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Richmond Ballet Wedding Inspiration

Fact one: Cinderella is one of my all-time favorite fairytales.  Fact two: I have spent most of my life wishing desperately that I was a ballerina.  So this breathtaking collaboration between Blush On Berry: Richmond’s Wedding Collective and The Richmond Ballet?  Right up my alley.  It’s a crazy gorgeous theme with all kinds of fabulous details from Virginia’s finest vendors. See it all captured by Jessica Maida right here.

From The inspiration for this collaborative style shoot with The Richmond Ballet and members of Blush on Berry: Richmond’s Wedding Collective was fashioned to showcase movement and grace and to highlight the Ballet’s new production of Cinderella. Set at the Historic John Marshall Ballroom in Richmond, Virginia, this classic wedding venue set a dreamy and elegant backdrop to the ballerina’s delicate artistry.

Richmond, a southern city located along the James River, is known for its rich history, architecture and accomplished performance art companies. These surroundings are of great influence to the city’s creative professionals and this style shoot demonstrates the beauty that can come from artistic collaboration.

Jessica Maida captures the dancer’s disciplined body control and composure. Photographer and dancer shared the unique opportunity to display composition in two forms; both in body and scene. Maids assisted this bride in getting ready for her big moment and showcased both the flowing fabrics and vintage styles of Pleiades Bridal Design Studio

Their Getting Ready moments were accented with toasts and laughter and the final transition into the stunning wedding and classic bridesmaid gowns by Bella Rosa Bridal. As stage performers, bold hues of makeup and traditional buns were inspiration for BrideFace Richmond Makeup and LGB Hair Design Studio.

The unique cake design by Sweet Fix, incorporated the slate blue pallet found in both the bridesmaid gowns and leotards, as well as details from the sites’ architecture. Details from many others contributing companies brought this classic story of Cinderella into a modern-day wedding story.

Photographer: Jessica Maida | Event Planner: Events By Elizabeth Palmer | Florist: Flowerama | Makeup Artist: Brideface Richmond | Hair Stylist: Lgb Hair Designs | Venue: John Marshall Ballroom | Bridal Designer: Pleiades Bridal Design | Bridal Dress Shop: Bella Rosa Bridal | Cake & Dessert Display: Sweet Fix RVA | Linens: Glamour Linens | Model Bride: Valerie Tellmann Company Member With Richmond Ballet | Model Bridesmaid: Valerie Tellmann Company Member With Richmond Ballet | Model Bridesmaid: Valerie Tellmann Company Member With Richmond Ballet | Rentals: Paisley & Jade | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals Of Virginia | Stationery Designer: Design Corral | Wedding Collective: Blush On Berry

All Out Classic Ballroom Wedding

As a lover of all things clean and classic (read: my ode to white wedding details), these Commonwealth Club nuptials speak straight to my heart. Think pomp and circumstance, ballgowns and bowties, and one pint-sized bridal party soooo cute I’ve turned into a big pile of wedding blogger mush. It’s all from the lens of Marta Locklear and you can have a peek at Shaking Hands’ film waiting down below.

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From Marta Locklear… Amanda & Thomas’ wedding was as classic as they come. Starting at the ever elegant Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va and then to the picturesque St. Stephens Episcopal Church. After the ceremony we were greeted at the Commonwealth Club of Richmond by a Sinatra-esque lounge singer for cocktails. Then the ballroom doors were opened and white gloved waiters swirled around the room that was filled with crystal, lush pink and white peony arrangements and a full retro lounge style band.

Amanda and Thomas shocked us all with a very animated dance entry for their grand entrance and then whirled into a romantic slow song. It was apparent all night that they were madly in love and surrounded by friends and family.

Photographer: Marta Locklear | Videographer: Shaking Hands Productions | Event Planner: The Cordial Cricket | Floral Design: Flowers Make Scents | Ceremony Venue: St Stephen's Episcopal | Reception Venue: The Commonwealth Club | Lighting: Blue Steel Lighting Design | Band: EastCoast Entertainment | Getting Ready: The Jefferson Hotel

Richmond Wedding by Dominique Attaway Photography + Hart to Heart Media

To say I’ve fallen head over heels with this turn of the century inspired soiree from Dominique Attaway Photography is perhaps the understatement of the century. I’m completely smitten with the traditional details, especially as they are set against a vintage charm inspired by the old train station it was held in. Luckily, just when I was begging for more, Hart to Hart Media swooped in with a highlight film to propel it all to the next level.

Oh, Hart to Hart Media, you’ve done it again.

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From the beautiful bride… Chris and I met in 2007 while working as park rangers at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. We were friends first, and that friendship eventually blossomed into a strong relationship. Four year later, he proposed in the park at sunset at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.

Our love of history brought us together, and we wanted to highlight that shared interest in our wedding. We searched for venues in a 2-hour radius of my parents DC-area home and quickly fell in love with Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia. The restored train station epitomized the turn-of-the-century architecture and history that we enjoy. Soon after, we chose the beautiful St. Johns Church for our ceremony site. The church is known for its role in the American Revolution, specifically where Patrick Henry delivered his famous Give me Liberty or Give me Death speech.

During our 18 month engagement, we made several trips to Richmond to plan our wedding. It’s a beautiful city filled old homes, wrought-iron fences, and remnants of industry are all around. We wanted our wedding to feel like a celebration from the early 1900s, rather than a train-themed party so we tried to choose decor that fit with the historic locations. We incorporated soft colors, china place settings, and vintage fonts on our invitations. Vintage postcards were featured throughout the wedding, including our save-the-dates, escort cards, table numbers, and even the ring bearer pillows. Additionally, we hired a historic open-air trolley to transport our guests around for the day. The electric trolley first began in Richmond in 1888, so it was another way to incorporate some of the city’s historic charm.

