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A big part of setting my own wedding date was which flowers would be in season, and while I don’t know if Ashley and Shane planned this from the beginning, with that criteria in mind, they couldn’t have picked a more magical weekend to become husband and wife! These two met, fell in love, and tied the knot in our nation’s capital, and their wedding date landed exactly when the iconic Washington D.C. cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. With the help of their planner, A. Dominick Events, and their florist, Amaryllis Inc., they fully embraced the opportunity to incorporate these seasonal blooms into their day. The results included one of the most incredible ceremony set-ups I have ever seen, as well as some of the prettiest portraits!

We were so thrilled to include Ashley and Shane in V8–thanks so much to Abby Jiu for sharing their special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on at the first bridal salon I visited! I had my dress customized by the designer, Modern Trousseau. I loved everything about it!

Our wedding was a spring wedding in Washington, D.C. It occurred the weekend that the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. We held our ceremony and reception at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. It started at 5:30 p.m. and the attire was black-tie optional.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a religious ceremony officiated by Reverend Jeff Mazal. We opted to use traditional vows, and reciting them was the most special part of the ceremony. We also had a wine box ceremony at our wedding, which we loved. Our guests seemed to enjoy it too.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We had a string quartet, Pop Culture Strings, perform the music for our ceremony. For the processional, they played “What a Wonderful World.” I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D.” Our recessional song was “We Found Love” by Rihanna.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The décor of the ceremony. The cherry blossom-lined aisle made walking down the aisle to Shane more magical than I could have ever imagined.

For the ceremony and reception decor, we chose to focus on modern elements with accents of lush, seasonal florals in shades of pink. The guests were greeted with an escort card display of lucite tables featuring pale pink roses, cherry blossoms, and orchids. The modern aspects of the lucite provided a striking contrast to the stone entryway of the historic venue. At the ceremony, we used lucite chairs, and a breathtaking aisle was created out of cherry blossom branches sitting on pale pink boxes. As the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the ceremony space was transformed and transitioned to deeper shades of pink. The patterned navy linens tied back to the wedding invitations, while the pops of pink in the table arrangements and napkins brought a fun punch to the otherwise gray room.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? I was not a bride who came in with a list of the kinds of flowers that she had to have at her wedding. I knew that I wanted a lot of pink florals, but that was it! I really trusted our florist, Amaryllis, to create beautiful arrangements based on my taste. They did an amazing job! My bouquet was made of garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, lisianthus, and gloriosa lilies. The bridesmaid bouquets included softer colors than the bridal bouquet, and featured pale pink garden roses and a touch of dusty miller.

We had a sit-down dinner that started with a wonderful spring salad, follow by a surf-and-turf entrée. We served a petite filet mignon and a crab cake. Following dinner, we had dessert and cookie tables that guests were able to choose from. The caterers also passed around some late-night snacks, which our friends loved after working up their appetites on the dance floor. The late night snacks included french fries, beef sliders, and mini pizzas.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We could not decide on just one flavor for our wedding cake, so we had three: carrot cake, a traditional buttercream cake, and chocolate truffle.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. When you ask either of us how we met, we generally reply with a chuckle and say “at a bar.” In 2010, Shane was working part-time as a DJ at a bar in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown in D.C. I was at the bar for a friend’s birthday celebration. Shane struck up a conversation and we hit it off immediately.
Describe the proposal: Shane knew only one thing about how he wanted to propose: he wanted it to be a surprise. He proposed on May 25, 2014. The weeks prior had been full of excitement–we spent a week in the Dominican Republic, Shane graduated from George Washington University, and almost all of his immediate family came to town to visit for his graduation festivities! I was hoping a proposal would happen at one of those events, but it didn’t. A week after Shane’s graduation, one of my best friends, Sara, came home for a visit. Sara wanted to spend some time outside of the National Cathedral (we both had attended and graduated from the National Cathedral School for Girls). I thought this was a great idea and tried to convince Shane to come along. He appeared to be a bit uninterested, but eventually obliged. We all spent about an hour walking through the Cathedral and pointing out our favorite stained glass windows, and walking around the grounds and down into the chapels. Our last stop was the Bishop’s Garden, which is one of my favorite places. By this time, I was ready to leave so we could get home to prepare for a cookout we were hosting that night. However, Shane insisted that we sit and enjoy the garden for a while longer, so we found a spot in the grass. It was then that Shane pulled the engagement ring out of his pocket and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said yes!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Energetic, joyful, fun
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? Shane found it difficult to pick his most memorable or touching moment of the wedding day, but he would say it was a tie between walking back up the aisle with me after the ceremony and the toasts. For me, the most touching moment was when Shane recited our vows.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? All of the guests at our wedding are extremely important to us. However, our most special guest was my 90-year-old grandmother. It was such a blessing to have her share our special day with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? Shane is beginning graduate school in the fall. We are going to work to become established in our careers and build a strong foundation for our marriage.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner. It was the best decision we made and truly helped us enjoy the process.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: The best advice we received during the wedding celebration was to take a few minutes to appreciate and process what’s happening around us on our wedding day. It is one of the only days of your life when all of your friends and family will be in the same place. Enjoy it!

