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Fun fact: the Equestrian Elegance shoot in Southern Weddings V8 has actually been many years in the making! We love working with KT Merry (see past editorials she has shot for us here, here, and here), and have always known that she has a huge passion for all things equestrian. Last year, while driving through the Virginia countryside for a V7 shoot, Emily and I couldn’t stop talking about the beauty of the landscape and that we’d love to highlight it in an upcoming issue. Finally, when we connected with the talented team at Easton Events about creating something magical for V8, all the pieces fell into place for the creation of a truly incredible Virginia horse country shoot. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how it came together!

Biggest thanks to KT Merry, Easton Events, Beehive Events, the team at Pippin Hill, and so many more wonderful folks (see below for the full list!) who brought this gorgeous spring day to life!

As Emily mentioned yesterday, each of our editorials in this issue revolved around the story of a couple we dreamed up. Our Equestrian Elegance bride is an avid horseback rider, and after meeting her groom at the University of Virginia, they decided to tie the knot in Charlottesville at a celebration that highlighted the magic of this corner of the South. This stunning invitation suite by Amber Moon Design perfectly set the tone!

If many of your guests will be traveling to celebrate with you, greeting them with local treats (or simply your favorites) is a thoughtful idea. For this Virginia basket, local wine, apples, and peanuts were musts!

Y’all, how breathtaking is our bride? Beehive Events used plenty of spring blooms (including dogwoods, Virginia’s state flower) in her bouquet, and we love the way they looked against this subtly printed Romona Keveza gown. The pastel shades make a statement, but are still lovely and classic.

We were so excited to finally work at Pippin Hill Farm! The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make a stunning ceremony backdrop–we used beautiful wicker chairs and two simple floral arrangements that set the space, but didn’t distract from the natural beauty of the venue.

Some of our favorite details from this editorial came out during cocktail hour–from treats for the horses (plus a sign illustrating proper feeding technique, of course!), to local cheeses and meats, to Virginia peanuts, to an ombré display of local wines. As a favor, guests were sent home with “horse feed”–a custom blend of granola served in classic Weck jars.

With the help of natural elements and tons of texture, our neutral color scheme had a big impact. Casa de Perrin kindly sent the most exquisite china, flatware, and glassware for us to use, which were the perfect complement to Beehive Events‘ furnishings and florals.

East West Production also made a gorgeous film to accompany this editorial–take a look below!

For more from this feature, be sure to pick up a copy of V8 online here or on news stands across the Southeast!

Photographer: KT Merry Photography | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Videographer: East West Production | Planner and Stylist: Easton Events | Florals, Linens, Rentals, and Props: Beehive Events | Venue and Caterer: Pippin Hill Farm | China, Flatware, and Glassware: Casa de Perrin | Hair Stylist: Yolonda Jones | Makeup Artist: Lora Kelley | Cake: Buttercream Bakeshop | Paper Goods: Amber Moon Design | Calligraphy: Anne Robin | Illustrations: Karina Puentes | Bride’s Gown: RK6408 by Romona Keveza | Vintage Ring: Trumpet & Horn | Groom’s Suit: J.Crew | Bow Tie: Gold Coast Goods | Children’s Clothes: Petite Bebe | Vintage Helmet: Bluebird Creek Vintage

lisa Written with love by Lisa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Marion Blount reply

    This is breathtaking. Easton Events always sets the bar high! Beautiful!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    This is by far one of my fave shoots in V8. It’s beautiful! Kudos to everyone involved!

  3. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    this is absolutely breathtaking—every perfectly planned and styled detail… and captured by the lovely KT Merry!

  4. avatar Katie B reply

    Reasons why this is one of my ALL TIME favorite shoots:

    1) As a horse crazy girl who never quite grew out of it, this really speaks to my heart!
    2) The landscape, wow, I can see why you guys were inspired after driving through this countryside!
    3) Understated Elegance. The beauty of the scenery really took center stage!
    All the hearts for this one :)

  5. avatar Jessica reply

    The couple, the food, the setting is absolutely gorgeous. I love how they included the children in the wedding.

  6. avatar Bethany H. reply

    I can’t get over how gorgeous the bride is! That dress was made for her!

  7. avatar Dana reply

    this is the most perfect virginia wedding shoot in the world!

