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I couldn’t agree more with Janie’s advice for brides: “Your special day will be magnificent in its own right. Find the one or two wow-factors that are important to you and trust that instinct. This was a budget-friendly way for us to navigate what was imperative to our vision and what was not.” In her and Adam’s case, my guess would be that the wow factors they prioritized were their floral arrangements (brought to life by the tremendously talented team at Southern Blooms) and the slate details they incorporated. The groom himself was responsible for making the slate menu cards, table numbers, and escort cards from shingles recycled from an old local school’s roof. It was such a unique and memorable detail, and the fact that they were a DIY made them all the more special!

Thank you so much to Jen Fariello for sharing this beautiful celebration with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mother, aunt, maid of honor, and matron of honor accompanied me to Bella Rosa Bridal. I tried on seven dresses with the encouragement of those accompanying me, who used paper bridal gowns on dowel rods with feedback such as “ooh la la!” and “no way.” I knew my dress was the one I had envisioned, and was convinced that I could make it the dress of my dreams with a few custom alterations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes. In the practical sense, a first look maximized the time we had with our wedding guests. In the magical and romantic sense, most importantly, it offered us the opportunity to engage privately, prior to the ceremony. During the wedding planning process, we heard that the first look enriched the ceremony because the intimate moment together before the ceremony imparted a more robust experience of the wedding. We found this to be true for us.

Our dear friends, a married couple whom Adam and I highly regard and admire, played the processional music. For the bridal procession, “Simple Love,” a song performed by Allison Krauss, was played on the violin and guitar. We recessed to my childhood friend playing “Dancing in the Moonlight” on the guitar.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We absolutely could not have designed and executed such a stunningly beautiful wedding without the help of Shindig Weddings and Events. Meghan Streit struck the perfect and rare balance of personal interest and authentic enthusiasm for Adam and me AND effective communication, the ability to meet deadlines, and collaboration. Meghan offered incredibly creative and gorgeous ideas, which she and her Shindig team executed flawlessly. She was also budget-conscious and sensitive to our tastes, dreams, and needs. We could not possibly thank her enough!

Our venue, Gwyn Arvon, is an ancestral home, in Arvonia, Virginia. This is the place where Adam and I fell in love and spent numerous happy memories, so we hoped that adoring energy would emanate for guests at our wedding. In their own right, the home and grounds are incredibly beautiful–they was built for the purpose of showcasing Buckingham slate.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Adam’s mother died when he was sixteen years old. In her honor, we set out a chair in the first row of the ceremony. When Adam and his two brothers, who were groomsmen, walked by, they each placed a long-stemmed peony in the chair. In addition, Adam is quite handy and made slate menu cards, table numbers, and escort cards from slate shingles that once comprised the roof of a former school in Buckingham County. Anna Sisman provided calligraphy for menus, table numbers, and escort cards.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was incredibly special and memorable. Having a private moment to see one other prior to the hubbub of the day and to get grounded together in the commitment that we would be making was profoundly impactful. It was at this point that the weather began to shift from rain to sunshine, which offered us more hope for the flow of the day. It was tremendously touching to see each other after so much anticipatory build-up!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Adam and I met in a history class at the University of Virginia called “Rural Poverty in Our Time.” We knew of each other from class and around the grounds and the Corner at UVA. We reconnected through work at The Discovery School of Virginia for Boys. When I began work at The Discovery School, many youth who Adam worked with expressed to me, “You’re going to love Mr. Crist!” Little did I know, this Mr. Crist was a familiar face. We are both immensely grateful for the elapsed time between our first introduction and our sparked romance, which enabled us to become better versions of ourselves, and, in turn, better partners for each other. By our wedding date, we had been together nearly four years.
Tell us all about the proposal! Adam proposed on bended knee on February 22, 2015 under the guise of taking a photograph at Pippin Hill Vineyard. Following that, we returned home to a surprise gathering of our extended families and dinner at the Smoke House Grille in Scottsville, Virginia.
When did y’all get married? May 14, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 215
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was done by the talented Riki Tanabe of Albemarle Baking Company. It was a four-tiered cake with peonies from Southern Blooms decorating each tier. The cake featured chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and praline crunch filling and textured buttercream icing. The cake also featured vanilla cake, bavarian cream filling, and marzipan icing. We placed framed photographs of loved ones on the cake table as a “sweet” reminder of those celebrating in spirit.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Sarah Wood, our beloved officiant, was my high school chaplain and one of my field hockey coaches at Christchurch School, as well as my mentor and friend. I note that she was a “special incorporation,” because her history with me and her fast friendship with Adam made our premarital counseling, preparation for the ceremony, and the ceremony itself so much richer, and more personal and robust. Sarah recommended that we read “Life of the Beloved” by Henri Nouwen and “The Art of Being Together” by Francis H. Wade.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut costs by choosing a family-owned venue and performing the landscaping ourselves. We spent two months, with consultation by master gardener Jan Glennie-Smith, beautifying the grounds of the house. Although we worked tirelessly, we recognized that any imperfections could potentially make the outcome even sweeter. We cut costs by having close friends play the processional and recessional music, as well as by having an iPod and speakers for music at the cocktail hour.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your special day will be magnificent in its own right. Find the one or two wow-factors that are important to you and trust that instinct. This was a budget-friendly way for us to navigate what was imperative to our vision and what was not. Trust the creative expertise of your vendors!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are profoundly grateful for the wedding celebration and honeymoon that we were able to have. Now, we look forward to celebrating others’ and our own milestones and rites of passage. With our wedding ceremony behind us, we get to simply enjoy our marriage. We love the Central Virginia region that we live in and the hiking, canoeing, wineries, cideries, and breweries that it has to offer. We hope to celebrate our first anniversary with a trip to Europe.

