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I spent a large part of my childhood in Virginia, and to this day, I love going back to visit. Everything about Virginia makes me feel so peaceful, and just looking at Stephanie and John’s wedding pictures, I get a little twinge of that same feeling. After weeks of rain, this sweet couple was blessed with a gorgeous summer day, perfect for the romantic, outdoor wedding day Stephanie had always dreamed of. They filled the day with meaningful traditions and rustic Southern details–my favorite of which is that big red barn!

Thank you to Lucy of Lucy O Photo for sharing Stephanie and John’s wedding with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I met John in college and from the start, I knew we had something special. His all-American charm is just one characteristic I fell in love with during our first years together, so it is fitting that we are now building our life together in Alexandria, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. We spent a few years doing long-distance because John graduated a year before me and moved back to the D.C. area. I continued school in Texas, then took a job offer in Boston right after graduation. After some time searching, I was lucky to find a job in Baltimore, which finally put John and I in the same area. From that moment on, I knew we were meant for each other after all of the distance that kept us apart, and we fell more deeply in love while finally being in the same city.

It was a regular weekday night and John and I took our dog, Henry, for a walk. John mentioned a new route to this beautiful park I had never been to before and off we went. John suggested we take Henry to a spot in the park away from the public to play fetch, and after I threw the first stick for Henry, I turned around to find John on one knee! Henry hurried back to us as I excitedly said yes! It was the perfect moment because John knew I did not want anything elaborate–it was just our little family together in a beautiful Virginia park! Simple, but amazingly romantic!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, as I wanted our “first look” to be when I walked down the aisle. Although we did not get married in a church, I wanted some of the traditional elements incorporated into our day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? First Corinthians

As a little girl, I always dreamed I would be married outside, where the landscape would be a picturesque backdrop to my fairytale love story. And my dream came true! The details were simple, elegant, and personal, exactly as I envisioned. Everything from the rustic doors used on the tables, to the hand-stained crates and the mason jars, to the burlap, chalkboards, and koozies were labors of love that helped us make our vision a reality. After many weeks of rain before the big day, the sun shined down on our wedding day and it turned out to be more amazing than we had ever dreamed!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Southern details included the farm venue, the burlap table runners and programs, the rustic farm decor (such as the wine barrels used for our altar pieces), the mason jar vases, the chalkboards used to display messages for guests, the custom-made koozie favors, the pies as dessert instead of a traditional wedding cake, the bar stocked with local Virginia beer and wine, the wild flower arrangements, and our dog’s seersucker bow tie collar and matching leash.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we wanted to go the route of pies. Pies are a Southern summer dessert that fit our venue well. There were nine pies filled with a variety of summer fruit flavors with different crust designs on top. John and I cut an apple pie because that is our favorite flavor.

