Occupations Bakers and owners of Motzi Bread in Charles Village
Wedding date May 19, 2019
Number of Attendees 150
Number of Attendants 2
How You Met We met five years ago through OK Cupid while Russell was working on a farm in southern Maryland called Next Step Produce and Maya was a senior at University of Maryland, College Park. We messaged each other about what was growing on the farm in January. Our first date was in DC at the Black Cat to see harpist Mikaela Davis and dinner at District of Pi, where we attempted to get a vegan deep dish pizza (we didn’t know you had to order in advance!) We really hit it off and Maya proceeded to spend a lot of time visiting and volunteering at Next Step.
The Engagement Maya loves old-fashioned film photo booths, which are hard to find. Early in our dating we had ventured around New York City in search of one and had success at a dive bar in the East Village. The pictures have lived on our fridge ever since. On a return visit to New York last December, Russell surprised Maya by taking her to the bar and pulling out the ring in the photo booth just as the pictures were starting to take. It is so wonderful to have photo documentation in a fun and unique way of the moment. The next couple who took a photo in the booth didn’t have their photos develop. We felt very lucky that ours worked.
Wedding Design Inspiration We wanted to feature as many of our beloved Baltimore makers as possible and highlight the colors and flavors of late spring. We also leaned on the expertise of our friends and let that lead the aesthetic. We knew we wanted lots of flowers and are lucky to have a dear friend, Maya Kosok, who is a flower farmer. We had an abundance of amazing local blooms like peonies, foxgloves, irises, ranunculus, nigella, and, most excitedly, wheat as a nod to our bakery. We also wanted to reflect the simplicity of Quaker values, as we were married in the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse under the care of its Meeting, so the flowers where our main decoration along with the elegant simplicity of the Meetinghouse and Clavel, where we had our wedding dinner. Maya kept her dress on the simple side, too, which her grandmother made from white linen off a Vogue pattern.
What Was Unique and Special About Your Wedding Day We had a traditional Quaker “meeting for worship with concern for marriage” with Jewish elements around it. It was a unique style of ceremony that honored our traditions. The Quaker meeting consists of expectant worship in which anyone who feels led can give a message. It was a wonderful way to hear so much love and affirmation from many different people in our lives. After the Quaker ceremony, Rabbi Ariana Katz of Hinenu, of which we were founding members, led everyone in Jewish rituals, including the hamotzi, or blessing over bread. This was particularly special as it’s the inspiration for our bakery name. We used a loaf of Motzi bread and linked in arms with our guests to the bread—a wonderful, unifying moment. Our wedding certificate is also unique, made by Annie Howe as a paper-cut, which we designed with so many specific images, like our house, the wedding sites, our cat, the wedding flowers, etc. We ended our first dance to Beyoncé’s “Before I Let Go” in a choreographed bit, which was really fun.
Favorite Details We loved having an Instax guest book. Maya’s sister, Aja Cage, made the wedding cake as a Smith Island cake, with quince, persimmon, and fig jams preserved from our favorite farmers; Next Step buckwheat and pastry wheat; earl grey chocolate ganache; and decorated with Maya K’s flowers. It was outstanding. It was a lot of fun departing on a tandem bike as everyone blew bubbles! Our dinner menu featured beloved local food makers like Keepwell Vinegar ferments; King Mushrooms’ oyster mushrooms; the best of spring like ramps and asparagus; Next Step sticky rice; our bread (we were busy baking the day before!); the list could go on. The drink menu was also quite special to us as our friend Lane Harlan, owner of Clavel, helped us select great natural wines and our friend Justin Brodie-Kommit made so many amazing beers for us.
Most Unexpected Event On Your Wedding Day We were a vendor for Motzi Bread at Fadensonnen’s Gut High Festival the day before. While this was planned, we were not sure if we could pull it off. We had to run back and forth between the festival and the Homewood Meetinghouse to rehearse and have dinner with family. It was unexpected just how well it went, as our friends helped hold down the fort while we attended to wedding matters and we really got to enjoy ourselves at the festival with out of town friends.
Piece of Advice We managed to swing the entire operation for a very low cost all told, thanks to so many great contributions from friends and family. We highly recommend thinking about what your loved ones can contribute because, most importantly, it creates a blanket of love on your wedding day that makes everything feel extra special. We also recommend deciding which elements are important to prioritize and focusing on those while keeping the rest as simple as possible.
Beauty Anya Singer, family friend, of Soul Love Salon Cake Aja Cage, Maya’s sister for the reception; Bramble Baking Co for the dinner Caterer Potluck finger foods at the reception; Helena Del Pesco of Larder for the dinner Flowers Maya Kosok, dear friend, of Hillen Homestead Groom Indochino and The Tie Bar Honeymoon Oaxaca, Mexico Invitations Letterpress designed by dear friend Adam Mihalik and printed at Baltimore Print Studios Location Homewood Friends (ceremony/reception); Clavel (dinner) Music PA system with playlists created by Maya and friends at the reception as well as traditional Yiddish/Jewish music for dancing led by Judy Sweet; John Jones vinyl DJ for the dinner Officiant We married ourselves, as per Quaker tradition, and Rabbi Ariana of Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Schtiebl led some Jewish rituals Photographer Family friend Stephanie Shade Transportation We biked on our friends’ tandem bike from Homewood Friends to Clavel Wedding Dress Maya’s grandmother made it from linen purchased at Domesticity Fabric Shop and Studio and she knit a capelet Wedding Planner Ourselves and a lot of great oversight from our wedding committee at Homewood Friends