It is not very often that you attend a wedding where the bride and groom grew, raised and fermented almost everything on the menu. That was the case at Brook and Brandon’s wedding on a glorious, cherry-blossom-sprinkled April afternoon on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The setting was the Crow Farm & Winery, a family-run cattle farm (and former dairy) that was recently converted into a farmstay B & B.
The couple planned the event in a few months, but they had been toiling together for years on the farm. Their hard work paid off handsomely for their wedding. The grapes they planted and harvested became the first vintage of the new winery, a crisp, delicious 2011 Vidal Blanc. The chickens and black angus cows they raised became the gourmet meal prepared by local Chef Robbie Jester. The vegetables served came from the neighboring CSA. The eggs used in the boutonnières and the decorations came from their hens. The bride baked the wedding cake. Her father baked the bread.
Leslie Raimond recounts the day poetically ….
Mother Nature smiled and blessed us all with softly sunny light and gentle breezes. The guests gathered on the lawn and took their places. Looking far down the rows of vines we could see the bride on the arm of her father and her attendants start their procession through the green rows; the little girls with their crowns of grapes and their baskets of pink petals; the bridesmaids with dresses the color of the bloom on plums; the fiddle and guitar strumming; the petals swirling; the bride’s hair flying in the breeze. Brook joins Brandon who is standing with Marc the “Minister”. There are smiles. Now, there is a long moment of silence. The flower girls are solemn and play their roles perfectly. The sounds are birds, leaves rustling, a champagne cork popping in the distance. No one speaks. Now, it’s time for vows. Just between the bride and groom… in Quaker tradition, there is no higher authority… just the inner light. Now, the ceremonial kiss. They are married!
We all sign the Wedding Certificate, that Quaker tradition which has been so useful in tracing our own ancestors. The feast is beginning. A huge white tent has stage, dance floor and tables set for 150 revelers -white linen, sparkling glasses. The wine flows and the toasts, respectful and loving, are made. Delicious chicken mole, avocado salad, fine bread. The music playing throughout has been compiled by Chad and is a wonderful mix of delightful, but unobtrusive sounds. Now it’s time for the band to strike up! Yee-haw! Let’s square dance. A caller urges the dancers on. We swirl and swing, and slide and circle. It’s wonderful! A break for the cutting of the cake – layers of chocolate made by Brook, and created to look like slices of birch-bark trees. Brilliant. More dancing … Checkie and Chad adorable as they circle in and swing high. It’s time to leave. As Vince and I pull out of the lane in the now black velvet night I catch a glimpse of a little girl in a blue satin dress, alone, lit bright by a spot light, gathering pink blossoms in the swirling wind of the approaching storm.
Photos of the rehearsal dinner and wedding day by Leslie Prince Raimond
Event Coordination, Francesca Raimond – FIR Productions Green Events
Bouquets and boutonnières by Lydia Gerres
Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding Reception by Chef Robbie Jester
Decor and Decorations by Brook Schumann and Ashley Herr