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Reading through Bonnie and Quentin’s interview, I kept thinking, “It was meant to be!” So many pieces of their love story and their sweet Virginia wedding came together in such a way that neither of them could have planned better–the fact that they met in the bar Bonnie’s dad had helped build years before, or that Bonnie’s dress is called “Dahlia” and she carried a gorgeous bouquet of the same bloom, for example. That’s not to say that everything was perfect along the way–no wedding ever is–but with such a firm foundation in place, Bonnie and Quentin were able to make the best of every moment (including an unexpected tornado warning in the middle of their reception!).

Thanks so much to Katie Nesbitt for sharing this lovely day with us!

Finding and working with Carly Reed Designs on the invitations and other paper elements was my favorite part of planning the wedding. After a few months of searching many invitation websites and stores, I was at a loss on what I wanted. There were certainly invitations I liked, but nothing that really felt like us. When I found Carly and saw that she also lived in Richmond, I knew I had to work with her! Going through the custom invitation design process was so much fun! Carly was extremely patient with me while we went through the process and allowed me to be as nit-picky as I wanted to be. I heard from many guests that they often have a “meh” attitude when they receive invitations, but they loved ours!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were somewhat of a surprise– intentionally! Our florist is a farmer florist, so they couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to produce or sustainably procure specific flowers. I had requested peonies or dahlias, and we were lucky to get gorgeous, large dahlias. I was so pleased with how all the flowers turned out. The selection and the colors fit our wedding perfectly.

Our families had collectively visited 32 venues all across Virginia before we found Riverside on the Potomac! We were still living in New York City when we first got engaged, so we were reliant on reports from our parents. When my parents found Riverside on the Potomac and sent me the pictures, we knew it was perfect.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We opted to do a first look and we are so glad we did. This allowed us time to do formal pictures with our wedding party and each other that otherwise would have been stolen from the cocktail hour (or not taken at all!). The best part about doing a first look was that it totally calmed both of our nerves. I think this may have made the ceremony even more special, since rather than me being an emotional basket case, we were able to be calm and focus on soaking in the words we were saying and the moments.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The week before the wedding, I lost the earrings I was planning to wear. Luckily, one of my bridesmaids owned the same pair, so I just borrowed hers! My underwear was blue. I wore my mother’s veil as my something old, which was so special I really loved the way it made my otherwise-simple attire much more formal and bridal for the ceremony. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to use it since it had yellowed over the years, but after a little TLC with OxyClean and bleach, it ended up looking much better than expected. My shoes and dress were new.

On the day of the wedding, there was a potential for thunderstorms leading up to the ceremony time. The weather held out for the first look, pictures, ceremony, and cocktail hour, but right as we were lining up for the introduction at the reception, it began to pour. Since everything was inside from there on out, we thought we were in the clear! A few minutes after we sat down to eat, we began to hear the lovely noise phones make when there is a weather alert in the area. There were hushed whispers of a tornado warning, but no one was quite sure what to do. This is northern Virginia–we don’t typically get tornadoes! After a few minutes, I noticed my dad fumbling trying to turn the music off to make an announcement. I got up to help and ended up making the announcement that we needed to evacuate to the basement! How many brides have had to do that? Everyone made their way downstairs, drinks in hand. Luckily the “basement” was really renovated horse stalls with nice chairs and tables set up (we had even had our rehearsal dinner in the space!). The guests thought it was so fun and exciting (particularly since we were safely in a basement). It ended up being perfect for mingling with everyone, and we got some great pictures. While we would have preferred if this hadn’t happened, we think we made the best of it. All our guests said this would be a wedding they would never forget!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended Virginia Tech and met during our last year in Blacksburg, even though we lived next door to each other for a year prior to meeting. We met one night in September at the famous TOTS (Top of the Stairs) bar in Blacksburg. My dad helped build the bar while working there back in the ’70s. Mutual friends began talking that night, and we locked eyes. The next July, Quentin followed me to New York City.
Tell us all about the proposal! We both love New Orleans, and Quentin considers it a far more romantic place than New York. We were there during Jazz Fest, and on our last day, we took a long walk to brunch. Quentin took us on a scenic detour to a nearby park that he had previously scouted. He asked me to sit on one of those amazing, swooping, curvy New Orleans oak trees so he could take my picture, and then instead of whipping out a camera from his backpack, he went for the ring. He grabbed the wrong hand, because even after dating someone for five and a half years, that moment can make your knees weak! Of course, I said, “Yes!”
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 158
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was an intensive process. After the ninth store, I knew I needed to find someone who carried the Blush by Hayley Paige dress I had been eyeing online for months. I was lucky enough to get in touch with the lovely ladies at Pure English Bridal, and while they didn’t carry the exact dress, they were more than willing to have the sample shipped to their store. After some failed attempts with other stores to get the dress, I knew they were truly going above and beyond. As soon as I saw the dress, I knew I was going to get it. I hadn’t tried on anything similar anywhere else, and I loved the simple design with the light Swiss dot fabric. It proved to be the perfect dress for a hot and humid June day in Virginia.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Unfortunately, neither of us even saw the wedding cake or dessert table at the wedding! With the tornado warning and evacuation, there was just too much going on. We ended up cutting the cake the next evening at my parents’ house before we departed for the honeymoon.

Photographer: Katie Nesbitt Photography / Planner: Just a Little Ditty / Venue: Riverside on the Potomac / Florist: LynnVale Studios / Caterer and Cake: Main Event Caterers / Band: Adrian Duke Project / Paper Products: Carly Reed Designs / Bride’s Gown: “Dahlia” by Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Shoes and Earrings: J.Crew / Hair and Makeup: Creative Images / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elsa” in Leaver’s Lace by J.Crew / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Invitation Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Katie / Escort Cards and Signage: Letterally Crafts

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    One of the best things about weddings is their ability to take people away from their everyday lives, inviting them into the most special moments of a couple’s story, and reminding them that what truly matters, more than anything else, is love and family. This was certainly the case at Anne Sydney and Jesse’s wedding, where they literally transported their guests up a mountain, overlooking their beloved hometown. The setting was breathtaking, and dotted with sweet details in honor of their Kentucky roots, it was a magical place for these childhood sweethearts to celebrate their marriage!

    We’re so grateful that Melanie Mauer and Jaclyn Journey shared this gorgeous day with us in V7!

    Tell us all the basics of your wedding! The wedding was on June 29, 2013 at 5:30 P.M. at the First Baptist Church in Pikeville, Kentucky. The location was chosen because it was the church that we attended as children and both of our families were active in membership. We share many memories of our younger years there, as we participated in church plays, musicals, vacation Bible school, and other church-related activities together.

    Our welcome boxes for our guests included macarons, sour hard candies, and M&M’s, all in our wedding colors. We also included a fun folded map and directional guide, which also included information on local restaurants and other attractions. For logistical purposes, we had all the guests bused up to the mountain after the ceremony. We included custom-made “bus tickets” with the ceremony programs, proclaiming that it was “Time to Celebrate Y’all,” and that this was their “Ticket to Ride.”

    What was your favorite detail of the wedding? I was surrounded by ladies who played large roles at different stages in my life. Whether they were from high school, college, or my family, they were there to support me on the most important day of my life as my bridesmaids and maids and matrons of honor.

    We wanted the flowers to reflect the feeling of the event–classic, laid back, sweet, fun, and beautiful. We chose white and ivory garden roses and mixed in some pops of peaches and corals, plus some dusty miller and lamb’s ear to bring in the greyed jade tone of the bridesmaids’ dresses. We used ivory Jeanne Moreau garden roses, caramel antique garden roses, white ranunculus, peachy coral Romantic Antique garden roses, peach and coral ranunculus, peach Juliet David Austin garden roses, dusty miller, and white peonies.

    Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? From Jesse: My grandfather on my father’s side. The Saturday before, he had buried my grandmother and his wife of over 60 years. I knew he was still reeling from the loss, but his presence in the front row of the church was a reassuring presence on our big day.

    Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: While not planned to intentionally coincide, our wedding date was also my parents’ 39th anniversary. In addition, our rehearsal dinner and wedding ceremony were at the same country club and church where my parents tied the knot all those years ago. It was a special feeling to know that nearly 40 years ago to the day, my father and mother were standing in the same place, committing themselves to each other.

    The mountaintop venue inspired quite a lot of the design. We knew from the beginning that we wanted a sailcloth tent because we love the soft, illuminated feel that they bring. We had it set up at the edge of the mountain so that guests would have an incredible view. We wanted everything to feel soft, sweet, and classic. One of my favorite details was the custom wooden bars my brother-in-law built especially for our wedding. We also included a few pieces of polished coal on top of the bars, as well as affixing coal on push pins to secure the calligraphed seating charts to their display boards, as a nod to our Eastern Kentucky roots.

    Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We did! The all-female bluegrass band, Coaltown Dixie, provided the music for the al fresco, café-lit event, which was immediately next to the sailcloth tent, facing the town of Pikeville below.

    Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? My maternal grandmother made wedding mints for all her five children’s wedding receptions, as well as many other church weddings. It was fitting that a dear family friend used her recipe and made them for our wedding reception.

    Dinner was served once all guests had arrived at the reception site. The meal was fully prepared at the remote location by the caterer and was simply some of the best food that we have ever eaten. Next on the agenda was dancing under the tent to music by the Jump Street Band. They were fantastic, playing a mixture of old and new, fast and slow tunes, keeping the dance floor overflowing from the time they began playing until the night was done. Late in the evening, late night snacks of warm beignets and mini coffee milkshakes were passed to guests.

