Lizzie Stieff Leonard is our first bride to be featured on our blog. Her mother, Andrea, has been in the wedding business for many years and is one of the most talented floral designers we've ever had the pleasure to work with. On April 23, 2011, Lizzie married, Alexander Lowell Leonard, AKA Bo at the George Peabody Library. Here's their story and all the scoop on how their wedding came together!
Lizzie and Bo met at Syracuse University during their sophomore year in college in 2005. Lizzie knew it was true love when Bo drove from his hometown in Missourri, to Ocean City to visit Lizzie for the weekend one summer during college.
Fast forward to the fall of 2010 and Lizzie and Bo were both living and working in Baltimore. Bo and Lizzie had a tradition of going out to dinner to celebrate each other's birthday and for Bo's birthday this year they chose, or rather Bo chose, their favorite Italian restaurant, Sammy's Trattoria to celebrate. To Lizzie's surprise, they were seated in front of the fire place, the best seat in the house! As they finished their entrees, Bo began to rise out of his seat and bend over, Lizzie thought he had dropped his fork. But to her surprise he actually got down on one knee and proposed and of course she said "I do!" The night continued with an older couple across from them sending them a bottle of champagne, and the waiter surprising both Bo and Lizzie by saying "Buddy and Schultz have covered the bill"--Lizzie's parents dogs. (Bo had gone to her parents earlier in the week to let them know he wanted to marry Lizzie and his plans for dinner at Sammy's, so Lizzie's dad surprised them both by calling ahead to say he wanted to pick up the bill).
Lizzie's mom, Andrea, has been in the wedding business for over 20 years and Lizzie says she was probably more eager than she and Bo were to get the ball rolling on the wedding plans. They immediately began looking at venues around Baltimore, but in the back of Lizzie's mind the Peabody Library had always stood out as a magical place for a wedding as she had helped her mom with set ups for various Peabody events when she was younger. When they asked for available dates for this venue, the only date for 2011 was April 23, so it was a very short engagement but they jumped at the chance to get married sooner rather than later.
Since April 23rd was the day before Easter, the unofficial theme, was Easter and Spring in general. The Stieff's have 2 gorgeous quonset cherry trees on their lawn and Lizzie, Bo and Andrea also wanted to take advantage of local lilacs. The Cherries bloomed with perfect timing, the lilacs..not so much. They chose leaf green silk for the girls so that the flowers would be offset beautifully. they wore lilac pashminas to pull the look together.
Obviously, the flowers for this occasion were second to none! As Lizzie says, they had the dream team of florists come together to help her mother create the gorgeous bouquets, boutonnieres and center pieces. Andrea made all the bouquets and boutonnieres but a team headed by Jake Boone and Liz Nuttle included Victoria Clausen, Kakki Morrison, Kelly Fox, Barbara Taylor, Pascale Lemaire, rennie Friedlander and Sharon Gordon helped create everything else.
Lizzie's bouquet was all white and had peonies, garden roses, ranunculas ,lilacs, japanese sweetpeas, lily of the valley, hydrangeas, gardenias and straphanotis. with midori silk and vintage french ribbons and her grandmothers rhinestone brooch. a touch of rosemary for rememberance, and blue velvet vintage forgetme nots.
The bridesmaids had lilacs, pink roses, several shades of lavender roses, lavender japanese sweetpeas, quonset cherry blossoms, lavender parrot tulips. with midori silk ribbons in lime, lavender and purple plaid .
The Flower girl carried a a family owned Stieff Silver repousse basket filled with lavenders and pinks.
The arrangements at the reception: all of the same flowers as above plus plus plus! We also had lots of fun references to Easter including foil wrapped Easter candies in antique silver compotes, easter bunny bride and groom and plastic Easter eggs for guests to fill with their wedding notes-unfortunately these got thrown out during clean up :(, Lizzie's mom was going to have an easter egg hunt on their first anniversary so they could read all the notes from our wedding ...oh well!
All of these gorgeous flowers were offset by Lizzie's stunning Rivini gown. Lizzie and her mom made their first visit to Betsy's to begin their search for the perfect dress. Lizzie really had no idea what she was looking for, she just knew what she NOT want. She was open to trying on all different styles of dresses, especially after seeing a dress she would have never picked for herself, end up looking beautiful when she tried it on. After trying on many many dresses that first day, there were two that really stood out but even with compliments from various others in the store about how great she looked, she wasn't sure if they were "the one". She and her mom went back a few more times to browse and make their final decision, there was a Rivini Trunk show going on and that is when a dress she had never tried on suddenly popped out at her. It was from Betsy's regular inventory, but it stood out amongst all the other gowns...to Lizzie. She knew it was THE dress when she came out of the dressing room and her mom began to cry and told her "I think this is the first time you are wearing the dress, it is not wearing you."
On their wedding day they woke up to rain, despite the bottle of bourbon that Andrea had buried in the backyard. Lizzie had 'caught' the stomach bug from Bo from the day before but she somehow rallied with the loving nursing of her wonderful friends. They were supposed to be on a schedule to begin photos at 1 but it was closer to 2 when she was finally ready. When she stepped outside the sun came out and they were off to a beautiful fun photo adventure. At 7ish, after the ceremony ,the heavens opened up again and it rained all evening. Lizzie and Bo didn't find out till 11 when the reception was over.
According to all their guests, instead of simply saying "I do" Lizzie said "you BET i do!" During the reception the wedding party entered to song "Love Train"and they formed a dancing love train around the room.
For the reception they did a lot of fun passed appetizers like mini grilled cheese with tomato soup, and crab mac and cheese. For the actual dinner Lizzie and Bo did not want a traditional seated dinner so they had tapas stations of: Meatloaf with yukon gold whipped potatoes, crab cakes over a friend green tomato and a chicken ravioli with plum tomato sauce with a side of Caesar salad.
Their signature cocktail was a Baltimore tradition, Southsides by Mr George Lee.
Thanks for sharing your story Lizzie, we wish you and Bo a lifetime of happiness!
Wedding Gown- Rivini
Veil- my mom's silk illusion veil re-made by Betsy
Make up and hair - Janice Kinigopoulos
tablecloths- Table Toppers
wedding and reception location- George Peabody Library
DJ- Carl Brashears Jr
Music at the wedding- harp- Jasmine Hogan
Wedding Planner-ANNE BERMAN
who was incredible and without whom this never would have gone off!
Photopgrapher- David Mielcarek
assisted by Marcin Silwinski
Caterer- Chef Expressions