  8. avatar Southern Peach Summer Wedding Palette | Hey Wedding Lady reply

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  10. avatar Happy 10th Anniversary Southern Weddings! My 10 Favorite Editorials – Kyla Mary reply

    […] The equestrian inspiration for this editorial reminds me of my sweet, horse-loving mama. The ribbon escort tags are the cutest! View the original post here. […]

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When it comes to wedding planning advice, we’ve pretty much heard it all–some of which we wholeheartedly agree with, while other things make us cringe a little. Kimberly’s advice for brides falls very solidly in the first category: “If you put in the work early to find vendors you can trust, it makes everything else so much easier. I was so confident in my florist, DJ, photographer, and event staff, I knew that no matter what, the end result was going to be a beautiful, amazing, and fun party.” Following their own advice, Kimberly and Michael’s wedding turned out beautifully, but more importantly, choosing their vendors with care let them truly soak in and enjoy their special day. No matter what the specifics of your wedding are, enjoying the day should be a top priority, and we’re so glad Kimberly and Michael did exactly that!

Thanks so much to Kristen Lynne for sharing this special celebration with us!

Our flowers were one of my favorite details from the wedding! Coral charm peonies provided big pops of color among hydrangea, spray roses, and greenery. Juliet garden roses made my bouquet special and different from the other flower arrangements, in addition to poppy pods and hanging ivy. The poppy pods were added to honor my grandfather, who we called “Poppy,” and the ivy was in honor of my grandma and aunt, both named Ivy. This made me feel like those very special people were, in some way, with me on our wedding day.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We knew we wanted to spend cocktail hour with our family and friends who had traveled from all over the country. Our first look gave us the opportunity to have a moment that was completely honest and private, and to get out our pre-wedding jitters. With most of our pictures taken care of, we were able to spend almost all of our cocktail hour visiting with guests and enjoying the delicious food Pippin Hill had prepared.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a flute/string trio. The flutist helped us pick classic, but light, songs for when the guests arrived, when the bridal party walked down the aisle, and for me as both of my parents accompanied me to the altar. Mike has always liked classical music, so it was perfect for us.

One of my best friends is a writer, and he wrote a poem for us that he read during the ceremony. It was one of the most special gifts we received. Mike’s aunt also did a reading from Corinthians in the Bible.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We knew we wanted to get married in Charlottesville since that is where we met. We wanted a simple and elegant outdoor wedding, and Pippin Hill provided the perfect setting for exactly that!

Besides the gorgeous backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our wedding had a few other little Southern touches, including a sweet tea and lemonade hospitality station before the ceremony, barn wood boxes with burlap and lace details for our centerpieces, and large farm tables for us and our bridal party.

Our favorite detail was definitely our first dance. We secretly took lessons and surprised our family and friends with a choreographed routine, full of spins and dips. We don’t know what was more fun–the dance itself or seeing the shocked/excited expressions of our guests!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met when Mike was finishing his first year of medical school, and I was finishing my first year of my Masters in speech language pathology at the University of Virginia. Our friends introduced us one night when we were out and about in Charlottesville, and we went out on a date right away. After only dating for a few months, Mike surprised me for my birthday by showing up in NYC with tickets to The Lion King. After a big gesture like that, I knew he was really something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Because of Mike’s very taxing schedule as a medical student, it was difficult for us to find time together, especially around holidays. In early November, Mike told me he was going to give me my present since we weren’t going to be able to spend Christmas together. He took me on a hike to Old Rag, a notoriously difficult, but beautiful, hike in central Virginia, and then surprised me by taking me to a bed and breakfast in a town nearby. We had a beautiful dinner, followed by a movie by the fireplace in our private cottage. It was a night full of surprises, but the biggest surprise was when Mike pulled out a ring and ask me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! We immediately got in the car to drive until we could find cell phone service so I could call my parents–we were in the middle of the country, and didn’t get service for miles!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Wedding planning was truly a joint effort, and helped us to realize each other’s strengths when it came to decision making. We learned communication and compromise along the way, which I think are crucial in a happy and successful marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge was trying to honor and respect the wishes and ideas of our family members, while remembering the day was supposed to be about us as a couple. For the most part, all of the planning went very smoothly. We had a year and a half engagement, so we were able to spread things out and make one decision at a time, rather than deciding on everything at once. I think that in the end, we added touches and made decisions that we knew were meaningful to our families without compromising our dream wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to save money on flowers and decor for the ceremony and reception by picking a venue with natural beauty and elegance. We also used the standard tables, chairs, and china our venue provided, rather than renting our own.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning is important, but over-planning is the biggest mistake you can make. Inevitably, things happen, something will “go wrong” or have to be altered, so go in with that mindset in place. Do research on vendors and ask for recommendations and referrals. If you put in the work early to find vendors you can trust, it makes everything else so much easier. I was so confident in my florist, DJ, photographer, and event staff, I knew that no matter what, the end result was going to be a beautiful, amazing, and fun party.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently enjoying living together for the first time in our new home. We were able to buy a house in Charlottesville and move in with our dog, Jackson, immediately after the wedding. We are looking forward to dinners together every night, waking up together every morning, and making our new house a home.

