Wedding date: October 13, 2012
Her story: Angela Horner, 27, grew up in Severn. She lives in Baltimore's Pigtown and is licensing team manager at Laureate Education. Her father, Robert Horner, is a physicist in the electronics industry. Her mother, Gloria Horner, is a Hospice of the Chesapeake volunteer, and teaches English as a second language through her church, Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
His story: Chris Montgomery, 34, grew up in Pasadena. He lives in Baltimore's Pigtown and is a network administrator at Anne Arundel Community College. His father, Robert Montgomery, is a field engineer for SSCS. His mother, Jeanne Montgomery, is a medical transcriptionist at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Their story: They met 10 years ago, in 2002, when she was in her last year of high school and taking newspaper journalism and acting classes. He came to fix a computer in the student newspaper office, where she was working.
"We were friends for about five years before we started dating," Angela says. "We were just hanging out with each other. We eventually realized we liked each other better than anyone else. It was a process of elimination, I guess. It's one of those awkward things where we didn't have that official first date. It took us about two months of dating before we realized we were actually dating each other."
Chris remembers a New Year's Eve when things began to crystallize for him.
"Some friends were going out and I was trying to get her to come out," he says. "I wanted her to come out so badly that I asked a friend to help convince her. A few days later, I realized how much I had wanted her there more than anyone else."
Angela remembers her "a-ha moment."
"I think I realized how invested I was when I went to England on a 10 day trip with my college around 2007 and missed the heck out of him," she says. "When I came back, I found out he had also missed me a whole lot. That was a turning point when we both realized that life without the other one wasn't very much fun."
The relationship progressed. And the two moved in together three years later.
"We talked about it for a year or so before we did move in together," she says. "We're both very cautious people, so it takes us a long time to commit to decisions. But, when we made that decision we knew there was no going back — that we would be getting married. Moving in took some getting used to. One of the biggest decisions was whether we should put all of our books on the same shelf or keep them on separate shelves."
"And whether or not to merge our music collections," he adds with a laugh.
"It's about half and half. I have some of my own shelves and we have some that are mixed," says Angela.
"He has three cats he took as strays," she says. "I've never liked cats. But, after living with them for two years, I begrudgingly like them now."
"She pretends she doesn't like them. But, she does," he says.
The proposal, December 29, 2011:
"I knew that he had been looking for a ring for about 6 months," she says.
"Probably because I asked her about ring size," he says, with a laugh.
"Between Christmas and New Year's, we took a road trip to St. Louis," Angela says. "On the way back, we stayed House Mountain Inn, Lexington, Virginia. It's a big lodge-type bed and breakfast up in the mountains. He was very excited staying there. But, we like bed and breakfasts, so I thought he was excited about the place. When we got there, they had a wine and cheese hour. Then we spent about an hour reading in front of the fireplace. He didn't read. He was reading the same page again and again. But, I was totally oblivious. They had a little balcony off the second story. About 10 minutes before dinner, he said, 'Let's go take a peek at the balcony.' We went out there to look at the stars. It's out in the mountains and there are stars everywhere. He asked how I was, and I said, 'Very happy.' Then he started shaking. He was trembling like a leaf. At that point, I thought something was going on. And then he got down on one knee and said 'Angela, will you marry me?' It was so dark out there, I couldn't actually see the ring. I forgot to say anything for what seemed like a really long time. Then, I realized I hadn't and said, 'Yes, of course' and burst into tears. We went back inside so I could look at the ring. He did an absolutely perfect job [with what he picked]. It's really pretty. We have similar taste in jewelry. He knew what I didn't like. So he spent a long time looking for it."
"The ring has a floral pattern with a round cut white sapphire set into the ring rather than sitting above it...with very tiny diamonds around it. It's very low profile with a bit of a nature tone," says Chris about the ring he got from Valerie K. Studio on etsy.com.
"I knew she didn't want anything too extravagant...and I knew she would like the nature connection," he says. "I knew she wouldn't care whether it was a diamond or not. There's a lot of negative association with diamond mining in lower income countries. I communicated back and forth with the jewelry designer in California. She made me feel very comfortable."
