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Ever since they met, Milena had been asking Jake to write her a song. During his sweet proposal, he shared that he had finally written one for her… but it was only half-finished. When their wedding day arrived, they opted to pray together around a corner before their ceremony. This is always emotional, but it proved to be even more so when Jake surprised Milena by playing his newly finished song for her! It was a sweet moment I am sure neither of them will ever forget. A few more things I’m sure they’ll always remember from their wedding at Foxhall Stables: having both families together in one place, Milena’s first look with her daddy, and the ceremony cross Milena’s daddy made from wood recycled from her great-great-grandfather’s cottage.

Thanks to Sarah Ingram for capturing so many of these magical moments!

Tell us all about the proposal! After meeting in Florida, we both relocated to California for school/work. During our visit with family for Christmas 2015, Jake asked me if he could take me on a date. This was odd considering we NEVER see our families and I thought, we can go on dates whenever we want–why now, why here? I asked my mom what we were going to do the day after Christmas and to my surprise, she replied that she was going to be “busy” with my dad, so I agreed to go out for a date with Jake. He surprised me by taking me to the Harry P. Leu Gardens, a place where we had one of our first dates in 2012. Ever since we first met, I’ve bothered him to write me a song. Turns out, he finally wrote (half) of that song. I held back tears as we sat on the same picnic blanket we had four years ago and he played it. Then, he went to put his guitar away and pulled out a box with a ring he had designed with my dad from jewelry his Nana had given him. It was beautiful and perfect.

I did do a first look with my father, but Jake and I decided we didn’t want to see each other until I walked down the aisle–we felt there is something magical about the moment when the doors open and the bride and groom see each other for the first time during the ceremony! We did agree that our nerves would be tense and we’d be anxious, so it would be wise to pray together before the ceremony, but without seeing one another. This is also when Jake played the song he wrote for me when he proposed, only this time, the song was finished! This was emotional for us–Jake could hardly play his guitar and sing as I sobbed on the other side of a stable door!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have any special readings besides what our pastor preached, but we did have Sara, our photographer, make us a banner that hung in our ceremony that said Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings, you will find refuge.” This represented Christ covering our marriage. To tie in with the verse, our precious flower girls threw petals and white feathers from their baskets.

Jake has always wanted to be married in a church, and I have always wanted to be married outside. We originally agreed to search for a glass chapel, since that would serve both of our visions. After chatting with Lauren, she gave us so many beautiful options, but Foxhall had the all-in-one venue which made it easy for our family members who were coming from all over. Foxhall also had outdoor games, which was on our list, and the venue just seemed like us. To give it more of a chapel feel, we rented church pews and my dad made us a cross from wood recycled from my great-great-grandfather’s cottage.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Almost every detail exceeded our expectations! We loved our custom coffee bar, our invites, the painting my dad did for us, and the dancing! But I guess what it all comes down to is that Jake and I have lived far away from our families for the past five and a half years, so having both our families together in one place was seriously magical and meant so much to us.

Describe your wedding flowers. I was so nervous about my flowers, considering I’d never met any of the girls from Petaline in person before. But they nailed it! They even added lavender and mint to my bouquet, which made it smell so great!!

I wanted donuts and Jake wanted cake, so Lauren was wonderful and threw both into our wedding design! We had classic white cake with vanilla frosting, and blueberry cinnamon donuts! They were all tasty!

When did y’all get married? August 6, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We really prayed that our wedding would be Christ-centered–as Christians, we believe that a wedding is a foreshadowing of the real wedding when Jesus (the groom) returns for the church (His bride). That being said, Jake chose “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham for the bridal party and himself to walk down the aisle to. I chose to walk down the aisle to the piano version of “It is Well.” Most people may think of this as a sad song, but I chose it because of the hope it portrays not only in our marriage, but in the marriage of Christ and His church. As we left together, we lightened it up with a song from our favorite Disney movie, Wreck It Ralph: “When Can I See You Again” by Owl City. Later at the reception, our first dance was to the classical guitar version of “So This is Love” from Cinderella. My dad and I could not pick just one song, so we used two: “What a Wonderful World” (we used this song at a daddy-daughter dance when I was a little girl) and “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food!!! We served chicken and waffles, strawberry bruschetta, caprese salad, sliders, fried chicken, steak medallions, a mac and cheese bar, and a chicken fajita bar. So yummy!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree it was definitely when Jake played the song he wrote me before our ceremony.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Get a planner, especially if you are planning a wedding from a different state. This saved hurting family members’ feelings and so much stress. I also believe she saved us money! Planners literally do weddings all the time, and Lauren was also able to sort through my realistic and unrealistic expectations for our day! ;)
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to Jake finishing college and traveling as much as we can before we start a family!

