Real Weddings/DIY Weddings

Traditional Military Wedding With Nautical Decor

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Classic brides we found your kindred spirit in Annapolis, Maryland. Alison and Yusuf embraced their family traditions and military service and gave it prominence in this classy and nautical East Coast wedding.

Alison found so many ways to honor her family in her bridal choices – wearing her great grandmother’s diamond bracelet (swoon!) and a headpiece worn not only by her mother on her wedding day, but her aunt and grandmother too.

The traditions didn’t end there either, the two married in the same stunning church as Alison’s parents (and we can see why!) Fittingly, the couple too honored the military service of not only the groom but groomsmen as well, donning their uniforms for the day, and partying by the sea. How special!

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Our Love Story

We met at The University of Maryland on the Shotgun Sports Shooting team. Alison was looking for fun clubs to sign up for freshman year and Yusuf was a senior member of the team. When they first met, Yusuf could not believe that the preppy girl in front of him knew anything about target shooting – but she did.

Alison visited Yusuf in Corpus Christi, TX – his hometown and where he was stationed at the time for flight school. We went to his favorite beach where friends and his sister had previously set up seashells all around. Yusuf suggested that they go “shell hunting”. Alison was having too much fun to notice that the shells were suspiciously nice to have just washed up onshore.

Yusuf pointed to a particularly large conch shell a little ways away which Alison quickly ran to. She bent down to pick it up and saw the engagement ring in the shell. When she turned back around, Yusuf was on his knee.

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The Dress & Attire

I wanted Yusuf to be in uniform. Since the groomsmen were a mix of military branches and civilian, they were all going to be in their different uniforms or black tuxes.

I decided to embrace the mixed look and all my bridesmaids were different dresses in one of three colors. Vow to Be Chic was perfect for this because they sent me fabric swatches ahead of time and were helpful getting all of my girls the sizes they needed. It was also awesome that no one in the wedding party had to buy their outfit – everything was already owned or rented.

I was very adamant about having tank top straps on my dress. The dress I chose had spaghetti straps and Bridals By Elena was great and ordered extra lace from the designer and made wider straps for me.

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The Venue & Style

I knew that we were going to be married in Annapolis and the connection to the water and military would be prominent. I wanted the ceremony to be in St. Mary’s because it is the church that my parents were married in.

A reception on the water was also a must. The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club ended up being a perfect choice. It is a beautiful venue with excellent staff. It is also westward facing, so the sunsets are amazing. I wanted my colors to be subtle and coordinated – so I chose pale pink, pale blue, gold and champagne.

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The Flowers

I did not want to spend much on flowers. I thought that they were important to have, but I was not looking for anything extravagant. Liz at Scentational Florals was awesome. She helped me pick flowers that were in season to keep the costs down but still fit with my theme. The centerpieces, bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres turned out beautiful.

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Favorite Moments

There are so many! The ceremony was beautiful and my uncle gave the homily which was very special.

Susie & Becky were great at getting the family pictures done quickly so Yusuf and I could join cocktail hour. It was really nice to have that extra time to chat with our guests. At the end of cocktail hour, Yusuf used his military sword to pop the first bottle of champagne.

My dad gave a hilarious and sweet toast that started with him calling my brother up to be his “cup holder”. My mom rolled her eyes at that one.

During the party, the band coordinated and played two special songs. The first was “You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” where all of Yusuf’s pilot friends serenaded me Top Gun style. The second was a “Sweet Caroline” rendition that my cousins re-wrote and sang as “Sweet Alison” incorporating embarrassing moments from my childhood and family jokes.

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The Traditions & Family Heirlooms

We had the military sword arch tradition as we exited the church in addition to the sabrage champagne opening at the reception.

All of my accessories were and are now family heirlooms. The headpiece I wore was first worn by my maternal grandmother on her wedding day, then by my aunt and mom for their weddings. I also wore my mother’s earrings and my great grandmother’s diamond bracelet. My mom made my veil in the months leading up to the wedding.

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The Photography & Band

Photography and band were the two most important things to us. I loved Susie & Becky‘s photography style when I first found their blog. But, once I actually met them, I and knew they were going to be perfect. Susie & Becky made us feel so comfortable. They are so happy kind, it is almost impossible not to smile around them.

The band was also really important because I wanted my guests to have a lot of fun and stay on the dance floor. Doug Segree is a neighbor who my parents have seen perform frequently. He was also an excellent choice. He played the perfect mix of classics and new songs that kept my guests dancing all night. People are still commenting to me about how great Doug Segree was at the wedding.

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The DIY Details

I painted the custom map that Paper in the Park printed on our invitations. I also painted the table numbers and made the photo booth backdrop. The sailboat escort cards and favors were handmade, I also wrote and tied all the names to the sailboats.

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The Cake

I have always loved cupcakes. I love baking them and I love eating them. After convincing my mom that it was completely infeasible for us to bake cupcakes for the wedding, we went to Cakes and Confections – my mom’s go-to bakery.

Yusuf really wanted a Nutella cupcake, a recipe that is one of my favorites but Cakes and Confections normally does not do. Julianne was awesome and made Nutella cupcakes for us in addition to the few other flavors we selected.

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