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For fellow college sweethearts Megan and Jack, getting to know each other meant walking to and from their dorm rooms for early morning classes at UVA. But when it came time to plan their wedding, they knew they wanted their celebration to highlight the beauty and history of their hometown of Richmond. With many out of town guests, Megan and Jack wanted to share as much of its charm as possible, so it’s no surprise they chose the beautiful Tuckahoe Plantation as their reception venue! Instead of a traditional sit-down dinner, guests were served family-style as a way to encourage connections — a choice that easily became Megan’s favorite from the night!

Thanks to Ashley Cox for sharing M + J’s beautiful black tie wedding with us!

I love cascading bouquets, and I chose flowers that were mainly white with hints of blue and green. My bridesmaids’ dresses were a neutral color, so I wanted the flowers to provide a small pop of color. Our florist did an amazing job taking my vision and putting together bouquets that reflected my style.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we chose mostly classical music. For walking down the aisle, we wanted something sweet and peaceful, so we chose Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” At the reception, we had an incredible band called Soul Expressions who played mainly Motown and jazz music. We wanted music that would get everyone up and dancing. Our first dance song was “More” by Frank Sinatra. We love his music and felt that this song really encapsulated how we feel about one another.

Our priest, Father Michael Renninger, was wonderful. He met with us many times before the wedding to really get to know us as a couple, and he did a pre-rehearsal rehearsal for just the two of us so that we wouldn’t have to worry about making any decisions the day before the wedding (for example, what we wanted to be introduced to the congregation as). He has been a family friend for many years, but it was great to talk to him as a couple. More than half of our guests are not Catholic, and we think that Father Mike did a great job of making everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Shopping for my wedding dress was surprisingly easy and stress-free. I went to one salon and only tried on two dresses. I knew exactly what style I wanted, and that I wanted to have a long-sleeved lace jacket made to wear for the ceremony and remove for the reception.

We wanted our wedding to highlight the beauty and history of Richmond. Many of our guests were from out of town and were visiting for the first time, so we wanted them to experience as much of the city, its history, and its charm as possible. The Cathedral is in the heart of downtown Richmond and was built in the late 1800s. It is impressive, but not ostentatious. We didn’t need to fill the space with flowers and decorations because it is beautiful by itself. For our reception, we chose Tuckahoe Plantation. The plantation is about 20 minutes outside of the city, on the James River. Being UVA graduates, we were drawn to Tuckahoe because Thomas Jefferson lived there for several years as a child. The house and gardens were open for our guests to tour, so they had a chance to learn some of the history of the estate.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We loved the family-style dinner. It provided a chance for us to place together groups of people who might not know each other, but who we thought would get along. It was fun to look out during dinner and see everyone passing platters, laughing, and getting to know one another over amazing food. Our caterer did an incredible job of adding beautiful garnishes to the dishes so that each platter looked like a decoration in itself.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jack and I met at UVA. We lived in the same dorm our first year and had the same early morning class first semester. We got to know each other while walking to and from class together. We were close friends for our first two years of school and started dating the summer before our third year. I was in Charlottesville taking a Spanish class, and Jack was interning in DC and would drive down every weekend to visit. For our first date, we went our for chocolate milkshakes at Ben and Jerry’s.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jack proposed the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2014. His family was in Charlottesville for the holiday, and my family was at our house in Richmond. We all drove out to meet at Pippin Hill to spend the afternoon wine tasting and then to get dinner with both families. Shortly after my family arrived, Jack pulled me aside to go on a walk. He proposed in the vineyard’s grapevines.
When did y’all get married? June 25, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was lemon with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting. Because it was the middle of summer, we wanted something that was lighter. We decided to have a small, two-tiered wedding cake for the cutting, but we served mini cupcakes to the guests in a variety of flavors (including our wedding cake flavor) so that everyone could taste a few different ones.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! I borrowed earrings from my mom, and had my new monogram embroidered in blue into the hem of my wedding dress. The diamond in my engagement ring comes from Jack’s great-great-grandmother, I wore a bracelet that Jack’s mom gave me that was given to her by her mother (it dates back to the early twentieth century), and I wore a pair of Ferragamo shoes that were my late grandmother’s as something old. My something new was my wedding dress and veil.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our planning was shockingly stress-free. Both of our families were very helpful in divvying up tasks. The one thing that does stand out as a challenge, though, was the guest list. There were many people that both families wanted to include, so we had to make some difficult decisions. One thing we did decide was to not include any plus-ones.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t stress about things that don’t go perfectly, because none of the guests know the whole plan, and they will never know if something was or was not meant to happen. For example, our getaway car showed up thirty minutes late, which allowed us to have an impromptu receiving line as our guests were getting on the buses to leave. Everyone thought that it was such a great touch that we got to say goodbye and give hugs, and no one knew that it wasn’t part of our initial plan!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We didn’t live together before we got married, so we are looking forward to setting up our new home and starting this next chapter!

Photographer: Ashley Cox Photography | Planner and Caterer: Lona Crittendon of Cater 2 Events | Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of the Sacred Heart | Reception Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation | Florist: Vogue Flowers | Wedding Cake: The Mixing Bowl Bakery | Rentals and Lighting: Commonwealth Event Company and Classic Party Rentals of Virginia | Band: Soul Expressions | Paper Products: The Preppy Pink Pony | Bride’s Gown and Accessories: Alyne | Gown Alterations and Bolero: Fariba Bridal Alterations and Design | Hair Stylist: Circle Square Salon | Makeup Artist: Kelsey Dewberry | Bride’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Mist Grey by BHLDN | Menswear: Vera Wang | Transportation: James River Transportation

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Ellie and Nick met in a fraternity house in college, and while their love story might not have started in the most romantic way, their wedding is another story! Ellie and Nick worked with their florist, Botanica, to take the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts from a monochromatic museum into a romantic reception full of lush blooms, and of course, lots of Southern details! During their wedding planning, they not only focused on planning for their marriage, but on being hospitable and throwing a party guests would enjoy just as much as they did. I can’t help but love that they included a generational blessing given by their fathers and grandfathers. Such a sweet way to not only honor their family, but also to include them in their celebration.

    So wonderful of Kristen Weaver to share this lovely day with us!

    Tell us all about the proposal! During September 2013, I was in my last year of law school at the University of Chicago and Nick had just started his first year of medical school at the University of Florida. I made a trip to Gainesville for the weekend to see Nick and attend the UF-UT football game. On Friday, Nick suggested that we visit Paynes Prairie, a state park just south of Gainesville. We had the prairie all to ourselves and enjoyed seeing the wildlife and hiking the trails. Toward the end of our trip, we climbed to the top of a three-story watch tower and relaxed on the porch swing. Before heading back down, he got down on one knee to propose. After his very sweet speech, he reached into his pocket to pull out the ring, but accidentally pulled out the car keys instead! He had taken the ring out of the ring box so he could stealthily fit it into his athletic shorts pocket, but it had gotten caught up in the keychain. After a good laugh, I said yes!

    I’ll admit, finding my wedding dress was harder than I anticipated. I bought a dress at the first boutique I went to–my mom, grandmother, and my three best friends were all there, and I foolishly let the excitement get to my head. Afterwards, I had some regrets, but assured myself that I would be happy when the dress arrived and I could try it on again. Well, it turned out that the boutique ordered it two sizes too small and then told me I must have gained weight (in fact, I had lost weight). I left in tears and tried to avoid talking about wedding dresses for as long as I could. Thankfully, my mom sensed my anguish and booked a trip to visit me in Chicago so we could go shopping for THE dress. We went to a few places, but we knew the search was over when I tried on the Esther dress at Vera Wang. We all cried (even our sweet bridal consultant!) and then celebrated with champagne and mini cupcakes. It was total redemption from our first experience and one of my favorite memories from wedding planning.

    Describe your wedding flowers. We worked with Ian and Zoe at Botanica and they totally nailed it. I brought in pictures of loose, cascading bouquets and arrangements, but only had a vague idea of what colors I wanted. It was Ian’s idea to use more neutral tones for the ceremony and then pump up the color for the floral arrangements at the reception, which was in a rather monochromatic room.

    We chose to have a first look. Those few minutes when it was just the two of us were the most peaceful moments of the whole day and a feeling I’ll remember forever. Even though we saw each other beforehand, nothing could have taken away the thrill of seeing him at the end of the aisle. It was the best of both worlds! Plus, we were much more relaxed in our pictures before the ceremony–after the ceremony, we were itching to get in there and celebrate with our friends and family!

    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We found out a few months before the wedding that there would be a huge evening festival in the same park where we were going to hold our ceremony. Thankfully, the music wouldn’t start until an hour after the ceremony, and the wonderful people at Botanica assured us that they could create a wall of greenery to stand between us and the event. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the wall created so much privacy that the ceremony felt much more intimate than it would have otherwise, festival or not!

