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I couldn’t agree more with Janie’s advice for brides: “Your special day will be magnificent in its own right. Find the one or two wow-factors that are important to you and trust that instinct. This was a budget-friendly way for us to navigate what was imperative to our vision and what was not.” In her and Adam’s case, my guess would be that the wow factors they prioritized were their floral arrangements (brought to life by the tremendously talented team at Southern Blooms) and the slate details they incorporated. The groom himself was responsible for making the slate menu cards, table numbers, and escort cards from shingles recycled from an old local school’s roof. It was such a unique and memorable detail, and the fact that they were a DIY made them all the more special!

Thank you so much to Jen Fariello for sharing this beautiful celebration with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mother, aunt, maid of honor, and matron of honor accompanied me to Bella Rosa Bridal. I tried on seven dresses with the encouragement of those accompanying me, who used paper bridal gowns on dowel rods with feedback such as “ooh la la!” and “no way.” I knew my dress was the one I had envisioned, and was convinced that I could make it the dress of my dreams with a few custom alterations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes. In the practical sense, a first look maximized the time we had with our wedding guests. In the magical and romantic sense, most importantly, it offered us the opportunity to engage privately, prior to the ceremony. During the wedding planning process, we heard that the first look enriched the ceremony because the intimate moment together before the ceremony imparted a more robust experience of the wedding. We found this to be true for us.

Our dear friends, a married couple whom Adam and I highly regard and admire, played the processional music. For the bridal procession, “Simple Love,” a song performed by Allison Krauss, was played on the violin and guitar. We recessed to my childhood friend playing “Dancing in the Moonlight” on the guitar.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We absolutely could not have designed and executed such a stunningly beautiful wedding without the help of Shindig Weddings and Events. Meghan Streit struck the perfect and rare balance of personal interest and authentic enthusiasm for Adam and me AND effective communication, the ability to meet deadlines, and collaboration. Meghan offered incredibly creative and gorgeous ideas, which she and her Shindig team executed flawlessly. She was also budget-conscious and sensitive to our tastes, dreams, and needs. We could not possibly thank her enough!

Our venue, Gwyn Arvon, is an ancestral home, in Arvonia, Virginia. This is the place where Adam and I fell in love and spent numerous happy memories, so we hoped that adoring energy would emanate for guests at our wedding. In their own right, the home and grounds are incredibly beautiful–they was built for the purpose of showcasing Buckingham slate.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Adam’s mother died when he was sixteen years old. In her honor, we set out a chair in the first row of the ceremony. When Adam and his two brothers, who were groomsmen, walked by, they each placed a long-stemmed peony in the chair. In addition, Adam is quite handy and made slate menu cards, table numbers, and escort cards from slate shingles that once comprised the roof of a former school in Buckingham County. Anna Sisman provided calligraphy for menus, table numbers, and escort cards.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was incredibly special and memorable. Having a private moment to see one other prior to the hubbub of the day and to get grounded together in the commitment that we would be making was profoundly impactful. It was at this point that the weather began to shift from rain to sunshine, which offered us more hope for the flow of the day. It was tremendously touching to see each other after so much anticipatory build-up!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Adam and I met in a history class at the University of Virginia called “Rural Poverty in Our Time.” We knew of each other from class and around the grounds and the Corner at UVA. We reconnected through work at The Discovery School of Virginia for Boys. When I began work at The Discovery School, many youth who Adam worked with expressed to me, “You’re going to love Mr. Crist!” Little did I know, this Mr. Crist was a familiar face. We are both immensely grateful for the elapsed time between our first introduction and our sparked romance, which enabled us to become better versions of ourselves, and, in turn, better partners for each other. By our wedding date, we had been together nearly four years.
Tell us all about the proposal! Adam proposed on bended knee on February 22, 2015 under the guise of taking a photograph at Pippin Hill Vineyard. Following that, we returned home to a surprise gathering of our extended families and dinner at the Smoke House Grille in Scottsville, Virginia.
When did y’all get married? May 14, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 215
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was done by the talented Riki Tanabe of Albemarle Baking Company. It was a four-tiered cake with peonies from Southern Blooms decorating each tier. The cake featured chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and praline crunch filling and textured buttercream icing. The cake also featured vanilla cake, bavarian cream filling, and marzipan icing. We placed framed photographs of loved ones on the cake table as a “sweet” reminder of those celebrating in spirit.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Sarah Wood, our beloved officiant, was my high school chaplain and one of my field hockey coaches at Christchurch School, as well as my mentor and friend. I note that she was a “special incorporation,” because her history with me and her fast friendship with Adam made our premarital counseling, preparation for the ceremony, and the ceremony itself so much richer, and more personal and robust. Sarah recommended that we read “Life of the Beloved” by Henri Nouwen and “The Art of Being Together” by Francis H. Wade.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut costs by choosing a family-owned venue and performing the landscaping ourselves. We spent two months, with consultation by master gardener Jan Glennie-Smith, beautifying the grounds of the house. Although we worked tirelessly, we recognized that any imperfections could potentially make the outcome even sweeter. We cut costs by having close friends play the processional and recessional music, as well as by having an iPod and speakers for music at the cocktail hour.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your special day will be magnificent in its own right. Find the one or two wow-factors that are important to you and trust that instinct. This was a budget-friendly way for us to navigate what was imperative to our vision and what was not. Trust the creative expertise of your vendors!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are profoundly grateful for the wedding celebration and honeymoon that we were able to have. Now, we look forward to celebrating others’ and our own milestones and rites of passage. With our wedding ceremony behind us, we get to simply enjoy our marriage. We love the Central Virginia region that we live in and the hiking, canoeing, wineries, cideries, and breweries that it has to offer. We hope to celebrate our first anniversary with a trip to Europe.

