Maryland Carousel: Rosemary & Rachel
Rosie & Rachel got married on Aug. 4, 2012 in the Bumper Car Pavilion at Glen Echo, a former amusement park just outside Washington, D.C. The park has been converted into a nature park and arts center, and there are still some fun art deco buildings and signage from the original amusement park. There is also the original Maryland carousel, where the brides took their first ‘ride’ in lieu of a first dance.
“We chose this venue because it was such a cool and unique location with a great mix of nature, history, and of course fun, which really seemed to embody the spirit of our relationship,” Rosie explained.
They were married in front of 130 family members and friends, by a Unitarian minister who helped them blend their Jewish and Catholic roots. Rosie’s dad made their chuppah, and the brides’ sisters read from E.E. Cummings and Antoine de Saint Exupery. “Of course the reading of the vows, which we wrote ourselves, was the most memorable and magical part of the ceremony,” Rosie said. “But one thing I really appreciate, is that [our officiant] had Rachel and me stand with each other, facing out toward the guests. This really allowed us to take in the ceremony as a whole, to be able to look around and see all of the amazing friends and family there to support us, and it is a strong memory that still sticks with me to this day.”
With help from family and friends, the brides went all-out on DIY details. From handmade floral arrangements and decorations, to a DIY photo booth, the personal touches were everywhere. They even created a “Warden-Daley Decathalon,” which outlined all of the night’s events, in honor of the Summer Olympics taking place. A world map showed, with pins, where each guest had come from, including college friends who flew in from Singapore, Peru, and Egypt. “While the DIY crafts were time consuming, it was so worth the effort to have the day we both imagined and to feel so connected to every step and part,” Rosie said.
The brides met shortly after college, when they were both playing on their regional all-star team. They had competed against one another all through college, but had never met. Rachel proposed on July 4th, 2011, when they were vacationing at the beach with friends. “As I was distracted ooh-ing and aah-ing over the fireworks display she got down on one knee in the sand and when I turned around she asked the question,” Rosie recalled. “I was so surprised I started jumping up and down screaming ‘are you serious?’ because I had to make sure.” Reflecting back on her wedding, Rosie offers this advice to newly engaged couples: Focus on the parts of the wedding that are most important to you and your partner and stay true to those in the planning process. Our caterer gave us great advice which we tried to keep in mind when fretting over the millions of details that come up all the time: No one is going to remember the chair they sat on or the plate they used. That’s just another way of saying, ‘keep the bigger picture in mind.’ I’m so glad we had a gorgeous and meaningful ceremony that carried the weight of the strong commitment we were making to one another, but equally glad that we had a fun and relaxed reception afterwards to really let loose and celebrate! And don’t forget to take time with your husband or wife to take in the moment, because the wedding really does fly by, but you’ll have the rest of your life to reflect back and remember it!
Denise Oliveira is a Brooklyn-based writer. She has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City and is the founder of Prequels, where she interviews engaged couples to create wedding invitations and favors that incorporate their love story.