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I’m not sure anything makes a wedding celebration more special (or Southern!) than when family is weaved through the entire thing! Such was certainly the case for Katie and Alex, starting with their ceremony venue–these two followed in Katie’s parents’ footsteps by getting married at the University of Virginia chapel. Along with drawing inspiration from their families for their wedding details (they especially loved their family photo display and the groom’s cake designed in honor of their dog!), Katie and Alex’s loved ones also came through in a big way to bring this special day to life. The perfect example: when they couldn’t make it to Virginia a month before the wedding to bury the bourbon, Katie’s cousin took the task into her own hands! As you can see in these photos by Rachel May, the tradition was a great success, leading to many new family memories being created as Katie and Alex celebrated their marriage.

P.S. Don’t miss the stories of Alex’s Christmas proposal or Katie’s most memorable wedding day moment below–both are stories for the books!

The vendor that truly set our wedding apart from others was the very talented Kristy Rice from Momental Designs. Her team hand-painted all of our save the dates, invitations, ceremony programs, menu cards, table numbers, and welcome bag inserts. The designs they created for us were works of art that not only captured Charlottesville’s beauty, but also told our story as a couple. I also have to mention Jodi Macfarlan, who did the stunning calligraphy for our seating chart and place cards at the reception. Her work is seriously the prettiest calligraphy I have ever seen, and her ability to match the designs of our paper goods was beyond impressive.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did not have something borrowed, blue, old, and new. My mom told me that she didn’t partake in the tradition when she got married, and my parents have been married for over thirty-five years, so I didn’t feel the need to either!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It has always been a struggle for me to find dresses that fit well, so to be honest, I was sort of dreading the whole process. My parents were planning a trip from Atlanta to Houston to meet AY’s parents for the first time, so I thought it would be the perfect time to look for a dress with both of our moms and his sisters. We went to Ivory Bridal Atelier in Houston and I tried on several dresses. While every dress the store had was so beautiful, nothing seemed to fit me the right way. Just as I was losing hope, the store manager mentioned that a Fall 2015 Anne Barge dress had just come in. At first glance, I wasn’t in love–it was a light blush color and had an antique look to it. I wanted an ivory dress, but at that point, I was willing to give it a shot. As soon as I stepped into the gown, I got that first feeling of “this might be the one.” It had all this gorgeous lace on the bodice and at the very bottom of the dress. When I saw the matching veil, I was blown away. I knew this was my dress when I found out that I could order it in ivory! With a few magic touches from Linda’s Couture Alterations in Houston, it became everything I was hoping for. Looking back on the whole wedding planning process, dress shopping was absolutely one of my favorite memories and is such a special occasion that every bride should look forward to!

Our fabulous wedding planner, Cody Grannis of Amore Events, created the bouquets for the wedding party and the floral arrangements for the reception. Cody did an amazing job arranging different types of roses with dark greenery to accentuate the light pink in the bridesmaids’ dresses and really make them pop. For my bouquet, I wanted something that looked natural and almost messy, as if the flowers were picked from a wild garden. It came out even better than I had envisioned and was truly unlike any bouquet I’d ever seen. The flowers for the ceremony were designed by Amy Webb from Blue Ridge Floral Design. Amy completely got my vision when I told her that I wanted to have an entrance for the Chapel unlike anything that has ever been done there before. She created this gorgeous floral arch with white roses and greenery that surrounded the front doors of the Chapel. It was such a dreamy piece that perfectly established the entire look and feel for our ceremony.

