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Although their dating relationship may have had its ups and downs, I can guarantee that Kristen and Ryan’s gorgeous wedding day had to be one of their biggest ups! Their caterer, Design Cuisine, and planner, our Blue Ribbon Vendors Events in the City, combined their talents to create an incredible al fresco dinner vibe with a Southern twist. I’m sure guests were equally as taken by the gorgeous view at George Washington’s River Farm as they were by the sweet vows K + R spoke. The peek into their vows they shared makes my eyes tear right up: “I take you, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, with respect to your integrity, honesty, and faith in your abiding love for me through all of our years, and in all that life may bring us.” Am I right?

We’re so glad Abby Jiu was on hand to capture this lovely day!

It was important to us that our flowers were locally sourced and in season, so we chose our florist accordingly. The floral designers used roses, peonies, ranunculus, and eucalyptus in a neutral palette consisting of white, ivory, peach, champagne, light pink, and green. The flowers and arrangements were stunning and one of my favorite details from the day!

Before getting engaged, I had never thought of what my wedding dress would look like, but I knew if a dress drew emotion, it would be the right one. My mom, sister, and I visited a few bridal salons and found some great dresses, but we always left with the desire to see a few more. One day, my mom and I were in a local bridal shop, and instead of looking for dresses within our price range, we decided that I would just try on anything I liked, just for fun. I guess one would say that was a big mistake because I tried on a full lace Rivini dress that stunned both of us. As soon as I walked out of the dressing room, my mom started crying, and after spinning in the dress for a few minutes, I did not want to take it off. My mom and I both knew this was the dress. My grandfather had passed away a few years earlier and left some money to my mom, and since the dress was outside of our price range, my mom graciously told me she wanted to use the money from Grandpa toward the dress. Knowing that my grandpa would be a part of my special day in this unique way was the icing on the cake.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look, and we are so happy we did. With all of the planning we put into the big day, and having guests who traveled from near and far, we wanted to maximize the time we were able to spend with everyone. One thing we had not taken into account was how nervous we would both be to see each other before the ceremony! The first look allowed us to get rid of those jitters and be fully present during our vows. After the first look, we enjoyed being tucked away with our bridal party to watch our guests arrive and share a few laughs, and having the extra time during the cocktail hour to chat and take photos with our guests was wonderful.