The morning of our wedding was a bit untraditional because the groom ran a 10k race! The Ukrops Monument Avenue race was booked earlier than usual this year, landing on our wedding day, and we decided to go with it. I loved the idea of running the race together as a metaphor for the vows we were going to make later that day. Due to an injury sustained during training, I ended up cheering Chris on from the sidelines. With 40,000 participants, the excitement and energy was incredible. We did not do a first look but still got to share this moment together before getting ready.

After the unique start to the day, we kept the ceremony very traditional. Keeping true to the rhyme, my something new was my beautiful Vera Wang ballgown, borrowed and old was the pin attached to my bouquet that was carved by my grandmother and blue was the monogram inside my dress. My bouquet was hand-tied and loosely mounded with a mixture of ivory and soft peach garden roses, peonies, lisianthus, tulips, and pieris. When the organ started to play, my dad walked me down the aisle to Chris. We recited the traditional vows from the Book of Common Prayer and 70 of our closest friends and family members vowed to support us. Surprisingly, I didnt shed a single tear- I was in a happy daze and marrying my best friend felt like the most natural thing in the world.

In between the ceremony and reception, we chose to walk around Church Hill for private
photographs. Even with the photographer and videographer there, it felt like it was just us. That time is my favorite memory of the entire day. After the photos, we arrived at Main Street on the trolley and entered to our first dance, “I Dont Want to Set the World on Fire” by the Ink Spots. We served a family-style dinner before inviting everyone onto the dance floor. At one point, a conga line formed and people from different parts of our lives were dancing hand-in-hand around the room. We were surrounded by so much love! Our wedding was exactly what we imagined and the perfect way to start our own history together.

Photography: Dominique Attaway Photography | Cinematography: Hart to Heart Media | Floral Design: Flower girls | Wedding Gown: Vera Wang | Wedding Cake: A Cake to Remember | Invitations: DIY | Ceremony Venue: St. Johns Church | Reception Venue: Main Street Station | Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Catering: White House Catering | Hair and Makeup: Lara Bridger and Tracy Gilland of Richmond Hair and Makeup | Calligraphy: TucciCursive | DJ: Joe Bowman of Dynamite DJs | Ties: The Tie Bar | Grooms Suit: Z by Zegna | Groomsmens Suits: Jos. A. Bank | Transportation: Winn Transportation | Bride's Hotel: Linden Row Inn | Brides Belt: Oscar De La Renta | Ceremony Veil: Vera Wang | Day-of Coordination: RSVP Consultants | Envelopes and paper: | Groom's Hotel: Tudor Arms Hotel | Invitation Printing: CatPrint | Mothers and Maid of Honor Attire: Nordstrom | Rentals: Festive Fare | Rubber Stamps:

Richmond Wedding from Jodi Miller Photography

As we start a new week of swoon-worthy weddings, it only seems fitting to put our best foot forward. And with all the beauty and charm to knock your pretty little socks off, this Richmond affair is just what we need to make Monday morning sparkle. Set at the historic Virginia Center for Architecture, it’s a celebration centered on traditional elegance and classic design paired with the prettiest pale green palette you can imagine. Jodi Miller filled up an entire gallery with picture-perfect moments, and you can see them all right here.

From the Bride…My husband is from Delaware, and I am a Richmond native. When we began dating, I made it my mission to introduce him to all the history, charm and great restaurants Richmond had to offer. As self-proclaimed food lovers, we made a list of restaurants we wanted to explore and literally ate our way through the city. Therefore, when Kevin proposed, we knew we had to have a seated dinner & a historical location. Kevin and I did extensive research before choosing our wedding venue. After touring several plantations, we felt we needed to be in the city where we had fallen for each other.

The Virginia Center for Architecture was perfect for us. Built in 1919, the all brick Tudor is magical on its own, but add a gated courtyard & a cobblestone street and I was love. I knew I wanted a classic, soft palate and crisp, clean décor. We chose pale green and white and anchored our palate with touches of dove grey to keep it feeling fresh. I have helped several friends with their wedding design and I knew how expensive details could be so I focused on DIY projects that would make a big impact for a small budget.  My biggest project was the lighting for the tent, it took an army of women four hours but in the end, we had gorgeous custom pendants that filled the tent with warm light. Our theme throughout was to keep it simple and let the space shine.

My husband and I do not like to be the center of attention so we struggled with embracing the traditional elements of a reception. In the end, we decided to host the reception we would love to attend. We made custom corn hole boards, had hula hoops & harmonicas for the kids, and a photo booth for the adults.  We danced with our friends and family into the night and as the party was winding down, we announced an impromptu after party at one of our favorite downtown restaurants. Our day was filled with laughter, love and most of all fun!  It was everything we wanted and more.


Wedding Photography: Jodi Miller Photography | Wedding Venue: Virginia Center for Architecture | Wedding Planning + Production: McBride Events | Floral Design: Flowers Make Scents | Sperry Tent: Skyline Tent Company | Catering: Champagne Taste Catering | Cake: Shyndigz | Cupcakes: Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe | Invitations: Bella Figura | Ceremony Musician: Thomas Coleman | Officiant: Pastor Webb, family friend | Hair: Courtney, Trilogy Salon | Makeup: Sara of Giorgio Armani Beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue | Wedding Dress: Wtoo (Liane Gown) from Bella Rosa | Shoes: Kate Spade | Getaway Dress: Ann Taylor

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Richmond Wedding from Don Mears Photography

Weddings at the art gallery tend to lean a little closer to the modern side of the romance spectrum, so when a wedding that leans the other way, with just the right amount of vintage to pop against the clean museum vibe comes along, we swoon. It’s the little surprises that get us. The unexpected juxtaposition of a lace veil and the contemporary white walls. The classic chiavari chair in lucite. The extra fluffy, pink bouquets set against a grey backdrop. Don Mears Photography used every trick in his back pocket and has filled a gallery with the most amazing wedding you’ll see all day. Click here to see it!