The most memorable moment for me was seeing my grandfather at the front of the Chapel. My grandfather suffers from Parkinson’s and had a few rough days leading up to the wedding–so rough that we were concerned he might not be able to make it to the ceremony. When I met AY at the altar, I looked to my right and saw a light shining through the stained glass windows of the dark chapel right onto my grandfather. Tears immediately came to my eyes. It was such an unforgettable moment because it was everything that my family had been praying for leading up to the wedding. That same light beam later moved over to me and AY, shining down on us as we said our vows. I remember hearing gasps from the congregation right when it happened, and several guests even came up to us afterwards asking if we had planned it, but perfection like that can only be explained as a gift from above!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? This is an easy one! My parents also graduated from the University of Virginia and were married at the University Chapel on June 28, 1981, so from the moment AY and I started dating during college, I dreamed of following in their footsteps. The University Chapel is so beautiful and rich in history and is such a meaningful place for my family–I really couldn’t imagine us getting married anywhere else. For the reception venue, Charlottesville has so many stunning venues for brides to choose from. AY and I wanted to pick somewhere memorable to us from our time together at UVA. Wine tasting at King Family Vineyards was always one of our favorite activities, and, their views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are breathtaking and second to none!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Is it okay if we have two favorites? A detail we were really excited about was the Moscow mules, which were passed during cocktail hour. Served in a cute copper mug, they seem to always bring smiles to faces. That’s how we knew Moscow mules would be the perfect signature drink for our wedding–plus, they are also really refreshing on a hot summer day! Another detail that was definitely a wow-factor was the wedding memory table, a display of old family wedding photographs designed by my mother. It was a special way to remember our history and give a presence to our loved ones who have passed. It turned out so beautifully and was something our guests really enjoyed.

A Southern tradition we included in our wedding was burying the bourbon, believed by Southerners to keep the rain away. I tend to worry about silly things like the weather, so when I heard about this tradition, I had to find a way to make it happen, especially because every wedding planner will tell you that Charlottesville weather is the most unpredictable. My cousin and a bridesmaid in our wedding, Jayne Anne, is currently a student at UVA, and offered to bury the bourbon for us at King Family Vineyards, as we live in Dallas, Texas and couldn’t find time to make the trip. In true UVA fashion, she chose to bury Jefferson Reserve, and exactly a month later, we had the most beautiful weather for our big day. To Jayne Anne’s surprise, AY and I asked her to do the honors and dig up the bourbon at the reception, too! We owed her big time for bringing us sunny skies and high-70 temperatures at the end of June! It was such a funny sight to see Jayne Anne trying to dig up the bourbon with the massive shovel provided by King Family–an image we will continue to laugh about for years to come! Once the bourbon was retrieved, AY and I said cheers with two antique sterling silver shot glasses from Tiffany’s, given to us by my mother as a wedding present a few days before the wedding. Each shot glass had our new initials engraved on the front and are keepsakes we will forever cherish in remembrance of the tradition.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Especially when times get stressful, try to remember what the day is really about. A dear friend of mine would remind of that by saying, “No more or no less married” when I would start to worry or compare our wedding with others. It’s easy to get wrapped up in it all and lose sight of what’s really important, but your wedding will be perfect in its own way. As you make it about the love that you have for each other, it will, without a doubt, be the best day of your life.

The cake mastermind, Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations, made both our wedding and groom’s cakes. Our wedding cake was a four-tiered cake with roses and gold leaf flakes decorating the rim of each tier. The cake flavors were hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting and vanilla butter cake with French vanilla buttercream. I was so blown away by our wedding cake–it was beautiful inside and out and looked like something out of a magazine! Our groom’s cake was designed to look like AY’s beloved family dog, Ellie B. Young, who wasn’t able to travel to Charlottesville to celebrate with us. The cake was around two feet tall and featured chocolate cake with Oreo chocolate icing. It was such a sweet surprise for the Youngs that Ellie B. could make an appearance at the wedding, even if it was just in cake form! Having parents that grew up in Charlottesville, there are several local spots that are sentimental for my family. One of those places is The White Spot located on the Corner. It serves an infamous dessert called the “Grillswith,” a grilled and butter-brushed Krispy Kreme donut with vanilla ice cream on top. Our caterer, C&O Restaurant, replicated the recipe perfectly and served Grillswiths to our guests as the late night snack at the reception. I swear, I’ve never seen people react in such a way to a dessert! Everyone couldn’t stop talking about how delicious they were and it was definitely a fun treat for our guests who also know and love The White Spot.

