I can’t think of a sweeter way to spend this Tuesday morning than getting lost in Stephanie and Glenn’s wedding! These two met and became best friends during late nights of studying in medical school, and it wasn’t long before their feelings grew into something more. Once Glenn surprised the notoriously hard-to-surprise Stephanie with a proposal, they began planning their Virginia wine country wedding with so much intention and purpose. Everything from their venue to their table names to the flowers was meaningful, and thanks to Stephanie’s lovely taste and Glenn’s secret creative side, it was beautiful, too!
Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Rachel May for sharing this special day with us!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Monograms, monograms, monograms! We printed our custom monogram on our invitations, programs, menu, place cards, guest book, and more. We even crafted our monogram out of 300+ wine corks and placed it over the mantle in the tasting room during cocktail hour. We bought our bridesmaids and groomsmen monogrammed items as gifts (big oxfords for the girls to get ready in and tervis tumblers, and cuff links for the boys). My gift to Glenn on our wedding day was a monogrammed tie clip with our wedding date on the back. He got me a gold monogrammed necklace with my new initials that I wore at our reception. I also wore monogrammed gold Jack Rogers sandals with my new initials for the reception. Also, PEARLS! A Southern girl is never without her pearls. I gave my bridesmaids pearl earrings and necklaces and wore a beautiful family heirloom pearl ring for the ceremony.
I had always wanted to go dress shopping with just my mom and my best friend since childhood, Megan. A few weeks after the proposal, they drove down to Richmond to meet me on my day off and we went to Bella Rosa Bridal. I had seen a picture of a dress on Bella Rosa’s blog that was brand new to the store and asked to try it on. The first six or seven dresses that I tried on were all beautiful, but I knew I couldn’t make a decision until I tried the blog dress on. When I tried it on, I felt so beautiful. I absolutely loved the raw silk skirt and the illusion neckline, but it was so different from what I had pictured myself in–there was no lace! I felt torn, but when I looked at my mom and Megan’s faces, I knew that this was the one. The wonderful ladies at Bella Rosa were able to adapt the dress when I suggested we cut out the majority of the back and make it into a big wide “V” back. I also added a large bow with long, streaming ties. I have always wanted a bow on my wedding dress and knew it wouldn’t be complete without it! On the day of my wedding, I couldn’t wait to get into my beautiful dress. It was so perfectly me, and I had so much fun dancing the night away in my big skirt with the bow floating behind me!
Describe your wedding flowers. My mom is an incredible gardener and our lawn is always overflowing with beautiful blooms. She taught me a love of flowers from an early age, so choosing which flowers we wanted at the wedding was easy! I chose a loose, hand-tied bouquet in shades of ivory, soft peach, and blush with ranunculus, garden roses, parrot tulips, coral charm peonies, clematis, viburnum, and sweet peas, with lots of dusty miller and greenery. The sweet peas were especially important to me because my parents have been calling me “Sweet Pea” as a nickname since birth. I also wanted clematis because my mother has an incredible trellis of clematis at our family home, and I’ve always thought they were so simple and beautiful. All of the flowers for the bouquets were tied with ribbon streamers in champagne, ivory, and blush.
What I didn’t anticipate was how nervous I’d be on the wedding day! While getting my hair and makeup done, I was getting anxious and shaky about reading the vows we had written in front of so many people, and I really just wanted to see Glenn! The moment that he turned around and saw me in my dress for the first time is a moment I’ll never forget. Just holding his hand and giving him a kiss immediately calmed me and helped me relax and get excited for the rest of the evening. After that, it was smooth sailing!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I first visited Veritas Winery when I was in undergrad at UVA. I fell in love with it instantly: the location at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the gorgeous draped ballroom, and (of course!) the amazing wine. After my first visit there, I jokingly told my parents that I was going to get married there someday! Over the years, my family has spent many afternoons wine tasting at Veritas. When Glenn and I first became friends, I took him on a trip to Charlottesville to visit wineries, and Veritas was our first stop. I remember thinking then how special Veritas will always be to me. After we got engaged and decided the wedding would be in Virginia wine country, we browsed a few different places, but Veritas was always in the back of my mind. When Glenn’s sister came to visit just two weeks after our engagement, we took her to Veritas and showed her the ballroom. She turned to us and said, “Why is there even any question? This place is just perfect for the two of you!” That really sealed the deal!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did, and it was tougher than I had expected! We didn’t consult each other on them at all, but we did compare word counts to make sure they were a similar length. When we sent them to our officiant, she replied, “Oh, you two are just too perfect for each other, just you wait!” Glenn and I know each other so well that we both included nearly the exact same things: we joked about teaching our kids to root for both the UVA Hoos and the UCLA Bruins, we talked about supporting each other through all of the adventures of life, and we promised to listen to each other and never take a simple “I love you” for granted, amongst many others. They were so perfect.
Glenn and I both envisioned a non-traditional, outdoor wedding ceremony. My dad has always been a music lover and we have spent countless hours in the car together jamming to our favorites: The Beatles and Queen. Glenn has always been an oldies fan and is a die-hard motown fan, so our wedding quickly developed a retro music vibe. My dad and I walked down the aisle to my favorite childhood song, “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. When the ceremony was over, Glenn and I recessed to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder, one of our all-time favorites!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Too hard to choose! Maybe taking sunset photos with our vintage Packard car while our guests were at cocktail hour–it was so dreamy and romantic and private, and we loved it! Our other favorite detail was all of the table names and the guest book that Glenn drew by hand. We are big foodies, so we named our tables after our favorite restaurants in different cities across the U.S., and Glenn drew each restaurant’s logo by hand. He also made a huge canvas guest book with the states of Virginia and California on it, featuring pictures of our favorite places in each state. The guest book and our table numbers are now in our new home and we will cherish them forever!
Describe your dessert. Neither Glenn nor I are huge cake fans, and we wanted to find a way to bring some of Richmond, our home for the past four years, to Charlottesville. We decided to bring desserts from two of our favorite local Richmond vendors to Veritas. We served pies (apple, mixed berry streusel, coconut cream, and banoffee) from Proper Pie at the reception and gave out twelve varieties of the most delicious doughnuts you’ve ever had from Sugar Shack Donuts (a place we visit almost once a week!) as favors. We served them with to-go cups of coffee and waters for guests to take on the buses home, and they were a huge hit! We did want a small cake to do the ceremonial cutting with, so we got a delicious raspberry chai cake with buttercream icing.
Our first dance was to another oldie-but-goodie cover that we discovered on one of our very first dates: “Baby I’m Yours” by the Arctic Monkeys. We had an incredible reception band, The Dickens, and they played such an awesome variety–everything from motown to hip hop. The dance floor was packed until the lights went up at the end of the night and we sang UVA’s “Good Ole Song” and UCLA’s fight song a capella.
Big hugs to East West Productions for sharing this video from Stephanie + Glenn’s day!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Glenn and I met during our first year of medical school at the Medical College of Virginia. He was a quiet guy from Los Angeles and immediately befriended many of our other classmates from California, but as the first few weeks went by, our friend groups started meshing and hanging out quite a bit. Glenn and I started studying in the same study hall at school and spent countless late nights quizzing each other and giving each other pep talks. We became best friends first, and by the end of our first year of medical school, we were hanging out all the time, doing silly things like grocery shopping and watching movies together. It wasn’t until I brought Glenn to my parents’ house during the summer after first year that I realized how close we were. In fact, my mother took me aside and said, “You’re totally going to wind up with Glenn. I don’t know why you two aren’t together already. You’re just perfect for each other!” After that, I started realizing how much my feelings for Glenn were growing, but I had no idea how he felt. Finally, in January of our second year of medical school, Glenn leaned down and kissed me while we were dancing at our school’s annual Winter Ball. We’ve been inseparable ever since! We knew there would be a lot of obstacles in the way, especially the fact that we would have to go through a special match process called “couples matching” in the residency match at the end of medical school. Our entire fourth year of medical school was filled with anxiety as we waited until the end of March to find out if we would be starting our married life together or across the country from each other. When match day came, we received the best possible news: we would be staying in Virginia to complete our respective residencies! Two weeks later, we walked down the aisle to say “I do” on the most perfect day ever.
Tell us all about the proposal! I am always the one who likes to plan and ask questions, so I am generally very difficult to surprise. In his infinite genius, Glenn decided to let me do all the work and then hijack my plans. I had planned to do an early birthday dinner with all of my best girlfriends just a few days before my birthday, which he knew would be the perfect opportunity to have my closest friends and family all together. After dinner with my girlfriends, they surprised me by taking me to a wine bar instead of someone’s house for wine and dessert. When we got to the wine bar, we “learned” that it was closed because of a fire (my friends had already known this and used it as a diversion!). They insisted that we head to the very fancy French restaurant across the street instead. I balked, stating that it was too expensive, but they insisted. As we were walking into the restaurant, I joked to my friends, “Hey guys, wouldn’t it be so funny if Glenn showed up here with flowers and proposed?” Little did I know! The maitre d’ told us he only had one table in the private room at the very back. As I turned the corner, leading the pack of my friends, I saw my parents out of the corner of my eye and then my sweet Glenn. He got down on one knee in a room full of my closest friends and family and told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. In between tears and sniffles, I squeaked out an “of course” and we celebrated with champagne and dessert at a table lined with dozens of roses. It was absolutely perfect.
When did y’all get married? April 4, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 100
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was the most special. I’ve been dreaming of wearing my mother’s veil since I was a little girl. She made it by hand for her wedding 35 years ago and it’s so beautiful. We have pictures of me wearing her veil for dress-up when I was six years old, and when I went to try on dresses, I always had that veil in my mind. I couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle in anything else! My something blue was my maiden monogram label in the bodice of my dress. My something borrowed was a hankie from the 1920s that my Grammy gave to me. My something new was a vintage pearl ring and earrings that my mother gave me on the day of the wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We did a lot of DIY projects! Glenn is so artistic…I had no idea before we started wedding planning! He designed all of our table names, our guest book, and our wine cork monogram. We also had a lot of help from family. Even my 94-year-old grandmother spent two days tying ribbons on our programs and helping us stuff our welcome bags!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The wedding day will be over before you know it! Spend extra on the vendors who will help you preserve those memories forever, like a photographer and videographer.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We start our jobs as residents at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System on July 1! Glenn will be an Orthopedic Surgeon and I will be an Obstetrician-Gynecologist. We bought our first house two weeks after our wedding, and have spent most of the month of June learning about the joys of home ownership: lots of painting and projects! We are also looking forward to taking our honeymoon together in the next year, if our busy intern schedules allow us! We are excited to start a family (and maybe get a dog!) when the time is right, and, of course, to grow in our love for each other!
Photographer: Rachel May Photography / Videographer: Caleb Lee of East West Productions / Planner: Allison Barnes Events / Venue, Caterer, and Lighting: Veritas Vineyard and Winery / Florist: Southern Blooms / Cake Baker: Hotcakes Bakery / Pies Baker: Proper Pie / Doughnuts: Sugar Shack / Band: The Dickens of Sam Hill Entertainment / Paper Products: Paper on the Avenue / Bride’s Gown: “12450” by Wtoo / Bridal Salon: Bella Rosa Bridal / Bride’s Hairpiece: Ayajewellery / Hair and Makeup: Jennifer Saunders MUA / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D660” in Palomino by Alfred Sung / Menswear: The Black Tux
Rachel May Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!