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Have you heard? It’s Engagement Celebration Week! Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or twelve months, we invite you to join the party and celebrate like you said yes yesterday. Upload a proposal or ring shot to our hashtag, enter to win giveaways all week on Instagram, or take 20% off our wedding planner with code JOYFULLYENGAGED. We can’t wait to cheer you on!!

All the love stories I get to read as a Southern Weddings editor (yes, it’s a really fun job!) are magical, but every once in a while, I read one that gives me butterflies and then sticks in my memory for years to come. Priya and Tom’s is definitely one of those, and I’m positive that after you read it in their interview, it’ll resonate with you too! I’m SO glad they turned to their own experiences together for ideas when they began planning their wedding, because it certainly served as a rich well of inspiration, from the musicians they hired to the culinary expertise they put to good use. The result was a deeply meaningful and beyond gorgeous celebration that added a beautiful new chapter to Priya and Tom’s story!

Many thanks to the talented Jen Fariello for sending this joyful day our way!

Deciding on a first look was one of the more difficult decisions we made. Both of us really wanted to preserve the “specialness” of Tom seeing me walk down the aisle for the first time. In the end though, neither of us could deny that doing a first look would give us much more flexibility in terms of photos with family and logistics throughout the rest of the night. We also wound up loving that it made us so much more relaxed–it was a really nice break to see other other alone and laugh a ton before the ceremony began. And not to worry–Tom still cried while I walked down the aisle :)

Did you write your own vows? We actually didn’t write our own vows–kept it traditional!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Genesis 2:4-9 and 15-24; Psalm 100; John 15:1-13. Notably, the Gospel verse from John 15 has been an essential part of our relationship, and was also a verse we referenced a lot during our engagement. The concept of “abiding” in God to bear fruit–it’s something we often need to remember. The word “abide” is actually inscribed in both of our wedding bands as a result.

Music was really important to us, for a lot of reasons: I play the violin, we share a love for live performances, and we see music as a way to unite people. We were incredibly blessed to have our friends Daniel and Lauren Goans play at our wedding ceremony. One of our first pseudo-dates involved Tom driving up to NYC to surprise me and attend one of their concerts with me, and by strange coincidence, a year later, Tom was asked to cook a private fundraising dinner with them. So it all sort of fell into place and we were thrilled they could perform. They played “How Long,” one of their original songs, while I walked down the aisle, as well as several of our favorite hymns throughout the ceremony (“Come Thou Fount,” “How Firm A Foundation,” and “Be Thou My Vision”). As Christians, it was important to us to have musicians at our ceremony who share our faith and who would bring the words of the sermon to life through music. Last but not least, they sang a fantastic acoustic rendition of Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” as we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, laughing and smiling all the way. For our first dance, we spent weeks learning a foxtrot and swing routine to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That A Kick in the Head.” We had a blast!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The day I found my dress was one of the sweetest, most memorable days in the wedding planning process. I had already visited multiple stores in the DC area with all of my bridesmaids, my sister (MOH), and mom, but hadn’t had any luck. On a whim, I made an appointment at Hitched Salon for their sample sale, even though I had already visited and not fallen in love with a dress. They only had availability on the last day of the sale and in the last time slot, so I really wasn’t expecting much! I convinced my mom to drive to Georgetown with me in Wednesday rush hour traffic (she’s the best!) and meet me there. I picked out 5-6 dresses to try, and on my third dress, my heart stopped. I walked out of the dressing room and my mom’s eyes sparkled. We knew it was the one!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our photographer, Jen Fariello, was recommended to us by a good friend, and Jen in turn mentioned a very special, very historic property called Seven Oaks. It had just changed hands and wasn’t yet open to the public, having formerly been owned by the band manager of Dave Matthews Band. But with Jen’s recommendation, there was no way we couldn’t take a look. From the first moment, Tom knew (kind of like seeing Priya for the first time). The drive up the road, past the vineyard and rolling country hills, through the gate…Seven Oaks immediately transports you to another time and place. Even more importantly, Seven Oaks also gave us a blank canvas to work with. Nobody else had gotten married there, and the property owners and manager took a hands-off approach. They trusted us, and it let both of us strut our event management and culinary experience. We are both very creative people who love working events and know the ins and outs of the industry, so it was refreshing and liberating to not feel handcuffed by restrictions. The team at Seven Oaks, especially Stephen, went so far beyond the call of duty. They became our friends and showed us so much love–it wasn’t transactional in the least and we know we made the right choice!

There were so many wonderful, beautiful moments that we’ll want to relive forever, but the one that probably stands out the most is practicing our first dance one last time. After the wedding, our photographer took us out to the vineyard for a few shots, and by the time we returned, everyone was under the tent waiting for us. We were all alone for the first time that day, biding a few minutes while guests sat down and mingled. Hidden from view, we used the time to practice our dance in the driveway of Seven Oaks. I (wearing heels on a gravel surface) somehow tore some lace at the bottom of my dress, but we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. It was the best!

Describe your wedding flowers. We wanted flowers that would complement the natural beauty of Seven Oaks and pay homage to its sweet Southern style. I was in love with the idea of a “lay bouquet” and wanted tons of lush greenery and soft colors–blushes, pale pinks, and whites–that would go with the estate, my lace dress, and the early summer sky tones. The bouquets included peonies, eucalyptus, wild roses, sage, and other seasonal flowers and greenery from Pharsalia Farm. The table arrangements were similar flowers and greenery, and the head farm tables featured a gorgeous garland down the center interspersed with mercury glass votives–it was so romantic under the tent at night!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both graduated from the University of Virginia (Tom in 2010, Priya in 2011), but didn’t know each other while on Grounds. For the first year out of college, Tom worked in public relations before following a passion to cook in some of the world’s best restaurants–namely, Noma in Copenhagen and Le Chateaubriand in Paris. Returning stateside, Tom began a series of somewhat brazen, questionably legal supper club dinners called “Chez Le Commis.” The tasting menu dinners in Tom’s apartment quickly became popular and were featured in publications like the Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine. Unbeknownst to Tom, I, while working in southern Spain, no less–had read about the dinners, and was even inspired by them. Upon returning to the U.S. herself, I likewise started a supper club and reached out to Tom via email about attending one of his upcoming dinners. At the time, Tom was dating someone else, and by the time I finally got a table at Chez Le Commis, Tom canceled the dinner because he slipped on ice and broke his arm two days before. So some months passed, and relationships ended, and new opportunities took shape. Tom planned a pop-up wine bar called Vin De Chez, and after some initial success, needed to more fully staff the project. Looking to hire employees, Tom posted a Craigslist ad, which he then reposted to his Facebook wall, which was then (still unbeknownst to him) circulated by a college acquaintance to my former roommate, who just so happened to work at the same venue as the pop-up and who recognized Tom’s name as “that guy who started the dinners that inspired Priya.” In turn, I sent Tom an email a few days later, inquiring about the wine bar. Tom suggested coffee; I suggested wine; Tom was smitten immediately and suggested we order another round (with cheese). Neither of us remembers talking about the wine bar once–and we started to date soon after.
Tell us all about the proposal! After designing the perfect ring himself, and a nearly comical secret trip to Chicago to pick it up while I was traveling (both of us ended up on planes at O’Hare Airport, stuck on the tarmac in the snow at the same time, but I thought Tom was in Atlanta on a work trip), Tom planned to ask the question during a trip to San Francisco. In his words: “I settled on ‘something in a vineyard,’ for a number of reasons, but the first of which was that we met in some ways because of wine, and the second of which was a passage from scripture: ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me’ (John 15:4). During our trip, we headed up to Napa and Tom had already booked a visit to Kongsgaard Winery, which sits perched atop one of the highest hills in Napa. They produce wonderful, absurdly expensive Chardonnay, and of course, also have an amazing view overlooking the entire valley. At the end of the tasting, Tom pressed me to take a walk up the mountain to see the vineyard. I hesitated, but Tom kept insisting. There was some stumbling, maybe a twisted ankle, and a scrape from a nearby bush…but it all worked out after he got down on one knee!
When did y’all get married? May 28, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The many ways that our faith was woven into all parts of the wedding–from praying together and reading our ceremony verse during the first look, to the verse I calligraphed on a beautiful mirror that was displayed at the cocktail hour (“I have found the one whom my soul loves,” Song of Solomon 3:4), to the hymns that were sung, to the importance set on creating a firm foundation for marriage, not just the wedding day. It was the most joyous day, not only because it was our wedding day, but also because it was the first day of beginning a lifetime together, celebrated with our family and best friends before God.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Burying a bottle of bourbon was high on our priority list, and we were actually at Seven Oaks one month before our wedding, but Tom forgot to bring the bottle and it just didn’t work out. Thankfully, as luck would have it, another bride and groom getting married at Seven Oaks had recently buried a bottle. We’d like to thank them for our perfect wedding weather!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Thankfully, we have the most amazing church community around us that really cares about our relationship. One of the couples at our church serves as marriage mentors to us, with shockingly similar family stories and experiences that have helped us a great deal. Our pastor, friends, and families have likewise shared their knowledge and wisdom with us, and we’ve tried to be very intentional about seeking out their counseling and input. Of course, we also prayed, studied, and talked together a great deal; it’s that foundation in faith that has continually given us confidence in our relationship and insight into serving each other.
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? Sleeping in, making Saturday morning lattes, traveling the world, and not thinking about wedding planning!

Photographer: Jen Fariello Photography | Videographer: Allie Merrill of M Squared Creative | Planner: Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings | Venue: Seven Oaks Farm and Vineyards | Florist: Pharsalia Events | Wedding Cake: Arley Cakes | Caterer: A Pimento Catering | Rentals and Lighting: Skyline Tent Company, Paisley and Jade, and Real Southern Accents | Ceremony Music: Lowland Hum | DJ: DJ Izm via Scratch Weddings | Paper Products: Emily Rose Ink | Menus and Programs: Tom Madrecki | Bride’s Gown: Anna Maier | Bride’s Veil: Etsy | Bride’s Earrings and Shoes: BHLDN | Rings: Marshall Pierce & Company | Hair Stylist: Event Hair by Lauren | Makeup Artist: Joyne of BRIDEface Richmond | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lina” and “Harlow” in Cameo Pink by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Bonobos | Groomsmen Attire: Lapel

Paisley & Jade is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Brooke Paris reply

    I’m in love with the way they had part of their wedding readings engraved into their wedding bands! So beautiful and meaningful.

  2. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    We were so excited to have been a small part of this couple’s big day! Bravo to all our vendor friends who helped this gorgeous wedding vision come to life! And thanks so much SW for featuring! :)

  3. avatar Emma reply

    I love that they tied in hymns during the ceremony. I’ve always dreamed of making music a more central part of my wedding ceremony without it taking away from the actual event. Priya and Tom seem so genuine :)

  4. avatar Victoria reply

    So many creative photos (I love the mirror shot)… and the bridesmaids dresses are so cute.

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!

Reply to:

Have you heard? It’s Engagement Celebration Week! Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or twelve months, we invite you to join the party and celebrate like you said yes yesterday. Upload a proposal or ring shot to our hashtag, enter to win giveaways all week on Instagram, or take 20% off our wedding planner with code JOYFULLYENGAGED. We can’t wait to cheer you on!!

It is with great delight that I’m kicking off sharing our V9 print weddings here on the blog! While this is the first wedding that appeared in our latest issue, it was actually the last one we accepted–it took place in September, after our deadline had come and gone! However, when the planner and florist extraordinaire, Jacin Fitzgerald, told us it was one of her favorite weddings she had ever planned, and that longtime SW friend Ryan Ray (who photographed my wedding!) was going to be capturing every magical moment and detail, we knew we had to squeeze it in to V9. And how could we not? Katie and Ryan’s Pippin Hill celebration perfectly blended their coastal roots and French countryside inspiration with undeniably Southern flair and hospitality. There are too many charming details in this day to count, but there’s no question that our office favorite is the cocktail hour “bow tie bar”–Katie’s mama expertly handmade a array of bow ties so that every gent in attendance could trade in his neck tie for the evening!

How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Ryan and I were long distance for the entire year before our wedding, only ending the distance a couple of weeks before our wedding. We would travel most weekends to meet up in the middle of our two cities (Knoxville, Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi), which meant we spent many weekends in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee. Living far apart while being engaged ended up being such a blessing in disguise. We spent the entire year so appreciative of every minute we could spend together. We cherished our weekend visits, and our year of long distance helped us remember, even after six years of being together, just how much we love and need each other. As we didn’t get much time to be together, we never let the wedding planning monopolize our time. Instead, we left almost all of our weekends wedding planning-free, and we used our time together to plan for our marriage and life together by truly appreciating every little moment we had with each other.

