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While they have so many great moments to remember from their wedding day at the beautiful Castleton Farms, for Mary and Dom, the moment when their eyes met as she walked down the aisle takes the cake! It was filled with so much joy and happiness that they know they’ll never forget. Planning a wedding and honeymoon around Dom’s hockey schedule was no easy task, but together, they focused on what was most important to them as a couple and showed their guests the sweet Southern hospitality of Mary’s home state of Tennessee. As for Mary’s sage advice for those planning a wedding? “Don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” Yes, ma’am!!

Big hugs to Jennie Andrews for sharing this dreamy day with us!

I loved my dress! A few days after the proposal, I went out with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law to do some dress shopping (they were staying with me for a few days after the big surprise engagement dinner). They were only in New York for a short time, so we made tons of appointments and were ready to hit up every store in NYC. Of course, the first shop we went to, a cute little boutique called L’Fay Bridal, had some of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen! THE dress was about the fifth one I tried on, and once I put it on, I could not stop smiling. We all knew it was the one, but did not want to pick a dress quite that quickly. After leaving the shop, I called Dom and told him I thought I had found the dress. He was happy to hear it and told me to go for it! The next day, I went in and bought it.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to save some money in every category along the way, skipping letterpress on the invites, buying bridesmaid dresses during major sales at J. Crew, and things of that nature. Most significantly, we worked with our florist to reuse as many of the arrangements as we could. Flowers from the rehearsal dinner were used at the cocktail hour the next day, and flowers from the ceremony were brought up onto the deck of the barn to decorate the bar. Also, we did our rehearsal dinner at Castleton Farms, since we were able to pay for a weekend package. Not paying for a new venue for that dinner was a big cost saver.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string trio play classics like Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Trumpet Voluntary” for the ceremony. We wanted those sweet and traditional melodies to set the tone for the day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Christian wedding and said the traditional vows.

There are so many great moments that we remember so vividly about the whole day, but by far, the most memorable moment for us was when I was walking down the aisle. Dom didn’t want to see me too early when I was far away, so he was facing Pastor Wood until I entered the doors and was ready to come down the aisle. When he turned, our eyes met, and we both just exploded with joy and happiness!

We chose Castleton Farms for our ceremony and reception for a few different reasons. First, I am from Tennessee and wanted to have the wedding in my home state! Second, Castleton Farms was stunning. It was every dream wedding Pinterest board come true, and after one quick visit (in the winter, even!), we were beyond interested. We met with the venue coordinator, Darla Walker, and were so impressed by her that we booked that very day! I think I called her around 9 P.M. to book it because I was so set on having that venue and was worried that someone else might take our date! Fitting in a wedding and honeymoon around a hockey player’s schedule is quite a feat!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding reception in a barn. The night before the wedding, all the girls and I slept over at the venue in the big, Southern mansion they have on property. It was amazing! We had a lemonade tent with all kinds of lemonade for the guests during the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour was more of a game hour, complete with lawn games like croquet, blongo ball, and corn hole–all good, Southern games! We knew it would be hot and people would need to fan themselves a bit to keep from overheating, so we made our ceremony programs fans. We also had barbecue as an entree option at the dinner.

We had a three-layer white wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. We also had some delicious cupcakes (about four different flavors and colors) and little jars of heart-shaped apple pies. The apple pie was supposed to go with the moonshine bar, but they were out on display and got eaten pretty quickly–long before the moonshine came out!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One of my friends from college played tennis with Dom during the summers. Once we had been introduced, Dom invited me to come and see a game some time (he plays for the New York Rangers). After the first game I went to, I was waiting for him to come out after the game to head to dinner with me and a few friends. When he walked around the corner, my heart jumped. I quickly began to see that I was not the only one with a little crush, since I seemed to be getting a bit more attention than his other guests at the games–and kept getting the invite back. Also, he was playing incredibly well any time I was at a game! It didn’t take long for us to begin dating. We were out to dinner after one of his games when we made it official. We love going back to that restaurant and thinking about that special time.
Tell us all about the proposal! Dom proposed in Central Park! Central Park is a special place for us. We spent a number of different occasions there while we were dating–having picnics, taking walks, going ice skating, and riding bikes. Last December, we were trying to decide if we should stay in New York for Christmas or go home to be with our families. We finally decided to stay in the city, even though we would really miss our families. On Christmas Eve, we spent the day doing all things Christmas-y and just enjoying the day together. Later in the day, Dom suggested we go ice skating. As you may guess, skating with a hockey player is quite a fun experience!! After skating, he suggested we go out to dinner so that I would not have to worry about cooking anything. He called The Boathouse restaurant to see if we could get reservations, and lo and behold, they had some availability. We got dressed up and started walking to dinner. The Boathouse is in the middle of Central Park, so you have to walk through the park to get there. The only things around were the horse-drawn carriages going by every now and then. Somewhere along the walk, words of love were exchanged and a ring was given. We like to keep the details of it between the two of us! :) After getting engaged, we continued our walk to the restaurant, stopping to hug and kiss and laugh every few steps. To my surprise, when we arrived at the restaurant, out popped my parents, Dom’s parents, and my brother and sister-in-law!!! Dom had flown everyone up for a surprise engagement dinner! It turned out that it would be a family-filled Christmas after all, with even more reasons to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? July 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? There were about 140 people at the wedding. We felt so loved that so many friends made the trip to Tennessee to be there.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! To be honest, I did not think that through! I did, however, have something borrowed and blue. When Dom and I were first dating, I started wearing one of his blue flannel shirts because I needed a light jacket and didn’t have one, so he let me borrow it. He told me I looked better in it than he did, so I wore it a bunch and loved it! I wore that button-down all day while I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a little reminder of the start of all the love–not to mention, it was perfect for the job and cute!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t forget the whole reason you are planning this event: to unite yourself with the love of your life! Trust me, you won’t even get to see most of the things you spent months planning. You will be so busy gazing at your husband and taking in all the smiles and hugs from your friends and family, that all those details that seemed so crucial will go largely unnoticed by you and your fiancé. Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are back to work now and are also having fun redecorating Dom’s old place. We both want to have a family and are excited to get started on that in the near future! Also, we love working out together, so Dom spent the summer teaching me to play tennis! We are looking forward to playing together throughout life.

Photographer: Jennie Andrews / Videographer: Alex Widmer / Venue and Coordination: Castleton Farms / Florist: Samuel Franklin / Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillan / Caterer: All Occasion Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental / Band: Emerald Empire Band / Paper Products: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown: Berta Bridal / Bridal Salon and Veil: L’Fay Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Bangs and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose by J. Crew / Menswear: J. Crew / Transportation: Chariots of Hire / Cupcakes: Scrumps Cupcakes / Invitation Calligraphy: Alice Sword

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dimity reply

    Oh, what a beautiful piece of advice from Mary! “Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” I will carry this with me as I plan our special day. Thank you for sharing xo

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When it comes to wedding planning advice, we’ve pretty much heard it all–some of which we wholeheartedly agree with, while other things make us cringe a little. Kimberly’s advice for brides falls very solidly in the first category: “If you put in the work early to find vendors you can trust, it makes everything else so much easier. I was so confident in my florist, DJ, photographer, and event staff, I knew that no matter what, the end result was going to be a beautiful, amazing, and fun party.” Following their own advice, Kimberly and Michael’s wedding turned out beautifully, but more importantly, choosing their vendors with care let them truly soak in and enjoy their special day. No matter what the specifics of your wedding are, enjoying the day should be a top priority, and we’re so glad Kimberly and Michael did exactly that!

Thanks so much to Kristen Lynne for sharing this special celebration with us!

Our flowers were one of my favorite details from the wedding! Coral charm peonies provided big pops of color among hydrangea, spray roses, and greenery. Juliet garden roses made my bouquet special and different from the other flower arrangements, in addition to poppy pods and hanging ivy. The poppy pods were added to honor my grandfather, who we called “Poppy,” and the ivy was in honor of my grandma and aunt, both named Ivy. This made me feel like those very special people were, in some way, with me on our wedding day.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We knew we wanted to spend cocktail hour with our family and friends who had traveled from all over the country. Our first look gave us the opportunity to have a moment that was completely honest and private, and to get out our pre-wedding jitters. With most of our pictures taken care of, we were able to spend almost all of our cocktail hour visiting with guests and enjoying the delicious food Pippin Hill had prepared.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a flute/string trio. The flutist helped us pick classic, but light, songs for when the guests arrived, when the bridal party walked down the aisle, and for me as both of my parents accompanied me to the altar. Mike has always liked classical music, so it was perfect for us.

One of my best friends is a writer, and he wrote a poem for us that he read during the ceremony. It was one of the most special gifts we received. Mike’s aunt also did a reading from Corinthians in the Bible.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We knew we wanted to get married in Charlottesville since that is where we met. We wanted a simple and elegant outdoor wedding, and Pippin Hill provided the perfect setting for exactly that!

