This originally ran in the 2015 Local Love supplement in the June issue of Baltimore magazine.
WEDDING DATE October 11, 2014
From the time Kristian Bjornard proposed to Nancy Iverson to the moment they walked down the aisle was approximately 99 days.
Speedy, sure, but the day had actually been a long time coming. Kristian’s proposal was not the couple’s first. Nancy first proposed to Kristian with an ax. Yes. An ax. A Hudson Bay ax of Best Made Company, in fact. “It was one of those really beautiful axes,” she says. “I knew this was something as a designer he would love and appreciate.” It was her way of showing the man she loved how well she knew him, and that she was ready to be proposed to. About 15 months later, it was his turn. They spent the day picking peaches at Rock Hill Orchard with her parents, and then headed to the Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm in Mt. Airy. Everyone ordered flights of beer. Kristian took some swigs and then turned to the group. “I know you don’t like beer, but I think you’ll like this,” he said, and then proposed.
They knew they didn’t want a drawn-out engagement, so their first call was to Blacksauce Kitchen, a mobile food business and catering company in Baltimore. (If you’ve ever had their biscuit sandwiches, you’ll understand why.) They grabbed one of Blacksauce’s last two dates available for that fall. Their next mission was finding a venue. They had become smitten with a place a friend had posted on Instagram, and ended up booking the dreamy Star Bright Farm, north of Monkton. The last piece of their perfect wedding puzzle was music. Music was a huge part of Kristian’s life. The Bjornard family played together occasionally in a band called—what else—Bjorn to Be Wild. Since arriving in Baltimore, Kristian and Nancy had become huge fans of rootsy folk-rocker Caleb Stine. Caleb and his band, The Brakemen, secretly learned a song, “West Coast Rain,” that Kristian had written for Nancy years earlier and played it with Kristian on the wedding day. Caleb also learned “The Dress Looks Nice On You” by Sufjan Stevens for Nancy’s trip down the aisle.
Things were lining up, but “it was definitely a full-time job planning a wedding that quickly,” says Nancy. But 10 years into their relationship, they knew their top three priorities: food, music, and their friends and family having a great time.
Fortunately, they were able to call on that network of talented and generous loved ones to help them accomplish this. Nancy’s parents immediately started canning 250 jars of homemade jam for favors. “Almost everyone we know runs their own business,” says Kristian. In a completely non-pompous way, says Nancy, their friends are just really awesome. And they are. Friend Katie McDonough owns Petal and Print, a floral studio. Another pal, Mary Mashburn, a letterpress whiz, operates Typecast Press. And “find a Gary,” recommends Nancy, referring to her friend Gary Godbey, aka the Coordinator of Chaos, who kept the ball rolling on many decisions. “You need a friend who wants to help, and knows how.” A friend of Nancy’s mom made all the table runners. The owner of Love Ablaze, another acquaintance, hand-poured all the Mason jar candles. And high-school friends took care of her hair and makeup. “Everything just really came together,” she says.
The bride and groom contributed too. Kristian, a Maryland Institute College of Art professor and graphic designer, created a wedding crest—an ax and a shovel—for things like coasters and labels. Nancy, meanwhile, was able to utilize the relationships she had built with food and drink merchants during her many years at Woodberry Kitchen. She could also call on several flower farms she had worked at. (She now has her own farm, Berean Hill Farm.
Since they had so many friends and family coming in from out of town, Kristian and Nancy wanted to make the wedding celebration last for days and show off their favorite things about Baltimore. The hotel rooms were stocked with welcome bags filled with Dooby’s Fruity Pebbles cookies, Kinderhook Snacks popcorn and smoked nuts, Charm City Cook’s salted caramel brownies, and apples from the farmers’ market. They hosted a family dinner, 30 of them sitting elbow-to-elbow at Bottega the Thursday before the wedding. Bottega chef Sandy Smith and Kristian put the menu together, and another friend helped them with the wine pairing.
The next night, they had a “Midwest taco night,” says Nancy. Her dad smoked all the meat—brisket and pork butt—using wood he had lugged from South Dakota. Both moms and Nancy’s brother and sister-in-law, who worked for America’s Test Kitchen, prepared all sorts of sides, including three different types of bars for dessert: seven-layer, lemon, and brown- butter Rice Krispie bars—all Midwest favorites. They invited anyone in town for the wedding to eat tacos washed down with Union Craft beer and sweet tea.
The wedding day was smooth sailing. The band played. The flowers, some harvested by Nancy the morning before, looked lovely. Guests feasted on lambchetta, smoked corn fritters, a whole hog, chicken, mixed greens, bread pudding and biscuits, pumpkin whoopee pies, and scrumptious wedding cakes, and then danced late into the night.
Snacks popcorn and smoked nuts, Charm City Cook’s salted caramel brownies, and apples from the farmers’ market. They hosted a family dinner, 30 of them sitting elbow-to-elbow at Bottega the Thursday before the wedding. Bottega chef Sandy Smith and Kristian put the menu together, and another friend helped them with the wine pairing.
Says Nancy, “Everything was epical and meaningful.”
BAR/BEVERAGES Union Craft Brewing, plus cocktails created by Kristian with the help of Chris Attenborough; Blacksauce Kitchen’s smoked hot apple cider, and Counter Culture Coffee CAKE Sarah Malphrus, executive pastry chef at Woodberry Kitchen CATERER Blacksauce Kitchen COORDINATOR OF CHAOS Gary Godbey FLOWERS Sourced locally from Prairie Pasque Farm, Belvedere Farm, Capital Flower Growers, and foraged from a small flower farm in Pennsylvania. They were designed and arranged by Petal and Print. GROOM J.Crew LOCATION Star Bright Farm, White Hall PHOTOGRAPHER Jonathan Hanson Photography MUSIC Caleb Stine and The Brakemen OFFICIANT Ka’thy Chappell, Kristian’s aunt PORTABLE RESTROOMS Maryland Portable Restrooms RENTALS Forget-Me-Not Vintage Rentals STATIONERY Typecast Press TRANSPORTATION School buses from American Limousines WEDDING DRESS BHLDN