Our first dance was to “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” by The Tams. We thought this song was perfect for us, as AY’s last name (and now mine) is Young. The song also has a great Motown beat and is super easy to dance to!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first met at the Foxfield Races, an annual horse race in Charlottesville, during our first year at the University of Virginia. I was introduced to him as “AY,” short for Alex Young, and continue to call him AY to this day. We really didn’t get to know each other until we had a class together our second year. He was in the 8:00 A.M. class section of Commerce 180 and I was in the later section that everyone wanted to be in at 11:00. On the first day of class, AY slept in and missed his section, so he snuck into the later one. During the class, our professor asked the students to divide into groups for the semester. To this day, I can still picture the moment AY walked down the classroom hallway over to me and nervously asked to be in my group. I told him that he had to ask the professor for permission, once he admitted to being in the earlier section. Thankfully, the professor said yes, because I truly believe that our love story began with that study group. I spent more time laughing at his terrible jokes than actually doing work, but I also got to see what a great guy he was…and, he did most of the work. We were both dating other people at the time, but we became great friends because of the class. We finally started dating a month before graduation, and have been together since!
Tell us all about the proposal! AY came to Atlanta to spend Christmas with my family. On Christmas morning, he pulled me aside and told me that I needed to open my present early. He described it as “Christmas-y” and hinted that he wanted me to have a chance to use it before the day was over. He handed me a medium-sized box, and inside were six ornaments holding pictures of special moments during our relationship. I thought it was such a sweet present and understood why he wanted me to open it early. As I started to hang the picture ornaments on my parents’ Christmas tree, AY mentioned that he forgot to include one ornament in the box before he wrapped it. He hung the last ornament on the tree and asked me to look at the picture. Busy trying to find vacant spots on our very full tree, I just said, “Oh, that’s very cute” without really examining the picture. AY laughed and told me to look closer. When I did, I screamed, as I realized it was a picture of AY down on one knee in front of his family’s Christmas tree back home! He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him in front of my family, who ran into the room as soon as they heard me scream. My mom was just as surprised as I was–she thought we had knocked over the Christmas tree!
When did y’all get married? June 25, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Having a male vocalist sing “Ave Maria” by J.S. Bach was one of the most important parts of the ceremony for us. My grandfather, who was a professor at UVA and a big reason why I went to school there, has always loved that song. His father (my great-grandfather) was a self-taught opera singer and sang “Ave Maria” at my grandparents’ wedding. We hoped it would evoke special memories, while also creating new ones for our families, and it certainly did!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Father Stephen Alcott, a priest from my grandparents’ church in Charlottesville, officiated our ceremony. Leading up to the wedding, AY and I met with Father Stephen several times for marital guidance and counseling. I would definitely encourage other couples to do so as well. Getting to know Father Stephen better and talking through our plan as a married couple put us completely at ease during our ceremony, allowing us to really enjoy and appreciate the moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We were very fortunate to have a wonderful wedding and a dream-come-true honeymoon. Now that we are officially the Youngs, we are looking forward to having some down time and getting the chance to be newlyweds. I also have to admit that our wedding diet kept us from trying the hot new restaurants in town, so we are pretty excited about not having to be good anymore!

Photographer: Rachel May Photography | Planner and Florist: Amore Events | Ceremony Venue: University of Virginia Chapel | Reception Venue: King Family Vineyards | Ceremony Florals: Blue Ridge Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Maliha Creations | Caterer: C&O Restaurant | Rentals: MS Events | Lanterns: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting | Cocktail Hour Guitarist: Peter Richardson | Band: Attraction via Sam Hill Entertainment | Calligrapher: Jodi Macfarlan Calligraphy and Joie de Vivre Calligraphy | Paper Products: Momental Designs | Bride’s Gown and Veil: “Avallon” by Anne Barge | Bridal Salon: Ivory Bridal Atelier | Bridal Gown Alterations: Linda’s Couture Alterations | Bride’s Hair Piece: Lila Accessories | Hair Stylist: Brianna B. Adams | Makeup Artist: Gohar Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Bellini by Amsale | Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids | Groom’s Tuxedo: Suit Supply | Groom’s Cuff Links: Ledbury | Groom’s Bow Tie: The Cordial Churchman | Bride’s Robe: Girl with a Serious Dream | Bridesmaids’ Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Erwin Pearl | Maid of Honor’s Hair Accessory: Twigs & Honey | Bouquet Ribbon: Silk & Willow | Wedding Dress Hanger: Poppy and Scooter | Custom Napkins and Drink Stirrers: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine and Albemarle Limousine | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Stage: Skyline Tent Company

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Rachel May reply

    Thank you so much for the feature! It’s an honor to be on the SW blog! :)

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I can’t think of a lovelier way to start the week than Kelly and Chris’ bright, joyful Charlottesville wedding! Kelly is a talented food blogger and one of our Southern Bride Bloggers, so we already knew she had an eye for fun details and a love of all things colorful. That cheery aesthetic combined with the sweet touches she had always dreamed of including in her wedding (like walking down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”), nods to her and Chris’ love story (they got engaged in Charlottesville and hope to call it home someday, too!), and plenty of Southern goodness (ahem, ham biscuits), made for quite the celebration, as well as the sweetest setting for Kelly and Chris to become husband and wife!

