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Remember that gorgeous light I spoke about in Part I? Here it is again in these divine portraits from Adam Barnes! Absolutely dreamy!

A mini-food fan, I know our Emily was completely smitten when she first peeked at Tami + James’ reception. I love how T + J not only served adorable and yummy food, but it came complete with a story — the best part! Each course was a customized culinary trip through their lives, from “Childhood Favorites,” “Southern Comfort” and “Old Bay,” all the way to “The City That Never Sleeps.” What fun!

P.S. Be sure to scroll all the way down and read about T + J’s Great Gatsby moment! So cool!

We had an outdoor cocktail hour among the Carriage House and Gazebo at the Thomas Birkby House, where we served our signature cocktail, a strawberry mojito and oysters in mini Ball jars with individual Tabasco pairings.

What was your reception like? It was a tented reception where guests enjoyed our personalized four-course dinner and dancing afterward.  When planning the wedding, I wanted to incorporate something that would blow James away, and decided to surprise him with a cigar roller and scotch bar, which ended up being a huge hit at the reception!  The cigar roller did his thing on the patio, just outside of the tent, where many of our guests congregated after dinner to enjoy the last few minutes of sunlight and socialize among the trees and carriage house.  For an added unique touch of evening ambiance, we projected a romantic 1920s silent film in the background against the carriage house. The scene of bow-tied gentlemen enjoying cigars while entertaining each other and their lovely ladies was magical, drawing a comment from one guest likening the evening to one of the many painted by Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.

Food is a big part of our lives. Growing up, we both had family dinners on Sundays and everyone always seemed to be in and around the kitchen enjoying the food and drink that day’s host was preparing. As a continuation of our quest to make our wedding personal, we took the opportunity to come up with a menu that reflected the path of our lives. We started with a “Childhood Favorites” course of Lobster corndogs, grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters, and a side of gold fish crackers. Then on to “Southern Comfort,” a nod to my Southern roots with white cheddar, gruyere and truffle oil mac and cheese, a country biscuit with Virginia ham, and shrimp and grits. The third course was “Old Bay,” a nod to James’ hometown and late night college years with Maryland crab cakes and a mini philly cheesesteaks with shoestring fries. To finish the meal and kick off the toasts, we ended with our fourth course, “The City That Never Sleeps,” which was a manhattan, the city where we currently make our home.

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: We used vintage scales, vintage cigar boxes, homemade painted wooden signs, ball jars with burlap wrapping, homemade burlap silverware holders with individually sewn flowers, and a homemade “sweets” sign over the dessert bar
Describe your centerpieces: They were a mix of pale pink peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias and roses in vintage wood boxes, vintage tins and apothecary jars. They were arranged around stacked antique books and vintage tea cups with tea light candles inside.  The table number signs were designed to reflect specific parts of our personalities and story, including a Christian Louboutin pump, a bull and bear (James works on Wall Street), golf clubs, a Virginia peanut, and more.

My favorite detail of the wedding was the custom farm table my mother and father built for us to serve as the “head table.”  We weren’t allowed to see it until the day of the wedding and we were truly blown away. The most special part was that they engraved T + J on the top! It is something we can’t wait to move into our home (once we leave the cozy confines of the West Village) and incorporate into holiday family traditions. 

Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to Jason Mraz’s “Lucky,” which we liked because it was light and fun, and we both feel that we are each other’s best friend.  James tried to organize us for dance lessons a few weeks before the wedding, but we had too many other things to take care of.  We faked our way through it and just had fun with a couple of “homemade” twirls and dips.  None of our guests noticed the lack of dance skills, or at least we don’t think so!!

Describe your wedding cake: We used Maggie Austin’s ruffle cake design, a beautiful white cake with sugar peonies and dahlias to match our wedding flowers.  It was the classic Maggie Austin cake with meticulously molded hand-ruffled layers.  We had two flavors: peanut butter butter-creme and white velvet cake with raspberry preserves. The cake served as the centerpiece of our dessert bar, surrounded by mini strawberry milkshakes, pop-tarts on a stick, cake pops and other sweet treats.

