Old Bay Themed Maryland Crab Wedding
A decade or so ago I moved back to the Annapolis area and started work at an office job where I met Jessica—my favorite coworker (my only coworker—but who’s counting??). We’ve since parted ways career-wise but over the summer I had the pleasure of serving not only as her wedding planner, but her maid of honor as well.
The first thing I did was vision board it. She told me she wanted a Maryland style crab feast so I immediately envisioned reds, marigold yellows, navy blues, and nautical navy stripes. Jessica and Brandon had been together for a long time and knew they definitely wanted to get married and share their love with their family and friends, but were less interested in sinking a ton of money into the event. They wanted an event that was special and also authentic to them as a couple.
WEDDING GOWN & BRIDESMAID DRESS
I am a busy body and a control freak so within actual seconds of Jess’s engagement I’d already picked out a wedding dress for her and a bridesmaid dress for me. You can see them in the vision board above and on our actual bodies below.
Jess’s dress is Adriana Papell. Mine was very cheap and was from China. It’s not available anymore from where I bought it, but if you search Pinterest I promise you’ll find it. I won’t link any of the retailers I found here because I’m not 100% sure any of them are legit.
INVITATIONS & SIGNAGE
I designed the invitations to look like Old Bay spice cans.
I then used the same look to create some signage for the actual event. Because of the casual vibe, I mixed and matched frames with whatever I had laying around the house and it worked splendidly for zero doll hairs.
We did a simple Sam’s Club order for flowers of sunflowers and hydrangeas. I arranged them in mason jars and cobbled together a bridal and a bridesmaid bouquet as well. The bridal bouquet was special because I wrapped in a little Old Bay charm with the couple’s wedding date around the stems and added in some red flowers from Jessica’s grandma’s front porch.
The bouquets then also served as part of the wedding decor.
Simple hydrangea and sunflower arrangements in second hand mason jars dotted the rest of the event as well.
To save money, we pimped a grocery store cake. I know a lot of really great local bakers and if it’s in the budget I would always recommend using one of thoseartisans of delicious. BUT, if you really want to save some change, you can get really great results from a plain grocery store cake as well. Ask for it with no piping and sharp edges to give it a more clean, modern look. This is usually a pretty fool-proof plan for a cute cake,but the grocery store bakery didn’t quite follow our requests this time around and there was also some random cake tumor on top of it. I was able to mostly fix it, but it was a dicey situation lol.
See? Turned out pretty cute right? This little cake was like $15. The toppers were found on Etsy. The XOXO garland bit was something from my personal stash of goodies.
FAVORS AND DECOR
We kept it mega-simple for decor. This amazing little gem of a venue, Selby on the Bay Community Center, is right on the water and is floor to ceiling windows. With a view like that you don’t need a lot of decor. This is actually the second event I’ve done in the space. The first was this Golden Birthday and Vow Renewal. You have to be a resident of the neighborhood, or be sponsored by one, to use the space—but man what a space it is.
For what decor we did do, we went with rustic touches of crates and crab buckets.
To save money on linens we opted for navy cloths and navy/white runners vs the more expensive all-striped linens I originlly vision-boarded. We added in pops of red as well.
The crab-topped paper towel holders were from Amazon. We originally thought this was an area where we could save money by DIYing these. But it turns out Amazon won and by the time we would have gotten all the materials (not to mention the time we’d spend make them), it was actually cheaper to just give the monies to the man.
Favors were little packets of Old Bay with stickers to match the invitations and custom engraved crab mallets. I designed them and Bay Imprint created them for us.
I’m slapping this at the end because I’m actually kind of embarrassed of this. This was my first event planning flop. I originally intended to set a backdrop up on the beach and adorn it with flowers but then when I started working on it, it looked SO nice just plain and simple. Navy and white striped panels on each side, burlap wrapped around the pole in the middle. It looked very Serena and Lily and I just loved it.
But then I learned the hard way that I actually could not, in fact, do it all. There was no budget here to hire an assistant and despite all of the gracious help I received I was still doing a lot for one human. Plus I had to look nice because I was in the actual wedding.
Anyway, IT WAS SO WINDY. My little backdrop was no match for the wind—which ate that sucker right up. It legit flipped it over and carried it away a bit—more than once—so I was there on the beach in a dress and full makeup trying to bury the thing in the sand with my hands like an angry honey badger. Some kind bystanders came to help but they could only do so much.
This, friends, teaches us two valuable lessons. Number one: you can’t do it alone. And number two: hire a good photographer. Look how Alex from Alex HD Photography framed these photos so you can hardly tell what a disast it was. Artistry!
The backdrop did recover nicely, however, post-ceremony as a cute little indoor photo backdrop. So—there’s that.
That’s all for this cute wedding, folks, so I’ll wrap with one more shot that I took of this stunning bride as she was getting ready for the day.