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A big part of setting my own wedding date was which flowers would be in season, and while I don’t know if Ashley and Shane planned this from the beginning, with that criteria in mind, they couldn’t have picked a more magical weekend to become husband and wife! These two met, fell in love, and tied the knot in our nation’s capital, and their wedding date landed exactly when the iconic Washington D.C. cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. With the help of their planner, A. Dominick Events, and their florist, Amaryllis Inc., they fully embraced the opportunity to incorporate these seasonal blooms into their day. The results included one of the most incredible ceremony set-ups I have ever seen, as well as some of the prettiest portraits!

We were so thrilled to include Ashley and Shane in V8–thanks so much to Abby Jiu for sharing their special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on at the first bridal salon I visited! I had my dress customized by the designer, Modern Trousseau. I loved everything about it!

Our wedding was a spring wedding in Washington, D.C. It occurred the weekend that the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. We held our ceremony and reception at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. It started at 5:30 p.m. and the attire was black-tie optional.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a religious ceremony officiated by Reverend Jeff Mazal. We opted to use traditional vows, and reciting them was the most special part of the ceremony. We also had a wine box ceremony at our wedding, which we loved. Our guests seemed to enjoy it too.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We had a string quartet, Pop Culture Strings, perform the music for our ceremony. For the processional, they played “What a Wonderful World.” I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D.” Our recessional song was “We Found Love” by Rihanna.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The décor of the ceremony. The cherry blossom-lined aisle made walking down the aisle to Shane more magical than I could have ever imagined.

For the ceremony and reception decor, we chose to focus on modern elements with accents of lush, seasonal florals in shades of pink. The guests were greeted with an escort card display of lucite tables featuring pale pink roses, cherry blossoms, and orchids. The modern aspects of the lucite provided a striking contrast to the stone entryway of the historic venue. At the ceremony, we used lucite chairs, and a breathtaking aisle was created out of cherry blossom branches sitting on pale pink boxes. As the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the ceremony space was transformed and transitioned to deeper shades of pink. The patterned navy linens tied back to the wedding invitations, while the pops of pink in the table arrangements and napkins brought a fun punch to the otherwise gray room.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? I was not a bride who came in with a list of the kinds of flowers that she had to have at her wedding. I knew that I wanted a lot of pink florals, but that was it! I really trusted our florist, Amaryllis, to create beautiful arrangements based on my taste. They did an amazing job! My bouquet was made of garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, lisianthus, and gloriosa lilies. The bridesmaid bouquets included softer colors than the bridal bouquet, and featured pale pink garden roses and a touch of dusty miller.

We had a sit-down dinner that started with a wonderful spring salad, follow by a surf-and-turf entrée. We served a petite filet mignon and a crab cake. Following dinner, we had dessert and cookie tables that guests were able to choose from. The caterers also passed around some late-night snacks, which our friends loved after working up their appetites on the dance floor. The late night snacks included french fries, beef sliders, and mini pizzas.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We could not decide on just one flavor for our wedding cake, so we had three: carrot cake, a traditional buttercream cake, and chocolate truffle.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. When you ask either of us how we met, we generally reply with a chuckle and say “at a bar.” In 2010, Shane was working part-time as a DJ at a bar in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown in D.C. I was at the bar for a friend’s birthday celebration. Shane struck up a conversation and we hit it off immediately.
Describe the proposal: Shane knew only one thing about how he wanted to propose: he wanted it to be a surprise. He proposed on May 25, 2014. The weeks prior had been full of excitement–we spent a week in the Dominican Republic, Shane graduated from George Washington University, and almost all of his immediate family came to town to visit for his graduation festivities! I was hoping a proposal would happen at one of those events, but it didn’t. A week after Shane’s graduation, one of my best friends, Sara, came home for a visit. Sara wanted to spend some time outside of the National Cathedral (we both had attended and graduated from the National Cathedral School for Girls). I thought this was a great idea and tried to convince Shane to come along. He appeared to be a bit uninterested, but eventually obliged. We all spent about an hour walking through the Cathedral and pointing out our favorite stained glass windows, and walking around the grounds and down into the chapels. Our last stop was the Bishop’s Garden, which is one of my favorite places. By this time, I was ready to leave so we could get home to prepare for a cookout we were hosting that night. However, Shane insisted that we sit and enjoy the garden for a while longer, so we found a spot in the grass. It was then that Shane pulled the engagement ring out of his pocket and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said yes!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Energetic, joyful, fun
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? Shane found it difficult to pick his most memorable or touching moment of the wedding day, but he would say it was a tie between walking back up the aisle with me after the ceremony and the toasts. For me, the most touching moment was when Shane recited our vows.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? All of the guests at our wedding are extremely important to us. However, our most special guest was my 90-year-old grandmother. It was such a blessing to have her share our special day with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? Shane is beginning graduate school in the fall. We are going to work to become established in our careers and build a strong foundation for our marriage.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner. It was the best decision we made and truly helped us enjoy the process.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: The best advice we received during the wedding celebration was to take a few minutes to appreciate and process what’s happening around us on our wedding day. It is one of the only days of your life when all of your friends and family will be in the same place. Enjoy it!

