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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

We Southerners sure are proud of our alma maters, so it’s no surprise that Kimberley and Jonathon were ecstatic to have been selected in the lottery to follow the time-honored University of Virginia tradition of getting married at the chapel on the campus grounds! Together with their planner, Amore Events, they planned a beautiful day full of sweet details and absolutely stunning florals. Out-of-town guests (flying in from Asia, Australia, and around the country!) were treated not only to Kimberley and Jonathon’s love and pride in their university, but also a glimpse at where their love story began. For their alumni friends, this celebration was a highly anticipated homecoming! Along with experiencing where these two started their journey, I’m sure hearing them recite the vows that they wrote together during the ceremony was truly remarkable!

We’re so thankful Ashley Cox captured all the sweet moments!

My flowers were absolutely gorgeous! Cody did a fantastic job representing the UVA colors of orange and blue. I wanted a fluffy, soft bouquet and it was breathtaking! The orange poppies really popped.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My wedding dress hunt revolved around my mom’s veil. It was the only item that I knew I wanted, so I focused on finding the perfect dress to go with it. Since my parents live half a world away in Singapore, a few of my bridesmaids and close friends went with me to help me choose. It was a great day of bonding and beautiful dresses, but I was still unsure and chose to leave empty-handed. When my parents visited a few months later, we found a few contenders, but not the one. Then, my mom suggested that I look into creating a custom dress, and I never looked back. I got to wear the dress of my dreams!

We were hesitant about doing a first look when Cody first suggested it, but it ended up being a great decision. It gave us a private moment to share together during the hustle and bustle of our wedding day. We were also able to get some great pictures at both the chapel and vineyard without taking too much time away from the cocktail hour, so that was a plus!

We wrote the whole ceremony together. It was an intimidating task, but it was a great bonding experience for us. We wrote our own personal vows and kept them secret until the ceremony. It made hearing our promises to each other even more special!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As alumni of the University of Virginia, getting married at the chapel on the grounds is a time-honored tradition. When we found out that our request was selected in the lottery, we were ecstatic! It allowed us to show our pride and love for our university as we completed one journey and started another. Our reception was held outdoors under a Sperry tent at Keswick Vineyards. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the venue is breathtaking, and we were hooked from the minute we saw it. Having separate ceremony and reception venues gave us the opportunity to give our out-of-town guests a glimpse at our college playground, while, needless to say, for our alumni friends, it was a highly anticipated homecoming.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Besides all the monograms, we wanted to add a little Texas flair to our wedding to represent where we now live. In the middle of dancing, the DJ played a few fun country songs. We ran to the guestbook table, where we had set up our cowboy boots as decorations, and put them on. The boots were special; Jon’s are made of sharkskin and mine are green lizard skin. Everyone had a blast. We also tried to showcase food from the region, such as candied bacon, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, and Virginia cheeses.

We had a full dessert bar along with a cupcake spread and a traditional wedding cake. Our dessert bar included candied bacon, milk and white chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate cups, fudge brownies, blondies, and lemon bars. There were three types of cupcakes: orange and blue funfetti with peach filling, lemon poppy with strawberry filling, and red velvet with cream cheese. The cake was a fudge chip cake with cherry filling and vanilla buttercream icing. It was all delicious and we loved the variety!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The first time I laid eyes on Jon, he had a faux hawk, was wearing a Space Jam tank, and had a plastic duck bill on his face. His fraternity was hosting a ’90s party and a group of them had decided to dress up as Space Jam characters–Jon was Daffy Duck! I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but when the resident advisor of my first-year dorm introduced him to me, I was just very amused. Even though our first meeting was less than stellar, my resident advisor continued to sing Jon’s praises. Jon asked me to dinner a few weeks later and I accepted. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On date nights, we love trying new restaurants. That night, Jon chose a beautiful restaurant with a delicious tasting menu. It was a particularly special dinner since Jon had recently accepted a job in Houston and was moving away from Virginia. I didn’t think I would be able to join him, so we were trying to take full advantage of the time we had together. Four courses later, we were full, happy, and waiting for dessert. We had both ordered the same dessert, and Jon joked that he wouldn’t have to worry about me stealing his. When dessert arrived, I remember seeing something shiny in mine. My mind went blank and I could only manage a lame “Why is my dessert different?” Jon said he could see the realization cross my face as he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. I was so stunned that I barely heard him. He was just glad that I said yes!
When did y’all get married? August 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something old was a gift from my mom. It was a diamond necklace and earrings set that my dad gave her when I was born. I was over the moon when she gave it to me to wear on my wedding day. My something borrowed was the cathedral veil that my mom wore on her wedding day. When we took it out of storage, it broke our hearts to see a tear, but we managed to stitch it up, and it felt so special to walk down the aisle with it on. For my something new, I picked heels from Jimmy Choo. I wanted a pair of shoes that I could wear again, and my blue nail polish complemented them perfectly.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Distance was one of the biggest challenges we had to overcome. On top of planning a Virginia wedding from Texas, we had guests flying in from Asia, Australia, and around the country. Fielding calls from 200 of your family and friends about what to do, special exceptions, and guest count were definitely stressful. The other big challenge was combining the cultures of the East and West. Our families are both Chinese and we wanted to acknowledge our Chinese culture, while also celebrating in the Western way. We split the day in half, reserving the morning for traditional cultural events like the tea ceremony–a tea drinking ritual with the family elders where they are given the opportunity to bless the marriage–and the afternoon and evening for the traditional Western ceremony, reception, and party!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to having free time to read, travel, and just hang out! The wedding process is very time-consuming, and sometimes, you wonder if it’s worth it. Now that we aren’t planning, we want to explore the world!