What was Southern about your wedding? Everything from the country music playing in the background, the sweet tea served pre-ceremony, and the “Southern Comfort” menu complete with shrimp and grits, mac and cheese and a delicious country biscuits with Virginia ham.
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day?  James’ speech, welcoming everyone to our wedding and hearing him talk about the first time he saw me and how he knew good things were to come.  It was quite the tear-jerker for all of the ladies at the wedding.
What were some of the highlights? The personalized menu was a hit with everyone — definitely something bespoke that had the intended effect of sharing with our guests the formative times in our lives. Our guests also loved the scotch bar and cigar roller!
What was the funniest moment?  What was the scariest? The funniest moment was trying to get the ring bearer to sit with the wedding party for group pictures.  Lou, James’ best man ended up grabbing the back of his overalls to keep him from exploring the gardens! The scariest moment was standing up in front of all our family and friends and taking the leap!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? No, but James’ father gave a beautiful blessing before dinner.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? Both.  James tossed my garter to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” a fitting tune, especially given James’ love of the guitar and Jimi Hendrix in particular.  His college band mates got a kick out of it!
Tell us about your grand exit. As a parting gift, and to keep the party rolling, we made s’mores kits for all our guests.  We all piled into a trolley enjoying whatever cocktail happened to be in our hot little hands at the end of the night and proceeded to the fire pit at the resort where everyone was staying.  It was the perfect way to end the evening, where guests who hadn’t had a chance to catch up could banter about their latest happenings and new friendships made that evening were solidified.  James and I were a few of the last to leave, enjoying everyone’s well-wishes and hearing about their personal evening highlights.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding:  The custom cigar labels Tami had made for our scotch and cigar bar!!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding?  Time management. We wanted everything to be perfect and spent a lot of our time focused on the details.  As the date neared, we weren’t quite sure we could get it all done.  But, thanks to a combined family effort, everything went off without a hitch!
What range did your budget fall into?  $25,000-$50,000
Did you take a honeymoon?  If so, where? We took a wonderful trip to the Amalfi coast in Italy, spending time on the island of Capri and the coastal towns of Ravello and Positano.  We loved the casual glamour of the Mediterranean, and of course the food and wine!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?  We are tremendously blessed with many opportunities that may either keep us in New York, or take us somewhere new.  But, for now, we can’t wait to make the most of our time as a young couple in New York City.

Adam Barnes is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    I love how delicate and Southern all of the details are. Her flowers are absolutely gorgeous!

  2. avatar Ken Tan reply

    Love all the little details in this wedding! The old table looks so cool! …and the fork holder thingy ;) BEAUTIFUL! :)

  3. avatar Tomi Lynn Heard reply

    Where can I get the printed burlap peanut favor bags?

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With its romantic, vintage feel, topped by the stunning light captured by our friend Adam Barnes, of course I remember Tami + James’ wedding fondly from Southern Weddings V5! But what I didn’t realize was Tami’s sweet inspiration and attention to meaningful details. Tami said that her mother was the design inspiration for their wedding (I LOVE that!). “Growing up in Virginia, my mom and I would spend weekend afternoons exploring the countryside and all its gravel roads, farms and antique shops, looking for vintage treasures to incorporate into our garden or bring into our home,” said Tami. We think the couple did a fantastic job weaving such an incredible image into their big day all while keeping their own personal style at the core.

Favorite design element of your big day:  The wedding paper, specifically the save the dates.  Lucinda Wesson of Chocolate Creative Designs was an absolute dream to work with. I wanted to use the save the dates as an opportunity to capture our guests’ imagination and set the stage for the rest of our Southern wedding.  Together, Lucinda and I created a unique design that had guests talking for months.  When James proposed, he hid my engagement ring in a Magnolia Bakery cupcake box (the man knows the way to my heart!) so I thought it would be cute to package the save the dates in a bakers box that resembled those from Magnolia Bakery. The traditional Magnolia Bakery logo is a picture of the bakery storefront but instead, Lucinda created a custom design that included a drawing of the Thomas Birkby carriage house, the scene in which James and I would exchange our vows. As many of our guests would be traveling for our big day, we themed the rest of the details around Virginia: hints of dogwood prints (the state flower) and subtle cardinals (the state bird), textures of washed out burlap, watercolor paper and a touch of Southern hospitality – Virginia peanuts, used as box fillers!  As our guests opened the bakery box, they found the save the date card in a customer printed burlap “peanut sack” among the peanuts. Not only did our guests love the design but they enjoyed the treat inside. So inspired was one of our guests, that they used the components of the save the date to create a custom gift box and wrapping for our wedding gift – a sentimental treasure we will long cherish.

