RACHEL & SHAUN {Turf Valley in Ellicot City, MD}

Rachel & Shaun had a beautiful wedding day! They got married at Turf Valley in Maryland and the weather was perfect. The first look was one of my favorite moments! Shaun got a little teary seeing his bride for the first time. So sweet!!

They both have amazing families that meshed perfectly together. It was a blast capturing all of the love people had for Rachel & Shaun. Before the ceremony, they both signed a Ketubah. After the signing, Shaun put the blusher over her face, which is a tradition for a Jewish wedding. The next time he would see her without the blusher they would be husband and wife!! 

Here is their love story from Rachel's perspective:

It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Luckily, for me, I was where I needed to be. After living the Baltimore City life for a year, a quiet Friday night after a long day of work was all I wanted. Sweatpants, a movie and some quality time with man’s best friend sounded perfect. However, my other best friend had different plans for me on August 29, 2009. Jon Yoffe pleaded for me to come out with him and his girlfriend, Marni, so that he would not be outnumbered by her friends at a party at Amanda and Lauren’s on Charles Street in Federal Hill. He said “Come on, you might even get lucky tonight!” Boy did I ever. 

Arriving at the party, I laid eyes upon Rachel, the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. I immediately struck up a conversation with her (not realizing a thing I was saying); I was too caught up with her glowing smile and gorgeous brown eyes. She told me she was a nurse, and I immediately thought “Hmm, a Jewish Mother-In-Training, don’t mess this one up!” We continued talking about her passion for helping children at the hospital where she started her job 2 weeks earlier. I said next to nothing about my incredibly unexciting accounting career at Social Security trying hard not to bore her. All of my focus was on her, naturally. 

We went to a bar nearby and enjoyed a few drinks, a dance or two and finished the night with pizza from Maria D’s. We made our way back to Amanda and Lauren’s place, and I saw Rachel disappear with some other guy the second they got back. Dejected and confused, I thought to myself “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be?” On the way back home to Owings Mills, I got a text from Amanda with Rachel’s number telling me to call her the next day because she “kinda liked you.” I was incredibly confused, and Amanda explained that the guy Rachel left with was one of her old coworkers that was helping her move her car out of an illegal parking zone. As you can imagine, I was relieved! As the saying goes, “And the rest is history …”


Fast forward about three-and-a-half years to April 13th, 2013 the day I proposed to Rachel. We had been living together for well over a year in a condo near the Greenspring quarry. Five days earlier, we received wonderful news that our offer on a home in Stevenson had been accepted. We were first time home-buyers, but Rachel was unsure that buying a house with me before getting engaged was the right move. Luckily for her, that feeling was reassured within the blink of an eye. We planned to look at engagement rings during the day and celebrate our new home purchase with a fancy dinner at The Capitol Grille in the inner harbor that night.

We went to Smythe Jewelers and Rachel ooo’d and ahhh’d at all the diamonds in the store and eventually found one she liked. The salesman’s pitch was working and Rachel insisted that I put a down payment on the diamond ring so that no one else could buy it. Little did she know that a beautiful diamond ring had been purchased a few months back and all of the “We’re just looking” was part of the master plan to throw her off from what was about to unfold that night. 

As dinner approached, nerves began to set in. Was the plan going to work? Would Rachel find out there was a diamond ring in my pocket? When we finished dinner we toasted to our new house and to each other. Ring still in pocket, we cabbed over to Little Italy for dessert where the magic was about to happen. Timing was on point and we were ready to walk into Vaccaro’s. As we approached the door, the line for the pastry shop extended out the front door and around the side of the building. Rachel looked at me and said, “Let’s just get a cannoli to-go.” I replied, “Let’s go inside and see how long the wait is, maybe it’s not that long.” 

We went inside, and I immediately made eye contact with the owner. Phew! Thank goodness everyone at the restaurant was in on my plan. Much to Rachel’s surprise, our name was called immediately and we were seated at the table where we had our first date a few years back. Rachel noted that this was the same table we had our first date at and proceeded to open the menu. She was not putting two and two together! Just a few minutes away from popping the question, my hands fidgety, palms sweating, we ordered coffee and a cannoli to share. 

A few minutes later, I saw our waiter come around the corner with our coffee and dessert. I took the deepest breath I’ve ever taken, got down on one knee in front of the entire restaurant and recited these 8 words: “Make me the happiest man in the world?” As she gasped with disbelief, she looked down at the cannoli plate that read “Will you ….” in chocolate ganache. Time stood still for those few seconds of genuine love, excitement and surprise as I was down on one knee, ring in hand, asking Rachel to be my wife.

After some bubbly and applause from the restaurant patrons at Vaccaro’s, Rachel’s dad came down from the 2nd floor where he showed us all the pictures he captured of the proposal. We laughed and cried together and Rachel thought the night had come to an end. I told Rachel that our immediate family was waiting for us back at The Capitol Grille to share a celebratory drink. Rachel walked back to the table where our family was sitting and found about thirty people! Our close family and friends (and even a few from out of state, thanks Lauren) were waiting for us to toast and celebrate the start of our lifelong journey together. (No more surprises after this, I swear.)

Looking back, orchestrating the sequence of events that had to occur and unfold perfectly for the night to be a success was by no means an easy task. It took months of planning and a strong poker face on my behalf. But in the end, Rachel and I couldn’t be any happier with the way things played out. We owe a ton of gratitude to all our friends and family for supporting us over the past few years and a quick shout out to the one and only Amanda Schlossberg for setting us up that night (unbeknownst to me). Apparently, Rachel set her Facebook status as “Going on a man hunt!” the very night we met. Cheers baby, you got your man!

Such a beautiful story! Enjoy these images from Rachel & Shaun's big day!! 

Congrats Rachel & Shaun!! I know you two will have a wonderful life together :) 


Vendors Love

Wedding Dress: Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection
Florist: Abloom, Ltd.
Ceremony Venue: Turf Valley
Reception Venue: Turf Valley
Hair & Makeup: Marlene Kurland Makeup Artist Agency
DJ or Band: Onyx
Videographer: MindinMotion
Cake: Debi's Cake Studio
Catering: Turf Valley
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groomsmen Attire: Tuxedo House
Invitations: Kindly R.S.V.P.
Favors: In honor of our guests, money was donated in lieu of gifts to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Operation paws for homes