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Engaged: Jaime Leiner and Brian Gill

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They were best buddies who didn't want to risk losing their friendship by dating, but then they took the plunge and have been together since.

Wedding date: May 27, 2012

Her story: Jaime Leiner, 27, lives in Owings Mills, which is also where she grew up. She is a graphic designer at Medifast. Her father, Mark H. Leiner, is a computer scientist for theU.S. Department of Defense. Her mother, Mindy Leiner, is a teacher in the Jewish Community Center's early childhood education department.

His story: Brian Gill, 27, grew up in Pikesville and Owings Mills, where he continues to live. He is vice president of Window Consultants, Inc. His father, Michael Gill, is general manager of Window Consultants, Inc. His mother, Susan Goldberg, is a dental assistant at Valley Dental Associates. His stepmother, Francie Gill, is facility and event coordinator for Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. His stepfather, Howard Goldberg, is the president of Pikesville Lumber Company.

Their story: They both attended Owings Mills High School, but didn't meet until the summer before their senior year, when both were working for Carmen's Italian Ice.

"We were on the same shift one day and started talking," says Brian. "We became friends instantly."

"We weren't dating, but we did everything together," says Jaime.

Jaime went off to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., and Brian stayed in town for college, but they continued to talk a lot, and he would visit her often — still, just as good friends.

"The summer of 2005, right before senior year, he said, 'I really like you. Would you be my girlfriend?'" Jamie says. "But, I was a little hesitant because I didn't want to lose him as a friend. So, that Thanksgiving, I didn't actually say anything. I just nodded my head "yes" and he knew what I was referring to. We started dating November 25, 2005."

They've been together ever since.

"People had always said that we were perfect together," says Jaime. "So, when we did get together, I was kind of hoping he was the one...Sometimes I feel like we can have a complete conversation without saying anything out loud. I think that's part of that knowing each other for so long."

"I think what attracted me to her at first was her smile, good looks and carefree attitude," says Brian. "But, in order to build a relationship, I had to recognize her deeper traits, which I would describe as loving, hard-working, diligent and outgoing. She makes me a better person when I'm around her."

The proposal, March 19, 2011: They both knew it was inevitable. The question was when.

"My dad would always ask, 'When is he going to do it? When is he going to do it?' It was a running joke about a year."

Jaime also got a bit of teasing from Brian for about a year, as well, in the form of fake proposals, just to throw her off track.

So, she wasn't expecting it to happen when they went to Virginia for a Phi Sigma Pi alumni reunion weekend.

"Blacksburg has been a really important part of her life," says Brian. "Every time I visited her we'd always try to do outdoorsy stuff. I thought I would love to incorporate Blacksburg into the proposal. I called her friends who I knew were going to be at the dance as well and asked them if they wanted to participate. I knew I wanted to propose at a place called Wind Rock, one of the first hikes we went on together."

Then, Brian had to subtly suggest the idea of last-minute asking four friends to join them on the hike and picnic, and make Jaime think she was the one who came up with the idea.

It worked beautifully. Until it came to the actual location of Wind Rock.

"When I got further into it, I realized I didn't know where Wind Rock was," he said.

"We couldn't find it on the map," says Jaime, laughing. "We ended up on a different trail called War Spur Trail. Wind Rock was a half mile, but this one was a 2.7 mile loop. It does share a similar overlook. We had wine and cheese and this whole little picnic.

"We went to the overlook and everyone had taken their couple shots there, but we hadn't done ours yet," says Jaime. " So we got in a position on the edge of the overlook and handed off our camera. Our one friend was taking some shots. I assumed we were done, but I noticed our friends were still holding their cameras up, all four of them standing there watching. I was instantly confused. I had no idea what was going on. Brian walked up to me and pulled me in and said, 'There's something I wanted to ask you.' "

After having suffered through a few previous fake proposals, Jaime thought this was another one.

"It wasn't until he grabbed my hand and I could feel his nerves that I knew that it was happening," says Jaime. "Before I knew it, he was down on one knee." With ring in hand.

The ring: Brian had actually been working on the design of the ring for about a year.

"I tried to design a ring and had it made," he says. "When I saw it in person, I hated it. The quality wasn't up to par. Then, I went to Radcliffe, and I went through no less than a hundred rings. As soon as I saw this ring, I knew it was the one. It fit her style, her personality. The ring is covered with pave diamonds, with a round-cut diamond on top."

"It was perfect," says Jaime.

The wedding: "We went to [look at] every venue in Baltimore. I didn't want a hotel, I wanted something a little more artsy," says Jaime.