Photographer: Ashley Cox / Planner and Florist: Cody Grannis / Ceremony Venue: University of Virginia Chapel / Reception Venue: Keswick Vineyards / Cake and Dessert Baker: Buttercream Dreams / Caterer: Roadside Chive / Rentals: MS Events / Lighting: Skyline Tent Company / DJ: Derek Austin / Monogrammed Bow Ties: Mercy Streams / Bride’s Gown: Custom from Ieie Bridal / Headpiece: Enze Bridal / Hair Stylist: Brianna Adams / Makeup Artist: Susan Lim / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Navy Blue Lace by Watters / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: Menguin / Custom Watercolor Wedding Map Guest Book: Luz Design / Wedding Vow Book: Noteworthy Design Co / Fudge Favors: My Chocolate Shoppe / Vintage Cowboy Boots: Texas Junk Company / Cake Topper: Emily Steffen

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful flowers and I love the bridesmaid dresses!

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I firmly believe in love at first sight. I knew the very moment I met BDK that he was the one I wanted to marry, so I can completely understand why Ellen jokingly asked Robert to marry her on the night they met! Though he turned down that “proposal” in lieu of his super sweet one just a few years later, I’m sure Ellen was completely fine with that, especially since Robert included their family in such a momentous occasion. For Ellen and Robert, their family and a sense of community also played an important role in their wedding design, from the rows of estate tables to a total of twenty wedding cakes in three different flavors to encourage sampling and mingling. Ellen and Robert celebrated their wedding day in true Southern fashion, surrounded by those they love!

We’re sure glad Matt & Julie were there to photograph such a lovely day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted: a lace, fit-and-flare gown with delicate sleeves. My mom, sister-in-law, and I went to the original Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas, and my dress happened to be the first I tried on. After trying on a few more, I kept going back to it and knew it was the one. I added a crystal and pearl belt, and had a fingertip-length drop veil made with Alencon lace edging to match my dress. The veil was incredibly important to me, because I have been obsessed with drop veils since Kate Middleton’s wedding. I also had my mother’s wedding dress altered (no more poofy sleeves!) and used it as my getaway dress.

We used garden roses for the bouquets, plus LOTS of greenery. We had three of the prettiest vintage pink and cream ribbons hanging from each bouquet. At the reception, we decided to forgo traditional floral arrangements and put individual garden roses on the 19 cakes that were used as centerpieces. We used garlands made of salal, podocarpus, and eucalyptus greens that extended the lengths of the tables–it looked gorgeous and smelled amazing. Our altar flowers were made up of white hydrangeas and lilies.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Last minute, yes. Robert had originally wanted to wait, but after talking to the photographers, we knew it was the best option and we are so glad we did it. Not only were the photographers able to capture such a sweet moment, it definitely calmed our nerves before and during the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not. We had a very traditional Episcopalian ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Given the formality of the church and ceremony, we chose traditional songs played on the church organ. My dad and I walked down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” and we recessed to “Hornpipe” by Handel.

