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Bride Devon shares her Pippin Hill wedding!

Talk about a dream of a wedding, folks – have we got one for you today! And not just because it ends with Chick-fil-a on the dance floor :) Devon and Zach (along with their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacin Fitzgerald), combined everything they love about the South into a celebration their guests could really be a part of, instead of just sitting back and watching. From the tactile table settings to the beautiful blooms (that arch must have smelled heavenly!) to the charcuterie board cocktail hour inspired by the newlyweds’ favorite dinner-out indulgence, this Virginia wedding was filled with meaningful and beautiful details. Enjoy these lovely photographs from Lucy Cuneo that take you right into the action!

P.S. Need this wedding for your inspiration board? Pick up a copy of our tenth-anniversary issue, where it’s tucked inside!

How did the two of you meet? We met during our sophomore year of high school, when I (Devon) cut Zach in the lunch line, despite having never spoken to him before. We couldn’t tell you what was for lunch that day, but clearly it was something appealing! We started dating a few months later, and have been together ever since. The year we got married was very significant to us because it marked our tenth year together.

Describe the proposal: I (Zach) told Devon I was attending a Patriots game with some friends, and left early in the morning to “tailgate.” Devon’s friend Bella forced her out of the house for lunch in the city, despite Devon’s insistence on staying in for the day. Bella brought Devon to the Custom House in Boston, a clocktower building central to the city’s skyline. Much to Devon’s surprise, when she arrived upstairs at the outdoor deck, I was waiting to propose, with Devon’s family waiting around the corner.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring: I (Devon) picked the ring myself, an elongated cushion-cut Henri Daussi ring, which was true to the classic vibe I wanted but also had a bit of vintage feel.

My wedding dress was a dress I had actually pinned 5 or 6 times on Pinterest. The funny thing is that when I went wedding dress shopping, I had completely forgotten about the particular dress. At the very end of my appointment at Vera Wang, the consultant asked if there were any other designs I was interested in, at which point I remembered the one I had pinned. I knew I loved it when I tried it on, but because it was one of the first stores I went shopping in, I felt like I still needed to try others. Ultimately, I came back to it, and knew the second I put it back on that it was the one. My favorite thing about the dress was how dramatic it was, while still having a very classic feel, which really matched the aesthetic of the wedding.

What was your favorite detail of the wedding? Without a doubt our stunning flower arch. I told Jacin I wanted an over-the-top arch, and she really delivered, using every single flower she ordered. It made for the perfect complement to the striking Blue Ridge Mountain-scape in photos.

We were married at Pippin Hill Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, in July of 2017. We had an outdoor, evening ceremony, and the weather was absolutely ideal. My parents both went to the University of Virginia and have relocated there in retirement, so given the amount of time we have both spent there, it seemed like a perfect fit for our wedding. We chose Pippin Hill after being blown away by how detail-oriented the staff was during our visit, and how incredible the food was. There is nothing we love more than a good meal and we wanted to ensure that our guests would remember our wedding food.

Our officiant, Carlos, a close family friend of mine and someone who has known me since I was a baby, was a really special part of our day. One thing that was kind of unique about our ceremony is that we recited letters that we wrote to one another in addition to the traditional vows. In a somewhat panic-inducing moment, we realized that I forgot my vows while we were standing at the altar, which nearly gave Carlos a heart attack. Before anyone could realize what happened, they were given to Zach’s groomsmen, who quickly passed them down the line to Carlos. Most of our guests didn’t even realize it happened!

Did you try anything new in your ceremony? We included a communal vow, where our guests were asked to stand and partake in vows pledging their support in our married life. It was so amazing to stand back and see all the people we love and care about making the commitment to stand by us as we take the next step into marriage.

Our recessional was “Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, and our interlude was “1000 Years” by Christina Perri. Both were played by a string quartet.

How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Since our ceremony was at 6pm, we had a leisurely morning and afternoon prior to the wedding. We actually bucked tradition and had breakfast together with a couple of our best friends, who brought us Chick-fil-a and Starbucks, our two obsessions.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We did, though we never truly made it there, as we were taking photos and chatting with friends and family. The cocktail hour was outside on Pippin’s porch and lawn area, where we had live music, drinks, and passed hors d’oeuvres. One of our favorite things to have when we go out to eat is a charcuterie board, so we had a big charcuterie and cheese spread at the cocktail hour.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? French country mixed with a modern aesthetic. I love the color white, so the wedding was heavy on neutrals. I loved the classic vibe of gold foil but wanted something a little different, so we went with rose gold to add a more modern feel. There were rose gold touches throughout the paper goods and the tablescape to add just a hint of sparkle.

