Wedded: Karen Clark and Bryon Stepp got married at the Maryland Zoo

DATE: Sept. 2, 2017

HER STORY: Karen Lynn Clark, 56, was born and raised in Frederick and made her home in Pasadena. She is retired from the Department of Defense at Fort George G. Meade. Her father, Raymond Clark, lives in Sarasota, Fla.

HIS STORY: Bryon Francis Stepp, 53, was born in Washington and raised in Annapolis. He works as a senior mechanical engineer for Vantage Systems at NASA/Goddard and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Columbia. He is the son of Robert Stepp of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

THEIR STORY: Karen and Bryon initially met online in February 2009.

When Karen saw Bryon’s photo on Match.com, she thought he had a nice smile and warm eyes.

“We made an instant connection,” she said.

On Feb. 16, 2009, they met for their first date at Panera Bread after a couple of emails and phone conversations.

“I was there for at least three and a half hours,” she said.

During their marathon conversation, they learned that they lived 10 minutes apart. The date ended with Bryon giving Karen a red rose.

They continued to correspond that week — even though Karen was away for a work trip.

When she returned, they had a dinner date at Cafe Mezzanotte in Severna Park. The restaurant became a favorite for the two, and was the site of several special occasions being celebrated there.

Within a month, they were an official couple.

They live in Pasadena.

THE PROPOSAL: Bryon proposed to Karen on April 9, 2016.

Karen was fixing her hair in an upstairs bedroom while Bryon was reading the Sunday paper in the family room.

Karen was caught completely by surprise.

“I literally had no clue. It was a Sunday in April. I had no idea. I was not even thinking about it,” she said. “I stumbled and stammered for a little while and then I cried. My hand shook when he put the ring on my hand.”

The couple promptly began to inform their friends and family about their news.

Bryon had already changed his relationship status on Facebook by the time she started calling friends and family.

“It was a momentous Sunday,” she said.

VENUE: Fifty guests attended the ceremony and reception at the Mansion House at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

FLOWER AND DECOR: Little House of Flowers provided the floral arrangements and bouquets in shades of red, ivory and yellow.

BRIDE’S DRESS: Karen wore a Ruca Lace off-the-shoulder ivory gown by WTOO (Watters) from Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection. She completed the gown with an ivory elbow-length veil.

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bridesmaids wore red wine-colored, floor-length chiffon gowns with sheer embroidered sleeves and a sweetheart neckline from Alfred Angelo Bridal.

MEN’S ATTIRE: Bryon wore a black tuxedo with a red paisley vest and red tie from Men’s Wearhouse. The groomsmen wore black suits with solid red vests and red ties also from Men’s Wearhouse.

MUSIC: Ceremony music was provided by a trio of musicians from the Antares Musicians. Reception music was provided by Frank Marsden of Friendly Entertainment. The couple’s first dance was to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Frankie Valli.

FOOD AND DESSERT: Zeffert and Gold Caterers and Event Planners catered the cocktail hour and reception. Passed hors d’oeuvres included petite bang bang shrimp tacos, root beer BBQ pork sliders and scallops wrapped with bacon. Entree choices included chicken roulade with sun-dried tomatoes, seasoned tenderloin of beef in a cabernet sauce and Mediterranean salmon topped with rustic pesto. Dessert included a three-tier wedding cake from Herman’s Bakery in Dundalk.

FAVORS: Each guest received a Hershey’s candy bar wrapped in signature red wrapping with the couple’s names and the wedding date. The ingredients section was personalized with equal amounts per serving of friendship, laughter, respect, honesty and romance to equal a successful marriage.

SPECIAL TOUCHES: Makeup for the bridal party was done by Maeion Bryant. The couple featured an animal ambassador: a penguin, Kookaburra. The bride’s hair was styled by her long-time stylist, Scott Jecelin of Image Creators. The couple honeymooned at the Inn at Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina. Simmone Marsden, the wife of Frank Marsden, the master of ceremonies, served as the wedding officiant.


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