When their paths crossed at the Harford County Farm Fair, 13-year-old Kristen Grimmel had no idea her teenage crush on Jake Deford would turn into 11 years of infrequent run-ins. “When Jake was single, I was dating. When I was single, Jake was dating,” says Grimmel. Learning of each other’s availability through a mutual friend, the long-aborning relationship finally formed, and Jake proposed 13 months later on Valentine’s Day with a beautiful family heirloom ring.

Forgoing the traditional church setting, the couple opted for a vintage-themed wedding at the Grimmels’ fourth-generation farm and the Deford family-owned Boordy Vineyards.

“For quite some time, I knew this would one day be the site of our wedding ceremony,” Grimmel says. “To us, there was no place as beautiful or special, and it was important to have our families’ heritages honored.”

On May 23, 2009, more than 300 guests made their way to the 250-acre farm in Jarrettsville. Greeted by an old-fashioned lemonade stand, accented by a wooden picket fence, family and friends entered the rustic barn. The aisle, marked by an antique iron archway and covered in hydrangeas, led to the altar’s tall willow candelabras and orchid blossom display. Kristen, in her hand-beaded, strapless Casablanca gown (which arrived just four nail-biting days before the wedding after being re-sent to China for additional alterations), was at ease as she walked to the sounds of the string quartet.

Bridesmaids in raisin-colored tea-length dresses, including Kristen’s best friend who flew in at the last minute from Korea, and groomsmen in midnight blue suits, watched as a longtime family friend performed the short civil ceremony.

Afterward, guests were routed to Boordy Vineyards’ upper barn, where they feasted on warm crab and cheddar fondue, herb-encrusted tenderloin and Bourbon Street shrimp before being led down a lantern-lit path to a magnificent white tent.

“The rain was my biggest worry throughout the entire wedding planning process. I found a 15-day weather forecast a few weeks before the wedding. The forecast changed every day. It drove me [and my mother] crazy!” says Grimmel with a laugh. “To relax me, our friend Patrick would send me texts from random phone numbers about how beautiful the weather was going to be, signing them ‘From Mother Nature.’”

Clear skies prevailed, and the tent glowed as the newlywed couple showed off their footwork to Clint Black’s and Lisa Hartman Black’s, “When I Said I Do.” With the sounds of Sinatra echoing in the background, lump crabmeat atop Chesapeake chicken was served next to a wide selection of Boordy’s finest. As guests dined, they raved about the flip-flop-filled wine barrel with the request to “Kick off your heels and stay a while” and the extravagant cake buffet created by chef Michael Markwitz.

“Having everyone we love in one place for our one big day was an indescribable emotion,” says Grimmel. “It’s a day we will cherish forever.”

Catering Simply Elegant Catering, Pikesville, 410-484-4554,
Cake Michael Markwitz, Artistic Desserts, Westminster, 410-871-9610,  
Flowers Romance of Flowers, Reisterstown, 410-526-7252,
Photography Kimberly Brook Photography, Westminster, 443-398-5294,
Tenting & Rentals ACE Rentals, 410-574-7577,
Staging & Lighting Perkins Productions, 410-285-6191,
Invitations The Pleasure of Your Company, Lutherville, 410-821-6369,
String Quartet Tim Anderson, Concord Ensemble, Stevenson, 410-580-0074

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