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Elegant DIY Wedding at Belle Haven On The James

A gorgeous barn wedding, DIY details and just a touch of modern whimsy.  This, my friends, is what I call an amazing start to the week here on SMP.  It’s the breathtaking backdrop known as Belle Haven on the James meets fab paper goods from Minted meets a rustic (+ modern) dance party, and you can see every last beautiful moment captured by Leo Druker in the full gallery.

From the Bride… From our October engagement, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted our big day to look like and feel – intimate and personal while bringing city chic to the countryside. As an events person in my day job, I knew I wanted to plan everything and Patrick, being incredibly supportive, would help in any way.

We went to a friend’s wedding in Charlottesville and, having never been there, I instantly fell in love with the fall foliage and the Southern ambiance. I found Belle Haven on the James, an 1880′s Victorian mansion on 60 acres of land with a barn and plenty of landscape gems, and after talking to the owner, Jan, I knew this was the place I wanted to get married. She just started opening her private home to a few weddings which was a huge draw since I did not want to have a cookie cutter wedding. I’ve seen so many barn and mason jar themed combinations, I wanted to put a twist on my vision with a few more modern touches. From there, things quickly fell into place and the DIY projects commenced.

I hand-dyed the ombre napkins (seen on SMP), addressed the invites, made river rock name cards, and painted signs. Patrick, a woodworking enthusiast, built the trunk for our altar, signs, and table numbers. Together we made the succulent terrariums and orchid centerpieces for our reception tables to set the mood. The one of the biggest projects we worked on was making homemade soap and packaging it as our wedding favor. We were able to create our own unique smell and even do the science part of whipping it up which was a blast. Our friend/officiant made the bridesmaids’ clutches and groomsmen’s bow ties, while Patrick’s aunt did my dress alterations. Working with our dear friend, Kelly, on the details we were able to plan, setup and have her execute the flawless day so I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I really wasn’t kidding that this was an all hands on deck type deal.

In planning an autumn wedding, I was really hoping for the crisp 75 degree fall day. Instead, we were graced with an unusually blazing hot October day. At least it wasn’t raining and nothing could stop us anyway! For the ceremony, we wanted an intimate feel for our 90 guests, so we seated them in a semi-circle to have a good view of the vows. Patrick’s oldest and best friends, Shelley and Tasha, were our officiants for the ceremony. They were our first pick because their marriage is a prime example of a loving marriage and a couple that has seen our relationship grow from the beginning. To include a piece of my Asian culture in our Southern wedding, we included blessings from our late-grandparents as well as a tea ceremony with both sets of parents who had the opportunity to offer marriage and life advice.

Rather than a formal reception, we both wanted it to feel like a big dinner party with our close friends and family members. We were able to accomplish this by having the seating at a long and continuous table and have the meal served family style. 20 South really outdid themselves as everyone was raving about the food at each table. To keep with our DIY theme, Patrick and his love for music was able to curate the playlist so we went sans DJ and got the guests dancing on our own. Without a DJ, we had members of our wedding party announce each portion of the evening: from first dance to cake cutting. I loved this aspect because it allowed our wedding party to have a bigger role throughout the evening.

The most lovely part of the evening was stepping away from the reception for just a moment. We were so far into the countryside, without a moon, that we were able to enjoy ourselves as husband and wife under a blanket of clear and shining stars.

Photography: Leo Druker | Floral Design: Kelly Green | Wedding Dress: Legends By Romona Keveza | Cake: Cakes Unlimited | Invitations: Minted | Reception Venue: Belle Haven On The James | Reception Venue: Belle Haven On The James | Shoes: ASOS | Bridesmaids Dresses: J Crew | Catering: 20 South | Catering: 20 South Catering | Hair: Leslie Lowery | Groom's Attire: Indochino | Transportation: A Goff Transportation | Venue: Belle Haven On The James | Rentals: MS Events

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Rustic Virginia Wedding Photo Shoot from Jen Fariello Photography

Consider this photography workshop captured by Jen Fariello Photography a two-for-one. From a garden inspired tablescape complete with moss runners and honeypot favors to a cozy barn dinner with farm-fresh details galore, there are crazy amounts of inspiration to be had and the grounds of Belle Haven are delivering. Jen teamed up with a host of great vendors including styling by Shindig Weddings & Events, flowers by Pat’s Floral Designs and instruction by herself as well as Robert Radifera + Katie Stoops and the result proves that rustic can be oh so glamorous. See that proof right here.

From Meghan Streit of Shindig Weddings & EventsIt has been said that each place has a story to tell, and if that holds true, Belle Haven has volumes to share. As a historic home and farm established in the mid-1800s, Belle Haven features a variety of buildings and spaces, each with their own personality and appeal. From these unique, individual spaces, the inspiration for the “Wonder” photography workshop was born. Robert Radifera and Katie Stoops also came on board to instruct, and the vision became a reality!

