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Bride Bethann shares her magical garden wedding at Keswick Vineyards!

I am delighted to introduce you to today’s bride, Bethann! While I am admittedly not a flower person myself, Bethann sure is, and she knew she wanted the flowers at her Virginia wedding to have a “wow factor.” Southern Blooms sure delivered — I would even venture to say Bethann and Graham’s wedding has me reconsidering just how lovely blooms can be! I think the addition of lush florals perfectly complimented the gorgeous backdrop of Keswick Vineyards, wouldn’t you agree? Of course, Bethann’s silk Temperley London gown (a completely different choice than she had imagined herself wearing!) simply added to the magical combination.

Thanks to Rachel May for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. After years of unsuccessful dating, we decided to give online dating a try and had an instant match!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were on vacation in Kill Devil Hills, NC and Graham insisted we wake up early our first morning there to watch the sunrise. I was somewhat suspicious, as Graham is not a morning person, and he jumped out of bed at 5:30am when the alarm went off! We took our two dogs for a walk along the beach and right after sunrise, Graham got down on one knee and proposed!

I really struggled with the idea of doing a first look, but ultimately decided to and am so glad we did! I had always dreamed about walking down the aisle and watching my soon-to-be husband’s expression as he saw me in my wedding dress for the first time. I was afraid the first look would take away from that, but it didn’t. My photographer was able to capture me walking up to Graham, tapping him on the back, and him turning around to see me. It was a magical moment and she was able to capture it all. We were also able to complete our bridal party photos prior to the ceremony, which allowed for us to head straight to cocktail hour after the ceremony and enjoy more time with our guests.

Exactly one month prior to our wedding date, we buried a bottle of bourbon upside down at Keswick Vineyards, which we then dug up prior to our ceremony. This tradition definitely worked, because we had the most beautiful, sunny day! It was also important for me to wear my mother’s veil and also my paternal grandmother’s engagement ring. My grandmother passed away in 1995 and I was very close to her. Wearing her ring on my wedding day was a tangible reminder that she was there with me on such an important day. Graham and I also chose to write letters to one another and exchange gifts prior to our first look. He had a sterling silver necklace made with my new married monogram and also gave me a pair of diamond earrings. I gifted Graham a new watch.

My mom, matron-of-honor, and her mother accompanied me in Georgetown for a day of dress shopping. I had always envisioned an A-line, lace dress but also wanted to wear something different that I had never seen on another bride. My matron-of-honor’s mother, Angie Cavallaro, was well-known (she’s now retired) in the Northern Virginia/DC area for her bridal alterations, and suggested I try on a more form fitting dress. It was my last appointment of the day and the store was featuring a trunk show for Temperley London. I selected a silk, draped bodice v-neck dress with flutter sleeves and open shoulders (definitely not A-line or lace) and cried as soon as I put it on. I just knew it was my dress!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Graham and I are wine club members at Keswick Vineyards and spend a lot of our spare time there. The winery has a fenced in area specifically for dogs, so we’ve always enjoyed taking our two dogs and allowing them to play while we do a wine tasting and enjoy the scenery. Additionally, I would take Route 231 traveling back and forth to college and would drive past Keswick Vineyards. I remember thinking to myself at the time that Edgewood Estate at Keswick Vineyards was gorgeous, and that one day I wanted to be married there!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? We did not write our own vows but instead combined a couple options our officiant provided us. My favorite phrase from our vows was, “I will celebrate your joys and victories and rejoice in your achievements.” It is so easy to become selfish in a relationship and only focus on your own feelings, and this verse is a reminder to also continuously praise and support my husband’s achievements. We also chose two readings. Graham’s cousin read an excerpt from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernieres and my good friend read Colossians 3:12-17.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We used a string quartet during our ceremony. Bach’s Air was played for the wedding party entrance. Pachelbel’s Canon was played during the processional. I have always loved both of these pieces, and it was an easy decision to incorporate both into the ceremony. For the recessional we chose the Beatles “All You Need Is Love.” Both of us grew up listening to the Beatles, and agreed that this would be such a fun way to exit the ceremony as husband and wife! For our first dance we chose Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing.”

For cocktail hour, we had a custom signature cocktail sign made with drawings of our two dogs. The “Roo” was Graham’s signature drink – an old fashioned – and the “Lula” was my signature drink – a classic mojito. For the reception, I wanted the flowers to be the wow factor. We had a ladder suspended horizontally over our head table and our florist decorated it with greenery, flowers, vines, and hanging prism lanterns. We felt as if we were sitting underneath our own little magical garden!

When did y’all get married? August 19, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I really enjoyed the wedding planning process and the many occasions it allowed for us to share with family and friends. From the food tasting with our parents, to bridesmaid dress shopping with my bridal party, we really enjoyed the time spent with loved ones.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I absolutely love flowers and knew from the start they would be one of the most expensive costs of the day. I price shopped a few different florists and also incorporated a lot of greenery in the bouquets and centerpieces to cut costs. We also brought a ton of plastic containers so we could take the majority of the flowers home the day after the wedding. Additionally, we felt that having quality photos was more important than spending money on a videographer. While it would have been nice to have our wedding day captured on video, it was an easy decision to save money by not using a videographer and instead using the best photographer!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? In addition to doing a first look with Graham, I also did a first look with my father. I am a daddy’s girl and extremely close to my father, so it was important to incorporate this before he walked me down the aisle.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? With the popularity of social media and sites like Pinterest, it is very easy to become overwhelmed with so many wedding ideas. Stay true to yourself and what is important to you and your groom. While the options are fun, you don’t have to have the photo booth or food truck at your reception if you don’t want to!

Photographer: Rachel May Photography | Venue and Day-of coordinator: Keswick Vineyards | Florist: Southern Blooms | Wedding Cake Baker: Cakes by Rachel | Caterer: C&O Restaurant | Rentals: MS Events | Lighting: Skyline Tent Company | DJ:
DJ Dennis Payne | Welcome sign: Oaky Designs | Signature drink sign: GG Prints | Paper products: Papetrie Fine Stationery and Gifts | Bride’s gown: “Tabitha” by Temperley London | Bride’s jewelry: Ti Adoro from Lovely Bride | Hair stylist and makeup artist: Avenue 42 | Bride’s shoes: “Abigail” in blush by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid dresses: “Parker Long” and “Catherine Long” in Tiny Dancer by Ceremony by Joanna August | Groom and groomsmen suits: Custom from Indochino | Custom cookies: Sweet Bella Bakery | Ceremony and cocktail hour music: Encore String Quartet

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Jeremy Wong reply

    Yeh so these wedding photos are seriously gorgeous!

  2. avatar Rachel May reply

    Thank you so much for the feature! It was a joy to work with Bethann & Graham and I’m thrilled to see their wedding highlighted on the SW blog!

  3. avatar Colleen reply

    Hi! I’m not trying to not pick, but in your first sentence you said that this is at Keswick Hall, but it’s at Keswick Vineyards. Love your blog!

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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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