Handmade, with love

DIY details add to an elegant affair

Jason Keefer Photography

Drake Carden & Charles BentleyMay 13, 2017, at Blenheim Vineyards

Some DIY weddings can turn embarrassing, with an overwhelming amount of detail or disjointed aesthetic choices or—yikes!—décor slowly unraveling and coming unglued. This is none such wedding, thanks to the clear vision of the grooms, who from the start decided on a visual theme, which was simple and elegant, and committed to planning their big day on their own.

When Drake and Charles first started dating, they took a quick trip from Washington, D.C., where they were living, to Blenheim’s tasting room, and remarked—well before it was time to think of such a thing—that it would be a beautiful spot for a wedding. When it came time to plan, they’d already crossed the venue off their list.

The couple met at a bar in Washington, D.C., in early 2011. They connected briefly that night, but it wasn’t until months later that mutual friends reintroduced them. They were married almost six years—to the day!—later.

“The wedding was meant to embrace the outdoors, with the touches of white, some blues and wood accents. Earthy,” says Drake. Charles did most of the heavy lifting (“Drake supervised,” he offers) over the course of a few months—arrival kit, wedding programs, wine glass wedding favors included. The couple even handled the flowers, a mix of light blue and white hydrangeas with some white roses.

The grooms didn’t want the same dry, plated entrées that had left them hungry at other weddings, so they asked The Local to create a Southern-style buffet. Says Drake, “All the best Southern carbs, pulled pork and fried chicken. No one was left hungry.”

To play up the spring wedding aesthetic, Drake and Charles asked their guests to wear florals. “Folks did not disappoint,” says Drake.

“We had 500 million boxes of flowers delivered to our hotel room,” says Drake, “which we arranged ourselves (with the help of family).”

Of course, they couldn’t control everything, and while the saying goes that April showers bring May flowers, the days leading up to their mid-May day were quite rainy, and on the Friday before the wedding, part of the road to their venue was flooded. Luckily, an hour before the ceremony, the sun came out and the outdoor wedding was clear. “We feel very lucky,” says Drake. In more ways than one, we’d imagine.

The Details

Day-of coordinator: Helen Osinga (The Local) Officiant: Sam Roberson (friend of the grooms) Catering: The Local Music: Rick Pfamatter (Black Tie Entertainment)