Photographer: Abby Jiu | Videographer: Blue Sky Films | Planner: A. Dominick Events | Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium | Florals: Amaryllis, Inc. | Caterer: Design Cuisine | Cake Baker: Kendall’s Cakes | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Jewelry: David Yurman | Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale | Hair Stylist: Decade Hair Design | Makeup Artist: Nour Kazoun | Groom’s Tuxedo: Alton Lane | Groom’s Shoes: Paul Parkman | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Ties: The Tie Bar | Paper Goods: Cheree Berry Paper | Rentals: Party Rental and DC Rental | Linens: La Tavola | Transportation: Atlantic | Lighting: Frosting Lighting | Officiant: Rev. Jeff Mazal of Weddings by Jeff | Valet: MJ Valet | A Capella Choir: Hullabahoos | Pop Tarts: Ted’s Bulletin | Chocolates: Historical Chocolate Company | Champagne Splits: Personal Wine | Welcome Bags: Wedding Chicks | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | String Quartet: Pop Culture Strings | Band: Sound Connections | Escort Cards: Lettering by Lynne

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    The cherry blossoms are to die for in this design, I love how they incorporated it in their photos outside and then brought it inside, genius! Also, how adorable is this couple?

  2. avatar April reply

    What a beautiful wedding! All of the details are carefully thought out. It’s almost as breathtaking as the bride herself.

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Hi belles! Our friend and former Southern Weddings intern Jessica Clinch is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Jessica will be blogging for us once a month until her wedding next May. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Now that we have all of our big vendors and our venue selected, it’s time to start deciding on the fun details for our wedding! Before we get into the more elaborate design elements, let’s first chat about the most basic, yet crucial, detail: our color palette!

Deciding on a palette was actually a bit easier than I expected: we simply chose our favorite colors! My favorites are pink and gold, and Zack’s is blue. From there, we narrowed our focus and chose specific shades within that palette: blush and fuchsia for me, and navy (a great classic choice!) for Zack.

During our initial design-planning meeting with the Rebecca Rose Events team, we sifted through a variety of linen swatches to choose colors and patterns we loved. While we are keeping the colors above as our core colors, we also discovered that we really loved the look of incorporating accent tones of soft grey, French blue, and peach into our palette. I know that might sound like an overload of colors, but I promise it is going to be so beautiful!

Now that we have our color palette determined, we have had fun going through different ways to incorporate it into our wedding details! One of the most exciting (at least for me!) ways to do this has been gathering inspiration for our bridal party attire.

Photo on left by Erich McVey via Wedding Chicks

Zack almost immediately knew what he wanted his groomsmen to wear for our wedding. Since navy is one of our main wedding colors, it made sense for the groomsmen to be in navy suits! He really likes the look of a classic white oxford for his groomsmen, with blush ties to tie the look together. We both agreed that brown shoes would look the most dapper to finish things off. He might be switching it up and doing something a little bit different for his look, but we’re keeping that part as much a secret as my wedding dress!

I didn’t personally have as clear a vision for my ladies, however. Zack and I agreed that blush dresses would be best, since they would pop nicely against the groomsmen’s navy suits. I also knew I loved the look of mismatched bridesmaid dresses, and hoped to find dresses that flattered each of my gals’ body types and style preferences. My biggest dilemma was choosing between long and short dresses.