One of the most meaningful details of our wedding was the cross that was placed behind our officiant at the ceremony. Our best friends (a bridesmaid and groomsman in our wedding) built the cross by hand for their wedding, one year before ours. We loved that we were able to not only incorporate this symbol of our faith into our ceremony, but we also loved all of the love that was poured into making it. One of our groomsmen helped with transporting the cross, and our florist and planner spruced it up with local flowers. We loved how it came together!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our planner and caterer created an incredible al fresco dinner vibe with a Southern twist. Our guests were greeted at the ceremony location with lemonade and cucumber water followed by vodka thyme lemonade and blood orange mojitos to kick off the reception. Passed hors d’oeuvres included pulled pork waffles, crab cakes with white salsa, baby short rib sliders, and sea bass ceviche followed by a three-course meal, featuring an heirloom tomato mosaic, icebox fried chicken, and cheddar and stilton buttermilk drop biscuits. Along with serving wedding cake, we offered our guest a variety of homemade popsicles and late night snacks. The decor also complemented the Southern vibe, as we rented wooden farm tables, antique china, and various vintage centerpiece vases.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Once we decided to hold our wedding closer to home, we wanted to find a location and venue that encompassed a few of our favorite things. We love the outdoors and the water, and feel very fortunate to have grown up in a place with so much history. Overlooking the Potomac River, with gorgeous grounds owned and maintained by the American Horticultural Society, River Farm became the perfect spot for our ceremony and reception. Our guests stayed in nearby Old Town Alexandria and then were transported to one of George Washington’s farm houses, just down the street from Mount Vernon.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our most memorable moments from our wedding day would be standing in front of our family and friends as we said our vows, followed by the incredible speeches at our reception. Our best man coordinated a song with the groomsmen that will be talked about for years to come! Our DJ brought down the house, and we closed out the night by serving late night snacks of pizza rolls made using a recipe from a pizza shop in our college town.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ryan and I met in college through mutual friends, and we instantly became great friends. After college, we acknowledged our feelings for each other and began dating. After dating for a year, I broke up with Ryan out of the blue, as I was not ready to start thinking about taking our relationship to the next level. Two years later, Ryan and I reconnected and things felt just like they always had, but this time, we both had a little more life experience under our belts. We maintained our close friendship for another few years, with the premise that if we did decide to date again, it would be forever and not just to explore the world of dating. Ryan had always told me that he knew he would marry me from the moment we met, and through all of our ups and downs, he stood by his word. The peace that Ryan gave me through our friendship and relationship is what ultimately led me to seeing and acknowledging that I would be the luckiest girl in the world to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. Once I realized this, I barely had to say anything to Ryan because he just knew that my heart was ready, and we were both on the same page and excited for a future together!
Tell us all about the proposal! Our birthdays are just a few days apart, so we decided to plan a fun trip to the Northern California coast to celebrate. A few days into our trip, while we were in Sonoma, I mentioned that I wanted to see the coast, so we made our way to a public park that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. When we arrived, I jumped out of the car to snap a few photos, while Ryan drove ahead to turn the car around. He circled back to pick me up and told me we had to keep driving a little bit farther, as it looked like the views ahead were even better. As we parked the car, he started to get out to take some pictures, but I told him I was going to stay in the car because it was little too cold for me outside. Through minor bribery, he convinced me to get out of the car for a few photos. We walked to the cliff edge and just stood there taking it all in. Ryan stepped away to take a few more pictures, and as I turned around to join him, he was down on one knee. I was speechless as he asked me to marry him with the most gorgeous ring, in a box monogrammed with my new initials. Before we left this special spot, with no one else around, we placed the camera on the roof of the car and took a few pictures of us in this magical and memorable spot. We didn’t have cell phone reception for the next hour as we began our drive from Sonoma to Monterey, so we couldn’t call our family right away. It was a special time to talk, laugh, and smile together and really soak up the moment.
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? My uncle is a devout Christian, and we felt his leadership and importance to us would be the perfect fit for the officiant role. The three of us worked together to customize the traditional ceremony where applicable and appropriate, and we were thrilled with how it came together. Our favorite phrase of the ceremony was in our vows, which said, “I take you, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, with respect to your integrity, honesty, and faith in your abiding love for me through all of our years, and in all that life may bring us.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I chose to walk down the aisle with my dad to “Canon in D.” On a family trip once, my dad and I were walking over the Charles Bridge in Prague when we heard “Canon in D” playing softly in the background. As we looked around, there was a bride and groom all dressed up being photographed. At the sight, both my dad and I got tears in our eyes, so walking down the aisle to the same song felt symbolic and memorable. Our first dance was to “At Last” by Beyonce. We love that it is a classic song with a modern twist.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our best advice would be to stay true to who you are as a couple and your vision for your special day. It is really important to determine your guest count and budget up front and to accept that it may not be possible to have it all, but everything will still turn out beautifully! Try your best to not get caught up in what everyone else is doing, and enjoy all of the perks of planning. And most importantly, plan for a massage and a long nap in the days after the wedding!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We love calling each other “husband” and “wife!” We just built and moved into a new home, so we are diving headfirst into design and house projects. We look forward to traveling and enjoying time together, just the two of us, before we begin to expand our family. We are also trying to think of clever ways to relive our magical wedding day over and over again.

Photographer: Abby Jiu / Planner: Laura Ritchie of Events in the City / Venue: George Washington’s River Farm / Florist: Sweet Root Village / Cake Baker, Catering, and Rentals: Design Cuisine / DJ: DJ Lauren Bobby / Paper Products: Fig 2 Designs / Bride’s Gown: Rivini / Bride’s Accessories: Nordstrom / Hair Stylist: Laura Gibson of Urban Style Lab / Makeup Artist: Erin Findley / Bride’s Shoes: BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Alfani / String Quartet: Sage String Quartet / Transportation: Keller Transportation / Dress Alterations: Tangs Alterations / Hotel: Hotel Monaco Alexandria

Events in the City and Sweet Root Village are delightful members of the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Feature: River Farm Wedding on Southern Weddings reply

    […] So many gorgeous elements and you can view more on our blog here. So grateful for the feature on Southern Weddings with other talents like Events in the City and Abby Jiu! Enjoy the beautiful photos and get […]

  2. avatar Ashleigh reply

    Yay, Highlanders! Such a gorgeous wedding!

  3. avatar Manglik Girls reply

    Lots and lots of love and wishes on your wedding; God made both of you for one another.

  4. avatar Happy Weekend // Around The Web | Coastal Bride reply

    […] wedding featuring a rose bar? Yes […]

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Anytime a bride cites “Father of the Bride” as a source of wedding inspiration, you know her wedding is going to be lovely! Following a traditional Catholic ceremony, Kelly and Marvin celebrated with their guests in the backyard of Kelly’s childhood home, in a reception full of lush red peonies, the most charming swing, and sweet nods to Kelly’s Chinese heritage. I especially love that their most memorable moment was their peaceful, private drive to the reception, and the fact that Kelly literally let her hair down to twirl around the dance floor with her new husband!

