A Southern belle and her Marine Corps fiancé met through mutual friends in the fall of 2012 but it wasn’t until a year later—after their pals convinced them to reconnect via Skype—that their relationship took off. After getting engaged in 2014, the couple exchanged vows in the chapel at the Naval Academy, followed by dinner and dancing at their waterside reception venue.
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Bride and groom: Emily White and David Piekut
Occupations: Advocacy Manager for Fight Colorectal Cancer (Emily); Second Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps (David)
Based in: Pensacola, FL
Wedding date: May 02, 2015
Ceremony location: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Reception location: Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD
Number of guests: 130
Minted wedding invitation: “Modern Classic” by Annie Clark
Wedding gown: Allure Couture
Wedding planner: Roxanne Ladd, Behind the Scenes Events
Florist: Rhonda Kaplan
Catering & cake: The Main Ingredient Catering
Photographer: Krista A. Jones Photography
How did you and David meet?
We love the look on people’s faces when they ask us where we’re from and we answer separately, “New York City” and “A really small town in South Carolina.” Meeting each other and falling in love must have been destiny because so many things had to fall into place just right for it to happen. Luckily, my best friend (and maid of honor!) knew what she was doing when she introduced us. Her (then-) boyfriend attended the Naval Academy and David accompanied him to South Carolina for the USC vs. Navy football game in September 2012. They stayed at our apartment for the weekend and David and I spent hours talking in the kitchen. A year later, our friends convinced us to catch up via Sykpe and the next thing I knew, I was buying a plane ticket to visit him in Annapolis.
Click through to read more of Emily and David’s wedding story…
Tell us about the proposal!
We were in a long-distance relationship since we started dating in 2012 and saw each other about once a month. After seeing each other last September, we had planned to see each other next during a holiday weekend in October—at least that’s what I thought! A week before our scheduled visit, David and a friend drove from Quantico, VA (where he was stationed) to Charleston, where I was living. They had to receive special permission to make the trip and stayed in a hotel about 30 minutes away from my apartment—just to be sure I wouldn’t accidentally see him! The next morning, I thought I was going to meet a friend for a girls’ day at Boone Hall Plantation (my favorite place in the world). When I walked up to where I was supposed to meet my friend, a “tourist”—actually David’s friend, whom I had never met—asked me to take a photo of him. After I took the picture, I handed the “tourist” his camera back and David popped out from behind a tree. He walked up to me, gave me a big hug, then proposed. He said, “I love you so much. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. Will you marry me?” Obviously, I said, “Yes!” Afterwards, David surprised me by taking me to lunch at 82 Queen just like he did the first time he visited me in Charleston. It was a perfect day!
What was the wedding-dress shopping process like?
Stressful! I grew up watching Say Yes to the Dress every Friday night with my mom (I promise I wasn’t wedding-obsessed… I just really love them!), so she was the perfect shopping companion. The only problem was our visions were totally different; she wanted me to wear a princess-like ball gown and I wanted to wear a romantic lace trumpet gown. We had a “come to Jesus” moment after the first appointment, and were able to see a little bit more eye-to-eye after that. At the second appointment, we started shopping at separate ends of the store and both of us landed on my dress. It was the perfect blend of regal and romantic!
How did you find your ceremony and reception venues?
David showed me the Naval Academy chapel the first time I visited him in Annapolis (before we were even officially dating!) and I fell in love. I emailed the wedding coordinator at the academy the day we got engaged, and she responded with only one date that was available: May 2nd at 1700 hours. With only seven months to plan, finding a reception venue was trickier. Luckily, we stumbled upon the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and knew it was the “one.” It had the romantic feel we wanted and was the perfect combination of an indoor and outdoor space. Our wedding date was the only one available for the spring and summer, so we knew it was meant to be!
How did you hear about Minted, and how did you choose your wedding invitation?
