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I have the delight of reading about LOTS of proposals, so it takes quite the story for me to proclaim it one of the best I’ve ever read. Well friends, that’s exactly what we have here today! The two words I’d use to describe the way Josh proposed to Emily are epic and romantic, and once I scrolled through the photos Virgil Bunao captured of their wedding, those same adjectives kept coming to mind. Their venues, Grace Church Cathedral and Lowndes Grove Plantation, were certainly a big part of that, but their classic fashion, Emily’s show-stopping bouquet, and the clear-top tent they celebrated under didn’t hurt either!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many to choose from! I’d have to say that one of the most special moments of the day, which I am beyond thankful that we incorporated, was having a first look with my daddy. Right after I finished getting dressed and donned my veil, before I even went to see Josh, my daddy came in to see me in my dress for the first time. Surrounded by my family and closest friends and sharing that emotional moment with the man who has loved me since day one was something that I will never forget. I highly recommend it to all brides!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We were getting married in the middle of December, when it gets dark by 5 P.M. Our reception venue, Lowndes Grove Plantation, is a breathtaking plantation home right on the Ashley River in Charleston, so we knew that we wanted to be able to take pictures there in the daylight. We also wanted our guests to be able to see the venue in the daylight and enjoy the sunset over the water, so we had a first look under the live oaks by the water and took the majority of our pictures before heading to the church for our ceremony.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I am probably one of the most indecisive people ever, and I really had no idea what I was looking for. I had to Google the different wedding dress styles so I didn’t sound silly when we went shopping for the first time! My mom, my best friend since childhood, and I went up to Charlotte to visit a few different stores, and we met up with my aunt who lives there. I tried on tons of dresses and really learned what style I was looking for, but just couldn’t commit yet. Due to my school schedule and our long engagement, it was about six months before I was able to go shopping again. This time, my mom and I headed down to Charleston with a much clearer vision of the look I was going for. I wanted something a little more formal and traditional for our ceremony in a cathedral, but fun enough to let loose at the reception! A few of my bridesmaids were able to meet us at the store and help me see that one of the dresses I tried on encompassed all of the elements I was looking for. Once the consultant added a veil and showed me that they could custom-make a sash, I was sold!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We attended a marriage counseling weekend retreat through the church early on in our engagement that was wonderful and very thought-provoking. There weren’t many topics that we had not already addressed or encountered in our relationship, but it was a great starting point to discuss others.

We are both from very small towns with limited wedding venue selections, and since I had lived in Charleston for several years and we both love it, we knew we wanted to get married there. We visited several venues and absolutely fell in love with Lowndes Grove Plantation. It was exactly what we were looking for as an indoor/outdoor venue with character and Southern charm, with the added bonus of being on the water with a long dock. We also knew that we wanted to get married in a church. We decided on Grace Church Cathedral, the church my aunt and uncle had been married in. It is an absolutely beautiful church with a center aisle and stunning altar, and they provided wonderful marriage counseling and wedding coordination.

Describe your wedding flowers. This was one of my favorite parts! I knew I wanted a romantic, whimsical vibe with lots of whites, greenery, and pops of blush and coral pink. I met with the florist and they let me pick out individual flowers and greenery that I wanted to incorporate! Coral charm peonies were a must for me! From there, Branch Studio totally nailed it. I’m gushing just thinking about them. Each of the tables at the reception had either a tall, whimsical arrangement or a low, textural arrangement incorporating similar flowers and greenery to the bouquets. They also incorporated a few feathers provided by my groom into several of the arrangements. This tied in with the hand-tied feather boutonnieres worn by Josh and his groomsmen, and Josh’s Brackish bow tie. One of the most magical floral elements was the massive floral chandelier extending all the way to the top of the tent! It was made of silver dollar eucalyptus and other greenery with scatters of white hydrangea, blush emely roses, pink roses, and pink tulips. It hung around a classic crystal chandelier over the cake table as the center feature of our reception tent. It was stunning! The cake table itself was adorned with a garland of silver dollar eucalyptus, with Italian ruscus and olive branches encircling the edge of the table.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were both born and raised in South Carolina, so we don’t know much besides Southern traditions! It does not get much more classically Southern than Charleston. Our reception venue, Lowndes Grove Plantation, is a beautifully restored plantation home situated on the northern end of the Charleston peninsula on the banks of the Ashley River. We took most of our photographs under the live oaks that line the water and on the dock that extends out into the river. Among the passed hors d’oeuvres were fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and mini crab cakes. Southern dinner menu items included shrimp and grits with cornbread biscuits, braised short ribs, and grilled fish tacos. Our groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner was a life-size rendition of our Boykin spaniel, the South Carolina state dog.