Since we are getting married in May, my first thought was to have them wear short dresses, since it might be warm (and I want them to be as comfortable as possible!). But, I also adore the femininity of long dresses; the silhouettes they create are so flowy and beautiful, and I want my ladies to feel their most gorgeous on our big day!

I talked through my ideas with our planners, and Becca recommended long bridesmaid dresses for a number of reasons. Most of my bridesmaids are either a bit on the short side, or a bit on the tall side. So, if they were to all be wearing short dresses, their hemlines would fall at varying heights when they were standing next to each other for pictures. I hadn’t even thought about this, but Becca pointed out that having all of my bridesmaids in long dresses would make everything look more cohesive in our wedding photos, which is important since they will be wearing different styles of dresses! She also mentioned how beautifully Perry Vaile captures the flow and movement of long dresses, which is one of the things that attracted me most to her photography.

With that decision made, it was really time to have fun browsing online for beautiful bridesmaids dresses! I adore a mix of soft romantic silhouettes and modern details (think sequins, tulle, and petals!), and quickly fell in love with the dresses from BHLDN and from designer Adrianna Papell. I hope my ladies love these looks as well! I know they are going to look gorgeous for our outdoor spring wedding.

Friends, I’d love to know: where did you have the best luck finding beautiful and unique bridesmaids dresses? Did you shop local at boutiques, or online at your favorite stores or larger shops that carry bridesmaids dresses?

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar Erin reply

    Does anyone know where this tie is from or what brand it is? I’ve been looking for something just like this and haven’t had any success. Thanks!

  2. avatar Tina Barker reply

    Love the suit, what store or website is it from? And the tie also… Thanks

  3. avatar Matthew Cummins reply

    Hey! We came across your story through Pinterest, and we loveeee the tie Zac wore for your wedding. My fiancée and I are getting married in May and literally want that exact tie for my suit. We’d really appreciate any suggestions on where to get it. Thanks!

    • avatar Sahil Tyagi reply

      Hello Matthew!

      I also love the tie. Did you ever get a response?

      Thanks!

  4. avatar Sahil Tyagi reply

    Hi!

    I love the look of the groomsmen. I was looking at something similar for my prom! Where did they get their blush pink ties from? Was it somewhere online?

    Thanks!

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Last weekend, Lisa and I had a conversation about wedding photographs. BDK and I will be celebrating seven years of marriage this year, and I remember remarking to Lisa that when I look at the photos from my wedding day, they instantly give me a rush of those sweet feelings and memories. I’m sure Kalie and Bradford will feel the same way when they look back at these beautiful images, especially since their photographer, Annamarie Akins, is also a dear friend of the groom! Kalie said Annamarie “perfectly captured all the details and happiness of the day.” And what beautiful details there were–Stephanie at Viva L’Event turned the already lovely Merrimon-Wynne into the sweet celebration of Southern hospitality that Kalie and Bradford dreamed of.

Big hugs to Annamarie Akins for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My blue was my shoes, old was the diamonds in my wedding band (they were my great-grandmother’s), borrowed was a ring I wore during the ceremony from my matron of honor, and new was pretty much everything else!

I wanted the experience of finding my wedding dress to be a special one shared between just me and my mom. I had just under six months to get a dress ordered, so we drove down to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta the weekend after I got engaged. I knew I wanted my dress to be unique, but still very much feel like a wedding gown. Most importantly, I wanted the dress to have texture. It only took three dresses before I found the right one. I knew almost immediately, and by the time they added the veil and belt, I was certain.

