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After their first meeting played out more like a classic teen movie than a romantic comedy, Danielle and Chris’ relationship matured and grew into something special over nine years of dating, and their wedding was a true reflection of just that. With the help of their wedding planner, Amy Kristina Weddings, and their family and friends, these two created a wedding that was filled with meaningful details for their guests, as well as for each other. Y’all, the photos that Sam Stroud captured of them opening their wedding day gifts makes my heart skip a beat–be sure to read the story behind Danielle’s gift to Chris–and bring a tissue!

Such happy smiles!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I searched for dresses throughout Virginia and North Carolina, but I was having trouble finding a dress with the unique look I was craving. A friend told me about a non-profit shop called Church Street Bridal in Lynchburg, Virginia that sells donated designer gowns from bridal boutiques in NYC. I decided to check it out on a whim one day while my sister was in town. As soon as we arrived, we were shocked at the selection of beautiful gowns! We immediately called my mom, and within an hour or so, I said “YES” to the dress!! All of the proceeds earned at Church Street Bridal go to the local YWCA of Central Virginia, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

Our favorite detail of the day was the gift that I surprised Chris with before the ceremony. Sadly, Chris’ grandfather passed away eight months before our wedding. After that, Chris casually began searching for a vintage, Belgian-made Browning shotgun, like the one that his grandfather had willed to his father. With a little help from a couple of Chris’ friends and a few of our family members, I was able to track one down in Tennessee two weeks before the wedding. It was in perfect condition and I was so excited that I could barely keep the secret! When Chris opened his gift before the ceremony, he immediately knew the gun’s significance and was overcome with emotion. Luckily for me, I got to re-live this special moment when watching our wedding video!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! I borrowed my grandmother’s engagement ring to wear for the day and my something blue was a monogrammed patch that my mother-in-law made, which was sewn into my dress. An old cameo that belonged to my great-grandmother was pinned to my bouquet, and my Kate Spade shoes were brand new!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose phrases we wanted to recite in our vows to each other. My favorite was “to value your opinions and grow with you.” Relationships inevitably evolve over time, and your willingness to grow with each other is crucial to the success of any marriage.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was one of the most meaningful moments of the night. We danced to “Hungry for Your Love,” originally by Van Morrison, but Chris and I love the mandolin-filled Sam Bush version. We had a local bluegrass band play for our ceremony and cocktail hour, and they also agreed to learn and play our first dance song. One of my favorite verses from the song states “You’re part of me now,” which I had engraved in Chris’ wedding band along with our wedding date.

During cocktail hour, our guests sipped moonshine out of monogrammed mason jars, sampled mini chicken n’ waffle hors d’oeuvres, and enjoyed a live bluegrass band, all while sitting on grandma’s antique furniture. Does it get any more Southern than that?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was your classic teen movie plot: I was a freshman in high school and he was the senior I had a major crush on. On my way to class one day, I tripped and dropped my books in the stairwell. Luckily (or unfortunately), my handsome knight in shining armor was there to help me up and retrieve my books. I was mortified! He didn’t even know my name. A few years later, we were formally introduced by mutual friends and sparks flew immediately. Funny how things work out! After nine years of dating, we finally decided to tie the knot.
Tell us all about the proposal! Last June, we planned an adventurous road trip tour of California. We visited San Francisco, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, destinations along Route 1, and Napa Valley. Four days into our vacation, after a long day of hiking and a beautiful sunset, Chris dropped down to one knee at the Tunnel View overlook in Yosemite and asked me to marry him. The next night, we celebrated in Carmel with delicious cocktails and an amazing dinner, while watching the the sun set over the Pacific. It was most definitely a trip we will never forget!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have been in love with our venue for years! Chris and I are both from the Roanoke, Virginia area and wanted our wedding to be close to home. Sundara had unbeatable mountain views and the perfect amount of Southern charm.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Homemade cakes and other delicious desserts are key to the conclusion of any great Southern meal. Many of our family members are known for their baking skills, so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to save money and add a bit of Southern swag to the dessert table. We served an assortment of homemade cakes, including strawberry, coconut, lemon pound cake, and cheesecake. We also had my personal favorite, pink cake pops dusted with edible gold glitter! All of the desserts were arranged on top of a vintage buffet that Chris and I painted mint and gold to match our wedding colors.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One of my bridesmaids is a whiz at marketing and design. Luckily for me, she offered to design all of our wedding stationery! She created a custom monogram logo that we used to brand every single detail of our wedding–it was featured on everything from our programs to cornhole boards Chris made.

