Start Slideshow View Grid Start Slideshow 47

The Couple’s Family Heirlooms Were Displayed at Their Reception at the George Peabody Library

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Liz Banfield

|Planning by 

Cristina Calvert Weddings

Even though Evan Elizabeth “Evie” Freeman and Arthur Sonnenfeld grew up in Baltimore and shared mutual friends, they didn’t meet until attending an accepted students event for prospective Yale students. He says he decided to commit to Yale upon discovering that Evie was attending.

They spent their freshman year as close friends and dated but ultimately went their separate ways after graduation: Evie to New Mexico; Arthur to Saudi Arabia. A few years later, though, they were once again in the same place—this time across the country in the Bay Area—and began dating again.

After 10 years together, Arthur proposed to Evie by the duck ponds in front of her childhood home. The 20-century diamond and sapphire ring he used came from his great-grandmother Elizabeth’s marriage to his great-grandfather, Arthur. “My middle name is Elizabeth, and Arthur bears his great-grandfather’s name, so we like to say the ring has been brought forward to today with a new Elizabeth and a new Arthur.

As they began planning the wedding, it was never a question of where. “The city of Baltimore sometimes gets a bad rap,” Evie says of her hometown. “Since many of our friends came from out of town, we wanted to showcase how beautiful and elegant Baltimore can be.” Every venue for the weekend was warm, friendly, and joyous. She adds, “We thought a winter wedding would be cozy with family and friends from near and far, so we picked a January date.”

“My mom was the guiding spirit behind the wedding,” Evie credits. “A quintessential Southern mom, she started a file of photos and ideas when I was little for inspiration for my far-off future wedding.” In this file, her mother had a Happy Menocal Studio design torn out of a magazine, ready to use for Evie’s nuptials one day. Evie couldn’t be more grateful her mother already started the planning process for her.

“Happy and her super-talented team, Hillary and Sarah, took excellent care of us and were the most fun to work with. Happy’s watercolors are beautiful, elegant, fun, and quirky, just like Baltimore!” Evie adds, “We hope they take that as our highest compliment!” The back of the ceremony program even included a watercolor of the couple’s cat, Willie, watching butterflies float over the names of the couple’s late grandparents. The couple enlisted Liz Banfield to photograph the end result of Evie’s mother’s ideas, HMR Designs for florals, and Washington D.C.-based planner Cristina Calvert Weddings to execute it all.

Naturally, the couple wanted to exchange vows at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, which Evie’s family attends. Arthur’s mother even works in the church’s Episcopal Refuge Immigrant Center. “We brought the country church vibe outside with candle-lit lanterns lining the stone stairs and a simple green country arch over the doors and inside the church with live olive trees and simple but lush, green leafy garlands over the high altar and on the pews,” Evie describes. Perhaps one of the best parts of the ceremony was the Baltimore Children’s Choir. “The choir and their families attended the wedding, and for the recessional, they sang ‘Oh Happy Day’ from Sister Act with personality and clapped to the beat that got the wedding guests singing and clapping along,” Evie gushes. In lieu of gifts, guests could consider donations to the Baltimore Children’s Choir or Little Flowers Child Development Center in East Baltimore. To further share their appreciation of this historic city, Evie and Arthur chose the George Peabody Library for the reception. 

With such venues, Evie knew her dress had to be timeless. In 2020, her mother pulled a page from a magazine of a Danielle Frankel dress. They made an appointment in New York City to her atelier and at first didn’t realize it was Danielle herself who was helping them through the process. “We fell in love with her, and all the family wedding photos she displays reminded me of my Jewish grandparents!” Evie shares. The bride found a dress she loved, and the Danielle Frankel team gladly helped her modify the look to be exactly what Evie envisioned.

On January 21, 2023, Evie got ready with her closest friends, sister, and her girlfriend. She accessorized with her mother’s pearls and a bracelet from Arthur’s family, and Alexa Rodulfo further enhanced her natural beauty with radiant makeup and coiffed hair. Arthur got dressed in his custom Christopher Schafer Clothier tuxedo. The flower children—his niece and nephew—wore Labubé.

“We worked with our wonderful priest, Reverend Tim Grayson, to write the service to ensure that everyone felt welcome in the Episcopal Church, as many of our guests were of different faiths,” Evie notes. The first reading, a version of the traditional Jewish Seven Blessings, was read partially in Hebrew, and a verse from the New Testament asked guests to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, and over all these virtues put love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” The third reading was a walking meditation by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, read by Arthur’s cousin, a practicing Zen Buddhist.

Located in the Sheridan Libraries Exhibit Hall in the Peabody Building, the cocktail party was centered around a round bar with an orange tree in the center—bartenders even picked oranges from the tree for anyone who asked. Meanwhile, a string quartet strummed modern music—resulting in a very Bridgerton-esque soundtrack. Guests also tried mini crab cakes “because you can’t come to Baltimore without having crab cakes!” Evie exclaims.

Once the sun set, guests entered a truly enchanted library and were greeted by five stories of 18th and 19th-century books and a central atrium with jewel-toned tablecloths and trees covered with oversized butterflies and hanging candles under a starry sky. Dutch masters’ flowers inspired the table decor, which had stacks of favorite family books and family travel heirlooms. Tables were set with mismatched vintage green floral china, family heirloom linen napkins, family silver, crystal, and the family’s collection of vintage Champagne coupes.

Occasions Caterers created the meal. “As a palate cleanser, we had hollowed-out mandarin oranges filled with clementine granita as a nod to my mom’s Italian heritage,” Evie mentions. Instead of a Champagne tower, there was an espresso martini tower to fuel all of the dancing to come, which the bride accounted for when she switched into a Markarian dress. The newlyweds cut into a traditional country Gateau Breton made by Patisserie Poupon and shared their first dance to “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The band, Ground Control of Élan Artists, played Motown all night long.

One of the highlights for the bride was the father-daughter dance to “Ponytail” by Pete Mayes, who Evie’s Uncle John played guitar for in the 1990s. After the reception, the wedding party headed to the after-party at the Cat’s Eye Pub, which has been serving drinks for even longer than this nation has been called “The United States.” Locals and wedding guests noshed on Baltimore-themed snacks like crab meat on a hot dog, Old Bay potato chips, and Natty Boh. When the Cat’s Eye closed, the revelry continued at the Sagamore Pendry, just across the street from the pub.