Photographer: Jen Fariello | Planner: Shindig Weddings and Events | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Southern Blooms | Cake Baker: Albemarle Baking Company | Caterer: The Catering Outfit | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting: Skyline Tent Company | Band: The Significant Others | Paper Products: Design Corral | Bride’s Gown: “Jackie” by Paloma Blanca | Bridal Salon and Veil: Bella Rosa Bridal | Alterations: Fariba Alterations | Hair Stylist: Thairapy Salon | Makeup Artist: Carolyn Thombs | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jim Hjelm for Bella Bridesmaid | Menswear: Jos A. Bank | Ties: Peter Blair | Transportation: Albemarle Limousine | Calligraphy: Anna Sisman

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

    Yum chicken and waffles bites! Those flowers are WOW

  2. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    That headtable installation is just stunning! Love the added lighting of the hanging, geometric lanterns.

  3. avatar Sera reply

    This is gorgeous! What a beautiful backyard wedding!

  4. avatar Dougie Cameron reply

    Some great advice here for those working to a tight budget.

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When you combine a family farm, fluffy spring blooms, and a couple that is clearly smitten with one another, you know a wedding is going to be a good one, and that is certainly the case for Julie and Jonathan! Even though they were planning their wedding during a super busy season of life, they were dedicated to preparing for marriage and incorporating as many intentional moments into their celebration as they could. Some of those were planned, like their first look and foot washing ceremony, while others were a surprise–Julie was shocked when she and her parents rounded the corner to find Jonathan singing and playing her processional song on guitar at the other end of the aisle!

Thanks so much to Bella Grace Studios for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. A few months after the engagement, Jonathan’s parents invited my parents and I to a short vacation in Destin, Florida. That week, we had so much fun cooking meals together and relaxing on the beach. Later on in the week, when rain came our way, I decided that I wanted to go dress shopping while I had both my mom and my soon-to-be mother-in-law in one place. It was such a sweet time together. I only tried on three dresses, and the last dress (which my mother-in-law picked off the rack for me) was everything I had ever wanted. I never thought I would pick a dress that quickly, but my mother-in-law knew me better than I had expected!