From the sweet couple … We met through friends of friends and all things considered should never have met. Lisa thought Mike was not even interested in talking to her but he just couldn’t hear what she was saying at the bar. Mike must have been interested because he made sure Lisa had his card at the end of the evening after offering to walk her to the subway. We fell in love enjoying the same things including new restaurants, cocktails, exploring the city we love and people watching. We got married because we couldn’t imagine ever not being together and didn’t want to be parted.

We wanted our wedding day to be memorable, unique, and a good time for all of our friends and relatives who travelled to attend since so few of the guests were from Richmond.

The venue’s were important to the mood we wanted our guests to take away from the wedding. The food was also important to our big day; we wanted to make sure everyone was full of delicious food! Most importantly, we wanted everyone to have fun!


Photography: Don Mears Photography | Ceremony: St. John’s United Church of Christ | Reception: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Event Planning: McBride Events, Dee Kirchmeier | Day Of Coordination: McBride Events | Catering: FloraCulture | Cake Artist: Buttercream Bee | Hair + Makeup: Emily Hudspeth | Invitations: Ann Marcus Group | Programs + other paper: PaperFreckles | Calligraphy: The Ranelli Group | Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Bridesmaids Attire: Amsale | Groom’s Attire: Zegna

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Richmond Wedding by Katie Stoops Photography

Every day is our favorite day here on SMP, but we have a VERY special place in our hearts for Wedding Wednesday.  It’s the day of the week that we get to dive into eight (!) gorgeous weddings with each of you… and all are filled to the brim with pretty, pretty inspiration and some of the most heart-warming moments you will ever see.  So, prepare yourselves for an ENTIRE day of lovely, SMPers.  It’s going to be awesome.

If ever there was a wedding to completely charm our Wedding Wednesday lovin’ hearts, this, my friends, is IT.  Set against a breathtaking backdrop of stunning sycamore trees and boasting sweet black and white hues, beyond fanciful bouquets by Flower Girls and a spectacular pair of ruffly shoes, this darling soiree is all about the ROMANCE.  And, really, who doesn’t need a little L.O.V.E. to jump start the morning?  Thankfully, Katie Stoops Photography captured every last stunning moment… and the gallery is brimming with all of the sweetness you need.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… We wanted our wedding to feel intimate and personal, as if our friends and family had gathered in our own backyard garden to celebrate our union. However, we live in a second-floor apartment without so much as a terrace, so we turned to the historic Mankin Mansion to help us create our cozy garden vision. We were married on a beautiful October day under the mansion’s 100-year-old sycamore tree. Our ceremony was short and sweet and made special by a reading from my aunt and uncle, who were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

Our flowers were carefully selected and intended to highlight the natural world around us. My bridal bouquet was hand-tied and loosely mounded with the just-picked feel of Queen Anne’s lace, hydrangea, garden roses, seeded eucalyptus, lisianthus and feathers. Paul’s boutonniere was a garden spray rose with green hypericum berries and a feather to tie in with my bouquet. We filled the reception tent with softly-lit candles, topiaries, bird cages and vintage family photos.

Incorporating family tradition and heritage was important to us, so we served my mother’s famous sangria as our signature drink during cocktail hour and mixed salsa music in with our favorite dance songs to honor Paul’s Spanish heritage. The dance floor was packed all night, and it made our day to see our loved ones laughing, dancing together, and celebrating this incredible moment with us. Afterward, we enjoyed a beautiful honeymoon Barcelona, Spain.

Wedding Photography: Katie Stoops Photography / Wedding Venue: Historic Mankin Mansion in Richmond, Virginia / Floral Design: Flower Girls / Wedding Dress: Blue by Enzoani / Bride’s Shoes: Calvin Klein / Bride’s Earrings: Nadri via Nordstrom / Garter: Passed down from the Bride’s Mother / Clutch: Passed down from Bride’s Grandmother / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Forever Yours / Bridesmaids’ Shoes: Caparros / Hair: Welsy Mourino of Look Boutique Salon / Makeup: Summer McCarley of Mint Collective / Groom’s + Groomsmen’s Tuxedo: Calvin Klein via Men’s Wearhouse / Wedding Cake: Cakes by Graham / Catering: Champagne Taste / Custom Chocolate Bar Favors: For the Love of Chocolate / Bird Cage Thank You Card + Chocolate Bar Label Design: Jacqueline Weppner of Merci New York / Wedding Invitations + Programs: Tag & Co. Stationery

Richmond Wedding by Marta Locklear

I planned on gushing about the gorgeous peach + steel grey combo woven throughout this affair because honestly, it’s drop dead gorgeous and such a lovely addition to the backdrop of the Historic Mankin Mansion. But my words left me the very second I spotted the Bride and my thoughts immediately turned into a gush fest about the leading lady and her veil. So pretty. SO, SO WILDLY PRETTY and all captured beautifully by Marta Locklear. See the color combo that won our hearts and the Bride that stole the show right here.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From Marta of Marta LocklearMegan and Brandon’s wedding was absolutely stunning and a perfect infusion of both of them. Pure style with the graphite gray and soft peach tones throughout, and perfect hints of Brandon’s “Rocker” personality with surprise checkered Vans and steel gray glittered shoes for Megan. We started the day with a first look session to make the most of the gorgeous Historic Mankin Mansion grounds and daylight, and then wandered into a perfect sunset ceremony. The ceremony was lined with flower-filled mason jar vases on shepherds hooks in a sea of white chairs. Megan practically floated down the aisle with her dad while the sunlight lit her face under her blusher veil. During the ceremony, Megan and Brandon each wrote a letter to each other explaining why they loved each other and sealed and locked them into a vintage wine box to be read on their five-year anniversary. During cocktail hour, while the couple enjoyed a few moments together in the Carriage House the guests mingled under peach and gray paper lanterns and string lights while sipping their drinks from striped straws. The grounds had large chess boards for entertainment. For the reception, an infusion of graphite gray table cloths, peach cloth napkins, gold rimmed chargers and white and peach florals definitely set the tone for this wedding day. The cake was absolutely amazing and even studded with jewels! The guests enjoyed a full dessert table with take-away boxes, a personal slideshow from the best man, a fully-catered dinner and lots of dancing! The details were amazing!