Photographer: Jen Fariello | Planner: Shindig Weddings and Events | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Southern Blooms | Cake Baker: Albemarle Baking Company | Caterer: The Catering Outfit | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting: Skyline Tent Company | Band: The Significant Others | Paper Products: Design Corral | Bride’s Gown: “Jackie” by Paloma Blanca | Bridal Salon and Veil: Bella Rosa Bridal | Alterations: Fariba Alterations | Hair Stylist: Thairapy Salon | Makeup Artist: Carolyn Thombs | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jim Hjelm for Bella Bridesmaid | Menswear: Jos A. Bank | Ties: Peter Blair | Transportation: Albemarle Limousine | Calligraphy: Anna Sisman

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    Yum chicken and waffles bites! Those flowers are WOW

  2. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    That headtable installation is just stunning! Love the added lighting of the hanging, geometric lanterns.

  3. avatar Sera reply

    This is gorgeous! What a beautiful backyard wedding!

  4. avatar Dougie Cameron reply

    Some great advice here for those working to a tight budget.

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Though we only lived in Texas for a short time, it took up some deep roots in our heart. I like to think that many of our great Southern states have this same effect on its occupants and I’m sure Emily and Michael would agree. After meeting and falling in love in Charlottesville, these two law school sweethearts welcomed their family and friends to the town that they love for a full day of celebrating their union! With its expansive spaces and beautiful private estate, Belle Haven, was the perfect location to host their all-day event. After an early afternoon ceremony, guests were treated to an extended cocktail event filled to the brim with Southern goodness, like Pimm’s cups, lawn games, and a bluegrass band. As the sun set, it was on to a hilltop tented reception, complete with the ever-delicious Virginia staple, ham biscuits. There was even a bonfire to end the night! Thanks to their sweet hospitality, I’m sure guests remember Emily and Michael’s day almost as fondly as they do!

A big thank you to Jen Fariello for sharing this day with us!

My wedding dress was one of the first dresses I tried on, and although I must have tried on about 40 dresses, it remained my favorite the whole time. When I tried the dress on for a second time with my mom and two sisters present, one of my sisters started crying. At that moment, I knew it must be the right dress!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, in large part because our ceremony was early in the day. Instead, we saw each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. Seeing each other at the beginning of the ceremony in front of all of our friends and family was both emotional and memorable. We would not change a thing about that amazing moment.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We met and fell in love in Charlottesville and we wanted to share our love for the town with our friends and family. We selected Belle Haven, a private estate in Scottsville, V.A., to host our reception festivities, largely due to its expansive spaces and ability to offer different spaces for different parts of the day. Rather than have guests wait to join us for an evening reception, we chose to make a day of it, following our early afternoon ceremony with an extended “garden party”-style cocktail event. Guests sipped on Pimm’s Cups, played lawn games, and relaxed around the historic Belle Haven barn while a bluegrass band played for the afternoon. As the sun set, our guests made their way over to a tent set on a hilltop.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our fantastic caterer, The Catering Outfit, sourced many classically Southern ingredients locally, including local produce, trout, oysters, and grits. The Catering Outfit also makes the most amazing ham biscuits (a Virginia staple), which were a huge hit with our guests.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We absolutely loved all of our vendors, but our wedding planner, Meghan Streit of Shindig, went above and beyond to ensure the day was everything we dreamed it might be.

After we had trouble choosing a cake flavor, our cake vendor wisely suggested that we pick two flavors! Our cake was comprised of one layer of cream cheese pound cake with lemon curd filling and two layers of white cake with chocolate ganache and raspberry filling. The whole cake was iced with vanilla buttercream frosting.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our first year at the University of Virginia Law School, and we started dating during our second year. After graduation, I moved to New Orleans to clerk for two federal judges, and Michael moved to Chicago to work for a law firm. We eventually closed the long distance gap when I moved to Chicago.
Tell us all about the proposal! Michael proposed to me in our apartment in Chicago. The proposal was a huge surprise to me, but a well-known (and well-kept!) secret among our family and friends.
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Catholic wedding mass and did not write our own vows.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and blue was a sapphire ring that I borrowed from my mother, that had been a gift from my father to my mother. My something new was my dress and shoes. My something old was an antique beaded purse that my mother and I had found at a shop in Charlottesville several years earlier.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our communication and teamwork only improved while wedding planning, and we know that these skills will serve us well in our marriage.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Throughout the process, treat your relationship with your fiancé and your upcoming marriage as priorities. All of the details of the day will fall into place.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We hope to celebrate our wedding anniversary in Charlottesville in the near future.

Photographer: Jen Fariello | Planner: Meghan Streit of Shindig Weddings | Videographer: Shaking Hands Productions | Venue: Belle Haven on the James | Florist: Southern Blooms | Catering: The Catering Outfit | Cake: Favorite Cakes | Rentals: Festive Fare and Paisley & Jade | Tent and Lighting: Skyline Tent Company | Cocktail Hour Band: Grit City Grass | Reception Band: Real Geniuses | Hair Stylist: Lucas Shaffer | Makeup Artist: Rouge 9 | Guest Transportation: A.Goff Limo

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    I miss Belle Haven!!! This is one of my favorites of Jen’s!

  2. avatar Michael Sheffield reply

    Amazing Photos :)

  3. avatar Sera Petras reply

    What a sweet southern wedding! I love all the little details, the pretty drink station and her flowers were just gorgeous!

  4. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    What a wonderful wedding! We were honored to play a small part. Congrats to the happy couple and bravo to all of our vendor friends who helped create a beautiful celebration!

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One of the questions in our company About Us interview is about our favorite college classes–mine, obviously, is the one I met BDK in. Though both Kristen and Chris were pursuing science degrees, they met in their just-because-I-love-it history class, so I’m sure they’d both agree that said class was their favorite! With a shared appreciation for history and tradition, it’s no surprise that they chose to vow their lives to each other at the beautiful Historic Smithfield Plantation in their college town of Blacksburg. Though rain tried put a damper on their plans, with the help of their planner, Ashley Baber Weddings, Kristen and Chris welcomed their family and friends from Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively with sweet Southern hospitality and a fun, Georgia peach-inspired theme!

We’re pleased as punch that Adam Barnes and Katie Stoops shared Kristin and Chris’ pretty day with us in our latest issue, V8!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Thank goodness for my genius consultant at Kelly’s Closet who was smart enough to put me in my Lela Rose gown! I will say, it looks terrible on the hanger! However, my consultant knew that my wedding was outdoors, that I was going with a Southern theme, and that I wanted something classically elegant. I feel that my gown, “The Coast,” was all of that and more. It is a silk fit and flare style with an off-the-shoulder sleeve. I remember the moment I stepped out of the fitting room and felt the way the train swirled when I moved. I had never felt more glamorous in a gown. I did my due diligence and kept other appointments for the day, but in the end, came back for the Lela Rose gown. My mother could not have been happier with my choice, which was just the icing on the cake.

What was the weather like on your big day? Oh boy…well, I guess it ended up being better than it could have been! The day started off beautifully, but sadly, the weather was calling for flash floods later in the day. Chris had felt VERY strongly leading up to the wedding that he did not want to have a “first look,” and he wanted the first time he saw me to be when I was walking down the aisle. Fortunately, the weather changed our plans. Our planner let us know that if we wanted photos together outside, we needed to do them before the wedding. It ended up being the best thing we could have done! We were able to have time together just the two of us, and it really relaxed us and set the tone for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it poured during our ceremony, so it had to be moved to under a pavilion. However, our guests described it as “romantic,” and in the end, part of me is glad it rained since I know it is supposed to be good luck! Before the ceremony ended, the skies cleared, the temperature cooled off, and guests were able to move to the tent and dance the night away.

We wanted our ceremony to be very personal. Our officiant was wonderful and sent us each a 10-page questionnaire to get to know us. She created our ceremony from that. It was a surprise for us both, and our guests raved about how personal and special our ceremony felt.

We chose to have our wedding in Blacksburg, on Virginia Tech’s campus, for many reasons. First, it is the place we met and the place we were engaged. Second, while there are so many BEAUTIFUL and historic venues in Philadelphia, none of them felt like us. In the end, we decided that no matter where we lived or where we were from, Virginia Tech is the place that both of us will always think of as home. I had always wanted to be a June bride, plus we knew that our guests would be able to enjoy the campus more if classes were out of session. I wanted to have my wedding at 5:00, but a coworker in Atlanta let me know it needed to start on the half hour, so that the hand on the clock would only go up, and therefore, so would the marriage. I loved that, so we moved the ceremony start time to 5:30 P.M. Smithfield Plantation was a natural choice for us as a venue. It is on the campus of Virginia Tech and is historic and beautiful with a gorgeous lawn and scenery. The rolling mountains, green fields, and history were right at your fingertips.

I had always wanted my favorite flowers, peonies and roses, to be a large part of my wedding day. I let my florist know this even before I hired her. Closer to the day of the wedding, Amanda and my florist, Amy, collaborated on an inspiration board, showing many of the flowers Amy planned to use. One thing I learned is that your bouquet is at the mercy of what flowers are in season and how many are available that year! As we neared the wedding, I really let go of special requests for my flowers. I knew that Amy and Amanda would make me the most beautiful bouquets and centerpieces that they could with the flowers available at that time, and it might be fun to be a little surprised. They certainly delivered! I absolutely loved my bouquet and every floral arrangement Amy created.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Since my family is from Philadelphia, we live in Atlanta, and the wedding took place in Virginia, I really wanted to have fun with a Southern theme. I wanted my family to have the true Southern experience! My design inspiration came from the Georgia peach–the perfect muse for our theme.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We had several cakes, including red velvet, of course, to go with our Southern theme! I absolutely loved the cake stand Paisley & Jade created for us. I had never seen anything like it and we received so many compliments on it.

