Traditionally, I love to talk about the sweet details I find within the interview portion. Like how Sara had her late father’s signet ring as her something old, or how she wrapped a piece of one of his old madras shirts around her bouquet. I’m a sucker for sentimental details, and believe me there is no shortage in Sara + TJ’s interview. But today, I absolutely can’t stop staring at the colorful fun in each and every photo from Katelyn James! Once you scroll down a bit, I’m sure you’ll understand how I feel. Stripes, monograms, navy + pink! Even striped bouquet bows! Y’all, Sara + TJ’s wedding has me wanting to don my best collared shirt, pearls and some khaki shorts just to look at this pretty day!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Something borrowed: my grandmother’s lace handkerchief, something blue: navy striped shoes, something old: my dad’s signet ring, something new: my earrings.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to Bella Rosa, a store in Richmond, with my mom, TJ’s mom, my maid of honor and three bridesmaids that were local. I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for—something simple and classic. My dress was the first one I tried on and the rest is history!
With the help of my mother-in-law, we did all of the flowers for the wedding. She did all of the table arrangements and I tied my bouquet and the bouquets for my bridesmaids. My bouquet had the most beautiful coral and white peonies and it was wrapped with a piece of one of my dad’s old madras shirts, so it was especially meaningful. The bridesmaid bouquets had sunset roses, a variety of pink garden roses, coral and white peonies, and white hydrangeas and were wrapped in navy and white striped ribbon. Navy and white stripes is my most favorite color…it should be a color.
I cannot agree more, navy + white stripes should definitely be a color!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did a first look because we wanted to be able to get lots of pictures together, while not missing out on celebrating with our guests. Also, seeing each other before the ceremony calmed both of our nerves!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved the flowers and all of my navy patterns! TJ absolutely loved his shoes!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our location at Main Street Station in Richmond was pretty Southern, in addition to the classic, preppy feel of our wedding. Lots of stripes, patterns, and color. I think the relaxed, welcoming and fun atmosphere is a hallmark of a good Southern wedding.
A mama’s girl myself, I love how Sara had her mother walk her down in the aisle in the absence of her late father. They’re smiles are so radiant!
We had one reading from Nicholas Sparks’ book The Wedding: “But love, I’ve come to understand, is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day.”
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. TJ and I met the summer after our freshman year of college. Our parents live about five minutes away from each other and we both happened to get jobs at the new restaurant down the street, Max & Erma’s. We went to neighboring high schools (our county is big) and we had similar friends, but we never knew each other. We worked together for a few months before we started dating. In August, we both went back to college—he in North Carolina at High Point University and I in Harrisonburg, Virginia at James Madison University. We had a long-distance relationship until I graduated and moved back to Richmond to attend grad school at Virginia Commonwealth University. TJ had transferred there a couple of years before. We dated for seven years before we got engaged!
Tell us all about the proposal! For my birthday, TJ planned a picnic at a winery about an hour from Richmond (King Family Vineyards), which is one of my favorite places on Earth. That Saturday morning, it was pouring and I kept saying we could reschedule for better weather, but TJ insisted and so we headed to King Family. After a tasting, TJ went and got the picnic basket that he had packed. We started to lay all of the food out on a picnic table since it was too wet to sit on the grass. A group of older adults walked into the tasting room and TJ asked if one of the gentlemen would take our picture. As he started shooting, TJ got down on one knee—and it was captured on camera! Since it was my birthday, we were going to meet up with one of my girlfriends that night in Richmond, as I thought no one else was going to be able to celebrate my birthday with me. Little did I know, TJ had planned a surprise birthday party and all of my best girlfriends were there to celebrate. It was one of the best weekends of my life!
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 150
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows, however the ceremony was deeply personal, as it was officiated by TJ’s childhood pastor, who also happens to be the father of one of his best friends.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to The Piano Guys’ version of A Thousand Years. We recessed to “Everlasting Love” by Natalie Cole—something fun and upbeat to get the party started. Our first dance was to “Whatever It Is” by Zac Brown Band, one of our most favorite bands. For our “Mom’s Dance” (my dad passed away when I was 10), we danced to “In My Life” by The Beatles, as it was one of my dad’s favorite songs and a way to remember him. We also made sure that “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show was played, as it is one of TJ’s favorite songs and our group of friends goes nuts over it.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had cupcakes from Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe, a local favorite. There were five flavors and all were delicious!!! Red velvet, scrum-delicious (chocolate cake filled with peanut butter whip frosted with butterfinger buttercream and toffee shavings), vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and strawberry cake with fresh strawberry frosting.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the guest list was one of the biggest challenges. We would have loved to invite a lot more people than we did, but the space had a limit on the number of people allowed due to fire code.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Without a doubt, I couldn’t imagine our wedding with having Katelyn and Michael there. They were absolutely fantastic. Their easygoing spirit was a blessing and the images that we will have forever are spectacular. I also LOVED the navy and white striped runners. My mom made all nine of them and they were exactly how I envisioned them to be.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Being able to celebrate with all of our closest family and friends is something that we will never forget.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take lots of deep breaths and simplify. I had a massive pinterest board, or ten, for our wedding. One day, I got so overwhelmed with all of my ideas that I just had to delete a bunch of pins and focus on what was important. It’s easy to get wrapped up in little details, but that isn’t what matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We plan on living in Richmond and tackling some DIY projects on our house, hanging out with our pups Millie and Rex, and enjoying married life.
Katelyn James is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!