Thank you so much to our dear friend Jodi Miller for sharing this fun day with us!

We had so many beautiful details, but I absolutely LOVED our wedding paper! The invitations were really important to us, as this is the first glimpse guests have into your big day, so I wanted to make them extra special. So many details went into these beauties, including custom calligraphy, hand-painted watercolor, gold foil, and pretty ribbon, all tied together in peony colored envelopes with vintage stamps. I’m still getting compliments on our invites to this day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After visiting about 10 different dress boutiques and still feeling disappointed, I randomly came across the designer Augusta Jones at a trunk show and fell in love! The detail of the lace she used was just exquisite and so romantic, I knew I had to have one of her dresses. Well, when I went to try on a few, I was completely torn between two–I loved the top part of one dress that had this gorgeous neckline with lace falling across the shoulders, but the bottom of another dress. When I shared my dilemma with the stylist, she informed me that Augusta Jones loves doing custom orders, so they could combine both and give me my dream dress! I cried right there on the spot and knew I had found the “one!”

Describe your wedding flowers. Oh, our flowers! I knew from the beginning of the wedding planning process that our florals would be one of the most important details that we wanted to showcase, and Southern Blooms certainly delivered! I chose an array of peaches, pinks, and golds with lots of lush greenery, and I literally cried when I saw my bouquet for the first time. It was full of garden roses, beautiful peonies, and ranunculus, with eucalyptus leaves and vines cascading down, all wrapped up in long, gorgeous ribbon. Our farm head table had this amazing floral runner with tons of candles on it, and the guests’ tables had tall candelabras with overflowing flowers on the top. It was simply magical!

At first, we were against doing a first look, as Chris was adamant about not wanting to see me until I walked down the aisle. After talking it over and knowing we wanted to make the most of our amazing photographers, as well as enjoy cocktail hour with our guests, we decided on doing a first look, which ended up being a huge blessing. We were able to get so many gorgeous photos outside at the vineyard before it poured on us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Charlottesville, Virginia is such a special place to us, as we are huge UVA fans. Some of our first dates were spent drinking wine at the vineyards, and it was also where Chris proposed, so it was pretty much a given that we were going to plan our wedding there! Veritas Winery was the first place I looked, and not only did it have some of the most gorgeous mountain views, but the ballroom absolutely blew me away. It reminded me of a tented reception, which is something I had always envisioned for our wedding, with its floor-to-ceiling white drapery. Needless to say, we signed a contract that day and I never even looked anywhere else!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge actually didn’t come until the day-of! We had gorgeous weather all day, but we knew Tropical Storm Bill was expected to hit us right around 6 P.M. when the wedding was about to start. Sadly, we had to make the call that afternoon to have the ceremony inside so that the florist could set everything up for the ceremony, even though the weather was absolutely beautiful at the time. Luckily, we had amazingly talented people who were able to make the ballroom look so breathtaking, and we were still able to overlook the mountains, as we were married right in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always envisioned a beautifully classic wedding ceremony that included Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” The bridesmaids all walked down to an instrumental version of “A Thousand Years,” but when Pachelbel’s Canon started, it was the first time that day that I was instantly brought to tears. My dad and I waited a few seconds to walk so that I could take in that special moment and reflect on what was to come. It truly made our wedding complete and is something I’ll always remember!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To maintain that Southern feel, we had his and hers signature cocktails named “The Belle” and “The Beau,” the guys all wore pink bow ties, and we served delicious Virginia baked ham biscuits with apple glaze during cocktail hour, which really made us feel at home! We also had a drink station set up for guests with sweet tea, lemonade, and water with fresh cucumber and mint, and our welcome bags had local Southern fare that our guests absolutely loved!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Charlottesville has some amazing local vendors, so we were able to cut transportation and delivery costs by using them. My talented cousin designed some of our beautiful signage and our florist re-purposed the ceremony flowers and bridesmaid bouquets at the reception, which saved us lots of money!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your wedding is only ONE day, but your marriage lasts forever! I had to continually remind myself of this throughout the planning process, as I’m super detail-oriented and would start to obsess over how the napkins were to be folded, if I should have ribbon or greenery at each place setting, where the cakes should be displayed, etc. At the end of the day, no one noticed the extra ribbon, nor did they care how the napkins were folded, but everyone had the most amazing time and we have so many memories that we will carry with us forever!

