Y’all, I’m not going to lie! I literally went from laughing out loud to crying seconds later while I just read about Lisa + Eric’s nautical-inspired big day. You don’t want to miss Eric’s clever proposal story or Lisa’s dress adventure!
Once I started looking at the photos from Kristin Moore I loved seeing all of Lisa’s DIY projects she wrote about come to life with the help of her family and friends. And to top it off? Lisa + Eric are not only dog people, but rescue dog people! My favorite kind, because as you know I firmly believe that #rescuedogsarethebestdogs!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blue was my toes, which are always painted blue, probably since I was in college! I had two “borrowed” items: the beautiful pearl jewelry from my Aunt Lori, and the veil that my Matron of Honor, Christa, had worn at her wedding. My something old was the penny in my shoe that my Grandma Sue gave me as I was getting dressed for the ceremony—it has been passed down in the family for several generations. And my something new? I guess everything else—the shoes, dress and garter!
We had very simple arrangements. We ordered our flowers from Rappahannock Florist. They put together all our bouquets, boutonnieres, and wrist flowers. My bridal bouquet was big sunflowers and blue hydrangeas, and it was absolutely perfect. We also ordered over 100 sunflower stems from them. My wonderful friends helped cut the stems and put together simple, elegant mason jars of sunflowers for both our ceremony aisles and table centerpieces. Lovely!
A pre-first look bride myself, I love hearing about couples who opt not to see each other before the ceremony!
We decided not to do a first look. We might have had more time to enjoy the cocktail hour, and get more photos after the ceremony if we had done a “first look.” But, when I came around the corner in front of all of our closest friends and family and saw my husband’s face light up and literally tear up at the sight of me, I knew that we made the right choice. Nothing could beat that moment! My husband was actually amazed to see me in a true wedding dress. After all of my complaining about wedding dresses, and hints about cutting half the length off, etc., I am not sure what he thought was going to come down the aisle, but I know he was knocked off his feet!
Seriously? I want to love on Alice’s sweet face! P.S. Don’t let BDK know that, he’s already ready for a bunch of new rescue pups!
The BIG hit of the wedding was the bourbon bar set up on the beach! My uncle planned and set that one up, and it was the most popular spot. It was decorated with an old trunk, driftwood, and duck decoys, and offered several types of bourbon to taste. There was a crowd around the bourbon bar and fire pits all night long. The location on the beach, under the stars, was magical.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our venue itself is full of history. We rented Pop Castle, located on the Rappahannock River, as a vacation home rental for three nights. It is a registered Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Registry of Historic Homes because of its rich history—it was the site of a Civil War battle, and took gunfire from British gunboats during the War of 1812. We tried to include many aspects that would honor the area we were in. We had a big crab feast the night before our wedding, open to all our guests. Our wedding ceremony and reception were all outdoors on the back lawn of the house, under two big oak trees. My dad made our arch, built from two wooden white shutters. Our centerpieces included sea glass and driftwood we had collected at a nearby beach. We made the burlap runners and yellow gingham napkins for each table ourselves. We had many activities for guests to enjoy, which created a great, casual atmosphere: corn hole and ladder golf in the grass, a tree swing under an oak tree, dancing under the stars, and fire pits and drinks on the beach. We also had a sweets buffet that was on a beautiful old table with crab pots, sunflowers, and driftwood for décor. We had orange and maroon popcorn to pay homage to Virginia Tech. I created a sign with Johnny Cash’s lyrics “The taste of love is sweet when hearts like ours meet.”
