Written by Eleanor Pratt
Photography by River Lane Photography and JennQuinn Creative
After a recent fairytale engagement in the Chianti region of Italy, Josh Joson and Julie Delcambre are looking forward to their upcoming wedding. As models for this shoot at the scenic Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort in historic Chesapeake Beach, the couple got a taste of what their big day might be like.
According to the town’s website, Chesapeake Beach was founded in the early twentieth century as a resort town. Hotels, casinos, carousels, a mile-long pier, a giant roller coaster and more populated the waterfront, attracting thousands of amusement seekers by train and boat. Black and white photos of the town and these attractions populate the walls of the Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the history of the place the resort calls home.
The Rod ‘N’ Reel itself has a long history as well. Family-owned and operated since 1946, the resort is a staple of the Chesapeake Beach community and continues to attract visitors to the small town. CEO and Chesapeake Beach native Mary Lanham could not be more proud of how the resort has grown and changed over the four generations her family has owned it. But the familial feeling extends beyond just her relatives.
“We have employees right now who have been with us for over 40 years, which I think says a lot about the family dynamic,” Lanham said.
In addition to hosting annual “Rock the Dock” concerts in the summer, friendly fishing tournaments, family reunions and other events, the resort’s unobstructed views of the Chesapeake Bay make it an ideal venue for a wedding. It’s not all about the one big day either. Rod ‘N’ Reel boasts a spa and a barbershop for some pre-wedding pampering, as well as pontoon, kayak and boat rentals for wedding parties who want to make use of the resort’s waterfront.
Photographer Audrey Wozney and creative director Jennifer Quinn definitely took advantage of the resort’s scenic locale for the shoot. Josh and Julie made a striking couple, with Julie styled to perfection by KC Artistry’s hairstylist Biki Rodriguez and makeup artist Ali Duca. Sarah McGuinn of Champagne Taste Bridal Boutique outfitted the couple in timeless styles.
McGuinn described her boutique as “small but mighty.” Located in Huntingtown, Champagne Taste offers a unique and personal bridal experience. Not only can brides find affordable and peak-condition gowns “off the rack,” but the store also carries three “made-to-order” lines: Rebecca Ingram, Maggie Sottero, and Sottero and Midgley.
The boutique continues to expand and innovate, recently introducing bridesmaid gowns and suits and tuxedos, as well as launching a private label line. This line features exclusive gowns only found at Champagne Taste and all will be named after different wines and champagne. McGuinn joked this was very “on brand” for the boutique.
While it may not have been Julie and Josh’s actual big day — they plan to have an intimate wedding with family and friends soon — both certainly looked the part thanks to Champagne Taste and KC Artistry. The Rod ‘N’ Reel also looked the part of the perfect venue, though it will be even more so in the years to come.
By 2025, the resort plans to complete construction on a new section. This will add 62 hotel rooms, a banquet facility for up to 500 people, a rooftop pool, as well as a new Rod ‘N’ Reel restaurant. A three-story atrium will connect the current hotel with the new building, with striking views of the bay and beach. This atrium will allow the resort to host wedding ceremonies, live music, and more twelve months out of the year. Additionally, the rooftop deck, (overlooking the bay of course) will be able to host wedding ceremonies, parties and any other private events.
Lanham and her family are excited to realize her father’s vision for what the resort could be. Even with the stress of construction and planning, she said it will be worth it in the end.
“We're completely at peace because it was his vision,” Lanham said. “We just get to carry it out.”
As golden hour hit our cover models’ smiling faces and gentle waves hit the beach, one could not help but imagine the future happy couples who will say their “I do’s” at this historic venue.
Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort
4160 Mears Ave,
Chesapeake Beach, MD
Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum
4155 Mears Ave.
Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732
River Lane Photography
HAIR & MAKEUP
DRESS & SUIT:
Champagne Taste Bridal
Wildly Native Flower Farm
Pretty Little Wedding
Joson Fine Jewelry and Home Boutique