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With a love for the mountains and fond memories of Charlottesville, Lauren and Andrew chose to celebrate their wedding in her home state of Virginia. After a whirlwind tour of venues, they settled on a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills at The Market at Grelen. A six-month engagement meant a spring date for their celebration and a venue in full bloom, so Andrew and Lauren worked with their florist to accentuate the already lovely landscape with local flowers. So local, in fact, that the magnolia blooms in Lauren’s bouquet were plucked from the magnolia trees that line the road leading to their venue! Continuing to play off the beauty of Virginia, their clear tent was the perfect place to top off their lovely day with dancing under the stars.

Thanks to Sera Petras for capturing Lauren and Andrew’s dreamy day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my wedding dress on the first day of “the search,” which was quite the outcome considering, like any good Southern woman, I can sometimes take my time making big decisions! Since Andrew and I were engaged over Thanksgiving and wanted a spring wedding in Virginia, I only had six months to plan everything. When I learned that some women give themselves a full six months to find their wedding dress alone, I started to internally panic! The pressure was on, but I tried to keep it at bay and enjoy our new engagement until January, when my future mother-in-law (thankfully!) decided to help kick-start my dress search by making a couple of appointments at boutiques that her daughter had visited a few years before. I fell in love with the lace on a gown at the first boutique we visited, but decided to give the second boutique a try. After trying on a few more dresses, I came out in one that I felt really pretty in–and the looks on my friend and mother-in-law’s faces sealed the deal. When I looked in the mirror, I knew I had found the dress I wanted to get married in–I only wished that my mother, who lived in Virginia, had been there there to witness the moment. We took plenty of photos and video for her! I also had my dress customized, replacing some rhinestones in the center of the magnolia flowers on the back with pearls.

Our wedding flowers were dreamy. We were very lucky to have our wedding on a beautiful hilltop venue that was in full bloom to begin with, so we were far from working with a blank slate. I worked with our amazing florist, Whimsical Floral, to design a floral spread that complimented and accentuated the venue with flowers that were local to Virginia and also went with the springtime color story I had envisioned: soft pinks, greens, and shades of white. I really wanted to incorporate magnolias into our wedding flowers, as an ode to my memory of growing up with two giant magnolia trees in my yard, and the trees started flowering about a week before our wedding. In fact, the road leading up to the venue was lined with magnolia trees in full bloom, and my florist was able to sneak a fresh magnolia bloom from one of those trees into my bouquet, which made me happy as a clam. She also picked fresh pink peonies right from our venue’s peony field and incorporated some other gorgeous pinks and whites into my and the bridesmaids’ bouquets. Our centerpieces were a mix of gold pedestal bowls filled with mixed greens, pink and white honeysuckle, peonies, hydrangea, mock orange, and magnolia leaves with magnolia blossoms. We also had a hanging centerpiece over the head table, covered in peonies and magnolia leaves and blooms. One of my favorite parts of the wedding was creating a vision for the flowers!

We exchanged the traditional wedding vows and also shared some personal sentiments with each other during the ceremony. The ceremony felt exponentially more special because we were able to share such personal thoughts about each other in front of all of our family and close friends.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I would say that our wedding was definitely Southern, from having an outdoor wedding with a magnolia theme, to our officiant’s very charming Virginia accent! I couldn’t imagine wearing anything but pearls on my wedding day. Our Southern signature cocktail was bourbon-based (we buried a bottle of bourbon in spirit since we lived out of state at that time!), and we chose a Southern-leaning local menu, including truffle mac and cheese, cornbread, and sauces galore, buffet-style so our guests could get up and mingle with each other at their leisure. I also surprised Andrew with a life-sized basketball groom’s cake (he played in college) at the rehearsal dinner–he is from New England, so he was completely taken aback by this fun Southern tradition!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We lived in Boston, but decided to get married in my home state of Virginia, in the beautiful rolling hills near UVA, where I went to college. We both love the mountains and had made some fun memories together in Charlottesville, so we took a whirlwind tour of several venues in the area about a month after we were engaged. We had such a great feeling after visiting the Market at Grelen and meeting Sarah, and the fact that we could have our wedding the Saturday of Memorial Day (we wanted a long weekend so our guests could enjoy the area) sealed the deal. We really wanted a spring wedding (spring in Virginia is so special) and we were enamored with the venue’s surroundings and natural beauty. Our venue felt sophisticated, but unpretentious; it was a perfect blend of the outdoor elements with indoor comforts (inside the tent). We also loved that we were able to have our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in three completely separate spaces, each with their own unique look and feel, but all within close proximity. The flow of the evening and the spaces felt very organic, with each location getting a little more spectacular leading up to the reception tent. The clear top (and sides) tent was also a big selling factor–it allowed us to feel like we were outside while we were still protected from the elements. We had a spectacular sunset and we danced under the sunset and stars–it was magical.

Our wedding cake was three layers, consisting of lemon and white cake with white frosting. My favorite part of the cake was the fondant magnolia blooms–our baker did a spectacular job of making them look true to life. We also had our new monogram on the top layer, which was a nice personal touch. A close friend of mine, Cakes by Colleen, makes beautiful mini cakes, and I had her make three different flavors (almond, red velvet, and chocolate) to add another dessert option for our guests. In addition, we had a fire pit with a s’mores station outside the tent for our guests to enjoy while sitting under the stars.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In a not-so-traditional way: Tinder! The app was brand new and we were both out of the typical “Tinder generation” and in our early/mid 30’s, but out of curiosity, we thought we’d give it a go. Andrew was traveling a lot when we first “matched,” so it took a couple of tries to line up our first date, but what I remember about that first night (besides it being one of the chilliest December nights in Boston I can remember) is that Andrew was all smiles, and he laughed at all of my dorky jokes. He didn’t even give me a hard time for being late to what turned out to be a very important date! Two weeks after we met, I went on a trip to Kenya for two weeks; when I told him I would be photographing school kids in Nairobi, he sent me with a suitcase full of brand new running shoes from the company he worked for to give to them. The whole experience melted my heart. We stayed in touch over WhatsApp daily while I was away, and when I returned, we spent an entire weekend together instead of catching up with friends. That’s when I knew we had something really special.
Tell us all about the proposal! The proposal came as a complete surprise to me! Though we had lived together for six months and had talked about the longer term plan to get married, we had not talked timing as far as getting engaged. I was a bit surprised when he said he wanted to treat me to a nice dinner out at our favorite restaurant in Cambridge, Craigie on Main, the night before Thanksgiving. However, he said he owed me a nice meal because he had been out of town for the past week for work, so I gladly agreed to his fancy idea. Completely unaware of his master plan, I even had him push back the reservation an hour so we could meet a few of our friends for drinks in Boston before dinner! Looking back on it, I can’t believe how many road blocks I unknowingly created for him that day–patience is one of his greatest virtues. We enjoyed our entire meal in the corner booth where we sat for our very first Valentine’s Day, and after our last course, he started talking about how wonderful the past two years had been, how he couldn’t wait for our future together, and that he had a little present for me. That’s when he took out a little blue box. I was so shocked, I couldn’t stop saying, “Are you serious? Is this happening right now??” It was an evening I’ll never forget. The chef sent out a beautiful congratulatory dessert and champagne and the table beside us took pictures. After all of the excitement at Craigie, we went home, popped another bottle of bubbly, called all of our family and friends (my dad knew because Andrew had asked for his blessing) and danced the night away to Bruce Springsteen (Andrew’s favorite) in our apartment. The next day, we shared the great news with his family in person in Rhode Island. It was a Thanksgiving to remember.
When did y’all get married? May 28, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 145
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look after a close friend told us that it was the best decision they made for their wedding day. We were hesitant at first because we always imagined seeing each other for the first time when I was walking down the aisle, but the first look was so special because we got to embrace each other right away and spend a few moments saying what first came to our minds–something we could not have done by seeing each other at the altar for the first time. The joy we felt was beyond measure, and it took away some of the pre-ceremony nerves so that walking down the aisle was filled with even more excitement. It also helped to get through some of our tears (of joy!) out before the ceremony so that we could keep it together for our vows.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Although we hired a DJ for most of our reception music, our first dance was performed by Andrew’s brother-in-law, professional musician Will Evans. “Life is Just a Photograph” is one of our longtime favorite songs written by Will, and it speaks to lifelong love and commitment. It was very special and emotional to have one of our close family members perform this song live as we danced together for the first time as a married couple.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was planning a wedding from afar in less than six months, while also working full-time and planning/managing a cross-country move. Needless to say, we did not have much downtime in the months leading up to the wedding! Thankfully we caught up on sleep when we got to California.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Music is very important to Andrew especially, and we went with a DJ over a live band to cut costs; however, with a live performance for our first dance and the harpist at our ceremony, we were able to get the feeling of live music without a band’s price tag.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Divide and conquer! For the creative, planner-type brides like me, one piece of advice: it does not make you any less of a bride to hand off tasks to your groom. In fact, you will breathe easier by doing so and he will probably enjoy helping you out and having input over certain aspects! I waited longer than I should have to realize this :) Enjoy your engagement and set some sacred time aside each day for just the two of you, when there is no mention of the wedding planning. Prepare for your marriage, and talk about your mutual goals and aspirations.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are very excited about this new adventure we’ve embarked on in California! We are both East Coasters, so this has been a major move for us, but we truly feel it is a unique opportunity to build a strong foundation for the rest of our married lives. Wherever we go, we have each other–and at the end of the day, that’s all we really need.

Photographer: Sera Petras Photography | Videographer: Joygaba Photo | Planner: Two Byrds Events and Design | Day-Of Coordinators: Colleen McCabe and Helen Osinga | Venue: The Market at Grelen | Florist: Whimsical Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Pao Cakes and Cakes by Colleen | Caterer: The Local Restaurant and Catering | Rentals: MS Events | DJ: Frank Smith via Prime Time Sound & DJ Services | Harpist: Kristen Eye | Decor: A Grand Affair Events | Paper Products: Lattice Tree Studio | Bride’s Gown: “Selena” by Watters | Bridal Salon: Cristina’s Bridal | Bride’s Veil: Tiffanys Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Emily Hair & Makeup Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: “Lesta Slingback” by Anne Klein | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Long Tulle Convertible Versa” in Petal by David’s Bridal | Menswear: J. Crew

The Market at Grelen is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Thank you for featuring this lovely spring wedding! It was such a dream to photograph! I am always thrilled to see my couples on Southern Weddings!

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Even though it has been over ten years since I lived there, I still can’t shake my love affair with Virginia, and more specifically, with Virginia weddings. Jenny and Jeremiah’s big day was equal parts elegant, rustic, classic, and romantic, and it’s the perfect example of why Old Dominion has a piece of my heart. As if the crisp blue and white color palette and seamlessly incorporated herb details weren’t enough reason to love this wedding, Jeremiah is an accomplished chef in Charleston, so naturally, he and Jenny spoiled their loved ones with the best of Charlottesville and Charleston’s cuisine, made by none other than their chef friends! Is there anything better than when a community comes together to make a wedding extra special?

Thank you so much to Sera Petras for sharing this gorgeous wedding with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia and Kenya for a month and half over the summer, and when I returned, Jeremiah planned a trip for us before I had to go back to UVA. My family has been vacationing in Truro, Cape Cod since I was born, and Jeremiah has joined our family the last couple of years. It has become such a special place for both of us. Jeremiah proposed on the beach at sunset on the first night of our trip. His proposal was sweet and intimate and perfect!

Describe your wedding flowers. My vision for the flowers was to have a neutral palette that complimented the beauty of Rodes Farm and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. We went with a natural feel, utilizing lots of greenery and herbs to accompany the different varieties of white flowers. We were also able to incorporate herbs from our friends at Harvest Thyme Herb Farm throughout the wedding.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I left this one up to Jeremiah. He decided to go the traditional route and see me for the first time in my dress when I was walking down the aisle.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. A friend, who is a beautiful singer, accompanied our piano player as I walked down the aisle. I let her choose the song and she could not have picked a more perfect one. It was called “Somebody Loved” by The Weepies. The combination of the song and her amazing voice had everyone, including Jeremiah, in tears.

Rodes Farm provided the most gorgeous backdrop for a weekend full of amazing memories. We chose this venue because of its beauty, the flexibility to hold all of our events in one place, and the ability to have all of our guests stay on or around the property. From the magnolia trees shading the porch of the brick farmhouse where we got married, to the historic barn where we ate and danced, the farm was the best detail.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Jeremiah and I wanted to include the traditions of both his current home of Charleston and our childhood home of Charlottesville in our wedding weekend. We accomplished this by throwing a Lowcountry boil and pig roast for our rehearsal dinner, and a Virginia-themed dinner for our reception. Most of our guests had never experienced a traditional Lowcountry boil, so we went all out to make it authentic, covering the tables in kraft paper and including whole blue crabs in the boil. For the reception, we assembled our favorite Virginia products that showcased the region, including country ham, local cider, apples, and cheeses.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! We were lucky to have the awesome Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings coordinating for us. We could not have done it without her!

How pretty are these herb decorations? They’re a perfect detail for a chef’s wedding!