The wedding: About 100 guests will come to the Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens in Druid Hill Park for the wedding celebration.
"We've always talked about having an outdoor wedding," Angela says. "It's a place we both really like and have been to several times. It was a good compromise about feeling like it's outdoors and not worrying about the weather. And there are so many flowers, we hardly have to decorate."
The couple decided on a non-traditional format, getting married earlier in the day in a small ceremony, officiated by a reverend who is a friend of Chris' parents.
"The reason that we're having an actual wedding is to celebrate with the people we love," Chris says. "The marriage and the wedding itself is something special to us and doesn't really have anything to do with anyone else. So we wanted the ceremony simple and meaningful to us and then to just celebrate.".
Late that afternoon, the guests will gather first in the Conservatory's Palm House. A violinist will be playing as the couple enters together.
"We'll actually be married by then. So, we're just going to have a 10 to 15 minute vow exchange — vows we're writing together," she says. After those vows, the couple will then walk out of the room together.
"It's about what we wanted to do specific to the nature of our relationship," Chris says. "The fact that we're [walking] in together —- that this is something we're taking on together — isn't so much of a new step or a change, but an acknowledgement of what we've found together."
"We'll probably be holding hands, so there's no room [to carry] flowers," Angela says.
But she will be wearing a dress she and her mom are making.
"I got two different patterns and we're using the top from one dress and the skirt from another. It's going to be very simple and lightweight. I want it to be like a Grace Kelly dress," she says.
It will have a certain retro feel, with a skirt made of tulle and the top probably cotton. Angela's thinking of getting shoes to match Chris' shirt, which he hasn't gotten yet.
"I'm thinking something blue, because I know she likes the way I look in blue," Chris says. "And I'm thinking French cuffs, because there's a pair of cufflinks she gave me."
He'll be wearing a gray three-piece suit made for him by Annapolis Custom Tailor.
"I just wanted to get something that was cut to me because it's tough finding things that fit my lanky figure," he says.
The rest of the evening will be the celebration taking place in other parts of the conservatory, where Sascha's catering will offer two "waves" of displays of heavy hors d'oeuvres for guests to browse, with tables scattered about so they can sit anywhere they'd like.
"My mom and I are going to make the tablecloths in plain white or brown cloth," says Angela. "Chris's sister sends donations [through Latin American Relief Network, Inc.] down to Panama, to families in need. They always need material. So, instead of renting tablecloths, we decided to buy fabric to use and then donate the fabric [afterward]."
Angela will also do the tabletop centerpieces herself using wildflowers — or whatever's in season — tucked into Mason jars.
They'll serve Heavy Seas beer and wine.
The cake is still up in the air.
"I really like cheese," says Angela. "I saw a picture of a wedding cake made of stacked wheels of cake, but Chris said no. That it wasn't a real cake."
"Sascha's suggested a cannoli cake and that sounded good to me," Chris says.
The music for rest of evening will come from a playlist on a laptop, set up by friend Chris Oberdalhof on his own deejay sound system.
"But he won't actually be deejaying because we want him to have fun at the party," Angela says.
There will be a small dance space, where Angela hopes to have a first dance.
"If I can convince Chris to. He's pretty shy," she adds.
Other elements of the wedding carry through the Conservatory's nature theme. The wedding favors will be packets of wildflower seeds.
"And our guest book is kind of decorative," Angela says.
"We're buying river stones and having people write messages on those, so that will be part of the decoration [that night]. Then, we're going to put them in our garden and around the house — tuck them into corners — so we'll have people's good wishes and blessings scattered all over the house," she explains.
"Our whole attitude is that we're not going to stress about it," says Angela. "If it's not the absolutely perfect set up and day, that's fine. Because we're going to be married at the end of the day, and that's what's important."
The honeymoon: The couple is going on a trip to Italy, including stops in Rome, Florence and Venice.
"It's my first time," Angela says. "Chris went several years ago. But it's been on our list to go together. It's an incredibly romantic place and we wanted to go together."
"I'm excited about getting to show her the things I got to see when I went there before," Chris says.