Besides the gorgeous backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our wedding had a few other little Southern touches, including a sweet tea and lemonade hospitality station before the ceremony, barn wood boxes with burlap and lace details for our centerpieces, and large farm tables for us and our bridal party.

Our favorite detail was definitely our first dance. We secretly took lessons and surprised our family and friends with a choreographed routine, full of spins and dips. We don’t know what was more fun–the dance itself or seeing the shocked/excited expressions of our guests!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met when Mike was finishing his first year of medical school, and I was finishing my first year of my Masters in speech language pathology at the University of Virginia. Our friends introduced us one night when we were out and about in Charlottesville, and we went out on a date right away. After only dating for a few months, Mike surprised me for my birthday by showing up in NYC with tickets to The Lion King. After a big gesture like that, I knew he was really something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Because of Mike’s very taxing schedule as a medical student, it was difficult for us to find time together, especially around holidays. In early November, Mike told me he was going to give me my present since we weren’t going to be able to spend Christmas together. He took me on a hike to Old Rag, a notoriously difficult, but beautiful, hike in central Virginia, and then surprised me by taking me to a bed and breakfast in a town nearby. We had a beautiful dinner, followed by a movie by the fireplace in our private cottage. It was a night full of surprises, but the biggest surprise was when Mike pulled out a ring and ask me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! We immediately got in the car to drive until we could find cell phone service so I could call my parents–we were in the middle of the country, and didn’t get service for miles!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Wedding planning was truly a joint effort, and helped us to realize each other’s strengths when it came to decision making. We learned communication and compromise along the way, which I think are crucial in a happy and successful marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge was trying to honor and respect the wishes and ideas of our family members, while remembering the day was supposed to be about us as a couple. For the most part, all of the planning went very smoothly. We had a year and a half engagement, so we were able to spread things out and make one decision at a time, rather than deciding on everything at once. I think that in the end, we added touches and made decisions that we knew were meaningful to our families without compromising our dream wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to save money on flowers and decor for the ceremony and reception by picking a venue with natural beauty and elegance. We also used the standard tables, chairs, and china our venue provided, rather than renting our own.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning is important, but over-planning is the biggest mistake you can make. Inevitably, things happen, something will “go wrong” or have to be altered, so go in with that mindset in place. Do research on vendors and ask for recommendations and referrals. If you put in the work early to find vendors you can trust, it makes everything else so much easier. I was so confident in my florist, DJ, photographer, and event staff, I knew that no matter what, the end result was going to be a beautiful, amazing, and fun party.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently enjoying living together for the first time in our new home. We were able to buy a house in Charlottesville and move in with our dog, Jackson, immediately after the wedding. We are looking forward to dinners together every night, waking up together every morning, and making our new house a home.

Photographer: Kristen Lynne / Venue: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard / Florist: Blue Ridge Floral Design / Dessert Baker: Sweet Haus / DJ: Derek Tobler / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Allure Bridals / Hair Stylist: Salon Druknya / Makeup Artist: A More Beautiful You / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson Blue / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Emily King reply

    What a gorgeous venue and such a sweet love story. Kimberly’s dress is so beautiful, love the lace detail. I love how Kristen captured those fleeting, emotional moments of the bride and groom. :)

  2. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Gorgeous bride! Love her dress and also the dress of the bridesmaids! Incredible pictures of an amazing location!

  3. avatar blushcheek reply

    romantic wedding, amazing wedding dress and hair accessory.

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I’ve written about high school and college sweethearts, but I think we’ve only had a handful of childhood sweethearts–and, y’all, I can’t help but imagine how absolutely adorable these two were when they were little! Alexandria and Caleb have known each other since they were just five years old, and made their relationship “official” at the ripe age of 12. They even remember how hard it was to wait until after they graduated college to get married! With their wedding day such a long time coming, these two had dreamed of having an outdoor ceremony and a big, beautiful barn reception for quite some time, and when it actually came to tying the knot, they chose the lovely McGranahan Barn. Inspired by Miranda Lambert’s “Oklahoma Sky,” they and their planner brought a bold color palette to life with bursting blooms from Poppy Lane Designs and DIY details made by friends and family. I can tell by their smiling faces, it was worth the wait!

Big hugs to Holli B. Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!