The lovely and talented Holly Heider Chapple did a beautiful job on our flowers. My bouquet included pale pink peonies, café au lait dahlias and dusty miller. The bouquet was bound with lace from my mother’s wedding dress and tucked away in one of the blooms was a tiny ruby given to me by my deceased uncle. The bridesmaids carried pale pink blush roses, scabiosa pods, ranunculus, dusty miller, and pink hydrangeas.  The stems were bound in burlap and pearl pins. The bouts were tiny pink roses wrapped in burlap.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses.  How did you choose them? The bridesmaid dresses are designed by Sarah Seven.  I wanted the girls to wear dresses that matched the vintage feel of the wedding and the traditional taffeta dresses were not going to cut it!  I was flipping through a bridal magazine one day and came across a photograph of a wedding with the bridesmaids wearing Sarah Seven dresses. I loved the softness of her designs, they are very whimsical and girly. I wanted an eclectic look so I chose two colors, robin’s egg blue and blush pink, and told the girls they could choose whatever style dress was most flattering on their body type. The colors photographed beautifully.

Our entire office had a little swoonfest when we first got a look at this little guy! That bow tie + that hat = we die!

Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a traditional non-denominational ceremony.  Our officiant, Gil, who was recommended by my boss, felt the same as us and focused the ceremony on God’s beautiful creation, love, and how to nurture, honor and enjoy it.
Who participated in your ceremony? We had two readers, our friends Allison Black and Claire Vorhees.  My 14-year-old sister, Niki also sang Ave Maria during the ceremony — a performance people are still raving about!
Did you try anything new or untraditional? I walked down the aisle to Jont’s “Sweetheart,” a song that when I heard it, reminded me of James.  We had a very fun parting song, Barry Louis Polisar’s “All I Want is You” that set the tone for a perfect outdoor cocktail hour.

Our summer wedding was on June 23, 2012 at the Thomas Birkby House in Leesburg, Virginia. Even though we lived in New York, we are both Southern at heart – I with my Southern roots, and James with his country club gentleman style – so we thought Virginia would be the perfect spot.  It just felt like home.  When we visited the Thomas Birkby House, we were both blown away at the detail and care Ron and Judy put into maintaining the venue.  We also loved the old-time Virginia feel of the house and gardens.  As a logistical bonus, the house was 15 minutes away from my parent’s house – the perfect staging area for our farm table, flowers and centerpieces — and the resort we used to spend time at while dating.  That weekend, our guests were able to enjoy the pool during the day and James had a prenuptial golf tournament with his father, uncles and groomsmen – one of his few requirements for the weekend.

My mother was the design inspiration behind our wedding.  Growing up in Virginia, my mom and I would spend weekend afternoons exploring the countryside and all its gravel roads, farms and antique shops, looking for vintage treasures to incorporate into our garden or bring into our home.  Knowing James’ weekend style, cultivated by his passion for golf and love of leisurely Saturday county club afternoons, toasting his round with mint juleps and cigars, I knew he would be supportive of the Southern vintage theme I envisioned.  From there, I was off to the races creating a unique experience for our guests that reflected our personalities.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.  James and I met in 2007 while working for the same company in Northern Virginia.  We worked in separate offices and would have never met if fate wasn’t on our side. One summer afternoon, a mutual friend and colleague invited us both to lunch.  When James arrived at our office to meet for lunch, he saw, as he says, a “bouncy blonde” walking down the hall and instantly prayed, “Oh please God, let that be the friend I am going to lunch with!”  Luckily it was, and after a long lunch filled with laughter, our relationship began.  Unfortunately, time was not on our side as James was due to leave for business school in Chicago just six weeks after we met. We dated long distance for his two years at school, including a summer in New York.  While it was challenging at times, we enjoyed the sparks that flew each time we reunited and the dream of living together in New York City after graduation.
Describe the proposal: In 2009, we settled in to our first (and tiny!) New York City apartment in the West Village, which is where James popped the question.  It was a Thursday evening when James walked through the door of our apartment with a box of my favorite cupcakes from our neighborhood bakery, Magnolia.  I opened the box and to my surprise, there was the most beautiful engagement ring right next to a cupcake!  After proposing, James told me to pack my suitcase. I was shocked.  Not only had he planned a romantic trip for us, but also arranged the vacation days with my boss without me knowing.  We spent the long weekend drinking and eating pool-side, enjoying couples massages and lounging on the beach – the perfect way to celebrate our new engagement!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Vintage, personal, Southern.
What was the weather like on your big day?  Perfect – 85 degrees, sunny with a gentle summer breeze
How many guests attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about finding your wedding dress.  What is your favorite thing about it? I purchased my wedding dress from a little bridal boutique in NYC called Adriennes.  The designer is Jim Hjelm.  Since we were having a vintage-inspired wedding, I knew I wanted a lace dress.  What I loved specifically about this dress was the design of the lace.  It wasn’t your traditional Chantilly lace, it was more of a crochet lace.  I thought it was unique and I loved the way the mermaid style showed off my curves.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your big day? I spent most of the day with my bridesmaids getting our makeup and hair done.  James was running around making sure our guests were enjoying themselves by the pool.  On Friday, James had a golf tournament with his dad, uncles, friends and groomsmen, jokingly referred to as the Prenuptial Open.