Wedding Photography: Marta Locklear / Flowers + Vases: Flowers by Mona Ray / Wedding Venue + Candles: Historic Mankin Mansion / Wedding Cake: Cakes by Graham / Catering: Champagne Taste / Wedding Dress: Hannalores / Bride’s Shoes: Moda Spana via DSW / Bride’s Jewelry: Judith Ripka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jim Hjelm + Lazaro / Linens: Classic Party Rentals / Makeup + Hair: Tracy Gilland + Lara Bridger of Richmond Hair and Makeup

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Virginia Wedding by Meghan McSweeney Photography

In our books, classic never goes out of style and this Virginia wedding photographed by Meghan McSweeney is pumping some much needed classic into our Style Me Pretty veins. Vera Wang, Chanel No. 5…we’re eating it all up and it is oh la la lovely! Get a megadose of gorgeous in the gallery where the FULL fête awaits.

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… Barry and I waited over ten years for this day and wanted to incorporate all the things that are important to us and individuals and as a couple. Our first date was to a photography exhibit in DC and we have enjoyed many museums around the world together since.  We both lived in and around the Fan during the VMFA renovations and could not think of a more perfect place to have our reception.  The timing was perfect in regard to the re-opening–but we did our share of hard hat tours (our engagement session was at the museum, hard hats and all).  We were both surprised to hear our reception was the first in the new Atrium at the VMFA.  What a thrill.

Barry is Jewish, and having a traditional Jewish ceremony was important to him.  Beth Ahabah is the 6th oldest Jewish congregation in the US.  The synagogue is beautiful and even has a Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass window–I believe the Tiffany exhibit was taking place at VMFA during this time as well. It was also very important to us to acknowledge those family members who passed, so we included their names on the back of our program with the help of East Six.  East Six also helped us create an in lieu of favor card to honor Barry’s mother who passed of ALS–we made a donation to the ALS society in her honor instead of having favors for the guests.

We both love the classics and chose to have a classical string quartet play for the ceremony and a jazz trio with a vocalist for the reception. They were a highlight for us both. I will never forget hearing the string quartet as I walked up the stairs to the ceremony. Our favorite parts of the day, were…well…the whole day. For me, marrying Barry, in that dress.  He actually picked it out himself without realizing it.  After our engagement, it was in the NYT Magazine Bridal Issue he was reading one morning.  I tried other dresses, but knew that was the one.  He was surprised, and not, when he saw it for the first time on our wedding day. Also, when he kissed me on the hand while leaving the synagogue after the ceremony–so spontaneous, so sweet and so him. Our cake, that Graham had to cut out each of those white rings by hand and then glue them on–he is a master of his craft. The flowers. Of course, I could go on and on.

For him, having his father walk him down the aisle, breaking the glass, and seeing me carried on the chair in the middle of the VMFA. For us both, being surrounded by our family and friends on this wonderful day.

Wedding Photography: Meghan McSweeney Photography / Floral Design: White House Flowers / Event Design & Coordination: Jennifer McBride and Dee Kirchmier of McBride Events / Wedding Ceremony Location: Congregation Beth Ahabah / Wedding Reception Location: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts / Hair & Makeup: Lou Stevens Glam Squad / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Groom’s Attire: Jack Simpson via Neiman Marcus / Wedding Dress: Vera Wang via The Bridal Salon at Saks Jandel / Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co / Bride’s Head Piece: Hannelore’s of Olde Town / Ketubah: The Jewish Museum New York / Wedding Band: David Esleck / Transportation: James Limousine Service / Wedding Cake: Cakes by Graham / Wedding Invitations & Paper Goods: East Six

The Bus Broke Down! Weddings by Windy

Crisis mode. When the bus with more than half your guests breaks down an hour before the ceremony, you’d better thank your lucky stars you have an expert wedding planner on your side! From Windy at Weddings by Windy While the bride, groom & the wedding party were enjoying wine & appetizers in the bridal suite, Veritas’ event manager, Chloe Frey & I were completely re-arranging the evening’s order of events to accommodate a very late bus of 60 or so people …

This, however, would cause the ceremony to begin much later than the planned 6pm. Starting without those guests was not an option. Chloe had her staff fire up some appetizers for the guests who were already there and we began cocktail hour prior to the ceremony.

In the meantime, how was the bride doing?

While I could tell that Katie wasn’t thrilled that everything was running late, she was happy to hear that the guests who had arrived were very well taken care of and quite happy! She was calmed by the fact that the other bus had picked up the guests and were on their way. She and Lee had a “first look” session and many of the photos were done in some extraordinary light!  Again, I believe that everything happens for a reason.

Next – the ceremony lighting. We were in the mountains, and it was October, so the sun was setting and was going to be all the way down by the time the ceremony started… luckily for us, the photographers we were working with – Sam & Mel Worthington, a husband & wife team from Worthington Photography from Richmond, VA, had shot a candlelit ceremony for one of my clients in the fall of 2009 and it was amazing. So I knew what they would be fine with minimal light. Chloe and her staff at Veritas collected as many candles that had been left over the years and we began creating the most amazing lighting for a ceremony that one could ask for!

6:45 arrived and so did the bus. We ushered the guests to the ceremony site and the ceremony began promptly at 7:00 and it… was…. gorgeous!. The glow of the candles coupled with the glow of the bride was breathtaking.

After the ceremony, as the wedding party gathered on the deck, Mel came up to the couple and said, “I know that wasn’t the ideal situation for you guys, but that was completely the ceremony you were supposed to have.” Katie & Lee totally agreed, especially after seeing the beautiful shots! We escorted the guests right into the ballroom for dinner after the ceremony and the rest of the evening, thankfully, went off without a single issue. Dinner was delicious, the room looked lovely, the band rocked the night away, and most importantly the 2nd bus was fixed and at Veritas by 11:00 for the departure of all the guests. Whew! I realize how lucky I was to have a great couple & families to work with given the situation – everyone was very understanding and thrilled with the end result. I completely feel that this was meant to be! They got the best of both worlds, the earlier light with their planned “1st sighting” of each other prior to the ceremony and then the dramatic look of a candlelight ceremony. Mel was right – it truly was the ceremony they were supposed to have!

See the whole gallery here!

Photography: Worthington Photography (more photos on their blog ~ here) / Flowers: Flowers by Natalie – Charlottesville, VA / Event Planning & Design: Weddings by Windy – Richmond, VA / Reception & Ceremony Location: Veritas Vineyards – Afton, VA / Invitations: By Invitation Only – Richmond, VA / Wedding Dress: Priscilla of Boston

Wedding Storytelling From Humanstory Films

William Gaff has become one of the master storytellers of our time. Ask any of his peers, and they will more than agree. In today’s featured wedding, he has woven the story of two extraordinary people, with the special love they share with family and friends ~ all set to the sensitive lyrics from a song from the musical Wicked. “… because I knew you … because I knew you … I have been changed … for good.” Hearing a few short excerpts from their wedding day toasts tells just how much love there was surrounding them on this day, and will be in all the days to come.

photography courtesy of Erik Leise

From William Gaff at Humanstory Films, Andrea and Brendan’s wedding day ~

andrea and brendan preview from humanstory on Vimeo.

When Brendan and I met we instantly connected to each other; it was like a scene from a romantic movie where sparks flew and music played, metaphorically speaking of course, and I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. We were, and still are, inseparable and completely infatuated with one another, which explains why we fell in love so quickly. After five months of spending every free moment we had with each other and shamelessly head over heels in love, he proposed to me during a picnic breakfast at our favorite place in Richmond, Virginia, Maymont Park. He had a book made with photos of the two of us that told the story of our love for one another. We sat down on a bench together and he read me our story with tears in his eyes. I was clueless until he got to the final page and read, “The day I met you was a dream come true. Please say you’ll be my soul mate for life. Andrea, will you be my wife always and forever?” He turned the page there was a picture of the ring, he got down on one knee, pulled the ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. As my eyes filled up with tears, I quickly and ecstatically said “Yes, yes, yes!!!” That was the day that I became the luckiest girl in the world because I was going to marry my soul mate and best friend.

Our faith, families and friends are the most important things in both our lives and it was imperative that it show in our wedding. Throughout the whole wedding planning process these values and the support we had from everyone, including a truly wonderful wedding planner,Windy Jennings of Weddings by Windy, helped us to keep our focus on the importance of the day — that while the wedding is one day, a marriage is for a lifetime.

We are both Catholic and being married in the church where I grew up with a full mass was a given. My sister had her wedding reception in this beautiful mansion in Richmond, the Bolling Haxall House, and Brendan and I both loved it so much that it became venue for our reception as well. Everything else was just as simple to decide because of the help from our families and our wedding planner.

We love to take pictures, so although we opted against taking engagement photos it was important that we find a photographer for the wedding who we could connect with and who had a style that suited us. After we met with Erik Leise and saw the passion he had for photographing weddings through his portfolio, we knew he’d be perfect. Having a videographer was something else that was really important to us. William Gaff shot my sister’s wedding in a documentary style and it was beyond amazing and extremely touching, so having him do our wedding was a no-brainer. We wanted the memories of our wedding to be beautifully and emotionally captured; Erik and William made that dream a reality.

The music was especially important to us and my dad as well. Our wedding planner told us about a band, Right Foot Red, and one Sunday we sat down with my dad and went over their list of songs and it just got us extra excited about the reception. The band did not disappoint at all. Everyone was dancing and having an amazing time. The band even brought Brendan and me up on stage to sing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing — it was incredible and so much fun.

The day was more than either of us could have dreamed of; a real-life fairytale. It was a beautiful day and only rained slightly during the reception, which no one even noticed since we were all inside having a blast! Our families and friends were very much included in the wedding: my dad walked me down the aisle and I saw a smile on Brendan’s face that I will never forget; our moms lit the tapers of the unity candle before the ceremony began; my sisters were both the maids of honor and their speech was perfect; Brendan’s dad was his best man and his two childhood best friends gave the best man speech on his behalf; my dad’s welcome speech during the reception was heartwarming and exceptional; Brendan’s sisters carried the gifts for the mass during the ceremony; we had close friends say the readings; and my sister and her husband sang a tear-jerking duet during the ceremony.

Every moment of our wedding day is especially treasured by us, not just because we can look back on those first memories we shared as husband and wife with amazement and delight, but because throughout the entire day we were so closely connected through the love and support of our faith, families and friends as we had wanted it to be from the very start. It was the best and most amazing day of my life — the perfect beginning to what I know is going to be a wonderful marriage filled with all the love I could ever dream of.

