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Reading through Bonnie and Quentin’s interview, I kept thinking, “It was meant to be!” So many pieces of their love story and their sweet Virginia wedding came together in such a way that neither of them could have planned better–the fact that they met in the bar Bonnie’s dad had helped build years before, or that Bonnie’s dress is called “Dahlia” and she carried a gorgeous bouquet of the same bloom, for example. That’s not to say that everything was perfect along the way–no wedding ever is–but with such a firm foundation in place, Bonnie and Quentin were able to make the best of every moment (including an unexpected tornado warning in the middle of their reception!).

Thanks so much to Katie Nesbitt for sharing this lovely day with us!

Finding and working with Carly Reed Designs on the invitations and other paper elements was my favorite part of planning the wedding. After a few months of searching many invitation websites and stores, I was at a loss on what I wanted. There were certainly invitations I liked, but nothing that really felt like us. When I found Carly and saw that she also lived in Richmond, I knew I had to work with her! Going through the custom invitation design process was so much fun! Carly was extremely patient with me while we went through the process and allowed me to be as nit-picky as I wanted to be. I heard from many guests that they often have a “meh” attitude when they receive invitations, but they loved ours!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were somewhat of a surprise– intentionally! Our florist is a farmer florist, so they couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to produce or sustainably procure specific flowers. I had requested peonies or dahlias, and we were lucky to get gorgeous, large dahlias. I was so pleased with how all the flowers turned out. The selection and the colors fit our wedding perfectly.

Our families had collectively visited 32 venues all across Virginia before we found Riverside on the Potomac! We were still living in New York City when we first got engaged, so we were reliant on reports from our parents. When my parents found Riverside on the Potomac and sent me the pictures, we knew it was perfect.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We opted to do a first look and we are so glad we did. This allowed us time to do formal pictures with our wedding party and each other that otherwise would have been stolen from the cocktail hour (or not taken at all!). The best part about doing a first look was that it totally calmed both of our nerves. I think this may have made the ceremony even more special, since rather than me being an emotional basket case, we were able to be calm and focus on soaking in the words we were saying and the moments.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The week before the wedding, I lost the earrings I was planning to wear. Luckily, one of my bridesmaids owned the same pair, so I just borrowed hers! My underwear was blue. I wore my mother’s veil as my something old, which was so special I really loved the way it made my otherwise-simple attire much more formal and bridal for the ceremony. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to use it since it had yellowed over the years, but after a little TLC with OxyClean and bleach, it ended up looking much better than expected. My shoes and dress were new.

On the day of the wedding, there was a potential for thunderstorms leading up to the ceremony time. The weather held out for the first look, pictures, ceremony, and cocktail hour, but right as we were lining up for the introduction at the reception, it began to pour. Since everything was inside from there on out, we thought we were in the clear! A few minutes after we sat down to eat, we began to hear the lovely noise phones make when there is a weather alert in the area. There were hushed whispers of a tornado warning, but no one was quite sure what to do. This is northern Virginia–we don’t typically get tornadoes! After a few minutes, I noticed my dad fumbling trying to turn the music off to make an announcement. I got up to help and ended up making the announcement that we needed to evacuate to the basement! How many brides have had to do that? Everyone made their way downstairs, drinks in hand. Luckily the “basement” was really renovated horse stalls with nice chairs and tables set up (we had even had our rehearsal dinner in the space!). The guests thought it was so fun and exciting (particularly since we were safely in a basement). It ended up being perfect for mingling with everyone, and we got some great pictures. While we would have preferred if this hadn’t happened, we think we made the best of it. All our guests said this would be a wedding they would never forget!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended Virginia Tech and met during our last year in Blacksburg, even though we lived next door to each other for a year prior to meeting. We met one night in September at the famous TOTS (Top of the Stairs) bar in Blacksburg. My dad helped build the bar while working there back in the ’70s. Mutual friends began talking that night, and we locked eyes. The next July, Quentin followed me to New York City.
Tell us all about the proposal! We both love New Orleans, and Quentin considers it a far more romantic place than New York. We were there during Jazz Fest, and on our last day, we took a long walk to brunch. Quentin took us on a scenic detour to a nearby park that he had previously scouted. He asked me to sit on one of those amazing, swooping, curvy New Orleans oak trees so he could take my picture, and then instead of whipping out a camera from his backpack, he went for the ring. He grabbed the wrong hand, because even after dating someone for five and a half years, that moment can make your knees weak! Of course, I said, “Yes!”
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 158
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was an intensive process. After the ninth store, I knew I needed to find someone who carried the Blush by Hayley Paige dress I had been eyeing online for months. I was lucky enough to get in touch with the lovely ladies at Pure English Bridal, and while they didn’t carry the exact dress, they were more than willing to have the sample shipped to their store. After some failed attempts with other stores to get the dress, I knew they were truly going above and beyond. As soon as I saw the dress, I knew I was going to get it. I hadn’t tried on anything similar anywhere else, and I loved the simple design with the light Swiss dot fabric. It proved to be the perfect dress for a hot and humid June day in Virginia.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Unfortunately, neither of us even saw the wedding cake or dessert table at the wedding! With the tornado warning and evacuation, there was just too much going on. We ended up cutting the cake the next evening at my parents’ house before we departed for the honeymoon.

Photographer: Katie Nesbitt Photography / Planner: Just a Little Ditty / Venue: Riverside on the Potomac / Florist: LynnVale Studios / Caterer and Cake: Main Event Caterers / Band: Adrian Duke Project / Paper Products: Carly Reed Designs / Bride’s Gown: “Dahlia” by Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Shoes and Earrings: J.Crew / Hair and Makeup: Creative Images / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elsa” in Leaver’s Lace by J.Crew / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Invitation Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Katie / Escort Cards and Signage: Letterally Crafts

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    Savannah + Henry met at a conference in Arizona, and through he lived in Boston and she lived in Atlanta, they started dating after their business relationship took a romantic turn. Long-distance dating may be hard, but S + H made it work! They flew to see each other every single week. “If we missed each other on a weekend, Henry would fly down mid-week to have dinner and fly out on the 7AM flight the next morning,” said Savannah. Now that’s love and dedication! We’re happy that Savannah, who was tired of the travel, made the move to Boston to be with Henry because as these images from Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay show us, they are a beautiful couple!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress: My mom and two close girlfriends came down to Charleston with me. Our wedding planner’s roommate worked at a small wedding dress boutique on Daniel Island and she was able to see us after hours. We drank wine and I only tried on 7-8 dresses and was torn between two very different dresses. I slept on it and woke up the next morning knowing which was the best fit. We went back later that day to put down the deposit.

    I love peonies but they were out of season, so we went with a combination of peony-like flowers that were cream-colored with a hint of blush. We wanted a lot of greenery so we also used magnolia leaves in the chandeliers at the ceremony.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? We did not do a first look. Henry didn’t know anything about my dress and we wanted the moment we first saw each other to be when I walked down the aisle. It was a very special moment.

    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Henry’s cousin Johnny read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that was probably most favorite piece from the ceremony. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.”
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” Other ceremony songs we included were both Beatles songs, “Here Comes the Sun” and “All you need is Love.”

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My husband, Henry, is from New York and it was very important for us to show his family why we love the South. I’d say the food was the biggest Southern influence which included fried chicken, duck buns with coleslaw, shrimp and grits and more.

    Y’all, I seriously love these magnolia leaf chandeliers! What a great way to add some Southern greenery to the room.

    Our cake was amazing. Once again, we wanted something simple. It was a round, three-tiered vanilla cream cake with buttercream icing. The middle tier was red velvet. The cake was covered with beige polka dots.

    How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We originally met at an industry conference in Scottsdale, AZ. What started as a business relationship turned to friendship and eventually dating. We dated long distance for 9-10 months and saw each other literally every single week from Atlanta to Boston. If we missed each other on a weekend, Henry would fly down mid-week to have dinner and fly out on the 7AM flight the next morning. Eventually, we got tired of the travel so I moved to Boston.
    Describe the proposal. On the one year anniversary of me moving to Boston, we decided to head out of work early on a Monday night and head down to our house on Nantucket. We opened a good bottle of wine and packed up some snacks, music and our dog, Roscoe, to head down to the beach to watch the sunset. As the sun set over the horizon, Henry suggested we stand up to get a better view and he took a knee and asked me to marry him.
    In what month did you get married? September
    How many guests attended your wedding? 200
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail was the café lighting by the water. The lights looked amazing and carried a romantic atmosphere out from the tent to the sitting area by the water.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We honestly had it pretty easy. Our wedding planner, Lindsey, was amazing and I think she handled any foreseen issues before they got to us. I’m sure every bride and groom deal with the struggle of trying to please everyone but eventually we just decided we were going to do everything like we wanted it done.
    What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The band! Our vision of our wedding was a beautiful ceremony by the water and a HUGE party. Our band was truly amazing and we danced all night!!
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It’s hard to pick just one. I think finalizing our vows and being announced as husband and wife was a pretty fantastic moment. I think dancing with my dad was a pretty memorable moment. He kept my jitters at bay by making me laugh most of the way down the aisle.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax. It’s such a fun day and you should really enjoy the process of planning if you don’t stress and just trust that it’ll all work out.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? My wedding gift from Henry was a second puppy, so we now have two long haired dachshunds. The puppy is a girl and we named her Mal’e after visiting the Maldives for our honeymoon (the capital is Mal’e). We’re not ready for kids yet, so I think our immediate focus is spending time together and with the pups. We’re looking forward to continuing life together and seeing where that takes us.

    nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
    10 Comments
    1. avatar Lisa reply

      This might be my new favorite SW wedding! All of the flowers are so perfect, her dress is stunning, and that cake is divine!