When did y’all get married? 6/22/13
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 90
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Picking my wedding dress was like finding John. I knew it was the one from the moment I laid eyes on it–in a magazine! I found a local bridal boutique that carried the dress, and once I tried it on, everything was solidified. It had the simple elegance I was looking for and was as perfect as I had imagined!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I had dreamed of walking down the aisle to Canon in D since I was a little girl, so I did just that. For the recessional, I wanted to use something romantic, but also upbeat and sweet, such as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Our first dance song was chosen because John introduced me to Van Morrison when we first met. He thought the song “Crazy Love” was fitting for our long-distance relationship and the passion we felt for each other.
Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were designed to be wild flower-esque using mason jars, small bud vases, and galvanized buckets to arrange them. We used a combination of peonies, hydrangeas, ranunculus, hypericum berries, Queen Anne’s lace, and a variety of roses, all in the color scheme of pink, coral, and white. They turned out perfectly and ended up being one of my favorite details!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet, my something blue was my mom’s sapphire and diamond bracelet, and my something new was my earrings.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I overcame while planning our wedding was balancing all of the suggestions and input from family and friends. I appreciated the help that was offered, but it did become difficult to manage all of the opinions. I had a certain vision in mind, so I had to delicately pass on some of the suggestions.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The venue, The Inn at Westwood Farm, is owned by a couple (Jay and Elizabeth) who went above and beyond their duties as the venue owners. As part of our wedding package, the Inn sleeps ten people and is reserved for the wedding Friday through Sunday. Also included in our wedding package were the tent, dance floor, lighting, tables, chairs, and linen rentals, so I did not have to go to separate vendors for these items. It was a huge life saver! On top of the wedding planning assistance, Jay and Elizabeth made every element during our wedding weekend intimate and special in unique ways, such as fresh flowers matching our color scheme throughout the inn and rooms, a bottle of local Virginia wine for each inn guest, champagne and chocolates for John and I, specific drinks on site for my family (who stayed at the Inn), and an engraved silver bottle opener as a wedding gift. I highly recommend this venue for all brides in Virginia! It will not disappoint!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment about our wedding, besides saying our vows, was taking a step back after the ceremony concluded and realizing everything I dreamed had come together in the most perfect way.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t lose sight of what the wedding is all about: you and your soon-to-be husband! Sometimes, the planning can become stressful, but never forget the end goal: marrying the man of your dreams!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Relaxation! The planning process was quite a whirlwind and now we are ready to settle into a normal routine and enjoy our time together. High on our list is traveling to places neither of us have been to before and creating new memories!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Lucy Taylor reply

    YAY! Stephanie and John were such an amazing couple to work with— thank you so much for featuring their wedding ladies! What a day it was!! :) :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    SO many beautiful portraits! And I love her bow and bouquet!

  3. avatar Stephanie and John featured on Southern Weddings! – Lucy O Photo Blog reply

    […] day! Stephanie and John’s lovely summer wedding at the Inn at Westwood Farm is featured on Southern Weddings today! Go give them some […]

  4. avatar Elizabeth reply

    These photos are beautiful! I wish I could get married all over again just so Lucy O Photo could shoot my wedding.

  5. avatar Inn at Westwood Farm reply

    It was such a pleasure working with Stephanie and John throughout the entire wedding process. It was truly a wonderful wedding and Lucy captured the day perfectly! We look forward to Stephanie and John returning to Westwood! Elizabeth and Jay

  6. avatar Emily O’Connor reply

    What a beautiful way to celebrate a marriage! The stunning photos have not only captured the beauty of John & Stephanie’s wedding day, but somehow communicate their joy too! Beautiful!

  7. avatar laurel reply

    What a beautiful wedding!! Such wonderful photos – really captured the sweetness of the day!

  8. avatar Caitrie Kulick reply

    Oh my gosh, these photos are soo soo beautiful! Let’s see more, Lucy O!!! Love them.

  9. avatar Deirdre Goulard reply

    The photography captivated the moment so well. And loved the southern decor! It’s so much fun seeing wedding with the old fashion red barn.

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Every once in awhile, people who find out I work for Southern Weddings ask me if I have my future wedding all planned out. My answer is definitely not, but one thing that I can’t help but suspect is that choosing a venue will be tough. For Jennifer and Ryan, however, where to wed was no question. Ryan proposed at his family’s lake house, a place where they already had so many wonderful memories, so it was a natural choice for their wedding venue. I’m sure you’ll agree–the views from the house are absolutely breathtaking, and it made a dreamy wedding venue! I can only imagine how amazing it must feel for them now when they visit as newlyweds, reminiscing about so many big moments in their lives that happened there!

Thank you to Sunday Grant for sharing Jennifer and Ryan’s beautiful wedding with us!

My wedding dress was the third or fourth dress I tried on and I knew it was “the one” right away. There’s a great big smile that comes across your face when you find the one that doesn’t happen with other dresses.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Being at home! It was so wonderful to feel at home and share another great memory in the house.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The exchange of vows. My parents have been married for 40 years and Ryan’s for 35–the vows were a big moment for us.

