This Couple Filled Their Baltimore Wedding With Fried Chicken, Champagne and a Drag Show
Eric and Brandon had a two-part wedding in Baltimore, Maryland. To start, they exchanged vows with an intimate ceremony and brunch at Alma, a local Venezuelan restaurant. Then, later in the day, the couple hosted a relaxed backyard "block party"-inspired wedding for a larger group of friends complete with champagne, friend chicken and a drag show.
At the wedding ceremony during the first part of the day, guests sipped on cocktails while surrounding the couple as they exchanged vows in a space filled with lush, garden-like arrangements. "Our biggest goal of the wedding was for it to be a living, breathing example of our love and how we live our lives," says Eric. "We wanted it to focus on all things Baltimore. For our ceremony, we had our best friend who introduced the two of us officiate, we had a local jazz trio play classic Chet Baker and Billy Holiday songs, and we got married in a restaurant where we knew the food would be a star—next to us of course. We incorporated several Jewish traditions—blessings, breaking of the glass, and a Horah—all things that were important to us." Additionally, Eric surprised Brandon by hiring artist and professor, Paul Moscatt, from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) to sketch important moments of the day," explains the couple's photographer. "Eric is an artist in his own right, focusing on queer art, which made this surprise that much more special."
"Part two of the wedding was all about the party," recalls the couple's photographer. "Over local fried chicken and endless bottles of champagne, guests enjoyed a backyard block party with a drag performance featuring local performers: Baby, Washington Heights, and Queen Sorority. One of my favorite moments to photograph was the queens getting ready while the grooms casually sat on the edge of the tub. Baby sprayed hairspray in her hair while Washington Heights contoured her face—sequin dresses hanging from a hook behind the door and wigs brushed and in their place. Something so special about this wedding was the way a community comes together. Seeing family and friends gathered around good drinks in the back alley of Brandon and Eric’s home while children ran around and played and even collected dollar bills for the queens after the performance was such a unique and fun experience. This wedding wasn’t just about the love between two people, it was about feeling seen." Eric explains that "we knew from the start of our planning that we wanted to feature several local drag queens at our ceremony. We wanted to make sure that our family and friends, whether they had experienced the joy and wonders of drag before, could get a first-hand experience into this aspect of gay culture. The sheer delight that each of our guests experienced with throughout the performances was beyond what we could have imagined. I think for us, it was important that we also share this aspect of our community with the children—who I think might have enjoyed it more than anyone else!"
When it came to decorating both the ceremony and the reception, nature was at the center of all the decisions Eric and Brandon made. "One of our big loves is nature," says Eric. "When Brandon proposed he talked about plants in our home garden and how they represented our love and specific goals for growth of our relationship. We wanted to carry this symbolism throughout our special day. We picked our florist specifically for her use of unique plants with varied texture and color to create sculptural arrangements. One reason we picked Alma Cocina for our ceremony was for tropical feel of white walls, dark wood, and large specimen plants. Another reason we picked our alley for the reception was due the arching canopy created by 100+ year old Gingko and Magnolia trees." Eric goes on to share that "our boutonnières included plants that our florist gathered from our garden, tying back to our proposal story. We wanted fairly neutral colors of including shades of white, green, and yellow. The altar, being a focal point for the ceremony, included tall structural elements that were supporting us symbolizing our family and friends. One of the best parts of our story with our florist was that we ran into her at a local gay-owned greenhouse a few days before our official appointment. She later went back there to source plants, and the owners even gifted us a couple of their 'not for sale' plants as a congratulations."
Looking back on the wedding day, the couple encourages current to-be-weds who are in the throes of wedding planning to always remember to "make sure everything from start to finish represents who you are as a couple. The most important questions to ask are: What is it that you want to remember, and what do you want other people to remember? Most people would never think of having friend chicken at a reception, but it was a hit!"