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve had a Knot.com account since I was 15 years old (Pinterest didn’t exist yet!) and the invitation designs from Minted were always my favorite. It was so exciting to finally be able to choose stationery for our wedding instead of just window shopping. And David actually chose our invitation: There were so many beautiful designs that I couldn’t make up my mind; he took one look at my computer screen and said, “that one” (“Modern Classic” by Annie Clark). We placed the order that night.
Did you add any special touches to your invitations to make them your own?
That was the best part! We were able to change fonts to suit our needs. The designers at Minted did an awesome job!
How did the invitation tie in to the wedding’s overall look and feel?
The overall look and feel of our wedding was classic and romantic. Meshing all of the different cultures of our wedding was difficult, so we decided to keep it simple. The font we used on the invitation was also used for all of the other printed materials, which really helped tie everything together.
What were some of your favorite wedding-day details?
Oh gosh, how can I choose?! I really poured my heart and soul into planning our wedding, so there were a ton of little details that I loved. One of my absolute favorites was our cake topper made by a dear friend of mine—I had seen a picture of something similar and sent it to her to find out if she would be able to make it. I was so glad she said yes! A fun detail was our taxi-information signs and business cards; it was my first wedding-related DIY project and I was so proud of the outcome! The final detail that was one of my favorites were the watercolor maps on each of the tables. Instead of numbering the tables, we named them based on places we’ve traveled together. The front of the card was a watercolor map of the city and the back told a story about what we did while we were there. It was a great way to include our guests in our love story.
What was on the dinner menu?
Planning the menu was so much fun! David is a Polish New Yorker and I am a Southern Belle (his words, not mine), so choosing a menu that would suit all of our guests was quite the challenge. We decided to have a three-station buffet: a Polish station that included kielbasa, potatoes, and pierogies; a Southern station that included corn bread, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken; and a Maryland station that included crab cakes, bruschetta salad, and asparagus. We also had a dessert bar that included miniature red velvet cupcakes, miniature pound cake cupcakes, miniature Mississippi mud pies, Polish donuts, and Polish angel wings. The dessert was definitely my favorite part of the menu!
What were some of your fondest memories from the day?
Fondest memories of the day would include opening my gift from David (he made a scrapbook of our entire relationship and included descriptions on each page about why he loved me and couldn’t wait to marry me), getting ready with my family and bridesmaids, the moments with my dad and brothers before walking down the aisle, and the moments spent with David immediately following the ceremony—we stood on the chapel balcony and watched as all of our guests left the church. David isn’t a very emotional guy but he had tears in his eyes as everyone waved and wished us well.
Did you incorporate any family or cultural traditions into the wedding day?
It was important that we honor David’s Polish heritage with the food and drinks. As a nod to his culture, we followed our welcome toast with a shot of Spirytus (Polish vodka reserved for special occasions) that his family brought from Poland; our guests kept the shot glasses as favors.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Since David is in the military, we were not able to take a honeymoon. We had to fly from Annapolis to Pensacola the day after our wedding, along with many of our friends who are also stationed in Pensacola. Our flight, along with our friends’, was rerouted to Panama City Beach, turning a stressful day into a really stressful day. Instead of freaking out over it, we rented a big SUV and made mini-roadtrip out of it! Not exactly the way we envisioned spending our first day as a married couple, but it was definitely memorable!
Any advice for brides who are starting to plan their wedding?
Make a wedding binder and keep it organized and up-to-date! Include sections for the budget, vendor contracts, catering, receipts, and decor/hair/makeup ideas and pictures that you come across. Take notes about what you like and what you don’t like and keep a running list of questions. That way when you meet with your vendors, you can point at a picture and say, “This is what I like/don’t like” as well as have all of your questions answered.
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• Leah & Mike at Los Poblanos, Albuquerque, NM
• Grace & Michael at Reif Estate Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
• Julia & Deric at Escala, Seattle
• Shelby & Douglas at Castle Hill, Keswick, VA