We were so excited about our wedding cake. It was beautiful on the outside, three tiers with blue and yellow ribbon, and a beautiful sunflower on it. But the inside was our favorite part—almond flavored funfetti! It was a hit with all our friends and family too. Hope it’s as tasty on our one-year anniversary!! The wedding cake was displayed on an old dresser that my aunt refinished for us, and we now use it as a front entry table in our home.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college at Virginia Tech, during my senior year of undergrad, while he was finishing a master’s program. We spent most weekends together hiking, loyally attending Virginia Tech football games, going out for drinks, dinners, or movies and more during that first year of dating. We weren’t sure where it was headed after graduating in 2006, and we were both a bit commitment-phobic, but continued to let things grow naturally. We traveled together, spent holidays and vacations with each other’s families, kept going to Virginia Tech football games, moved into an apartment together, adopted our dog together. Seven years after first meeting, we are fully committed and can’t imagine life without each other! :-)
Tell us all about the proposal! Eric asked for my parents’ “blessing” the week before Memorial Day 2011 without my knowing. We spend each Memorial Day weekend in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where my Aunt Lori and Uncle Steve have a beautiful house on Indian Creek. My parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle were all together on the porch after lunch, when Eric came out with a sheet of paper with a Pictionary-style puzzle on it. It is a tradition on our family weekends in the Northern Neck to come up with silly rhyming picture puzzles. This one was a picture of a grill, a shoe, a berry, and a bee — which rhymed to translate to “will you marry me”! At the same time, our dog, Alice, came out with a large napkin ring diamond on her collar! We picked out the official ring together later, but I still have the napkin “ring” in my jewelry box! We sat on the hammock overlooking the creek while we called the rest of our friends and family to tell them the news. We had a close-knit family celebration for the rest of the weekend. It was wonderful.
When did y’all get married? September 15, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I hate shopping for clothes! I hated shopping for a wedding dress even more. I didn’t want something heavy, and all the dresses I tried on at the first store felt heavy and suffocating! I didn’t even know the difference between white and ivory when I walked in…drop waist? Sweetheart? –WHAT?! That trip didn’t go well. The second place was a place called “I Do, I Do,” which offers secondhand wedding dresses. I went with my mom, Kathy, and my aunt, Lori. By then, I knew I wanted a dress that had some kind of straps, and a shorter length, because we were planning an outdoor ceremony. I wanted something I would feel comfortable in and be able to move around in the grass in! Tea-length dresses I tried on made me feel like an oompa loompa because I am on the shorter side, and the dresses floofed out a lot. It didn’t take me long to find a dress, because I knew what I wanted, and I wasn’t looking to spend hours searching. After trying on about three dresses, we found a beautiful “sweetheart” dress that had a halter-style top and small beaded accents all over. The only problem was that it was a full-length dress. The woman at the store said I could get it altered to be a shorter style. It was perfect. We ended up getting it altered to mid-length, a few inches below my knees and it turned out to be comfortable, light, pretty, and best of all, perfect for ME!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. We ended up finishing them up just the day before the wedding! Eric sat on the end of the dock on the river to write his, and I sat under a beautiful oak tree to finish mine. Eric promised to “always be the last one out of bed in the morning!”—and he has remained true to that one! I said “Together, we’ll make every experience into an adventure.” Of course, we both mentioned our dog, Alice, in our vows as well!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose readings that were light-hearted, yet full in the message of love. We had two readings in our ceremony, read by our closest friends and family. One of my best friends, Sumita, who I have known since I was four, read, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulgham. My now sister-in-law, Karen, read, “How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali. Since we are dog people, and obsessed with our rescue dog, Alice, it was very fitting.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Originally, we wanted Violin String Quartet’s cover of Paradise, by Coldplay for the aisle walk (our DJ couldn’t get the song to play). Instead, I walked down the aisle to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which did end up being a nice selection. However, it was almost “Love and Marriage,” which our DJ played right beforehand! (NOT on our play list!). Our DJ was a last-minute choice when our other DJ didn’t work out. Although he wasn’t able to do any of the songs on the playlist we had created (which we had spent hours needlessly creating!), people still danced all night! Our first dance song was Michael Buble’s “Everything.” We wanted something light and sweet, and we have seen Michael Buble in concert and really enjoy his music. I am not a dancer, so I was dreading this part of the night, but we made it short and sweet, and made it through!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: All the DIY and found items from friends and family! My aunt searched high and low for mason jars, apothecary jars, crab baskets, string lights, duck decoys, and more at thrift shops and yard sales. The burlap table runners were made from the leftovers of another person’s wedding. We hand made all the decorative elements, from the centerpieces, chalkboard escort cards, guest book, and wood direction signs, to the ceremony programs and arch! Those elements made our wedding unique and personal, and guests remarked on how “us” it was!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was that we did everything essentially on our own. We rented a house meant as a vacation rental, so we had to figure out all the logistics on our own—renting the fancy port-a-potty trailer, beverages, moving chairs and tables, lighting candles, figuring out what to do with trash and recycling—all on our own. We were so lucky to have gracious friends and family who jumped in to help with many wedding projects beforehand, as well as with set up and clean up the day of! We would have been lost without them! Having a DIY wedding without a wedding planner or coordinator still seems crazy when I look back, but somehow, it did end up working! We also fretted about the weather leading up to the day and rented a tent just in case, but the experience would have been totally different with bad weather. We completely lucked out.
