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You could say that Southern is in the details. One look at Rachel + Jeffrey’s V4 wedding can tell you that they’re true Southerners! Rachel rocks lace and hair bump like a true deb. However, we like to think that Southern is in the stories, and R + J’s wedding is full of those, too. We just love that Rachel wanted her wedding to be the first in many family traditions, that she chose to wrap her bouquet in lace from her mother’s wedding gown and that at their ceremony, love letters exchanged during her grandparent’s WWII romance were read. (Here’s a warning to break out the tissue for that one.)

Yes, these photos from Adam Barnes are positively gorgeous (who could resist that pink and gold reception?), but it’s so much better knowing how much thought Rachel + Jeffrey put into their big day.

Haven’t picked up your own copy of V4 yet? You can do so here to see all the details from Rachel + Jeffrey’s wedding, plus much more Southern goodness!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew that I wanted to find a dress that was timeless, one that I could look back on in 30 years and wouldn’t feel those pangs of regret about. We went and tried on a handful of dresses and I had thought I had found “the one.” When we went back to try it on a couple of weeks later, I saw a gown in the window that had just gotten in that week. I decided to try that one on, just to see if I liked it as much as the other gown. I loved it and everyone else was in agreement that this new dress was, in fact, “the dress.”
Describe your wedding flowers: Our flowers were simply grand! We wanted our flowers to be a mixture of different types, giving our bouquets lots of texture. I wanted to use flowers that were in season but I also wanted big, fluffy, voluminous flowers. Our ceremony flowers were a soft color palette of ivory, blush, apricot, peach fuzz, and buttercream. For our reception, we used the same flowers but in a brighter shades of pinks and peaches with lots of lush greenery. My bouquet was made ivory in color and made from loose fluffy flowers. It was tightly wrapped with a piece of fabric from my mother’s wedding dress and the lace from my mother’s veil.

Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. My father escorted me down the aisle to Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. We didn’t write our own vows because we wanted to use the traditional vows that have been used so many times before us. Our pastor did read from a series of letters that my grandparent’s exchanged during WWII and our favorite lines come from one of those letters. “November 2, 1945. I start writing to you and the first thing I know I get to thinking and dreaming of you and before long, I come to my senses and I find my dreams have gone on but my letter has not. And the dreams, well, Darling, they would be a little hard to put on paper because the words just do not seem to come, but you know the kind of dreams I mean – wonderful dreams of things past and better still, dreams of those things yet to come. They are the dreams I am looking forward to most anxiously.”

What was the design inspiration for your reception? We wanted our reception to feel like a true Southern celebration!! We knew we wanted a sit down dinner so we put a lot of emphasis on our tables. We designed our reception around the beautiful décor of the CCV including the two large fireplaces, the second floor balcony, the elegant crystal chandeliers, and the convenient outdoor and indoor space.
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: Instead of a traditional guest book, we had 5 bottles of champagne for guests to sign. They were for our first, fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth, and fiftieth wedding anniversary and guests were urged to sign the bottles with a gold paint pen. For escort cards, we used mason jars that had their seating assignments written on pink tags tied in ivory ribbon and adorned with gray and white barber striped straws. Instead of traditional place cards, we had our guests names printed on the top of their menu cards and we had table tents with whimsical imagery of a pig, seashell, and an ear of corn to signify our guests entrée selection. Each table was named after one of our favorite restaurants that had a special meaning to us. Our head table was named “Metro Grill” after the restaurant we met at.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? We incorporated all of the things that are special to us as a couple, the drinks we like to drink, the food we like to eat, our favorite colors, our favorite restaurants, our favorite city, our favorite music, etc. and found a way to bring them to life in a way that was not only cohesive but elegant. It was about finding a way to take the things we love and using them in a way that made sense for our wedding.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. (From the groom) Rachel and I met at one of our favorite Richmond bars. She caught my eye several times and to this day, I can remember exactly what she was wearing. Our paths crossed several times throughout the course of the night. Finally, before I was getting ready to leave, I asked for her number. I called her the next day, the day after that, the day after that, and the rest is history.
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) Rachel’s dog, Buttons has always been a special part of our lives. I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate Buttons into our proposal. One morning I tied the engagement ring to a bow on Button’s fluffy head. Rachel was getting ready to take Buttons out for a walk and was surprised and elated to find the ring. I asked and Rachel immediately said yes.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, romantic, and whimsical.
How many guests attended your wedding? 174 of our closest family and friends
Favorite design element of your big day: I toyed with the idea of incorporating a monogram or signature and I really liked the idea of incorporating a bee. I love symbolism behind the bee. A single bee can accomplish very little alone but together, bees can accomplish great tasks. To us, a bee was a metaphor for a good marriage; it symbolizes the importance of working together while enjoying the sweetness of life. Our design team helped us create our own bee that was whimsical and unique to us. Our bee took on a life of his own influencing our design and earning himself the name “Reginald”.
Describe your wedding cake: We opted for a more contemporary style of wedding cake that was tall and skinny. Our wedding cake was five layers with three different flavors and traditional buttercream icing. We each picked our favorite flavor (strawberry and cream for Jeff and almond pound cake with raspberry jelly for me) and selected a flavor we thought our guests would enjoy (carrot cake). It was delicious!
What were some of the highlights? The trolley ride over to the reception was one of our favorite moments. Our bridal party really let loose and enjoyed themselves with cans of Sofia Sparkling Wine and a bullhorn. The heartfelt toasts that came from my father, Jeff’s father, and my sister were some of the best toasts I have ever heard and they warmed our hearts. We loved being able to sit down and have dinner with our family because it allowed us to share this special moment with our newly merged families.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Hire a wedding planner. I know a lot of brides are hesitant to enlist the help of a planner, but even if you just hire a day-of coordinator, it’s money well spent. Over the years, the number one regret I have heard from my friends was that they didn’t hire a planner because they weren’t able to relax on their wedding day. Spend the money on a good photographer that you both love and trust. Those special moments happen so fast and you want to trust that they are being captured for you. Unfortunately there are no redo’s when it comes to weddings. Enjoy it. Our engagement and wedding day went by in the blink of the eye. It is such a special time in your lives and you should spend the time celebrating and not stressing about the wedding plans. It all comes together in the end.
Most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. My bridesmaid and longtime friend, Bree said, “All of these people are here for you.” Looking back, it means so much more than it did at the time she said it. When you reflect on all of the people that are there to celebrate with you out of the love they share for the bride and groom, it is overwhelming.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to spending our lives together and enjoying the simple things and each another’s company. Going out to dinner, the movies, trips to the river, picnics, and parties. We hope to one day have a family but for now we are focusing on decorating our first home and spending each day together.

Photographer: Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography // Planner: Fete Studio and Design // Designer: Fete Studio and Design // Ceremony Venue: St. John’s United Church of Christ // Reception Venue: The Country Club of Virginia // Florist: Flower Girls Inc. // Wedding Cake Baker: The Country Club of Virginia // Caterer: The Country Club of Virginia // Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale // Bride’s Dress: Paloma Blanca // Bride’s Reception Dress: LulaKate // Hair Stylist: Lou Stevens Glam Squad // Makeup Artist: Lou Stevens Glam Squad // Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade // Bride’s Jewelry: Carolee // Bride’s Veil: Paris Hair Accessories // Bride’s Reception Hair Piece: // Bride’s Other Accessories: Monogrammed Jack Rogers, blue silk purse by Davie & Chiyo // Groom’s Fashion: Calvin Klein // Groomsmen Fashion: Calvin Klein // Custom Bowties: Lumina Clothing Company // Paper Goods: Fete Studio and Design // Rentals: Classic Party Rentals // Linens: La Tavola Linen // Lighting: Blue Steel Pro Lighting // Ring Bearer Pillow:Violets Etc. // Reception Décor: Banner by Custom Calligraphy by Carmela Mazzarulli, straws, “Just Married” sign, and pom pom garland by Violets Etc. // Favors: eBee Honey // Strings: Silverleaf String Quartet // Band: Another Level via Sam Hill Entertainment

Adam Barnes is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Want more? We think you’ll love these, too:
Britt + Heath’s glam ballroom wedding here and here
Samantha + Graham’s pink North Carolina wedding here and here

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Ashley Pepitone reply

    This is so insanely gorgeous. That CAKE! I love!!!

  2. avatar molly reply

    wow. stunning! just stunning! so classic and romantic

  3. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    Love this wedding! The reception decor is absolutely gorgeous, and oh my goodness, can we talk about that cake?!

  4. avatar Wedding Planning | Open Bar vs. Cash Bar | Heart Love Weddings reply

    […] Photo by Adam Barnes via Southern Weddings […]

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    […] To see more of Rachel and Jeff’s Wedding Visit Southern Weddings Magazine Blog. […]

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    […] Photo by Adam Barnes, via Southern Weddings […]

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