Photographer: Sarah Ingram | Planner: Lauren Emerson Events | Venue: Foxhall Stables | Florist: Petaline | Wedding Cake: Sweet Creations by Candi Pittman | Caterer: Simply Catering | Custom Illustrations: Dave O’Connell | Paper Products: Pirouette Paper | Hair Stylist: Katie Hensley | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Milena carter reply

    Hello there, Thankyou so much for featuring my wedding, seriously what an honor! I think some details may have gotten lost though in translation though. My shoes were actually not heals I felt wearing heels all night would be beautiful but I went for comfort and my maid of honor bought me Kate spade white sparkling shoes that were sneakers. And I’d never change that I wore them, I’d honestly strongly suggest them to other brides because of how comfy they were and that they were different then traditional wedding shoes. Although the invitations y’all featured were beautiful our invitations were actually custom made by my Father& my dear friend kaylyn at pirouette paper company. They both put So much love and work into them from my dads custom illustrated map of fox hall & character drawing of Jake and myself. To kaylyns beautiful handwriting and watercolor work on our envelopes. They were such a precious detail that ment so much to Jake and myself. They just tied many other details of our wedding together too! Again I’m so flattered by yalls feature! Xoxo

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Milena! Thank you so much for letting us know. We love the idea of wearing sneakers for your wedding day. What a fun detail. We’re honored to share your wedding day! xx, Marissa

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After looking at their fair share of wedding venues (eight!), Dani and Andrew knew that Legare Waring House was the one for them. They were drawn to the pristine beauty of the plantation, and especially loved the Avenue of Oaks (how could you not?)! With this beautiful backdrop chosen, they worked with their planner and florist, Fox Events, to create wild and natural florals that were not only sweetly feminine, but also the perfect complement to the glamorous mix of metallic elements in their design. And how fun is it that their officiant was the same friend who introduced them on a blind date five and a half years prior?

Big SW hugs to Aaron & Jillian for sharing their sweet day with us!

I probably tried on close to 50 dresses from at least five bridal boutiques before I found THE ONE at Sarah Seven. I went with my sister-in-law and a close friend, and the minute I walked out of the dressing room, they both screamed, “THAT’S IT!”

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, there was no question whether or not we were going to do one! First look photos are my favorite pictures from weddings–they’re always so sweet.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, who ended up officiating our wedding. I knew Andrew’s sister prior to meeting Andrew, but it wasn’t until a Christmas party when this mutual friend suggested to Andrew that he had to meet “this girl, Dani” that we were set up.

We each wrote our own vows, which was fun, but challenging! It’s hard to express those feelings in just a few sentences. We think our videographer’s favorite line from the vows was Andrew’s line: “The joy you have given me over the past five and a half years has saturated my soul, and I promise for the rest of my life to try with every fiber of my being to repay you.” He included it in both our trailer and full video!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? After Lauren Fox took us to eight wedding venues, we knew that Legare Waring House was the one for us. We couldn’t get over the pristine beauty of the venue–so stunning and green, and we ESPECIALLY loved the Avenue of Oaks!

Our wedding flowers were wild and natural, yet utterly feminine, and fit the outdoor plantation perfectly! The color scheme played nicely with the grays and natural wood elements of our wedding, while the mix of metallic elements added the perfect amount of glamour.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The florals were stunning and the food, superb. The band, Super Deluxe, nailed every song; we’ve received so many compliments about them! Cru Catering provided the best wedding food we’ve ever tried, period. Overall, we could not have asked for a more perfect day!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take care of all the big things first (find a wedding planner, book photographers, videographers, a band), and then take your time choosing all of the smaller details. But don’t procrastinate too much–the last thing you want is to be stressed about things close to your big day!

