Wedded: Ben Appel and Drew Leaser

Drew Leaser and Ben Appel were married at the Belvedere Hotel in Mount Vernon, by Jane Wiedlin of the Go Go's.
Drew Leaser and Ben Appel were married at the Belvedere Hotel in Mount Vernon, by Jane Wiedlin of the Go Go's. (Courtesy of DuHon Photography, Handout photo)

Date: Oct. 25

Ben's story: Ben Appel, 31, grew up in Catonsville and Ellicott City. He is a hairstylist at Mason and Friends Salon and Spa in Columbia. His mother, Nancy Gunzelman, lives in Woodstock. His father, Randy Appel, lives in Virginia Beach, Va.


Drew's story: Drew Leaser, 38, grew up in Oak Harbor, Ohio. He moved to Washington in 2008 after being hired as an attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where he continues to work. His father, Tom Leaser, lives in Oak Harbor. His mother, Nancy Leaser, died in 1999.

Their story: The couple met in August 2011 when Drew was visiting Baltimore for a friend's birthday party.


After the party, Drew and his friends went to Club Hippo in Mount Vernon. Ben, who was already at the club, saw Drew from across the bar and introduced himself. The two talked for about 15 minutes before exchanging phone numbers.

"He went home and I went home, and I really didn't think anything would come of it," Drew says.

They texted back and forth for the next week, which led to their first date: dinner at La Tasca, a Spanish restaurant in Alexandria, Va.

While dating, the couple alternated between visits in Baltimore and Washington for about two years until moving in together. They now live in Elkridge.


The proposal: Drew proposed at the couple's home in September 2013, about a week after they moved in.

Ben came home one evening after being out with friends. Drew presented him with a housewarming gift, which included a card and "Me Without You," an illustrated book by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling that depicts various incomplete scenarios, like "Sky without blue" and "Kung without fu."

On the last two pages of the book, Drew wrote "So why don't you … Marry me?" and presented Ben with a white gold wedding band from Kay Jewelers.

Ben later bought the same ring for Drew to wear throughout the engagement. With a plan to swap rings after the wedding, they had their names engraved inside the respective bands.

"Drew said, 'You could wear your name and I could wear my name, and then when we get married, we switch them,' " Ben says. "Now I wear his and he wears mine."

Venue: About 70 guests attended the ceremony and reception at the Belvedere Hotel in Mount Vernon.

Jane Wiedlin, guitarist and vocalist for the female rock band the Go-Go's, presided. Wiedlin, also known as Reverend Sister Go-Go, is an ordained minister and has a wedding officiating service.

Flowers and decor: Wicked Willow Floral in Baltimore designed floral arrangements.

The ceremony, held in the Palm Room, was decorated with cascading bouquets of white roses and hydrangeas, petal-filled hurricane glasses and pillar candles.

The reception took place in the hotel's 13th Floor lounge.

Centerpieces featured orange, purple and pink flowers in silver rectangular pots accented by votive candles.

Attire: Ben and Drew wore black suits from Express. They also wore black bow ties and Calvin Klein shoes.

Drew wore a white calla lily boutonniere and Ben wore a white rose boutonniere.

Music: The St. Charles String Quartet of Washington played arrangements of pop songs during the ceremony, including the "Game of Thrones" theme song during the processional and "We Found Love" by Rihanna during the recessional.

Josh Rhett of MyDeejay in Annapolis played music during the reception.

Food and dessert: Belvedere & Co. Events provided the food and drinks. A cocktail hour was held before the ceremony.

Hors d'oeuvres included mozzarella caprese, cheeseburger sliders and chicken tacos. Dinner included bacon-wrapped filet mignon and lobster tail.

The couple designed two signature drinks. Drew's drink was a cranberry margarita. Ben's drink was a mix of Red Bull, cranberry juice and lime juice.

Baltimore Cakery in Canton made a three-tier, cannoli-flavored cake for dessert.

Favors: Guests received wedding Barbie dolls and miniature bottles of pink Hello Kitty Champagne.

Special touches: The couple saw singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth on the street while they were checking into the Hotel Monaco Baltimore on the morning of the wedding. They chatted and took pictures with the star.

Wiedlin gave a toast during the reception from the perspective of the couple's cat, Brady, who Ben and Drew jokingly named as their best man.

Ben and Drew hosted a family brunch at B&O American Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco the morning after the wedding.

The couple spent their honeymoon in London and Paris.