A Classic, Nautical-Inspired Military Wedding at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis, Maryland

Laura and Chris’s nautical-inspired wedding was perfectly paired with a maritime ceremony and reception venue. After exchanging vows in the stately Na

Laura and Chris’s nautical-inspired wedding was perfectly paired with a maritime ceremony and reception venue. After exchanging vows in the stately Naval Academy chapel, the newlyweds partied into the night with family and friends at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. A ceremony at the Naval Academy chapel was personal and sentimental with poetic readings by friends and family, and music by the organist who played services when Chris attended the academy. Laura and Chris let the elegant chapel’s beauty speak for itself and had it decorated simply with flowers. “Chris went to the Naval Academy, and for as long as I can remember he has wanted to get married at the chapel on campus,” Laura says. “It’s a beautiful building, and it was especially fun to see people react to seeing it for the first time.” A color scheme of navy, bright white and sunny yellow gave their wedding a classic and clean look. Knots and anchors added a subtle nautical touch. “We were going for an overall vibe of classy and casual—not too stuffy—with nautical flair thrown in here and there,” Laura says. Their wedding day included a few fun surprises—a run-in with actor Kevin Bacon, an enthusiastic "Top Gun" dance reenactment at the reception and a dramatic sparkler send-off and departure by boat. —Marissa Hermanson

Laura and Chris had custom-designed rings. Chris’s band was designed to match his Naval Academy ring. “I always liked round diamonds and channel set,” Laura says. “With those two things in mind, Chris designed my engagement ring.”
“I borrowed earrings and a bracelet from my bridesmaid Kim,” Lauren says. “I had worn that same bracelet of hers when I went on my first date with Chris. We were going to a Navy ball and I didn’t have any nice jewelry, so she gave me her pearl bracelet.”
Before their ceremony, Laura and Chris exchanged love letters. “Notes are kind of our little tradition, which started when he was on his first deployment on the aircraft carrier,” Laura says. “There wasn’t much phone time available, or email for that matter, so when he was able to write, he would make it count.”
Bridesmaids wore navy blue knee-length dresses in varying styles, while groomsmen were clad in their Navy uniforms.
Bridesmaids carried small bouquets of sunny yellow and white irises.
Laura and Chris let the Naval Academy chapel's beauty speak for itself, decorating it simply with flowers.
Laura was welcomed by the Navy after she and Chris made their way through an arch of swords.
Chris and Laura attended middle school and high school together in McLean, Virginia, and fate brought them together later in life.
One wedding day surprise included a run-in with actor Kevin Bacon, who posed for a photograph with the couple.
Escort cards were displayed on a rustic boat, keeping with the couple's nautical-inspired wedding.
During cocktail hour, his and hers signature beverages were served: a refreshing red sangria for Laura and a dark and stormy for Chris. “My bridesmaid Kim would always make a red sangria when I visited her house in the summertime,” Laura says. “The dark and stormy is a classic Annapolis cocktail that Chris always orders when we’re in town.”
Tables were cloaked in navy linens and topped with cheery yellow flowers. Nautical knots made perfect table number holders.
Laura and Chris had a custom logo created with their initials and an anchor and used it to brand everything from their menus to cigars.
A three-tier cake looked clean and modern with striped banding and a few floral details.
A cigar bar included stogies that embellished the couple’s nautical monogram. “This was a Navy wedding—of course we had a cigar bar,” Laura says.
Beer Koozies, Laura and Chris’s wedding favor, had their logo printed on it.
Chris gave Bourbon bottles that were engraved with a note and the couple’s logo to his father and Laura’s father, as well as his groomsmen. “Chris introduced Gentleman Jack to my dad years ago,” Laura says. “Having a splash together, as my dad says, has become their thing."
Laura and Chris capped off their celebration with a dramatic sparkler send-off and departure by boat.