We often talk about the mission of Southern Weddings, and how we want to inspire couples to celebrate their families, the culture of the South, and what matters most to them. Y’all, nothing makes us happier than when we see couples do just that! Jen and Schuyler’s wedding had us seriously swooning when we featured it in V7. By incorporating Jen’s heritage into artwork in front of their escort table, and celebrating their big day in Virginia wine country–a place Jen and Schuyler both love–their wedding is such a lovely example of how details can be as meaningful as they are beautiful.
Thanks to Abby Jiu for sharing this sweet day with us!
I wanted the bridesmaid gifts to be really special, so I put together a bag of personalized gifts, such as monogrammed compacts with the quote “The best mirror is an old friend” engraved on the back, and ring holders with each lady’s name and an imprint of a gray dress imprinted on them. For our welcome bags, we had Antiquaria (the same company that did our invitations and day-of stationery) create a custom stamp for us, which we used to stamp the gift bags with our personal touch. We included snacks and a Virginia wine map. My favorite snack was chocolates from Cocoa Vienna, which are the best chocolates we have ever had. Some of the flavors included red velvet cake truffles and pumpkin truffles.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have always known that I wanted some element of color for my wedding dress, but I was never sure what that element of color would be. I was being terribly picky and running out of time. Finally, at the last minute on a Friday, I scheduled an appointment at Hitched Salon in Georgetown for the next day. That weekend, Austin Scarlett was bringing in his creations straight off the runway for a trunk show. After trying on a few dresses in the store, the Camellia gown by Austin caught my eye and I asked my consultant if I could try it on. Once I put it on, it was so amazing. It was elegant and classic and so incredibly light, it was like walking on a cloud. Austin Scarlett was there with his business partner, Allison, and they were just the sweetest (it was really neat to have the designer there and to be able to talk with him and ask him questions about the dress!). On a whim, I asked Austin if it would be possible to recreate the dress in blush, and he said of course! When I finally got my dress, the blush tulle was just so stunning and subtle. The dress was really perfect, because it was exactly what I wanted and I was truly able to make the dress my own–no one else has a dress exactly like it!
When we were choosing a place to get married, the obvious choice was Charlottesville. It is a special place to both of us and has the most stunning views and scenery. We love great wine, and Veritas had some of our favorites from the region. They did an amazing job on the day of our wedding, and we couldn’t have been happier with our choice.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. I wanted to give the bridesmaids a chance to show their own styles, and I didn’t want a “matchy-matchy” wedding party, so I gave the bridesmaids guidelines on the dress (gray and long, a pattern would be okay), and sent them some examples. Some of the ladies rented their dresses from Rent the Runway and some bought their dresses, and in the end, everyone looked amazing. I loved seeing the spectrum of unique gray dresses and how cohesive everything looked together.
We know that the bridal party typically stands with the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. Although we thought that was great (it is so comforting to have your best friends and family standing with you), we also wanted the ceremony to be very intimate between us, with no distractions. Therefore, we decided to have our wedding party sit during the ceremony so that it would just be the two of us standing.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Early in the planning process, we were drawn to subtle, beautiful colors, like blush, whites, and greens. We loved the French toile print we chose for our cocktail tables, and that quickly became an inspiration for our black tie vineyard wedding. We were drawn to the natural and timeless look of the toile, and loved how the European formality of the print elevated our more casual venue. Throughout the planning process, the subtle, soft blush color of my dress also remained a constant source of inspiration, which led to a feminine color palette accented with gold for the evening. Being inspired by the French toile print naturally led the design to subtle Parisian accents, like bistro lights, gauzy organza runners, filigree votives, and romantic floral décor.
What kind of food did you serve? Our menu included butternut squash soup with apple chutney, roasted sirloin steak with horseradish mashed potato, citrus shrimp, seared red snapper with roasted eggplant, cabbage ragout with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, and truffle risotto with ratatouille and red wine reduction with fried leeks.
One of the most unique parts of our wedding was the painter who painted our wedding, Dan Nelson. As our wedding gift, Schuyler’s aunt brought him in to paint our ceremony. He not only painted the scene of our ceremony, but he also stayed throughout the entire reception to finish the painting as part of the evening’s entertainment. All our guests loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it after the wedding–he was so fun to watch! The final oil painting turned out so beautifully and is now hanging in our home. It is such a perfect reminder of our wedding day, and we love seeing it every day.
What was the funniest moment? I fell off the chair during the Hora!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We first met when we were 15 years old at a summer camp. We knew each other, but were not really friends, and did not keep in touch after the summer ended. By chance, we both ended up going to UVA for college, and ran into each other during my fourth year (his third year) at the gym. We recognized each other and chatted for a bit. We did not start dating, however, until a few years later, after we had both graduated. Even after that, we were long distance for awhile (due to grad schools, jobs, etc.), but were finally able to settle down in the same city.
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We chose a date in late fall (October 26, 2013) because we knew the changing colors of the leaves would make for beautiful photos. We love Virginia wine country and wanted to invite our guests to a venue that was fun and special for us.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Refined, personal, and classic
How many guests attended your wedding? 131
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Schuyler wore a custom English-tailored tuxedo with his grandfather’s gold cuff links. The groomsmen wore tuxedos of their own choosing, paired with gifts from the groom: mix-and-match gray silk pocket squares and cuff links.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? I wanted to incorporate something from my heritage, but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I proposed the traditional paper cut-out double-happiness characters to Kate (our planner), and wanted to know if there was an elegant way to incorporate it somewhere. Kate suggested that we create artwork for in front of the escort card table. I thought it was a wonderful plan, so we had Nikki, our calligrapher (an amazing artist) design the paper cut-out of the Chinese characters, as well as the other elements of the display. We framed them in mirrored frames, and our florist and decor vendor, Beehive Events, provided the draping to hang the artwork on. It was a great personal touch, and now we get to hang the artwork in our home!
Photographer: Abby Jiu / Videographer: Underground Short Films / Planning and Design: Kate Harlan of Simply Chic Events / Venue and Catering: Veritas Winery and Vineyard / Florist: Beehive Events / Cake Baker: Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations / Bride’s Gown: “Camellia” by Austin Scarlett / Bridal Salon: Hitched / Bride’s Shoes: Lola Cruz / Bridesmaid Dresses: Robert Rodriguez, BCBG MAXAZRIA, Liz Fields, and David’s Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Joy Pfister of Faces by Joy / Paper Goods: Antiquaria / Rentals: Beehive Events and Festive Fare / Transportation: Ambassador Limo / Live Painting Artist: Daniel Nelson