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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

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Leann reply

    Yay Sam! Congrats on the feature.

  2. avatar Green Antlers Photography reply

    Soft pink, beautiful and so relaxed! And talk about amazing grooms gift ideas!! sweet

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Kelly was instantly smitten with Sang when they met at work (she was an interior designer and he was in IT). After many inner-office messages, the two finally went out on a date and have been inseparable ever since. Their Virginia wedding was a lovely mashup between touches of vintage (Kelly knew she had to have a lace gown and vintage skeleton keys!) and elegant simplicity. Perhaps my favorite part of their big day was the wine box ceremony. Instead of saying personal vows out loud, they wrote letters to each other and placed them in a box with a bottle of wine to be opened on their anniversary. I love the idea of creating a memory for down the road and it’s also a great alternative for those who get choked up easily or are too shy to say their vows in front of dozens of guests.

Big hugs and thanks to Sam Stroud who shared this day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
I already knew what I wanted. LACE! It was really important to me that I found a dress that I loved and worked well with the overall look/style of the wedding. We already had our venue booked so I knew I wanted something that had a vintage look but was also on the search for something unique. I tried on about 15 lace dresses. None of the dresses I found were exactly what I was looking for. On my fourth bridal store visit, I was about to call it quits when I walked by a lace dress that didn’t really meet the description of what I wanted. It caught my eye and I asked if I could try it on. As soon as I had it on, I knew it was the one. It fit me like a glove and it was so unique! The lace was gorgeous and I loved that there was a nude under layer. It wasn’t a traditional white dress and I loved it. When I topped it off with a butterscotch veil and embellished belt, I knew the search was over! I wish I could wear it again!

I wanted the bouquets for my bridesmaids to contrast since their dresses were pink, so a small bouquet of white roses and peonies was perfect. For my bouquet, my florist did a similar bouquet of roses and peonies in variations of whites. It was exactly what I wanted! I really wanted a vintage/romantic look and because I’m a “less is more” person, the monochromatic flowers were exactly my style and didn’t take away from the details of my dress.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
I think there were two elements that really brought out the Southern feel. One was the location. There is a Civil War battlefield that you pass when approaching the venue. This is where the Battle of Bristoe Station took place on October 14, 1863. The other Southern detail was our venue. The manor house was built in the early 1900s and acquired by Bristow Manor Golf Club. The house just has so much Southern charm and really represents Virginia!

The best part of our ceremony was the wine box ceremony. Rather than writing our own vows that everyone would hear, this allowed us to be more private with our feelings and write a note that would remind each other on our anniversary how much we love one another and bring us back to our special day. It will become a great tradition we can have with each other year after year. Our reading explained it all: “The wine box contains their favorite bottle of wine. Into the box, they will place two love letters they have written to one another. On their first anniversary, they’ll open up the box, share the wine and read their love letters to each other. Sang and Kelly, on that first anniversary as you drink the wine, may that little bitter bite of the wine symbolize the challenges you have faced. Let the sweetness of the wine symbolize the joy and happiness, hope, love, and goodness of your marriage. At the end of your one-year celebration, write a new love letter to each other and close it in the box with a new bottle of wine. And on the happy occasion of each anniversary, open the box, read your love letters, drink the wine, and add new letters to the box. As time passes, let the letters give you and your children a record of your years together and serve as a living document of the growth and depth of your ever evolving relationship. As you now seal you box with the wine and letters, so shall your lives now be one. From now on your thoughts will always be for each other rather than just your individual selves. Your plans will be mutual, your joys and sorrows both will be shared alike. Let this moment strengthen your marriage now and forever more.”

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I think the hardest decisions I made were about the songs! Unfortunately the music Sang and I like doesn’t make for good wedding music. I walked down the aisle to the traditional Pachelbel’s Canon in D. I used to love playing that song on my violin when I was younger. I don’t feel like we had an extremely traditional ceremony, but I think that song really made me feel like a bride. For our first dance song, we chose Jason Mrax’s “I Won’t Give Up.” A lot of people think it’s a negative first dance song, but Sang and I had a few challenges during the year and a half we were engaged that really tested our relationship. It was very appropriate for us. Our DJ selected our recessional song, which was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. I loved it!

I wanted other features of the wedding to be the focus, so I wanted to keep the flowers simple for the reception. I choose give or six white or light pink hydrangeas and put them in vases that I purchased from Ikea and added my own touch of lace and ribbon at the base of the vase.