Photographer: Kristen Lynne / Venue: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard / Florist: Blue Ridge Floral Design / Dessert Baker: Sweet Haus / DJ: Derek Tobler / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Allure Bridals / Hair Stylist: Salon Druknya / Makeup Artist: A More Beautiful You / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson Blue / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Emily King reply

    What a gorgeous venue and such a sweet love story. Kimberly’s dress is so beautiful, love the lace detail. I love how Kristen captured those fleeting, emotional moments of the bride and groom. :)

  2. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Gorgeous bride! Love her dress and also the dress of the bridesmaids! Incredible pictures of an amazing location!

  3. avatar blushcheek reply

    romantic wedding, amazing wedding dress and hair accessory.

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Can y’all believe Whitney + Clarke’s wedding day boasted temperatures over 100 degrees?? Their French-meets-Southern countryside wedding looks as cool as a cucumber, though, thanks to some extra fans and the quick thinking of the Easton Events ladies, who handed out lavender-scented chilled cloths as the dance floor heated up. Whitney + Clarke spent the majority of their evening there, celebrating with loved ones, until it was time for their emotional getaway. W + C managed to steal a few moments to themselves just after Whitney changed into her getaway dress, and it ranks as one of her favorite moments. Just imagining the newlyweds standing upstairs overlooking their reception before they left gives me chills. “We finally got a chance to breath, to just be together in the moment, and to watch all those we love dancing, laughing, and enjoying the celebration,” said Whitney.

What was Southern about your wedding? For me, it was Southern because it was rooted in the traditional. The Southern fare, the station-style dinner, the Blue Ridge Mountain setting, the big band, the Motown and beach music, the warm hospitality, the pink gingham bow ties, the white dinner jackets, the stifling heat, the fireflies, and the sweet late-evening Virginia breeze.

What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? I don’t even know where to begin. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It goes so quickly, take a moment to soak it all in. Don’t forget to eat. A wedding planner/coordinator is a must have, especially on the day-of. Hire a videographer. Enjoy every minute. All of my initial advices seems so cliché, and at the same time each is so true. And yet, it takes walking in bridal shoes to really appreciate most of this advice. Not stressing beforehand, and enjoying the day is easier said in hindsight than done at the time. Although this is not novel advice, I think the following words of wisdom are most helpful: hire vendors you trust, and trust them do their job; you can never show enough pictures – even ones of things you don’t like, are helpful – because something in your head that you describe could be very different in someone else’s head; lighting is invaluable; you spend all of this time thinking about, fretting over, planning and preparing for one day, and it does go by more quickly than you can ever imagine. You cannot re-live it, so live it the first time; at the end of the day, all that remains are the marriage, the memories, and the photographs – so hire a good photographer!

For the reception, we envisioned a European Provincial cocktail hour with French countryside elements such as wooden Bistro chairs around low tables dressed in Duck Egg blue linens, and centerpiece bowls filled with fresh blackberries and cherries; Russian sage-filled urns on the linen square bar and topiaries flanked the tent entrance. In the Tasting Room, long tables were dressed in white linens with bistro chairs and blue and white Chinoiserie bud vases filled with Sahara roses. The main event space was more formal, and meant to feel like a Parisian pied-å-terre with white-washed Chiavari chairs around dinner tables dressed in grey and white damask linens, and several seating groups of lounge furniture around the dance floor. Floating gardenias in small bowls were placed on the side tables and in the ladies room.

What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? The locally inspired cuisine included traditional Southern favorites, with a European-style vineyard twist. We had canapés such as fried goat cheese balls with honey, sweet potato biscuits with Virginia ham and piquillo pepper spread, fried Chesapeake Bay oysters, local strawberries with robiolo cheese and a balsamic drizzle, lobster Salad on a Yucca chip, and deviled quail eggs with caviar. Guests dined at dinner stations with various themes such as a Vineyard inspired station featuring a wide selection of local and imported cheeses, charcuterie, fresh breads and homemade condiments; a Farmer’s Market station filled with fresh heirloom tomatoes, watermelon and feta salad, and local strawberry and arugula salad; a French fare station complete with beef tenderloin, lavender-glazed lamb chops, haricot verts, and roasted potatoes; and the popular Southern Comfort station with jumbo lump crab cakes (a nod to Clarke’s VA Beach hometown), truffle mac n’cheese, skillet cornbread, and pulled pork sliders.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. We were both nervous about the first dance, Clarke especially, so we took one lesson a few weeks before the wedding – that probably made us more nervous! But it went really well, and once we got out there, it was easy to forget about everyone watching and nice to just talk and laugh with one another. Clarke picked the song, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s classic “You’re All I Need to Get By”, which he said reminded him of me… and it has enough of a beat for him to keep pace!

