Caitlin Moran, director of content and partnerships at the lifestyle website Glitter Guide, and her now-husband Austin Kruse had been a couple since their freshman year of college at East Carolina University in 2001. So when Austin popped the question on December 2, 2013, the idea of marriage didn't come as a surprise to the bride-to-be, but she was still blown away by the thoughtful proposal. "Christmas is my favorite holiday and I look forward to getting our tree every year. We got the tree up in our living room and he handed me an ornament he made with the date on it and said I should hang the first ornament of the holiday," she says. "When I turned around he got down on one knee. It was perfect and I loved that we were at home, just the two of us."
The couple initially set their sites on a wedding in Napa at the bride's grandmother's home. "It was the only place I'd ever pictured for my wedding," Caitlin says. But she quickly realized that planning a West Coast wedding from her home in Maryland would be difficult for a type-A-doer like herself, the couple chose instead to bring wine country out East. Once they found the Evergreen Museum in Baltimore, the details of their September 26, 2014, wedding started falling into place — in just nine months, the future Mr. and Mrs. planned a romantic and organic celebration with a vineyard-inspired aesthetic. One of Caitlin's few must have elements: Her photographer, Abby Jiu, who captured every beautiful detail of this swoon-worthy day to perfection.
In addition to her role at Glitter Guide, Caitlin is co-founder of Kruse & Vieira Events, so she's no stranger to coming up with inspired wedding ideas. For her big day, it was all about the little details that make a big impact for guests. The bride and groom enlisted the help of La Happy Calligraphy to design their invitation suite, which featured modern gold calligraphy and a punchy floral envelope liner designed by Striped Cat Studio.
The bride spent her wedding morning relaxing and sipping bubbly with her four bridesmaids. To thank her longtime friends for standing by her side on the big day, she gifted each woman a box filled with some seriously sweet goodies. A floral eye mask, ALBEIT lip gloss, scented hand cream, and a Kate Spade initial necklace ensure each 'maid felt loved.
The hospitality didn't end there, though. Guests traveling for the wedding were welcomed to Balitmore with a chic wire basket filled with snacks, sparkling water, and wine.
Caitlin first found her Watters wedding dress while she was browsing gowns online. "I set my eyes on this dress online and knew it had to be mine," the bride says. "It was so romantic, full of tulle and lace, and had an illusion neckline. It was everything that I wanted." As a planner, she loves to work with tulle and knew she wanted the fabric in her gown, but was blown away when she found this silhouette with delicate lace detailing.
She put a great deal of thought into her accessories, making sure everything she wore on the big day felt significant. In addition to wearing her mother's wedding shoes — "They were a little tight but I suffered though the pain because they were so special!" — Caitlin carried her husband's grandmother's purse, wore her late grandmother's pearl pendant in her hair, and donned a pair of earrings a friend found for her at a New York City sample sale. "They were exactly what I was looking for," the bride says of the ornate baubles.
The ultra-talented Holly Heider Chapple is responsible for all the knockout flowers used throughout Caitlin and Austin's day, including the bride's bouquet. "I completely trusted her and really let her have creative freedom," Caitlin says. "I didn't want it to feel tight or modern at all, instead loose, organic, and overflowing with flowers." Holly totally delivered with this vibrant mix of dahlias, olive branches (a nod to Napa!), O'Hara roses, Queen Anne's lace, and astilbe.
Austin paired his light blue suit with a few special accents, too: A burgundy velvet bowtie and rose and dusty miller boutonniere.
In addition to her four bridesmaids, Caitlin's bridal party included one flower girl, her seven-year-old niece Hadley. The bride wanted to pass savings along to her attendants, so she asked her 'maids to rent Joanna August dresses from Vow to Be Chic in shades of blush and nude rather than buying them. Hadley's dress, on the other hand, was found on a sample rack at a little dress shop in Charleston, South Carolina. "I always thought I'd want my flower girl in white but I loved the taupe color on her and the fullness of the dress," the bride says. She accessorized with a bright posy of blooms and a dainty flower crown.
Caitlin's 'maids all toted a smaller version of her bouquet, but with the addition of more greens to play up the organic look the couple was going for.
The ceremony was held on the lawn at the Evergreen Museum at 5 p.m., just as the sun had started to set. Caitlin parents escorted her down the aisle while a string quartet performed. "Since the setting was so beautiful, we didn't do too much to the space," the bride says. Chairs were arranged in a half circle surrounding the couple and urns filled with planted flowers decorated the aisle.
There, the couple exchanged vows they'd written themselves in a ceremony officiated by the groom's friend.
Immediately following the "I do's," the couple and their guests walked to the museum's patio, which overlooked the vast lawn and ceremony site. To kick the party off, servers were waiting with trays full of cocktails as soon as everyone got up from their seats.
The bride and groom say cocktail hour was their favorite part of the day. "I wish it had been longer," Caitlin says now. In addition to a seasonal signature cocktail named for the couple's dog, the couple also offered a sparkling rosé cart, stocked with bubbly from Caitlin's favorite California winery.
Guests received a glass of chilled rosé in vintage coupes that the bride collected throughout her engagement. "I now have 75 unique, vintage glasses that I own," Caitlin says. "I can't wait to entertain with them for years to come."
Calligraphed strips of velvet ribbon were used as escort cards and hung from a linen-covered board, all directing guests to their table inside the property's Carriage House.
Long tables were decorated with loose greens, including olive branches and eucalyptus, and an array of candles. For height, gold compotes full of dahlias and roses were set at intervals along the length of the table. Each place setting was arranged over top a linen runner handmade by the mother of the groom and included a special thank you note from Caitlin and Austin that was decorated with olive branch flown in from the bride's grandmother's home. "Since my grandmother couldn't attend the wedding, it was nice to have represented in some way," she says.
While the three-course seated dinner of mixed green salad, autumn roasted salmon, and grilled chicken breast was met with approval from guests, dessert was the real hit of the night. A three-tier naked vanilla cake was filled with alternating layers of rose raspberry buttercream and salted caramel filling.
But that wasn't the last sweet treat of the night: Caitlin and her sister spent the days before the wedding in the kitchen, baking over 200 of the bride's late grandmother's coconut macaroons to give guests as a favor. "We included the recipe and received so many compliments about how good they were," the bride says. "It was so fun to work on it with my sister and relieved a little pre-wedding stress."
Three weeks after the wedding, the bride and groom set out on a European cruise, where Caitlin admits they had the time of their life. "California was the dream," says the bride of their big day, "but we embraced our venue and tied pieces of my favorite place, and people, into our day instead."
Cereminy & Reception Venue: Evergreen Museum || Wedding Planner: Kruse & Vieira Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Vow to Be Chic || Invitations: La Happy Calligraphy || Envelope Liner Design: Kate Wong of Striped Cat Studio || Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy || Floral Design: Holly Heider Chapple || Rentals: La Tavola Linens; XOXO Vintage || Catering: Rouge Fine Catering || Cake: Sweet Hearts Patisserie || Music: Kiss Kiss Players; Mixing Maryland || Photographer: Abby Jiu Photography
Can't get enough of the Napa-inspired details at this couple's gorgeous wedding? Then check out a winery wedding out West with a similar vibe in the video below!