Jacin got my floral vision absolutely perfectly. I wanted a lush and loose bouquet. We chose lots of champagne, cream, and blush-colored flowers, and the bridesmaids had pops of color in their bouquets. It was so fun choosing the flowers with Jacin. She actually met up with me in Nashville one weekend and set up an entire mock tablescape, including centerpiece flowers, for me to see it in person before the big day. I got to look at all the flowers she used, tell her which ones I loved and which ones I didn’t, all while she swapped in other flowers and colors in front of me. It was such a special, interactive process, and I had so much fun planning it with her!

My wedding dress was a Vera Wang gown. My shopping experience was extremely special. I traveled up to New York City with my mom, my two sisters-in-law (who were my maids of honor), my mother-in-law, and one of my best friends (who was a bridesmaid). We went to two different bridal shops, but the dress I chose was actually the third dress I tried on! I knew immediately that it was the one because as soon as I put it on, everyone in my group suddenly jumped up, ran over to me, and started crying and touching the dress. I still hadn’t even seen what I looked like in it at that point! I turned around to see the mirror, and my heart immediately knew this dress was the one. I still tried on other dresses and went to my other appointment, but we all knew I had found my dress, and I went back to Mark Ingram Atelier and bought it that very day. I’m so happy I was able to find it with some of the people who mean the most to me by my side! We had pieces of my mom’s wedding dress sewn into mine, which was extremely special to me. That was my “something old.” I also wore my mom’s engagement ring as my something borrowed, my wedding heels were my something blue, and my wedding dress was my something new.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I knew as soon as I got engaged that I wanted to have our colors be different shades of blue, and for the girls to all wear different styles of dresses–I absolutely love that look. I ordered swatches of gowns from a few different dress designers in order to figure out exactly which shades I would use, and then went to see them in person once I narrowed it down. I ended up finding four different Jenny Yoo blue colors that looked gorgeous together, which made the entire decision making process simple!
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? The groomsmen all wore deep blue suits with a variety of different blue gingham and seersucker bow ties and suspenders. We wanted the suits to be a lighter shade of blue than navy, and we were so happy that we were able to find a perfect shade. Four of the groomsmen, plus Ryan, were in a different wedding together earlier in the summer, and that groom decided to use the same suits for his wedding so that they only had to purchase one suit and would get multiple uses out of it. It ended up working out perfectly!

Favorite detail of the wedding: We actually both have the same favorite detail of the wedding! The ceremony was absolutely perfect to both of us–the mountains and setting sun in the background and the rustic screen doors framing us as we declared our love for each other made for an absolutely perfect scene.

We got married in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 10, 2016. I’m from Massachusetts and Ryan is from California, so we knew that at least half of our family would need to travel a great distance for our wedding, no matter where it was. We decided we would love to get married at a place that held special meaning to both of us as a couple, rather than just where one of us is from originally. Pippin Hill is our favorite winery in Charlottesville, and its views are absolutely breathtaking. We thought it was the perfect representation of the beauty of this special spot in the country where most of our guests had never been before, so we knew almost immediately after getting engaged that we would love to get married there. Fall is our favorite time in Charlottesville, so a September wedding was a no-brainer for us. As everyone was traveling from out of town, we decided to invite all guests to a welcome dinner the night before our wedding, and to watch polo the day after the wedding. Our guests all decided to make a long weekend out of our wedding, and we had almost 100 percent attendance at our welcome dinner!

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was better than I could have ever dreamed. My father walked me down the aisle to a string version of “All I Want Is You” by U2, his favorite band. Our dear friend from college officiated wonderfully, and he chose some very special poems and quotes to incorporate that resonated deeply with us. We had a ring warming ceremony, where we passed around our wedding bands through the guests for them to send their love and well wishes into before passing them on to the person next to them. We also had one of the bridesmaids sing the song “Halo” with the string trio. It was so special to have her sing during our ceremony. While she was singing, we invited our immediate families up to join us in lighting a unity candle to symbolize the blending of our two families. Another one of my favorite parts of the ceremony was that two of my little nieces walked down the aisle as flower girls. They got a little diverted during their walk, which made everyone laugh, but they eventually made it down the aisle, cuter than ever.

