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Though we only lived in Texas for a short time, it took up some deep roots in our heart. I like to think that many of our great Southern states have this same effect on its occupants and I’m sure Emily and Michael would agree. After meeting and falling in love in Charlottesville, these two law school sweethearts welcomed their family and friends to the town that they love for a full day of celebrating their union! With its expansive spaces and beautiful private estate, Belle Haven, was the perfect location to host their all-day event. After an early afternoon ceremony, guests were treated to an extended cocktail event filled to the brim with Southern goodness, like Pimm’s cups, lawn games, and a bluegrass band. As the sun set, it was on to a hilltop tented reception, complete with the ever-delicious Virginia staple, ham biscuits. There was even a bonfire to end the night! Thanks to their sweet hospitality, I’m sure guests remember Emily and Michael’s day almost as fondly as they do!

A big thank you to Jen Fariello for sharing this day with us!

My wedding dress was one of the first dresses I tried on, and although I must have tried on about 40 dresses, it remained my favorite the whole time. When I tried the dress on for a second time with my mom and two sisters present, one of my sisters started crying. At that moment, I knew it must be the right dress!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, in large part because our ceremony was early in the day. Instead, we saw each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. Seeing each other at the beginning of the ceremony in front of all of our friends and family was both emotional and memorable. We would not change a thing about that amazing moment.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We met and fell in love in Charlottesville and we wanted to share our love for the town with our friends and family. We selected Belle Haven, a private estate in Scottsville, V.A., to host our reception festivities, largely due to its expansive spaces and ability to offer different spaces for different parts of the day. Rather than have guests wait to join us for an evening reception, we chose to make a day of it, following our early afternoon ceremony with an extended “garden party”-style cocktail event. Guests sipped on Pimm’s Cups, played lawn games, and relaxed around the historic Belle Haven barn while a bluegrass band played for the afternoon. As the sun set, our guests made their way over to a tent set on a hilltop.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our fantastic caterer, The Catering Outfit, sourced many classically Southern ingredients locally, including local produce, trout, oysters, and grits. The Catering Outfit also makes the most amazing ham biscuits (a Virginia staple), which were a huge hit with our guests.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We absolutely loved all of our vendors, but our wedding planner, Meghan Streit of Shindig, went above and beyond to ensure the day was everything we dreamed it might be.

After we had trouble choosing a cake flavor, our cake vendor wisely suggested that we pick two flavors! Our cake was comprised of one layer of cream cheese pound cake with lemon curd filling and two layers of white cake with chocolate ganache and raspberry filling. The whole cake was iced with vanilla buttercream frosting.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our first year at the University of Virginia Law School, and we started dating during our second year. After graduation, I moved to New Orleans to clerk for two federal judges, and Michael moved to Chicago to work for a law firm. We eventually closed the long distance gap when I moved to Chicago.
Tell us all about the proposal! Michael proposed to me in our apartment in Chicago. The proposal was a huge surprise to me, but a well-known (and well-kept!) secret among our family and friends.
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Catholic wedding mass and did not write our own vows.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and blue was a sapphire ring that I borrowed from my mother, that had been a gift from my father to my mother. My something new was my dress and shoes. My something old was an antique beaded purse that my mother and I had found at a shop in Charlottesville several years earlier.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our communication and teamwork only improved while wedding planning, and we know that these skills will serve us well in our marriage.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Throughout the process, treat your relationship with your fiancé and your upcoming marriage as priorities. All of the details of the day will fall into place.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We hope to celebrate our wedding anniversary in Charlottesville in the near future.

Photographer: Jen Fariello | Planner: Meghan Streit of Shindig Weddings | Videographer: Shaking Hands Productions | Venue: Belle Haven on the James | Florist: Southern Blooms | Catering: The Catering Outfit | Cake: Favorite Cakes | Rentals: Festive Fare and Paisley & Jade | Tent and Lighting: Skyline Tent Company | Cocktail Hour Band: Grit City Grass | Reception Band: Real Geniuses | Hair Stylist: Lucas Shaffer | Makeup Artist: Rouge 9 | Guest Transportation: A.Goff Limo

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    I miss Belle Haven!!! This is one of my favorites of Jen’s!

  2. avatar Michael Sheffield reply

    Amazing Photos :)

  3. avatar Sera Petras reply

    What a sweet southern wedding! I love all the little details, the pretty drink station and her flowers were just gorgeous!

  4. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    What a wonderful wedding! We were honored to play a small part. Congrats to the happy couple and bravo to all of our vendor friends who helped create a beautiful celebration!

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