Richmond Virginia Wedding From Meghan McSweeney

If you’re trying to figure out how to combine all that you are … and all that he is … and surround yourself with your favorite people in the whole wide world ~ Paul & Teresa’s wedding will give you SO much inspiration! The sweet simplicity of family and tradition and a passion for each other. That’s really all it’s all about … right? The wonderful Meghan McSweeney has shared a few pics from the day. Enjoy!

from Meghan

Paul and Teresa met while she was at a University Northern Ireland, from which Paul hails. The couple wanted to make sure the wedding incorporated each of their cultures (with him from Ireland and Teresa with her Bolivian and American roots). They used the Irish “claddagh” throughout the reception (cocktail napkins, cake topper and thank you cards) as it’s a symbol for love, friendship and loyalty.

They had salsa dancing during the rehearsal dinner and reception for Teresa’s Bolivian side. For Southern flair, the couple hosted their wedding at Tuckahoe Plantation, which is the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson. Their invitations incorporated dogwood (Virginia state flower) and their guests enjoyed Virginia peanuts in their welcome bags.

We asked Teresa her most memorable part of her wedding day and she said, “Our favorite part of the wedding day was when we were finally able to cut loose during the reception. With my husband being called Paul McCartney, one of the things we bonded over when we first started going out was a shared love of The Beatles. So our last dance of the night to “I’ve Just Seen a Face” was definitely a highlight and the perfect ending to the whole day.”

I also asked her to share any advice for future brides, now that she’s walked down the aisle herself and she said, “If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding like I did, be ready for extreme weather (in my case it was the intense heat) and for bugs. I’ve never been a big fan of fondant but at the last minute we decided to add it to the cake just in case of flies and to guard the cake against melting in the heat. So when we were invaded by ants that climbed all over the cake, the caterers were able to just peel away that top layer when it came time to serve it!

Photographer: Meghan McSweeney Photography
Minister: Dean Pittman, Greenwood United Methodist Church
Event Planner: Courtney Spencer, Merriment Events
Tent Rental: Skyline Tent Company
Cake: Sweetest Thing Bakery
Flowers: Flower Girls
Ceremony/Reception: Tuckahoe Plantation
Catering: White House Catering
DJ: Cam DiNunzio
Ceremony Musicians: Classical Encounter
Hair: Salon 23
Makeup: Stephanie Parker
Transportation: TNT Limousine
Party Rentals: Party Perfect

Virginia Wedding At Stratford Hall From Dave Robbins Photography, IV

Today we’re finishing up our featured wedding from Dave Robbins Photography with a bit of Abby and Matt’s story! But before we get to that, we wanted to elaborate just a bit more on the favors. Abby told us that in the 1800’s, sugar was always sold in blue paper-wrapped cones. For their wedding, Abby and Matt were able to find these sugar cones from a historical reenactment company and used them as place cards as well as favors. They were also Abby’s “something blue.” Betsy Dunlap, calligrapher, wrote names along the side of the cone.

Photography by Dave Robbins

photos 2,3,4(above) and 1 (below) courtesy of betsy dunlap

Photography by Dave Robbins

from the beautiful bride, Abby …

It was very important to me that every detail be incredibly personal and well-thought out. Our wedding was the idea of a weekend on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. It is an area about two hours outside of Washington, D.C. where I have many fond memories of weekends at my grandparent’s summer house on the beach and later on, at my parents home next door. Summers were spent with all of my cousins and sisters enjoying the water and the traditions of the area.

This area of Virginia, called the Northern Neck, is incredibly historic and I would visit Stratford Hall often, knowing that someday this is where I wanted my wedding to be.  How could anyone resist the drama of those steps and having the entire grounds to yourself for your special day?  I didn’t even know if they would allow a wedding!

For our invitation suite we worked with the very talented young calligrapher, Betsy Dunlap who wrote out all of our pieces. We then had her handwriting engraved in a glossy black ink on Crane’s pearl white papers. Betsy also addressed all of the invitations and we used affectionate names for friends and family on the inner envelopes. We also did this with Betsy for our menu cards, programs, escort cards, and other materials.

Our ceremony was on the steps of Stratford’s Great House and guests were seated on the Great Lawn. We incorporated my husband’s Jewish background and my Catholic background and had both a priest and rabbi present, combining wedding traditions from both. During the cocktail hour we had cigar rollers from Tennessee who freshly rolled cigars for our guests. Stratford Hall provided our local Virginia-inspired catering menu. Other than the Virginia peanut soup and salad course, the meal was served on large silver platters so that guests might be more engaged with one another and be able to serve one another family style. We served whole striped bass, filet mignon, vegetable gratin, and following our wedding cake, Stratford’s recipe for ginger cookies. We sent down pounds and pounds of our favorite La Colombe coffee.

We found a local band where all of the members are in gospel choirs and come together on the side to play soul music. We had taken dance lessons at the American Ballroom Dance Studio (of Mad Hot Ballroom fame-Pierre Dulaine) and our first dance was to a Stevie Wonder version of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Father and Daughter first dance was to Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’. We intermingled speeches, dances, and cake cutting throughout the dinner courses.

After running through a sparkler farewell lining the gardens paths, our official getaway from the party was in my father’s antique military jeep which he has saved since he was a child growing up in Montana. He drove us to a waiting car and we had a giant sign on the back where Betsy had written out “Just Married”. All of our guests then returned to the Tides Inn by waiting coaches and the wedding party in a vintage trolley.

