I’m a big believer that wedding inspiration can come from anywhere–your dress, a favorite painting, the college campus where you and your beau fell in love…the sky’s the limit! Rebecca and Chad found inspiration for their spring celebration in a very unlikely place, and then incorporated it into their wedding in the sweetest ways. Ready to hear what it was? The name of the town where they were married! The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia was not only a lovely, elegant place for them to tie the knot, it also gave Rebecca and Chad the idea to include oranges and orange blossoms throughout their decor. My favorite detail has to be Rebecca’s dreamy bouquet by Southern Blooms (plus I bet it smelled heavenly!), but the adorable orange cake pops in vanilla cake with orange zest (yum!) are a very close second.
We’re so delighted Rachel May sent this celebration our way for our ninth issue!
We got married in the spring, our ideal season for a wedding. The date was May 21, 2016. The ceremony and reception were both at the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia. We chose the Inn at Willow Grove because it allowed our bridal party and some family and friends to spend the entire weekend together. It was like a destination wedding without having to travel far. We rented all four rooms and all ten of the cottages for the weekend. Once we arrived at the property Friday afternoon, we never had to leave. The rehearsal, ceremony, and reception were all on the property. Our dog, Jack, was even allowed to stay on the property all weekend. From the moment we found the Inn, we knew it was the perfect venue for us. We can’t wait to go back and celebrate anniversaries there. It is a truly beautiful place.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Wedding dress shopping was a lot more fun than I was expecting. The first time I went was with a few of my bridesmaids and mom. It was so fun trying on all of the different dresses–there are so many styles! I was also surprised that I liked certain dresses on that I probably wouldn’t have picked at first. The dress I ended up getting was from Bella Rosa, which was closing, so I got it off the rack for a discounted price. The size from the store fit me almost perfectly, so there were not many alterations to be done. My favorite thing about my dress was the lace overlay. It was so beautiful and gave the dress a vintage feel. I also loved the scalloped detail on the neckline. The dress had a low back, and we added buttons down the back zipper. I loved the extra detail the buttons added.
The wedding ceremony took place outside in the garden of the Inn. Although it was still a little chilly, the rain had stopped and the weather turned out pretty perfectly. With all of our family and friends surrounding us, it became a very intimate spot that I am so thankful we were able to use. Our friend, Pastor Win Davis, performed the ceremony. The part that was most special to me was how personal Win made the ceremony to us. Everything about it was perfect.
Chad’s two sisters each did a reading, which was very special to us. Chad’s niece and nephew were flower girl and ring bearer, and my cousin’s son was an additional ring bearer. Our chocolate lab, Jack, also walked down the aisle in his own bow tie as the Dog of Honor. Having our pup in the ceremony meant a lot to us.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We wanted an elegant, simple feel for the wedding. We chose soft colors (dusty blue and champagne) as our main colors. Since the Inn at Willow Grove already provided a beautiful, elegant outdoor venue, the rest of the design inspiration was just to add that romantic wedding touch. The Inn is located in Orange, so we incorporated the orange blossom into our design for a unique, fun detail.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? Our wedding flowers were done by the very talented ladies at Southern Blooms. I love, love, love the work these ladies do and knew I did not have to stress about the flowers at all. They asked me a few questions, showed me what ideas they had, and then I left the decision making up to them. One way I took away some stress from wedding planning was letting the people who do their craft for a living make the decisions. I trusted that they would make it beautiful, and they did. I loved how perfectly the flowers fit us and our wedding style. Southern Blooms exceeded my expectations.
Our wedding cake was designed by Keya from Candy Valley Cake Company in Richmond. Keya had also made the cake for my sister’s wedding eleven months earlier, and not only was it the best wedding cake I’ve had, it was so beautiful. We had four different flavors: vanilla with raspberries and lemon zest, mocha Oreo, chocolate chocolate, and vanilla vanilla. The cake was white and decorated with orange blossoms. Keya designed the oranges out of fondant, and Southern Blooms added the flowers. It was really beautiful and tasted delicious. Keya also made us orange blossom cake pops that were made with a vanilla cake with orange zest.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: Chad’s brother, Drew, gave really good advice to Chad during his speech that I think is great advice for both of us to remember throughout our marriage. Drew said, “The best thing that you can do is treat Rebecca like you did when you first met, and realize and remember that she is still that special person.”
