This feature was a bit of a struggle. Plain and simple, there were too many beautiful photos to include in one post – so more than ever, I encourage you to head to our Vault gallery and see every single stunning snap by Michael and Carina – you will not be disappointed. From the quiet insides of this classic chapel to the blush and burgundy bouquets (thanks to Hedge Fine Blooms), it’s a classic, romantic wedding that I’m loving more and more with every minute. Join me in this beautiful bliss right this way!
From the Bride… After long conversations during chilly walks around DC, homemade gnocchi, and more hearty laughs than I’d had in years, I knew Steve was the thoughtful, smart and witty man I’d one day call my husband. As it turned out, he’d made up his mind on day one. The evening we met, he told friends, “See that girl in the silver dress? I’m going to marry her.” Three years later I wore that same dress to our rehearsal dinner at The Brookville, in Charlottesville, VA.
Our hope for our wedding was the relaxed elegance and easy joy of a close-knit dinner party. We decided on a few key factors: a single venue for the whole day, wine, and a small list of family and friends-who-are-family.We fell head over heels with Charlottesville, VA – the leisurely pace, peaceful Blue Ridge Mountains, and the fact it was driving distance for my family in Kentucky and Ohio, Steve’s New England family, and all our friends from Washington, DC. When we stepped into the quaint, 50-year-old historic chapel at Trump Winery, my heart skipped a beat, and Steve squeezed my hand. It was a moment you can’t manufacture: sunbeams filtered through the windows and lit up the pastel colors on the ceiling’s painted mural. The classic red brick exterior and white steeple reminded Steve of growing up in Massachusetts. It was perfect for our ceremony, and because the chapel only seated 75 (our exact number of guests), we knew it would feel beautifully full. We were so struck by its charm we commissioned an artist friend, Nikki Smetters, to make a watercolor insert for our invitations and programs.
We chose a timeless, neutral palette with just a touch of Old World charm. We drew inspiration from Italy (Steve’s family heritage, and our honeymoon destination), antique books that we collected throughout our engagement (with our favorite author’s names as table numbers), and a special detail from my mother’s family’s Youngstown, Ohio roots: the cookie table, a labor of love with humble origins in which women (and men!) bake up a storm for weeks before the wedding. It was amazing, and people loved making up gift bags of cookies as favors.
I will remember the whole achingly beautiful day forever: watching my best friends lovingly do each other’s makeup, my grandmother peeking in the dressing area door, ready to be “one of the girls”, and of course, our first look. I saw Steve standing in the vineyard, and my heart had never felt so full. It definitely didn’t hurt he looked so handsome! Soft bouquets by Hedge Fine Blooms in blush, red wine, ivory, gold, and sage also had me swooning, I felt like I was holding an Italian meadow in my hands.
Our guests were greeted on the chapel patio with cold local cider and upbeat music like “Goin to the Chapel” and “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole. We purposefully kept the chapel doors closed so our guests could chat with each other and linger, looking out over the grapevines and rolling hills. I remember laughing out loud, while peeking through the window of the car with my bridesmaids, as people danced to the music when the chapel doors opened. My sister walked my mom down the aisle, my father wrapped Steve in a hug, and then I married the best man I’ve ever known.
It took a village: from the al fresco cocktail hour to the family-style dinner, Cristelle and her C&O Catering team made feeding decadent, delicious food to 75 people look effortless, and everyone was so friendly our guests raved about the people almost as much as the incredible food! C&O truly captured a little essence of each of our elements in our menu: from butternut-squash ravioli with Italian sage, to Southern ham on Virginia cheddar scones… let’s just say I was not a bride who forgot to eat! Our wonderful DJ’s, Chris and Rialand with Younique Moments, surprised us by serenading everyone with “Be Our Guest” as dinner was brought to the tables. Our dear friends, Michael and MaryAlice Viljoen, did AV and day-of coordination, and were a force to be reckoned with. Patrick, the coordinator at Trump Winery, was one of the most gracious people we met throughout the planning process, and Michael and Carina, our photographers, practically became family in their quiet, intentional ways… Carina even bustled my gown when no one else could! When we think of it all now we think of joy on joy on joy, and I know we always will.
Photography: Michael and Carina Photography | Floral Design: Hedge Fine Blooms | Wedding Dress: David Tutera | Shoes: Michael Kors 1248 | Jewelry : Mark Todd Jewelers | Catering: C&O Restaurant | Makeup Artist: Anna Breeding | Hair Stylist: Brianna B Adams | Calligraphy: A Little Inkling | Calligraphy: A Little Inkling | Tuxes: Charles Tyrwhitt | Wedding Venue: Trump Winery | Accessories: Global Bridal Gallery | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Paper Goods: Paperless Post | Watercolor Design: Nikki Smetters