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With a relationship stemming from minor league baseball chatter on Twitter, it’s safe to say Jessica + Chris did not meet in the most traditional way. But, when it came to their sweet Southern wedding, tradition was deeply woven into every detail. My favorite detail is the Bible Chris’s mother carried into the ceremony — it was his late father’s, and it served as a reminder of his presence and his support for their marriage. What a lovely way to honor and remember him.

On a sweet note, I would be remiss not to mention that Jessica + Chris made their own peach preserve wedding favors with the help of Jessica’s mom and step dad! Says Jessica, “It was a great bonding experience, and we were so proud of the ‘fruits’ of our labor!”

We’re sending lots of thanks to Chris Isham for snapping J+C’s big day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
My mom and I went everywhere in Greenville looking for the perfect dress. I would find one that I really liked the shape of, but find something I didn’t like about the fabric, or vice versa. Finally we decided to drop in at David’s Bridal, where I immediately spotted the dress. I knew it would be mine before I even tried it on — the texture and flow were just perfect for me.

We decided to do a first look because it was really important for us to have just a few minutes alone together before the ceremony and the hustle and bustle of the reception. It was so nice to just take a moment to reflect on our love for one another. The huge grin on Chris’s face was priceless; it is one of my favorite wedding memories.

My mom, my five amazing bridesmaids, and my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law decorated the entire reception area the night before. A true labor of love! We used a mix of white hydrangeas, blush and white garden roses and baby’s breath for both the reception and the ceremony. The buds were arranged in hand-decorated mason jars and small vases to create a vintage Southern feel — simple, sweet, and comfortable elegance. We took fabric flower pieces from my mom’s veil and attached them to my bouquet as my something old; it was a wonderful way to carry a piece of her wedding day with me.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. A friend of ours, Johnathan, played guitar during our ceremony since access to power or a piano really wasn’t an option in the middle of a farm field. For the processional, he played an amazing acoustic edition of “Everlasting Light” by The Black Keys. Chris and I went to a Black Key’s Concert early in our relationship and have always loved this song. For the bridal entrance, we selected “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan and for the recessional, “Here Come The Sun,” by The Beatles. Our first dance was to “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. Chris and his mom danced to “I Hope You Dance” by LeeAnn Womack, and my dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. On our RSVP return cards we asked our guests to “Be the DJ” — such a great idea! Our reception music was an eclectic mix of music that kept everyone on the dance floor all night long. Plus it was great to see when a guest’s song came on and see them rush to the floor in excitement for “their pick.”

My cousin Evan, who ministers to college kids in Ohio with Campus Crusade For Christ, officiated our wedding. It was really special for me because we have grown up together (we are only six months apart) and he understood my personality and desire for a relaxed but meaningful ceremony. He wrote the entire ceremony and we made traditional vows. Evan did a great job relating to Chris and I and even added a personal touch by pulling in lessons he has learned from his own young marriage. Plus, he used his iPad during the ceremony, which was a nice touch for a couple that was brought together by the wonders of technology.

I love the relaxed atmosphere of this photo! It looks like Jessica, Chris, and their entire bridal party are absolutely enjoying the day! Not to mention that light is just dreamy.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
Our wedding was full of Southern charm. We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and at home so that they could really enjoy themselves. Our guests rode up to the ceremony site on tractors — hay ride style! One of the most Southern details was the food. Our wedding was held on an organic working farm, so the dinner we served was farm-to-table style using as many ingredients as possible from our surroundings. We served crostinis with goat cheese and pepper jelly, a salad with organic greens, slider burgers with fresh greens and cheddar, corn lollipops, a mashed potato bar with all the fixin’s, and BBQ chicken over collard greens. Plus, every drink at the wedding was served in a mason jar with a paper straw. We had a fire pit in the reception barn where guests could warm themselves in a rocking chair or toast marshmallows for s’mores. We were all about Southern comfort and good ‘ol hospitality!

When you get down to the final weeks and days of planning, you’ve done everything you can do up to this point to make your day unforgettable. If things don’t turn out quite like you planned, just roll with the punches and don’t sweat the things you can’t change. Improvise and laugh about it — it’s not worth getting upset over. It’s your big day — savor every moment!