Jeremiah created the menu and had friends cater the wedding. He has so many chef friends, so it was natural for us to involve all of these wonderful chefs from Charlottesville and his fellow chefs from McCrady’s in Charleston.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jeremiah and I are both from Charlottesville, but we didn’t meet until after I returned home from college. I was home working for a few months in between graduating and moving to Colorado, and we met at the restaurant where Jeremiah was a chef. After we started dating, we continued our relationship long distance. Jeremiah would fly back and forth to visit me once a month. After a year of long distance, Jeremiah moved out to Colorado to be with me!
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After not finding exactly what I wanted at the stores in our area, I turned to the internet. I had a vision of what I wanted and couldn’t believe when I found my dress online. The day it arrived and I tried it on, I just knew that it was the dress for me!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Food was a huge theme of the wedding, since Jeremiah is a chef. I had to pick out our cake by myself and was so nervous that he would not approve! Lisa at Hot Cakes was amazing and knew exactly what we wanted. Her first idea fit with our Virginia theme so well, I said yes right away: spice cake with fresh apple caramel filling and cream cheese icing. It was as delicious as it sounds!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I had lots of new, a handkerchief for my old and borrowed, and a blue bow inside of my dress that my sweet seamstress surprised me with.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? By far, the biggest challenge was planning the wedding long distance, with Jeremiah living in Charleston. Between the distance and his travel schedule, he did not even get to see the venue until three months before the wedding. Thankfully, I had a wonderful support system in Charlottesville, including my family and bridesmaids, Charlie and Amy, to help me make our wedding amazing.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Everyone says it and it is really true, but the wedding goes by so fast! I am truly thankful to have the beautiful images that our photographer, Sera Petras, captured to help relive all of the wonderful details and memories.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle and seeing my friends and family all assembled, and Jeremiah standing on the porch with the biggest smile on his face. I will never forget that moment–it was absolutely perfect!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Jeremiah and I are most excited to be ending our long distance relationship and starting our marriage together in Washington, DC. I will be working at Children’s as a neonatal nurse and Jeremiah will be opening his own restaurant.

Photographer: Sera Petras Photography / Planner: Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings / Venue: Rodes Farm / Florist: Hedge Fine Blooms / Wedding Cake: Hotcakes / DJ: Ron Price of Memory Bank DJ / Bride’s Gown: “Style 587” by Anne Barge / Paper Products: Tonya Brock of Winding Wheel Press / Hair Stylist: Claibourne of The Honeycomb / Makeup Artist: Anna of The Honeycomb / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Herbs: Harvest Thyme Herb Farm

lisa Written with love by Lisa
20 Comments
  1. avatar Sera Petras reply

    I am thrilled and honored to have this beautiful wedding featured here today! I am a loyal SW follower and it’s amazing to see my work here! Thank you!

  2. avatar Mimi reply

    Beautiful wedding!

    The bridesmaid dresses are lovely – any idea where they’re from? They complement the wedding very nicely.

    • avatar Jillian reply

      Mimi,
      I am pretty sure I have a bridesmaid wearing that exact dress in my wedding in July. The designer is Adrianna Papell and can be found at Nordstrom. Here is the link: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/adrianna-papell-boatneck-lace-sheath-dress-regular-petite/3707071?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Navy&resultback=3277&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_9_C

      Hope that helps + is correct! :)

  3. avatar Amanda reply

    One of our favorite wedding sof all time! Jenny and Jeremiah are true jems!!

  4. avatar Leann reply

    This is gorgeous work Sera! Congrats on getting the feature. I’m excited to be working with you this Saturday!

  5. avatar kelsy mccartney reply

    HOORAY! Such a beautiful couple. I adore the herb decor, lush greenery on the tables, and the pup’s floral wreath. So lovely!

  6. avatar Christina reply

    Very pretty!!!

  7. avatar Kristopher reply

    Stunning! I love all the details, and the photo of the dog:-)

  8. avatar Rachel May reply

    This is absolutely gorgeous!! Well done Sera & Amanda!!

  9. avatar Jainé Kershner reply

    This wedding is so sweet & gorgeous!!

  10. avatar Carolee reply

    This is such a pretty wedding.

  11. avatar Nichole reply

    Beautiful wedding!!

    Where did the groomsmen get their bow ties? They look like the perfect color blue for my wedding too.

  12. avatar Nicole Spangler reply

    Oh I love these images! Simply stunning!

  13. avatar Emily reply

    I adore their tables! So gorgeous!

  14. avatar wendy laurel reply

    simply gorgeous.. love that old swing

  15. avatar kel ward reply

    LOVE this wedding! And that dress! It looks like she is floating on a cloud. Love it.

  16. avatar Lisa O’Dwyer reply

    This is gorgeous! Love the shot of them going down the aisle!

  17. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Loved the beautiful wedding venue..and the lovely details. The colors used for the details look so stunning..specially the reception area decor and the table setting with blue linens.

  18. avatar Sarah reply

    Where are the navy bridesmaid dresses from?

  19. avatar Wedding reception seating arrangements: Pros and cons for every table layout reply

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