Date: Aug. 8
Her story: Karen Reed, 32, grew up in Bel Air. She is stay-at-home mother for her and Matt's three children: 9-year-old Tyler, 3-year-old Trevor and 1-year-old Taylor. Her mother, Beverly Stevenson, lives in Joppa. Her father, Ross Reed, lives in New Jersey.
His story: Matt Schroeder, 32, grew up in Bel Air. He is a finance supervisor at the Comcast Spotlight office in Towson. His mother, Nancy Kaminski, lives in Pennsylvania. His father, Gary Schroeder, lives in Texas.
Their story: Karen and Matt met in 1996 as freshmen at Fallston High School and became "inseparable" as friends over the next few years, Karen says. The two lived close enough to walk to each other's houses and were often invited on each other's family vacations.
They began dating in late summer 2001, when they were both 19. Matt proposed to Karen in front of his family two years later on Christmas Day 2003, using the ring with which his father proposed to his mother.
Instead of getting married right away, Karen says, she and Matt chose to put money toward buying a house and starting a life together.
"We built our future first," she says. "It's been a very, very long engagement."
They planned to tie the knot this year, but when the pipes burst in their Abingdon home in January, the wedding they envisioned was put on hold. Water damage destroyed the family's master bathroom, kitchen and basement, forcing them stay in a hotel during repairs, which were paid for with the wedding and "familymoon" vacation savings.
The couple decided to further postpone their nuptials until 2015, but in late February, Karen's mother persuaded her to attend a wedding show at Rockfield Manor in Bel Air. There, Karen saw a poster for a wedding giveaway organized by the Be More Inspired Wedding Studio in Bel Air and entered the contest. A week later — on March 5, Matt's birthday — Karen got a phone call with the news that she and Matt had won. The giveaway included various complimentary services from local vendors.
Venue: About 100 guests attended the ceremony and reception at Rockfield Manor, which Karen had initially considered as a venue for the wedding before learning about the contest.
The couple wrote and exchanged their own vows.
Flowers and decor: The wedding color scheme was coral and purple.
Blush Floral Design Studio in Bel Air created bouquets, boutonnieres and floral arrangements using white and coral roses accented by white calla lilies.
Her dress: The bride wore a strapless A-line gown with a sweetheart neckline, corset back, beaded bodice and side bustle by Maggie Sottero from K&B Bridals in Bel Air.
She wore a matching beaded veil, also from K&B Bridals, and a custom hair comb and earring set by Faye Daniel Designs in Bel Air.
She also wore a necklace that her mother and grandmother each wore on their wedding days.
Bridesmaids' dresses: The women wore coral, one-shoulder, knee-length chiffon dresses by Jasmine Bridal from K&B Bridals.
Taylor, the flower girl, wore a purple-and-white tulle dress.
Men's attire: The men wore tan suits from Men's Wearhouse. Matt wore a coral bow tie and the groomsmen wore coral ties.
Tyler and Trevor, the junior best man and ring bearer, respectively, also wore tan suits.
Music: DJ Evan Dahne of Northside Productions in Owings Mills entertained. Karen and Matt's first dance was to "My Best Friend" by Tim McGraw.
Food and dessert: Manor Tavern in Monkton provided barbecue fare, including brisket, pulled pork, chicken, baked beans and corn muffins.
Flavor Cupcakery in Bel Air made a small black-bottom cake with buttercream icing. The bakery also made red velvet, chocolate chip cookie dough and snickerdoodle cupcakes, as well as purple macaroons.
Favors: Guests took souvenir pictures in a photo booth provided by Electra Entertainment in Ellicott City.
Special touches: The wedding giveaway also included bridal hair and makeup services provided by Lavish Salon & Spa in Fallston, wedding coordinator services by Nikki Willem from Moore & Co. Event Stylists in Bel Air, and a photography package from Unveiled Faces by Jennilyn in Monkton.
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