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When it comes to wedding planning advice, we’ve pretty much heard it all–some of which we wholeheartedly agree with, while other things make us cringe a little. Kimberly’s advice for brides falls very solidly in the first category: “If you put in the work early to find vendors you can trust, it makes everything else so much easier. I was so confident in my florist, DJ, photographer, and event staff, I knew that no matter what, the end result was going to be a beautiful, amazing, and fun party.” Following their own advice, Kimberly and Michael’s wedding turned out beautifully, but more importantly, choosing their vendors with care let them truly soak in and enjoy their special day. No matter what the specifics of your wedding are, enjoying the day should be a top priority, and we’re so glad Kimberly and Michael did exactly that!

Thanks so much to Kristen Lynne for sharing this special celebration with us!

Our flowers were one of my favorite details from the wedding! Coral charm peonies provided big pops of color among hydrangea, spray roses, and greenery. Juliet garden roses made my bouquet special and different from the other flower arrangements, in addition to poppy pods and hanging ivy. The poppy pods were added to honor my grandfather, who we called “Poppy,” and the ivy was in honor of my grandma and aunt, both named Ivy. This made me feel like those very special people were, in some way, with me on our wedding day.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We knew we wanted to spend cocktail hour with our family and friends who had traveled from all over the country. Our first look gave us the opportunity to have a moment that was completely honest and private, and to get out our pre-wedding jitters. With most of our pictures taken care of, we were able to spend almost all of our cocktail hour visiting with guests and enjoying the delicious food Pippin Hill had prepared.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a flute/string trio. The flutist helped us pick classic, but light, songs for when the guests arrived, when the bridal party walked down the aisle, and for me as both of my parents accompanied me to the altar. Mike has always liked classical music, so it was perfect for us.

One of my best friends is a writer, and he wrote a poem for us that he read during the ceremony. It was one of the most special gifts we received. Mike’s aunt also did a reading from Corinthians in the Bible.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We knew we wanted to get married in Charlottesville since that is where we met. We wanted a simple and elegant outdoor wedding, and Pippin Hill provided the perfect setting for exactly that!

Besides the gorgeous backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our wedding had a few other little Southern touches, including a sweet tea and lemonade hospitality station before the ceremony, barn wood boxes with burlap and lace details for our centerpieces, and large farm tables for us and our bridal party.

Our favorite detail was definitely our first dance. We secretly took lessons and surprised our family and friends with a choreographed routine, full of spins and dips. We don’t know what was more fun–the dance itself or seeing the shocked/excited expressions of our guests!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met when Mike was finishing his first year of medical school, and I was finishing my first year of my Masters in speech language pathology at the University of Virginia. Our friends introduced us one night when we were out and about in Charlottesville, and we went out on a date right away. After only dating for a few months, Mike surprised me for my birthday by showing up in NYC with tickets to The Lion King. After a big gesture like that, I knew he was really something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Because of Mike’s very taxing schedule as a medical student, it was difficult for us to find time together, especially around holidays. In early November, Mike told me he was going to give me my present since we weren’t going to be able to spend Christmas together. He took me on a hike to Old Rag, a notoriously difficult, but beautiful, hike in central Virginia, and then surprised me by taking me to a bed and breakfast in a town nearby. We had a beautiful dinner, followed by a movie by the fireplace in our private cottage. It was a night full of surprises, but the biggest surprise was when Mike pulled out a ring and ask me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! We immediately got in the car to drive until we could find cell phone service so I could call my parents–we were in the middle of the country, and didn’t get service for miles!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Wedding planning was truly a joint effort, and helped us to realize each other’s strengths when it came to decision making. We learned communication and compromise along the way, which I think are crucial in a happy and successful marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge was trying to honor and respect the wishes and ideas of our family members, while remembering the day was supposed to be about us as a couple. For the most part, all of the planning went very smoothly. We had a year and a half engagement, so we were able to spread things out and make one decision at a time, rather than deciding on everything at once. I think that in the end, we added touches and made decisions that we knew were meaningful to our families without compromising our dream wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to save money on flowers and decor for the ceremony and reception by picking a venue with natural beauty and elegance. We also used the standard tables, chairs, and china our venue provided, rather than renting our own.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning is important, but over-planning is the biggest mistake you can make. Inevitably, things happen, something will “go wrong” or have to be altered, so go in with that mindset in place. Do research on vendors and ask for recommendations and referrals. If you put in the work early to find vendors you can trust, it makes everything else so much easier. I was so confident in my florist, DJ, photographer, and event staff, I knew that no matter what, the end result was going to be a beautiful, amazing, and fun party.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently enjoying living together for the first time in our new home. We were able to buy a house in Charlottesville and move in with our dog, Jackson, immediately after the wedding. We are looking forward to dinners together every night, waking up together every morning, and making our new house a home.

Photographer: Kristen Lynne / Venue: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard / Florist: Blue Ridge Floral Design / Dessert Baker: Sweet Haus / DJ: Derek Tobler / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Allure Bridals / Hair Stylist: Salon Druknya / Makeup Artist: A More Beautiful You / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson Blue / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily King reply

    What a gorgeous venue and such a sweet love story. Kimberly’s dress is so beautiful, love the lace detail. I love how Kristen captured those fleeting, emotional moments of the bride and groom. :)

  2. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Gorgeous bride! Love her dress and also the dress of the bridesmaids! Incredible pictures of an amazing location!

  3. avatar blushcheek reply

    romantic wedding, amazing wedding dress and hair accessory.

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Anyone planning a wedding knows that all of the inspiration out there can be overwhelming, which is why we recommend that, instead of starting your brainstorming session on Pinterest or blogs, look to your own story and the things you love first. Jess and Aaron did a wonderful job of this, and from their venue that reminded them of their weekends spent at Virginia wineries, to the paper airplanes their guests threw during their exit, each sweet detail helped their wedding reflect who they are as a couple. Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings helped them bring it all together at Pippin Hill Farm–one of my personal favorite venues in the South!

Thank you so much to Meg Runion for sharing these lovely photos of Jess and Aaron’s wedding with us!

To me, the South is about loving people gathering together, enjoying delicious food, laughing, and having a great time! Using local products and vendors is something that always brings me back to the South because some of my favorite memories are of spending time with my grandfather in his garden, growing the food that my grandmother would then can for us to eat together. We even added jars of her homemade plum jelly to our welcome boxes.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I really wanted to be able to go shopping with my mother and grandmother, but didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I decided to do a scouting trip with one of my friends. It was a great day, but nothing made me feel the way I thought I should, so the search continued. I then learned of the Nordstrom Bridal Suite and decided to take a look online to see what they offered. The moment I saw my dress, I knew it was the one–yes, I found my dress on the internet! It was hard to imagine that it would be that easy, so I told myself to keep looking and see what else was out there. I even flew home to Florida to go dress shopping with my mom, but I kept going back to that dress I had found online. I called up the Nordstrom near D.C. and made an appointment, and the moment I saw it in-person, I knew my search had ended. I loved how simple, yet truly different the dress was. It honestly made me twirl around all day, especially on our wedding day!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have any readings at our ceremony but we did read and sign a Ketubah during a small, intimate ceremony prior to the actual wedding ceremony. Aaron is Jewish and I was raised Baptist, so we wanted to find a way to incorporate both into our wedding day. The Ketubah honored the tradition of his family and is our promise to each other for how we will live in marriage together.

We worked with our officiant to create a ceremony that was personal to us, warm, and original. She provided us with tons of samples for each part of the ceremony, which made it super easy to put everything together. When it came to the vows, we both felt that we wanted something original, but also wanted to give a nod to tradition. We brought these together by taking some of the sample vows that she gave us and picking and choosing parts of them that spoke in words what we felt in our hearts.

When we started thinking of what we wanted in a wedding venue, a few things were at the top of our list: a relaxing vibe, beautiful scenery, and ease of planning. I turned to my trusty friend Google and began the search. Aaron and I enjoy visiting wineries around the D.C. area, so I started my search there. Then, I came across Pippin Hill and knew that we needed to make the drive to Charlottesville to go see it. When we turned the corner to Pippin Hill, the search was over. We didn’t even get inside before we knew that it would be perfect. On our tour, our excitement continued to grow. From the amazing food, to the beautiful bridal suite, to the breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it transported us to another place entirely.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The things that make me smile every time I think of them are the personal details that I added for Aaron. I wanted to make sure that he felt just as much incorporated into the festivities as I did! Aaron is a private pilot, and if you talk to him for more than five minutes, his love for aviation will become crystal clear. I came up with the idea to create “pilot” and “co-pilot” signs for the back of our chairs at the sweetheart table, and it has created a funny debate to this day about who should be sitting in which chair. We also had paper airplanes for people to throw during our departure and they were a huge hit!

The wedding cake was three tiers of vanilla cake with bavarian cream and raspberry marmalade filling, iced with vanilla buttercream. Guests even went back for seconds (and thirds!). The flower topper our florist created was truly breathtaking, especially when paired with the pale peach petaled chiffon tablecloth. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it when we walked into the reception space! Since I knew Aaron wouldn’t be getting his favorite chocolate cake, I decided to have a special treat made in his honor: we served bourbon balls on silver platters at each table.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the reception, Aaron and I were dancing, and all of a sudden, we looked up to see our friends and family arm in arm, standing in a circle surrounding us. It was the most love I have ever felt in my life and a truly magical moment. I was so touched that I started crying, and someone ran in to give me a hug, which resulted in the biggest group hug I had ever been a part of.