Tell us all about the proposal! Andrew’s sister was going to be in Chicago for a visit to see friends. Recognizing the opportunity, Andrew set the wheels in motion. He flew to St. Louis to ask my father for my hand in marriage, put the finishing touches on the ring, and invited family to Chicago for the weekend to (hopefully) celebrate. After planning an elaborate ruse revolving around a fake Cubs game, brunch, and a photographer, Andrew’s plan was thrown into chaos when I realized I needed to work most of the day on Friday, April 17. Panicked (even more than he already was), Andrew proposed in our apartment, just the two of us. He had arranged for a celebratory brunch at a restaurant, where the entire family was there to surprise me! Later that night, Andrew invited all of our closest friends/family over for the perfect engagement party.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We repurposed the “blessing over the wine,” which was read by my great uncle and his wife. It was a beautiful tribute to both of our heritages.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Wild Flour did the most beautiful-two layer cake. The larger bottom tier was vanilla cake with dulce de leche buttercream and salted caramel; the smaller top tier was vanilla cake with lemon curd, coconut buttercream, and toasted coconut.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It can be challenging to stay within a budget. It’s great to have wedding planners (like ours) who are there to help guide you to stay within your budget, and to advise you on areas where you can make cuts that won’t jeopardize the look you’re trying to accomplish!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just got back from a delayed honeymoon in Antigua, which was incredible! We look forward to enjoying time together before we add to our family in a few years :) We also look forward to celebrating with all of our friends with weddings around the corner!

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography | Videographer: Dock House Digital | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue: Legare Waring House | Wedding Cake: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: Super Deluxe | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: Sarah Seven | Bride’s Accessories: Katherine Jessica Collections | Hair and Makeup: Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Bride’s Shoes: “Lovely” Embellished Wedge Sandal by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Alana” in Sea Glass, Palest Pink, and Dusty Pink by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Custom by Trunk Club | Men’s Bow Ties: The Tie Bar

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

    Yay for this feature! Stunning photos! We loved capturing this special day for two incredibly sweet people XoXo

  2. avatar Cyprus wedding photographer reply

    Wow these are really amazing shots! And the location is just perfect!

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Is it weird to have a wedding bucket list? While I obviously have no control over where and when my friends and family members get married, I have all my fingers crossed that someday, I’ll get to be a guest at a New Year’s Eve wedding. The sparkle and excitement of NYE is fun enough as it is, but add a joyful bride and groom and a rockin’ reception to the mix? Seriously…it doesn’t get better. While we’ve featured plenty of glam, black-tie NYE weddings over the years, I love that Kathryn and Chad took a different approach, incorporating gorgeous colors, Florida-inspired blooms, and incredible painted details into their day (all with the help of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Ashton Events). Their details were the perfect way to blend their festive wedding date with their sentimental at-home venue, and we’re so glad The Ganeys were on hand to capture all the loveliness!

P.S. I have written hundreds of real wedding posts over the years, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen an interview filled out by the groom! Thanks for sharing, Chad!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Despite our many mutual friends and the fact that we grew up in neighboring towns in rural Central Florida, Kathryn and I first met in Washington, DC. I had been working in DC as a lawyer for about a year when Kathryn moved up to begin a new job at the Department of Justice. A mutual friend invited us to–of all things–an election party, which is where Kathryn and I met for the first time. Our mutual friend told me about Kathryn ahead of time, so I was naturally very excited to meet her, and struck up a conversation with her as soon as I got to the party. Kathryn was not so informed. “I had no idea he was a set-up,” she would always say. “I just thought he was really friendly.” Although our mutual friend thought we would get along, she had no clue we grew up 30 minutes away from each other, nor did she know we would hit it off so well. We spent the next few hours talking and laughing as we reminisced about all the quirks of our tiny hometowns. The whole night was great, except for one tragic mistake: I didn’t get her number! I told myself that the next time I saw her, I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. My next chance came in January, when we saw each other at a meeting for lawyers. Although she didn’t recognize me at first (ouch), she remembered as soon as I told her where I was from. Our first date was a couple of days later, near the end of January, and in December of that year, we got engaged after 11 months of dating.

