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We Southerners sure are proud of our alma maters, so it’s no surprise that Kimberley and Jonathon were ecstatic to have been selected in the lottery to follow the time-honored University of Virginia tradition of getting married at the chapel on the campus grounds! Together with their planner, Amore Events, they planned a beautiful day full of sweet details and absolutely stunning florals. Out-of-town guests (flying in from Asia, Australia, and around the country!) were treated not only to Kimberley and Jonathon’s love and pride in their university, but also a glimpse at where their love story began. For their alumni friends, this celebration was a highly anticipated homecoming! Along with experiencing where these two started their journey, I’m sure hearing them recite the vows that they wrote together during the ceremony was truly remarkable!

We’re so thankful Ashley Cox captured all the sweet moments!

My flowers were absolutely gorgeous! Cody did a fantastic job representing the UVA colors of orange and blue. I wanted a fluffy, soft bouquet and it was breathtaking! The orange poppies really popped.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My wedding dress hunt revolved around my mom’s veil. It was the only item that I knew I wanted, so I focused on finding the perfect dress to go with it. Since my parents live half a world away in Singapore, a few of my bridesmaids and close friends went with me to help me choose. It was a great day of bonding and beautiful dresses, but I was still unsure and chose to leave empty-handed. When my parents visited a few months later, we found a few contenders, but not the one. Then, my mom suggested that I look into creating a custom dress, and I never looked back. I got to wear the dress of my dreams!

We were hesitant about doing a first look when Cody first suggested it, but it ended up being a great decision. It gave us a private moment to share together during the hustle and bustle of our wedding day. We were also able to get some great pictures at both the chapel and vineyard without taking too much time away from the cocktail hour, so that was a plus!

We wrote the whole ceremony together. It was an intimidating task, but it was a great bonding experience for us. We wrote our own personal vows and kept them secret until the ceremony. It made hearing our promises to each other even more special!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As alumni of the University of Virginia, getting married at the chapel on the grounds is a time-honored tradition. When we found out that our request was selected in the lottery, we were ecstatic! It allowed us to show our pride and love for our university as we completed one journey and started another. Our reception was held outdoors under a Sperry tent at Keswick Vineyards. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the venue is breathtaking, and we were hooked from the minute we saw it. Having separate ceremony and reception venues gave us the opportunity to give our out-of-town guests a glimpse at our college playground, while, needless to say, for our alumni friends, it was a highly anticipated homecoming.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Besides all the monograms, we wanted to add a little Texas flair to our wedding to represent where we now live. In the middle of dancing, the DJ played a few fun country songs. We ran to the guestbook table, where we had set up our cowboy boots as decorations, and put them on. The boots were special; Jon’s are made of sharkskin and mine are green lizard skin. Everyone had a blast. We also tried to showcase food from the region, such as candied bacon, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, and Virginia cheeses.

We had a full dessert bar along with a cupcake spread and a traditional wedding cake. Our dessert bar included candied bacon, milk and white chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate cups, fudge brownies, blondies, and lemon bars. There were three types of cupcakes: orange and blue funfetti with peach filling, lemon poppy with strawberry filling, and red velvet with cream cheese. The cake was a fudge chip cake with cherry filling and vanilla buttercream icing. It was all delicious and we loved the variety!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The first time I laid eyes on Jon, he had a faux hawk, was wearing a Space Jam tank, and had a plastic duck bill on his face. His fraternity was hosting a ’90s party and a group of them had decided to dress up as Space Jam characters–Jon was Daffy Duck! I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but when the resident advisor of my first-year dorm introduced him to me, I was just very amused. Even though our first meeting was less than stellar, my resident advisor continued to sing Jon’s praises. Jon asked me to dinner a few weeks later and I accepted. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On date nights, we love trying new restaurants. That night, Jon chose a beautiful restaurant with a delicious tasting menu. It was a particularly special dinner since Jon had recently accepted a job in Houston and was moving away from Virginia. I didn’t think I would be able to join him, so we were trying to take full advantage of the time we had together. Four courses later, we were full, happy, and waiting for dessert. We had both ordered the same dessert, and Jon joked that he wouldn’t have to worry about me stealing his. When dessert arrived, I remember seeing something shiny in mine. My mind went blank and I could only manage a lame “Why is my dessert different?” Jon said he could see the realization cross my face as he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. I was so stunned that I barely heard him. He was just glad that I said yes!
When did y’all get married? August 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something old was a gift from my mom. It was a diamond necklace and earrings set that my dad gave her when I was born. I was over the moon when she gave it to me to wear on my wedding day. My something borrowed was the cathedral veil that my mom wore on her wedding day. When we took it out of storage, it broke our hearts to see a tear, but we managed to stitch it up, and it felt so special to walk down the aisle with it on. For my something new, I picked heels from Jimmy Choo. I wanted a pair of shoes that I could wear again, and my blue nail polish complemented them perfectly.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Distance was one of the biggest challenges we had to overcome. On top of planning a Virginia wedding from Texas, we had guests flying in from Asia, Australia, and around the country. Fielding calls from 200 of your family and friends about what to do, special exceptions, and guest count were definitely stressful. The other big challenge was combining the cultures of the East and West. Our families are both Chinese and we wanted to acknowledge our Chinese culture, while also celebrating in the Western way. We split the day in half, reserving the morning for traditional cultural events like the tea ceremony–a tea drinking ritual with the family elders where they are given the opportunity to bless the marriage–and the afternoon and evening for the traditional Western ceremony, reception, and party!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to having free time to read, travel, and just hang out! The wedding process is very time-consuming, and sometimes, you wonder if it’s worth it. Now that we aren’t planning, we want to explore the world!