Don’t miss Jess and Aaron’s lovely wedding film by Shaking Hands below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Falling in love with Aaron was the easiest thing I have ever done. We were both living in Washington, D.C. and we had some friends in common. One night, I went to a local restaurant for a game of trivia with a group of friends, and Aaron was there too. After that night, we kept running into each other, and eventually, I broke the ice by asking him the question, “What five movies do you think every person needs to see?” His answers surprised me (think Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, etc.), and I knew instantly that I needed to get to know him better. On our first official date, Aaron asked me over, cooked me a wonderful meal, and we watched old movies together. After that, everything sort of fell into place and we never looked back!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Aaron: We went to a winery with a few friends on Columbus Day 2013. I had the ring in my pocket, hoping for the perfect moment to pop up, but one never seemed just right. As we drove home, I devised a plan, which I put into action as soon as we got back. As Jess was busy putting things away, I went out on our porch where she couldn’t see me and called her to come outside. As she turned the corner, I was down on one knee, she began crying, and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Describe your wedding flowers. Oh, the flowers! Pat and Sherry from Southern Blooms were so amazing to work with and brought my vision to life in such a fantastic way! I love gardening and having fresh flowers around the house, so this was such a priority for me. I wanted the ceremony and reception spaces to be warm and inviting, full of a mix of soft, warm peach garden roses, café au lait dahlias, peegee hydrangea, magnolia leaves and fresh herbs. For the ceremony, we wanted the beautiful vista to be the star of the show, so we used lanterns leading up the path, a simple garland swagged around the entrance of the Sperry tent, and a mix of rose and dahlia petals down the aisle. For the reception, we alternated centerpieces between arrangements in mercury glass bowls and a cluster of vintage hurricanes, smaller arrangements, and floating single blooms in mercury glass dishes. They also did a wonderful job using flowers to accentuate the decor in the Granary at Pippin Hill, with the most beautiful garland on the foyer table and the garland from the chandelier hanging over the dance floor!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My borrowed, blue, and old were all covered by one item: a vintage handkerchief with beautiful blue embroidered flowers that my grandmother gave to me. My new was rose gold and moonstone earrings that Aaron gave me at my bridal shower, because he thought they would look nice with all the pale peach flowers and decor. He was right–I loved them and couldn’t have imagined wearing anything else on that special day.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Hands downs, our wedding coordinator. Amanda was our constant rock and was truly invaluable throughout the year-long planning process. She helped us think of details that we would have never even considered, kept us organized, and really took the stress of planning off our shoulders. It also didn’t hurt that she was incredibly fun to spend time with and an all-around wonderful person!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so excited to make the most of our first year of marriage. We are settling in at home with our dog, Gambler, and we have a busy year of traveling ahead of us–mostly to celebrate the marriages of our friends and family!

Photographer: Meg Runion / Videographer: Shaking Hands / Planner: Amanda Gray for Ashley Baber Weddings / Venue: Pippin Hill Farm / Florist: Southern Blooms by Pat’s Florals / Dessert Baker: Albemarle Baking Company and Paradox Pastry / Rentals: Stonegate Events Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Tent: Skyline Tent Company / Lighting: Blueridge A/V and Lighting / Band: Derek Tobler / Calligraphy: Arney Walker Calligraphy / Paper Products: Momental Designs / Bride’s Gown: Reem Acra / Bridal Salon: Nordstrom Bridal Suite / Bride’s Jewelry: Ippolita / Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Erin McDermott Jewelry / Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lacey Long” in Silver Bells by Joanna August / Menswear: Vera Wang / Officiant: Rev. Claire Goodman / Ketubah: Jennifer Raichman / Family Crest: Juliet Grace Design

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    This is a seriously gorgeous wedding!! Ashley Baber Weddings is a favorite of mine; such a beautiful, meaningful wedding. And I adore Pippin Hill – I’ve been plenty of times to the amazing winery, and it’s on my bucket list for a wedding!

  2. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

    That cake table linen is just beautiful!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    the invitations are so beautiful!

  4. avatar Amber reply

    Do you have any information on the quilt with the dog portrait in the middle? It’s so beautiful and a great way to incorporate your pup into the wedding!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Amber! I know the crest is by Juliet Grace Designs, but I’m not sure if the quilt was something she or someone else made! Hopefully Jess will pop in with some info :)

  5. avatar Jess reply

    Hi Amber! Emily is right, we had the crest designed by Juliet Grace Designs and then printed her beautiful work on fabric using and then the super talented Erica at SewEMG put it all together in the quilt. You can find her shop on etsy –

  6. avatar Unique Ideas For Decorating The Bride And Groom's Wedding Chairs -Beau-coup Blog reply

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