Don’t miss Kristen and Chris’ wedding film by Shaking Hands Productions below!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Chris and I met in a history class. Once we got to know each other, we realized we had almost lived parallel lives to that point (creepy!) and one of the many things we had in common is that we were both in Virginia Tech’s Dual Degree program. We were both earning a Bachelor of Science degree in something else, but were also earning a Bachelor of Arts in history because we just truly love it. I’ll never forget the first time Chris walked into our classroom. I thought, “Finally! A tall guy! Just my type!” Little did I know how much of my type he would be!
Describe the proposal: Chris and I had recently moved to Atlanta, and with his birthday falling on July 5, I planned a short surprise getaway for us to Savannah to enjoy the history and scenery. Meanwhile, Chris had apparently been planning a surprise trip to Blacksburg for us the same weekend with plans to propose. I didn’t know it at the time, but Chris felt very strongly that Blacksburg was the only place he could propose to me because of how much the town means to us both. Enter my father, the only person who had talked to us separately about our plans and knew that we were both planning to surprise each other on the same weekend. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! I knew he felt terrible, but with the weekend in question quickly approaching, he had to tell Chris that I had made plans for the two of us for his birthday. So, Chris and my dad hatched a plan they knew I would be defenseless against and. Two days before the weekend, my dad called me, CRYING, telling me how much he missed me and wanted to know if I would change my plans and meet him and my mother in Blacksburg for the weekend, as it was the exact halfway point (really, it is!) between his home in Pennsylvania and our home in Atlanta. Without question, Chris and I hopped in the car and set off to Blacksburg. That night, before my parents arrived in town (they were actually just circling the block), Chris took me out to the restaurant where we had our first date and, over dessert, asked me to marry him.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Chris and I had been in a relationship for over six years and had lived together for three by the time our wedding day came. I honestly feel that our entire relationship was preparing us for the commitment of marriage. Our relationship has always been very strong, and every time we faced adversity together, we came out on top. We always discussed what marriage meant to us, and we are very much on the same page. We always felt that marriage was not something that we HAD to do, but rather, something that we WANTED to do. We believe in fighting for each other and fighting for our marriage. Not just for us, but for the family we plan to have together.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, magical, fun
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? My Wtoo bridesmaids dresses complimented my dress very well, and I loved the unique color, “Icing”. They were A-line silk taffeta gowns with a full skirt and–bonus–pockets! They photographed beautifully, too! Truthfully, they were not the style I originally had in mind, but when you take your three cousins shopping and they aren’t afraid to tell you how they really feel, they will put on what THEY like. In the end, all three of them fell in love with the dress, and I loved the smiles I saw on their faces. I remember leaving the bridal salon unsure since we hadn’t seen the gowns in the correct color, but my bridesmaids hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t have been happier with the finished product. I knew I chose them for a reason!
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? We kept to the very Southern theme and went with family-style dining. We had pulled pork barbecue, fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, and everything in between. The food was great, and the family-style setting let everyone choose what they wanted and as much as they wanted!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. From Chris: It was very intimate, but I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the dance, as I was just looking at how beautiful and happy Kristen was. It went by so fast, and I was just trying to make sure I didn’t mess it up!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? There are so many things Chris and I are looking forward to in the future, and there are too many to list. In the shorter term, we are looking forward to more travel, both nationally and internationally, starting a family, and possibly even starting a business. Stay tuned!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Do a first look! Chris and I were very against it, as we wanted to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle. However, the weather left us no other choice, and it ended up being the best thing we could have done. The wedding day can be stressful, so seeing the smile and feeling the warm embrace of your best friend will only relax you and make the day even better.

Photographers: Adam Barnes and Katie Stoops | Videographer: Shaking Hands Productions | Planner and Designer: Ashley Baber Weddings | Venue: Historic Smithfield Plantation | Florals: The Arrangement Company | Caterer: Professional Catering | Cake Baker: Our Daily Bread Bakery | Bride’s Gown: “The Coast” by Lela Rose | Bridal Salon: Kelly’s Closet | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 | Groom’s Fashion: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen Fashion: Jos. A Bank | Paper Goods: Rock Paper Scissors | Rentals: Paisley & Jade | Linens: Festive Fare | Transportation: Hooptie Ride and Abbott Trailways | Other: Skyline Tent Company

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    Holy gorgeousness! We absolutely loved being part of this special and stunning day for Kristen and Chris! Thanks so much for the beautiful feature and kudos to all our vendor friends who helped create such a wonderful celebration!

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