When Jen Fariello and Pat’s Floral Designs join forces, seriously gorgeous things unfold. Just take this Pollak Vineyards soiree, for example. It’s the prettiest blend of Southern elegance and scenic beauty all wrapped up in one perfect summer day. Want to keep the pinning party going? We’ve got sooooo much more sitting right here.
From the Bride… Sam and I met on match.com. We initially told our parents an alternate “how we met” story, but ended up fessing up eventually! At the time, he was stationed at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA and I was in medical school in Atlanta. We met at a tavern in Atlanta for drinks before going out to Braves game with a couple of his friends. The night continued with dinner, drinks and finally blueberry white chocolate chip pancakes at 2AM. Later, we figured out that neither of us was actually hungry for pancakes at the time, but we were just having so much fun that we didn’t want the night to end! Sam was eventually re-stationed to North Carolina, and I came along later for residency.
We love hiking, camping and enjoying the outdoors any way we can, so we try to spend as much time as possible at my family’s home in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Charlottesville. On July 4, we drove up to the top of the mountain to grill out and to watch fireworks. During the grand finale of the fireworks, he proposed to me with a beautiful ring that he had designed himself with the help of his hometown jeweler. It was the same spot where exactly one year earlier he first told me he loved me. The whole thing was pretty perfect!
We love the Blue Ridge Mountains—it’s where we fell in love and got engaged—so naturally we wanted to share this with our family and friends. Pollak is one of our favorite wineries in the area. Their wines are really top notch and the setting is just lovely.
One of our main goals was just to highlight the natural beauty of the mountains and Virginia wine country. We tried to do this by selecting a neutral color palate and by incorporating local elements whenever possible.
Designing our own ceremony turned out to be a daunting but very rewarding process. We were able to weave in important traditions while making sure it was personal and meaningful to us. Sam and I love crosswords, so we designed our own crossword puzzle and incorporated it into our program as a way to entertain guests while they were waiting for the ceremony to begin. There were some wedding-themed clues as well as trivia about us. It turned out to be a big hit!
Sam is from Maine and I’m from Virginia, and we tried to incorporate things from both our hometowns to make the celebration more personal. We called our signature drink the “Maine Virginian”, as it featured blueberry vodka from Sam’s hometown of Freeport, ME and locally grown strawberries from Albemarle county. We also had a selection of local beer and cider as well as some of Sam’s favorites from Maine.
Our welcome bags were one of my favorite touches. Almost all of our guests were coming from out of state, so we really wanted to express how grateful we were to have them there. We bottled homemade limoncello, my mother-in-law made small balsam pillows, and my mom made everyone her famous shortbread cookies.
In addition to a traditional guest book, we had a time capsule where guests could leave notes for us to open on our 5 year anniversary. For favors, I made blueberry white chocolate chocolate chip pancake mixes for our guests to take home. We devoured these on our first date, so we thought it would be fitting to offer these to our guests as well!
My favorite photo was taken during our last dance of the night. By that time, my hair was falling down and Sam had taken off his jacket and loosened his tie. We didn’t care. We were just so happy! Exhausted too, but so happy to be married and surrounded by everyone we love. Every time I look at that picture, wonderful memories from that amazing day come flooding back.
Sam is in the military, so we’ve had to spend the majority of our first year of marriage apart. Having photos like this makes me feel like I am with him even when he is on the other side of the world.
Photography: Jen Fariello | Event Planning: Shindig Weddings And Events | Floral Design: Southern Blooms By Pat's Floral Designs | Wedding Dress: Junko Yoshioka | Cake: Maliha Creations | Invitations: Rock Paper Scissors | Ceremony Venue: Pollak Vineyards | Reception Venue: Pollak Vineyards | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Catering: Harvest Moon Catering | Calligraphy: If So Inklined | Bridesmaid Gifts: Ditty Bags | D J: Ran Henry | Hair & Make-up: Jeanne Cusick | Tent Rental: Sperry Tents