Are any of y’all How I Met Your Mother fans? Lauren’s red cowboy boots remind me of that show — admittedly, I chuckled a bit when I saw them. I’m happy to say, however, that Lauren pulls of this Southern staple with complete success unlike Ted Mosby. They’re perfectly appropriate for Lauren + Joe’s fall wedding which boasted warm colors and warm temperatures. I love that the couple’s wedding colors provided graphic pops throughout the evening while still blending in nicely with the rustic feel of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though L + J both have parents who were born in the North, they both grew up in Virginia and knew they had to have their wedding at a place thet visited often. The mountains were not only a gorgeous setting for their outdoor nuptials, but they’ll continue to hold all the memories of their big day.
The SW gals are sending big hugs to Meg Runion for sharing this wedding with us!
Don’t y’all love Lauren’s dress with the big bow? Be sure to scroll down for more adorable views of it!
I knew exactly what I wanted: an A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline and a large asymmetrical bow on the back. There were a few dresses that had some of those aspects but not exactly what I had in mind. I ended up trying on a beautiful A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline, but no bow. The wedding dress consultant suggested we have the bow custom designed. I immediately knew that was the way to go. The seamstress designed a bow that exactly matched the image in my head. I absolutely loved my dress and was happy to be able to customize it to fit my style perfectly.
I knew right away I wanted bright shades of orange for the flowers. Our wedding was on September 1, so we were in the late summer/early fall season. We chose orange and cream as our colors because we felt like they represented both summer and fall. My bouquet was a vibrant orange mix of Mexican sunflowers and dahlias. The bridesmaids carried huge bouquets of baby’s breath because I love the rustic, understated feel they have. The groomsmen’s boutonnières were orange dahlias. We really wanted our wedding to represent the natural beauty of the changing seasons in the Virginia Mountains.
We love Lauren + Joe’s simple but beautiful altar setup. It reminds us of Jodi + Kurt’s wedding from V4.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a “first look.” We both really wanted that first moment we saw each other to be right when I walked down the aisle. It was worth the wait!
Did you write your own vows? We did not. We would’ve been too nervous! However, we did write each other a letter to read before the ceremony. My matron of honor and his best man delivered the letters to us while getting ready. It was a very sweet moment and one of our favorite memories of the day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had five readings at our wedding. Two of the readings were Irish and German wedding blessings to honor our families. We had a biblical reading, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, and a poetry reading, “To Love Is Not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh. Before the exchanging of the rings, our reverend read the “Blessing of the Hands.” We went through countless readings but chose the ones we felt really spoke to us and reflected our feelings for each other.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our venue was definitely Southern. While both our parents are from the North, Joe and I grew up in Virginia and consider this our home. We knew we wanted to have our wedding outdoors in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and at a place we visit often. We loved the barn at our venue and it perfectly reflected us as a couple. Other Southern details included were our food and drinks. For the cocktail hour, we included Virginia ham biscuits and other Southern food. All of the wine was from local Virginia wineries. The bluegrass music at our ceremony and cocktail hour matched the beautiful mountain scenery. As far as decorations, we used mason jars as much as we could and farm tables at the reception. For our bridal party, the bridesmaids wore their own cowgirl boots and the groomsmen and flower girls wore seersucker.
Our favorite details were the escort cards and table names. To honor our love of live music, we decided to name every table after a concert we attended together. For the escort cards, we had “concert tickets” and displayed them at a “will call” table.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I had seen pictures of a wedding cake with burlap ribbon and absolutely loved it. I knew that would fit in perfectly with our other details. However, after speaking with the cake designer, I realized that real burlap would not be the best choice because of its smell. Instead we used jute ribbon and it had the same look. The cake was classic and rustic — it was perfect!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Joe and I have been to over 50 concerts together and music is a big part of our relationship, especially our shared love of bluegrass music. We wanted to make sure that was reflected in our wedding. Our favorite local bluegrass band played during the ceremony and cocktail hour. Our song is “I’ve Just Seen a Face” by the Beatles, and the band learned it just for our wedding. I walked down the aisle to a slowed-down bluegrass version of our song — which was a complete surprise to Joe. It was one of our favorite moments of the wedding. When we walked back up the aisle as a married couple, they played the song again, but this time in its original temp. Our first dance was “It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. I am a huge Tim McGraw fan and Joe agreed that was the perfect love song for such a special moment.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Joe’s youngest sister is my best friend from college. I had never met her older brother Joe, but she always joked that I should marry him because then I would be “Lauren Bull Schmitt.” (My maiden name is Bull and Joe’s last name is Schmitt). It became a joke of ours throughout our four years at college. I finally met Joe at his sister’s graduation party and it was love at first sight!
Describe the proposal. Joe had a very difficult challenge of trying to surprise me. I knew a proposal was coming and was definitely looking for signs of when it would be! Joe came home one night from work with all of my favorite foods for dinner and I immediately thought he was definitely proposing that night. We grilled outside on the deck and listened to music with the tiki torches lit. We finished dinner and it still hadn’t happened. It started to rain and I decided I was going inside. I decided I was wrong and it wouldn’t be that night. I went inside and sat on the couch to watch one of my favorite shows — Law & Order SVU. Joe was in the kitchen washing dishes and I was not paying attention to him. All of the sudden, I heard a loud commotion and what sounded like him running into the family room. I turned to look and see what had happened. Joe was on one knee right in front of me with a ring and giddily said, “Will you marry me??” He definitely caught me off guard! He said he planned it that way and called it the “sneak attack proposal!”
In what month did you get married? September
How many guests attended your wedding? 180
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think having to limit ourselves was difficult at times. We had to choose what was really important to us to be included and what “extras” we did not necessarily need.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on?We were really happy with the two bands that played at the wedding. We loved having the bluegrass band set the tone for the wedding while playing at our ceremony and cocktail hour. The Real Geniuses, the ’80s cover band that played at our reception, was awesome and ensured that the reception was one big dance party.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were so many! One that really sticks out in both of our minds was when the reverend read the “Blessing of the Hands.” It was after the vows and we were holding hands, looking right at each other. That was the moment where we both had to fight back tears!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Decide on a budget right away and then decide what aspects of your wedding are most important to you and your future spouse. For us, the photographer and band were the most important and we splurged on them. It is really easy to go over budget quickly, so plan carefully!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to continuing the life we’ve made in Richmond and eventually starting a family. In the near future, we expect many nights snuggling on the couch with our dog and watching Law & Order!