Photographer: Sam Stroud Photography / Videographer: Michael’s Videography / Planner: Amy McArthur of Amy Kristina Weddings / Venue: Sundara / Florist: Gloriosa / Caterer: Blue Ridge Catering / Band: Blue Moonshine / DJ: RSP Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Richelle Holland / Bridal Salon and Veil: Church Street Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Les Cheveux Salon and Day Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Newbury Long” by Joanna August / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Leann reply

    Yay Sam! Congrats on the feature.

  2. avatar Green Antlers Photography reply

    Soft pink, beautiful and so relaxed! And talk about amazing grooms gift ideas!! sweet

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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With Lisa’s exciting news still reverberating in our office, engagement rings have been on all of our minds! Even if you’re already married or engaged, like me, I don’t think talking about beautiful sparklies ever gets old. And happily, an engagement ring is NOT your last opportunity to shop for heirloom pieces. Today’s sponsor, REEDS Jewelers, specializes in both engagement pieces and jewelry for your happy life together — the best of both worlds!

Mercy — gorgeous, don’t you think? REEDS Jewelers specializes in Forevermark diamonds, which are extremely rare (less than 1% of stones are eligible for the designation), responsibly sourced, and individually certified and numbered.

The REEDS Signature Diamond collection is based on the company’s family values and also offers a great value to couples. Signature Diamonds are mined, cut, and polished in Canada with complete social and environmental responsibility throughout the process — very reassuring. 100% recycled gold is used in the manufacturing process, and each Signature Diamond over .30 carat is independently graded by GIA.

Already have your engagement ring? REEDS Jewelers is still the place for you! They have some beautiful options for bridesmaid gifts, including Alex and Ani bracelets and Allison & Ivy monogrammed jewelery. Both collections have hundreds of styles to choose from, making it easy to select a meaningful piece for each of your gals. And they offer free shipping with no minimum order — love that!!

Last but certainly not least, REEDS Jewelers has an excellent option for your gift for your groom: a Swiss Army watch. These timepieces are true heirlooms, made to be passed down and treasured for years to come.

The kind folks at REEDS Jewelers are offering a chance to win a $500 gift card to their stores JUST to Southern Weddings readers — click here to be entered! Be sure to like REEDS on Facebook to be eligible to win.

We’re proud to be partnering with this family-owned jeweler, and hope you love them, too! You can find out more about all of their beautiful offerings by visiting their site!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar reply

    Gorgeous! We love this prettiness!


  2. avatar Jeanette Brown reply

    Would love a ring would be an awesome Xmas gift

  3. avatar Jared Neidlinger reply

    Thank you for this opportunity!

  4. avatar Gaynell Holmes reply

    Luv it!! Thanks for the chance!!

  5. avatar Janet Keyser reply

    Nice website. Where is the sweepstakes entry?

  6. avatar Shirley Hardy reply

    These beautiful items are AMAZING!

  7. avatar RobinL Allen reply

    I like the advertisments offered in Southern Weddings which are varied and give you great ideas before you step out the door to go shopping.

  8. avatar Leisha Reigner reply

    Thank you for the great giveaway

  9. avatar Gaynell Holmes reply

    Luv it,,,,thanks!

  10. avatar Rosemary Wilcher reply

    I really would love to win this! My diamond rings was left in a motel room! This could make me a nice down payment to replace them! I’ve been so upset ever since mine was lost…..Thanks, so much this great opportunity to win this! Could really make a Christmas wish come true!

  11. avatar Veronica Murray reply

    Best prize EVER!

  12. avatar lucy berg reply

    so would love to win 500 hundred to buy my hubby something nice

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!

Reply to: