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Anyone planning a wedding knows that all of the inspiration out there can be overwhelming, which is why we recommend that, instead of starting your brainstorming session on Pinterest or blogs, look to your own story and the things you love first. Jess and Aaron did a wonderful job of this, and from their venue that reminded them of their weekends spent at Virginia wineries, to the paper airplanes their guests threw during their exit, each sweet detail helped their wedding reflect who they are as a couple. Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings helped them bring it all together at Pippin Hill Farm–one of my personal favorite venues in the South!

Thank you so much to Meg Runion for sharing these lovely photos of Jess and Aaron’s wedding with us!

To me, the South is about loving people gathering together, enjoying delicious food, laughing, and having a great time! Using local products and vendors is something that always brings me back to the South because some of my favorite memories are of spending time with my grandfather in his garden, growing the food that my grandmother would then can for us to eat together. We even added jars of her homemade plum jelly to our welcome boxes.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I really wanted to be able to go shopping with my mother and grandmother, but didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I decided to do a scouting trip with one of my friends. It was a great day, but nothing made me feel the way I thought I should, so the search continued. I then learned of the Nordstrom Bridal Suite and decided to take a look online to see what they offered. The moment I saw my dress, I knew it was the one–yes, I found my dress on the internet! It was hard to imagine that it would be that easy, so I told myself to keep looking and see what else was out there. I even flew home to Florida to go dress shopping with my mom, but I kept going back to that dress I had found online. I called up the Nordstrom near D.C. and made an appointment, and the moment I saw it in-person, I knew my search had ended. I loved how simple, yet truly different the dress was. It honestly made me twirl around all day, especially on our wedding day!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have any readings at our ceremony but we did read and sign a Ketubah during a small, intimate ceremony prior to the actual wedding ceremony. Aaron is Jewish and I was raised Baptist, so we wanted to find a way to incorporate both into our wedding day. The Ketubah honored the tradition of his family and is our promise to each other for how we will live in marriage together.

We worked with our officiant to create a ceremony that was personal to us, warm, and original. She provided us with tons of samples for each part of the ceremony, which made it super easy to put everything together. When it came to the vows, we both felt that we wanted something original, but also wanted to give a nod to tradition. We brought these together by taking some of the sample vows that she gave us and picking and choosing parts of them that spoke in words what we felt in our hearts.

When we started thinking of what we wanted in a wedding venue, a few things were at the top of our list: a relaxing vibe, beautiful scenery, and ease of planning. I turned to my trusty friend Google and began the search. Aaron and I enjoy visiting wineries around the D.C. area, so I started my search there. Then, I came across Pippin Hill and knew that we needed to make the drive to Charlottesville to go see it. When we turned the corner to Pippin Hill, the search was over. We didn’t even get inside before we knew that it would be perfect. On our tour, our excitement continued to grow. From the amazing food, to the beautiful bridal suite, to the breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it transported us to another place entirely.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The things that make me smile every time I think of them are the personal details that I added for Aaron. I wanted to make sure that he felt just as much incorporated into the festivities as I did! Aaron is a private pilot, and if you talk to him for more than five minutes, his love for aviation will become crystal clear. I came up with the idea to create “pilot” and “co-pilot” signs for the back of our chairs at the sweetheart table, and it has created a funny debate to this day about who should be sitting in which chair. We also had paper airplanes for people to throw during our departure and they were a huge hit!

The wedding cake was three tiers of vanilla cake with bavarian cream and raspberry marmalade filling, iced with vanilla buttercream. Guests even went back for seconds (and thirds!). The flower topper our florist created was truly breathtaking, especially when paired with the pale peach petaled chiffon tablecloth. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it when we walked into the reception space! Since I knew Aaron wouldn’t be getting his favorite chocolate cake, I decided to have a special treat made in his honor: we served bourbon balls on silver platters at each table.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the reception, Aaron and I were dancing, and all of a sudden, we looked up to see our friends and family arm in arm, standing in a circle surrounding us. It was the most love I have ever felt in my life and a truly magical moment. I was so touched that I started crying, and someone ran in to give me a hug, which resulted in the biggest group hug I had ever been a part of.