Photographer: Ashley Cox / Planner and Florist: Cody Grannis / Ceremony Venue: University of Virginia Chapel / Reception Venue: Keswick Vineyards / Cake and Dessert Baker: Buttercream Dreams / Caterer: Roadside Chive / Rentals: MS Events / Lighting: Skyline Tent Company / DJ: Derek Austin / Monogrammed Bow Ties: Mercy Streams / Bride’s Gown: Custom from Ieie Bridal / Headpiece: Enze Bridal / Hair Stylist: Brianna Adams / Makeup Artist: Susan Lim / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Navy Blue Lace by Watters / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: Menguin / Custom Watercolor Wedding Map Guest Book: Luz Design / Wedding Vow Book: Noteworthy Design Co / Fudge Favors: My Chocolate Shoppe / Vintage Cowboy Boots: Texas Junk Company / Cake Topper: Emily Steffen

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful flowers and I love the bridesmaid dresses!

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We all know there is so much planning that goes into a wedding: the look, the details, and, especially in the South, making sure guests feel welcome and have a fabulous time. And, while I’m all for Southern hospitality, reading through Kelly and Austin’s sweet interview, I was most struck by how they felt. Your wedding day is filled with so many emotions and it goes by so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to remember everything, but reading that Kelly and Austin felt like the “luckiest people to be loved by so many incredible people” made my heart skip a beat. I remember feeling exactly the same way on my wedding day, and despite any snafus, marrying your best friend is always the best day ever!

Thanks to Alea Moore for capturing this beautiful day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s hard to choose, because every time we turned a corner, there was something else to admire, but my favorite detail was probably my bouquet. I never imagined that I would have something so beautiful and special at my own wedding, so I seriously cried when I saw it.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was a hard decision because having a first look can make pictures a lot easier and save time during the wedding, but it just didn’t feel right for us. I explained to Austin that when I imagined seeing him for the first time on our wedding day, he was standing at the altar waiting for me. There is this really powerful moment when you see each other for the first time after all of the anticipation, and we wanted that moment to be a part of what made the ceremony special. Seeing each other in that moment is one of our favorite memories from the wedding.

We wrote our own vows, and it was the most challenging and meaningful thing we did for the wedding. When you have to sit down and really decide what you can promise to someone, you realize to a greater extent what marriage really is. We did’t hear each others vows until we were at the altar, and it was so powerful hearing what God had laid on our hearts separately as a vision for our marriage. There were so many similarities, it was pretty evident that He had already started preparing us to become one. This was my favorite line, adapted from Ephesians 3:20 “…today, I enter into this covenant with hopeful expectation that God will do immeasurably more with our marriage than all we could ask for or imagine, according to His power and not our own.”

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The absolute best and most valuable thing we did while being engaged was going through pre-marital counseling. We got connected with a professional counselor through our church and spent six sessions with her trying to prepare for situations we would encounter in our marriage. Honestly, we went into the first session thinking “We’re a great couple… will there even be anything to talk about?”, but we were shocked when it ended and we still had so many things to talk through. We learned so much about each other, about ourselves, and about how to communicate through those conversations. When we finished the last session, we were actually sad that we wouldn’t get to go anymore, but we left feeling a million times more prepared for whatever marriage will throw at us.

We stumbled upon the Engine Room by chance during our venue hunt, and we knew from the moment we stepped inside that we would get married on those old wood floors, with natural light pouring in through the huge windows.

When we realized how much money it was going to be to cater a wedding for 240 people, we were in shock. We had to cut down the cost, so several friends suggested looking into food trucks, and that idea ended up saving us thousands of dollars! Since they don’t come with all of the extra staff, linens, dishes, etc., you are pretty much just paying for the food. To cut back on lines and add more selection, we got two trucks and had our own little food truck park for our guest to go up to and order their dinners. The trucks did’t just save us money, they also added a fun element to our wedding, and people have been raving about the food ever since.

We wanted simple cakes decorated with buttercream and fresh flowers. We couldn’t decide on a flavor, so we got several small cakes in different flavors from a cute bakery in Athens. The star of the show was this amazing tres leches cake that I still have dreams about eating.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the wedding, we walked past all of our friends and family with sparklers, shouting congratulations and saying goodbye. Since we were moving away, it really was “goodbye” to so many of the people we love, which made the moment very bittersweet. When we got in the car and drove away, we were so overwhelmed that we barely had time to get out of the parking lot before we burst into tears. We got a few miles away and then pulled over the car and just cried together. We cried for how much our lives were about to change, for this scary new adventure, and mostly, for how every single aspect of our wedding was made perfect by all of the people we love and by the God who made it all possible. The only thing we could really say at that point was that we are the luckiest people in the world to be loved by so many incredible people, and that was by far the best day of our lives.

