My Virginia roots give me a soft spot for pretty Old Dominion weddings. When I realized that Kristen and Patrick’s peony-filled wedding day took place less than an hour from my hometown, I knew I was going to love it, and I was right! Spring in Northern Virginia is positively dreamy, and they took advantage of the season to the fullest with a romantic, outdoor ceremony, followed by an elegant reception. I love the way they brought family into so many aspects of the day, especially the deeply personal way Kristen’s uncle officiated the ceremony, the engagement ring Kristen wears that has been in Patrick’s family for over 100 years, and even the groom’s cake that Patrick’s relatives drove down to Virginia from Ohio!
Thank you to Rachel May for sharing Kristen and Patrick’s wedding with us!
How Patrick and I met is quite different than most couples. The story of us meeting began before we were even born! Patrick’s mom and my father were high school sweethearts. Although they never married, they remained friends, and my father was still very close to her family members. A few summers ago, Patrick’s uncle invited me to a happy hour to hang out with him and his nephews at a local restaurant. It didn’t take long, after a round of hangman and a drink, I knew there was something special between Patrick and I.
Describe your wedding flowers. BEAUTIFUL! For our wedding, we wanted very romantic, full and lush flowers. Our florist, Morgan from Petals and Hedges, made my vision come true! The colors that I chose for our flowers were varying shades of pink and corals and cream. We incorporated Juliet roses, ranunculus, poppies, coral charm peonies, sweet peas, and hydrangeas, which were accented with dusty miller to create our bouquets, centerpieces and ceremony pieces.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Patrick and I chose to not have a first look. I think first looks capture some of the best photos, but we are very traditional, so we opted to forgo the first look. I wanted Patrick to see me for the first time when I was coming down the aisle.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not write our own vows. My uncle married us. He delivered the most heartfelt ceremony and made it extremely personal. He was even able to make me feel as if my grandmother, his mother, was still with us and watching over us as we said our vows.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was a bracelet from my mother. My something blue was my dear friend’s late grandmother’s handkerchief. My something old was my engagement ring–my ring was my husband’s late grandmother’s ring, which has been in the family for over 100 years. I will someday pass it down to our future child or grandchild. My something new was my wedding day earrings and necklace that my mother bought for me.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Gosh! I have so many favorite details but I would have to say one of our favorites were my flowers. I had several meetings with Petals and Hedges conveying my ideas and how I wanted them to look and feel. I had been collecting mercury glass vases/votives for about a year and Morgan was able to incorporate all of my pieces. I was very happy that she completely understood and delivered my vision. A second favorite of mine would most likely be the donut truck we hired to surprise our guests for a late night snack during the dance party! Mama’s Donut Bites was a huge hit with our guests.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a groom’s cake. My father-in-law is from Ohio, so my husband is a HUGE Ohio State Buckeyes fan. Patrick’s aunt and cousin personally drove the groom’s cake all the way from Ohio. The cake was from my husband’s family’s favorite bakery, Resch’s Bakery in Columbus. To make the cake especially for Patrick, Patrick’s mother called the bakery to ask if they could add sprinkles to the batter to make the cake a funfetti cake. The cake was decorated with buckeyes and his alma mater, the University of South Florida.