Did you write your own vows? We wrote our own vows and didn’t share them with each other beforehand, making it truly special hearing them for the first time at the ceremony. We followed the same pattern so our vows would have a similar feel to them. We each said “I am here because…,” “I love you because…,” and “I promise to…” with three reasons for each of them. We ended up having surprisingly similar reasons for each of them! Ryan was pretty emotional during his vows, which ensured there was not a dry eye in the group. I was almost jumping with excitement when Ryan put my wedding bands on my finger. So many guests came up afterwards to tell me how obvious my pure happiness and joy about being Ryan’s wife was!

We had our cocktail hour outside, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains just as the sun was setting. To say the views were spectacular is an understatement. We had a bluegrass band playing to start off the night’s merriment, and our signature cocktails were served in fun coupe glasses and blue vintage goblets. One of my favorite details from the wedding was from the cocktail hour: my mom made bow ties in a variety of different patterns for all of the guys in attendance, which we had hanging at a “Trade your necktie for a bow tie” station. All of the guys ended up wearing bow ties for the entire reception, which was really fun to see. My mom also made a beautiful-smelling lavender sachet for each woman in attendance. She worked tirelessly on the sachets and bow ties, and everyone talked about how beautiful they were all night long! It meant the world to me to have such a personal touch.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Ryan and I had traveled to the French countryside after we took the bar exam following law school graduation, and we absolutely fell in love with the rustic and lush feel in all of the little towns we visited. We wanted to replicate this feeling in our wedding, and our planner, Jacin, absolutely nailed it. It could not have been more perfect.

Our seating chart was one of Jacin’s most creative touches. We had Chelsea Petaja, who did all of our calligraphy and paper design, hand-letter each guest’s name, and Southern Fried Paper collaborated with I Do Linens to print the names on a beautiful linen cloth, which was then hung from a mantel. It was so different from anything we had ever seen, and completely fit our French countryside rustic theme. The reception decor was better than I had ever dreamed. Lush and overflowing flowers formed the centerpieces, along with small potted herbs and single flower stems in small glass vases, lots of blue candles, and votives. Each place setting had a vintage plate in a different blue pattern, and a hand-torn menu in the same blue marbled paper we used in our invite suite, programs, and welcome letters. They also had vintage silverware and individual salt and pepper cellars. One of our favorite touches was also at every seat: individual macarons in mini cake holders with each person’s name on them. They were so cute, and super delicious!

From Jacin: We wanted to evoke the feeling of walking through a lush garden in France, with beautiful antique style roses and hydrangea, accented with flowering herbs (the flowering oregano was a favorite) and simple statement bud vases. We incorporated different garden roses, from distant drums to iceberg, along with limelight hydrangea, clematis, freshly foraged porcelain vine with the most pristine pale blueberries, ranunculus, celosia, hops, smilax, veronica, pieris, gardenia, lavender, rosemary, café au lait, and sweet Nathalie dahlias and lisianthus.

From Katie: There were so many memorable parts of our reception! I absolutely loved my dance with my dad. Ryan’s dance with his mom was also a huge hit, since they called up all other mothers and sons at the reception to join them. It was such a sweet sight! I also purchased a cowbell for my brother (who always finds himself on the stage with the band at every wedding he attends), which was hilarious to watch him play all night. The speeches at the reception were all so touching. My dad brought out a letter I wrote him when I was 12 years old, which I never expected him to still have. His speech was equal parts sentimental and funny–it was perfect. We also just really loved how no one stopped dancing the entire night. Our band was absolutely incredible! It was awesome how our photographer, Ryan Ray, was right in the middle of the dance floor the whole night, encouraging people to dance more. He was a blast, and we had the best night of our lives. From Ryan: It’s so hard to narrow down the highlights of the reception to just a few moments. It was so much fun dancing with all of our family and friends all night. The dancing never stopped! The end of the night was also awesome, when the band played “Hey Jude” and everyone circled around the dance floor, singing it loudly to us.

Tell us about your grand exit. We did a sparkler exit with a second line from the band while they played “When the Saints Go Marching In.” It was such a perfect way to end an incredible wedding weekend.