    2. avatar Inspired by This Blog reply

      What a beautiful ceremony under the trees. And that cake! Gorgeous!!! :]

    3. avatar Lauren Stefanski reply

      Who designs this dress? I LOVE it! She looks gorgeous!

    4. avatar Emily Ewing reply

      Who is her dress designer! Please let us know! I’m going dress shopping very soon and would love to know!

    5. avatar Anna reply

      I need to know who the designer of her dress is!!!

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    8. avatar Southern Wedding Next Spring reply

      what band did you use? I am searching for a good band.

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    Can y’all believe Whitney + Clarke’s wedding day boasted temperatures over 100 degrees?? Their French-meets-Southern countryside wedding looks as cool as a cucumber, though, thanks to some extra fans and the quick thinking of the Easton Events ladies, who handed out lavender-scented chilled cloths as the dance floor heated up. Whitney + Clarke spent the majority of their evening there, celebrating with loved ones, until it was time for their emotional getaway. W + C managed to steal a few moments to themselves just after Whitney changed into her getaway dress, and it ranks as one of her favorite moments. Just imagining the newlyweds standing upstairs overlooking their reception before they left gives me chills. “We finally got a chance to breath, to just be together in the moment, and to watch all those we love dancing, laughing, and enjoying the celebration,” said Whitney.

    What was Southern about your wedding? For me, it was Southern because it was rooted in the traditional. The Southern fare, the station-style dinner, the Blue Ridge Mountain setting, the big band, the Motown and beach music, the warm hospitality, the pink gingham bow ties, the white dinner jackets, the stifling heat, the fireflies, and the sweet late-evening Virginia breeze.

    What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? I don’t even know where to begin. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It goes so quickly, take a moment to soak it all in. Don’t forget to eat. A wedding planner/coordinator is a must have, especially on the day-of. Hire a videographer. Enjoy every minute. All of my initial advices seems so cliché, and at the same time each is so true. And yet, it takes walking in bridal shoes to really appreciate most of this advice. Not stressing beforehand, and enjoying the day is easier said in hindsight than done at the time. Although this is not novel advice, I think the following words of wisdom are most helpful: hire vendors you trust, and trust them do their job; you can never show enough pictures – even ones of things you don’t like, are helpful – because something in your head that you describe could be very different in someone else’s head; lighting is invaluable; you spend all of this time thinking about, fretting over, planning and preparing for one day, and it does go by more quickly than you can ever imagine. You cannot re-live it, so live it the first time; at the end of the day, all that remains are the marriage, the memories, and the photographs – so hire a good photographer!

    For the reception, we envisioned a European Provincial cocktail hour with French countryside elements such as wooden Bistro chairs around low tables dressed in Duck Egg blue linens, and centerpiece bowls filled with fresh blackberries and cherries; Russian sage-filled urns on the linen square bar and topiaries flanked the tent entrance. In the Tasting Room, long tables were dressed in white linens with bistro chairs and blue and white Chinoiserie bud vases filled with Sahara roses. The main event space was more formal, and meant to feel like a Parisian pied-å-terre with white-washed Chiavari chairs around dinner tables dressed in grey and white damask linens, and several seating groups of lounge furniture around the dance floor. Floating gardenias in small bowls were placed on the side tables and in the ladies room.

    What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? The locally inspired cuisine included traditional Southern favorites, with a European-style vineyard twist. We had canapés such as fried goat cheese balls with honey, sweet potato biscuits with Virginia ham and piquillo pepper spread, fried Chesapeake Bay oysters, local strawberries with robiolo cheese and a balsamic drizzle, lobster Salad on a Yucca chip, and deviled quail eggs with caviar. Guests dined at dinner stations with various themes such as a Vineyard inspired station featuring a wide selection of local and imported cheeses, charcuterie, fresh breads and homemade condiments; a Farmer’s Market station filled with fresh heirloom tomatoes, watermelon and feta salad, and local strawberry and arugula salad; a French fare station complete with beef tenderloin, lavender-glazed lamb chops, haricot verts, and roasted potatoes; and the popular Southern Comfort station with jumbo lump crab cakes (a nod to Clarke’s VA Beach hometown), truffle mac n’cheese, skillet cornbread, and pulled pork sliders.