I didn’t have a ton of preferences for the wedding, but I knew I wanted the first time I saw Kathryn to be as she was walking down the aisle. And it was worth the wait! Nothing will ever beat that moment when time stopped as the church doors swung open and Kathryn walked in. There was an audible gasp in the audience as every person in the room entertained the same thought: this is the most beautiful bride.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Between our afternoon ceremony and evening reception, Kathryn and I were able to go back to the house we were renting and watch the sun set over the lake. It was the perfect break and a truly special time for Kathryn and me to slow down and appreciate the beauty of that day. It also allowed us to recharge so we could dance the night away and ring in the New Year!

Our initial reception venue cancelled about a month before our wedding. With so little time to find another venue, we decided to host the reception in Kathryn’s parents’ backyard. Although it was not our first choice, our team of wedding designers made it absolutely perfect. It was better than we ever could have imagined, and because it was at Kathryn’s parents’ house, we got to be more creative with the lighting, decorations, and furniture than we would have been able to be at another venue. Now, every time we visit Kathryn’s parents, we look at the backyard and remember how great our wedding day was.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved a lot of money by cutting the sit-down dinner and doing BBQ and taco stations instead. Also, for decor, we decorated Kathryn’s parents’ backyard with original oil paintings done by Kathryn’s aunt. We had dozens of our favorite oil paintings hanging from trees throughout the yard.

Our Southern heritage informs everything we do. From our classic bourbon and tea signature cocktail to the BBQ and grit cakes we served at the reception, to a special area of the wedding venue dedicated to smoking cigars, we tried to give all of our wedding guests a taste of the South.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many things that we loved, but my favorite was the champagne toast at midnight. We served a delicious sparking rosé via a classic champagne tower waterfall. The toast was great because everyone was crowded onto the dance floor as we wrapped our arms around each other and sang “Auld Lang Syne.”

Tell us all about the proposal! We were traveling down to Florida for Christmas. We were set to fly into Tampa, but I changed our tickets and surprised Kat with a layover for a few days in Asheville. As we were driving into Asheville, I took her to a beautiful outdoor chapel known as “Pretty Place” at the top of a mountain. I had a photographer at the back of the chapel waiting for us, so we were able to capture the entire moment. The best part was that Kathryn had no clue it was coming.
When did y’all get married? December 31, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? Kathryn and I are both Catholic, so we used the traditional marriage vows from the Catholic Church. Our ceremony was sacred and reverent, and the music was absolutely beautiful. The organist and soloist played “O Magnum Mysterium” by Lauridsen, a piece that has special significance to me. But my favorite part of the ceremony was how light and jovial it was. The hallmark came when the celebrant, a sweet old retired priest, called me Clyde instead of Chad. Everyone was dying laughing, including me.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My favorite reading was from John 17, where Jesus prays that the disciples will be one as He and the Father are one. This verse served as the inspiration for the engraving inside Kathryn’s wedding band: One Forever.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Kathryn’s father is a musician and music teacher. I also have a background in classical music, so picking the wedding music was a great opportunity for us to come together over our shared love of classical music and select pieces that we both like. We ended up going with beautiful selections by Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Kathryn and I took marriage preparation classes at the local parish in DC, where we were both living as we planned our wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Although we really want to get back to Florida in the next few years, Kathryn and I are excited about our new life together in DC. I predict lots of long walks, late-night ice cream runs, and bike rides in our future.

Photographer: The Ganeys | Planner and Florist: Ashton Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Catholic Church | Wedding Cake: J’aime Cakes | Dessert Baker: Katara Confectionery | Caterer: 4 Rivers Smokehouse | DJ: Corey Barron via Grant Hemond and Associates | Bride’s Gown: “Destiny” by Romona Keveza | Hair and Makeup: Kaitlin Lang | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Groom’s Tuxedo: Custom by Tom James Company | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Chairs, Dance Floor, and Rentals: A Chair Affair | Tent and Lighting: Premier Party | Hair and Makeup: A Cherished Bride

Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Ah! Such fun. We loved this day, and we loved working with K+C! Chad’s dinner jacket & Kat’s dress change were of our favorite moments of the night. What a way to ring in 2017!

  2. avatar Catherine reply

    I love a good DC lawyer love story, and this is a beautiful one! The groom did a wonderful job on his interview, and what a beautiful day it was!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful event! We absolutely adore Kat and Chad and feel so grateful that we could ring in the new year with them!!

  4. avatar Ivon reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! Love all the details and how well they were captured!

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