Wedding day: Oct. 27, 2012
Her story: Katy Ekey, 29, grew up in Abingdon. She is a software developer for SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.). Her mom, Penny Ekey, is a retired seventh-grade English teacher at Edgewood Middle School, and her dad, Bill Ekey, was a principal at Bel Air and C. Milton Wright high schools and the director of secondary education for the Harford County public school system. He is currently the director for institutional research at Harford Community College.
His story: Dan Self, 29, grew up in Lanham. He is a software developer for Raytheon. His mother, Debbie Self, is a nurse at Laurel Regional Hospital. His father, Ben Self, is retired and previously worked for the District of Columbia Fire Department.
Their story: Katy and Dan met through mutual friends and began dating in April 2009. Dan proposed in April 2012 while they were vacationing in Charleston, S.C.
Unbeknownst to Katy, Dan had talked to her parents about proposing in January 2012 and her parents gave him two of her late grandmother's diamonds to be part of the engagement ring, which Dan had designed at Craig Coyne in Ellicott City. In the end, Katy received a white gold engagement ring with three round diamonds.
The place: About 60 guests attended the ceremony and reception at the Howard County Conservancy, an environmental education center in Woodstock. The ceremony and cocktail hour took place at Theresa's Gardens, while the reception was held inside the Gudelsky Center. Jenny Bartkus of JPB Designs in Columbia coordinated the event.
The attire: Katy wore an ivory strapless Ashley Jordan ball gown from K&B Bridals in Bel Air and Dan wore a classic three-piece suit by Bar III from Macy's.
"I bought it with my mom," she says of the dress. "There was not a lot of bling, and we felt it was very flattering."
Wessel's Florist and Weddings in Ellicott City designed Katy's bouquet, which contained sunflowers and other wildflowers, and Dan's boutonniere.
Homebrewed beer: For the cocktail hour, Dan brewed pumpkin beer to serve the guests. For the reception, he created two beers: For Better (a saison beer) and For Worse (a dubbel beer).
"While he was brewing the For Better beer, he flooded our basement with water," says Katy. "People really loved it."
Special touches: Katy and Dan used fruit bowls from Pier 1 as centerpieces and filled them with fall fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash and apples, all from vendors at a Howard County farmers' market.
They also filled vintage wine bottles from Boordy Vineyards in Hydes with different dried beans, which doubled as table placards.
"Around the neck of the bottles, we attached a recipe that we use with that type of bean," says Dan. "We put a little note saying whoever's birthday was the closest to the wedding date got to keep it."
Homemade recipes: Because Dan is a vegetarian, the couple served all-vegetarian food at their reception made by the Savory Spoon Catering Co. in Frederick.
"We actually gave the caterer two recipes we use all the time: a mushroom soup we really like and butternut squash lasagna," says Katy.
Dessert: Instead of a traditional cake, the couple opted for cupcakes by Lois Trout from Stone House Bakery in Keymar. They chose red velvet with buttercream icing, chocolate with buttercream icing, pumpkin with cream cheese icing and chocolate with peanut butter icing.
"We found her at the farmers' market and asked if she does weddings," says Katy.
"And they were really good," adds Dan.
Just wedded? Or planning your nuptials? Tell us about it. Email your wedding details and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org
More wedding info: For more coverage of bridal trends and wedding-planning adventures, go to baltimoresun.com/weddings.