Google+ Fall Virginia Wedding by Justin & Mary - Southern Weddings

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Today’s couple’s story is a little different from most of the brides and grooms who grace Southern Weddings! Jeremy proposed spontaneously in Vegas, and he and Ashley were married in a chic, casual elopement ceremony the very next day. While their whirlwind 36-hour engagement was perfectly them, they were excited to share their joy with family and friends, too. A year and a half after their first wedding in Vegas, these wedding industry cuties were pronounced “still married” at a beautiful Virginia barn.

Thanks so much to Justin & Mary for sharing Ashley and Jeremy’s wedding day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! It was about 3 a.m. at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant inside the MGM Grand during the 2012 WPPI, a photographer’s conference (I am a wedding photographer and Jeremy is a wedding cinematographer). Through a crazy turn of events, Jeremy decided that he was going to propose to me as soon as I returned to the table. He borrowed a sterling silver ring from a friend, got down on one knee to the shrieks of our friends, and asked me to marry him! We were engaged and married within 36 hours in the most amazing elopement ceremony EVER! You can see our elopement film here and the images here. It was a complete whirlwind but SO us.

Even though our wedding was in the fall, I wanted pastels, pastels, and more pastels! I wanted our florals to feel lush, inviting, soft, romantic, and pretty, with a touch of glam. Rachel, our florist, did an absolutely amazing job with every single piece throughout the day. She even created a little flower collar for our dog to wear down the aisle! My favorites were the huge succulents and giant dahlias that she found and incorporated throughout the wedding!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Of course! There were several reasons we chose to do a first look. One, of course, being a wedding photographer myself, I knew the value of having that extra time on the wedding day for portraits, which were so important to us. We did not have the weather on our side on our wedding day, and if we hadn’t done a first look, all of our portraits would have been in the rain. I’ve also had the privilege of seeing so many couples have a first look, and the emotions and love that comes from them cemented my desire to have one. Jeremy is my best friend and all I wanted to do was see him and hang out before the ceremony!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did! In my vows, I spoke about the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and how, in that book, the ultimate answer to everything in the universe is the number 42. Through some strange coincidences, that number in particular is very meaningful to us, and I expressed to Jeremy that I was so thankful that “the ultimate answer to everything in my universe was you.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our ceremony was short and sweet. We had one of our great friends, Dave, officiate for us, so it was amazing hearing him tell the story of how we met, offer some advice, and pronounce us “still married.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our food was most decidedly Southern–we wanted upscale, small-plated Southern tapas, and Jodi with Sweetwater more than delivered! We had an entire biscuit bar with homemade jams and jellies, mini mac n’ cheese, mini pot pies, mini grilled cheese paninis with tomato soup, butter beans with cornbread, mini shrimp po’boys…my mouth waters just thinking about it! So many people told us the food was the best they had had at any wedding. Our venue was also so beautifully Southern–a gorgeous home that dated back to the 1800s, tucked away in a tiny Virginia town. I also think our decision to keep the wedding as intimate as possible was Southern too–growing up, we had backyard BBQs and pool parties and were always surrounded by a close knit group of friends and family. I wanted to keep that same feeling alive by not “meeting” anyone at my wedding for the first time!

When we started planning our wedding, I wrote down in my notebook that my dream venue would be a barn with chandeliers. I stumbled across Silverbrook, immediately emailed and spoke to Dot, the owner, and when she said the chandeliers were part of the barn, I couldn’t arrange a site visit fast enough! We chose the venue based on the location and vibe, but we never expected to fall as in love with Dot as much as we did–she was such an amazing part of our day.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had an entire table of Southern dessert favorites! My daddy made his famous banana pudding, which was served in tiny flip-top mason jars. Our incredible caterer, Jodi, put together hand pies on sticks (the chocolate ones were to die for!), miniature Coke floats, and mason jar strawberry shortcakes. We went this direction in lieu of a traditional cake and it was so much fun letting everyone pick their favorites (or try them all!).