Don’t miss Katie and Ryan’s highlights film by Shaking Hands Productions below!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in the spring of our freshman year of college through mutual friends. We immediately hit it off and became close friends. I even went out to California to visit Ryan for a week that summer, and from that point on, we were best friends and inseparable! I knew right away that Ryan and I would make a perfect couple, but it took Ryan a little longer to realize it. After a couple of years of being best friends, we finally decided to make it official and date during our senior year of college. Five years later, Ryan made me the happiest girl alive when he proposed!
Describe the proposal: We graduated from law school in May 2015 and immediately went on a vacation with my family to Kiawah Island, South Carolina. I had initially thought Ryan was going to propose at some point over our graduation weekend, and when he didn’t, I thought he was holding off for a little while longer. Little did I know, he had planned all along to propose while we were on vacation with my family, because he knew how important it was to me to be able to celebrate with my family afterwards. One evening, my family decided to go eat at our favorite restaurant of all time, Husk in Charleston. We went into Charleston early to walk along the water. Ryan and I had been to Charleston one time before, and on that trip, we had sat on a bench at Waterfront Park, talking about our future. When my family was still walking around and my little nieces were distracted looking at the horse-drawn carriages, Ryan suggested we slip away for a minute to check out that bench again. At this point, my heart started beating like crazy as it dawned on me why Ryan would want to sneak me away from my family. We sat on the same bench we had sat on three years earlier, and once again, we talked about our future. Ryan pulled out a book he made that had pictures of us from the past nine years and a list of twenty reasons why he loves me. At the end of the book–which I could barely read at that point through all the tears–it said he just had one question to ask me, and when I looked up, he was kneeling in front of me, crying as well, and asked me the greatest question I had ever heard. It was so special to then be able to walk to our favorite restaurant, where my family was anxiously waiting outside, and celebrate with them for the rest of the night. It was the proposal of my dreams!
How many guests attended your wedding? 151
Tell us a bit about your first dance. From Ryan: Our first dance was to the Zac Brown Band’s “You Easy.” It’s a fun, upbeat song that suits our personalities. It was so fun swinging my new wife all around the dance floor with our friends and family cheering on.
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Neither of us are big dessert people, so in lieu of a cake, we decided to serve one of Ryan’s favorite childhood treats from growing up in the San Francisco area: Its-It Ice Cream treats. They had a variety of ice cream flavors in between two oatmeal cookies, and the entire thing is dipped in chocolate–our guests raved about them! We also served late night grilled cheeses and peach milkshakes, which were incredible.
What was the funniest moment? Even though my sisters-in-law were my matrons of honor, my two older brothers actually gave the “maid of honor” speech, which was really special to me. They brought up every embarrassing moment from my childhood, and had me in tears from laughing so much.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are starting our new jobs at law firms in Washington D.C., decorating the home we just purchased together, and are just enjoying living in the same city again!

Planner, Designer, and Florals: Jacin Fitzgerald Events | Photographer: Ryan Ray | Videographer: Shaking Hands Productions | Venue and Caterer: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards | Wedding Cake: Sweethaus | Ice Cream Sandwiches: It’s-It | Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang | Bridal Salon: Mark Ingram Atelier | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bride’s Jewelry: Brilliant Atlanta and David Yurman | Hair and Makeup Stylists: Amanda Dang, Tinsley Onuegbu, and Mariam Muhammad | Groom’s Fashion: Kenneth Cole Reaction | Groomsmen’s bow ties and suspenders: High Cotton Ties | Invitations and Day-of Paper Goods Design and Calligraphy: Chelsea Petaja | Cork Board, Save the Dates, Seating Chart Design, and Napkins: Southern Fried Paper | Seating Chart Production: I Do Linens | Place Settings, Glassware, Ceremony Altar Production, Custom Door and Vintage Rentals: Southern Vintage | Macarons: Buttercream Bakeshop | Macaron Hand Lettering: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Band: A-Town A-List via Sam Hill Entertainment | Martini Glasses, Easels, and Trays: Festive Fare | Linens: La Tavola Linen and Nüage Designs | Favors: Beverley Venables | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine | Lighting, Sound, and Stage: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting | Ceremony Musicians: Linden Trio | Ceremony Singer: Ashley Hogan | Cocktail Hour Bluegrass Band: Early Grove String Band | Ring Dish: Paloma’s Nest | Bridesmaids’ Monogrammed Bow Tie Tank Tops: LPE Designs | Flower Girl Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Mother of Bride Dress: Badgley Mischka | Mother of Groom Dress: Monique Lhuillier

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    One of my favorite weddings of all time. Every detail is so lovely and special, and all captured so beautifully!