Big SW hugs to the talented Katie Stoops for sharing Kelly and Marvin’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was so lucky to have my mom with me at every dress appointment. When we visited Carine’s Bridal Atelier, I loved every Monique Lhuillier dress I tried on! Putting my dress on with the veil sealed the deal. I felt like a bride!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was my pendant from my mom, which was passed down to her from my great grandmother. My something new was my shoes. I wore a little something blue under my dress!

I loved our wedding flowers! We used our wedding invitations and other Redoute prints as inspiration. The colors ranged from white, blush, pops of peach, pink, and red. We had peonies, garden roses, clematis, ranunculus, freesia, sweet peas, jasmine, and hypericum. The red peonies were amazing, full, and lush.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. It didn’t fit into our schedule before the ceremony and I really wanted that moment of seeing Marvin waiting for me at the altar. I didn’t realize I would become so emotional the moment we arrived at the church!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. We stuck to the traditional Catholic vows.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The swing! The swing hung on a huge tree in my parents’ backyard, just beyond the tent. It was decorated with greens, beautiful flowers, and ribbon streamers. It added just the right hint of whimsy to our wedding.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? St. Clare of Assisi is a beautiful church tucked away in the town of Clifton. It is surrounded by trees and natural beauty. Our reception was at my parents’ house. Ever since I was a little girl watching Father of the Bride, I’ve dreamed about a wedding at the home I grew up in. I couldn’t have picked a more special place for our wedding celebration!

I am half Chinese, and for our favors, my Aunt Wendy handmade tea cups with the Chinese characters for double happiness stamped in red on the front. In China, red is the traditional wedding color, as it signifies joy, love, and prosperity. Because the wedding was at my parents’ house, we were able to use lots of personal items throughout the day.

Our first dance was to “The Way I Am,” by Ingrid Michaelson, and the father daughter dance was to “The Way You Look Tonight,” by Steve Tyrell. Marvin is Puerto Rican and I teach Zumba, so we also put together a collection of salsa music to dance to later in the evening.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was called Heaven and it is my favorite cake–we have it every year for my birthday! It is white chocolate cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate frosting. It was simply decorated and adorned with flowers. We also had a dessert bar with mini sweet treats. The berry crumble with ginger ice cream was amazing!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first met on Memorial Day 2010 when Marvin moved onto the same floor as me in our condo building. A few months later, after lots of brief chats in the elevator (he was a principal and I am a teacher), he slipped a note under my door. We eventually met for coffee and went out for dinner. We’ve been together ever since! The real love story unfolded shortly thereafter on my birthday when Marvin gifted me our two puppies, Pippi and Penelope!
Tell us all about the proposal! Marvin proposed on Memorial Day 2012, two years after we first met! After finishing dinner with my family, Marvin gave me a gift: a picture of him with our puppies that read, “Will you marry us?” Then, he pulled out the ring, and of course, I said YES!
When did y’all get married? June 29, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The readings we selected were Genesis 2:18-24, 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8, and Mark 10:6-9.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose “Canon in D” for the procession and “Ode to Joy” for the recessional. A family friend sang the most beautiful “Ave Maria” during the presentation of flowers to Mary.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We really wanted an outdoor tented wedding reception, but that meant we had to let Mother Nature do her thing. It poured like crazy the day before our wedding. Thankfully, we had Megan, our wedding planner, by our side, thinking of backup plans for pictures, cocktail hour, etc. Luckily, the sun came out bright and early the morning of our wedding!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I really loved all of our vendors. I’m so happy that we worked with our photographer, Katie Stoops. Her work is amazing and she has a great personality. Plus, she loves dogs! She was able to make us feel comfortable and capture the beauty of the day. I also loved our florist, because she brought our wedding to life. She had such a fun personality and really listened to what we envisioned. I love that in her description of my bouquet, she wrote “It will be drop dead gorgeous.”
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My favorite memory of the day was leaving the church with Marvin by my side. We didn’t have a limo, so the two of us drove from the church back to my parents’ house together. I loved the moment we had alone, driving through the back roads of Clifton, with the sun shining down on us. Our other favorite moment was walking out as Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, escorted by our puppies!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t stress, and enjoy every moment! What’s meant to be, will be. I felt confident about our wedding day going off without a hitch because we had an amazing wedding planner who stayed on top of the details and thought one step ahead! And, it helps if you have a team of vendors that have worked together in the past.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are enjoying married life! We bought a home the month before getting married, so we’ve been busily making our home our own. We can’t wait to start a family. We’ve been writing shared goals for our future and we’re excited for the journey ahead!

Photographer: Katie Stoops / Planner: Megan Pollard, Events in the City / Ceremony Venue: St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church / Reception Venue: Private residence / Florist: Barbara Von Elm, Growing Wild Floral Company / Cake Baker: Victoria’s Cakery / Catering: Design Cuisine / Rentals: Capital Party Rentals / Band: Empty Pocket / Custom Watercolor: Tina Steenerson / Bride’s Gown: “Sentimental” by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Smitten on Paper / Bride’s Accessories: Carine’s Bridal Atelier / Hair Stylist: Giselle Chreky / Makeup Artist: Susan Lim Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka /Bridesmaid Dresses: BCBG and David’s Bridal / Men’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Tea Cup Favors: Double Happiness Pottery / Caricature Artists: About Faces / Valet Parking: MarcPark

Events in the City is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    As a fellow “Father of the Bride” fan, I love that it was an inspiration for their wedding! And what a beautiful backyard to celebrate in!

  2. avatar Alana reply

    Oh my goodness! This wedding is absolutely gorgeous! I am in love with the pops of red and subtle pink touches! The flowers, the china, even the place cards are all so beautiful!!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    love the paper products!

  4. avatar Cheri {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    GASP! I adore this romantic red and pink color scheme! So pretty.

  5. avatar Hochzeitsfotograf reply

    So beautiful!!

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] and Dylan‘s fun personalities came through so perfectly at their bold red and gold wedding. Kelly and Marvin‘s lovely Virginia backyard wedding was such a welcome escape from this week’s snowy […]

  7. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies @ Apex Tent and Party reply

    Each and every details about this wedding is so unique and beautiful. Right from the wedding venue, to the beautiful usage of colors, the florals, the chairs and table decor, is so pretty. Specially loved those hanging glass spheres with flowers inside. So gorgeous!

  8. avatar Catherine Grace reply

    SO pretty, delightful and well, Southern !

  9. avatar Pretty Petals: Florals Stationery | Oh, What Love Studios | The Blog reply

    […] WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY via Ruffled  4. Shaw Photo Co. via 100 Layer Cake  5. Katie Stoops via Southern Weddings 6. ElleJaneDesigns 7. Cempaka Surakusumah 8.  Kat Willson Photography, LouLou Weddings, […]

  10. avatar {Inspiration board} Matrimonio verde e rosso reply

    […] via Bridal Musings, foto di Janel KG Photography | Torta via Southern Weddings, foto di Katie Stoops | Tavola, centrotavola e scarpe rosse via Southern […]

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It’s been a few weeks since we introduced you to some of our newest Blue Ribbon Vendors, and I think it’s high time y’all met!

Bella Flora creates some of the most stunning arrangements I’ve ever seen, including the ones in this V4 wedding. They’re based in Florida’s Emerald Coast.

Caroline Joy is based in Texas and gets excited about creating photos filled with natural light and (unsurprisingly) joy.

Events in the City is a wedding and special events design and coordination company with a background in fashion, film, and catering, and they’re based in the Washington, DC metro area.

Flaire Weddings & Events is a planning and design company that specializes in creating weddings with luxurious touches and thoughtful details. They’re based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Georgia Ann’s Paperie was launched with the vision to be a high end stationery and invitations online store that stocks products that will catch your eye and broaden your imagination.

Jonathan Connolly is a photographer in Florida with a love for people and a passion for art.

Mi Amore Foto, based in Florida, takes an editorial approach to photographing weddings because she doesn’t want her couples to look back on their day and remember her being there, she wants them to remember everything else. Love that!

Michelle March (whose beautiful work you saw earlier today!) is crazy about love stories, and loves capturing them in the most beautiful light. She is based in Florida.

Posh Petals and Pearls is a wedding planning company based in Savannah that brings both lavish and intimate events to life.

The Sugar Suite is a personal, contemporary, and stylish boutique bakery located in Maitland, Florida.

To check out all of our Blue Ribbon Vendors, just click over to the full directory! You can search by category or state to find your perfect match.

Vendors, if you’re interested in getting involved, just fill out this form and Marissa will be in touch! Brides, did you particularly love a Southern vendor from your wedding day? Leave a comment below or email Emily, because we’d love to hear about them!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Magazine Blue Ribbon Vendor – michellemarch.com reply

    […] Without a doubt, 2012 has been quite the year so far. I can’t believe so much has happened in just these short six months. I’m happy to officially share with you all that I’m a Southern Weddings Magazine Blue Ribbon Vendor! […]

  2. avatar Shannon {Shannon Reeves Events} reply

    Congratulations! What a fantastic lineup!

  3. avatar Invite Inspirations « The Design Inspirationalist reply

    […] are a few examples of how to use this color palette: Photo Credit: Southern […]

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