When Dave and I were looking for a wedding venue, one of our biggest priorities was a place that made our family and friends know they were somewhere special from the moment they turned up the road. As far as venues that create that magical sense of anticipation go, Tuckahoe Plantation is at the top of my list–Emily and I were practically giddy when we drove down its pebbly road for our Fabric of a Southern Belle shoot last year, and I can only imagine that Sarah and Chad’s guests felt the same way! For this nature-loving couple, a venue with plenty of beautiful outdoor space was a must, and historic Tuckahoe turned out to be the perfect rustic, but still elegant, place for them to become husband and wife. They made wonderful use of the property, choosing different areas for the ceremony (how gorgeous are those trees lining the aisle?), the reception, and, very importantly, the spot where a bottle of bourbon was buried to ensure sunny skies!
Thank you so much to Sarah Jane Winter for sharing this beautiful day with us!
Chad and I love spending time hiking and camping together, and the outdoors are very special to us. We considered a few other venues with outdoor spaces, but we knew Tuckahoe Plantation was the right fit for us pretty early on. With its expansive fields, gorgeous gardens, and rich history, Tuckahoe is timelessly elegant, but also has a very laid-back vibe.
Before I went to look at dresses, I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for: fitted, an elegant neckline, and allover lace. I’ve heard from so many friends who went into the store wanting one thing, but ended up falling in love with a completely different style once they started trying things on. This was the exact opposite for me–I ended up with the perfect dress that was exactly what I had originally had in mind. The dress I purchased was even the first dress I tried on!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Chad and I changed our minds about this so many times. On the one hand, we loved the idea of seeing each other for the first time as I was coming down the aisle towards him. On the other hand, we also loved the idea of getting to share some time together before all the hubbub. We ended up doing a first look, and we were so glad that we did! It was so nice to get to spend time together without any distractions and it definitely helped to calm both of our nerves during the ceremony.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was the ceremony space at Tuckahoe. The aisle is lined with rows of the most beautiful crepe myrtles that arch over the aisle, and almost look like a cathedral ceiling. Chad’s favorite detail was that a flock of geese flew right over us during the ceremony!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried the bourbon behind the ceremony arbor a month before our wedding to keep the rain away on our wedding day. It was actually pouring rain on us while we were out there burying it, which I think was double good luck!
Our friends Corey and Jesse Wells are talented local musicians who play with several bluegrass groups around town. We chose to have them play songs that were meaningful to us as a couple during the ceremony. The groomsmen and our families walked down the aisle to an acoustic rendition of “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. This is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and it set the stage beautifully for the rest of the ceremony. The bridesmaids walked in to another of our favorite songs, “Sandusky” by Uncle Tupelo. My dad and I walked in to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing.” The wedding party recessed to an awesome rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” which kicked off the celebration! Chad and I chose “Further on Down the Road” by Taj Mahal for our first dance. Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to cooking dinner and dancing around the kitchen together in our first house.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was pretty amazing to have all of our friends and family members gathered together in such a beautiful place. It almost takes your breath away when you look around and realize how much love is all around you at one time. It really was the happiest day of our lives.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met at a Widespread Panic show in Charleston. I was living in Richmond, Virginia at the time and he was living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although we didn’t know each other, we had tons of mutual friends and ended up hanging out all night together at the show. We instantly clicked and he drove up to visit me in Richmond the next weekend. We took turns visiting each other every other week for the next year and a half, and then Chad’s company agreed to transfer him to Richmond.
Tell us all about the proposal! After a few years of dating, we escaped the cold winter weather in Richmond and took a vacation down to Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. Chad proposed on the beach the first night of our trip. He even hired a photographer to hide and capture the moment!
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my grandmother’s handkerchief to carry during the ceremony and my garter had a tiny blue ribbon on it. Chad also gifted me with a beautiful necklace the morning of our wedding that featured the diamond from his great-grandmother’s engagement ring. He had the stone reset, so that doubled as my something old and something new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? For a little over a year, we met with our officiant every six weeks or so. We usually went out to dinner together or just met with him at his house to talk about marriage. He had lots of good advice for us and we have come to really admire him and his wife.
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? One good tip the woman who made our cake shared with us is that you can opt for a smaller tiered wedding cake to display and cut, and then ask the baker to also make a sheet cake that will be cut in the back and served to the guests. The sheet cake slices can be a fraction of the cost of the tiered cake slices.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We were engaged for over a year and I loved having a long engagement. We never felt rushed or pressured during the wedding planning process because we were so ahead of the game. Having that extra time allowed us to be really laid-back while we slowly ticked things off the list and enjoyed the process. If you aren’t planning to have a long engagement, my advice would be to focus on tackling things one at a time, and celebrate after you get each little task accomplished. When you first look at that long list of to dos, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Just take it one thing at a time and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are taking a honeymoon in Europe this summer and are really looking forward to it. Now that all the wedding planning is behind us, we are enjoying mapping out our next adventure together.
Photographer: Sarah Jane Winter | Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation | Florist: Elizabeth Daly Designs | Cake Baker: The Buttercream Bee | Caterer and Lighting: Mosaic Catering + Events | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals of Virginia | Band: Soul Expressions | Paper Products: By Invitation Only | Bridal Salon: Jingles Bridal Salon | Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 | Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Blair” and “Newbury” by Joanna August | Bow Ties: Collared Greens | Day-of Coordination: Tart Event Co. | Ceremony Musicians: Corey and Jesse Wells