Written by McKenzie Gritten
Jackie Cerami and Mike Chaney met for drinks in the beautiful Windy Park neighborhood of Washington DC. “I was really late,” says Jackie. “It’s kind of a running joke because everywhere we go he’s 15 minutes late, and I’m always the one on time. So it was kind of funny, our first date it was the opposite of how it normally is now.” Mike let Jackie’s tardiness slide that evening, and the couple ended up sparking what would be a two-and-half-year relationship.
In July 2014, a less-than-excited Jackie and her now-boyfriend Mike headed an hour and half outside of DC to stay in the quaint town of St. Michaels, Maryland. She had thought the two of them were going to a company golf tournament, but once the pair pulled up to the iconic, Anna Mary Cabin, she realized the weekend would hold something else entirely. As they headed into the house, she was caught by surprise—there were pictures of the two of them and orchids (her favorite flower) accenting the hall. Eventually, the couple headed outside onto the terrace for lunch...and Mike proposed. “We went there for our six-months-of-dating anniversary, so it was kind of a special place for us,” says Jackie. “It was the first place we did the whole I-love-you thing.”
The next week, the couple moved in together, adopted half border collie, half flat-footed retriever Tallie, and began planning their wedding. Jackie’s parents retired in Wilmington, and after deciding on a fall wedding, and following a virtual tour of the BAC, they knew that Wilmington and the Brooklyn Arts Center would be a perfect for their special day.
Jackie and Mike married on November 7, 2015. With help from Social Butterfly Events, Jackie was able to transform the Brooklyn Arts Center courtyard into a beautiful Garden of Eden. The bride wore a dress made by Carlo—the strapless two-toned lace trumpet-style dress was an off white with a blush undertone. The color scheme of the wedding was off-white, blush (with hints of dark purple), and charcoal. Jackie’s nine bridesmaids wore charcoal, and the groom and his groomsmen and groomsmaids (Mike’s two sisters) wore traditional black tuxes. Mike’s sisters wore black dresses. At dusk, Jackie wore her sister’s veil, and walked with her father down the isle to her mother playing the viola.
Wilmington Uplighting created a beautiful altarpiece for the couple, and as the sun went down, the courtyard was decorated with lights. Flowers designed by Design Perfection included a magical display of white, blush, lots of green, and hints of purple, bringing Jackie’s Garden of Eden dreams to life. “We did kiss when we weren't suppose too,” says Jackie. “After our vows, I kissed him and they said, ‘Oh wait, you can’t do that yet.’ But it was too late. It was just an intuitive thing to do. We were just having our own moment, and kind of forgot where we were.”
After the sun went down, the newlyweds held the cocktail hour in the lit-up courtyard, supplying their thirsty guests with 575s, Old Fashioneds, and an open bar. The Wedding Gods were smiling because the weather held off right up until the guest made their way into the historic, BAC church for the reception.
The couple made their entrance with a dance to “Just the Way You Are,” by Billy Joel. The rustic church was decorated with tall and short bouquets on every table, and the guests shared a spectacular menu, served family-style by legendary local catering company Pine Valley Market. The band A-town A-list kept the crowd moving and grooving throughout the evening. Mike’s best man and Jackie’s father both gave sentimental toasts. One toast stood out among the rest: Jackie’s sister’s. “I gave a pretty funny toast at her wedding, which ended up being sentimental too,” says Jackie. “But she just went straight for funny. It was hilarious.” The laughs then continued as the two ring bearers got on stage to perform the Nae Nae for the bride and groom. “I told them not to play that song, because I’m not a fan of organized dances, but when my two nephews (ages 7 and 9) told me they wanted to do a dance for me, I allowed it,” says Jackie. “It was so cute, and we were totally surprised. They were actually really good.”
At the end of the evening, a Wilmington hot dog cart set up outside the BAC for guests to grab one more bite to eat as they exited, and the trolley was on site to take people back to their hotels. But the evening wasn't over for the newlyweds. They continued to celebrate with friends and family at the Blind Elephant in Historic Downtown Wilmington.
That next day, a Sunday brunch was hosted at Jackie’s parents’ house to say farewell to guests that had traveled far and wide to attend the wedding. The couple then headed to Argentina for their honeymoon. Over the next two weeks, Jackie and Mike explored Buenos Aires, Patagonia, and Mendoza, hiking and adventuring for about three days in each location. “It was some beautiful scenery, some awesome wine, and delicious food,” says Jackie.
Currently, Jackie works for Cigna Health Care, and Mike works at the Department of Labor in Maryland. The couple lives in Washington, DC, and is looking to buy a house in the spring. They hope to stay in the nation’s capital and start a family one day soon.