Our cake was five round tiers of alternating layers – vanilla with blackberry filling, and poppy-seed almond – with pale pink, buttercream icing and scattered fresh blackberries. Kathy’s cakes are wonderfully moist and taste deliciously homemade (which they are!), yet better, and still are beautiful. I wanted a traditional-style cake, yet the rough, swirled buttercream exterior in barely blush pink was a contemporary twist. It was impressionistic, and the pink hue was dead on – I wanted people to say, is that pink? Or are my eyes playing tricks? The wedding cake was complemented by silver-tiered servers filled with homemade macarons – in lavender and raspberry flavors.

What was your reception like? We had an outdoor sunset cocktail hour with a stationed dinner event and band reception following.  The guests ate, drank, mingled, and danced until our midnight departure.
Describe your centerpieces:  Low mercury bowls of lush overflowing arrangements composed of pale blush and grey – antique hydrangea, Sahara rose, Café au Lait Dahlias, Patience Garden roses, Champagne Lisianthus, Dusty Miller, and vines
Did you have a cocktail hour?  If so, what was it like?  After the ceremony, guests were transported out to Pippin Hill Farm where they cocktailed underneath a Sperry tent on the lawn, and attempted to stay cool underneath the draped Veranda and inside the Tasting Room.  The Peter Richardson Jazz Trio played light tunes in the tent, where guests picked up flip-flops, dined on hors d’oeuvres, grabbed drinks from the big square bar, and enjoyed the panoramic views.
What were some of the highlights?  The whole night was a highlight.  We wanted a beautiful event, full of thoughtful details, yet we also wanted a good party and for everyone to have the best time.  The band was phenomenal and guests danced all night.   We were on the dance floor the entire time, which is exactly where we wanted to be.  For me, the father-daughter dance was particularly special.  We danced to “My Girl”, and as one of three daughters, it has been a song we have all danced to with my dad over the years.  Another standout, is the few minutes we took to ourselves, after I changed dresses, as we stood upstairs overlooking the main event space below.  We finally got a chance to breath, to just be together in the moment, and to watch all those we love dancing, laughing, and enjoying the celebration.
Tell us about your grand exit.  Our grand exit was to a sea of sparklers leading up the candle-lit pathway to our antique car, with a Bon Voyage sign on the back.  Unexpectedly, it was one of the more emotional moments for me, as we hugged our parents and laughed and cried as all our friends cheered us on.  Many guests continued the party back at the hotels, and we shared a nightcap with friends and snacked on Pippin Hill’s famous croque monsieurs.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding?  Our wedding was different than any other, for it was the perfect confluence of personal circumstance – for this fleeting, yet amazing, moment in time, everyone and everything comes together to create magic.  That day will forever be a part of us, and a part of our story.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding?  We had a groom’s cake the night before, in the shape of UVA’s Rotunda; the groom’s father was the best man; my sisters gave me a bible with my new name embossed on the front as a gift on our wedding day; guests tossed lavender as we exited the church.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding?  Combating the heat that week!
Did you take a honeymoon? We honeymooned at the fabulous Curtain Bluff in Antigua – and loved it!  We relaxed, read, eat, drank, and soaked in the sun for ten days.  We didn’t want to come home!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?  Immediately after the honeymoon, we packed up and moved to Houston.  We have settled in and are adjusting back to reality.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration.  “We’re only doing this once, so enjoy it!”  And that we did.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony reply

    I’m loving this post as well as part 1 of this couple’s beautiful wedding. Everything from the stationery to the dress, the classic look and feel and all of the neutral tones… so pretty and timeless!

  2. avatar Kat reply

    This wedding is a stunner for sure … and you wouln’t even know it was 100 degrees outside! I’m loving the damask linens and her fun short departure dress!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Truly, the bride and groom are one of the most classically beautiful couples I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine how much they’ll treasure these pictures for years and years to come!

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  5. avatar jennifer reply

    I was wondering if you know where the bride got her dress???

  6. avatar Charity reply

    I was hoping to find out where the bride got her dress!! I LOVE it!

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