Jonathan and I chose to do a first look. It was just us and our photographer on a nearby road nestled under a tunnel of trees. In all honesty, I was very skeptical about the first look, because I thought it would take the “wow factor” away when I walked down the aisle. But oh, how wrong I was! It ended up being one of the best decisions we made during the day and made everything so stress-free. Plus, little did I know that the “wow factor” wasn’t missing in the least–as I turned the corner to walk down the aisle, my groom was singing/playing my favorite song to me as I walked closer to becoming his wife.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our song is “My Only Love” by Matt Maher, and we had planned on Andrew, the best man playing and singing it as I walked down the aisle. But Jonathan surprised me, and he sang and played it instead! Oh my heart!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The best detail of our wedding was the two old doors and rug that served as our “spot” at the ceremony. We loved how the doors and floral arrangements on top framed us perfectly and contrasted so well with the lush green trees behind them. We get to keep those doors in our family now, and the rug sits in our apartment. We plan for that to always be in our home as a sweet reminder of where we stood when we became husband and wife.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Jonathan’s favorite part of my vows was, “I promise to always set my affection and devotion on you as we both pour out our love on the feet of Jesus together for the rest of our lives.” My favorite part of Jonathan’s vows: “Julie, my bride, my dear, to God and to you, I vow to say yes to you for the rest of my life. To dream with you not only of places we want to go, but also of the miraculous things we want to see God do.”

The most memorable moment of our wedding day for both of us was washing each other’s feet during our ceremony. Not only because Jonathan’s feet stunk (SO BAD), but mostly because of the symbolism it was for us and our relationship. We were following the example that Jesus left for His disciples when he humbled Himself to wash their feet, to serve them, and love them when they didn’t deserve to experience that type of love from the King of Kings. We feel that way about our relationship; we have done nothing to deserve the sweet love and affection God has given us for each other, so we want to be good stewards of that gift and serve each other in love for the rest of our lives. When I was washing his feet, I began to weep, and realized what a gift Jonathan really has been to me, and he felt the same. Such a sweet moment.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were soft and full with a muted color palette that matched the atmosphere we created perfectly. I had white and peach roses with soft green dusty miller greenery in my bouquet, while the bridesmaids had assorted white roses and soft greenery in theirs. My sweet florist made a flower crown for me to wear for the reception as well. The men wore eucalyptus boutonnieres and Jonathan had a white rose added to his, which contrasted so well with his scruffy beard. In addition to the bridal party flowers, a close friend and I arranged a huge assortment of flowers on top of two old painted doors that we used at the ceremony. That was such a fun DIY to tackle together.

Our ceremony and reception were both held at a family farm outside of Lexington, Kentucky. It was significant because it was in my hometown, and family and friends from college were all close by. The reason we chose the venue was because we knew and trusted the family that owned the farm, and it would allow us to have the outdoor wedding and barn reception that we wanted, all in the same place. We were very happy that it was away from the city as well, so there were no loud noises or distractions.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jonathan and I met through mutual friends during my first week of college. He is a year older than me, and I thought that the group of guys he ran around with were so funny–there is never a dull moment with that crew. He grew up in the Nashville area and came to Kentucky for college, so we had so much to talk about and learn from each other. Neither of us was looking for anything serious, but I knew that he wasn’t just any guy. As we spent more and more time together, we became best friends. He asked me to be his girl and the rest is history. Three and a half years later, I still get butterflies when I’m on my way to see him!
Tell us all about the proposal! We spent our last summer in college apart–Jonathan was working at Spring Hill Camps in Cincinnati, Ohio and I was an intern at Compassion International in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While we were both living out dreams and having the best summers of our lives, we would talk over FaceTime each night and say “I miss you” way too many times to count. At the end of the summer, I was about to start my journey back to Kentucky, so Jonathan flew out to help me with the 20-hour drive! Before we left Colorado, I told him that I wanted to take him to my favorite spot I had explored over the summer, Dream Lake in Estes Park. We had the best day talking about our summers and just enjoying each other’s company as we hiked up to the magical spot that I was so in love with. We got to the lake, and after taking in the view, I turned around and he was on his knee asking me to marry him. I cried and said yes! Little did I know that two sweet friends I made that summer were recording and photographing the entire thing! Jonathan had been planning it for months. He is just the best.
When did y’all get married? May 28, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275 sweet friends and family!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had four flavors of wedding cake served at our reception: lemon, chocolate mousse, strawberry, and bourbon, of course, since we were in Kentucky!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are so blessed to have amazing examples of marriage in both of our lives, so we felt very prepared going into all of this! We went through marriage counseling with our mentors, who we have know for our entire season of dating. They walked us through “The Mingling of Two Souls” by Matt and Lauren Chandler and had endless conversations with us covering principles of marriage that you might not always see from the outside. They prayed with us and over us and continue to challenge and encourage us!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One thing I did to save money was to do all of the hair and makeup myself! The morning of the wedding was so fun–we relaxed and the bridesmaids did each other’s makeup while I curled everyone’s hair, including my own. I’ve always been notorious for playing with my friends’ hair while hanging out, so why would I do it any differently on my wedding day?
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Spread out the planning so you can enjoy it! I had so much fun slowly checking things off my list–setting deadlines in a planner (I used the Southern Wedding Planner!) is great way to not get overwhelmed. Also, allow people to help. I’m a designer, so I love making things by myself, but some of my favorite memories were painting old doors with friends and going shopping with my mom and making decisions with her. Wedding planning can and should bring you closer to the people around you–they want to celebrate this season of your life with you and your fiancé!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are making our home in Franklin, Tennessee, where we both work and live. We are looking forward to traveling together, learning from our mistakes and victories, and serving the community around us as our marriage and family grow. We also can’t wait to see Tennessee beat Kentucky in football for years to come.