They went looking outside of town, and ended up at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville, Md., on Kent Island, right on the other side of the Bay Bridge.

"The day we went to see it, it was a terribly rainy Saturday," explains Jaime. "But, the minute I walked in, I knew this was this place because it had big windows to let the natural light in, with clean colors and lines."

She says she and Brian aren't really going for a theme.

"My mom's calling it 'simple elegance.' It's black-tie optional. We wanted it more traditional and classic in one sense. [The club and view] is so pretty you don't need to really dress it up."

The color scheme is coral and gray, with touches of other soft colors. The four bridesmaids and maid-of-honor will be wearing Amsale cocktail length dresses from Garnish Boutique in Ruxton. Each dress is in a different style to suit the bridesmaid's style and body type, but all are in the same gray taffeta. Coral shoes provide a fun pop of color. Their bouquets will be a mixture of ivory and white flowers, with accents of coral, light pink and yellow.

Jaime is wearing a natural silk dupioni Paloma Blanca wedding gown from Amanda Ritchey Bridal and Beauty in Fallston. The only other detail she's giving away is that it has a sweetheart neckline. Her bouquet is "heavy on coral with a little yellow and a splash of green and pinks."

Brian is sticking to black tuxedoes for him, his best man and groomsmen, with notched lapels, laydown collars and black bowties. Theirs are rentals fromMen's Wearhouse. The Calvin Klein tux Brian bought at Macy's is the slightly slimmer "modern fit," with a flat front and straight legs. His boutonniere will be three small roses. The other guys will have small calla lilies.

Tables will have ivory damask tablecloths, with most of the centerpieces large martini glasses filled with "bigger, fluffy flowers" like peonies, ranunculus and garden roses in the same color palette as the bouquets.

"Very springy," Jaime says.

All the flowers are being done by J.J. Cummings Floral Co.

The 150 guests will witness the ceremony officiated by Rabbi Benjamin Sharff from Har Sinai Congregation. Then, they'll enjoy a cocktail hour — which will include a Dogfish Head beer tasting bar — followed by a seated dinner, with a "delicious vanilla chicken" entree.

Jaime's really looking forward to her guests seeing the cake — a white chocolate concoction with buttercream icing. She's worked with Severna Park's For Goodness Cakes on a surprise custom design, with a custom cake topper she ordered from MilkTea Cake Toppers on etsy.com. She loved the way the artist matched hair color, flowers and the dress to the real things.

They've booked the Doug Segree Band from Annapolis, which they say is better than "the traditional wedding band you get from an agency."

Jaime put her talents to good use for the big event, designing the save-the-date cards, invitations, RSVP cards, table numbers and little framed signs. And she's also encouraging their guests to release their inner artists at the wedding. Guests will see three large canvases. The middle one is a completed piece Jaime designed with three dimensional lettering on it. The other two will be blank, with paint and brushes standing by.

"We're asking them to pick up brushes and create a little something we'll use for our home," says Jaime.

For further evidence of her creativity, check out the wedding website they created.

Favorite wedding "helper": Although, the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club will have an on-site day-of wedding coordinator who will be there that day, they also hired Aubrey Canale of Simply Created Events to assist Jaime not just the day-of, but throughout the planning process.

"It's good to have that point person to ask questions about things like lining people up for the processional, things I wouldn't be familiar with," Jaime says.

"Aubrey's been invaluable," Brian concludes.

Other stress management: Brian knew that it would be best to let Jaime do her thing, and for him to get out of her way, "being her support and providing assistance whenever it's necessary."

"I try to give her space to let her do what she needs to do to plan it," Brian says. "I try to cook dinner as much as possible, so she can concentrate on the wedding. I try to do as much as I can around the house, so she can work on it. When she has little projects that she needs me to do for it, like scanning pictures for the slide show during the rehearsal dinner [which will be at Fisherman's Inn on Kent Island], or reviewing contracts, I try to do as much as I can for her to make her job easier...Jaime has been unbelievable."

The feeling is mutual, with Jaime admitting she puts a lot of pressure on herself. She's tried to heed Brian's gentle nudging to let go just a tad.

"I've gotten better with delegating things to Brian," Jaime says. "He's been so good about always making sure there is dinner. Normally, if one of us cooks, the other does the dishes. More recently he's been doing dishes and dinner...It's hard to let it go. It is stressful. But, along the way I've still tried to enjoy it all because it's once-in-a-lifetime."

The ultimate stress reliever: Their honeymoon — a trip to California's wine country for a couple of days, and then on to Maui, Hawaii.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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