Don’t miss Jess and Aaron’s lovely wedding film by Shaking Hands below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Falling in love with Aaron was the easiest thing I have ever done. We were both living in Washington, D.C. and we had some friends in common. One night, I went to a local restaurant for a game of trivia with a group of friends, and Aaron was there too. After that night, we kept running into each other, and eventually, I broke the ice by asking him the question, “What five movies do you think every person needs to see?” His answers surprised me (think Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, etc.), and I knew instantly that I needed to get to know him better. On our first official date, Aaron asked me over, cooked me a wonderful meal, and we watched old movies together. After that, everything sort of fell into place and we never looked back!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Aaron: We went to a winery with a few friends on Columbus Day 2013. I had the ring in my pocket, hoping for the perfect moment to pop up, but one never seemed just right. As we drove home, I devised a plan, which I put into action as soon as we got back. As Jess was busy putting things away, I went out on our porch where she couldn’t see me and called her to come outside. As she turned the corner, I was down on one knee, she began crying, and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Describe your wedding flowers. Oh, the flowers! Pat and Sherry from Southern Blooms were so amazing to work with and brought my vision to life in such a fantastic way! I love gardening and having fresh flowers around the house, so this was such a priority for me. I wanted the ceremony and reception spaces to be warm and inviting, full of a mix of soft, warm peach garden roses, café au lait dahlias, peegee hydrangea, magnolia leaves and fresh herbs. For the ceremony, we wanted the beautiful vista to be the star of the show, so we used lanterns leading up the path, a simple garland swagged around the entrance of the Sperry tent, and a mix of rose and dahlia petals down the aisle. For the reception, we alternated centerpieces between arrangements in mercury glass bowls and a cluster of vintage hurricanes, smaller arrangements, and floating single blooms in mercury glass dishes. They also did a wonderful job using flowers to accentuate the decor in the Granary at Pippin Hill, with the most beautiful garland on the foyer table and the garland from the chandelier hanging over the dance floor!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My borrowed, blue, and old were all covered by one item: a vintage handkerchief with beautiful blue embroidered flowers that my grandmother gave to me. My new was rose gold and moonstone earrings that Aaron gave me at my bridal shower, because he thought they would look nice with all the pale peach flowers and decor. He was right–I loved them and couldn’t have imagined wearing anything else on that special day.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Hands downs, our wedding coordinator. Amanda was our constant rock and was truly invaluable throughout the year-long planning process. She helped us think of details that we would have never even considered, kept us organized, and really took the stress of planning off our shoulders. It also didn’t hurt that she was incredibly fun to spend time with and an all-around wonderful person!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so excited to make the most of our first year of marriage. We are settling in at home with our dog, Gambler, and we have a busy year of traveling ahead of us–mostly to celebrate the marriages of our friends and family!

Photographer: Meg Runion / Videographer: Shaking Hands / Planner: Amanda Gray for Ashley Baber Weddings / Venue: Pippin Hill Farm / Florist: Southern Blooms by Pat’s Florals / Dessert Baker: Albemarle Baking Company and Paradox Pastry / Rentals: Stonegate Events Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Tent: Skyline Tent Company / Lighting: Blueridge A/V and Lighting / Band: Derek Tobler / Calligraphy: Arney Walker Calligraphy / Paper Products: Momental Designs / Bride’s Gown: Reem Acra / Bridal Salon: Nordstrom Bridal Suite / Bride’s Jewelry: Ippolita / Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Erin McDermott Jewelry / Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lacey Long” in Silver Bells by Joanna August / Menswear: Vera Wang / Officiant: Rev. Claire Goodman / Ketubah: Jennifer Raichman / Family Crest: Juliet Grace Design

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    This is a seriously gorgeous wedding!! Ashley Baber Weddings is a favorite of mine; such a beautiful, meaningful wedding. And I adore Pippin Hill – I’ve been plenty of times to the amazing winery, and it’s on my bucket list for a wedding!

