I’ve seen weddings at the University of Maryland’s Memorial Chapel, but I didn’t even know the Garden Chapel existed until Erin and Nikolaj contacted me about photographing their wedding at their alma mater. The Garden Chapel is just behind the main chapel, and is much more rustic and vintage in nature, with lots of exposed brick and wood elements. Erin and Nikolaj had a simple, intimate ceremony with just 20 family members in attendance, followed by a large 100+ guest reception at China Garden. I found out the week before that it would be the very last wedding at China Garden before they shut their doors and move to Rockville next month (3 miles from where I live, in fact! *Happy dance*). Their reception incorporated many elements of Nikolaj’s Chinese and Danish heritage. Erin donned a qipao and they served both sides of the family in a traditional Chinese ceremony. In addition to the traditional wedding cake, they also had a Kransekage- a cornucopia shaped marzipan ring cake that can only be described as a decadent confection of amazingness.
What I love most about Erin and Nikolaj is their appreciation for the little things, and their cool, laid back vibe. When I chatted with them before the wedding, Erin mentioned she loved the cracked paint on the windows in the Chapel- such a tiny, often unnoticed detail! She also expressed her love for the exposed brick and wood elements- so I made sure to include a lot of that in their photo gallery. Before I photograph my couples, I usually remind them to take off things like Fitbits, hair ties, and other ‘distractions.’ When I asked Erin if she’d like to take off her watch for photographs, she responded, “Nope. I just want to be my everyday self, just in a wedding dress.” Oftentimes a wedding day is a massive transformation for brides- with hair, makeup, new jewelry, outfits, and all the fixings- not so for this wedding. It was a touching reminder that there is beauty in simplicity.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Winnie Dora Photography
CEREMONY VENUE: University of Maryland Garden Chapel
RECEPTION VENUE: China Garden
WEDDING DRESS: Adrianna Papell
CAKE: Cakes in Style
FLORIST: Colesville Florist