It’s hard for me not to feel akin to couples whose love stories mirror my own a little…reading their interviews quickly takes me back to my own perfect day eight years ago. I always feel this way with college sweethearts in particular, but never have I run into a story quite as similar to mine as Kelsey and Kevin’s. From college baseball to time in the minor leagues, and even sharing the same “most memorable moment” on our respective wedding days (be sure to read below to find out what that is!), I might have had to do a double-take while reading their interview. Unlike my wedding, on the other hand, Kelsey and Kevin’s Virginia wedding was filled with beautiful blue hues and gold and ivory accents. Eucalyptus, dusty miller, thistle, and cappuccino roses were used in the florals (created by Kevin’s cousin) to achieve a romantic and organic feel that perfectly complemented their venue, Castle Hill Cider. Making their day even sweeter, guests traveled from over ten states to celebrate with them, leaving them humbled to have all of the people they love together as they became husband and wife!
Big SW hugs to Michael and Carina for sharing this lovely day with us!
When it comes to growing up in the South, family is always number one. Although Kevin is from New Jersey, this was something I realized and loved about him and his family just as I had known it with my own. We chose to have a small wedding party–my sister was the maid of honor and Kevin’s sister was my bridesmaid. Kevin’s brother was his best man and his brother-in-law was a groomsman. We wanted all aspects of the weekend and that day to be about our family, who had supported us and believed in us over the past eight years.
I never ever thought we would do a first look. I had always dreamed about the feeling that the bride and groom have when they see each other for the first time when the bride is walking down the aisle. But, when the sun sets at 5 P.M. and your ceremony is at 4, you quickly realize you will not have enough sunlight following the ceremony to get all of the pictures you want. The first lesson of marriage, I guess–compromise! The first look was really beautiful and still felt extremely special and intimate. It was a cool November day with just enough afternoon sun to keep us from feeling the chill. Our pictures are incredible and it was worth doing a first look to have the lifelong treasures of our photographs.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? When we were planning our ceremony, we decided on personalized vows that blended some traditional pieces with some lines we felt strongly about. It definitely took some research, both online and in books, as well as some ideas from our officiant to create something that seemed right for the two of us. Our vows included the following: “I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle; I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard; I promise to trust you and honor you; I promise to cherish you and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today and all the days of my life.”
We were so happy and honored to have Kevin’s cousin, Kathy, be our florist. I never thought it would be possible since she lives in New Jersey, so when she offered, we both felt such overwhelming gratitude and excitement. It was so special to have family involved with the wedding. Kathy is so talented and her work is stunning. I knew she understood my vision and I was blown away on the day of our wedding–we could not have loved them more.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We actually visited Castle Hill about a month before we were engaged. We took my mom on a weekend trip for her birthday and decided to stop by because none of us had been there before, and we had heard great things about the cider. I can remember the four of us sitting outside, enjoying a glass of Big Pippin and talking about how beautiful it was there. We had always planned to get married in the Charlottesville area, so when the time came to choose a venue, it seemed like the perfect fit. We loved the idea of being able to have the ceremony in the loft and the reception downstairs in the main barn area. The view from Castle Hill of the Blue Ridge (not to mention the drive in) really captured what we wanted our out-of-town guests to experience when they came to Virginia.
Our wedding cake was funfetti, but a little amped up! Our amazing baker went above and beyond to make the groom’s funfetti dreams come true. The cake was three tiers and featured a Bavarian cream filling and a vanilla buttercream with rainbow sprinkles cascading down.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We really enjoyed the moments after we were announced as husband and wife, immediately following the ceremony, when we were in the suite while guests went downstairs for cocktail hour. We were surrounded by our families and there was no shortage of smiles and the happiest tears. Those few minutes of just being able to breathe, hold on to one another, and soak in the moment is something we will always cherish.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Kevin and I met at UVA. Kevin was on the baseball team and a few of his teammates lived on the first floor of my dorm. I was on the dance team and had to move in early too, so they were some of the first people I met when I got there. Kevin and I started off as acquaintances, but by the end of spring semester, we went on our first few dates after I boldly reached out to him via AOL Instant Messenger (we still laugh about it to this day!). Mostly, our first dates were spent going to Blockbuster (Kevin is a huge movie buff) or walking to “the Corner” by campus to grab lunch between classes. When Kevin was drafted to the minor leagues following our third year at UVA, we began the long-distance stint of our relationship and were finally reunited in Charlottesville in the fall of 2014, when Kevin came back to finish his degree and work as a student coach at Virginia.
Tell us all about the proposal! Kevin proposed on a Saturday evening after I had been out running errands with my mom all day. My parents were renovating their kitchen, so we had a girls day–went to brunch, got our nails done, went and looked at light fixtures–all of that good stuff. When I got home, I was pretty tired and went to relax before we were headed out to see my sister later that evening. Kevin appeared, and at the time, I thought he had been out playing golf that day. He quickly said that, “he couldn’t lie” about playing golf and pulled out the ring to propose. I was in shock! He confessed that he and my dad had been out together that day ring shopping, and although he had made plans to propose the following weekend at the UVA homecoming football game in Charlottesville with all of our friends, the ring burned a hole in his pocket within the few hours he had it. I’m sure he had a good plan in place, but I would not trade the way it ended up happening for anything else. It was perfect.
When did y’all get married? November 12, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Shopping for my wedding dress was surprisingly easy and stress-free, mostly because Annalise Bridal Boutique (and the owner, Lindsey) was an absolute dream to work with. It was a snowy Sunday morning in February when my parents, sister, grandmother and I went into the city for my appointment. I tried on maybe six or seven dresses, but knew which one I loved the most all along. The dress checked all of my boxes, and once we added the cathedral veil, I knew that it was the one. We were also able to FaceTime my then-future mother-in-law and sister-in-law to share the good news with them, and I couldn’t hold back the tears!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a guitarist, which created a beautiful experience in the candlelit loft. Our guitarist provided us a breadth of unique selections. For the family and bridesmaid processional, we chose J.S. Bach’s “Sleepers Awake.” For the bridal processional, we chose “Wild Mountain Thyme,” and for the recessional, “The Mysterious Barricades” by F. Couperin. We both love country music, so our first dance song was “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young. At the reception, we had an awesome DJ who really understood the crowd and how to keep everyone up and dancing. We had a really fun group of guests, who would have likely been up there no matter what was played, but our DJ did a perfect job playing a great mix of music that all could enjoy. The crowd favorite was “Sweet Caroline” which most people know anyways, but it is a regularly played song at UVA sporting events, so our guests really got into it!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! I wore a gold and pearl bracelet from my Nana. For my something blue, my Nana gave me an embroidered handkerchief as a gift, and she also gave me an ivory handkerchief that belonged to her mother, my great-grandmother. My something new was my wedding dress and veil.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? You hear it from so many people when you start planning your wedding, but our biggest challenge was probably the guest list. When you have been dating as long as we had, you’ve been through so many stages and milestones in your life, both individually and together. Because of this, our first take at a guest list really added up. We had always imagined having an intimate wedding, so we had to work really hard to make the invitation numbers reasonable.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? To save money, we ordered glass vases from the Dollar Tree to use as our candle holders in the loft. We were also able to bulk order the larger pillar candles, as well as the votives for the reception, and transitioned the ceremony candles from the loft down to the reception afterwards.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My biggest suggestion for anyone planning a wedding that is not where they currently live would be to hire a wedding planner. Our planner, who happened to be a friend from college, was my saving grace. I was traveling for work right before the wedding too, which could have added serious stress to the situation, but Maureen took care of everything with such grace and professionalism. I know we could not have done it without her.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are really looking forward to making our new house our home. We watch way too much HGTV and are excited to start making our own list of what we want to tackle next, as husband and wife.
Photographer: Michael and Carina Photography | Videographer: Danny Freshley of Altamira Film Co. | Planner: Maureen McKenna of Just a Little Ditty | Venue: Castle Hill Cider | Florist: Kathy Lynn Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Cakes by Rachel | Caterer: Harvest Moon Catering | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting and Ceremony Draping: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting | Ceremony Guitarist: Peter Richardson | DJ: JG Entertainment | Paper Products: Rock Paper Scissors | Bride’s Gown: Style 5834 by Liancarlo | Bridal Salon: Annalise Bridal Boutique | Bride’s Veil: “Chelsea” by Sara Gabriel | Hair Stylist: Brianna B. Adams | Makeup Artist: Emily Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Jacqueline” by Jenny Yoo | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Banks | Calligraphy: Jodi Macfarlan Calligraphy and Joie de Vivre | Officiant: Jim Burton