    Tell us a bit about your first dance. We were both nervous about the first dance, Clarke especially, so we took one lesson a few weeks before the wedding – that probably made us more nervous! But it went really well, and once we got out there, it was easy to forget about everyone watching and nice to just talk and laugh with one another. Clarke picked the song, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s classic “You’re All I Need to Get By”, which he said reminded him of me… and it has enough of a beat for him to keep pace!

    Our cake was five round tiers of alternating layers – vanilla with blackberry filling, and poppy-seed almond – with pale pink, buttercream icing and scattered fresh blackberries. Kathy’s cakes are wonderfully moist and taste deliciously homemade (which they are!), yet better, and still are beautiful. I wanted a traditional-style cake, yet the rough, swirled buttercream exterior in barely blush pink was a contemporary twist. It was impressionistic, and the pink hue was dead on – I wanted people to say, is that pink? Or are my eyes playing tricks? The wedding cake was complemented by silver-tiered servers filled with homemade macarons – in lavender and raspberry flavors.

    What was your reception like? We had an outdoor sunset cocktail hour with a stationed dinner event and band reception following.  The guests ate, drank, mingled, and danced until our midnight departure.
    Describe your centerpieces:  Low mercury bowls of lush overflowing arrangements composed of pale blush and grey – antique hydrangea, Sahara rose, Café au Lait Dahlias, Patience Garden roses, Champagne Lisianthus, Dusty Miller, and vines
    Did you have a cocktail hour?  If so, what was it like?  After the ceremony, guests were transported out to Pippin Hill Farm where they cocktailed underneath a Sperry tent on the lawn, and attempted to stay cool underneath the draped Veranda and inside the Tasting Room.  The Peter Richardson Jazz Trio played light tunes in the tent, where guests picked up flip-flops, dined on hors d’oeuvres, grabbed drinks from the big square bar, and enjoyed the panoramic views.
    What were some of the highlights?  The whole night was a highlight.  We wanted a beautiful event, full of thoughtful details, yet we also wanted a good party and for everyone to have the best time.  The band was phenomenal and guests danced all night.   We were on the dance floor the entire time, which is exactly where we wanted to be.  For me, the father-daughter dance was particularly special.  We danced to “My Girl”, and as one of three daughters, it has been a song we have all danced to with my dad over the years.  Another standout, is the few minutes we took to ourselves, after I changed dresses, as we stood upstairs overlooking the main event space below.  We finally got a chance to breath, to just be together in the moment, and to watch all those we love dancing, laughing, and enjoying the celebration.
    Tell us about your grand exit.  Our grand exit was to a sea of sparklers leading up the candle-lit pathway to our antique car, with a Bon Voyage sign on the back.  Unexpectedly, it was one of the more emotional moments for me, as we hugged our parents and laughed and cried as all our friends cheered us on.  Many guests continued the party back at the hotels, and we shared a nightcap with friends and snacked on Pippin Hill’s famous croque monsieurs.
    What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding?  Our wedding was different than any other, for it was the perfect confluence of personal circumstance – for this fleeting, yet amazing, moment in time, everyone and everything comes together to create magic.  That day will forever be a part of us, and a part of our story.
    Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding?  We had a groom’s cake the night before, in the shape of UVA’s Rotunda; the groom’s father was the best man; my sisters gave me a bible with my new name embossed on the front as a gift on our wedding day; guests tossed lavender as we exited the church.
    What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding?  Combating the heat that week!
    Did you take a honeymoon? We honeymooned at the fabulous Curtain Bluff in Antigua – and loved it!  We relaxed, read, eat, drank, and soaked in the sun for ten days.  We didn’t want to come home!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?  Immediately after the honeymoon, we packed up and moved to Houston.  We have settled in and are adjusting back to reality.
    Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration.  “We’re only doing this once, so enjoy it!”  And that we did.

    nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony reply

      I’m loving this post as well as part 1 of this couple’s beautiful wedding. Everything from the stationery to the dress, the classic look and feel and all of the neutral tones… so pretty and timeless!

    2. avatar Kat reply

      This wedding is a stunner for sure … and you wouln’t even know it was 100 degrees outside! I’m loving the damask linens and her fun short departure dress!

    3. avatar Lisa reply

      Truly, the bride and groom are one of the most classically beautiful couples I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine how much they’ll treasure these pictures for years and years to come!

    4. avatar Pantone Colors For Fall 2013 | Burnett’s Boards – Daily Wedding Inspiration reply

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    5. avatar jennifer reply

      I was wondering if you know where the bride got her dress???

    6. avatar Charity reply

      I was hoping to find out where the bride got her dress!! I LOVE it!

    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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