Y’all know I believe everything tastes better in a mason jar, and that lemonade looks like a great refresher from dancing the night away!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Our wedding cake was alternating tiers of fresh organic strawberry cake and strawberry icing and chocolate cake with fudge butter cream icing with a vanilla butter cream that looked as though it had been iced right there at the reception. Our cupcakes were an assortment of four flavors: peach bellini, pumpkin spice with cinnamon icing, green tea, and champagne sparkle. The groom’s cake was a traditional red velvet cake, Chris’s favorite!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
I can’t just pick one! Chris and I made our peach preserve wedding favors with my mom and step dad. We live near a peach orchard and pass it virtually every day. We thought it would be a great idea to make a yummy treat for our guests to enjoy. We purchased two bushels of peaches and spent an entire weekend slicing, prepping, boiling, and canning the old-fashioned way!

We always love a good father/daughter dance, but this photo of Chris and his mama dancing encompasses so much emotion!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. 
Chris and I met on Twitter, but before you think that’s crazy please read on! We started communicating with one another periodically about small stuff in late 2009, talking about the local minor league baseball team, our distaste for speeding tickets, and the fact that we were both from Virginia and living in South Carolina. Eventually, that led to the need for more in-depth conversations, so we exchanged phone numbers and figured that it was time to meet each other in early 2010. We both knew that the other person could possibly be a serial killer (only kidding!) but we took a chance and found that there was a definite attraction. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Describe the proposal. 
One summer Saturday morning, I got up early and started getting ready to go look for treasures at a local neighborhood yard sale. Chris is not a morning person, so I was pretty shocked when he wanted to join me on my 7 am excursion. After a couple hours of looking at tables upon tables of junk, we made our way back to our apartment. All morning, Chris had been asking what I wanted to do for the rest of the day, and I replied multiple times that I had no plans. After being asked the question again, I was beginning to get a little annoyed. I turned to Chris and in a very annoyed and sarcastic tone grumbled, “You keep asking me what I want to do, clearly you have something in mind, so what do YOU want to do today?” He dropped to one knee and said, “I want to make it official.” My mouth dropped open and I immediately felt terrible about what I had just said. The rest is history! We were going to have a much more romantic engagement story, but I mistakenly ruined Chris’s grand plans by inviting one of our friends along for dinner the night the proposal was supposed to happen. But I honestly couldn’t be happier with our story… it is very “us”!
In what month did you get married? 
October 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
Evan added 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13 to the wedding message at our request and my stepfather, Jim read Romans 12:9-21 during the ceremony.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
I am a very detail-oriented person and it was hard to narrow down the things I wanted to include in our special day. Eventually, I had to decide what mattered most and eliminate the all the piddly things that weren’t as meaningful to us.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? 
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our photography. I was especially picky about what I wanted to look back at years from now and see. After looking up every photographer in town, I just knew I wanted Chris Isham to capture all of the little moments during our big moment. His relaxed style was just perfect and he really made Chris and I feel at ease. We could have had a few of our friends capture the day for little to nothing, but this was the best choice we could have possibly made!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We are excited for what is ahead! Shortly after we returned from the honeymoon in Jamaica, Chris interviewed for a new position and received a promotion at his company at the end of last year. I am in the process of preparing for and applying to graduate school programs and I just changed career paths. We are looking forward to settling into our new house and starting a family in the next few years.

Chris Isham is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    I absolutely love the pictures of the wedding party in the field. I love how feminine and delicate the flowers were paired with those gorgeous dresses.

  2. avatar Chris Isham reply

    Thanks so much for sharing Jessica + Chris’s wedding! Y’all are awesome! :)

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Before I can even dive into the gorgeousness of Lauren + Rob’s wedding, I have to say that I found myself tearing up when reading about their proposal. Rob proposed to Lauren with her mama’s engagement ring, which was passed down to her from her paternal grandmother. Unsurprisingly, she wrote that “it has a very special and sentimental meaning.” What I love even more about this story is that their jeweler even incorporated the platinum from her mom’s ring into the new setting. Swoon! How Rob actually proposed is a good story, too, so make sure to check that out below!

Now let’s talk details! Our very talented friends at Easton Events worked with Lauren (one of their own fabulous planners!) and Rob to create a modern and intimate design inspired by L + R’s favorite John Robshaw pillows from their home in D.C. I admire that they chose to incorporate things that they love in their own home into their wedding!

Special thanks to Jen Fariello for capturing this sweet soiree! Be sure to check back for part two and to check out the whole coral creation in print! Order your copy of V5 right here.

Oh my WORD! This stationery suite is just a vision!

The printed suite was definitely my most treasured design element of the wedding. Erika fantastically set the tone for the wedding from the first impression with the invitations and carried the lyrical aesthetic through to the programs, the menus and even our Mister + Mrs. chair signs. Erika also worked with us to incorporate cooking and the culinary world into the design of the wedding weekend! We have always enjoyed exploring restaurants in our own hometowns and our current town of DC, so each of our reception tables was named after one of our favorite restaurants we have frequented together! The story of our connection to each restaurant was explained on a description card at each guest’s place.