We had a five-layer traditional wedding cake. The layers were of varying heights to give the cake some originality and dimension. The design was simple and elegant, with textured white buttercream frosting and intermittent cascading coral charm peonies, white and blush pink garden roses, and silver dollar eucalyptus. Because it was December and the weather in Charleston was beautiful, we decided to have the cake in the center of our outdoor tent under a floral chandelier as the central element of our reception space.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended Clemson University, but despite having many mutual friends, we never met there. We met while I was living down in Charleston after we had both graduated. I was focused on preparing to begin medical school and was pretty determined not to get involved with anyone. Thankfully, Josh was patiently persistent and convinced me that we were better equipped to go after our dreams together! He had just purchased his own business, and I started medical school three hours away. We both had full plates and the distance was tough, but we persevered, and it made us immeasurably stronger as individuals and as a couple.
Tell us all about the proposal! My family had planned a trip to Europe as a family vacation, and I was thrilled that Josh was able to join us! Our first stop was Paris, and it happened to be over my birthday. For weeks, I had been telling Josh about the Pont des Arts in Paris, a bridge where couples leave locks to symbolize their unending love. I wanted to find it and maybe even add a lock for us! Well, a week before we left, we heard that the love lock bridge was being torn down. We were disappointed, but it turns out that the trend had spread to almost every bridge in Paris. As we walked around the day before my birthday, I kept wanting to buy a lock, and Josh kept telling me no. Later that night, he caved and presented me with an early birthday present. He had found a beautiful antique lock and hand-engraved it with our names, the date (my birthday), and a quote in French that read “my heart is forever yours.” Needless to say, I was incredibly touched that he had not only been listening to me, but had put so much thought and effort into this special gift. He told me that this was only one of two gifts for my birthday, but I assured him that there was nothing I could possibly love more. After nagging him to tell me the secret most of the morning on my birthday, he finally told me that he was taking me on a tour to the top of the Eiffel Tower that night. I was SO excited! It ended up raining pretty much the entire day, so I was confused when the cab driver dropped us off at a bridge a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Josh explained that our tour guide wanted to meet us somewhere else because of the rain. As we started to walk out on the bridge, it suddenly stopped raining! We seemed to be the only ones on the bridge besides a tourist taking pictures of the tower. We walked to an overlook with a gorgeous view of the tower, and Josh stopped to point something about the tower out to me. When I turned back around, he was down on one knee! I said yes!! I have never been more surprised in my life, and I am very hard to surprise! It turns out that the “tourist taking pictures” was a professional American photographer living in Paris that Josh had hired to capture the entire thing! We even had a mini engagement photo shoot right there on the Pont de Bir-Hakeim overlooking the Eiffel Tower! Josh had thought of EVERYTHING! In addition to presenting me with the most gorgeous ring I have ever laid my eyes on, he had also kept a journal of the entire process, from the progression of our relationship to this point, asking my parents for their blessing, picking out a ring, planning the proposal, and so much more. On top of that, I got to walk with my new FIANCÉ to meet my parents and sister under the Eiffel Tower, where they were waiting with a bottle of champagne to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? December 17, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 235
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The seating of the mothers and grandmothers: The first dance was to “This Kind of Love” by Sister Hazel. We chose this song because it was a little different than the traditional first dance songs while still having a classic vibe, and we have always felt that the lyrics sum up our love perfectly. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. Not only is this a wonderful song, but it was featured during the wedding scene in the movie “Father of the Bride” which has always been a favorite and very special to my daddy and me. Josh and his mom danced to “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. James Taylor has always been very special to Josh’s musical family and has become special to us as a couple too. I surprised him for his birthday several years ago with tickets to a James Taylor concert, and when it came time for our families to meet, Josh arranged for both of our parents and us to go to another concert. It was a very special night!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One of the biggest ways we saved money on the wedding was simply by having it in December. Many venues and even vendors had different pricing based on the month of year, and we received a significant discount on the venue because December was not a high season month. It also made it significantly less stressful to book the vendors we wanted because most of them were available without competitive demand. Also, due to our guest count and the vibe we were hoping to establish, we decided to have a stations-style dinner instead of a sit-down dinner, which required less seating and place setting elements, as well as eliminated the need for a seating chart, place cards, etc.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are beyond excited to be married and to start this journey together! After a honeymoon to Antigua and celebrating Christmas with our families, we returned home to our beloved Boykin spaniel, Riggs. We are loving making our house into a home together! I’m looking forward to having Josh by my side as I finish out my last two years of medical school and move on to a residency, and Josh is busy with his new job and getting his MBA at the same time!