Adam Barnes is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Beautiful wedding! I have a quick question- where did you get the little boy’s outfit? I love it and am looking for something similar for my ring bearers! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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You could say that Southern is in the details. One look at Rachel + Jeffrey’s V4 wedding can tell you that they’re true Southerners! Rachel rocks lace and hair bump like a true deb. However, we like to think that Southern is in the stories, and R + J’s wedding is full of those, too. We just love that Rachel wanted her wedding to be the first in many family traditions, that she chose to wrap her bouquet in lace from her mother’s wedding gown and that at their ceremony, love letters exchanged during her grandparent’s WWII romance were read. (Here’s a warning to break out the tissue for that one.)

Yes, these photos from Adam Barnes are positively gorgeous (who could resist that pink and gold reception?), but it’s so much better knowing how much thought Rachel + Jeffrey put into their big day.

Haven’t picked up your own copy of V4 yet? You can do so here to see all the details from Rachel + Jeffrey’s wedding, plus much more Southern goodness!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew that I wanted to find a dress that was timeless, one that I could look back on in 30 years and wouldn’t feel those pangs of regret about. We went and tried on a handful of dresses and I had thought I had found “the one.” When we went back to try it on a couple of weeks later, I saw a gown in the window that had just gotten in that week. I decided to try that one on, just to see if I liked it as much as the other gown. I loved it and everyone else was in agreement that this new dress was, in fact, “the dress.”
Describe your wedding flowers: Our flowers were simply grand! We wanted our flowers to be a mixture of different types, giving our bouquets lots of texture. I wanted to use flowers that were in season but I also wanted big, fluffy, voluminous flowers. Our ceremony flowers were a soft color palette of ivory, blush, apricot, peach fuzz, and buttercream. For our reception, we used the same flowers but in a brighter shades of pinks and peaches with lots of lush greenery. My bouquet was made ivory in color and made from loose fluffy flowers. It was tightly wrapped with a piece of fabric from my mother’s wedding dress and the lace from my mother’s veil.

Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. My father escorted me down the aisle to Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. We didn’t write our own vows because we wanted to use the traditional vows that have been used so many times before us. Our pastor did read from a series of letters that my grandparent’s exchanged during WWII and our favorite lines come from one of those letters. “November 2, 1945. I start writing to you and the first thing I know I get to thinking and dreaming of you and before long, I come to my senses and I find my dreams have gone on but my letter has not. And the dreams, well, Darling, they would be a little hard to put on paper because the words just do not seem to come, but you know the kind of dreams I mean – wonderful dreams of things past and better still, dreams of those things yet to come. They are the dreams I am looking forward to most anxiously.”