Photographer: Abby Jiu | Videographer: Blue Sky Films | Planner: A. Dominick Events | Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium | Florals: Amaryllis, Inc. | Caterer: Design Cuisine | Cake Baker: Kendall’s Cakes | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Jewelry: David Yurman | Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale | Hair Stylist: Decade Hair Design | Makeup Artist: Nour Kazoun | Groom’s Tuxedo: Alton Lane | Groom’s Shoes: Paul Parkman | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Ties: The Tie Bar | Paper Goods: Cheree Berry Paper | Rentals: Party Rental and DC Rental | Linens: La Tavola | Transportation: Atlantic | Lighting: Frosting Lighting | Officiant: Rev. Jeff Mazal of Weddings by Jeff | Valet: MJ Valet | A Capella Choir: Hullabahoos | Pop Tarts: Ted’s Bulletin | Chocolates: Historical Chocolate Company | Champagne Splits: Personal Wine | Welcome Bags: Wedding Chicks | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | String Quartet: Pop Culture Strings | Band: Sound Connections | Escort Cards: Lettering by Lynne

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    The cherry blossoms are to die for in this design, I love how they incorporated it in their photos outside and then brought it inside, genius! Also, how adorable is this couple?

  2. avatar April reply

    What a beautiful wedding! All of the details are carefully thought out. It’s almost as breathtaking as the bride herself.

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Caroline knew her beautiful lace gown was the one for her as soon as she saw it in the window of Maddison Row while she passed the store on her way home from work. She also knew right away that since one of her favorite things about weddings is how couples incorporate special touches throughout their day (us too!), it was important to her that on her own wedding day, meaningful details were woven in. One of her favorites was the ranunculus halo worn by their flower girl–it had seven individual blooms on it in memory of their seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present at their wedding. We also love the sweet favors that Caroline and her mama canned themselves, using a family friend’s pickle relish recipe. I’m sure guests loved being able to witness a new chapter in Caroline and Luke’s life, and then take home a piece of their family history!

Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Courtney Dox for sharing this sweet day with us!

During our engagement, I was working in downtown Charleston. Every day, I would take the same route home from work, and luckily for me, Maddison Row was on that route. I loved getting stuck at the Maddison Row intersection and inching my car up as close to the storefront as possible to see the three beautifully dressed mannequins in the window. On my way home one day, I spotted my beautiful dress, pulled out my iPhone, and snapped a picture! I called and set up an appointment with my photo in hand! I tried on several dresses during my appointment, but the beautiful Monique Lhuillier I had spotted was the one!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of my favorite things about weddings is seeing all of the special touches incorporated throughout, so I knew that was important to me for my own wedding. One of our favorite details was the ranunculus halo worn by our flower girl in lieu of a traditional flower basket. The halo had seven individual ranunculus flowers on it in memory of our seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present for our special day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up in a United Methodist Church, but my home church was too small for the wedding size we were planning, so we chose a beautiful United Methodist Church downtown for our ceremony. We chose Lowndes Grove Plantation for our reception because it is a gorgeous Charleston venue that encompassed all of the Southern charm we were looking for to make our wedding incredible!