We decided early on that a wedding cake wasn’t our style. At every wedding we have been to, people didn’t each much of the cake. A friend of mine loves to bake and makes the most amazing desserts! I asked her if she would be interested in baking the desserts and doing a spread of different options. I showed her other elements of the wedding so she had an idea of how things were going to look and then I let her have complete creative freedom! She did an amazing job!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I had a great time planning our wedding; I am very decisive and knew what I wanted. The biggest challenge was getting over what I couldn’t control: the weather. The entire week leading up to the wedding, they were calling for rain the entire day. However, on the day of, we just barely missed the rain. It made for beautiful pictures once it did start raining. It’s good luck, so they say!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
I was really laid back throughout the process. I let my bridesmaids wear their hair how they wanted and wear whatever jewelry they wanted. I did not even care if Sang didn’t want to wear a tie! It made the process really enjoyable for myself and for everyone involved. Don’t be a control freak — let your vendors do their jobs and trust their knowledge and ability!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
We met while working at my first job out of college at an architecture firm in Old Town Alexandria. Sang worked in the IT department and I was working as an interior designer. On my first day while Sang was setting up my computer, we chatted about his last night’s plans. Apparently it was love at first sight for me! I thought he was so attractive and wanted any reason to talk to him. I even faked computer problems so I had an excuse to message him on our inter-office messenger. He eventually asked me out for a drink after work one day and we’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! 
He proposed in October of 2011. We had discussed getting married and even went and looked at rings a few times. I felt like I was patiently waiting for the proposal, but when it actually happened I didn’t believe it! We went out on a Saturday night in DC to a restaurant called Acadiana’s. We got really dressed up but I had assumed we were just going to go out after our dinner. One of our friends who worked at the restaurant was our waitress that night, so we got special treatment. She brought us champagne and appetizers we didn’t even order! I thought we were just VIPs for the night. Little did I know the two had it all planned out! Shortly after we finished our appetizers, Sang started to tell me how much he loved me and how happy he was. It was sweet but seemed standard for a romantic evening out. He started to fumble through his pockets and that was when I felt my heart racing! I knew this was it! I knew what he was looking for! He pulled out the little velvet box and opened it. That’s when he asked me to marry him! I was in such shock that the first words I said were, “Is this a joke?” as tears rolled down my face! Of course I followed that up with a big “YES”!
When did y’all get married? 
May 11, 2013
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
125
Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
I actually would have liked to, but time just didn’t allow us.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
It’s hard to choose just one element! I really would say the 1800s style manor house was our favorite detail! It really drove the overall look and style of the evening, from the dress down to the table linens and the vintage skeleton key escort cards.
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? 
There are a lot of important elements to a wedding and everyone that day played a special role in making that day memorable. I’m happy we had Sam Stroud Photography there. The photos are the memories that we will have years down the road and I think he is very talented and such a pleasure to work with! I think he got every shot I wanted!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
When I was walking down the aisle, I could see the tears welling up in my soon-to-be-husband’s eyes. He’s such a tough guy I would have never thought I would see him tear up. It was the best moment ever to know that our special day would have that effect on him. It melted my heart!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We want to enjoy life as a married couple for a few years! We plan on playing lots of golf and traveling to Korea before starting our family!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
11 Comments
  1. avatar Maribel reply

    I am so excited to see Kelly’s wedding in your blog, I loved working on her flowers, so happy for this beautiful couple!

  2. avatar Lauren reply

    I LOVE her dress. The lace is so romantic.

  3. avatar Anna (Lover.ly) reply

    Reading about the wine box ceremony made me tear up! That’s an absolutely beautiful tradition. I also love the escort cards, they added a really nice vintage touch. I also really liked the photo of the desserts! They looked wonderful.

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Oh my word, the bouquet toss photo in this wedding is absolutely priceless. Great capture!

  5. avatar Be Inspired pR reply

    Love this wedding and reception! So classic and elegant :)

  6. avatar Kelly (The Bride) reply

    Thank all for the kind words! Loved planning our wedding everything was perfect in our eyes and Sam Stroud captured all the memories we will have for a life time! <3

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  8. avatar Charli reply

    Where did you get your dress ?!?!

    • avatar Kelly reply

      Charli: Anne Barge was the designer. More specifically my dress came from a shop in Old Town Alexandria, Va called Hanalore’s. =)

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