  2. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

    That cake table linen is just beautiful!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    the invitations are so beautiful!

  4. avatar Amber reply

    Do you have any information on the quilt with the dog portrait in the middle? It’s so beautiful and a great way to incorporate your pup into the wedding!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Amber! I know the crest is by Juliet Grace Designs, but I’m not sure if the quilt was something she or someone else made! Hopefully Jess will pop in with some info :)

  5. avatar Jess reply

    Hi Amber! Emily is right, we had the crest designed by Juliet Grace Designs and then printed her beautiful work on fabric using Spoonflower.com and then the super talented Erica at SewEMG put it all together in the quilt. You can find her shop on etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/SewEMG

  6. avatar Unique Ideas For Decorating The Bride And Groom's Wedding Chairs -Beau-coup Blog reply

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We are feeling particularly festive today after a magical evening at the V7 Launch Party (THANK YOU to all those who came to celebrate with us!), so we can’t think of a better day to kick off our first annual Southern Newlywed holiday series! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing special traditions, festive decor, tasty treats, and more from some of our favorite newlyweds. Since we, along with many of y’all, are working on coordinating our plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, we thought we’d ask some friends to share what they’ll be doing this year. Whether your families live across the street or across the country, holiday planning can take some creativity and grace, and there’s no one right solution for every couple. If you’re a newlywed navigating this situation for the first time, we hope these ideas will get your wheels turning for a plan your whole family will be happy with!

Jacin (of Lovely Little Details) and Pat, by Jessica Burke

What are your holiday plans this year?

Jacin: This year, we are driving up to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with Pat’s family. His aunt makes the yummiest Thanksgiving dinner, and we love being close enough to enjoy this holiday with them after living so far away for so long! For Christmas, my family is flying down to stay with us for a week, and I cannot wait!!
Caitlin: This year, we are excited to stay at home and celebrate with my family, who lives near us. We also hope to host a holiday party or two!
Megan: For the first time since getting married almost five years ago, we will be spending Christmas at home. I have never taken decorating too seriously because we have never been present for the holidays, but this year, I plan to spend time preparing.
Juliet: We are looking forward to going back to my home state of North Carolina this year for Christmas. It will be our first married Christmas in North Carolina, so we are both so excited to spend some time with my side of the family.
Alex: We are still figuring out our Christmas plans for this year–there are so many logistics to figure out when you are dealing with several families spread out over a few different states! We feel blessed that both of our families are very understanding and super flexible! We are doing a combined Thanksgiving meal at my parents’ house for the second year in a row–it’s so much fun having everyone under one roof.

Caitlin (of Kruse and Vieira Events and Glitter Guide) and Austin, by Abby Jiu

How do you and your husband coordinate where/how to spend the holidays? What have you tried in the past? What are you doing this year?

Jacin: Until we were married, we still did separate holidays! Since we lived so far away from our families for so long, we typically would do Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine–both of our families are content with this arrangement, and we are too. It takes a bit of planning each year to decide where we’re going to be, but it works out well!
Caitlin: This is always a tricky situation! We typically do Thanksgiving with my husband’s family and Christmas with my family, and then celebrate Christmas with his a week before the actual holiday. It’s a lot of travel, but it works for us and we love every second we get to spend with family.
Megan: Mike and I’s families live on opposites sides of the country; his is in Texas and mine is in Michigan. Since getting engaged, we worked it out with our families that we would trade off holidays equally unless, for some reason, there was a major reason we needed to change it. This way, we were not traveling right in the middle of it all and complicating the whole thing. It has worked well, and this year, we even offered to spend Christmas with both of our families in Raleigh, but it didn’t work out–one day, it will happen! This year, we are glad to be spending Thanksgiving at our new home with my family and Christmas with his family.
Juliet: Since both of our families live in different states from us and each other, it makes it very hard to see both families for one holiday. We visited David’s family in Michigan last year, so this year, we are spending the holidays with my family in North Carolina. We try our best to alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas each year with both sets of families. As of now, this works for us. :)

Megan and Mike (of The Fresh Exchange), by Brett & Jessica

Have you and your husband started any new holiday traditions together?