We hung classic, crystal chandeliers in the reception space. Even though we were in a more rustic setting, we wanted to really elevate the room and give it a more formal feel. My favorite element was the rose gold flatware. Jacin and I spent months searching for it, and nearly gave up, before finally finding a vendor who had literally just purchased it (we were the first to rent!).

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? We didn’t do anything particularly nontraditional, but we did cut out a lot of the traditions that we just didn’t feel were that important to us. One example was our long head table, where the entire wedding party and dates sat with us. We thought this would be a lot more fun than a standard sweetheart table, and it gave us a bit of a break from being the center of attention.

Our reception was definitely a big party; we tried to get all of the traditions completed in the first hour. Once dinner finished, our incredible band immediately got people on the dance floor, and almost everyone stayed there right up to our sparkler send-off.

For the reception, we had a surf-and-turf comprised of a filet and lobster tail. We wanted to incorporate our New England roots, and a lobster tail was the perfect way to do that, while also giving our guests something we knew they would love.

Our wedding cake was two different flavors: lemon with raspberry filling, and double-dark chocolate with Nutella and hazelnut crunch filling.

I actually asked for the first dance song to be a surprise, so Zach chose “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett. We’re both country music fans, and he thought the message behind the song was sweet and true to our relationship.

What was the funniest moment of the day? Without a doubt when the Chick-fil-a cow mascot arrived later in the night, handing out mini chicken sandwiches to our guests! I arranged this as a surprise for Zach, and it made for arguably one of our favorite photos of the night: the two of us locking arms around the Chick-fil-a cow.

How many guests attended your wedding? About 175.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? I changed jobs mid-wedding planning, which added a semi-stressful wrinkle to the equation. Not getting married locally was definitely a challenge, but it gave us an excuse to take a lot of fun weekend trips to Charlottesville in preparation.
Tell us about your flowers: I challenged Jacin to make the biggest bouquet of peonies she had ever made and she certainly delivered. Carrying my bouquet was a workout!
Tell us about your grand exit. The entire band led the guests out of the venue, where they waited with sparklers. We made our way through the line of guests into an antique 1960s Mercedes convertible for our getaway.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Keep things in perspective and don’t get overly bogged-down in the little details. You need to trust the vendors and planners you’ve hired, and let them do what they do best. At the end of the day, the wedding is a celebration of you the couple, and no matter what kind of bumps in the road you encounter, the day will be absolutely perfect.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: The best advice we received was to take a minute, and realize how important the moment you are in is. The wedding was an out-of-body experience, and it flew by, so it was important to make sure we really cherished the moment.

Photographer: Lucy Cuneo | Videographer: Life in Rewind Films | Wedding planning, design and florals: Jacin Fitzgerald Events | Venue and caterer: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards | Wedding cake: Maliha Creations | Bride’s gown and veil: Vera Wang | Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bride’s jewelry: David Yurman | Garter: La Gartier | Bridesmaid dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo in Blush | Hair and makeup stylist: Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Groom’s fashion: 9Tailors Tux, Tom Ford bow tie, Shinola watch | Groomsmen fashion: The Black Tux and Tom Ford bow ties | Table rentals: Festive Fare Charlottesville | Specialty bouquet ribbon: Stella Wolfe | Ghost chair rentals: DC Rental | Crossback chairs, upholstered chairs, chargers and arch rentals: Beehive Events | Salt cellar and antique tray rentals: Southern Vintage | Getaway car tin cans: Zoë Nolton of Jacin Fitzgerald Events | Rose gold flatware rental: Presentime Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linens | AV & lighting and stage fascia production: Blue Ridge A/V | Ceremony string trio: Linden Trio | Cocktail hour musician: Austin Ellis | Band: Party on the Moon | Wedding stationery design: Written Word Calligraphy | Seating chart and signage production: Paper Birch Designs | Custom napkins and frosted cup production: Southern Fried Paper | Shuttle buses: Ambassador Limo | Band shuttle buses: Camryn Executive Transportation | Late night snack: Chick-fil-a

Jacin Fitzgerald Events and Southern Fried Paper are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily

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As an Editor for the Southern Weddings’ team, I’ve had the privilege of making Southern Weddings and chatting about Dating Well on the blog. Since getting engaged almost three months ago, I’ve gotten to experience Southern Weddings’ from a new perspective: a bride-to-be!

Emily will be the first to tell you I’ve always been a closet crier, and I often find myself tearing up reading our real wedding interviews or watching a wedding day video. But flipping through the pages of our tenth anniversary issue as a bride-to-be this year was different. For the first time I was imagining OUR wedding and OUR marriage, and let’s just say I used quite a few tissues during our launch season!