I had always known I wanted to be married at my family’s church, so that was never a question. The reception venue proved to be a little harder, but as soon as we saw it, that decision became easy, too! Robert and I met, dated, got engaged, and bought our first home together in Dallas, so the Downtown/Uptown area is such a big part of our relationship. After researching and visiting several venues, we came across the 42nd floor at Cityplace Tower, which happened to be across the street from our church. We were blown away by the views of city and I loved its urban, lofty vibe. The giant windows let in so much natural light, but without the 100 degree August heat.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cakes were amazing. Instead of getting a bride and groom’s cake, we decided to give every table their own. We chose to make our cake cutting participatory, and we all cut the cakes together. There were eighteen one-tier cakes, plus a two-tiered cake for the wedding party. Heidi from Sugar Bee Sweets did a fantastic job designing the cakes, which incorporated all of our wedding colors: blush, gold, emerald, and mint. We offered three flavors, so people walked around sampling the different varieties, which encouraged mingling.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The long rectangular tables with the gold sequin tablecloths, garland, and cakes looked so beautiful in the room as the sun set. I love the look of rectangular tables, so we used three super-long tables that expanded the length of the room. It created such a grand statement when you walked through the door!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We formally met at the beginning of 2012 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We had seen each other around prior, but had never actually spoken. At the time, I was living in Spain teaching English and was home for the holidays. I was supposed to go back in March, but that was not meant to be! I didn’t even want to leave the house on that particular night, so I know it was fate when we met. Robert came up to me, introduced himself, and immediately started dancing. I knew there was something different about him, and he said the same about me. I thought he was funny, and jokingly, I even asked him to marry me! We stayed up talking and joking about how our “grandchildren” would laugh that I proposed to him the night we met. We went on our first date the next week, and when I got home that night, I cancelled my flight and wrote down that I had finally met the man I was going to marry!
Tell us all about the proposal! For Robert’s 30th birthday, I had planned a big party on a vintage trolley that would take us and our friends around town while we celebrated. Before the party, Robert and I had a “scooter date”–one of our frequent trips together on his scooter–and went to dinner at our favorite local pizza place. Robert was acting a bit strange, and I was slightly upset because I thought he was mad at me. As soon as we got home, I saw both our families standing in the living room. When I turned around, Robert was on one knee. It was all a blur, but I do remember him saying I was the only thing he wanted for his birthday and for the rest of his life. We then joined our friends on the trolley and celebrated his birthday/our engagement for the rest of the night!
When did y’all get married? August 1, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a special monogram created of our initials printed on our save the dates, invitations, cocktail napkins, cups, and cake boxes! Robert gave his groomsmen monogrammed leather flasks, and they all wore paisley print bow ties! We both had very large wedding parties (eight for me, twelve for him), which I think is definitely more popular in the South.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went to a couples’ weekend at our church, which was extremely beneficial. If your church offers one, I highly recommend it! Each couple was given a mentor couple and ours was such a blessing. They gave us great marriage advice, as well as helped us work through the challenges we had already faced as a couple.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Making sure everything came together! My sister-in-law and I planned the wedding. We have our own event planning business, E+Mc², and our resources were a huge help. At the same time, as the bride, staying calm and not stressing over every detail (while in charge of it all) had its challenges.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning a wedding can put stress on your relationship at times, but don’t lose sight of what the day is about. Remember that it is just the beginning of your life together, and that is the most exciting part. Also, have your budget figured out before you buy/decide on ANYTHING!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living in Louisiana for Robert’s job, so we are concentrating on settling into our new home, making friends, and having fun as a newlyweds! We love to travel and want to take a few extended trips abroad before we start a family.

Photographer: Matt & Julie Weddings / Planner: E+Mc² / Ceremony Venue: Church of the Incarnation / Reception Venue: 42nd Floor Loft at Cityplace Tower / Florist: HEB Blooms / Cake Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets / Caterer: Andrew Ormsby Catering / DJ: Jeff Burris / Special Details: Garland / Paper Products: Studio3eleven / Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo / Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Tovah Prue and Savanah King / Makeup Artist: Taylor Frettoloso / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August, Erin Fetherston, and Jill Stuart / Bow Ties: The Tie Bar / Flower Girl Dress, Shoes, and Flower Crown: Playful & Posh

Sugar Bee Sweets is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Studio 3 Eleven reply

    Yay! This wedding is beautiful! It was so much fun pressing Ellen’s custom Save the Dates and wedding invitations. She was such a great bride to work with!

  2. avatar Sarah Walters reply

    Where is that gorgeous ring from?!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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