One of the best things about planning a wedding in the South is that we have a few extra months in the year that allow for an outdoor celebration. Katie and Zach took advantage of this opportunity to bring their vision of an outdoor ceremony and a reception under the stars to life at their Tuckahoe Plantation wedding. To ensure that the weather held out, they buried a bottle of bourbon a month before the big day–with temperatures of 72 degrees and plenty of sunshine on their mid-October wedding day, I think it’s safe to say that upholding this fun Southern tradition worked!
Thank you so much to Sarah Der for sharing Katie and Zach’s special day with us!
We used every bold autumnal color possible in the bouquets and the swag for the arbor. The mothers and grandmothers carried smaller bouquets instead of corsages, and the boutonnieres for the men were made of succulents, billy balls and berries. The three bridesmaids wore different colors that all tied into the florals. It was mismatched, but still went together in our multi-colored palette.
Just for fun, I went to Bella Rosa in Richmond with my mom and aunt a few days after Zach proposed. The appointment was hopefully going to give me a good idea of styles I liked and others I didn’t like. Well, upon walking in, I saw a dress hanging up and said, “That may be my dress.” It was the first one I tried on, and it encompassed everything I had imagined for the wedding–it was romantic, vintage-looking, and classic, and the beading was so unique. I had never seen anything quite like it. I tried seven more dresses on, just for the sake of comparison, and ended up buying the Wtoo “Emerson” dress at the end of the appointment. It truly was love at first sight! The dress was the first piece of the puzzle in creating my perfect vision for the big day.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried a bottle of bourbon behind the arbor at Tuckahoe one month to the day before our wedding. We had a 72 degree and sunny day, so we are firm believers that this Southern tradition works!! I changed into boots for the reception, and the landscape of Tuckahoe truly set the Southern stage for the whole day.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did! Honestly, a large part of it was due to timing and the lighting in the fall. We knew that with a 3:00 ceremony, light was going to be running out after the cocktail hour. We also wanted to enjoy as much of the cocktail hour and reception as possible, so we wanted to get photos done first. Looking back, the first look was so special because it gave us an intimate time before standing in front of all of those people at the ceremony.
We wrote our own vows, and kept them secret until that day. We didn’t know what the other had written, and hearing them for the first time in front of all of our friends and family made the ceremony incredibly sacred to us. Zach’s favorite line from mine was, “I will always remember our love as it was on this day.” My favorite from Zach’s was “I vow to be yours entirely and forever, with no reservation or exceptions, today and every day, for the rest of our lives.”
Zach and I wanted to have an outdoor wedding in the fall–that was our highest priority. Next, we decided we wanted to have an open-air reception without a big tent. I found Tuckahoe Plantation by looking through other Richmond brides’ wedding photos online. My mom and I went to see it in January, and even in the cold, it was truly breathtaking–barren trees and all!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “After the Storm” by Mumford & Sons. We are huge fans of Mumford, and this song brought tears to our eyes the first time we heard it on their album when we lived in North Carolina. That was such a wonderful period of our relationship and our lives; it brings back memories from the beginning of “us.”
The open-air reception under the stars and our long farm tables, so that everyone was seated in long rows, were two details that helped make our wedding so special. The weather could not have been nicer for October, and the open-air reception made it feel a lot more intimate than a tent. Our dinner was served family-style, so guests were passing bowls and plates of food, which felt so communal.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Despite growing up 50 miles apart and attending the University of Richmond together for three years, it wasn’t until our final year of undergrad that our paths finally crossed at the infamous Senior Toga Social. On that fateful September evening, I approached Zach because, to be very frank, he looked pretty darn handsome dressed in a white bed sheet. I had noticed him earlier that week in our mutual Acting 101 class, and a little liquid courage helped to start a conversation that sparked our relationship. As we enjoyed a magical senior year together, growing in love and trying to figure out the future beyond our diplomas, we were pretty unsure about where we would end up. After applying to companies and programs across the country, with a little bit of good fortune, we both landed jobs in North Carolina, and our story continued.
Tell us all about the proposal! Our landlord had helped create the guise that we needed to sign the lease for our house in the Fan. After lunch with Zach’s brothers, we found a parking spot in Carytown, and Matt and Dave quickly disappeared. Zach shakily took my hand and pulled me to the front doors of The Byrd Theater to “check out showtimes,” and at that point, I realized what was happening. Zach had had a few friends help him edit a video telling “the story of us,” set to The Old 97’s “Question.” It ended with a final super that read: “I’ve got a question for you…” After watching the movie in the place where we had gone on many dates before, I turned to him, and he was down on one knee asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. Cue me sobbing without a Kleenex in sight, and the balcony erupted with hoops and hollers from our families.
When did y’all get married? October 18, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our family friend made three different autumnal flavors of cupcakes: bourbon maple bacon, s’mores with marshmallow filling, and apple spice cake.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I made origami flowers for the centerpieces, so we saved a lot on flowers. A family friend made all of the cupcakes as her wedding gift to us, so that was a large savings as well. Across the board, we looked for the most affordable rental options, without sacrificing quality. We continually asked ourselves “Is this going to change the look and feel of our wedding?” and, “Is this worth the additional money?”
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our live band was amazing, and I would not have traded that detail for the world. Zach knew Big Boss Man through his fraternity at University of Richmond, and they played their hearts out for us! Regarding vendors, I could not have been as stress-free without the help of our day-of coordinator, Amy. I was hesitant to spend money on a coordinator at first, but having her there directing all the vendors and timing was a tremendous help! I could not have been my own coordinator and still fully enjoyed every moment of the day.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was walking up to our reception as the sun was starting to set. Seeing everyone seated, enjoying the music and conversation, laughing and dancing, was simply overwhelming. I remember Zach and I looking at each other with the biggest smiles on our faces. We were husband and wife, and we were about to have an incredible party with the people we love most.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so excited for our time together before starting our family. We want to see as much of the world as possible–we have already planned a few trips for 2015 and can’t wait to travel and make those memories together and with our families.
Photographer: Sarah Der Photography / Second shooter: Whitney Neal / Videographer: Two Cents Photography / Planner: Amy Lewis of McBride Events / Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation / Florist: Boulevard Flower Gardens / Dessert Baker: Peg Langdon / Caterer: Brock’s BBQ / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Lighting: Blue Steel Lighting / Band: Big Boss Man / Bride’s Gown: “Emerson” by Wtoo / Hair and Makeup: Annie Radigan / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / String Quartet: Silverleaf String Quartet