The biggest challenge we had to overcome while planning our wedding was trying to figure out ways to maximize our budget. We had a large guest list and wanted to be able to include everyone without having to compromise on too many of the personalized touches we knew would make our wedding day so special. We quickly realized the big difference between want and need, and we were able to find a perfect balance to create an amazing day!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The entire wedding planning process helped us plan for our marriage. We learned so much about how to talk to each other during stressful times and how to peacefully resolve differences. In the end, all we wanted was for the other to be happy on that day, and we learned early on to remember that point for the duration of our marriage.

Our flowers were absolutely incredible! We really wanted vibrant pinks and corals and romantic, trailing greenery. The bouquets and arrangements included beautiful peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and other seasonal blooms, accented with succulents, maidenhair fern, and trailing jasmine vine. The groom, groomsmen, and ring bearer boutonnieres were made of succulents, and our flower girl wore a beautiful ranunculus and greenery crown.

We couldn’t agree on a song for our first dance until one day when “Oh Girl” by The Chi-Lites came on my Pandora station, and I immediately knew it was the one! We thought it would be a perfect fit for our band and we loved the idea of a classic song that everyone in the crowd would know and could sway along to.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a beautiful, traditional Southern wedding with the most picturesque setting and traditional Southern foods. One of my favorite Southern traditions we included was the guest favor passed at the reception–my mom and I made pear relish using a family friend’s recipe, packaged it in four ounce quilted Mason jars, and tied a tiny butcher’s twine bow around each lid. I loved the days spent in the kitchen canning with my mom to create such a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Luke began his pediatric residency in July 2011 at the Medical University of South Carolina, and my twin sister was working as nurse on the general pediatrics floor at the time. During his second year of residency, they were on an overnight shift and several people were chatting about significant others. Luke was asked if he was dating anyone, and when he said no, they immediately began brainstorming who they could set him up with. My sister mentioned she had a single twin sister and set us up on a blind date. We went out a few weeks later and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On October 30th, 2013, I got off work early and arranged for afternoon manicures and pedicures with my sister. We went to our usual salon and had a fairly uneventful afternoon. When we got back to my house, my sister went home, and Luke was home from work, but acting suspiciously abnormal. He said he had made dinner reservations for us at one of our favorite restaurants for our weekly date night, so I went to my room to search for the perfect outfit for our night out. He came into the room and told me he’d surprised me and gone and picked up some new makeup I’d been wanting, and set it down on the dresser. He walked out of the room and I kept searching for clothes, only looking at the makeup several minutes later. When I opened the bag, there was a ring box inside and I yelled, “WHAT IS THIS?!” I quickly ran down the hallway to the living room, where Luke was waiting for me on one knee! I was so shocked, I threw the ring box at him, which he immediately opened and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said “YES!” to a man who not only knows what kind of makeup I wear, but also picks up hints that I’d been wanting new products and successfully surprised me with them!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175-200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? I absolutely love first look photos in wedding albums. The expressions and emotions are so genuine, and the excitement of the big day is captured forever! It was so hard for me not to want that moment captured for us, but we both strongly felt that we wanted our first reveal to be when I came down the aisle. I wanted the moment to be so pure that I even decided against bridal portraits, so my first time in my gown was on our wedding day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we wanted to preserve the tradition of a United Methodist wedding and recited vows from the United Methodist Book of Worship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My twin sister lent me her monogrammed handkerchief from her wedding two years prior. My paternal grandmother was the donor of something old, giving me her antique gold bangle bracelet to wear. My maternal grandmother passed 10 years prior to my wedding, but was there in spirit for my something blue, which was pale blue fabric from her wedding attire wrapped in lace from my wedding dress and wrapped around my bouquet. I considered my beautiful dress my something new!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made decisions to select less expensive furniture options in some places, selectively place linens around the venue to provide optimal effect, and made other similar choices that would allow us to save small amounts across varying aspects of our wedding, adding up to bigger savings.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are just loving married life and building our life together! We want to see the seven wonders of the modern world and are looking forward to a little traveling before starting a family. We saw Chichen-Itza on our honeymoon and can’t wait for our next adventure!