What was the design inspiration for your reception? We wanted our reception to feel like a true Southern celebration!! We knew we wanted a sit down dinner so we put a lot of emphasis on our tables. We designed our reception around the beautiful décor of the CCV including the two large fireplaces, the second floor balcony, the elegant crystal chandeliers, and the convenient outdoor and indoor space.
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: Instead of a traditional guest book, we had 5 bottles of champagne for guests to sign. They were for our first, fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth, and fiftieth wedding anniversary and guests were urged to sign the bottles with a gold paint pen. For escort cards, we used mason jars that had their seating assignments written on pink tags tied in ivory ribbon and adorned with gray and white barber striped straws. Instead of traditional place cards, we had our guests names printed on the top of their menu cards and we had table tents with whimsical imagery of a pig, seashell, and an ear of corn to signify our guests entrée selection. Each table was named after one of our favorite restaurants that had a special meaning to us. Our head table was named “Metro Grill” after the restaurant we met at.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? We incorporated all of the things that are special to us as a couple, the drinks we like to drink, the food we like to eat, our favorite colors, our favorite restaurants, our favorite city, our favorite music, etc. and found a way to bring them to life in a way that was not only cohesive but elegant. It was about finding a way to take the things we love and using them in a way that made sense for our wedding.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. (From the groom) Rachel and I met at one of our favorite Richmond bars. She caught my eye several times and to this day, I can remember exactly what she was wearing. Our paths crossed several times throughout the course of the night. Finally, before I was getting ready to leave, I asked for her number. I called her the next day, the day after that, the day after that, and the rest is history.
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) Rachel’s dog, Buttons has always been a special part of our lives. I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate Buttons into our proposal. One morning I tied the engagement ring to a bow on Button’s fluffy head. Rachel was getting ready to take Buttons out for a walk and was surprised and elated to find the ring. I asked and Rachel immediately said yes.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, romantic, and whimsical.
How many guests attended your wedding? 174 of our closest family and friends
Favorite design element of your big day: I toyed with the idea of incorporating a monogram or signature and I really liked the idea of incorporating a bee. I love symbolism behind the bee. A single bee can accomplish very little alone but together, bees can accomplish great tasks. To us, a bee was a metaphor for a good marriage; it symbolizes the importance of working together while enjoying the sweetness of life. Our design team helped us create our own bee that was whimsical and unique to us. Our bee took on a life of his own influencing our design and earning himself the name “Reginald”.
Describe your wedding cake: We opted for a more contemporary style of wedding cake that was tall and skinny. Our wedding cake was five layers with three different flavors and traditional buttercream icing. We each picked our favorite flavor (strawberry and cream for Jeff and almond pound cake with raspberry jelly for me) and selected a flavor we thought our guests would enjoy (carrot cake). It was delicious!
What were some of the highlights? The trolley ride over to the reception was one of our favorite moments. Our bridal party really let loose and enjoyed themselves with cans of Sofia Sparkling Wine and a bullhorn. The heartfelt toasts that came from my father, Jeff’s father, and my sister were some of the best toasts I have ever heard and they warmed our hearts. We loved being able to sit down and have dinner with our family because it allowed us to share this special moment with our newly merged families.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Hire a wedding planner. I know a lot of brides are hesitant to enlist the help of a planner, but even if you just hire a day-of coordinator, it’s money well spent. Over the years, the number one regret I have heard from my friends was that they didn’t hire a planner because they weren’t able to relax on their wedding day. Spend the money on a good photographer that you both love and trust. Those special moments happen so fast and you want to trust that they are being captured for you. Unfortunately there are no redo’s when it comes to weddings. Enjoy it. Our engagement and wedding day went by in the blink of the eye. It is such a special time in your lives and you should spend the time celebrating and not stressing about the wedding plans. It all comes together in the end.
Most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. My bridesmaid and longtime friend, Bree said, “All of these people are here for you.” Looking back, it means so much more than it did at the time she said it. When you reflect on all of the people that are there to celebrate with you out of the love they share for the bride and groom, it is overwhelming.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to spending our lives together and enjoying the simple things and each another’s company. Going out to dinner, the movies, trips to the river, picnics, and parties. We hope to one day have a family but for now we are focusing on decorating our first home and spending each day together.

Photographer: Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography // Planner: Fete Studio and Design // Designer: Fete Studio and Design // Ceremony Venue: St. John’s United Church of Christ // Reception Venue: The Country Club of Virginia // Florist: Flower Girls Inc. // Wedding Cake Baker: The Country Club of Virginia // Caterer: The Country Club of Virginia // Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale // Bride’s Dress: Paloma Blanca // Bride’s Reception Dress: LulaKate // Hair Stylist: Lou Stevens Glam Squad // Makeup Artist: Lou Stevens Glam Squad // Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade // Bride’s Jewelry: Carolee // Bride’s Veil: Paris Hair Accessories // Bride’s Reception Hair Piece: // Bride’s Other Accessories: Monogrammed Jack Rogers, blue silk purse by Davie & Chiyo // Groom’s Fashion: Calvin Klein // Groomsmen Fashion: Calvin Klein // Custom Bowties: Lumina Clothing Company // Paper Goods: Fete Studio and Design // Rentals: Classic Party Rentals // Linens: La Tavola Linen // Lighting: Blue Steel Pro Lighting // Ring Bearer Pillow:Violets Etc. // Reception Décor: Banner by Custom Calligraphy by Carmela Mazzarulli, straws, “Just Married” sign, and pom pom garland by Violets Etc. // Favors: eBee Honey // Strings: Silverleaf String Quartet // Band: Another Level via Sam Hill Entertainment

Adam Barnes is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Want more? We think you’ll love these, too:
Britt + Heath’s glam ballroom wedding here and here
Samantha + Graham’s pink North Carolina wedding here and here

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Ashley Pepitone reply

    This is so insanely gorgeous. That CAKE! I love!!!

  2. avatar molly reply

    wow. stunning! just stunning! so classic and romantic

  3. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    Love this wedding! The reception decor is absolutely gorgeous, and oh my goodness, can we talk about that cake?!

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