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: CreatiVideos | Planner: Hannah Grogan | Ceremony Venue: Grace Church Charleston | Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Wedding Cake: Jessica Grossman of PPHG Charleston | Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, EventHaus, Nuage Designs, and YOJ Events | Lighting: AV Connections | Band: We Got The Beat via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: Studio R Design and Midlands Printing | Bride’s Gown: Augusta Jones | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Hair Stylist: Ash and Co. | Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: After Six from Bella Bridesmaids | Men’s Tuxedos: Ike Behar from Charleston Tuxedo | Groom’s Shirt, Shoes, and Cuff Links: Jos. A. Bank | Groom’s Bow Tie: Brackish

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lydia Royce reply

    The back of her dress paired with that veil is incredible! This wedding is beautiful and was photographed so well!

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We feature our fair share of Southern weddings around here. ;) And while there are so many styles of Southern weddings, today’s would fall into my personal favorite subcategory…the classic Southern wedding! Hannah and Ryan chose to celebrate at the historic Rose Hill Mansion, surrounded by Spanish moss. Filled with elegance and history, it was the perfect place for Hannah and Ryan to achieve the romantic atmosphere they had envisioned. Vibrant pink paisley linens, sweet hospitality from the moment guests arrived in town, and time-honored traditions round out their magical Lowcountry wedding weekend. We’re sure glad Rebekah Senter was there to capture all the beauty!

P.S. Curious about the saber arch and other Southern traditions they included? Our e-book is here to help!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was in eastern Maryland one weekend and my mother and brother were visiting so we could look at different styles together and get some ideas. My brother and I went to one boutique in Baltimore, Garnish Boutique, and waited for my mother to arrive. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain and many roads were washed out, so my mother was late arriving to the store. We had the entire place to ourselves, so while we waited for her, my brother and I wandered around the store, just getting a general feel for the overwhelming number of styles they carried. We started making some selections to try on, just as my mother arrived and we kicked off what I expected to be a long afternoon. After I tried on Amsale’s “Troy” gown, the third dress, I was in love and knew it was the one for the big day! We ordered it right then and there.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we wanted the authentic reaction of seeing each other for the first time on the biggest day of our lives as I was walking down the aisle. It was one of my favorite moments from that day and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

We chose to have a string quartet play “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata #147 by Bach for the bridal party processional, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” for the bridal processional, and “Hornpipe in D” by Handel for the recessional. We felt that these songs contributed to the classic environment we desired for the wedding.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We loved the idea of a classic Southern wedding. We looked around the Charleston area and fell in love with the Rose Hill Plantation House in Bluffton, South Carolina. The elegance of the historic mansion surrounded by the beautiful Spanish moss seemed like the perfect place for us to tie the knot.

We were always raised to be welcoming and hospitable, and I wanted to project that to our guests from the moment they arrived in town. We held a less formal, all-inclusive rehearsal dinner with all of our guests, and it really set the tone for the whole weekend by giving everyone a chance to meet before the big day. With most of the introductions and connections made on Friday, everyone could get right to celebrating on Saturday. However, I think the nostalgic look that the moss-covered oaks lent to the area was the most quintessentially Southern aspect of the weekend. There were decorations and adornments that defined the wedding all across the property, but somehow, those ancient trees provided an atmosphere that perfectly encapsulated the quiet and romantic setting I had always envisioned.

Describe your wedding flowers. Gorgeous! The ceremony had greenery across the back of the chairs with floral clusters on each aisle end. The centerpieces were vibrant with large coral charm peonies paired with eucalyptus and other floral elements to tie the design together. The long tables mimicked the ceremony design, with greenery that cascaded down the center and over the sides with pops of candles and bright florals. The cake, chandeliers, and escort card display also had floral accents. The bridal bouquet was incredibly lush and smelled amazing, thanks to those peonies!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Laughing our way through our first dance and looking around to see all of our closest friends and family together, celebrating our love and commitment to each other.

We chose a tiered cake with four flavors: almond white on the base, banana on the next tier, coconut on the third tier, and almond white again on the top tier. It was delicious!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our story began in January 2008. We were both seasoned freshmen, yet strangers to each other, at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Upon arriving to the first day of health class, our teacher assigned seats in alphabetical order. I walked past Ryan’s seat, immediately noticing how attractive he was, and silently prayed for him to not be weird. Class proceeded without a single exchange between us. The bell rang and we moved on to our next class, English. The students’ names were written on little sticky notes stuck to each desk–unsurprisingly, our teacher assigned seats in alphabetical order, which meant Ryan and I would spend the entire semester sitting next to each other in two classes. Two days passed without a single exchange or glance in my direction. After days of staring at the back of Ryan’s head, I finally got the ball rolling and introduced myself. We spent the next two years being “just friends” and dating each other’s peers before I agreed to go on a date with Ryan in the fall of 2009. We spent the remainder of our high school career living up our team-captaining, best-smile-winning, popular couple days. However, as graduation approached, we were unsure how our relationship would manage being several hours apart. In August of 2011, I went off for soccer pre-season at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Ryan joined the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech. Since the schools were only four hours away from each other, it was fairly easy to get away and spend weekends together. In 2012, Ryan was accepted at and transferred to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Despite the doubled distance, we both were determined as ever to continue to support each other’s dreams and grow even more in love. After knowing each other for eight years, Ryan (FINALLY) asked me to be his wife in August 2015. Throughout the past few years, we have worked hard at our respective goals, but we were ready to move towards the future together.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Ryan: I decided to ask on August 15, 2015, the last free Saturday of summer before I had to return to the Academy for my fall semester. Coming up with a location was difficult, but I kept going back to her home in South Carolina. I love the water, and Lake Murray seemed like the perfect spot! The first step was to find a way to realistically get my family down to South Carolina without ruining the element of surprise I desired. My brother and sister were responsible for asking Hannah if my family could come down for the last weekend of the summer. Hannah was delighted, as we had been talking about getting our families together at the lake for a few years, and it seemed like this year would finally be the one. However, her brother Patrick was going to be in Virginia, and I intentionally left it unclear whether I would be permitted to leave from my training in Maryland. Hannah grew increasingly frustrated with me until I sadly informed her that I would be unable to come down for the weekend. Hannah did not know Patrick was coming after all, so we capitalized on his surprise arrival to throw her off the scent. His surprise worked beautifully! He presented her with a beautiful dress, which she promptly changed into so they could all “go” to a downtown restaurant called the Oak Table. While everyone prepared to “go to dinner,” I hid on the bottom floor of the house with my parents, who had brought the ring. The last piece of the puzzle was figuring out how to get Hannah down in my direction. Right before they left for the restaurant, my mom claimed to have misplaced her camera lens. Poor Hannah was the last one to use the camera and promptly panicked. She remembered having used it on the dock, and ran downstairs to search for it. As soon as she stepped outside, Hannah saw me and realized what was happening. She froze, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. With a little shove from Patrick, she starting moving and made her way down to the dock. I, thrilled to have pulled off the element of surprise, could not stop smiling. For a few perfect moments, it was just Hannah and me on the dock. I will never forget them. On a flawless sunny afternoon on the lake with both of our families there to witness the big moment, I asked Hannah Lee Carlson to be my wife.
When did y’all get married? June 11, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I combined my something borrowed and old and wore my grandmother’s ring on my right hand. I used my great-grandmother’s blue handkerchief as my something blue. My something new was my Paul Andrew heels.
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? We bought our own alcohol. Since we bought it wholesale, we received a massive discount and asked our catering staff to serve it during the cocktail hour and reception.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ryan and I are starting our married life in Houston, Texas. We look forward to living together for the first time, strengthening our relationship with Christ, and starting a family with new traditions.

Photographer: Rebekah Senter Photography | Planner and Florist: Eventi Floral & Events | Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Wedding Cake: Ronnie’s Bakery & Cakes by Lou | Caterer: Downtown Catering Company | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: JLK Events | DJ: Henry Race via JLK Events | Paper Products: MLC Designs | Bride’s Gown: “Troy” by Amsale | Hair and Makeup: Eye Do Makeup & Hair | Bride’s Shoes: Paul Andrew | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Leah” in Blush by Jenny Yoo | Flatware and Vintage Glassware: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Vintage Car: FX Limousine

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    I’m so glad I saved this post until I had time to read through it. This wedding is a DREAM. Each photo made me think “this is my favorite piece” and then the next one topped it. (Although, the picture of the groom holding her bouquet might have been the best part! But, also…the beautiful proposal!)

