It was a rainy September day when our team arrived at Ian Anthony & Matt Dyroff’s wedding site, the Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City, MD. The unique venue, a former boarding school for girls, has most of the building in tact, but are missing certain walls and roofs, giving it an old ruins feel. The walls that are there were reinforced and supported by steel beams. The areas with no roof had gravel on the ground to cover what otherwise would be muddy grounds. Catering (Catering By Seasons) and our team had a challenge at hand and everything had to be rearranged to accommodate for the early afternoon rain. Thankfully, our good friend Ruby Dichirico of Ruby Chandelier Events was on hand to keep everything under control and running smoothly. Ian and Matt knew they were in good hands and stayed in good spirits. We pulled up right when the photography team (Russ Hickman) was taking preliminary wedding party photos amongst the ruins of the Institute. In the end, everyone pulled through and as we were about to start the ceremony, the clouds cleared and stayed fairly clear for the rest of the evening.
As the guests arrived, in a tented area, they were greeted by a bluegrass band, the Bumper Jacksons, next to a cocktail bar. As everyone was arriving, the wedding party congregated to a small area to sign their personalized Ketubah (Jewish Wedding Contract).
Everyone then congregated to the “chapel” area where the ceremony was to take place. The sparseness of the structures gave the ceremony a dramatic backdrop. The missing roof allowed the sun to bask all the guests that came to witness this union.
The ceremony was both fun and enormously heartfelt. The processional music was provided by the Bumper Jacksons. During the ceremony, there was a humorous bit of self-deprecating ad-lib delivered by Ian when there was a mixup with the ring and couldn’t fit his ring finger. But the highlight of the evening truly was the exchange of Ian and Matt’s vows. At that moment, there was not a single dry eye in sight.
Immediately after the ceremony, the guests were directed to the open area where the first dance and a special family dance was to take place. For the first dance Ian and Matt requested Sara Bereilles “I Choose You.” For the family dance, Ian sent me a recording of a Carpenters cover song (“On Top Of The World”) that was sung by his late mother, Mallory Anthony.
Everyone was then directed to the dining area.
In addition to dinner, there was a cupcake truck parked onsite that featured a maple bacon cupcake, among others. There was also a small area that had small bonfires and couches with small packages to make S’mores.
The dining area and the designated congregating areas around it were surrounded by small brick areas that were lit by candles and covered with assorted flowers and clever decorations.
During dinner, there was a round of toasts. Ian’s sister, Shauna, contacted me prior to let me know that they had planned a choreographed flash mob set to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” immediately after her toast. After that, it was the cake cutting. Then, the dancing began. The songs that had the most folks on the dance floor were hits such as, Kiesza “Hideaway”, Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”, David Guetta ft Sia “Titanium”, Usher “DJ Got Us Falling In Love”, and Robyn “Call Your Girlfriend”.
As the sky cleared towards the end of the evening, the last song we played was Florence & The Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love”. Though Mother Nature made for a challenge start, the stars aligned and provided a great day for such a lovely occasion. It was truly an honor to be a part of the celebration. And the stunning photographs provided by Russ Hickman‘s team made it easy to remember such a beautiful event.