  2. avatar jacin reply

    Katie and Ryan were truly THE sweetest couple and it’s so fun to relive their day on SW today. Fun fact – my parents helped with this wedding and my mom practiced tying bow ties all summer before manning the bow tie station to help the gents :)

  3. avatar Caroline reply

    One of my favorite wineries in Charlottesville! Gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Emma reply

    I absolutely love all the shades of blue – especially the sun streaming through the blue glasses! The color scheme seems unique and classic at the same time. Gorgeous wedding<3

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!

Reply to:

Have you heard? It’s Engagement Celebration Week! Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or twelve months, we invite you to join the party and celebrate like you said yes yesterday. Upload a proposal or ring shot to our hashtag, enter to win giveaways all week on Instagram, or take 20% off our wedding planner with code JOYFULLYENGAGED. We can’t wait to cheer you on!!

After getting engaged, Courtney and Jeffrey originally planned to get married just five short months later. But, being a creative heart, Courtney wasn’t enjoying the planning process with such a time crunch, so they chose to push their wedding date out a bit. Extending their engagement allowed them to refocus in such a positive way. Courtney said, “We decided we weren’t going to stress over every detail, and that what was most important was what came after the wedding.” Their engagement then became a time to come together to plan a memorable wedding weekend, and to start building a home and a life together. I can’t think of anything else I’d wish for all engaged couples. Well, that, and maybe some amazing views like these at Lonesome Valley to celebrate their wedding in front of!

Thanks to Cheyenne Shultz for sharing these dreamy photos!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I borrowed my grandmother’s blue garter, the same one she wore at her wedding. I carried my other grandmother’s vintage handkerchief, on which she had embroidered a blue flower. And my dress, purse, and shoes were all new!

I am not someone who had ever given much thought to the type of wedding or wedding dress that I wanted, so I was overwhelmed when I first started looking and none of the dresses I saw seemed like me. I love fashion design, so I started designing my own dress. I really enjoyed the design process, but we began to run into some issues with having the dress made. My mom and I decided to take a day to go try on dresses as a fun experience and to get some ideas. The first dress I saw that morning ended up being the dress I chose, but only after agonizing for several days about whether or not to forgo my own dress design. No regrets. Trying on my dress was the first time I truly felt like a bride, and I still get sad thinking that I will never get to wear it again!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our engagement was a time for us to focus on our relationship, to come together as partners to plan a memorable wedding weekend, and to start building a home and a life together. We used the planning process as an opportunity to improve our communication skills, to learn more about one another and how we deal with stress, and to become better at compromising. By making all of the major wedding decisions together (and most of the small ones too), we were learning how to turn “I” into “we,” a skill we will need for the rest of our lives together.

Music played a huge theme throughout our wedding because we share a love for music and got to know each other while dating by listening to music and going to live shows together. The ceremony songs were all songs that are special to us and include lyrics that express how we feel for each other. Our musicians were spectacular and even learned several new songs for us. We had a guitarist/vocalist and a cellist for the ceremony. While guests arrived and found their seats, they played: “In My Life” by the Beatles, “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis, “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins, “Into Your Arms” by The Lemonheads, “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison, “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits, “True Companion” by Marc Cohn, and “Something in the Way She Moves” by James Taylor. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Begin Again” by the Piano Guys, and we and our guests left the ceremony to “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates.Our first dance was to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis. At the end of the night as our guests were lining up to send us off with sparklers, we went outside and danced alone to a song by one of our favorite bands, The National. In our guests’ welcome bags, we included CDs that we had made that included some of our favorite songs from shows we went to while dating. Instead of a guest book, we had a print that a graphic artist friend designed for us, which included the concert posters from the shows. Our guests signed this print at the wedding and we will now frame it. Instead of table numbers, the dinner tables were labeled with the artists and venues of the shows we saw while dating.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did. I wrote a letter to Jeff the morning of our first date, before we had met and over two years before the wedding, and I had not shared this letter with him or anyone else. The letter talked about my excitement about meeting him, how I had been praying for him and praying that God would make me ready for someone like him; how I could not ignore the events that had led to our first date and how the specialness of it had led me to write it all down; and how grateful I was for the hope it had given me. I started my vows by reading that letter to him. Jeff quoted Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