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us, Hannah and Ryan!

  2. avatar Kelsie reply

    Such a stunning setting for a wedding!

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My two favorite wedding details are almost always the bride’s dress and her bouquet. In my experience, finding my dress and seeing my bouquet were the two moments when “being a bride” really hit me, and that only made these two details even more special to me in every wedding I see! From those details alone, I’m sure it’s easy to see why we fell head over heels in love with Emily and Jim’s black-tie farm wedding–her Oscar de la Renta gown is so striking, and that bouquet by Victoria Clausen Floral Events is one for the books! That’s not all that captured our hearts about their celebration though–we also loved seeing their joyful ceremony moments, the creative ways they showed hospitality to their guests, and the two incredibly meaningful places where they hosted their loved ones for their big day.

Thank you so much to Kate Headley for sharing this stunning day with us for V8!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I am obsessed with my wedding dress. I tried on many dresses, but could not stop thinking about this dress. I loved the texture of the flowers embroidered on the Chantilly lace, and the seed pearls helped to give it a sweetness and elegance that I had never seen before. The veil was gorgeous – it was embroidered with the same flowers and seed pearls. I did not want to take it off!
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? When it came to the bridesmaids’ dresses, I was looking for something different…something that did not look like the typical bridesmaid dress. I spotted this Lela Rose dress and immediately knew it would be perfect. The embroidered flowers on the bodice echoed the embroidery on my dress, and complemented the garden feel of the wedding. We chose navy to contrast with the bright flowers, but also at the request of my maid of honor, my sister.

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! Why did you choose these things? Did any of these details hold special meaning for you as a couple? We were inspired by springtime on my farm – it is incredibly lush and verdant, with flowers blooming everywhere. I wanted our wedding to capture that “English garden” atmosphere. The service was at our church, St. John’s, at 4:30 p.m., and the reception followed at the farm. Due to the size of the church, we had a small ceremony, and then a much larger reception. St. John’s was where I was raised, and also where Jim proposed, so it was really special to share it with our closest family and friends. The farm could not have been more beautiful that day. Having the reception at my family home helped to make the black-tie party that much more warm and joyful. We essentially got the best of both worlds, as we had both an intimate ceremony and a huge party!

Jim and I loved that, due to the small size of the church, we could see every single face when we looked out over the audience. Even though it was a bit of a blur, you could feel the love and joy emanating from every corner of the church. I barely held it together when walking down the aisle, whereas Jim was calm and beaming. Our officiant could sense my nerves, so during the opening exhortation when Jim and I each took turns responding, “I will,” to her questions, she paused during the question. I jumped the gun and eagerly said, “I will!” before she had even finished asking the question, and Jim and the entire audience erupted into laughter. The gaff helped break the ice and my nerves disappeared. After the ceremony, she admitted that she planned the pause to help me relax, and it definitely worked!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We were inspired by the natural beauty of my parents’ farm, which has rolling hills and beautiful flowers. I love flowers, so the idea was to create an “English garden” atmosphere that was teeming with blooms and greenery. We used brightly colored flowers and lush greenery, with textured linens and lanterns everywhere. Everything was glowing, from the illuminated trees to the incandescent clear tent. We were also always aware that we were inviting people to my family’s home, so every detail was designed to make the reception welcoming and intimate.

The reception was a glowing, joyful, and elegant party. It was black-tie, but warm and exuberant, as it was at my family home. The cocktail hour was in the front of the house, and then we invited everyone into the house to pass into the backyard for the reception. To continue the intimate feeling, guests were greeted at their seats by thank you notes from Jim and me. Even though it was a big wedding, it was very important to us that our guests knew that they were the most special part of our celebration.

The flowers were key to the entire event. I wanted them to be lush, abundant and bright. Each part of the wedding had the most incredible flowers, from the beautiful floral arch at the church, to the flower-covered arbor and escort card display, to the stunning azaleas, roses, hydrangeas and more planted throughout the grounds. Both the wedding flowers and the landscaping came together to create a verdant landscape that looked like something from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake and groom’s cake were absolutely delicious – I’m still dreaming of them. The wedding cake was made of layers of coconut and strawberry cake, and was covered in little flowers that matched my wedding dress. The groom’s cake was red velvet and was an architectural feat. In honor of UVA, the cake was designed to look like the famous Rotunda, complete with columns, porticos and a domed roof.