A lovely terrace off the side of the Victorian home was quickly dubbed “the secret garden” by the workshop’s designers, as it featured an enchanting arbor with trailing roses, winding paths and an abundance of greenery. A beautiful bar was quickly tucked into a garden pocket overgrown with moss, and hanging votives completed the magic. A gorgeous farm table situated on antique architectural elements hosted an enchanting setting, complete with moss runner, individual honeypots (to which local bees soon swarmed!), and mushroom- and orchid-filled lanterns. Antique silverware and hemstitched linen napkins crowned the table in romantic elegance.

However, just south of the lovely Victorian terrace is the quintessential beauty of the Virginia countryside — rolling hay fields, a meticulously-maintained wildflower labyrinth, and, sitting atop on a quiet knoll, one of the most prestigious bank barns on the East Coast. With its charming and peeling red paint, the barn offers original wood-plank floors, solid wood columns and an exposed hayloft. The natural setting combined with this particular structure was an easy match for the design of a provincial farmer’s market, and so a farmer’s table was set. A market basket of bounty filled with eggplant, greens and fruits was the anchor of the table, and tall, dripping candelabras lent a high elegance. Each place setting was crowned with a fig and a hand-calligraphed place card and adorned by a lovingly-mismatched setting of glassware. Honey appeared again; this time as a golden flourish amongst the other elements, and twinkling above it all was an old wagon-wheel, original to the barn, dangling with candle votives.

The resulting magic could be summed up as nothing less than “high summer” — the bounty of a farm at its peak married to the beauty of original structures. Add in a young bride and groom whose smiles echo the same romance, and the picture of Belle Haven is complete … old world elegance that is happy to welcome the romance of today, oh so very beautifully.

Photography: Jen Fariello Photography / Photo Shoot Venue: Belle Haven in Scottsville, Virginia / Floral Design: Pat’s Floral Designs / Decor: Shindig Weddings & Events / Catering: The Catering Outfit / Lighting: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting / Rentals: Festive Fare / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier via Carine’s Bridal Atelier / Bride’s Shoes BHLDN / Workshop Instructors: Jen Fariello, Robert Radifera + Katie Stoops / Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 / Models: Modelogic / Cake: Paradox Pastry

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Virginia Wedding Inspiration from Beehive Events + Jen Fariello

Welcome back LBBers! You know you’re about to see some pretty awesome wedding inspiration when you hear a meteor shower was the motivation behind a shoot. And that is just what you are about to see – a Scottsville, Virginia inspiration shoot centered around the Perseids – an amazing shooting star show in the summer sky. The most amazing team put together this little party – Beehive Events planned, flora’ed and executed the shoot, and Jen Fariello was there to capture it. Where is your excitement level right now? A 10? Okay, I think it’s about time to share – don’t forget about Jen’s blog for more!

From Shawn of Beehive Events … The Perseids are always a magical time in summer. They typically present themselves mid August just when the fireflies have all but retired – the skies light up again with a concert of falling stars. Our “Perseid Wedding” was full of bright light, summer heat and the lush colors that are born of each.  Our summer gardens were rich with inspiration (to say the least!).  Having that moment to work in offered an incredible opportunity to play. An abundance of fresh peaches could not be ignored, so they played a large, rosy part of the picture! Everyone gave 110 percent and had a blast doing it.

The cute couple (Megan & Tom) had been clients the previous year. I loved her dress as it was a faint gray blue with some wonderful beaded detailing. It immediately came to mind when planning the shoot. Luckily they were willing to come out on a warm summer day and do it all over again.

How perfect was the blue star accented sperry tent?  We created ribbon garlands that we suspended from the ceiling that mimicked the trails of the falling stars. We built a viewing platform as a place to repose after dinner for a great show. We decided on a dressed rustic style for the flowers and décor to reflect the lazy summer time of the season. Most of the flowers and herbs were grown and harvested from our gardens here on the farm. We used dahlias, scented geranium, roses, variegated sage, china berry, poke week, thai basil, purple basil, gerbera daisies. We arranged them in our antique flea market finds of heirloom silver pieces and Bauer Ceramics. A fun touch was to fill in one of the windows of the old bar with white gerberas en mass.

A Pimento did an amazing job expressing the feel of the event through her presentation and creation of an incredible menu. She actually prepared all of this food and we were so thrilled when the shoot was finished to partake in all the goodness – yummmm.

Flowers, Décor, Styling: Shawn Cossette of Beehive Events / Location: Fat Cat Farm / Photography: Jen Fariello / Food: Gay Beery of A Pimento Catering / Tent: Sperry Tents Virginia / Cake: Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations / Hair & Make Up: Jennifer Skriloff / China, Flatware, Stemware: Festive Fare