My fiancé, Logan, and I got engaged on October 21, 2017 while apple-picking in the NC mountains, and we’re planning an April 14, 2018 wedding. You likely just did the math on your fingers, and thought, “Wow, that’s quick!” Indeed! It’s been a whirlwind of planning a wedding, adjusting to a new city in a new state, continuing to serve in my job, and preparing for marriage–not just a wedding–alongside my fiancé, Logan. Our shorter engagement season has helped us learn how to prioritize what’s most important to us, and it’s teaching us skills that we know we’ll carry into our marriage.

Knowing we were working on a shorter timeframe, I’ve developed an even deeper affection for our Joyful Wedding Planner! It’s been my right-hand guide for this entire wedding-planning process! Whether you’re already engaged or have a sneaky suspicion that ring is coming (no one has to know; mine was tucked under my couch and if Logan ever saw it I’d just chalk it up to needing it for work!), go ahead and snag one for yourself from our shop!

Our very first wedding planning conversation? The budget! While both sets of our parents are generously contributing to our wedding, we are paying for the majority of our big day ourselves. It’s important to note that we established our budget based on the amount of money we have, not the amount things cost. While we hope our wedding day is a celebration of our marriage, we also know it’s one day, and we want to be good stewards of both our finances and the finances of our families. No one day, no matter how happy, is worth starting our marriage off on the wrong foot financially.

Identifying our biggest priorities early on was a huge help in determining where to direct our attention, time, and budget. Our goal for our wedding is to celebrate our marriage and say thank you to all of those who have loved and supported us–both individually and as a couple–over the years!

To better help us do that, we’ve been running each of our financial decisions through a few questions we came up with to help us align our budget and priorities:

  • What is motivating this decision? Is it what we want, or are we doing it because others expect it?
  • Will this make people feel loved?
  • Will this have a lasting impact?
  • Does this say “thank you” to people?
  • Is this a place we can save money and add value elsewhere?

These questions have helped us choose most of our vendors: our venue and caterer, our photographer, our florist, our paper goods, our bakery, and many more!

In the same way that Logan and I are trying to be good stewards of our finances throughout wedding planning, we also know that vendors are doing the same. Approaching each potential vendor with a grateful heart and without expectation has helped us graciously ask for referrals if they are out of our budget.

As my coworker Emily says, it’s possible to have a wedding on any budget, but it’s not possible to have any wedding on any budget. At the end of the day, regardless of budget, your wedding will be gorgeous and meaningful and memorable because you at are the center of it–blissfully happy and in love–no matter how much you spend or don’t spend, and that is what your guests will remember years from now!

I’d love to hear from you! What areas of your wedding did you prioritize in your budget, and why? Is there anything you wish you’d prioritized differently?

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
  1. avatar Emilee Renwick reply

    Jess!! April 14 is my birthday! It is always my favorite time not only because of the obvious, but because in the spring the whole world blooms! Baby animals are born, flowers begin popping up and the Lord is risen!
    Thank you for these 5 big questions! My fiance and I are just now going over all things budget and guest list so this is beyond helpful.
    Happy planning and much joy to you both!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      How fun, Emilee! I’ll have some cake on April 14th to celebrate you! I’m so grateful it was helpful, and I wish you and your fiancé the best! What a sweet season!

  2. avatar Brittany Worthen reply

    Love love LOVE this post! When Ryan and I got married back in 2010, we had a very small budget and we knew we were going to have to make some very hard decisions for our wedding. We knew we wanted beautiful photos, but we couldn’t afford a top-tier photographer. Thankfully, we found an up-and-coming boyfriend and girlfriend photo team that absolutely crushed it and we LOVED our wedding photos! Also, considering Ryan had started his own wedding video business back in 2004, his wedding gift to me was to surprise me by hiring a wedding videographer friend of his to capture our day and that footage is such a treasure to us today!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      What a great way to save money, Brittany! And what a sweet gift from Ryan! I’m so grateful you’ll forever have that memory of your celebration on film!

  3. avatar Taylor reply

    I’m currently planning a wedding too, I got engaged November 18! I love the southern weddings planner, my fiance and I had no idea about the different wedding costs and this is so helpful! We are prioritizing the guest list, with big families a small wedding wasn’t an option so we knew catering would be a large part of our budget. To compensate we chose other areas we could save on. And a coiple things to splurge on!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Sounds like you and I might be planning the same wedding, Taylor! Lots of family on both sides makes cutting the guest list difficult, but we’re finding other areas to save (like florals!). I’m so excited for you and your fiancé!

