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When Dave and I were looking for a wedding venue, one of our biggest priorities was a place that made our family and friends know they were somewhere special from the moment they turned up the road. As far as venues that create that magical sense of anticipation go, Tuckahoe Plantation is at the top of my list–Emily and I were practically giddy when we drove down its pebbly road for our Fabric of a Southern Belle shoot last year, and I can only imagine that Sarah and Chad’s guests felt the same way! For this nature-loving couple, a venue with plenty of beautiful outdoor space was a must, and historic Tuckahoe turned out to be the perfect rustic, but still elegant, place for them to become husband and wife. They made wonderful use of the property, choosing different areas for the ceremony (how gorgeous are those trees lining the aisle?), the reception, and, very importantly, the spot where a bottle of bourbon was buried to ensure sunny skies!

Thank you so much to Sarah Jane Winter for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Chad and I love spending time hiking and camping together, and the outdoors are very special to us. We considered a few other venues with outdoor spaces, but we knew Tuckahoe Plantation was the right fit for us pretty early on. With its expansive fields, gorgeous gardens, and rich history, Tuckahoe is timelessly elegant, but also has a very laid-back vibe.

Before I went to look at dresses, I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for: fitted, an elegant neckline, and allover lace. I’ve heard from so many friends who went into the store wanting one thing, but ended up falling in love with a completely different style once they started trying things on. This was the exact opposite for me–I ended up with the perfect dress that was exactly what I had originally had in mind. The dress I purchased was even the first dress I tried on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Chad and I changed our minds about this so many times. On the one hand, we loved the idea of seeing each other for the first time as I was coming down the aisle towards him. On the other hand, we also loved the idea of getting to share some time together before all the hubbub. We ended up doing a first look, and we were so glad that we did! It was so nice to get to spend time together without any distractions and it definitely helped to calm both of our nerves during the ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was the ceremony space at Tuckahoe. The aisle is lined with rows of the most beautiful crepe myrtles that arch over the aisle, and almost look like a cathedral ceiling. Chad’s favorite detail was that a flock of geese flew right over us during the ceremony!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried the bourbon behind the ceremony arbor a month before our wedding to keep the rain away on our wedding day. It was actually pouring rain on us while we were out there burying it, which I think was double good luck!

Our friends Corey and Jesse Wells are talented local musicians who play with several bluegrass groups around town. We chose to have them play songs that were meaningful to us as a couple during the ceremony. The groomsmen and our families walked down the aisle to an acoustic rendition of “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. This is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and it set the stage beautifully for the rest of the ceremony. The bridesmaids walked in to another of our favorite songs, “Sandusky” by Uncle Tupelo. My dad and I walked in to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing.” The wedding party recessed to an awesome rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” which kicked off the celebration! Chad and I chose “Further on Down the Road” by Taj Mahal for our first dance. Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to cooking dinner and dancing around the kitchen together in our first house.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was pretty amazing to have all of our friends and family members gathered together in such a beautiful place. It almost takes your breath away when you look around and realize how much love is all around you at one time. It really was the happiest day of our lives.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met at a Widespread Panic show in Charleston. I was living in Richmond, Virginia at the time and he was living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although we didn’t know each other, we had tons of mutual friends and ended up hanging out all night together at the show. We instantly clicked and he drove up to visit me in Richmond the next weekend. We took turns visiting each other every other week for the next year and a half, and then Chad’s company agreed to transfer him to Richmond.
Tell us all about the proposal! After a few years of dating, we escaped the cold winter weather in Richmond and took a vacation down to Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. Chad proposed on the beach the first night of our trip. He even hired a photographer to hide and capture the moment!
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my grandmother’s handkerchief to carry during the ceremony and my garter had a tiny blue ribbon on it. Chad also gifted me with a beautiful necklace the morning of our wedding that featured the diamond from his great-grandmother’s engagement ring. He had the stone reset, so that doubled as my something old and something new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? For a little over a year, we met with our officiant every six weeks or so. We usually went out to dinner together or just met with him at his house to talk about marriage. He had lots of good advice for us and we have come to really admire him and his wife.
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? One good tip the woman who made our cake shared with us is that you can opt for a smaller tiered wedding cake to display and cut, and then ask the baker to also make a sheet cake that will be cut in the back and served to the guests. The sheet cake slices can be a fraction of the cost of the tiered cake slices.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We were engaged for over a year and I loved having a long engagement. We never felt rushed or pressured during the wedding planning process because we were so ahead of the game. Having that extra time allowed us to be really laid-back while we slowly ticked things off the list and enjoyed the process. If you aren’t planning to have a long engagement, my advice would be to focus on tackling things one at a time, and celebrate after you get each little task accomplished. When you first look at that long list of to dos, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Just take it one thing at a time and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are taking a honeymoon in Europe this summer and are really looking forward to it. Now that all the wedding planning is behind us, we are enjoying mapping out our next adventure together.

Photographer: Sarah Jane Winter | Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation | Florist: Elizabeth Daly Designs | Cake Baker: The Buttercream Bee | Caterer and Lighting: Mosaic Catering + Events | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals of Virginia | Band: Soul Expressions | Paper Products: By Invitation Only | Bridal Salon: Jingles Bridal Salon | Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 | Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Blair” and “Newbury” by Joanna August | Bow Ties: Collared Greens | Day-of Coordination: Tart Event Co. | Ceremony Musicians: Corey and Jesse Wells

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Jane reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this, ladies! What an incredible day it was :)

  2. avatar Dana reply

    I love that sign they put at the entrance with their name in flowers!

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    What a lovely wedding! I love the location!

  4. avatar Alden Rykard reply

    Beautiful wedding! Love the venue and floral detailing!

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I’ve always felt that true love means spending the rest of your life with your best friend. Though I haven’t asked them, I’m pretty sure Lauren and Tim would agree! From their engagement, throughout their planning, and right into the beginning of married life, Lauren and Tim not only committed to being one another’s best friend, but also made every effort to keep their relationship a top priority. I especially love how when wedding planning got challenging, they swapped the stress for a fun activity together–a tactic they plan to use throughout their marriage. Vowing to “communicate fully and fearlessly” as best friends and as husband and wife, I know that their loved ones are in for a treat to see Lauren and Tim’s marriage continues to bloom!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing their beautiful wedding day at Summerfield Farms with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As soon as we drove up to Summerfield Farms, it felt special. We loved the little tree for our ceremony site, the hay ride, and the rustic, intimate setting of the barn. After visiting a few other sites and taking a few snowy trips to Summerfield Farms, we booked with them in February 2014. We never saw the property in person without snow until July 2015 after a few renovations. We were not disappointed!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We didn’t! This was totally Tim’s decision–he was adamant that the first time he saw me in my dress was at the ceremony. Instead, I decided to do a first look with my dad!

After spending several weekends trying on wedding dresses with my mom, I wasn’t sure if I would know when I found the right dress. I liked everything that I had tried on, but I wasn’t in love with any of them. We decided to travel about an hour from our house to visit Southern Bride. As soon as we walked in, my mom and I both fell in love with the same dress. The dress in the store that day was a little too small, so I wasn’t able to try it on, but no matter what else I put on that day, we kept going back to that same dress. The store happened to be having a trunk show coming up for the designer, so the owner of the store was able to get the same dress with a slightly different lace pattern in my size included in the show! We made the trip back to try on that dress, and as soon as I put it on and saw myself in the mirror, I burst into tears! There was no denying that it was the perfect dress for me!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had one reading at our wedding. During our private communion, Tim’s brother read lyrics from the song “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We hadn’t planned on writing our own vows, but after some encouragement from our preacher, we decided to go for it! In our vows, we made promises to each other as best friends and as husband and wife. My favorite line was my promise to “communicate fully and fearlessly.” We also worked in a little laughter–it wouldn’t have felt like us otherwise!