Photographer: Bella Grace Studios | Venue and Catering: Gilkison Farm | Florist: Chambliss Designs | Wedding Cake: Sweet Lilu’s Catering | Rentals: Bryant’s Rent-All | DJ: Chase Scott | Vows Books: Seliz Design | Bride’s Gown: “KP3695” by David’s Bridal | Veil: “WPD16266M” by David’s Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: “Kivah” by INC International Concepts | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Midi Bandeau” by ASOS | Groom’s Attire: Levi’s | Bow Ties: “BC578ST” by The Tie Bar

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    What a sweet proposal story!

  2. avatar Josh Merideth reply

    Thank you so much for sharing… Such a sweet beautiful couple!!

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Such an adorable bride and groom, Loved all the photos!

    We at http://poemstogo.tv wish them a lifetime of love and happiness xxxoo

  4. avatar Julie Hay reply

    here is our proposal video too! :)

  5. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    Bella Grace Studios did a fantastic job capturing this couple! I can feel their genuinely sweet spirits flowing off the screen.

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In 2015, we featured 187 beautiful, meaningful Southern weddings here on our blog. Every single one was SO special to us–it’s truly an honor to learn about each couple’s story, and the fact that they so generously invite us into this precious day of their lives is something we never take lightly. Every year, we love going back through each wedding (yup, every single one!) to round up some of the most unique, memorable details–those things that even months later, we remember the most vividly. I’m kicking things off today with my personal favorite category: bridal looks! A wedding dress holds a whole story within itself–the moment the bride realized it was the one for her, the second her groom sees her in it for the first time, and so much more. We love the way these ladies chose dresses, accessories, hair styles, and makeup that perfectly complemented the styles of their weddings and added to the stories of their wedding days. Without further ado, our most memorable bridal looks of 2015!

Allison‘s Gatsby-esque Jenny Packham (photo by Alisha Crossley)

Jessica‘s sparkly Hayley Paige (photo by Tracy Enoch)

Ellen‘s champagne Monique Lhuillier with delicate beading (photo by Mary Rosenbaum)

Lacy‘s undeniably classic, feminine style, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn (photo by Archetype Studio)

Lindsay‘s heirloom gown and lace appliqué veil (photo by Natalie Watson)

Mare‘s classic Southern belle style (photo by Brian Flint)

Mary Catherine‘s dramatic silk Le Spose di Giò (photo by Paperlily Photography)

Abigail‘s Tara Keely gown, complete with a big Southern bow (photo by Michelle Lyerly)

Anna‘s embellished and ruffled St. Pucchi (photo by Amy Arrington Photography)

Catherine‘s custom Heidi Elnora (photo by Mike Cassimatis)

Tracy Enoch and Amy Arrington Photography are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    that sparkly hailey page…so beautiful! But all of these are just stunning. What lucky brides!

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