Tell us all about the proposal! The story of the proposal is quite funny! Patrick originally planned to propose the day after Christmas. But, my uncle surprised everyone with a Christmas Eve proposal to his girlfriend! Patrick let a few weeks pass (so that he wasn’t stealing anyone’s thunder) and on MLK weekend, he decided it was time, so he popped out of bed early to make breakfast. I thought it was odd, but I continued to sleep and enjoy my lazy Sunday morning. An hour or so later, I heard him coming up the stairs. After asking what all that noise was about, he walked into the room with a tray of homemade eggs benedict to eat and mimosas for us to drink. As I started to eat my breakfast, he asked me to butter him an english muffin (he’s not an eggs benedict fan). As I lifted the top of the butter dish, there was my beautiful engagement ring!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Oh boy! Where do I begin about finding my wedding dress…what an adventure that was. Patrick and I had a 15 month engagement, so around the one-year mark, I decided to go to a sample sale in Alexandria, Virginia to browse wedding gowns. While my mom and I were at the bridal shop, I tried on a bunch of wedding gowns and eventually, I settled on my first gown. Yes, I said first gown. I was never 100% about the dress–every day, I fretted over my dress decision and if I made the right choice. After trying the dress on again, at my first fitting, I had a meltdown. I literally was on the floor of the dress shop floor crying–crying because it wasn’t my dress and crying because I had made a mistake and felt horrible for my mother (I should have been on one of those bridal shows on TV! Oh my goodness, if those dressing room walls could talk!). After a few glasses of wine, my mom, maid of honor and I ran to another local bridal shop, as a last hope of finding “the one.” The shop was closing within the hour, so I picked out a few, ran into the dressing room and started trying them on. I tried on two, with no luck. I began to panic and then I tried on one last one. My facial expression completely changed. I was smiling and I was COMFORTABLE–it was everything my first dress wasn’t. So all in all, I ended up with a dress that I loved, but I sure had a lot of bumps along the way!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose to have Mark 10: 6-9 and Colossians 3:12-17 read at our wedding ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. While the guests were seated, Patrick and I chose the harpist to play ” In the Garden.” I selected this song because it reminded me of my Grandmother, “MawMaw,” and I thought it was a perfect fit for getting married in the garden at Whitehall. We also selected a song to be played in between are two readings. We chose “For the Beauty of the Earth,” which also has sentimental meaning to me because every Christmas when I was growing up, my uncle and I would watch Little Women. I loved the wedding scene where they danced at the wedding while singing “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. DELICIOUS! I’ve been getting my birthday cakes from Edible Incredibles, in Reston, Virginia for years, so it was a no-brainer where I would get my wedding cake from! We had a four-tiered cake of lemon with buttercream filling and vanilla with a raspberry filling, topped with buttercream! The design of the cake was simple–it was a pink ombre cake with a pink bottom layer that gradually became ivory on top. Our florist had cascading sweet peas and poppies strategically placed over the tiers.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was stressing over small things. I really tried to relax and enjoy the planning journey, but it was extremely difficult for me. I finally relaxed when I saw Patrick waiting for me at the end of the aisle and I knew that everything would be perfect and wonderful.
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? We had so many wonderful vendors, but Rachel May had to be one of the best decisions that we made. Right from the beginning, Rachel and I connected at Starbucks, where we first met. I left that meeting knowing I had found the right fit for my wedding photographer and I couldn’t wait to work with her. People always say that your wedding will be a blur, and they were right. It’s wonderful to relive that wonderful night through Rachel’s pictures.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Other than marrying Patrick, I would have to say my uncle performing our wedding service. It meant so much to both of us to have someone we know perform our wedding ceremony. We wanted someone that knew us and who had watched our relationship blossom. My uncle was able to incorporate funny little things about both Patrick and I, but also deliver a message about what a marriage is all about.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice to new brides is to enjoy the journey of planning this wonderful day! I found myself getting so caught up in the minutia, that I forgot to enjoy little moments along the way!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Patrick and I are looking forward to settling into our new home. We closed on our townhouse in Ashburn, Virginia two weeks after the wedding. We can’t wait to make our house into our home!
Photographer: Rachel May Photography | Planner: Ashlee Virginia Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue and Lighting: Historic Whitehall Manor | Florist: Petals and Hedges | Wedding Cake Baker: Edible Encredible | Caterer: Celebrations Catering | Rentals: Select Event Group | DJ: Chris Laich | Ceremony Music: Kate Rogers | Donuts: Mama’s Donut Bites | Photobooth: Shutterbooth | Bride’s Gown: Ellis Bridal | Paper Products and Table Numbers: Paper Source | Wedding Invitations: The Dandelion Patch | Bride’s Veil: Freca Designs | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Claudine Fay | Bride’s Shoes: Arturo Chiang | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style “450095” by Monique Lhuillier | Men’s Attire: Custom Indochino Suits | Monogrammed Napkins: The Knot | Dancing Flip Flops: Old Navy | Frames: Homegoods | Candles and Votives: Candles4less | Bride’s Wedding Band: Hunt Country Jewelers | Guestbook: delovelyArts Etsy Shop