Bride’s Gown ~ Oscar de la Renta, “bubble dress” from Bergdorf Goodman
Shoes ~ Christian Louboutin
Bridesmaid’s Dresses ~ Diane von Furstenberg, “Kacia”
Tuxedo ~ Ralph Lauren Purple Label.
Gifts to Groomsmen ~ Ralph Lauren black and ivory pocket squares

All of our flowers, including the two hundred pound fresh magnolia wreath at the top of the steps, were from a local florist, Bridget’s Bouquets. We worked with her throughout the year and she understood the vision perfectly on the day. I sent her ivory and hunter green grosgrain ribbon from a source here in New York I knew about from my friend who owns a successful ribbon belt company. We only used magnolia leaves, tons of ivory roses, and boxwood. She built boxwood topiaries adorned with ivory roses for the rectangular tables in the tent. Our cake table was covered in magnolia leaves.  Our cake was all ivory buttercream in a basketweave design with ivory roses filling the top and again was a local source in Fredericksburg, Virginia called Paul’s Bakery.

This plantation was the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who were brothers. There is an elegant history that can be seen in the grounds, the building, and the formal English gardens. We held cocktails and tented a large section of the Cutting Gardens for dinner and dancing. We wanted everything about the wedding day at Stratford to be more of a timeless elegance and to convey an element of the important history, but with our own twist.

Photography by Dave Robbins

Photography by Dave Robbins

Thank you SO much Abby and Matt for sharing your wedding vision and images with us! And a HUGE thanks to Dave Robbins Photography for the fabulous photographs that so elegantly captured the spirit of the day!!

For the full feature, be sure and see Parts I-III of this featured wedding on The Little Black Book Blog.

Richmond Wedding At Stratford Hall From Dave Robbins, III

The wedding that we are featuring today took place last fall at Stratford Hall, the birthplace and home of Robert E. Lee, in Richmond, Virginia. Dave Robbins sent us the sensational images that we’ve shown you in the previous two wedding posts {here} {here}.

Abby and Matt’s reception was equally charming … simple elegance! Classic style.

Dave Robbins Photography

But some of our favorite photographs from the day are the candid people shots captured throughout the day … those unrehearsed , often unnoticed expressions of love of friends and family …

Dave Robbins Photography

And then perhaps the most exquisite shot of all …

Dave Robbins Photography

We are going to hold off on showing you the rest of our favorites until tomorrow because Abby & Matt are going to be joining us to fill us in on all the details. In the meantime, to see more of Dave Robbins‘ work, take a look at his portfolio of fabulous wedding photographs. Dave is based in New York, but travels extensively!  More of Abby and Matt’s wedding … tomorrow!

Dave Robbins Photography: Richmond Wedding At Stratford Hall, II

Today’s wedding is all about timeless, traditional beauty. The bride, the gown, her bouquet, the pearls, her cathedral length veil, the venue, their family and friends …

Dave Robbins Photography

Abby and Matt married last fall at Stratford Hall, the birthplace and home of Robert E. Lee in Richmond Virginia.

Dave Robbins Photography

I literally spent hours looking at the images Dave Robbins sent us and cannot tell you how hard it was to select just a few to show you! They are all so gorgeous.  These photographs are a true testament that classic beauty and design win, hands down, every time.

Dave Robbins Photography

Dave Robbins Photography

Dave caught the scripted moments,  as well as the unscripted moments … the emotions, the joy, the pure and utter peacefulness of the day!

Dave Robbins Photography

Much, much more to come …

Richmond Wedding At Stratford Hall From Dave Robbins Photography

Monday mornings after holiday weekends … not typically my best time! Before the day gets any further along, I just want to say that Boston on the Fourth of July is pretty amazing! Being with my beautiful Abby and her family made it over the top amazing!

But now, it’s back to business with some stunning pre-wedding shots from Little Black Book photographer, Dave Robbins … and yet another beautiful Abby on her extraordinary fall wedding day!

Dave Robbins Photography

Dave Robbins Photography

Back in a bit with the whole day … from Dave Robbins Photography!

This Young House Real Wedding, II

Today is a first on SMP. We’ve paired up with our favorite home design bloggers at This Young House to feature their very own DIY backyard affair. It’s a little bit home improvement, a little bit wedding inspirations…a LOT of absolutely incredible ideas from this crafty pair.

this young house

Since photos (and photobooths) have been a big part of this John and Sherry’s relationship, what better entertainment to bring to the wedding than a photobooth! It was a splurge (at $1200) but for them, it was the perfect touch and ended up making for some pretty killer keepsakes. To encourage guests to leave their photostrips, they transformed their garage door into an oversized magnet board.

And, to take the photo theme one step further, the couple created a clothesline version of a wedding slideshow by stringing twine between 2 garden hooks and using wooden clothespins to clip the story of their lives. The cost was less than 20 bones but it made such a cute impression. To see all of the adorable photos, click right here!

Now, on to the food. Oh the food.

this young house

John and Sherry nixed the idea of hiring a caterer for a couple of reasons…one, the price. Obviously. And second, most caterers require a prep area which is something that they just didn’t have! So, instead, they did it all themselves, designing a menu that didn’t require any heat (other than the entrees which were cooked on the grill) and didn’t require more than a single fork. Fresh fruit, shrimp cocktail, rotini salad, lemon pepper potato chips. Kind of an upscale picnic of sorts.

Guests could then order up their own choice of a blue cheese angus burger, sweet apple chicken sausage or a tomato and cheddar veggie burger. The blue cheese burgers were made ahead of time (seriously simple…adding chunky blue cheese dressing to ground beef, then freezing the patties) and the other ingredients were bought in bulk just a few days ahead. For a gourmet touch, they added fresh baked buns and some fancy shmancy toppings.

For dessert..perfect vanilla cupcakes, from the famed Ukrop’s in Richmond, and a fun DIY s’mores station on their homemade firepit. Sounds like perfection to me.

* * *

For all of you that are now completely obsessed with Sherry and John and their unbelievably crafty real wedding, there are so many more details and ideas over at This Young House. From lighting tips to attire, a complete cost breakdown and fun DIY ideas, you’ll learn everything you need to know about throwing your own backyard fete. Plus, it’s wedding week on the cute site, so you’ll get even more info and ideas!

And, if you are a bit house obsessed, like I am, beware. This Young House is one of the greatest sites in the world, chock-a-block full of projects, inspirations and eye candy. It’s actually quite dangerous.

This Young House Real Wedding

A few weeks ago, I discovered THE most amazing blog. It’s actually so amazing that it has become a problem for me. The blog is called This Young House and I am sure that a lot of you are already obsessed but for those that have been living under a rock like myself, This Young House is a fabulous read for the DIY home obsessed junkie.

Well, low and behold, as I am surfing around the site, I discover that the pair has chronicled their AMAZING DIY backyard wedding. It was so cute that I asked them if we could do a profile on SMP. They agreed and we’ve actually concocted a complete SMP + This Young House mish-mash made in heaven!

this young house

Now for the low down. Sherry and John tied the knot on their two year anniversary in a fabulously chic, DIY affair in their own brand spanking new backyard. From the invitations to the decor, every little detail was crafted by their own two hands, all without breaking the bank. Before they dove head first into wedding design, they had to take a survey of the space and make sure that it was good and ready.

First and foremost, they invested some of their wedding dollars into replacing their old slate patio with cobblestone, which created an ideal space for a wooden buffet table and a grilling stationed, manned by John’s uncle…who shamelessly donned a custom apron that read, “You may now kiss the cook!”

this young house

And while they were at it, they also decided to pave their gravel driveway so as to create the perfect eating and entertaining space!

Ok, like I mentioned earlier, nearly everything John and Sherry did for their wedding was completely DIY. Between John’s cousin officiating the ceremony, a friend playing “here comes the bride” on the guitar, and relatives cooking up some gourmet fare on the grill, the pair did their best to keep things personal and meaningful.

Now on to what we love so much on SMP…the decor!

this young house

With the goal of designing a space that felt fun without scarifying style, the couple spent months collecting perfect little details that would stay well within their budget and their design ideas. The tablecloths and runners were simple white muslin and textured yellow fabric. The glassware was purchased from Ikea and the silverware from sam’s club. Buying all of their servingware ended up being much cheaper than renting it and at the end of the weekend, they were able to donate it to their favorite charity.

Rather than doing pricey flower centerpieces, John and Sherry went with vases of fruit that they bought the morning of at their local grocery store. The glass cylinders were found at Michael’s for $3.99 and the votives were found on Craigslist (purchased from a former bride for $30). The cute lemon and lime paper napkins were scored at Target.

The cute little brown favor bags held a single gladiolis bulb with easy planting instructions and photo strip of the couple that read “Plant one…on us!” And perhaps the most creative part of the table decor…the recycled wine bottles that held water, sweet tea and homemade mint lemonade.

I swear, I want to move to Richmond just so that I can be best friends with Sherry and John. They are so resourceful, so stinking creative. And yet they don’t sacrifice a bit of chic in the process. LOVE that. More on the way!

Real Wedding by Holland Photo Arts, III

I have a few more amazing images and detail from today’s featured wedding, sent to me by Holland Photo Arts

From Holland Photo Arts

During cocktail hour in the adjacent garden, everyone lined up to enjoy some signature drinks the couple had helped create while browsing through the rows and rows of beautiful spring blooms while the sun began it’s late-afternoon descent. Later, they all walked across the road and into a nearby field to the tent where the evening’s festivities were to be held. We were so excited, too, that Pam Barefoot of A Trendy Wedding assisted by her longtime friend and associate Kate were on board for this fun wedding. She made sure, as usual, that everything went off that evening without a hitch and is one of the most creative planners we’ve had the pleasure of working with.

The tables in the tent were decorated by the very talented Al of FloraCulture, with whom we had had the pleasure of working on a couple of occasions in recent months. The evening’s entertainment was provided by a singer/DJ named Norman Voss, who regaled the crowd with old standards over dinner, and a great mix of dance music for the party thereafter. Marcie and her dad’s dance together elicited more tears from onlookers, including Marcie’s mom who was overcome by emotion.

Later on, Mosaic catering supplied a large dessert table for all the guests to nibble various treats and even set up a s’mores station with a bonfire, which was a huge hit. So huge, in fact, that they ran out of desserts initially and retrieved more from their café in the west end of Richmond. We could not have asked for a better wedding, and they and their families welcomed us as they would close kin.

Thanks so much to Anne and Bill Holland for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Real Wedding by Holland Photo Arts, II

I have so many more photos from today’s featured wedding to share with you, so let’s get right to it!

wedding by holland photo arts

From Anne and Bill Holland of Holland Photo Arts

Marcie & Garrett, who enjoyed a gorgeous outdoor ceremony with close family and friends out at Tuckahoe Plantation, just west of Richmond. They had chosen this spot, in a rustic garden just east of the mansion and at the end of a long dirt road for its authenticity and beauty, and Mother Nature made sure they and their guests were able to take full advantage of it. After seeing each other privately for the first time that day in the grove adjacent to the garden, and after portraits with them and their families, everyone sat and relaxed for a short bit until the ceremony got started. Their guests were kept amused prior to the ceremony with programs describing how they knew members of the wedding party and various humorous characteristics of each, including a funny story of how they themselves met. They then said their vows under a massive old oak, the oldest tree in Virginia.

Garrett’s grandfather stood to recite a reading and by the end he and most of the guests were so emotional tears were coming down their faces. Moments like that are so meaningful to us because they illustrate the familial bonds our clients have and just how tightly knit their families are. It’s truly wonderful to witness. Marcie’s godfather, a pastor himself, also offered a final prayer for the couple just before their kiss and recessional back toward the mansion, followed very shortly thereafter by a group photo of the new husband and wife with all their guests.