    To begin the ceremony, my cousin sang the praise and worship song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. Nick and I love the song and thought that it would set the ceremony off on the right foot. I chose “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice to walk down the aisle to. I’ve always loved the book and the movie, and I thought it was a beautiful arrangement. Nick and I walked back up to aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” We wanted something fun to let everyone know that the party had started!

    We chose the Museum of Fine Arts with our guests in mind. Most of our guests were coming from out of town, so we wanted them to be able to enjoy their weekend without worrying about the logistics of driving, parking, and all that good stuff. The museum fit the bill of being close to a major airport, within walking distance of a ton of great restaurant and hotel options, and large enough to hold 180 people.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To me, being Southern is all about family and hospitality. To honor our families, we featured pictures of our parents and grandparents at the ceremony and cocktail hour, we chose my uncle to officiate our ceremony, he read out of a Bible that has been passed down from my great-grandmother, and we had our fathers and my grandfather come up during the ceremony to give a generational blessing. We got to keep the handwritten notes from my grandfather’s blessing, and they are among our greatest treasures. In all of the wedding plans, we tried to focus on being hospitable and throwing a party our guests would enjoy just as much as we did. We had custom corn hole boards set up during the cocktail hour and on the patio during the reception. We made sure all of the children felt welcome and entertained by including a box at their seats with a coloring book, an I Spy game, and some other fun goodies. And of course, the food was Southern! Our cocktail hour appetizers included blackened alligator, fried green tomatoes, and game sausage. Dinner began with a basket of cornbread at every table and included a shrimp and grits station. Our late-night snack was BBQ pulled pork sliders on sweet potato biscuits. We made sure our guests went home with full bellies!

    We had a wedding cake (lemon cream cake with raspberry filing and simple buttercream frosting) and a late-night dessert bar of fried Oreos, Twinkies, and Snickers with raspberry sauce!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our love story didn’t start in a very romantic way–we met at his fraternity house during our sophomore year at the University of Florida. My friend had just finished an exam and was planning a low-key night in with her friend, Michael, and she invited me to tag along. Turns out, Michael was Nick’s best friend and fraternity brother (he even ended up being the best man at our wedding). Nick wandered into Michael’s room at some point during the night, we started talking, and we hit it off right away. We exchanged numbers and kept talking, even when I moved to Italy for a summer abroad. He asked me to be “official” from 5,117 miles away over Skype.
    When did y’all get married? November 22, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Nick and I tried to keep in mind that the real event was committing ourselves to each other in front of God, our friends, and our family. All of the other stuff was just icing on the cake. With that in mind, we tried to be conscious of how we dealt with each other during the process, because we knew we were setting the foundation for our marriage.
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We got really lucky with an incredible team of vendors, but I will say that we just adored Bryan and Tracey from Lucky Lemon Films. They really took the time before the wedding to get to know us as people, not just as a generic bride and groom, and to let us get to know them. Nick and I are both camera shy, but they made us feel so at ease. Their work is incredible and we really felt like they captured who we are in the wedding film they created. We can’t stop watching it!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying settling into our first home together in Gainesville with our dogs. 2014 was a hugely busy year for us, so we are taking it easy and cherishing our first year of marriage!

    Photographer: Kristen Weaver / Videographer: Lucky Lemon Films / Planner: Nancy Cotto / Venue: St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts / Florist: Botanica / Cake Baker and Caterer: Olympia Catering / Rentals: Botanica / Lighting: Encore Lighting / Band: Brett Foreman Band / Paper Products: Invitation Consultants / Bride’s Gown: “Esther” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Rachel Reumann / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Dog Sketch: DM Creative Studios

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Bridget reply

      What a delightful wedding. Her wedding ring is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.

    2. avatar Kristen Weaver reply

      I can’t say enough about how much I adored Ellie and Nick, and photographing their wedding was definitely an honor for us! They are a beautifully wonderful couple and I’m so happy to see her wedding published on Ellie’s favorite blog!

    3. avatar Michelle reply

      Wow, this place looks so amazing !

    4. avatar Kristin reply

      Where are the flower girl dresses from?

    5. avatar ashley reply

      Hi i was just wondering who the designer was for the bridesmaods dreses

    6. avatar 6 Wedding Themes That Will Rule 2017 – Cyprus Weddings Magazine reply

      […] Radford hotography / Green Wedding Shoes, Brides of Adelaide, A Fabulous Fete, Kristen Weaver / Southern Weddings, Kristen Beinke / Style Me […]

    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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