Don’t miss Kelly + Austin’s highlight film from Imagine Video Productions!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I lived just minutes from each other in Woodstock, Georgia without crossing paths for almost 18 years. When we finally did meet, we spent most of the summer together, becoming close friends. At the end of the summer, Austin left for his second year at UGA, and I prepared to start my first semester at Georgia Tech. To me, Austin was the older guy who had everything he needed in Athens, but for some reason, he showed up at Georgia Tech almost every weekend over the next couple of months. Little did I know, Austin had started liking me over the summer, and had been patiently waiting all of those months to ask me on a date when I was ready. Finally, Austin came to Atlanta and told me that he really liked me, but I needed to “stop leading him on” if I wasn’t interested…and if I was interested, he’d like to take me on a date. I replied with a “maybe” and made the poor guy wait a MONTH before officially accepting his offer, but his patience paid off. After a year of dating long distance, Austin decided to join me in Atlanta and there was no looking back. I began to realize that the crazy love that Austin had for me and the things he was willing to do for me paled in comparison with the lengths that God is willing to go to show me His love. When being with someone teaches you that, you know that they’re a solid choice for a husband.
Tell us all about the proposal! In his fourth year of school, Austin was offered an internship with Boeing in Charleston for the upcoming summer. When he accepted that internship, Austin forwarded me an email they had sent him that was an invitation to a weekend in Charleston to get to know the city and his future managers (all expenses paid!), so he invited me to accompany him. On our second day, we went over to Middleton Plantation from our hotel, and spent the morning walking through the beautiful gardens and taking video footage (because Austin wanted a montage of the trip, obviously). At one point, Austin sent me down between the ponds overlooking the marshes as he set up the camera for another shot. As he walked down to meet me, he had the biggest smile on his face, said he had something to give me, and pulled out a letter. It was when I opened it that I realized that this was no ordinary letter. It began with “To my fiancé…” and as I read the rest (with tears in my eyes), he explained all of the reasons why I was the woman he had been praying for. I finished the letter and Austin got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Obviously, I said “yes,” and we just stood there in the freezing rain, crying and laughing and enjoying the moment. Austin then explained to me that the entire Boeing trip was a big lie! After asking my parents for their blessing, Austin had spent months designing my ring, sending me fake itineraries, and even helping me pick out a “business appropriate” outfit for the meeting with his managers. Since we didn’t have any meetings to get to after all, we spent the rest of the weekend calling friends and family with the big news. It was something I will never forget!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers at our wedding were heavenly. Lindsay Coletta did everything without much guidance from me and on very short notice, but somehow, the florals were better than I could have even imagined. She did lush greenery down the long guest tables, whimsical arrangements for the head table, and the most amazing bridal bouquet I’ve ever seen. Because of my smaller budget, I asked for quality over quantity. That was the best decision I made, because having a smaller amount of flowers that were breathtaking was way better than having a ton of flowers that were just blah.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our location was definitely a very Southern aspect of our wedding. Monroe is a tiny, charming town, kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The venue itself is an old cotton mill that is brimming with Southern charm and history. Bistro lights over the dance floor, s’mores by the fire pit, and a ton of people dancing gave our big wedding a hint of that casual backyard feel that makes the South such a great place to call home. And we can’t forget one of the best elements, a food truck entirely devoted to macaroni and cheese.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After our wedding, we moved to the charming city of Charleston. Austin works for Boeing as a Database Administrator, and I am preparing to apply to Physician Assistant school. We’re really looking forward to getting to know this city and making it feel more like home. We hope to spend the next few years going on adventures, eating gelato, and taking advantage of living at the beach.

Photographer: Alea Moore Photography / Videographer: Ryan Lindsay / Planner: It Takes Two Events / Venue: The Engine Room at Monroe Cotton Mills / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Cecilia’s Cakes / Caterer: Happy Belly Food Truck and Mac the Cheese Truck / Rentals: I Do Linens / DJ: Mike Zarin / Paper Products: Allee Rodenbaugh and Minted / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Hair and Makeup: Megan Neary / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew Factory / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Groom’s Attire: “Napoli” by Suitsupply, “Clifton” by Allen Edmonds, J. Crew Factory, H&M, and Daniel Wellington / Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew Factory / Photo Booth: Classic Photo Affair / Bartender: Lyght House Cocktails / Engagement and Wedding Bands: Solomon Brothers

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

    I love that this bride ROCKED her glasses on her special day :)

  2. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Gorgeous choice of colors and I love the location!

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    We are loving this bride’s bouquet! Great color combo.

  4. avatar Amy reply

    Just beautiful – perfect pictures, gorgeous wedding. Enjoyed it all.

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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