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What's Up Weddings

Real Wedding: Geena Cooley & Bradley Harrington

Apr 21, 2016 02:21PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Tina Byland

August 30, 2014 // Chartwell Golf and Country Club, Severna Park // Kimberly Florence Photography

The Couple

From opposite sides of the country (Geena from Maryland and Brad from California), the two met by chance when they both were visiting Chicago for a few days. In a crowded bar, Brad spotted Geena and charmed her with a goofy introduction saying, “What’s up? What’s up?” to her. His silly charm paid off and they spent the rest of the evening talking, laughing, and dancing. From there, they spent the rest of the weekend together. Ironically, they both called their parents that weekend telling them that they had met the person they would one day marry.

The Proposal

Faith being a huge part of their relationship, Brad’s proposal happened at church. One Saturday in February, after Mass, Brad got down on one knee on the church steps and asked Geena to marry him.

The Location

When Brad and Geena got engaged, they were living in Berkeley, California. They chose to get married in Maryland for several reasons. First, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Annapolis was the first church they ever went to together. As for the reception, Geena chose Chartwell mainly for the perks it had to offer. “It’s almost all-inclusive,” shares Geena. “They cover the food, and even give you a wedding coordinator who is there to coordinate with your vendors on the day of and get everything all set, even the little details! They only book one event per day so there is no time limit on when you need to get out by. There is a huge inside and outside area. It was a dream!” These were all very important perks for Geena as she was planning the wedding in only six months and from across the country.


The Wedding Party

Twenty four. That’s the total count of bridesmaids and groomsmen they had in their wedding. Geena is one of ten children and Brad is one of twelve, and so it made perfect sense for them to have their siblings all included on their wedding day. “To make it less insane, only the maid of honor and best man stood up with us on the alter when we exchanged vows,” explains Geena.

The Dress

“I never had an “Ah-ha, this is the one!” moment. I just loved it, and didn’t want to stress about having to find the perfect dress,” recalls Geena. She picked an Allure gown which just so happened to be the third dress she tried on. Third time’s the charm, they say.

The Joy

Even though the entire ceremony was special, their favorite memory is when they exchanged vows. They were laughing the entire time because they were so joyful.

The Details

Almost everything was made by family and friends. Geena’s childhood friend and college roommate designed their invitations, the reception flowers were from her grandma, the cakes were homemade, and all décor was made by her maid of honor and mother, with a little help from friends. On every table were ten mason jars filled with wildflowers from Geena’s grandmother’s garden. These also doubled as gifts for the guests to take home. They also had a photo booth, corn hole, and a kids/candy table. “It was a day wedding with just lots of fun and a whole lot of laughing and dancing,” explains Geena.


The Cakes

They had two cakes. Bradley’s mom and sisters baked the cakes from scratch. Over the engagement, Geena emailed them photos of her vision for the cake and they made it happen! Geena’s cake had colorful fresh flowers on top, and the same cake topper from her parent’s wedding. The groom’s cake was a rugby inspired cake (Brad played rugby in college) with the same cake topper from his older brother’s wedding.

The Favorite Memory

“After most of the guests had left, the DJ had packed up, and it seemed over, several of our college friends stayed,” Geena remembers. “The sun was setting and we all walked outside to the fire pit. About twenty of us sat around in Adirondack chairs. The boys went inside to the bar and purchased lots of bottles of wine and champagne. We sat there for I don’t even know how long as everyone made speeches, talked and laughed. We’ll never forget it. We have one photo from this, and it’s printed out and on our dresser.”

The Happily Ever After.

“It hasn’t been easy, but this past year has been the best year of our lives,” shares Geena. Nine months after their wedding, they gave birth to a baby girl, Evelyn. What do they see for the future? “Mostly, we see ourselves just tackling and enjoying the day to day together. We don’t know where the future will take us and we are just happy to be here now!”

The Details

Severna Park Florist (wedding party and flower crowns)

Phil Rosensteel

Chartwell Golf and Country Club

Bride’s Gown:
Allure from Bridals by Elena

Bride’s Shoes:

Bridesmaid Dresses:

Men’s Attire:

Bride’s Jewelry:
Kay Jewelers

Engagement Ring:
Kay Jewelers

Wedding Bands:
Kay Jewelers

Anchor Point Paper


Meg Decker and Cath Claire