  4. avatar Katie reply

    What are your wedding must have priorities? What is a good budget to start with?

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Hi, Katie! Great question! Our top priorities are a photographer and venue/catering (the venue we chose includes a great restaurant that handles catering). I’ll be sharing more about those two choices in my next post! Our Joyful Wedding Planner offers a great suggested budget breakdown, but your final budget will depend on a lot of factors. The surefire easiest way to cut your budget? Cutting your guest list! It’s hard, but the savings will add up!

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Bride Carrye shares her toile and monogrammed wedding on the Eastern Shore!

While we love to ask brides what was Southern about their wedding (and Carrye’s response was spot on: “Hospitality was a top priority during the planning of our wedding, making sure our guests were taken care of from the moment they arrived on the Eastern Shore throughout the entire weekend.”), some celebrations need no explanation. Today’s wedding is a classic Southern belle’s dream, complete with a white-columned plantation, a bourbon bar, toile tablecloths, a silhouette artist, mint julep cups, and monogrammed everything from the cocktail hour cornhole boards to the traditional china to the wax-sealed escort cards. While I was still marveling at how Carrye and her wedding planner, Elle, tied these universally-beloved Southern details together so seamlessly, I noticed that Maryland’s unique flair was was also sprinkled throughout. You know there were crab cakes, an oyster bar, and those beautiful Chesapeake Bay views.

If I may point out one more thing before you feast your eyes on these photos, please don’t miss the proposal story told from the groom’s perspective! I love it when a groom chimes in with interview responses. If you want to see even more details from this gorgeous day, pick up a copy of our tenth-anniversary issue here!

Big hugs to Caitlin Joyce Photography for sending along these photos!

They say pick your church first, and now we know why. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of my wedding at a big white plantation house on a hill, something Tara-esque (Scarlett O’Hara, anyone?), and while Kirkland Manor wasn’t on a hill, I wouldn’t trade those water views for anything in the world.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Go with your instinct. I feel like I have had my wedding planned out in my head my entire life, but there is so much inspiration out there it can become overwhelming at times. Also, I got a text message first thing on wedding morning from a long time family friend, saying “deep breaths, and slow down.” It really does happen in the blink of an eye, and the morning of you can get so caught up making sure everything is going to be perfect and wanting to get to the ceremony to get to the reception etc. It was such a small, but mighty reminder to slow down and take in each moment of the day.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. We got married by our Priest who has been a close friend of the family for years. He has such a beautiful way with words, so we had been looking forward to his homily. He spoke of creating a solid foundation for our marriage and gifted us a cornerstone for our new house. It was a beautiful gift and is wonderful reminder seeing it outside our home every day.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It only took eight bridal salons to find the one, but once I did, I am so thankful I did not settle. My favorite part of my dress is the lace. It is a larger embroidered-style lace I had not seen before, and it just had a very heirloom feel to it that spoke to me!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I think our monogram, because it became the inspiration for so many other elements of the wedding. It’s so special, because it depicts the coming together of us.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? Our silhouette artist! In a corner of the tent, we had a wonderful silhouette artist creating cameos for each of our guests! The best part was that she would cut 2 pieces of paper at a time so they not only were favors for the guests to take home, but the second was placed into a notebook where guests could write us a note! (Jason’s favorite detail of the wedding: The bourbon bar.)

Before entering the tent for the reception, while finding their table number, guests were greeted with a glass of champagne poured from a 9 Liter bottle of our favorite, Perrier Jouet. Guests then sat down for dinner. Once finished, the band began to pick up tempo and everyone rushed the dance floor! We all danced the night away, with a wonderful surprise of passed cool towels! After cake cutting, Jason’s bourbon bar filled with some of his proud collection opened up, and of course, we lost a few on the dance floor to that!

Our planner, Elle, had toile linens made for our head table that matched the toile pillows in the lounge and sashes on the cocktail tables at Cocktail Hour. She had a white fabric lined tent with 9 brass chandeliers and floral hanging simply in between the chandeliers over the black and white, classic, dance floor. Our monogram was placed everywhere from the escort board to the menus.

