Wedding date: June 1, 2013
Her story: Samantha Stern, 29, grew up in Baltimore. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and an operations manager at T. Rowe Price. She is the eldest daughter of Cindy and Jerry Stern.
His story: Mark Pilon, 29, was born in Michigan but grew up mostly in Lake Forest, Il. His parents, Larry and Shelley Pilon, live in Illinois. Mark came to Maryland after his mother read about McDaniel College (then Western Maryland College) in a booklet. He is also an operations manager at T. Rowe Price.
Their story: Samantha and Mark met in the summer of 2006 shortly after they both graduated from college. They played on the same softball team and were friends for two years before going out together in 2008. Their official first date was at Roy's in Harbor East, though they had gone out on an unofficial date once before that.
"It's so embarrassing what we ended up doing," says Samantha. "We went to Bill Bateman's [in Reisterstown]. It was right near work at the time," she says.
The proposal: Mark proposed on Friday, April 13, 2012, when they were getting ready to go to dinner with Samantha's grandmother. That's when Mark, who is an avid golfer, surprised Samantha with a golf glove he bought for her.
"He slides it onto my hand really fast, and I'm not even thinking. I'm like, 'Oh, cool golf glove.' " Samantha says. "And he goes, 'What's that?' and it's a slit [in the glove for a ring]. He just got down with my hand in a golf glove, and he proposed."
Before Mark and Samantha went to dinner, they stopped by Samantha's parents' house where a group of their friends and family gathered for a surprise engagement party that Mark coordinated.
"Her parents had a bar and food, and it was catered. We had a really cool time that day," says Mark.
The venue: About 200 guests attended the ceremony and reception at the Suburban Club in Pikesville. Samantha's mom had a vision of a modern wedding and helped with much of the decorating and planning.
Her dress: The bride wore an Augusta Jones strapless, lace trumpet-style gown with a scalloped, sweetheart neckline from Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection in Reisterstown. She also wore a chapel-length veil and a silver beaded belt.
Bridesmaids' dresses: The bridesmaids wore floor-length black chiffon Bill Levkoff gowns from Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection.
Men's apparel: The groom and groomsmen wore black tuxedos with cummerbunds, suspenders and bow ties from Tuxedo House in Timonium.
Decor: Dale Klietz from JJ Cummings Floral Co. of Baltimore used an all-white mixture of peonies, tulips, roses and calla lilies for the bouquets and centerpieces. Tall white candlesticks, gold charger plates and shimmery linens accented the tables. As a last-minute touch, Samantha's mom arranged to have strands of crystals hung from the ceiling above the dance floor.
Music: London Bridge, a band from Philadelphia-based entertainment company Events beyond Expectation, sang pop music to entertain the guests.
"People say they've never seen a bride like me who did not leave the dance floor one minute," Samantha says. "I battled one of the singers in a Nicki Minaj song."
"That was extremely entertaining," Mark says.
Samantha and Mark's first dance was to "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray Lamontagne.
Food: The couple worked with chef Chad Stein of the Suburban Club to create the menu, which included a french fry station, sliders and ice cream sandwiches. And the hit of the night, Samantha says, was the candied bacon.
"It was at the bars, and people were putting it on the burgers," she says.
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