Mara & Shane: An Outdoor Wedding on the Chesapeake Bay

The weather could not have been any more perfect for the waterside wedding of Mara and Shane. The warm, dry air meant that their wedding festivities would continue long into the night.

THE BRIDE Mara Masso, a 28-year-old marketing account executive
THE GROOM Shane Maddox, a 30-year-old sales manager
THE DATE June 29
THE SCENE The ceremony took place at St. Luke's Methodist Church; a reception followed at Harbortowne Golf Resort in St. Michaels, Maryland

The day started with a 5 p.m. ceremony at St. Luke's Methodist Church, where a large pipe organ provided a dramatic musical backdrop to the ceremony.

The service incorporated traditional readings from the Bible, a hand-bonding ceremony, and nontraditional vows that the couple wrote themselves by pulling together ideas from various other couples' ceremonial vows.

Everything about the wedding was classically elegant -- an unusual mood for a casual, outdoor summer celebration. From the bride's white satin strapless gown with silver beading to the guys' black suits by Tommy Hilfiger, to the bridesmaids' black satin ensembles, the wedding party look was perfectly graceful.

Eager to enjoy the brilliant sunshine, the newlyweds and guests got the cocktail hour started right after the ceremony. There was an open bar on the deck of the Harbortowne Golf Resort, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

Guests mingled with cocktails in hand while slow jazz filled the summer air.

The reception was held on the peninsula of the resort overlooking the water. The flower arrangements, which consisted of large topiaries filled with exotic blooms such as raspberry lilies, orange spray roses, pink spider mums, and tall vases overflowing with magenta dendrobium orchids, were vibrant against the black-and white table decor.

During dinner, the sunset cast its glow over the party. As it grew dark, quaint streetlamps and tiny white lights wrapped around the nautical wooden posts along the deck were lit for a dramatic effect.

Following a dinner buffet that included crab-stuffed chicken and salmon with dill sauce, an evening of dancing under the starry sky got underway.

It came as no surprise that Mara and Shane, who met at a mutual friend's wedding, chose "Strangers in the Night" for their first dance as husband and wife.

For the rest of the evening, the band played nothing but crowd-pleasers including funky Motown and disco. "Full Circle was fantastic and enthusiastic," says Mara. "The band was fully involved with all of the guests."

When it was time to leave, family and friends blew bubbles to surround the newlyweds who joyously fled the reception.

-- Allison Micarelli
Photography © Amy Raab

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see right-hand column of this page.

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