    After exiting the winding road to the beautiful mountaintop venue, we did not want the night to end yet, so we ended the evening by driving though our small hometown, being chauffeured by my father-in-law, reflecting on the tremendous day that we had just enjoyed.

    How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. From Jesse: It was so long ago that I’m not sure either of us truly remembers. Our families went to the same church when we were kids. We think our first meeting was in a children’s Sunday school class. In any event, Anne Sydney’s family moved into town when she was in 6th grade and we went to school together thereafter.
    Describe the proposal: From Jesse: It was the Thursday night before Memorial Day in 2012. We were planning to be apart that weekend so Anne Sydney could attend her friend’s bachelorette party. Little did she know, she wasn’t making the trip. In anticipation of our days apart, we had dinner at our favorite restaurant in downtown Lexington. My initial plan was to pop the question on our walk home from dinner down the historic and quaint South Mill Street. This idea was frustrated by the un-concealable size of the little blue box. Instead, we walked in the door to my home, and as Anne Sydney started up the stairs, I fell to a knee. The next morning, we traveled to the Greenbrier Resort to meet our parents and begin to plan for the great time ahead.
    Three adjectives that describe the day are: Magical, surreal, and breathtaking.
    How many guests attended your wedding? About 470
    What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Logistics–the site offering beautiful mountaintop views was not equipped with water, power, sewer, or any other modern convenience. The degree of planning to pull it off was immense. All of the needs of the over 450 guests had to be anticipated and provided for the 4+ hours that they were to be on the mountain celebrating with us. Luckily, my father is an engineer and was able to speak the language to the vendors and suppliers to pull off the event without a hitch.
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I, my mother, my future mother-in-law, and my mother’s best friend traveled to NYC for appointments. After numerous fittings and rejections at Kleinfeld, I reluctantly took the advice of the consultant assisting me and tried a strapless Peter Langner gown. At first sight of me wearing this dress, everyone in the traveling party said in unison that this was it!! We kept our other scheduled appointments and learned that Mark Ingram Atelier carried Peter Langner gowns. Late that night, my mother went online and discovered that Mark Ingram was currently hosting Langner’s trunk show. She called at the first opportunity the next day, scoring an appointment for that same day. We later discovered that it normally takes six months for an appointment at this salon. I knew at that point that this was the dress that was meant for me!!
    What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? During the planning process, be sure to spend time with each other and make an attempt to not discuss wedding plans! It’s difficult, but planning a large celebration can become very overwhelming and stressful, and it is easy to lose sight of the true purpose of the celebration!

    Photographer: Melanie Mauer / Videographer: Blueberry Creative / Planner: Weekend Wedding Warrior / Designer, Florist, and Decor: Jaclyn Journey / Ceremony Venue: First Baptist Church / Caterer: Apiary Fine Catering & Events / Cake Baker: Martine’s Pastries / Bride’s Gown: “Puccini” by Peter Langner / Bridal Salon: Mark Ingram Atelier /Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Earrings: Marco Bicego and “Paisley” by Justine M. Couture /Bride’s Veil: Peter Langner / Bridesmaid Dresses: “Kylie,” “Sinclair,” and “Louisa” in Dusty Shale by J. Crew / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Kendra Scott / Flower Girl Dress: Isabel Garreton / Guest Books and Pens: Blue Sky Papers / Ribbons: M & J Trimming and The Ribbon Jar / Vintage Postage: Verde Studio / Favors: The Little Candy Cake Company / Ceremony Music: Highland Chamber Players / Cocktail Hour Band: Coaltown Dixie / Reception Music: The Jump Street Band from East Coast Entertainment / Pyrotechnics: Louisville Wedding Fireworks / Hair Stylist: Justin Greer and Ryan Reeves of Lux Hair Bar / Makeup Artist: Ana Crane of Applied Cosmetic Services / Men’s Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Shirts: Brooks Brothers / Men’s Ties: Collared Greens / Paper Goods: Hound Dog Press / Calligrapher: Rachel Fisher Calligraphy / Rentals and Lighting: Camargo Rentals / Linens: La Tavola and Wildflower Linens / Transportation: Bluegrass Tours

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    4 Comments
    1. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

      Love the color palette! Great moments! Love the fireworks after the party!

    2. avatar melanie mauer reply

      this family is among the gems on the planet…it’s difficult to articulate *just* how amazing they are. and they’re humble about it. this day was nothing short of m-a-g-i-c – i’m so grateful to southern weddings for sharing it so other brides can be inspired! warmly, -melanie-

    3. avatar katie reply

      *teary eyed* how cute are they! what a memorable day :)

    4. avatar Fresh and unique spring wedding bouquet ideas for springtime brides – Wedding Party reply

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    Friends, if there is one thing you know about me, it’s that I love paper. Love it! One of the highlights of my professional career has been covering the National Stationery Show three times for y’all, and invitation samples are always placed on my desk in the office. So I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I was thinking about our wedding invitations from Day One!