Our first dance was to “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke. It was one of the first songs Jim had played for me when we first began dating. In the months leading up to the wedding, Jim and I took dance lessons (but I think we canceled more than we attended). Needless to say, we improvised our first dance, rather than sticking to the fancy routine our instructor had attempted to teach us!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jim and I met as students at the University of Virginia School of Law. Jim, a third-year at the time, was (and still is) very close to several of my good friends from Princeton. We were introduced during the first week of my first year and began dating shortly thereafter. During our first date, we discovered that my parents and Jim’s father were all members of the class of 1982 at the Law School. They had not kept in touch, but remembered each other very well. The following May was their 30th Reunion – needless to say, their classmates loved the idea that the children of members of the Class of ’82 were now dating.
Describe the proposal: During the fall of my third year, Jim’s family joined my family for Thanksgiving at my parents’ farm. I knew that Jim had asked my father for my hand, but I had no idea when he would propose. On Thanksgiving Day, after attending the traditional blessing of the hounds, Jim asked if I would go for a drive with him. We drove to my small, country church, where I had always dreamed of getting married. The church is a beautiful 19th century stone church, located right in the middle of horse country. We walked around the gardens until we arrived to the front of the church, where Jim got down on one knee. After I said “yes,” we sat for fifteen minutes in the gardens, taking in what had just happened. We then drove back to my parents’ house (and almost ran out of gas on our way!), and were met by our families and a champagne toast. It could not have been more perfect.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our officiant, the Reverend Tracy A. Bruce, for marriage counseling sessions during the months preceding the wedding. Tracy is the Rector of St. John’s, our church, and she is absolutely wonderful. Although we were a little apprehensive before beginning, the sessions turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, radiant, and intimate
How many guests attended your wedding? We had about 120 at the ceremony and 325 at the reception.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Everyone involved with planning and putting on the wedding was incredible, which makes it hard to pick out one detail. If I have to choose, whenever I look back at the photographs from the weekend, my eyes stay a little longer on how incredible the church looked and how happy Emily looked during the ceremony.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? My mother led the charge on the music selection, and her suggestions were thoughtful and created the perfect atmosphere. We had an amazing trumpeter and organist, as well as a soloist who performed throughout the ceremony. The processional was Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary in D Major.” We sang one of my favorite hymns, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” and then the soloist sang “The Wedding Song” by Peeters. After the blessing of the marriage, the soloist sang “A Nuptial Blessing” by Joncas as the benediction. We walked out to “Hornpipe” from Handel’s Water Music, followed by his “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.”
Tell us about your grand exit. For the last song of the night, the band invited us on stage to dance and sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They then parted the crowd and sent us off into the night, where Jim and I stood and watched our friends dance during the last few bars of the song. We did not do a sparkler sendoff, instead opting to hold an after-party by our pool. We had blankets and Adirondack chairs, fire pits with s’mores ingredients and delicious snacks – mini pizzas, pigs-in-a-blanket, and grilled short rib and cheese sandwiches. It was the perfect way to end the night, and amazingly, no one ended up in the pool!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Find the best, most reliable vendors possible and RELAX. It will be amazing, no matter what happens.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re settling into married life in Washington, D.C. and look forward to relaxing after the wedding. We are most excited for the puppy that will be joining us this spring!

Photographer: Kate Headley | Planner: Pineapple Productions | Designer and Florals: Victoria Clausen Floral Events | Ceremony Venue: St. John’s Church, Western Run Parish | Reception Venue: Private Residence | Caterer: Linwoods | Cake Baker: Sugarbakers | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Oscar de la Renta | Bridal Salon: Saks Fifth Avenue | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaid Dresses: Lela Rose | Hair Stylist: Judy Messina and Dana Smith of Public Image | Makeup Artist: Leah Margosis | Groomsmen Fashion: The Tuxedo House | Save the Dates: Mr. Boddington | Paper Goods: Pleasure of Your Company | Linens: Table Toppers | Tents: Loane Bros., Inc. | Transportation: American Limo | Lighting/Fireworks: Digital Lightning | Calligraphy: Arney Walker Calligraphy

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love how the cake matched her dress!!

  2. avatar Brook Paris reply

    That glass tent and gold iron chairs- WOW.

  3. avatar Jay reply

    Such intricate embroidery! The bride’s choice is truly classy.

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