One of the great things about having Stephanie as a wedding planner was that she was also my florist. She knew how to incorporate the flowers seamlessly into the overall design. I knew that I wanted the flowers to look soft and romantic, with a pop of color. We decided to go with lots of white and blush in my bouquet, and Stephanie added unique touches likes gold ferns, anemones, and ribbons. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are both pretty traditional, and one of the things I had always looked forward to most on my wedding day was the moment when we both saw each other for the first time. As it turned out, the look on his face as I walked down the aisle was absolutely priceless, and I am so glad we decided to wait.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Bradford surprised me during our ceremony by playing and singing a song called “Dancing in the Minefields.” He looked into my eyes, and I know I will never forget the sincerity with which he sang those lyrics. There may have been a lot of guests there, but in that moment, it was just the two of us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew that I wanted the venue to have some Southern charm and a plantation feel, but I didn’t want to ask our guests to drive a long way from the city. The Merrimon-Wynne had everything I was looking for, and was perfectly located right in the heart of Raleigh. An added perk was that they had a space for the ceremony and reception, so I was thankful our guests wouldn’t have to get back into their cars and drive to another location.

Our venue was very Southern, and that charm was one of the things that immediately drew me in. Our food was delicious and Southern-inspired–during cocktail hour, guests enjoyed country ham biscuits, crab cakes, and a few other yummy choices. We did stations for dinner, which gave everyone so many options. We had a macaroni and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, pecan-crusted chicken, and beef tenderloin.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Annamarie was not only our amazing wedding photographer, she has also been one of Bradford’s good friends since high school, and her husband was a groomsman. Having her there photographing our wedding day was extra special. I loved that she was there to both take photos and to genuinely partake in all the joy that day held. The photographs she took are incredible and so perfectly capture all the details and happiness of the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were introduced by a mutual friend. She was a co-worker of mine and attended the church where Bradford led worship. Bradford and I had only talked briefly when he asked me to dinner. Our first date was full of laughter and great conversation, and by the time we finished our frozen yogurt, we both knew that this was something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Bradford surprised me one Saturday with a trip to the aquarium. I had a wonderful time, but looking back, I realize how nervous Bradford was–I’m sure he wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as I was! Later in the afternoon, we walked down to a pond a little ways from the aquarium. After some walking, we sat down at a picnic table nestled in some trees. It only took a few words before I knew what was happening. After I said yes, I was surprised to find out that my future sister-in-law and good friend had been there all along, taking pictures. We headed back toward home, where Bradford had gathered all our family members and friends to celebrate with us. It meant the world to me to get to share that special time with so many of our favorite people!
When did y’all get married? November 15, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Bradford is a musician, so the music was extremely important to both of us. He actually wrote the music that I walked down the aisle to, which was one of my favorite details of the wedding and something I will always cherish. He titled it “Mentre Aspetto,” which means “As I Wait” in Italian. We walked back up the aisle to “White Dress” by Ben Rector, which felt very appropriate for the moment. Our first dance was also to a Ben Rector song, “Forever Like That.” Bradford recorded a version for our first Valentine’s Day together, and it just made sense that it would be the first song we danced to as husband and wife.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are extremely blessed to have incredibly supportive family and friends and to be a part of a wonderful church community. We looked to them for advice and guidance, and we worked through a premarital book together. We also made sure that we took time to step away from all the wedding planning and events to focus on us, as that would be what mattered long after the wedding was over.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? For now, we have settled down in Durham, North Carolina with our sweet pup, Harper, and have been loving the first few months of married life. We are eager to see what is next for us, and there’s comfort and excitement in knowing that whatever is next, we’re in it together.

Photographer: Annamarie Akins / Planner and Florist: Stephanie Cisko of Viva L’Event NC / Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House / Cake Baker: Edible Art Bakery / Caterer: Beau Catering / Rentals and Lighting: CE Rental and Party Reflections / DJ: Mitch Woodward of Joe Bunn DJ Company / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Bijou” by Amsale / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Veil and Belt: Bridals by Lori / Bracelet: Kate Spade / Earrings: Nadri / Hair and Makeup Stylist: Makeup by Ashley Mooney / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos A. Bank

Joe Bunn DJ Company is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Annamarie reply

    Thank you so much for the beautiful feature! This was such a perfect day!

  2. avatar Bradford Mitchell reply

    Thanks for featuring our wedding! You had typed that my wife’s name is Katie. That’s my sister’s naming funny enough. Also. I would not have agreed to a navy and pink wedding. Kalie told it was blush? She must have tricked me. She’s a devious one that Kalie.

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you both so much for sharing your love story and your beautiful wedding with us!
      P.S. So sorry for the typo–it’s been fixed! :)

  3. avatar Viva L'Event NC reply

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