When your wedding ends with the caterer slapping the mother of the bride, the police being summoned, and the reception ending before it even really began, you can either run for the hills or try again.
And the latter is exactly what Amanda Mack decided to do, because she’s never been a quitter.
When Amanda, 35, owner of the marvelously popular Crust by Mack bakery, and business partner Jarrod Mack, also 35, first started planning their October 17, 2014 wedding, they had already been together nine years, shared two kids—a third would follow in 2018—and a full life. The wedding was simply the big celebration they had been promising their families for years.
As they approached their wedding date—chosen to commemorate their first date—they were excited but had some trepidations. Their planner had bowed out a few weeks before the wedding, after warning them that the caterer, her associate, hadn’t been delivering fully on her contracts. Worried they wouldn’t find a new caterer in time, in addition to losing their deposit, Amanda and Jarrod decided it was worth the risk. (It wasn’t.)
The wedding day came unhinged quickly. There were some easier fixes (no silverware or plates for the cocktail hour meant running to the grocery store and buying boxes of cutlery and Chinet) and much bigger issues (everything got delayed, so their sunset wedding was after sunset and there wasn’t enough food for all 200 guests). Amanda was so disappointed, because she had been talking up the wedding to her friends and family for months. Amanda and Jarrod had been high school sweethearts at Baltimore City College, and then headed to Frostburg State University together. This was supposed to be their “big moment.” It was—but not in the way she hoped. “It was the talk of the town—but in the worst way,” she says.
And just when it seemed that things couldn’t get worse, they did. It was while she was looking for napkins (none to be found) that she heard a huge commotion. Amanda’s mom had gotten upset at the caterer for ruining the day. The caterer had shouted back and slapped her mom, and then Amanda’s aunt reacted by shoving the caterer, who, in turn, called the police. At that point, the event director at their venue said the wedding needed to be shut down. It had been 45 minutes since they had walked in from the ceremony. Amanda hadn’t gotten to have her first dance with Jarrod or hear the speeches from her bridal party. She hadn’t had a bite of food or sipped a cocktail in between laughing on the dance floor. In shock, Amanda ran into the bathroom, literally sliding down the wall in hysterics. After realizing nothing he could say would get the wedding back on track, Jarrod got Amanda, slipped out the back, and guided her to the car. They drove to the Royal Farms on 41st Street and Amanda ate cheese fries, washed down with a slushy, in her wedding dress. And then Jarrod drove them to Atlantic City to decompress and hide from life for a few days. Amanda spent the ensuing weeks feeling inconsolable and robbed of her big day. But they were married and, if anything, it had brought them closer together. (Yes, they sued the caterer. Yes, the company was dissolved.)
A year later, they decided to reclaim October 17 with a do-over—a trip (and proper honeymoon) to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. For their anniversary dinner, Jarrod wore his shirt and pants from the wedding and Amanda donned a new white dress. “It was paradise,” she says. Until it wasn’t. Two days later the hotel was being evacuated, as Patricia, the strongest landfalling Pacific hurricane on record, bore down on Mexico. Amanda and Jarrod, who had been blissfully unaware of the impending storm, were given 15 minutes to pack essentials and meet the bus that would take them to a storm shelter. They spent 24 hours there before they were able to return to the hotel—there was an actual tree in their room, plus water all over the floor and glass everywhere—gather their belongings, and evacuate to go home. It wasn’t until they were back stateside and could see all the missed text messages and calls that they realized how lucky they were to be home safely. “I remember getting home and hugging the babies so tight,” she says. She told Jarrod, “That is it. Next year we are staying at home. I’m closing the windows, the curtains. I said, ‘Don’t nobody call me.’ It was very traumatizing.”
Life moved on. But every now and then, Amanda would think how nice it would be to have a wedding that didn’t end in disaster—natural or otherwise. “It was our eighth year of marriage,” she says. “And eight is the year of new beginnings.” They had survived a pandemic with three kids, and watched as Amanda’s business outgrew its Whitehall Mill space and prepared to move into a Formstone building in Midtown-Belvedere. “We hit a point in our marriage where we were starting over. In a sense, we were different people because of the things we experienced, and we grew through that.” A renewal, says Amanda, would allow them to “marry the people that we were today.”
They both knew they didn’t want it to happen on October 17. (Never again!) Instead, they chose Saturday, September 10, 2022—and picked the top of the World Trade Center Baltimore for The Mack Love Ceremony. It was a small gathering with a big view. Amanda made her popular crab pies for appetizers, and the dinner party that followed their quick ceremony under a floral arch was drama-free.
“We are gathered today—for a third time,” joked Jarrod to a few hoots and applause from the guests. But then he took Amanda’s hands, looked into her eyes, and told her, “I wake up every day and make the choice to love you.”
“Every time we get married, there’s something—it never fails,” Amanda told Jarrod. “But I feel that is the beauty of our love story, because we had to go through so much. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because that is part of our story. All these experiences make me love you more. Thank you for saying ‘I do’ for the third time.”
The third time really was the charm. “It was all about us,” says Amanda. Unlike the first wedding, which was about checking boxes of what they thought should happen, this one was simply about Amanda and Jarrod. “I truly did feel like everything was perfect,” she says. “The energy that we curated was something that we still feel today. That presence of having people who love you and are rooting for you and don’t care about who your photographer is or your DJ—they’re just there to support you.”
After the ceremony and dinner, Amanda’s floral crown still resplendent, they headed to Gunther & Co. to have more Champagne and relish the normalcy of the day. Says Amanda, “It was beautiful. It was truly beautiful.”