Photographer: Courtney Dox / Planner: Ashley Wez of Boutique Planning / Ceremony Venue: Bethel United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: SYG Designs / Cake Baker: Jim Smeal Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals and EventHaus / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: Heart to Heart / Paper Products: Studio R Design / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Accessories: Vera Wang / Hair Stylist: Christine Pointek of Allure Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lula Kate / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Event Design: JLV Creative / Transportation: ACW Limo and Absolutely Charleston / Linens: Nuage Designs

Courtney Dox and LulaKate are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    SO beautiful!! They are such a gorgeous couple, and that is a reception after my own heart–biggest heart eyes for that gray and white checkered dance floor and striped cake!

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Small towns and the South go together like biscuits and honey–they each seem to bring out the best in one another, don’t you think? Since Abigail and Adam’s love story began in their neighboring North Carolina mountain towns, there was no place like home for their rustic fall wedding. With limited venue options in her small hometown, Abigail and her family set out to help restore an abandoned produce packing warehouse. Not only did it become the perfect industrial space for her and Adam to celebrate with all their loved ones, it also now serves as an event space for the whole community. What an incredible legacy to leave!

Thank you so much to Michelle Lyerly for sharing this special day with us!

My mother, mother-in-law, and sisters came to Charlotte to help me find a dress. When I walked out in the dress I eventually bought, no one said a thing until we heard my best friend, who we called over Facetime, quietly say, “Oh, Abby!” We collectively started crying at that point and got right to work on the alterations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was important to us both that the moment when I started walking toward him to become his wife happened in front of all of our friends and family, who had and would continue to support us as a couple.

Adam and I grew up in neighboring small towns in the mountains of North Carolina. Our love story started there and so much of who we are and what we love came from growing up together in that part of the state. We knew we wanted to be surrounded by the love of our hometowns on our wedding day. We also knew that many of our friends from college and work wanted to experience our small town firsthand!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Choosing a venue that wasn’t actually a venue yet! Murphy, North Carolina is a small place, so the choices for an event are limited. We ended up taking a risk and choosing an abandoned produce packaging warehouse in the center of town, built around 1911, as the venue. The exposed white brick courtyard sold me on the place! Our families worked with the owner of the building to clean, renovate, and re-purpose the building for the reception within six months. It was a challenge to bring the building up to code and make it suitable for not just a party, but a wedding reception, within such a short time frame! It ended up being stunning. The building now serves as an event venue, and it’s wonderful to see the community using the facility!

We kept the flowers to a minimum. The church and reception venue were styled using collected antique silver pieces, handmade antler flower crowns, hundreds of candles, a custom lighted marquee, collected oushak rugs, and white and green pumpkins from a local farm. Baby’s breath, white and pink roses, and greenery covered the tables and bars. Original iron window frames from the building were covered in fresh magnolia branches and suspended from the ceiling.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The whole town got involved! People stopped by on a regular basis to check in on the status of the reception venue’s restoration. Our families pitched in and built the tables (out of wooden beams recovered from the venue) and bars (collected wooden shipping pallets). When word got out that my sister was collecting antique silver pieces for the wedding, people started showing up at our house with pieces they found at yard sales or from their own personal collections. My uncle hand-stitched over 500 feet of white flag pennants for the courtyard, and my sister made amazing antler flower crowns. We even had people stop by the reception and join in on the fun. It was truly a hometown wedding!