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? Our photographer, Kristin Moore, was phenomenal. So many guests commented on how much they enjoyed her and thought she did a good job. She caught all the little details of our wedding, which captured the work of so many of our friends and family. Although I am very uncomfortable in front of a camera, she made me feel so at ease! Half the time, I didn’t realize she was taking photos of me, so she caught very real moments in time. She even stood knee-deep in the river to get photos of us on the dock, nearly falling all the way in!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My mom passed away three months after our wedding, while we were away on our honeymoon. So the most memorable thing about our wedding day was that my WHOLE family was together and got to share so many wonderful moments together, even just getting ready for the wedding, and the morning of the wedding—a memorable breakfast with just family on the dock on the river. With family spread out into North Carolina and Canada, we are so lucky that our wedding provided the opportunity for us all to be together. Bottom line—the time spent with family and friends really can’t be topped. It all goes by so quickly, but what I remember most is the flashes of moments with different friends and family just laughing, dancing and sitting in the sand by the fire pits. It was a celebration not just of us, but of all the people who brought us together.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice is enjoy it and don’t stress out! It will go by SO. FAST. Even when our not-so-awesome DJ played “Love and Marriage” moments before I walked down the aisle, instead of the music we had picked out, it has made for a very memorable story and a good laugh. Take everything in stride, because the parts that matter—your vows to each other, and the people who are there supporting you—nothing can muff those parts up! Also, accept the support and help from your family and friends! With a very DIY wedding, we couldn’t have pulled it off without so many people chipping in and helping prepare the weekend of the wedding, and beforehand. The fact that our wedding was created by so many hands made it more special. We can look at all the elements of the day and know that it was truly about our family and friends coming together and being a part of it all with us. Also, do not wait until the last minute for those details that you “think” you will have time to do or finish. You won’t have time. Oh man, that is a big one!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are taking a second honeymoon this year (our last one was cut short). We are headed to Colorado to explore Rocky Mountain National Park, Aspen, Denver and more! We are very excited. We moved into our first house last year, a few months before our wedding—very hectic! We are looking forward to working on our house now, and making it our home. The next room we are working on is a cozy, magical, and, of course, romantic retreat for our master bedroom! We are also enjoying that things have slowed down now, so we can enjoy many more happily married adventures together, like traveling, continuing to work on our new house, and spending time with friends and family, and our dog Alice, every chance we get.
Photographer: Kristin Moore | Ceremony Venue: “Pop Up Castle” in White Stone, VA | Florist: Rappahannock Florist and Gifts | Wedding Cake: The Cake Man Bakery | Caterer: Willaby’s Cafe and Catering | Rentals: Rappahannock Rentals Inc/Party Line | DJ: Disc Jockeys Now | Bride’s Gown: I Do I Do Wedding Gowns | Paper Products: Smarty Had A Party | Hair Stylist: Heads Up Hairworks | Makeup Artist: Merle Norman Cosmetics with Jennifer Bishop | Bride’s Shoes: Touch Ups by Benjamin Walk Corporation | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal, Horizon Blue Color | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank