Gracious alive, I think we hit the Southern wedding jackpot with Jennifer and Justin’s Virginia wedding! I could literally list each and every one of their details as the best part–I know Kristin would agree, considering their wedding is like a smorgasbord of our combined favorite things! While you must scroll down to completely understand, humor my list-making heart and let me share a few: monogrammed Jacks, pineapple centerpieces with magnolias, seersucker LulaKate dresses, hush puppies, and did I mention monograms galore? Yes, these two included so much Southern goodness in their wedding, and they did so with the best frame of mind: making their friends and family feel at home through sweet Southern hospitality and gracious love.
Hugs to Nikki Santerre for sending us this lovely day!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was the pair of David Yurman pearl earrings my sweet new sister in-law lent me to wear on the wedding day. My something blue was my shoes, a pair of navy blue monogrammed Jack Rogers. My something old was my late grandmother’s handkerchief, which I carried around my bouquet. My something new kept up with our celebratory koozie theme. I asked all the girls to be bridesmaids with monogrammed koozies embroidered with “Will you be my bridesmaid?” so for my something new, my bridesmaid Heather, who does all my monogramming, surprised me with a matching monogrammed bride koozie. It was such a sweet keepsake and it fit perfectly in the pocket of my dress to save for the reception!
Describe your wedding flowers. The bouquets had pink peonies, which are my absolute favorite flowers, and white and green hydrangeas to go with our pink, green, and navy color scheme. We had the same flowers in half the centerpieces, and the other tables had pineapples with magnolias and Spanish moss on them.
Dear Sweet Tea Monograms, can WE be friends?
I am a huge history buff and loved the idea of having our wedding reception at one of the oldest and most historic plantation homes in Virginia. It was a great way to show our family and friends all the wonderful things the South has to offer. The Cathedral was important to us because the Monsignor that does weddings there also did my First Communion and First Reconciliation, so it was very fitting to have him marry us as well. It is also a historical landmark with beautiful architecture and intricate design.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s tough to narrow it down to just one because we tried to reflect our personalities and who we are as a couple in almost every aspect of the wedding, but we both agree the location and the weather really helped make the day. The Plantation’s view of the James River and the magnolia and weeping willow-lined walkways made quite the picturesque setting. We could not have asked for better weather–being outdoors in the summer in the South is always a gamble, but we lucked out with sunshine and low humidity, which made for a beautiful day.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted our family and friends to experience a taste of Southern hospitality at our wedding. We served some of our favorite Southern foods including mac and cheese, chicken biscuits, Old Bay shrimp, and my personal favorite, hush puppies. We incorporated the Southern symbol of hospitality, the pineapple, along with magnolias in many of our decorations and details. Every Southern girl loves her monograms, and one of my bridesmaids has a monogramming company, so we put monograms on everything from our favors (koozies, of course), to our cups, to our corn hole boards. We utilized several Southern companies for our wedding party attire and our Firefly and lemonade signature cocktail. Plus, we rocked the dance floor with some of our favorite country and Southern rock songs.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the summer of 2003. I was finishing up my freshman year of high school and got my first job working as a lifeguard at my neighborhood pool. Justin was finishing up his junior year at a neighboring high school, and was a veteran lifeguard who was assigned to the same pool. After a couple of dates, one of which included dinner at Arby’s and a movie, we have been together ever since! We dated all through college while we were both at James Madison University, stayed together when Justin went to grad school in Florida, then both ended up getting jobs back in Richmond, Virginia.
Tell us all about the proposal! Two of my best friends (and bridesmaids) live around Charleston. We love Charleston, so we could not wait to visit them. While we were down there for a long weekend, we planned a beach day on Sullivan’s Island. We were laying out on the beach looking out at Ft. Sumter and the Charleston skyline when my friends said they had to go back to the car real quick. Justin then asked me if I needed another drink from the cooler. When I turned around, he was on one knee with a koozie embroidered with “Will you marry me?” and my new married monogram on it. He had stuck the ring box in the koozie! Our friends were hiding getting pictures of it all. It was the perfect proposal for me because he made sure to incorporate all of my favorite things: monograms, koozies, the beach, my favorite Southern city, and even some Civil War history!
When did y’all get married? June 28, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping with my mom, my future mother-in-law, and my future sister-in-law in Richmond. A few friends had recommended their bridal consultant from Bella Rosa, so I made an appointment with her. She was so helpful in working with what I knew I didn’t want, and helped me realize what I did want. We ended up narrowing it down to three dresses and I was so indecisive. However, I knew I had found the one when I tried it on and someone in my group mentioned it reminded them of something from “Gone with the Wind.” Extra bonus: it had pockets!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are pretty traditional when it came to wedding details and I always knew I wanted the first time Justin saw me on our wedding day to be when my father walked me down the aisle. I love a good surprise!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Again, in keeping with tradition, we thought there was something special about using the same wedding vows that have been used for generations!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? One of the biggest challenges of planning a wedding is staying focused and within budget. In this age of technology, there are so many distractions; with all of those ideas, it is easy to get wrapped up in all the little details and stress about having a “perfect” wedding. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our advice to couples currently planning a wedding is to TRY to relax and enjoy it. It all goes by so quickly, and the next thing you know, you’ll be back at work after the honeymoon wishing you could re-live it all again!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to settling into married life in the Richmond area and enjoying the rest of the summer with our dog, Stonewall. We recently built a house and can’t wait to finish decorating it.
Photographer: Nikki Santerre / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of the Sacred Heart / Reception Venue: Berkeley Plantation / Florist: Petals & Twigs / Cake Baker: Candy Valley Cake Company / Caterer: David Watson / Rentals and Lighting: Party Perfect Event & Party Rentals / DJ: Greg Haynes / Paper Products: Collins Printing / Bridal Salon: Bella Rosa / Hair and Makeup: Bombshell Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Zoe” by LulaKate / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Richmond / Men’s Attire: Southern Proper / Men’s Attire Store: Natty Beau Richmond / Monogramming: Sweet Tea Monograms / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Kate Spade