Is anyone else having a hard time believing we’re more than half way through July already? Wedding season just seems to fly right by us, every single year. You blink and it’s gone. And I’m sure it’s because of quintessential summer weddings like this Charlottesville affair. Weddings like this, featuring fabulous florals from Pat’s Floral Design, bright sunshine, and an adorable bride and groom go hand in hand with summer like peanut butter goes with jelly. Jen Fariello captured the whole midsummer dream to perfection. And guess what? There’s more in the gallery!

Ryan and I met on a blind date our first year at the University of Virginia, but we didn’t start dating right then. Instead we became good friends over the next couple of years, and started dating the summer before our fourth year! Six years later, Ryan made a surprise trip to Philadelphia where I was working in buying for Anthropologie (he was a consultant in DC, and we had been long distance for over three years). He arrived in the morning, and literally proposed on my front stoop. He whisked me around Philadelphia to celebrate by hitting up some of our old favorite restaurants and places culminating with a extravagant dinner at Fountain. It was such a fun and exciting weekend, only to be surpassed by our actual wedding weekend which was ten months later.

For our wedding, we immediately knew that we had to go back to where it all began: Charlottesville. The good news was, my mom actually grew up outside of Charlottesville, so we also knew that we wanted to have the reception on the farm where she grew up. This is the place where we spent every Christmas and made countless other visits, and always reminds me of my mom’s mom with whom I was very close. We picked a beautiful church on the downtown mall, Christ Episcopal, for the ceremony and were so blessed to be married by an amazing priest there, Dave Johnson.

We had two main goals of our wedding: to make it fun for our guests, and to make it personal. For the fun factor we focused on special touches such as a fabulous band, busing guests to/from our reception, and passed hors d’oeuvres and champagne for all upon entering cocktail hour, to name a few. Regarding personal touches, we spent a lot of time picking details for our ceremony, Ryan’s sister hand drew our sixteen page wedding booklet, our table names were places at UVA, and our beer and wine was from local companies. We poured countless hours in to these to these details and many more, which I think make a wedding really feel special.

Ryan was very involved in the planning process, but my mom and I were the team that executed all of the special details. We were very lucky to be in the same city during the time leading up to the wedding, so we worked on everything together loving every minute. One of my favorite memories, is that my mom and I worked with a wedding gown designer in Richmond, VA to transform a Monique Lhuillier wedding gown in to exactly what I had always dreamed about. My mom even handmade the gorgeous flower on my hip. It was a lot of work but we loved the time together and the finished product.

Regarding color inspiration, I knew I wanted to incorporate yellow in some way… my nursery was yellow and I have loved the color since childhood. I decided, however, not to have eight beautiful but all very different bridesmaids wear yellow. So I thought of navy. It’s a classic color, and it felt a little softer than black for a wedding at the end of May with an outdoor reception. I found some fantastic yellow beaded necklaces at Anthropologie, which I thought would do just the trick to make the look a little more fun than traditional. My mom and I wrapped the necklaces and sent them to each of my bridesmaids with a note that they could choose any short navy dress they wanted to go with the necklace. My little sis and maid of honor chose a long dress, which I loved because it helped her stand out. I was thrilled with that decision because everyone picked a dress in their price range in which they were comfortable, and we were all photographed together the look was stunning!

Ryan and I have so many vivid and beautiful memories from our wedding day (expertly captured by Jen Fariello) but I will speak to just a couple. We have both discussed this ad nauseum, and we both agree that our absolute favorite memory was between the cocktail hour and reception. Our coordinator moved our guests to the tent, holding back my mom, dad, Ryan and me. There was a path between the porch where we held cocktail hour and the tent for dinner and dancing. She send my parents down the path and a couple of minutes later me and Ryan. When we got to the tent everyone was clapping and cheering, and our band immediately started playing our first dance song and we whirled on to the dance. It was an unexpected memory as we hadn’t planned to make that entrance, which made it all the better.

Another amazing memory was our exit. Everyone was lined up and the path was lit by sparklers all the way from the tent to our getaway convertible. Our band was playing one of our favorite songs in the background and everyone was clapping and yelling excitedly! When we got to the car, my sweet mom was standing right there. I was so happy that I got to give her a big hug and tell her how perfect the entire day was since we had planned the entire event ourselves. The car was already packed with champagne and a picnic basket, and Ryan and I were in amazement looking back on the crowd, tent, and beauty.

Photographer: Jen Fariello / Floral Designer: Pat’s Floral Design / Invitations: Reaves Engraving / Cupcakes: The Mixing Bowl / Wedding Gown Designer: Pleiades Bridal / Bride’s Dress Flower: Bride’s Mom / Venue: Private Residence / Day of Coordination: Beverly Wakefield / Ceremony Location: Christ Episcopal Church

Jen Fariello Photography and Southern Blooms by Pat’s Floral Designs are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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