We chose to have three mini cakes that varied in size and were adorned with gorgeous greenery and flowers. They were displayed on a gold sequined overlay, which really made them stand out. We also have a close friend who owns her own donut truck, and she surprised us with over 200 cinnamon apple donuts for our guests!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I were introduced at a Rascal Flatts concert in 2010. We literally danced the night away and I was instantly smitten! Ironically, I found out that not only did we have many friends in common, but he had grown up in the same town as I did my entire life, and we were even born in the same hospital only 10 days apart! I knew we were meant to be.
Tell us all about the proposal! Chris and I absolutely love Virginia wine country and Charlottesville is one place that is near and dear to our hearts. Knowing this, Chris planned a special trip to Trump Winery on Thanksgiving weekend, which wasn’t out of the ordinary, since we go so often and he knew our family would all be in town. When we got there, we found a cozy little spot outside by a fire that sat us all, and Chris wanted to get a picture of us in front of the beautiful scenery. When we posed for the picture, which unbeknownst to me was actually a video, he got down on one knee in front of our friends and family and asked me to marry him! It was the perfect proposal and a moment I’ll never forget!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We were both so nervous that we decided not to write our own vows, but we did write personal letters to each other to read before the ceremony, which was very special to us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My absolute favorite verses have always been 1 Corinthians 13:4-12 and Ephesians 4:2 which, to me, sum up the beauty of true, unconditional love. I think it’s so important for our marriage that our love continues to grow through our shared love for God.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Praying with each other daily is really important in our relationship, and has only brought us closer together as a couple. We also have some amazing people in our lives who model what a true happy and healthy marriage should look like, so we hope to follow in their footsteps!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Oh goodness, ALL of our vendors were absolutely amazing and I loved everyone that we worked with, but we were truly blessed to have some amazing planners! Ainsley and Wendy of Fete Weddings became such close friends to us throughout the entire process and truly went above and beyond all that was asked of them. For instance, one of our wedding guests had a strap that broke on her dress, and without hesitation, Ainsley whipped out a sewing kit from her apron and fixed it right there on the spot! I couldn’t have asked for better girls to work with and I knew we were in such great hands!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living in our first home together in Northern Virginia with our sweet pup Oliver, but our dream is to build a home in Charlottesville for our future family. We’re also looking forward to welcoming our second niece into the family and spending lots of time with them!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? One thing that was really special for me was that my brother, who is in the U.S. Marine Corps, was able to fly all the way from Japan, where he is currently stationed, to be at our wedding. I only get to see him maybe once year if I’m lucky, so having him be apart of everything was truly a blessing!

Photographer: Jodi Miller Photography / Planner: Fete Weddings / Venue and Caterer: Veritas Vineyards & Winery / Florist: Southern Blooms / Cake Baker: Sweethaus / Rentals: BB&J Linens / DJ: Roger Cruz of Astro Entertainment / Signage: The Paper Walrus / Paper Products and Calligraphy: Goodheart Design / Bride’s Gown: Custom by Augusta Jones / Bride’s Shoes and Jewelry: Kate Spade / Hair and Makeup: Ave 42 / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Morgan”, “Sarah” and “Rhea” in Blush, Honeysuckle and Peach Fuzz by Donna Morgan / Menswear: Jean Yves / Laser-Cut Wooden Tags: Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Jodi Miller Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, and Donna Morgan is a delightful SW sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Blooms by Pat’s Floral Designs reply

    We are so excited to see Kelly and Chris featured today! Kelly was a dream bride – great ideas, a love of color, and so much enthusiasm for life. We are honored to have been included in the spectacular team that was assembled for this gorgeous day!

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    […] Pink Watercolor invitation by Goodheart Design, photo by Jodi Miller Photography via Southern Weddings […]

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