We knew we wanted a destination wedding at a place where our guests felt like they were on vacation from the moment they arrived, without it being too difficult to get to. We love the outdoors and wanted our wedding to be outdoors in a beautiful setting, with one location for the ceremony and reception. We described the kind of rustic elegant wedding we wanted to my mom, and she and her best friend started searching. When we first saw the images of Lonesome Valley online, they took our breath away, and when we visited for the first time, we were enthralled. The location also held some significance because the first trip we took together was to Highlands, North Carolina, just 20 minutes away, and we actually discussed having a wedding in the area on that first trip. When we learned that Becca Knuth and Asheville Event Co. could help plan the wedding if we had it at Lonesome Valley, we were sold. Becca became a close family friend while planning my older sister’s wedding in 2010, and we knew that she would take care of everything and that the wedding would be fabulous with her behind it. And finally, we had such a good feeling when we met Sarah Jennings and everyone else at Lonesome Valley and Canyon Kitchen. They were completely other-centered, truly making the process and the wedding day about the bride and groom, parents, and guests.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try to find a way to enjoy it! Once Jeff proposed, we considered having the wedding five months later. We decided we weren’t going to stress over every detail and that what was most important was what came after the wedding. However, I was hating the wedding planning process because as a creative person, I was frustrated by all the deadlines. There was no time for my creative juices to flow! When we pushed the wedding date out so that we had more than a year to plan, we started to enjoy the process and feel more creative. Additionally, we were purposeful in who we chose to work with during the planning process, knowing we would be spending a lot of time with them, either in person or via email or telephone. We loved ALL of our vendors and still keep in touch with many of them after the wedding. Although the planning can be overwhelming and stressful, you only get to do this once and you want to look back on it with fond memories, so try to find a way to make it fun and enjoyable.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were set up by our friend, Ali. Ali and her now husband, Dan, had been close friends with Jeff for years. Ali gave Jeff my phone number and Jeff called to set up the first date, which fell on Easter Sunday 2014. It was an incredibly awkward first phone call since we’d never met each other (and since Jeff is verrryyyy quiet until he gets to know you). I remember having so much to talk about on our first date that the restaurant started turning the lights off on us!
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to Charleston for a long weekend, and Jeff proposed in one of the parks around midnight. I really didn’t want an engagement ring and had made this known to Jeff, so when he said he had a ring for me, I was going to try my best to act like I loved it. When he pulled out a giant blue plastic ring that flashed various colors, I didn’t need to feign delight because it was the best ring I could have imagined. We took months to design three wedding bands for me and one for him, which we exchanged on their wedding day. Jeff is still trying to understand how I went from not wanting a ring to wanting three.
When did y’all get married? June 4, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 115
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Canyon Kitchen is a fantastic restaurant, and we wanted to take advantage of having the reception there. We chose not to have a wedding cake, and instead had them make an assortment of scrumptious desserts including pecan pie, cobbler, red velvet cake, cookies, and lemon bars. And we had s’mores! Our guests could choose from an assortment of chocolates and roast Bailey’s-infused marshmallows around a fire pit.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose not to have a cake simply because Canyon Kitchen made such yummy desserts, but it saved us some money too! We also did not have a getaway car. We took the shuttle with our guests to the after party and were driven to our wedding cottage by the groom’s siblings! We also did not feel like we needed a lot of flowers because the setting was so gorgeous on its own.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are loving navigating life together and having sleepovers with our best friend. We have a lot to look forward to, but I am trying to keep in mind Jeff’s last line of his vows and not move through life so fast that we miss it.

Photographer: Cheyenne Schultz Photography | Videographer: Magic Hour Creative | Planner: Becca Knuth and Sarah Kiomall of Asheville Event Co. | Ceremony Venue: Lonesome Valley | Reception Venue, Caterer, and Dessert Baker: Canyon Kitchen | Florist: Floressence Flowers | Rentals: Professional Party Rentals | Band: The Dickens | Paper Products: Fabulous Fancy Pants | Bride’s Gown: Alyne | Bride’s Accessories: Toni Federici | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by Heather Ellison | Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn | Officiant: Pastor Jim Knuth | Ceremony Musicians: Tim White and Sharon Gerber | Rings: Samantha Louise and Regal Collection Corp. | Invitation Printing: Brand Printing | Program Design: Devon Jeffers | Guest Book Print Design: Liam Strain | Transportation: The Trolley Company

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Cheyenne Schultz reply

    Y’all are the best! Thank you thank you for featuring Courtney and Jeff’s wedding…we are so grateful!

  2. avatar Lorin Fairweather reply

    SO stunning!! Cheyenne incredibly captured this couple’s lovely day!

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