I had the privilege of going to Kleinfeld Bridal, and it was such a cool experience. My wedding dress was a Lazaro ball gown. It was very Southern and fit my personality perfectly. I knew for sure that it was my dress when I was looking around on my computer at home and realized I had actually saved a picture of that exact dress in 2009!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My entire wedding theme was “Meet Me Underneath the Oklahoma Sky.” I walked down the aisle to the song with the same name by Miranda Lambert–I knew it would be the song I would walk down the aisle to the first time I heard it, almost two years before we actually got married!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had always dreamed of having an outdoor ceremony, and the reception was in a big, beautiful barn. I knew as soon as I saw the McGranahan Barn that it was the perfect venue for Caleb and me.

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were bright, big, and beautiful! The arrangements were in shades of red and pink, with added pops of color. They really set the mood for the entire wedding.

The main cake was a naked vanilla cake with icing in between the layers and flowers wrapped around it. The second cake was a strawberry cake, and the third cake was a chocolate cake that was decorated to look like tree bark. We had our initials “carved” into the cake with a heart around them. Not only did the cakes look absolutely stunning, they are also tasted fabulous. We also had a s’mores food truck parked outside, where guest could pick up homemade s’mores on their way out!

Don’t miss Alexandria and Caleb’s wedding film by Leslee Leaming below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Caleb and I met when we were just five years old. We basically grew up together, and our families became close friends when we were very young. At 12 years old, we “officially” started dating. We dated through most of middle school and into high school. We both remember thinking about how waiting until we graduated college to get married felt like torture! We got engaged our junior year of college on December 27, and finally tied the knot on May 30, 2015.
Tell us all about the proposal! Caleb and I knew we were going to get married out of college, and we had talked about when a good time to get engaged would be. I thought we had both decided on spring 2014, but Caleb had a different plan! December 27 was our anniversary, and for the past four years, we had gone to the same restaurant every year. That night, Caleb was late coming to pick me up and I was a little frustrated. When he finally arrived, he told me he forgot his wallet, and we had to go back by his house. Now, I was really frustrated! I begged him to let me pay for dinner so we could just go eat, but he was very persistent. As we were pulling into his long driveway, I noticed he started to slow down and asked what he was doing, but he never answered me. He stopped the truck, turned off the lights, and got out of the car. I still had no idea what was going on! He opened my door, and when I got out of the truck, huge Christmas lights came on that spelled out WILL YOU MARRY ME? As soon as I read it, I looked at Caleb, and he was down on one knee. The entire night felt like a dream and I was in complete shock!
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was probably all of the vintage furniture we used outside of the barn. My wedding planner/family friend also built me a fireplace that we used inside the barn to display my bridal portraits on.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think basically everything about our wedding was very Southern! Caleb and I are very Southern, and we wanted every detail to be a reflection of who we are.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I have some very crafty family members! My sister-in-law wrote all of the signs and chalkboards, and we made the four doors that I walked through.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice would be to not stress out over the things you cannot control, because at the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life, which is truly all that matters. I was super stressed out about the weather, and now realize there was no use in worrying about it. There was nothing I could do to fix the weather!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Caleb and I waited so long to be married, and I think we will just enjoy getting to do life together. We love spending time together and going on new adventures. We can’t wait to one day have our own little family.

Photographer: Holli B Photography / Videographer: Leslee Leaming / Planner: Kacey Burnett / Venue: The McGranahan Barn / Florist: Poppy Lane / Cake Baker: Amy Cakes / Caterer: Abbey Road Catering / Rentals: Ruby’s Vintage Rentals / DJ and Lighting: Chasen Shaw / Paper Products: Touies Design / Bride’s Gown: Lazaro / Hair Stylist: Bailey Unisucker / Makeup Artist: Chelsee Ann Artistry / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 496” by Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

Poppy Lane is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Kirsti Cook reply

    YAY for Oklahoma Weddings!! I love seeing so many great vendors I have worked with on Southern Weddings for such a charming wedding!

  2. avatar Maura Coleman reply

    oh my goodness, I LOVED that film! Just to see the expression on that sweet groom change as he watched her appear at the back of the ceremony site and come down the isle to him was so very special. There is just something about seeing a wedding come alive like that in the video that is so amazing!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    What is the song playing at th beginning of this video?

  4. avatar Kelsey reply

    WOW. I wouldn’t have thought I would like that bold of wedding colors, but they pulled it off beautifully. Absolutely gorgeous. I also really love the vintage dresser they used for the cake. So unique.

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