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We actually went to high school together, but did not start dating until a few years later. We both attended Virginia Tech and during our third year as Hokies, we started seeing a lot more of each other around campus. We starting spending more time together and slowly became more than just friends. We dated our last year and a half at Virginia Tech and then both moved back to Richmond after graduation. We are so thankful Blacksburg brought us together–it was meant to be!
Describe the proposal: In May 2015, we decided we wanted to take a vacation to someplace we had never been. Chad said he was going to plan the trip and did not tell me any details. I was surprised and excited when I learned we were going to San Francisco–the first time on the West Coast for both of us. We spent three amazing days in San Francisco, then Chad said he had another surprise–we were headed somewhere new. We drove to a beautiful resort, the Carneros Inn in Napa. When we arrived, our room was not quite ready (although now I think it probably was), so we were given a glass of wine and a map of the property to go explore until the room was ready. We were walking around taking in the beautiful views when we came to an apple orchard that faced the mountains. In the middle of the orchard was a table. Chad started walking us towards it and that was when I knew. On the table was champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a card. Chad handed me the card and I opened it to find the words, “Will you marry me?” I turned towards Chad and he was down on one knee. It was perfect. Then, we spent three days in beautiful Napa and Sonoma celebrating with great wine, great food, and each other. I was so impressed that Chad planned and coordinated everything on his own. I never wanted that trip to end.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We were lucky to have guidance from our friend and pastor, Win Davis from Cambridge Baptist Church in Henrico, Virginia. Win suggested we read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book is a great way to learn both about how you personally feel loved and how you can best communicate love to your spouse based on his or her love language. The book helps you realize that not everyone expresses or feels love in the same ways, and it provides simple examples of ways to better communicate love to one another. Our relationship and love for each other is so strong that I didn’t feel we needed to prepare too much. Marriage is lifelong, and we both already knew we were committed to putting in the work to make our marriage thrive. We really just took the time to enjoy our engagement and not let any stress from wedding planning take away from our relationship.
How many guests attended your wedding? Around 200
Tell us a bit about your first dance. Our first dance was one of the things I was most nervous about. Neither of us are big dancers, and I don’t like being in the spotlight when I dance. We took dance lessons, which I recommend to any couple, even if you are big dancers! Not only were the classes so fun, but it made us both feel more comfortable and able to enjoy the moment on our day. It turned out to be a fun moment for us.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? Since we were in Tennessee a month before the wedding, our family friends buried the bourbon for us. I think it is such a fun tradition, and it successfully kept the rain away for our ceremony!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Right now, we are just enjoying being newlyweds in our new city of Nashville. We are looking forward to what our marriage has in store for us, and all of the adventures we will have together.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? I would say try to enjoy every minute of your engagement, because it goes by really quickly. Being engaged should be about the two of you preparing to spend a life together and reflecting on how your relationship started and what you both want going forward. Planning a wedding shouldn’t be so stressful that you can’t enjoy your engagement at all. Also, pick vendors that you feel you can trust, and then let them do what they do best. Most vendors are in this business because they are passionate about what they do, and most of them have done many weddings before. I fell in love with all of my vendors, and did not have to stress about whether they would meet my expectations or not. I just couldn’t wait to see their work!
Photographer: Rachel May Photography | Videographer: White Flair Productions | Planner and Designer: Fête Weddings | Venue and Caterer: The Inn at Willow Grove | Florals: Southern Blooms | Wedding Cake: Candy Valley Cake Company | Bride’s Gown: “Jolene” by Mikaella | Bridal Salon and Veil: Bella Rosa | Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani | Bride’s Earrings: Nadri Jewelry | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Celestina” in Blue Harbor by BHLDN | Hair Stylist: Welsy Mourino of Elle Style Studio | Makeup Artist: LaCretia Baskfield of Elle Style Studio | Men’s Fashion: Style 790 in Slate Allure by Street Tuxedo | Invitations, Favors, and Day-Of Stationery: ‘ello Paper | Ceremony Sign and Handlettering: Type Delight | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Tent and Staging: Gibson Rental | Band: Dance Candy via Sam Hill Entertainment | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine | Lighting and Draping: Lighting Professors
Rachel May Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!
Thank you so much for featuring Chad & Rebecca’s wedding in the magazine and now here on the blog! It’s always such an honor to see my work featured by you ladies!
I LOVE to see pups included in the wedding/ceremony, and hearing about dog-friendly venues! Our dogs are SO special to my fiancé and I, they must be included in our ceremony and stay with us on our special day! (I ESPECIALLY love when the featured dogs in question are labradors!)