Our tent reveal will be something I will remember for the rest of my days. Elle, our planner, escorted us to the tent during cocktail hour and we had a few minutes to take it all in alone! Years of dreaming, months of planning, and here it was! It was better than we could have ever imagined! I squealed, then cried the happiest tears, and Jason spun me a few times around our dance floor to let it all soak in.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We had a two-hour cocktail hour to allow guests time to freshen up or check-in to their hotels. Guests arrived by shuttle to the front of Kirkland Manor and walked through the house to the backyard overlooking the Tred Avon where they were greeted with Mint Juleps. Guests could walk the grounds, sit in the most gorgeous oversized dusty blue velvet sofas along the water, play a game or two of cornhole, enjoy passed hors d’ourves including artichoke beignets and an oyster bar.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? Fresh Summer salad topped with a crabcake (because that’s what Maryland does…) to start, followed by a beef entrée and petit chocolates and bites for tables to share.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Both of us, being a bit shy, did not want the big announcement and entrance. Once guests took their seats, the band began to play Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” as we made our way to the dance floor to dance as husband and wife, and whisper cheesy jokes to keep our minds off all these people staring at us!

Tell us your love story. Our story begins in the summer of 2008 while tubing down the Gunpowder. With mutual friends dating, we ran into each other often. Perhaps there were a few sparks, but it wasn’t love at first sight. As the weather cooled and summer came to an end, our “coincidental” run-ins at parties and bonfires did too. Looking back now, we can say it’s all in God’s timing. Depending on who you ask, our first date came sometime years later. He says it was that rainy February night at the National Aquarium. I think it was that spring afternoon at an Orioles game. Nevertheless, it was the summer of 2012 we become inseparable (and Facebook official).
Describe the proposal! (From Jason:) It was the day before we were leaving for a vacation in France. There were bets on when and where it was going to happen while on our trip, and I couldn’t let anyone win, so I had to pop the question before we left! We were getting ready for dinner at Carrye’s favorite restaurant in Philadelphia and it just felt right. I got down on one knee in her apartment, and it was intimate and perfect.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring. The diamond is from Jason’s Grandma, which is so special! He took the diamond to their family jeweler, and they created the most beautiful ring!
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? I’d say the biggest challenge was being long distance for most of the planning- being away from each other had its own challenges, and also making plans to be in town to meet with our planner and vendors.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. We wanted a mix of large loose flowers and greenery flowing from tall silver candelabras and small arrangements all over in mint julep cups! We loved everything about them, and the colors tied in perfectly with the other décor! I wanted a flowing, organic bouquet, as if you were in a field of flowers and bent down to grab an armful. Hues of soft green, whites and hints of blue and tied up with dusty blue silk ribbons. And of course, a few of my favorite- anemones!
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? I am inclined to say everyone. It is a truly indescribable feeling to be surrounded by so many people you love and admire. But looking back now, it would be my Granny, who unexpectedly passed a couple months later. My wedding photos are the last photos we have with her and I have clung tight to those happy images and know I will for many years.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? “River of Dreams” by Billy Joel has become our family theme song, so we asked if they band could learn it and play it as our last song- and boy did they! What felt like a never-ending version finished off the dance floor as guests left the tent to line up for a sparkler exit, but to everyone’s surprise, fireworks exploded over the water as we ran past all our family and friends.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just finished completely gutting a house, Jason’s childhood home, actually. So, after being long distance for years, planning a wedding, moving in with my parents while renovating, I think we are most excited to settle in our new home and keep things low key for a little while!
Who was your favorite vendor and why? Hands down, our Wedding Planner, Elle Ellinghaus. She’s in my phone as ‘Fairy God Mother’, because that’s exactly what she is and this dream would not have come to life without her.

Photographer: Caitlin Joyce Photography | Videographer: Clickspark Films | Planner and Designer: Elle Ellinghaus Designs | Ceremony Venue: Our Mother of Sorrows | Reception Venue: Kirkland Manor | Florals: My Flower Box Events | Catering: Linwoods | Wedding Cake: Patisserie Poupon | Bride’s Gown: Style 9818 by Justin Alexander Signature | Bridal Salon: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique | Bride’s Veil: Justin Alexander Signature | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Annabelle” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Hair Stylist: NV Salon Collective | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Nancy Degan | Groom’s Fashion: Christopher Schafer Clothier | Groomsmen Fashion: Tuxedo House | Monogram: Empress Stationery | Stationery and Printing: Just Ink on Paper | Tent: Eastern Shore Tents | Rentals: White Glove Rentals | Flatware: Party Plus Baltimore | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Transportation: American Limousines | Fireworks: Serpico Pyrotechnics | Lighting and Drapery: Event Pro | Silhouette Artist: Paper Portraits

Written with love by Catherine
  1. avatar Jordan reply

    Where are the sweet flower girl dresses from? Love!!

  2. avatar Lauren reply

    Where did you get those bridesmaid pjs?! They are so cute!!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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