    Actually, I suppose you could say I was thinking about our wedding invitations from Day One minus three years, because 2009 is when I fell in love with this invitation, a collaboration between I Am Always Hungry, Birdie Birdie, and Battery.

    My friend Emily Ley had warned me that this sort of invitation (particularly its light type on dark stock, which is nearly impossible to achieve with letterpress) would be very difficult to produce, so even though I dabble in graphic design, I knew that I would be enlisting professional help with this project.

    But which one? Throughout my time at Southern Weddings I’ve had the great privilege of working with so many talented paper artisans (for lack of a better term!), but two immediately stuck out in my mind as being a perfect fit for my and John’s style. The first was Jess from Magpie Paper Works, who I worked with on the Williamsburg shoot from V4. Jess created the custom wine labels and coasters, and even though it was a fairly small project, her cheerfulness, passion, and classic-with-a-twist style shone through.

    Let me tell y’all, I am SO happy I chose to work with Jess! She took my inspiration and delivered a final product that was more than I could have hoped for. Before I reveal our final invites, I thought it might be fun to see Jess’s first sketches and brainstorming board:

    So fun, right? Once Jess had fleshed out our design, it was time to bring in the second artisan I mentioned above. Y’all, I cannot say enough good things about Moya Minns of MM Ink. She has worked on countless SW projects, from the very first photo shoot I ever contributed to, to the Williamsburg shoot, to our first Fearrington shoot, to one of our cover finalists from V3. Her work is classically beautiful, but always with a little surprise twist. I love it so, so much.

    But enough chatter – let’s get to the real thing! Our invite, like my inspiration invite, was a trifold, and this is what guests saw when they pulled it out of the envelope:

    Jess hand-drew the little heart and the vine/boxwood pattern. Amazing!

    Open the next flap, and you’ll see this:

    Oh my goodness, y’all, that boxwood wreath (with the little heart worked in!!) combined with Moya’s calligraphy monogram? Be still my heart.

    Let’s take a closer look at that inner flap…

    Why, it’s a verse from one of our ceremony reading possibilities!

    At 9×18 inches when fully unfolded, our invitation certainly makes an impact. I can’t wait to frame this beauty and hang it in our home!

    Here’s a closer look at Moya’s amazing handiwork. I told her I was particularly a fan of her “Lola” and “Burgues” styles, and she kindly combined elements from both just for me. It only took her one try to knock it out of the park!

    Here’s the whole suite together:

    Though it doesn’t hold a candle to Moya’s work, I was pretty pleased with how my envelope addressing turned out. It sure gave me a renewed appreciation for professional calligraphers, though!

    So there you have it, friends! A look at our invites, which set the scene for our upcoming big day. I sure hope the actual celebration lives up to this teaser! :)

    Next time: A peek at a few of the DIY projects I’ve been working on!

    In case you missed a post…
    The main characters | Where we’re getting married | I go dress shopping | We choose a photographer | I ponder bridesmaid style | Mini food! | The music | We’re renting a tent! | We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres | We send out our save the dates | I gather hair and makeup inspiration | We talk cake and sweets | I introduce you to our videographer | We create a registry | We buy a tuxedo | We style a reception | I choose accessories | We take engagement photos! | We plan our ceremony | We discuss ceremony music and readings | We firm up wedding day details

    Moya Minns is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    emily Written with love by Emily
    8 Comments
    1. avatar Emily Alice reply

      I’m DYING over these, Emily! They’re sooo beautiful!

    2. avatar Moya Minns reply

      Emily, it was such a pleasure doing the calligraphy for you and John! I walked away from my desk several times after doing the lettering and every time I came back to it, I had the biggest smile on my face – I knew it was just right for you! xoxoxo

      • avatar Emily reply

        You’re amazing, Moya! The invite wasn’t complete until we dropped your lettering in!

    3. avatar Theresa reply

      Love the color combo of the light and dark!

    4. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

      SO MUCH sass and personality! I absolutely love it and the calligraphy work is truly gorgeous. The pink envelope is such a great pop of color too! Very preppy and beautiful!

      • avatar Emily reply

        Haha Madelynne, no one’s told me they have sass yet, but I love it!!

    5. avatar Jess reply

      Oh Emily, it was such a delight collaborating together with you and John! (I’m still happy-dancing!) Your ideas really made the design sing — and your guests are in for such a stylish, delightful and most of all, meaningful celebration. Thank you for opening your heart & sharing your love story with me. Blessed & honored! xoxo

    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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