The wedding cake was a three-tiered lemon pound cake with buttercream icing. We also had a dessert bar of cakes lovingly made by family friends. There wasn’t a single slice left at the end of the day!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A local bluegrass band from the John C. Campbell Folk School. They played on the outdoor stage during the reception’s cocktail hour, greeting everyone with soulful Appalachian music. The outdoor stage was decorated with antique oushak rugs, an antique iron candelabra, and cascading pumpkins from a nearby farm. It was magical and felt just like home.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were so young! We first met with a group of friends outside the two-screen cinema in Adam’s hometown of Andrews, North Carolina. As is the case with most 13-year-olds, we weren’t so much dating as just seeing each other at group events or ball games. Adam went to my eighth grade dance with me, and from that point on, we’ve grown up together. So many times, young love is seen as irrational or unwise, and while it is certainly unpredictable, it’s amazing when it works out. I’m so thankful to know that Adam understands every part of me: my past, my present, and my future.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was in the middle of studying for spring exams when Adam showed up with an Easter basket. Easter is my favorite holiday, so I thought he was just making a sweet gesture. Each egg in the basket held gift certificates for my favorite things, but one light blue egg held the best gift: my engagement ring! Adam and I had dated for so long, I wasn’t sure if he would be able to surprise me when the time came, but this took my breath away. It was simple, creative, and thoughtful. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our families are very close, so the passage from Ruth 1 was meaningful and true.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I have so many! To name a few, a very good friend of mine gave me a watercolor she painted of our dog, Franklin, and his new last name as an engagement present. We had the image printed on the cake napkins, which was a wonderful way for Franklin to be a part of the celebration. We still use the leftover napkins for our bar cart at home! We also loved our dance floor. An old circular plant holder was used to suspend a disco ball, wrapped with a garland of greenery, over the black and white dance floor, and the stage was back lit by a custom designed marquee that said A+A. It set the tone for the party! Finally, a 1971 Minnie Winnebago, renovated by my father, served mini corndogs (my favorite), Coca-Cola bottles, and homemade potato chips as the night concluded.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with my former youth pastor and the minister for the wedding, Danny Byers, for premarital counseling. No matter how well you know a person, it’s so important to make sure your goals, values, and thoughts on faith work well together.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used a lot of florals and greenery that we could collect ourselves: magnolia leaves, dried hydrangeas, and baby’s breath. We also worked with many local vendors, which cut down on shipping and transportation costs. My sisters really went above and beyond to make every detail special, so we were able to work without an event planner and just hired a day-of coordinator.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your wedding needs to be true to who you are as a couple. The small details that represent you and your life together will make all the difference. I would also add, don’t take yourself or your wedding too seriously. The details I loved the most were the ones that made me laugh, like the deer with the bow tie that hung in the restroom, or the ones that created a buzz–when the trucker hats hit the dance floor, people let loose!

Photographer: Michelle Lyerly / Videographer: Brian Johnson / Planner: Brittney Forrister / Ceremony Venue: Murphy First Baptist / Reception Venue: The Hackney Warehouse / Florist: Occasions Florist / Cake Baker: Tara Dockery / Caterer: Herb’s Pit Bar-B-Que / Rentals: Elegance / Band: The Root Doctors / Matchbooks and Drink Stirrers: For Your Party / Koozies: Custom Ink / Invitation Suite: Reaves Engraving / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Bridal Salon and Hair Accessories: Hayden Olivia / Hair and Makeup: Salon El Khouri / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Suits: Michael Kors / Bow Ties: Brackish Bow Ties / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Dance Floor Props: Oriental Trading / Dance Floor Lights: Flashing Blinky Lights / Tambourines and Hats: Custom Ink / Watercolor Artist: Sara Bozarth / Special Details: Kendall Simmons

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Meg Gravley reply

    Really huge fan of a dessert bar made by family and friends – so personal and functional. The triangular banners sewn by her grandpa…icing on the cake!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the dress, the bunting flags, the dog napkins–what is not to love about this wedding?!

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