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met about eight years ago when I bought car parts from Jeremy and he installed them on my car. Romantic, right? We are both big car nerds and happened to have the same type of car at that time. It wasn’t until about three years later that we saw each other again when a group of our mutual friends organized a snowboarding trip. We annoyed all of our friends by staying up late and talking while everyone else was trying to sleep. It was pretty much “game over” after that!
When did y’all get married? The first time, February 22, 2012. This time, October 12, 2013!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I wanted this particular Vera dress from the minute I saw it. My only fear was that it wasn’t going to fit me right, so as soon as we picked a date for the wedding, I ran to the store and tried it on. To my absolute relief, it was exactly what I had imagined! With a few tweaks (I added a sweetheart neckline), it was my dream wedding dress. I also picked out a fun BHLDN dress for the reception so that I could show off my favorite accessory, my sparkly gold Kate Spade shoes!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Music is a huge part of our lives, so our music choices were very deliberate! The song I walked down the aisle to was “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros, and we walked back up the aisle to American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life.” Our first dance song was Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life,” and the rest of our playlist consisted of super fun old-school songs that kept everyone on the dance floor all night long!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We loved the overall combination of the items we chose to include in each part of the day–each choice was made with the intention to not only describe us and our relationship, but to provide a fun, Southern party for all of our best friends to come together at. I think one of the detail highlights was Jeremy’s signature drink–a “pickleback,” which is whiskey and pickle juice. Everyone was scared at first, but by the end of the night, everyone was requesting how to make them, and it was so fun seeing everyone cheers-ing with their newfound favorite drink.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The weather! I know that being in the wedding industry, I should know better than to get upset over the weather, but we had a freak nor’easter roll through Virginia the week of our wedding and it would NOT stop raining. I tried very hard to “let go” during the week, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit helpless. However, when the rehearsal rolled around and I was surrounded by my friends and family, I realized it truly did not matter in the least what the weather brought–everything was going to be perfect no matter what. And truthfully, the overcast skies and the foggy mountains made our wedding absolutely magical.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I couldn’t pick just one! Our vendors were amazing and we chose them not only because of their talents, but because of who they are as people. They not only did their jobs, they treated us like family every step of the way, and when we looked around on the wedding night, it made us so happy to see them dancing and enjoying themselves just as much as we did. We had the best team of vendors ever!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a point when Jeremy and I were looking around and we realized that even though we had invited lots of family and friends from all different parts of our lives, there was absolutely no sign that these people hadn’t known each other for more than two hours. All of our friends, from all over the country, from all different parts of our story, were dancing, laughing, and cheers-ing together. That was by far my favorite memory–seeing all of our favorite people meet and become friends with all of our other favorite people!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? As hard as it is, and as cliche as it is, at some point you have to let go and know that your marriage is far more important than your wedding. There are going to be things that are out of your control, but what is in your control is how you react, and how you communicate with your soon-to-be hubby in the face of a stressful situation. Know that in your heart, you are marrying someone amazing, and at the end of the day, that is what matters. I promise, everything will fall into place just as it should. You will look back and see the things that went “wrong” as sweet memories that made the day all the better. It will all be okay!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Married life has been incredible!! We are just looking forward to continuing to build our life together, hand in hand, side by side. He’s my best friend and he saves me in the smallest of ways, every day. I can never truly show him how much I love him, but I darn well am going to try! Oh, and hopefully purchasing our first home together soon–we can’t wait!

Photographer: Justin & Mary Photography / Videographer: Josh Gooden / Planner: Antonia Christianson Events / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Silverbrook Farm / Florist: Floral and Bloom / Dessert Baker and Caterer: Sweetwater Cuisine / DJ: Amanda pearl of Fat Cat Productions / Photo Booth: Liz & Ryan / Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang “White” / Paper Products: PaperDolls Design / Hair Stylist: Ian McCabe / Makeup Artist: Sarah Rillon / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Levi Denim, J.Crew Shirt, Forever 21 Blazer, Etsy Bow Tie, and Aldo Shoes / Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew Shirt, Levi Denim, and H&M Shoes / Chalkboards, place cards, and window panes: Coastal Calligraphy and Design

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Ashley Mitchell reply

    Ahhhh! What an amazing honor and treat to see our wedding grace the “pages” of Southern Weddings this morning!!! We are so stinking excited!!! Thank you so much!!

  2. avatar Emilia Jane reply

    AHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Love you two and I just can’t get enough of your wedding photos :-D <3

  3. avatar Suzy VanDyke reply

    Justin and Mary are amazing photographers, and Ashley & Jeremy are a wonderful couple! I love this wedding!

  4. avatar Liz and Ryan reply

    Ahhh! We just love reliving Ashley and Jeremy’s special day! ;) (x2) So gorgeous! And so perfect! Love you A&J! Ohh and of course AMAZING photographs J&M!!! ;) Love all around! ;)

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  8. avatar Daniella reply

    Where are your bridesmaids earrings from….I love them!! Your wedding pictures are gorgeous!!

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  15. avatar Kat reply

    I love the necklace that your bridesmaid in the grey is wearing! Where did you buy it?

  16. avatar Julie DeFrancisco reply


    I also LOVE the necklace you bridesmaid is wearing. Where did you/she get it? I’d love for my ladies to have it for my wedding this October.


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