It’s a fact – Jen Fariello and gorgeous weddings go hand-in-hand. So the very second she sent over this Charlottesville charmer, we knew pretty-filled moments were just a quick click away. And with Southern Blooms by Pats Floral Designsjust a little ditty, and Bella Figura behind every pin-perfect detail, there’s really no reason NOT to spend your whole morning cozied up in the gallery. Grab that coffee and join me!

From the Bride…Travis and I pretty much immediately decided on Charlottesville, Virginia. I am a University of Virginia graduate and Charlottesville is a lovely town  one of our favorite places  and perfect for us given our love for the outdoors. It doesnt hurt that it has one the most beautiful skylines of endless rolling hills and mountains. The east coast location also was favorable for us considering thats where my family resides.  It made it much easier for them to help and get involved. Before we decided on anything, I knew my wedding style: rustic-elegance. I envisioned the wedding to be romantic, intimate, full, natural and soft.

We chose Castle Hill Cider for our wedding ceremony and reception because it completely fit our vision. We loved the rustic elements of the venue– pastoral fields and meadows, a grove of hugely impressive trees, and a classically built post and beam barn. And we had a blank canvas to work, a concept I fully embraced because we wanted to create an event truly our own down to the last little detail. The romantic color palette was determined by the natural setting. Shades of light pink, cream and champagne complemented the natural greens and browns of the landscape. We had pewter accents (e.g., the writing on our personalized cocktail napkins, flower and candle holders, candle filled lanterns, drinking straws) that complemented the softer colors and matched the font color we used for our wedding invitations and calligraphy. The bridesmaids dresses were a favorite of mine! I picked the colors  three of them (blush, opal and vanilla)  and had everyone pick their own style, which ended up all being different. I thought that was fantastic! It reflected them as individuals, and the color and style combination was stunning.

We had several DIY projects that made the ceremony and reception both incredibly beautiful and extra meaningful. The chuppah (canopy) that we stood under during the ceremony was hand built and erected by Travis, while the wood slate boards we used for the escort cards and the wooden boxes that held our late night snack were made by a family friend. I made the ceremony programs that included handmade paper sourced from the Lokta plant in Nepal. The longevity of the paper makes it ideal for preserving important written words.??Many of our guests commented on the uniqueness of our wedding and how it was a perfect reflection of who we are as a couple. Here are a few highlights. We caught the wild Alaskan salmon (yes, its true) that we offered as one of two choices for the main course. We caught the Coho salmon in Kodiak, Alaska at Travis familys lodge (www.kodiaklegendslodge.com). We have been going up to Alaska every summer for the past five years and consider it a very special place. The handwritten menus placed at every guests seat included this detail.

Our guests started and ended the night with family favorites! If you were a beer fan, the night began with bottles of Spotted Cow that was personally driven by Travis all the way from northern Wisconsin. It is produced and sold only in Wisconsin and a favorite of Travis family. Our guests ended the night with personalized individually packaged brownies, my familys favorite, which were served with old-fashioned cartons of milk locally produced in Central Virginia. Most of our guests opted to take the transportation we provided, so it served as the perfect late night snack to enjoy on the bus ride back to town.

My surprise gift to Travis was an oil on canvas painting of our first dance. I flew in an impressionist style painter from California, Rich Flynn, who painted our first dance real-time, and continued throughout the duration of the reception. The painting is truly one of a kind! He managed to illustrate not only the physical elements, but also the emotion. He captured a cherished moment that we now can continue to treasure.

I want to share a few brief thoughts on lighting and florals because the barn was large and vast and from the start these two elements were critical in transforming the space from simply rustic, to rustic-elegance. We decided on bistro lights strung low throughout the barn to bring the ceilings down to create a warm, romantic feel. Amber uplights throughout the barn also helped to warm it up. The canopy of bistro lights extended seamlessly outside to the back of the barn where we had lounge area. Our table centerpieces were low, lush and overflowing arrangements in mercury glass containers surrounded by lots of candles. The mercury glass reflected the light and resulted in an intimate setting with an antique touch.  

We were so fortunate and grateful to have such a talented and creative team of vendors that helped to realize our vision and make our wedding better than we could have ever imagined. Travis and I cant thank them enough! It was an extraordinary day  the best day  and we cherished every moment!

Photography: Jen Fariello Photography | Ceremony + Reception Venue: Castle Hill Cider | Cinematography: Zachary Shields of Toast Wedding Films | Floral Design: Southern Blooms by Pats Floral Designs | Event Design + Planning: just a little ditty | Invitation Designer: Bella Figura | Calligraphy for invitations, envelopes, menu + place cards: Debi Zeinert of The Blooming Quill | Personalized Paper Accessories (napkins, stickers + straws): foryourparty.com | Cake + Desserts: Cakes by Rachel | Caterer + Rentals: Harvest Moon Catering | Extra Rentals: Stonegate Event Rentals and Festive Fare | Lighting: Blue Ridge AV and Lighting | Artist: Rich Flynn | Reception Band: The Dickens | Hair: Lucas Shaffer | Makeup: Renee Smith | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dress: Amsale | Grooms Tuxedo: Custom, Astor and Black | Flower Girls’ Dress: OliviaKateCouture

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