We loved the overall Southern feel of Summerfield Farms. The hay ride was a unique Southern touch that we couldn’t live without! We used magnolia leaf garlands on the front of the barn, tons of mason jars, and Southern foods including mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to do all of the little reception details ourselves. We made the T and L that sat in front of us at the reception. Tim hand wrote all of our chalkboards and our menu. We made the magnolia leaf garland that hung on the outside of the barn. We were able to pick up all of our mason jars, bud vases, and wooden boxes from secondhand sales. We also have wonderful friends who let us borrow wood rounds for tables.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met working together in the athletics department at UNCG! Tim had left UNCG and we only kept in touch because of a mutual friend. After a few group outings and double dates, Tim and I started dating.
Tell us all about the proposal! Every year, I go to New York City for work. In 2014, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to take a mini vacation. One evening, while I was at an event at the NY Public Library, Tim met up with a college friend who had moved to the city. The plan was for the three of us to meet up after my event and go to dinner. Tim called me and told me that our plans had to change, and asked me to meet them outside. When I got there, Tim’s friend, who I had never met, insisted on taking our picture in front of the library. I thought it was a little strange, but I just went with it! After the picture, Tim turned toward me and said, “You know you’re my best friend, right?” The next thing I knew, there was an a cappella group singing “Stand By Me” and Tim was on one knee! Everything after that is a blur, but then we went to dinner, where Tim had a bottle of champagne waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We decided to go with more of a dessert bar. It included a small two-layer cake, chocolate chip croissants, lemon bars, pumpkin spice waffle whoopee pies, and s’mores.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While we were planning our wedding, we kept reminding ourselves that as stressful as it got, the wedding wasn’t the important part! The important part was that we got to spend the rest of our lives with each other. When things would get really stressful, we would put everything wedding-related to the side and do something fun together. We plan on using this trick throughout our marriage!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Perry Vaile, our photographer! I can’t say enough about her support and encouragement throughout our wedding process. From the first moment I talked to her, I felt like I had known her forever. She encouraged us to live our very best life full of excitement, down to the very last minute of our wedding! She was also the biggest cheerleader for our outdoor wedding on a rainy day. We could not have asked for more!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable part of our wedding day was seeing each other for the first time! Since we didn’t do a first look, that moment took place when was when I was walking down the aisle towards Tim. Tim wanted to wait until I was in full view to look up, so he had our preacher tell him when he could look! When he looked up, it was like time stood still for that second. I don’t think I will ever forget the look on his face!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After our honeymoon to Hawaii, we caught the travel bug bad! We want to spend our first few years of our marriage traveling as much as possible and creating our perfect home together.

Photographer: Perry Vaile | Day-Of Coordination: Coordinated Events | Venue: Summerfield Farms | Florist: Relish Design | Dessert Baker: Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts | Caterer: Fresh Local Good Food Group | Rentals: Carolina Event Rentals | DJ: Triad DJ | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: Style 5840 by Stella York | Bridal Salon: Southern Bride | Bride’s Hair Accessories: ModCloth | Bride’s Earrings: Anthropologie | Bride’s Veil: Boutique De Voile | Hair and Makeup: Megan Snipes | Bride’s Shoes: “Like You Mean It Wedges” by Seychelles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style F15711 in Marine by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Keane Suit by Tommy Hilfiger

Perry Vaile is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Great setting for a fall wedding!

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While they have so many great moments to remember from their wedding day at the beautiful Castleton Farms, for Mary and Dom, the moment when their eyes met as she walked down the aisle takes the cake! It was filled with so much joy and happiness that they know they’ll never forget. Planning a wedding and honeymoon around Dom’s hockey schedule was no easy task, but together, they focused on what was most important to them as a couple and showed their guests the sweet Southern hospitality of Mary’s home state of Tennessee. As for Mary’s sage advice for those planning a wedding? “Don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” Yes, ma’am!!

Big hugs to Jennie Andrews for sharing this dreamy day with us!

I loved my dress! A few days after the proposal, I went out with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law to do some dress shopping (they were staying with me for a few days after the big surprise engagement dinner). They were only in New York for a short time, so we made tons of appointments and were ready to hit up every store in NYC. Of course, the first shop we went to, a cute little boutique called L’Fay Bridal, had some of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen! THE dress was about the fifth one I tried on, and once I put it on, I could not stop smiling. We all knew it was the one, but did not want to pick a dress quite that quickly. After leaving the shop, I called Dom and told him I thought I had found the dress. He was happy to hear it and told me to go for it! The next day, I went in and bought it.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to save some money in every category along the way, skipping letterpress on the invites, buying bridesmaid dresses during major sales at J. Crew, and things of that nature. Most significantly, we worked with our florist to reuse as many of the arrangements as we could. Flowers from the rehearsal dinner were used at the cocktail hour the next day, and flowers from the ceremony were brought up onto the deck of the barn to decorate the bar. Also, we did our rehearsal dinner at Castleton Farms, since we were able to pay for a weekend package. Not paying for a new venue for that dinner was a big cost saver.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string trio play classics like Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Trumpet Voluntary” for the ceremony. We wanted those sweet and traditional melodies to set the tone for the day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Christian wedding and said the traditional vows.

There are so many great moments that we remember so vividly about the whole day, but by far, the most memorable moment for us was when I was walking down the aisle. Dom didn’t want to see me too early when I was far away, so he was facing Pastor Wood until I entered the doors and was ready to come down the aisle. When he turned, our eyes met, and we both just exploded with joy and happiness!