Jacin: Yes! We both love the holidays so much. We have two favorite traditions. The first is an ornament exchange “game” we play during our Friendsgiving dinner (a big supper party we host two weeks before Thanksgiving with our local friends–this will be our seventh year, and we even have friends flying in from California to enjoy the festivities!). Everyone brings a wrapped ornament and we set a timer for a certain amount of time and take turns rolling dice. Every time someone rolls a 7, 11, or doubles, they get to take an ornament from anyone at the table. The game continues until time runs out, and it’s really fun to see everyone vying for the favorite ornament! Our other tradition involves one of our favorite things: champagne! During the tree trimming every year, we pop open a nice bottle of bubbles and put Charlie Brown Christmas on in the background. We save the muselet (cage), write the year underneath, and hang it on the tree! It’s always fun to find the cages in the ornament boxes to remind us of all our past tree trimmings (and bottles of champagne!).
Caitlin: We are eager to start new traditions this year, as it is our first Christmas as husband and wife! We got engaged last December right after we got our Christmas tree, so this will always be a very special time for us! We are hoping to cut down our tree this year and go out for lunch at our favorite Irish pub afterwards.
Megan: Getting married meant we were open to accepting the traditions both of our families have. I remember the first year I spent Christmas with his family in Texas–as a northern Michigan girl who never knew Christmas could happen without snow, it was a little difficult. Since then, I have come to enjoy that instead of making warm cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, we instead mix up fresh guacamole and margaritas. It is different, but for both of us, we know those are things that formed us into who we are and who we each fell in love with. I figure when we begin a family, we will begin to form more of our own traditions, but for now, our holidays are about experiencing each other’s traditions from growing up.
Juliet: We both have our own family traditions that we would love to continue in our marriage. Aside from those, every Christmas, we find one special memento or ornament to represent that year’s Christmas. Last year, it was a snow globe with the year carved on the bottom. It is something we will treasure for years to come, since it was the year we were married.
Alex: We started collecting colorful glass food ornaments for our tree. Trevor is a chef, and we both love to garden (and eat!), so it’s fun to have some of our favorite things on the tree. We even have a hamburger ornament!

Juliet (of Juliet Grace Design) and Dave (Dave Lapham Photography)

What do you eat for Christmas breakfast?

Jacin: My mom makes chocolate chip waffles and omelets or biscuits and gravy!
Caitlin: Oh boy! Usually a ton of coffee and some sort of breakfast casserole my parents have made. We usually spend the night at their house, even though we live 20 minutes away. There’s nothing like waking up with your family on Christmas morning!
Megan: Both of our families serve a big, warm breakfast. Mike’s family makes breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls, and my dad always makes french toast or pancakes with bacon. Oh, and of course, plenty of great coffee!
Juliet: We love to have an assortment of food to choose from–donuts, bagels, miniature egg frittatas…the list goes on and on. We have no limits when it comes to Christmas morning breakfast!
Alex: On Christmas morning, we usually eat a breakfast casserole. Christmas pajamas are a must!

Alex and Trevor, featured in V7, by Clark Brewer

Real or fake Christmas tree?

Jacin: Real! But we might snag an artificial tree to put in the front hallway this year–the first time we walked through our house, I was already plotting where to put the tree(s)! :)
Caitlin: Always real! I deal with cleaning up pine needles and wrestling with the stand for that wonderful scent!
Megan: I grew up with both. Mike always had a fake one, but I have such fond memories of living in Michigan, bundling up, going to the tree farm, and picking out our tree. My dad would even pull us in a wooden sled. Sure, real trees are a total mess, but the process of getting a tree feels so special. Now, living in North Carolina, I am trying to find a place to go and purchase our first tree in our new home so we can have this experience, and share it with our kids one day as well.
Juliet: It’s got to be real! We love hunting for the perfect tree together!
Alex: We definitely have a real tree! I put real greenery anywhere I can around the holidays!

We’d love to hear, what are your holiday plans? Any advice for newlyweds?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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