When Darlene Breck and Blaine Lessard attended a meeting of the Charles County Business Network, they expected to connect with other business owners and find new ways to expand their businesses.
What they weren’t expecting was to meet each other and find a friendship that developed into love.
“I went to my first meeting and went through the formalities of introducing myself and my business to the group,” Blaine recalled. “I didn’t know anyone. Everyone else stood up, and introduced themselves one by one.
“Then it was Darlene’s turn, and when she stood up, she caught my eye, and I couldn’t stop looking at her.”
His nerves got the better of him, Blaine said, so he left without talking to her much. Later, at another business mixer, they talked. “We quickly became close friends, and I knew early on that I was falling in love,” Blaine said.
Blaine, owner of Mali Office Furniture in Waldorf, decided to propose to Darlene, owner of the Southern Maryland Business Center in Waldorf, on Christmas 2005. He spent a couple of months putting his plan into action. A week before Christmas, he called Darlene’s oldest daughter, Missy, to ask for her approval. “She did, and she was the only person to know what I was going to do,” he said.
Blaine remembered being nervous the whole day -- while they were exchanging gifts, while they were eating breakfast, while they were preparing dinner. “When we sat down to dinner, I had the ring box in my pocket and thought everyone would notice,” he said. No one did, and he proposed during a pre-dinner toast.
“I thanked Darlene for being my best friend and neighbor, and I told her that I loved her very much,” Blaine said. “I then dropped to my knee and told her that I would like to spend the rest of my life with her and would she marry me, and I offered her this ring as a symbol of my love to her.”
“It seemed like an eternity went by before Darlene started breathing again, and then she said yes! It was one of the happiest moments of my life.”
Planning began for their July 7, 2007 wedding. They decided to get married at their home, which sits on a wooded five-acre lot in Welcome, appropriately, on Wedding Drive. The yard was landscaped to accommodate large parties, and the couple set up a tent with a dance floor, chandeliers and tables.
“We envisioned our wedding to be something representative of us,” Blaine said. “A celebration with family and friends.”
Blaine and his best man built a bar in the backyard and christened it the Montego Bay Honeymoon Bar. The bar is an oak slab, and it is covered by a pergola top. It was landscaped and became a permanent part of their yard. Guests were given glasses with light-up bases decorated with the “Montego Bay Honeymoon Bar” logo and the wedding date.
The bride wore a fitted white gown with beaded detailing at the neck. Illusions Hair & Nail Salon did her hair, and her oldest daughter, Missy, did her makeup. The bridal party of eight coordinated in the wedding colors of coral, smoke gray and cream.
A string quartet played for guests before the ceremony started. At the reception, everyone danced to the music of Certified DJ’s and enjoyed dinner catered by Milloff’s Catering. An extensive menu included a fruit and cheese display, jumbo lump crab crostini as some of the hors d’oeuvres, a salad station that included fresh tomato mozzarella and fresh marinated asparagus, a pasta station with five different types of pasta dishes, and herb roasted tenderloin, island shrimp on sugar skewers, and oven roasted potatoes, rice pilaf and green beans Italiano.
Darlene and Blaine’s wedding cake was inspired by a green-and-white polka dot ribbon Darlene found. “She designed her cake around that ribbon,” Blaine said. “Three tiers of cake with bright green frosting and white cream dots.”
They also served a three-tiered groom’s cake -- “One-hundred percent chocolate,” Blaine said -- and cupcakes for the kids. “She wanted to include something for the grandchildren that was simple for them to eat,” he said. “So she had cupcakes that looked like her cake -- whimsical with sparkles on top.”
Summer flowers, sunflowers, fruit and topiaries, and a trellis from Country Florist in Waldorf decorated the ceremony and reception areas.
Darlene and Blaine honeymooned at the all-inclusive Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Two butlers ensured they never wanted for anything. “They left us daily romantic messages spelled out on the floor or bed in rose petals,” Blaine said. “We had lots of beach time, candlelight dinners on the beach, island tours and shopping, and the best food ever. Never a dull moment!”