Clifton Inn Wedding by Kristen Gardner Photography
December 27, 2011
I know this isn't the first al fresco affair to grace our pages and it definitely won't be the last but my oh my does it have our undivided attention.  From the beautiful blooms crafted by Pats Floral Design to all of the lovely garden-esque details by The Event Company and right on through to a few of the most adorable flower girls we've ever come across, this has the SMP style stamp of approval. Kristen Gardner shot all the gorgeous images you could possibly dream of and they are all sitting pretty in the gallery. Click here!

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click here to see the FULL wedding!

From the Bride... I married the boy down the street. My first kiss, my only love. When Jon and I got engaged, my immediate desire was to design a wedding that truly reflected us. We grew up together, share the same friends, and have been a part of each other's families for almost a decade. I wanted to create the most authentic celebration for the two of us.

I have always had a very clear vision for my big day - an intimate garden, soft pink flowers, and LOTS of lace. The feeling was definitely rustic and romantic. I strongly believe in the perfection of imperfections and actively made decisions that would create visual interest. I asked my girls to wear a champagne dress. I encouraged them to wear something that they loved - no matter what material or style - the more embellishments the better! The boys were asked to wear a navy suit. Each person we asked to be in our wedding was so important to us and I think by subtly distinguishing everyone, they maintained their identity. This was important to me.

I was constantly looking for little ways to honor our friends and family. I made my necklace out of a ring my father had given to my mother and I hung my father's wedding band from it. For the escort card station, I found three rustic doors to hang each guest's table assignment from. Each name tag was attached to a single skeleton key. The center door contained pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day. I think it was a beautiful way to honor love. I also asked my two older brothers to officiate the ceremony. They were inspiring and poignant and it meant the world to us to have them stand up there with us. I found that when you make things so personal and so important to you, there is absolutely no way anything can go wrong!

I wouldn't change one decision I made. My advice is to prioritize! Care deeply about a small handful of things and base all other decisions around them. Have perspective and never lose sight of your initial vision. Surround yourself with people who are just as excited as you are to plan your big day. My planner, my florist, and my amazing photographer could not have been more talented or wonderful. I owe Crystal Whitaker and The Event Company everything - when things get dramatic or stressful, having trust in the people who are helping you makes everything right.

Photographer: Kristen Gardner / Event Planner: The Event Company / Venue and Caterer: Clifton Inn / Floral Design: Pats Floral Design / Wedding Cake: Favorite Cakes / Calligraphy: Meant To Be Calligraphy / Rentals: Festive Fare / Lighting: The AV Company / Tent: Sperry Tents Virginia / Reception Band: Another Level / Invitations and Programs: Saima Says Design / Transportation: A Goff Transportation / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaid Dresses: They picked their own champagne cocktail dress from various retailers / Hair: Ashley Warmus (she was a bridesmaid, she did hair for the bride) and Celeste Williams-Maude Hair (she did the remaining girls) / Make up: Melissa Downs of Kiss and Makeup