It’s an incredible feat when a wedding feels magical enough to takes guests out of their normal lives, but makes them feel right at home at the same time, and I’m convinced that Mattie and Louis accomplished just that. They chose to be married on Mattie’s parents’ property, which is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also deeply meaningful–it’s where Mattie’s parents and her brother were married, too. Mattie grew up admiring the garden parties her parents frequently hosted, so she and Louis decided to adopt the same elegant, but relaxed, feel for their wedding. With the help of Simply Chic Events and Beehive Events, they combined the garden’s natural aesthetic with plenty of nods to their families, the most stunning blooms, and a hearty helping of Southern hospitality to create a day that was uniquely theirs.
We got married on June 18, 2016 at 6 P.M. at Old Mill Cottage, my parents’ home in Crozier, Virginia. Because we knew our wedding would be outdoors, we targeted an early summer wedding date to try and avoid the risk of high heat that is common in Virginia in July and August. The ceremony and cocktails were held in different locations of the arboretum and gardens. The dinner reception was held under tents. I had always dreamed of being married in the gardens of the home where I grew up. It is a beautiful place, made even more special to me because my parents were married in a grove of trees on the property, and my older brother and his wife chose Old Mill Cottage for their wedding and reception as well. My parents love the outdoors and gardening and have spent years building a gorgeous, five-acre arboretum which provided perfect spots for the ceremony, cocktails, and reception.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My mom and I went shopping in New York one weekend and found my dress at Gabriella New York Bridal Salon. I had been eyeing Marchesa’s Azalea gown on Pinterest before we went shopping, and when I put it on, I knew it was the one. I thought it was the perfect garden wedding dress and loved the crystal and flower petal appliqués and airy tulle overlay.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I wanted mix and match bridesmaids’ dresses, so I shared the color palette with my bridesmaids and asked them to pick out a couple dresses they liked in that palette. From there, I was able to coordinate their picks, and everyone got to wear something they liked!
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a Christian-Jewish interfaith ceremony. Louis and I spent a lot of time putting the ceremony together to blend our traditions, cultures, and religions, which made it very unique and personal to us.
Who participated in your ceremony? Family members, friends? If so, what did they do? Louis’ sister, Rebecca, co-officiated the ceremony with the minister from my church growing up. The minister conducted the ceremony and exchange of vows, while Rebecca led the sections of the ceremony honoring Jewish wedding traditions. Our niece and nephew, who are also our godchildren, were the flower girl and ring bearer. They are so special to us and it was wonderful that we were able to include them in such a big way. They were adorable and really stole the show!
My parents are beekeepers, so we had a subtle bee and honey theme throughout the wedding: specialty honeybee cocktails, bee emblems on the invitations and paper goods, a honeycomb-inspired display for the escort cards, clover honey ice cream to go with the cake, and of course, a jar of Old Mill Cottage honey for the guests to take home!
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? The season and the botanical setting of our home and property were the design inspiration, as well as the style of entertaining that I learned from my parents. My parents like to host outdoor dinner parties that are best described as casual, elegant, French-style dinners with colorful tables, lots of flowers and candles, and bottles of wine on the table. Our wedding planners expertly developed the beautiful details of our wedding and reception to complement the setting and style that were important to us.
We had the good fortune to work with a very creative floral designer who also lives “in the country” and appreciates the beauty of interesting botanicals, as well as the more traditional flowers. I wanted vintage-inspired bouquets and arrangements that used seasonal flowers and greenery in our color palette.
We had one kiddie table set up outside the tent for all the young kids we were having at the wedding. At each kid’s “place setting,” there were jars of colored pencils, mini etch-a-sketches, small wooden toys in wood berry baskets, and a kids Polaroid camera.
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The base layers of the cake were completely covered in buttercream and then faded to a scraped naked style as you worked your way up the layers. The hand-piped buttercream on the base layers mimicked the embroidery on my grandmother’s family’s antique silk piano shawl, which was used on the altar table at the ceremony, and which also provided the inspiration for the design of our invitations. The cake was adorned with cascading fresh flowers. Our cake was layered with two different flavors: lemon zest cake with blackberry buttercream and lavender cake with honey buttercream. They were both served with clover honey ice cream.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in 2007 in New Orleans when we were both attending Tulane University. We knew of each other through mutual friends and eventually found ourselves hanging out in the same crowd. After a few nights out on the town here and there, we could tell there was a connection. We both refer to one specific late night that ended at the infamous dive bar near campus called Snake and Jake’s as the night that really sparked our relationship. And the rest is history!
Describe the proposal: Louis proposed to me at the gorgeous historic Driskill Hotel in Austin. We had just seen a comedy show and decided to get a drink at the Driskill Hotel bar. While we were enjoying a cocktail, Louis excused himself to go to “the bathroom.” A few minutes later, the concierge came up to me and said Louis would like for me to join him in the Governor’s Suite and handed me a key. I knew right then what was about to happen! I went up to the room and Louis was on one knee out on the porch overlooking downtown Austin. It was very romantic and a night I’ll never forget!
How many guests attended your wedding? About 225 guests
What were some of the highlights of the reception? My stepdad’s toast, the Hora (chair dance), all of the kids on the dance floor, and our amazing band that had everyone dancing!
Tell us about your grand exit. Louis and I stayed until the band stopped playing at midnight and hopped on the bus with the rest of our guests back to the hotel, where we continued the party.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? In the fall of 2015 after we got engaged, Louis and his parents traveled to Virginia to spend the weekend with my family at Old Mill Cottage. We had a ceremonial burial of a bottle of Virginia Gentlemen bourbon under a garden statue at the site of the ceremony to ensure good weather for our wedding day…and it worked! Also, Louis’ father and brother served as his best men.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just moved from Austin, Texas to Mobile, Alabama and we’re getting settled into our first home together! We’re looking forward to establishing ourselves in Mobile and eventually starting a family.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Make sure to enjoy every second of your wedding week! It goes by so quickly, and there’s no reason to stress over the little stuff at that point.
Photographer: Kate Headley | Videographer: Monachetti Weddings | Planner and Designer: Simply Chic Events | Venue: Old Mill Cottage and Arboretum | Florals and Rentals: Beehive Events | Caterer: Occasions Caterers | Wedding Cake: Sweet Fix | Bride’s Gown: “Azalea” by Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Gabriella New York Bridal Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Matron of Honor’s Dress: Style 651755 by Needle and Thread | Bridesmaids Dresses: Various styles and colors by Jenny Yoo and Adrianna Papell | Hair Stylists: Ashleigh Snider and Niki Crocker of JAK Salon | Makeup Artist: Stephanie Parker Makeup | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Paper Goods: Brown Linen Design | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Dinner Tent Chandeliers: Amelia Wood Bead Chandeliers from Pottery Barn | Favors: Old Mill Cottage honey jars | Transportation: James River Transportation | Lighting, Tents, and Flooring: Skyline Tent Company
The Black Tux is a delightful Southern Weddings sponsor!