A Whimsical Secret-Garden Wedding at Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel in Taneytown, Maryland

Jamila Palmer (28 and a vascular ultrasound technician) and Dennis Friedberg (29 and a mechanical engineer) planned a whimsical secret-garden soiree f

Jamila Palmer (28 and a vascular ultrasound technician) and Dennis Friedberg (29 and a mechanical engineer) planned a whimsical secret-garden soiree for their summer wedding in Taneytown, Maryland. Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel offered a striking backdrop for the affair with its mid-19th-century Greek Revival architecture and expansive 450-acre estate, complete with manicured gardens and old growth trees. “To my surprise, the area where we held the ceremony was called the Secret Garden,” Jamila says. “It couldn’t have been a better fit.” The day unfolded with an intimate outdoor ceremony, with Jamila and Dennis exchanging vows under the ancient branches of a majestic elm tree. Jamila’s father handcrafted a wooden swing to hang from the tree for the occasion, a detail that—when paired with cascades of fresh white, pink and burgundy blooms—brought the couple’s vision to life. A vintage mantelpiece decorated with fresh greenery provided a focal point for the proceedings, while Jamila and Dennis used a love-lock ceremony to symbolize their union. The evening’s festivities kicked off inside the mansion. The decor paid tribute to the wedding’s theme, with a moss escort card display, lush arrangements of garden roses and greenery in gilded bowl vases, ornate vintage frames and a palette of cream, blush, burgundy and green making guests feel as though they’d been whisked off to an English garden. Bringing the beauty of the outdoors in, the couple draped the chandeliers dotting the ceiling of the glass pavilion with fragrant eucalyptus, pale pink florals and green amaranthus to achieve a whimsical look. A tip from Jamila: “After you get married, sit down with your spouse in private, even if it’s only for five minutes. Make sure this time is away from everyone. Sit and talk about the life-changing commitment you just made to each other, because once you start partying, the day flies by.” —Libby MacCarthy

For her something blue, Jamila teamed her elegant mermaid-style gown with royal blue Badgley Mischka pumps with crystal detailing along the back that added a punch of glamour to her down-the-aisle style.
Channeling the romantic vibe of the secret garden-inspired affair, Jamila had her bridesmaids don blush chiffon gowns from Bella Bridesmaids in an A-line silhouette. A halter neckline gave the gowns a modern feel, while ruffled detailing along the back added the perfect punch of playfulness to their look.
Dennis and his down-the-aisle crew struck the perfect balance of classic elegance and modern cool with navy suits, dark brown oxfords and blue ties. While the groomsmen skipped the suit coat, Dennis distinguished his look from the group with a three-piece suit and a striped tie.
Vintage-inspired birdcages displayed atop gilded columns were adorned with cascades of eucalyptus, pink roses and fragrant white florals. They framed the vintage hearth that served as the backdrop for the ceremony. The fanciful touch played up the occasion's secret garden theme, while creating a focal point for the ceremony.
Jamila and Dennis gathered their guests out on Antrim 1844’s expansive lawn for the ceremony. Standing in the shade of an old-growth tree, the couple exchanged vows and held a love-lock ceremony as a symbol of their unity. In lieu of a wedding arch, the couple adorned a reclaimed mantelpiece with a garland of eucalyptus and fresh white, pink and burgundy flowers.
When it came to her hair and makeup, Jamila opted for all-out glamour. “I knew from the beginning that I wanted a dark lip,” Jamila says. “And though I got strange looks when I told people about the idea, on my wedding day it was a hit.” She paired her berry-colored pout with classic eyeliner and a sleek side-swept updo for a showstopping look.
Bella Fiori Couture Floral & Events Design brought Jamila’s vision for a romantic secret-garden-inspired affair to life, creating a lush bouquet of garden roses in shades of ivory, pink, blush and burgundy for her walk down the aisle. The palette matched her bold berry-colored lipstick and allowed the arrangement to stand out against her elegant mermaid-style gown.
To help their guests find their seats, Jamila and Dennis wrote the name of each guest on antiqued card stock to achieve a vintage-inspired look. The cards were displayed atop a bed of fresh moss to tie into the secret garden theme.
Jamila and Dennis left no detail unnoticed. Bringing the beauty of the outdoors in, the couple decorated Antrim 1844’s chandeliers with garlands of eucalyptus, fresh pink flowers and wispy greenery cascaded from the gilded chandeliers to achieve a whimsical, gardenlike vibe.
Heightening the evening’s sense of old-world elegance, Jamila and Dennis placed each table number in elaborate vintage frames. Styled alongside mercury glass accents, textured table linens and bountiful bouquets of roses and hydrangeas piled high atop footed vases, the subtle detail effortlessly brought the couple’s vision to life.
After dinner, the newlyweds and their guests indulged in cannoli cake and chocolate-covered strawberries. The three-tier confection was decorated with ivory buttercream frosting, buttercream rosettes, pink satin ribbon and fresh flowers for a sweet, playful look.
After the last song was played, the newlyweds and their guests parted ways. The couple’s friends and family sent Jamila and Dennis off with a bang, surrounding the pair in a blaze of bright sparkler light.