After their first meeting played out more like a classic teen movie than a romantic comedy, Danielle and Chris’ relationship matured and grew into something special over nine years of dating, and their wedding was a true reflection of just that. With the help of their wedding planner, Amy Kristina Weddings, and their family and friends, these two created a wedding that was filled with meaningful details for their guests, as well as for each other. Y’all, the photos that Sam Stroud captured of them opening their wedding day gifts makes my heart skip a beat–be sure to read the story behind Danielle’s gift to Chris–and bring a tissue!
Such happy smiles!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I searched for dresses throughout Virginia and North Carolina, but I was having trouble finding a dress with the unique look I was craving. A friend told me about a non-profit shop called Church Street Bridal in Lynchburg, Virginia that sells donated designer gowns from bridal boutiques in NYC. I decided to check it out on a whim one day while my sister was in town. As soon as we arrived, we were shocked at the selection of beautiful gowns! We immediately called my mom, and within an hour or so, I said “YES” to the dress!! All of the proceeds earned at Church Street Bridal go to the local YWCA of Central Virginia, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.
Our favorite detail of the day was the gift that I surprised Chris with before the ceremony. Sadly, Chris’ grandfather passed away eight months before our wedding. After that, Chris casually began searching for a vintage, Belgian-made Browning shotgun, like the one that his grandfather had willed to his father. With a little help from a couple of Chris’ friends and a few of our family members, I was able to track one down in Tennessee two weeks before the wedding. It was in perfect condition and I was so excited that I could barely keep the secret! When Chris opened his gift before the ceremony, he immediately knew the gun’s significance and was overcome with emotion. Luckily for me, I got to re-live this special moment when watching our wedding video!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! I borrowed my grandmother’s engagement ring to wear for the day and my something blue was a monogrammed patch that my mother-in-law made, which was sewn into my dress. An old cameo that belonged to my great-grandmother was pinned to my bouquet, and my Kate Spade shoes were brand new!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose phrases we wanted to recite in our vows to each other. My favorite was “to value your opinions and grow with you.” Relationships inevitably evolve over time, and your willingness to grow with each other is crucial to the success of any marriage.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was one of the most meaningful moments of the night. We danced to “Hungry for Your Love,” originally by Van Morrison, but Chris and I love the mandolin-filled Sam Bush version. We had a local bluegrass band play for our ceremony and cocktail hour, and they also agreed to learn and play our first dance song. One of my favorite verses from the song states “You’re part of me now,” which I had engraved in Chris’ wedding band along with our wedding date.
During cocktail hour, our guests sipped moonshine out of monogrammed mason jars, sampled mini chicken n’ waffle hors d’oeuvres, and enjoyed a live bluegrass band, all while sitting on grandma’s antique furniture. Does it get any more Southern than that?
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was your classic teen movie plot: I was a freshman in high school and he was the senior I had a major crush on. On my way to class one day, I tripped and dropped my books in the stairwell. Luckily (or unfortunately), my handsome knight in shining armor was there to help me up and retrieve my books. I was mortified! He didn’t even know my name. A few years later, we were formally introduced by mutual friends and sparks flew immediately. Funny how things work out! After nine years of dating, we finally decided to tie the knot.
Tell us all about the proposal! Last June, we planned an adventurous road trip tour of California. We visited San Francisco, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, destinations along Route 1, and Napa Valley. Four days into our vacation, after a long day of hiking and a beautiful sunset, Chris dropped down to one knee at the Tunnel View overlook in Yosemite and asked me to marry him. The next night, we celebrated in Carmel with delicious cocktails and an amazing dinner, while watching the the sun set over the Pacific. It was most definitely a trip we will never forget!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have been in love with our venue for years! Chris and I are both from the Roanoke, Virginia area and wanted our wedding to be close to home. Sundara had unbeatable mountain views and the perfect amount of Southern charm.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Homemade cakes and other delicious desserts are key to the conclusion of any great Southern meal. Many of our family members are known for their baking skills, so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to save money and add a bit of Southern swag to the dessert table. We served an assortment of homemade cakes, including strawberry, coconut, lemon pound cake, and cheesecake. We also had my personal favorite, pink cake pops dusted with edible gold glitter! All of the desserts were arranged on top of a vintage buffet that Chris and I painted mint and gold to match our wedding colors.
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? One of my bridesmaids is a whiz at marketing and design. Luckily for me, she offered to design all of our wedding stationery! She created a custom monogram logo that we used to brand every single detail of our wedding–it was featured on everything from our programs to cornhole boards Chris made.
Photographer: Sam Stroud Photography / Videographer: Michael’s Videography / Planner: Amy McArthur of Amy Kristina Weddings / Venue: Sundara / Florist: Gloriosa / Caterer: Blue Ridge Catering / Band: Blue Moonshine / DJ: RSP Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Richelle Holland / Bridal Salon and Veil: Church Street Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Les Cheveux Salon and Day Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Newbury Long” by Joanna August / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang