I spent a large part of my childhood in Virginia, and to this day, I love going back to visit. Everything about Virginia makes me feel so peaceful, and just looking at Stephanie and John’s wedding pictures, I get a little twinge of that same feeling. After weeks of rain, this sweet couple was blessed with a gorgeous summer day, perfect for the romantic, outdoor wedding day Stephanie had always dreamed of. They filled the day with meaningful traditions and rustic Southern details–my favorite of which is that big red barn!
Thank you to Lucy of Lucy O Photo for sharing Stephanie and John’s wedding with us!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I met John in college and from the start, I knew we had something special. His all-American charm is just one characteristic I fell in love with during our first years together, so it is fitting that we are now building our life together in Alexandria, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. We spent a few years doing long-distance because John graduated a year before me and moved back to the D.C. area. I continued school in Texas, then took a job offer in Boston right after graduation. After some time searching, I was lucky to find a job in Baltimore, which finally put John and I in the same area. From that moment on, I knew we were meant for each other after all of the distance that kept us apart, and we fell more deeply in love while finally being in the same city.
It was a regular weekday night and John and I took our dog, Henry, for a walk. John mentioned a new route to this beautiful park I had never been to before and off we went. John suggested we take Henry to a spot in the park away from the public to play fetch, and after I threw the first stick for Henry, I turned around to find John on one knee! Henry hurried back to us as I excitedly said yes! It was the perfect moment because John knew I did not want anything elaborate–it was just our little family together in a beautiful Virginia park! Simple, but amazingly romantic!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, as I wanted our “first look” to be when I walked down the aisle. Although we did not get married in a church, I wanted some of the traditional elements incorporated into our day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? First Corinthians
As a little girl, I always dreamed I would be married outside, where the landscape would be a picturesque backdrop to my fairytale love story. And my dream came true! The details were simple, elegant, and personal, exactly as I envisioned. Everything from the rustic doors used on the tables, to the hand-stained crates and the mason jars, to the burlap, chalkboards, and koozies were labors of love that helped us make our vision a reality. After many weeks of rain before the big day, the sun shined down on our wedding day and it turned out to be more amazing than we had ever dreamed!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Southern details included the farm venue, the burlap table runners and programs, the rustic farm decor (such as the wine barrels used for our altar pieces), the mason jar vases, the chalkboards used to display messages for guests, the custom-made koozie favors, the pies as dessert instead of a traditional wedding cake, the bar stocked with local Virginia beer and wine, the wild flower arrangements, and our dog’s seersucker bow tie collar and matching leash.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we wanted to go the route of pies. Pies are a Southern summer dessert that fit our venue well. There were nine pies filled with a variety of summer fruit flavors with different crust designs on top. John and I cut an apple pie because that is our favorite flavor.
When did y’all get married? 6/22/13
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 90
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Picking my wedding dress was like finding John. I knew it was the one from the moment I laid eyes on it–in a magazine! I found a local bridal boutique that carried the dress, and once I tried it on, everything was solidified. It had the simple elegance I was looking for and was as perfect as I had imagined!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I had dreamed of walking down the aisle to Canon in D since I was a little girl, so I did just that. For the recessional, I wanted to use something romantic, but also upbeat and sweet, such as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Our first dance song was chosen because John introduced me to Van Morrison when we first met. He thought the song “Crazy Love” was fitting for our long-distance relationship and the passion we felt for each other.
Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were designed to be wild flower-esque using mason jars, small bud vases, and galvanized buckets to arrange them. We used a combination of peonies, hydrangeas, ranunculus, hypericum berries, Queen Anne’s lace, and a variety of roses, all in the color scheme of pink, coral, and white. They turned out perfectly and ended up being one of my favorite details!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet, my something blue was my mom’s sapphire and diamond bracelet, and my something new was my earrings.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I overcame while planning our wedding was balancing all of the suggestions and input from family and friends. I appreciated the help that was offered, but it did become difficult to manage all of the opinions. I had a certain vision in mind, so I had to delicately pass on some of the suggestions.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The venue, The Inn at Westwood Farm, is owned by a couple (Jay and Elizabeth) who went above and beyond their duties as the venue owners. As part of our wedding package, the Inn sleeps ten people and is reserved for the wedding Friday through Sunday. Also included in our wedding package were the tent, dance floor, lighting, tables, chairs, and linen rentals, so I did not have to go to separate vendors for these items. It was a huge life saver! On top of the wedding planning assistance, Jay and Elizabeth made every element during our wedding weekend intimate and special in unique ways, such as fresh flowers matching our color scheme throughout the inn and rooms, a bottle of local Virginia wine for each inn guest, champagne and chocolates for John and I, specific drinks on site for my family (who stayed at the Inn), and an engraved silver bottle opener as a wedding gift. I highly recommend this venue for all brides in Virginia! It will not disappoint!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment about our wedding, besides saying our vows, was taking a step back after the ceremony concluded and realizing everything I dreamed had come together in the most perfect way.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t lose sight of what the wedding is all about: you and your soon-to-be husband! Sometimes, the planning can become stressful, but never forget the end goal: marrying the man of your dreams!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Relaxation! The planning process was quite a whirlwind and now we are ready to settle into a normal routine and enjoy our time together. High on our list is traveling to places neither of us have been to before and creating new memories!