the hues of the original palette, as well as bright pink and red blooms to lend a pop of color. 

Before taking to the dance floor, loved ones enjoyed slices of a “naked” wedding cake featuring three tiers – each boasting a different flavor combination – embellished with fresh ranunculus blossoms and peonies. “Our guests were dancing all night,” shares Alex, who helped select the soulful tunes that the band performed during the reception. “I was so honored to spend time with our family and dear friends who flew in from all over the world – Beijing, Dubai, Montreal, New York, and more – to celebrate with us.”

From the sunset ceremony to the midnight departure, the couple’s celebration was flawless. The bride’s best advice for others desiring an exceptional event? “Be in the moment,” she says. A respectable bit of wisdom from a pair who embraced the present from their very first meeting, to their fairy-tale engagement, and finally their memorable spring soirée.