We chose Castleton Farms for our ceremony and reception for a few different reasons. First, I am from Tennessee and wanted to have the wedding in my home state! Second, Castleton Farms was stunning. It was every dream wedding Pinterest board come true, and after one quick visit (in the winter, even!), we were beyond interested. We met with the venue coordinator, Darla Walker, and were so impressed by her that we booked that very day! I think I called her around 9 P.M. to book it because I was so set on having that venue and was worried that someone else might take our date! Fitting in a wedding and honeymoon around a hockey player’s schedule is quite a feat!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding reception in a barn. The night before the wedding, all the girls and I slept over at the venue in the big, Southern mansion they have on property. It was amazing! We had a lemonade tent with all kinds of lemonade for the guests during the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour was more of a game hour, complete with lawn games like croquet, blongo ball, and corn hole–all good, Southern games! We knew it would be hot and people would need to fan themselves a bit to keep from overheating, so we made our ceremony programs fans. We also had barbecue as an entree option at the dinner.

We had a three-layer white wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. We also had some delicious cupcakes (about four different flavors and colors) and little jars of heart-shaped apple pies. The apple pie was supposed to go with the moonshine bar, but they were out on display and got eaten pretty quickly–long before the moonshine came out!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One of my friends from college played tennis with Dom during the summers. Once we had been introduced, Dom invited me to come and see a game some time (he plays for the New York Rangers). After the first game I went to, I was waiting for him to come out after the game to head to dinner with me and a few friends. When he walked around the corner, my heart jumped. I quickly began to see that I was not the only one with a little crush, since I seemed to be getting a bit more attention than his other guests at the games–and kept getting the invite back. Also, he was playing incredibly well any time I was at a game! It didn’t take long for us to begin dating. We were out to dinner after one of his games when we made it official. We love going back to that restaurant and thinking about that special time.
Tell us all about the proposal! Dom proposed in Central Park! Central Park is a special place for us. We spent a number of different occasions there while we were dating–having picnics, taking walks, going ice skating, and riding bikes. Last December, we were trying to decide if we should stay in New York for Christmas or go home to be with our families. We finally decided to stay in the city, even though we would really miss our families. On Christmas Eve, we spent the day doing all things Christmas-y and just enjoying the day together. Later in the day, Dom suggested we go ice skating. As you may guess, skating with a hockey player is quite a fun experience!! After skating, he suggested we go out to dinner so that I would not have to worry about cooking anything. He called The Boathouse restaurant to see if we could get reservations, and lo and behold, they had some availability. We got dressed up and started walking to dinner. The Boathouse is in the middle of Central Park, so you have to walk through the park to get there. The only things around were the horse-drawn carriages going by every now and then. Somewhere along the walk, words of love were exchanged and a ring was given. We like to keep the details of it between the two of us! :) After getting engaged, we continued our walk to the restaurant, stopping to hug and kiss and laugh every few steps. To my surprise, when we arrived at the restaurant, out popped my parents, Dom’s parents, and my brother and sister-in-law!!! Dom had flown everyone up for a surprise engagement dinner! It turned out that it would be a family-filled Christmas after all, with even more reasons to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? July 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? There were about 140 people at the wedding. We felt so loved that so many friends made the trip to Tennessee to be there.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! To be honest, I did not think that through! I did, however, have something borrowed and blue. When Dom and I were first dating, I started wearing one of his blue flannel shirts because I needed a light jacket and didn’t have one, so he let me borrow it. He told me I looked better in it than he did, so I wore it a bunch and loved it! I wore that button-down all day while I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a little reminder of the start of all the love–not to mention, it was perfect for the job and cute!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t forget the whole reason you are planning this event: to unite yourself with the love of your life! Trust me, you won’t even get to see most of the things you spent months planning. You will be so busy gazing at your husband and taking in all the smiles and hugs from your friends and family, that all those details that seemed so crucial will go largely unnoticed by you and your fiancé. Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are back to work now and are also having fun redecorating Dom’s old place. We both want to have a family and are excited to get started on that in the near future! Also, we love working out together, so Dom spent the summer teaching me to play tennis! We are looking forward to playing together throughout life.

Photographer: Jennie Andrews / Videographer: Alex Widmer / Venue and Coordination: Castleton Farms / Florist: Samuel Franklin / Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillan / Caterer: All Occasion Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental / Band: Emerald Empire Band / Paper Products: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown: Berta Bridal / Bridal Salon and Veil: L’Fay Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Bangs and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose by J. Crew / Menswear: J. Crew / Transportation: Chariots of Hire / Cupcakes: Scrumps Cupcakes / Invitation Calligraphy: Alice Sword

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dimity reply

    Oh, what a beautiful piece of advice from Mary! “Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” I will carry this with me as I plan our special day. Thank you for sharing xo

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