Holy Tara goodness, y’all! I think Lauren did Scarlett proud with this gorgeous plantation!

Our wedding fell on the weekend of the crazy derecho that swept the East coast this past June. The night before the wedding, hurricane-force winds and rain passed through Charlottesville, leaving fallen trees, debris, and power outages the morning of the wedding. Fortunately, we had generators to power the tent and thanks to our incredible wedding planners and team of vendors, the wedding went off without a hitch! The day was perfectly sunny and while we heard thunder rumblings and lightning throughout the ceremony, we didn’t feel a drop of rain all day. We did, however, have Texas-sized heat with temperatures over 100 degrees that afternoon!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress.  What is your favorite thing about it? My dress was a strapless lace fitted design by Romona Keveza. I loved the floral appliqués at the top of the dress—they added a touch of modernity to the simple style. My veil was a bit more traditional with lace and the perfect touch of sparkle!

Our incredible florist Southern Blooms crafted a stunning ceremony arbor of white delphinium, dendrobium orchids, and draping that set the scene beautifully for a romantic and chic celebration. Southern Blooms created a timeless magical ambiance with lush white peonies and hydrangeas and coral charm peonies added a brilliant dash of coral whimsy that we carried throughout the day with the cocktail florals and the bridesmaid’s bouquets. My bouquet was even more beautiful than I could have imagined! The bouquet was brimming with Festiva maxima white peonies and white sweet peas, wrapped in the lace and pearls from my mom’s wedding dress for my “something old.” The girls carried bright bouquets of coral charm peonies and garden roses that were so fun and festive for summer and the guys wore white boutonnieres tied with coral grosgrain ribbon.

Our bridesmaids wore TwoBirds Bridesmaid dresses in ivory. We chose this style because we had a wedding party of 10 girls and we wanted everyone to express their individual personality through their dress. The TwoBirds dresses can be tied in over 13 unique styles, which was perfect for our large group!

Dying over this sweet first-look alternative! I would have needed some extra waterproof mascara!

Rob and I love writing notes to one another, so instead of a first look, we planned a card exchange just before the ceremony. We wanted to keep with the tradition of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle, so we shared our notes from the balcony without seeing each other before the ceremony. It was so nice to have a moment together and come to center in the midst of the excitement of the day.

Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? My maternal grandfather and Rob’s maternal grandmother are our only surviving grandparents. They both made the trip to Virginia from Dallas, Texas and Bowling Green, Kentucky, respectively, and we couldn’t be more thankful that we had the chance to dance with them at our wedding!
Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. The ceremony was far and away our favorite memory of the day. My uncle is a reverend and he presided, which was incredibly special. He worked with us on every detail of the ceremony from the readings to the homily and we can never thank him enough. Rob’s aunt and uncle have been amazingly supportive of our relationship and they are a marvelous inspiration for us in marriage–they have been together over 40 years! We asked them to read Soulmates by Richard Bach, which we felt was reflective of both of our relationships.
Who participated in your ceremony? My younger sister and best friend served as our Maid of Honor and Rob’s incredible older brother was our Best Man. Our family means the world to us, and we wanted to recognize them as our support system and our guides as we enter into this new chapter in life. We created a unity flower ritual as an alternative to the unity candle–each of our mothers carried flowers down the aisle that we combined together in a flower press to symbolize our families becoming one. We have saved the flowers to incorporate into a piece of artwork in our home–we are so lucky to have such a wonderful reminder of our special day every day.

Did you write your own vows? One of our top rules in life when presented with two equally fabulous options, is to always do both. We knew we wanted to include the traditional vows that our parents and grandparents have promised to each other for generations. However, we also decided to share a few personal words with each other before exchanging our formal vows. So the week before the wedding we went to our first date spot, Jaleo, and wrote the framework for our personal vows together. My favorite piece of Rob’s vows was, “You brighten all my days. I always want you to be happy, because when you’re happy, then I’m happy, too.” Rob’s highlight of my vows to him was, “Dr. Seuss said it best–“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” I know our future together is incredibly bright, just because you’re my mister, always.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our “do both” rule also came into play with the ceremony music! We wanted to incorporate a bit of tradition, so our family processed to Brandenberg Concerto and my dad and I processed to Canon in D. We spiced it up with our wedding party processional to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and our recessional to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit! The music was really a reflection of us and Encore String Quartet was wonderful in working with us to strike the perfect balance.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.  (From the groom) We crossed paths during our time at Duke through overlapping circles of friends, but never really spent much quality time together. After graduation, we both moved to DC (along with a sizable portion of our graduating class). A year later in the fall of 2008, a good friend of ours celebrated his birthday at a downtown restaurant and I was lucky enough to get a seat next to Lauren! We enjoyed each other’s company and found many shared interests. Another good friend of ours noticed the chemistry and was convinced there was something more between us, so he devised a plan. He invited each of us to his company holiday party setting each of us up with colleagues he thought we wouldn’t be interested in. Everything went just according to his scheme: we ditched our dates, spent the whole night dancing together, and after many, many nights of Top Chef and vacations from the South of France to San Francisco, we couldn’t be more excited to be together forever!
Describe the proposal: As a wedding planner myself, Rob knew he would need to get crafty in order to surprise me with the proposal! Last Halloween, he called me and told me to get ready for dinner at one of our favorite local tapas restaurants and our first date spot, Jaleo. The reservation was just an hour later, so he knew I wouldn’t suspect too much. We had a fantastic Spanish dinner and then Rob took me on a drive throughout the city to visit all of the apartments we have lived in since our time in DC (which after a few years, is actually quite a few!) We reminisced and watched cute trick-or-treaters in the different neighborhoods, talking about all that we have to look forward to together. By this time it was about 11:30 and we headed home for what I thought would be calling it a night. Then, Rob sneakily asked me to come up to the roof of our building to help him check out the grill (we had trouble with it when we barbequed over the weekend). I obliged and to my surprise, under the hood of the grill Rob had a box waiting for me! My dad proposed to my mom over hamburgers on the grill, so it was very thoughtful of him to incorporate the grill into his sweet proposal. I am incredibly lucky!
Tell us about your beautiful engagement. Rob actually proposed with my mom’s engagement ring, which was passed down to her from my paternal grandmother. It has a very special and sentimental meaning. A few days after proposing, Rob took me to a family jeweler in Great Falls, Virginia, where we reset the stone and made it our own. The jeweler even incorporated the platinum from my mom’s ring into the new setting. We feel very lucky to have a ring that my mom wore for 34 years and we can now share with our children through many more lifelong marriages to come!
Tell me all the basics of your wedding! We chose Charlottesville, Virginia for our wedding because my parents have lived in the area for almost ten years now and you can’t deny the splendor of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains. Not only is Charlottesville a breathtaking and charming city, but it’s where Rob and I fell fast in love over long weekends of cooking and relaxing with family. We wanted to host our friends and family in the place that we hold most dear, at my parents’ house. So in true, Southern style, our ceremony and reception were held in my parents’ backyard on June 30 at 6:30PM.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Modern, lyrical, magical, intimate (I couldn’t choose just three!)
How many guests attended your wedding? 164
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? The design inspiration originated from the collection of John Robshaw pillows in our home in DC. Pillows are a slight obsession of ours and John Robshaw’s designs are fantastically modern and fanciful! We worked closely with the wonderfully talented Erika Jack to create a custom printed suite inspired by our pillows and the printed pieces set the tone for the entire wedding design. We even incorporated some of our favorite pillows for a touch of whimsy at the reception!
What were your wedding colors? A palette of neutrals and gold with the perfect punch of coral!
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your big day? I spent the morning having a wonderful girls’ day of hair and makeup, music, and fun with all of my bridesmaids, my mom and my sister. We indulged in delicious Southern finger sandwiches and salads as well as plenty of Diet Dr. Pepper for fuel! Rob spent the morning with his groomsmen as well, but unfortunately without any power or running water due to the storm! They made runs to the Boars Head for showers and getting ready. Once they arrived at my parents’ house before the ceremony, things were much more relaxing as the guys enjoyed snacks and sang along with the string quartet.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love the coral and the calligraphy, and the venue is gorgeous!

  2. avatar {The NotWedding} reply

    This wedding is just a southern dream! We LOVE every aspect of this special day. Congrats to Lauren and Rob!

  3. avatar Nicole Saffron reply

    The bride’s dress is stunning! I love their sweet card exchange with out seeing each other!

  4. avatar Jen Fariello reply

    Thank you all much for sharing this wedding! xoxo

  5. avatar Emily reply

    Oh my, that paper suite is just killing me! A vision, indeed!

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  8. avatar Amy reply

    Totally adore those invites! What pretty stamps!

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