Our flowers were gorgeous! We were married at a lake house in the mountains of North Carolina. Since we were essentially in the woods during spring, we were naturally surrounded with shades of green and brown, so we chose vibrant colors–orange and purple–to accent the natural beauty around us.

Our first dance was to the Keith Urban song, “Making Memories of Us.” It’s such a beautiful song. Zorki Nastasil, our musician, sang it live–it was perfect.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ours is a friendship that evolved to where we are today–happily married!
Tell us all about the proposal! The proposal was very special (though I think all brides say that!). He proposed at his family lake house, where we have many wonderful memories. It is also the place where we would later decide to marry.
When did y’all get married? May 25, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We are dessert lovers, so instead of going with one cake, we went the dessert bar route. No regrets there! There was a little something for everyone and it allowed for a variety of tasty treats, from homemade truffles to fresh fruit. Yum!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Time! We had recently opened a business, so sharing time between work and planning was difficult. We had a lot of help from Ryan’s mother–without her, we would not have had the beautiful wedding that we did. She has incredible vision and taste. Thank you Denise!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Can I offer three? 1. Uncle Don who married us! 2. Zorki Nastasil is a one-of-a-kind musician. He is a long-time favorite of ours and we are STILL thrilled that he was able to perform at our wedding. Thank you Zorki! 3. Sunday of Sunday Grant Photography. Having quality photos of the wedding was important to us. Knowing we would have beautiful, quality pictures gave us peace of mind. Thank you Sunday!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Getting to experience all that life has to offer with your best friend/love of your life.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    GORGEOUS blooms!!!! And I love that their venue meant so much to them (and was stunning!).

  2. avatar Sunday Grant reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this wedding! You should have seen it in real life! It was stunning. Such an honor to be their photographer and so thankful for their kind words!

    • avatar Victoria reply

      Beautiful photos!! Do you mind telling me where this wedding was held? It’s exactly what I had in mind for my upcoming wedding :)

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Victoria! The wedding was held at the groom’s family cabin in North Carolina.

  3. avatar Jennifer and Ryan’s Backyard Wedding {Asheville Wedding Photographer} » Sunday Grant Photography reply

    […] am so excited that this wedding was recently featured on Southern Weddings Blog. I have been waiting to post it on my blog until it was featured on […]

  4. avatar Dana reply

    love the bright flowers!

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I just want to hug Emily for letting me introduce this wedding to y’all! Being the office color-lover, I’m a big fan of weddings with a wide color scheme. This aqua, coral and yellow soiree is going all over my Pinterest! Joanna + Paul wanted their big day to feel like a fun and casual get-together in their backyard. “The venue we chose was a chapel built in a small Texas town in 1904 and later relocated to a great spot just south of downtown,” said Joanna. “The building itself was stunning, but all of the history it held made it even better.”

With bright interiors and beautiful stained glass windows, the chapel looked like it was made to J + P’s vision. Just wait until you scroll down and see what else they dreamed up! Big kudos to Lahra Bryant who photographed this day.

Goodness, y’all, are you fawning over this bouquet and the boutonnieres below? I’m loving the fabric scraps that finish them.

I did a brighter bouquet with a mix of flowers and more non-traditional things like succulents. Since my bridesmaids were all in brightly-colored dresses, we did their bouquets in white. I wanted all of the flowers, both in the bouquets and the décor, to look like freshly picked wildflowers.

We will never tire of seeing these adorable striped straws. J + P had Southern hospitality on their minds when setting up this drink station at the ceremony. What better prop to have during a September wedding in Texas?

How cute is Joanna walking toward her groom? J + P decided not to do a first look because they wanted to save the experience for the walk down the aisle. I support their decision purely based off of this photo.

Isn’t this one of the most fun aisles you’ve ever seen? One of my favorite parts of Joanna + Paul’s ceremony decor is the bunting triangles hung from the tree behind them.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We had a string quartet for the ceremony playing contemporary songs. Paul and the groomsmen walked in to “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. The bridesmaids and I walked in to “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service, which was absolutely beautiful. We all walked out to “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. Our first dance was to “If I Were a Carpenter” by Johnny Cash and June Carter.

What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The décor. We hired Bird Dog Wedding to plan and implement all of the decorations, and every single detail was perfect and exactly what we wanted.

I love that Joanna + Paul’s guestbook was a compilation of well-wishes held together with colorful paper tape. Not only is it a way for them to look back on the wedding day, but it’s also a great visual reminder of how fun their wedding day was!

Instead of a cake, we did different kinds of cookies – chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, oatmeal and Rolls Royce. Paul’s mom, aunts and sister all made the cookies using my mom’s and grandma’s recipes.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through my best friend and matron of honor, Ember, about 5 years ago. I went to dinner and drinks with some of her friends, one of which was Paul. We ended up hanging out with Paul a couple more times that week, but then I didn’t hear from him again until I randomly texted him a few months later. We met up that night and have been inseparable since.
Describe the proposal. Paul sleeps really late on the weekends, and I get up really early to feed our dog. He said the only way he could ensure surprising me was by waking up early. One Saturday morning, I went to feed our dog, and her food was missing, replaced by a note saying it was in our bedroom closet. We’d been having problems with ants, so I thought that’s why he moved the food. I walked back to the bedroom, fuming that he had put ant-infested dog food in our closet. When I got there, he was down on one knee in the closet with a ring. (It was a decoy ring though, because he wanted me to be able to pick out my own.)
In what month did you get married? September
How many guests attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I went into it with an exact idea of the dress I wanted. At the first store, the girl helping us told me that she likes to pull a “wildcard” dress for all of her brides that is totally different from what they are looking for. I definitely would have never tried the dress on if it wasn’t for her. It turned out to be amazing. We went to two more stores, and I even tried on the exact dress I was looking for, but I had to go back to the wildcard dress. I’m really glad she made me try it on!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Everything was amazing – it’s impossible to pick!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Definitely money. It was really hard for me to accept how much everything was going to cost!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I almost passed out during the ceremony! I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and my dress was really tight. I had been wearing the dress for a couple of hours by the time the ceremony started, sitting in a chair in the bridal room. When I stood up to walk out toward the aisle, I started getting really dizzy and almost blacked out. While we were standing at the altar, I honestly thought I was going to pass out, so I leaned forward to the minister to ask her to skip ahead to the vows. Paul thought I actually was passing out, and reached over to catch me. I made it through unscathed though – and then I ate!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Let people help you – they probably really want to. And remember to eat the day of the wedding!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We have left the stress of planning a wedding behind for the even more stressful task of buying a house. It makes planning a wedding look like a piece of cake.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Ashleigh from Marry Me Metro reply

    Oh my goodness these colors are fabulous and I like the mismatched groomsmen. My favorite details are in the reception space with the stained colors pulled from the stained glass windows into the tables, walls, and centerpieces! What a fun weddinng!

  2. avatar Ashleigh from Marry Me Metro reply

    The colors in this wedding are amazing and this event looks so fun and flirty. An adorable southern wedding! Congrats to the bride and groom!

  3. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I love everything about this wedding. Literally. Everything.

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Thank you so much for the feature! We so loved being apart of Joanna and Paul’s big day!! Cheers!

  5. avatar Dee Shore reply

    You know… you guys make it almost difficult to choose a favorite wedding because I’m also in love with this. The color blends are right up my alley. Favorite part of this wedding? The flags along the wedding aisle.

  6. avatar CHOISIR LES BONNES COULEURS POUR SON MARIAGE | Love sur la Comète reply

    […] Bridal guide Pinterest * Belle the magazine * Wedding by Lilly Design Seeds * Bella figura * Southern weddings Sb chic * Ruffled Design Seeds * De Graeve * Pourpre * The perfect Palette Tweet Like Plus […]

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