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Few things tug at my heartstrings quite like a military wedding. The special love and loyalty that Christy and Rob share, which I think is so characteristic of military couples, shines through these pictures! Their vintage-inspired, DIY wedding was a true labor of love, as Christy and Rob collected decor and mismatched china from every corner of the country to use at their barn reception. After vowing to go wherever the Navy may take them, but to always find their way back to one another (so romantic!), they danced the night away to their favorite country songs. Y’all must know that we adore the idea of ending a reception with a family line dance!

Special thanks to Stephanie Fay for sending us this sweet wedding to share!

We met at a Halloween party in Frederick, MD in 2007. We both noticed each other right away and Rob eventually mustered up the courage to talk to me but we left that evening without exchanging numbers. A week later, I mentioned Rob to my best friend Krystal (who threw the party) and told her how handsome Rob was. A few days later, Rob found me on Facebook and for the next five months we talked over the phone and computer while I studied abroad in Italy. One week after returning from Italy, I drove down to Maryland for my best friend’s (as well as Rob’s brother’s) graduation and Rob took me on our first real date. For the next four years, we did long-distance and saw each other every three weeks.

Christy’s style is right up my alley–I love her Plum Pretty Sugar getting-ready robe (in my favorite print, no less!) and her simply elegant gown!

Finding my gown was a lot easier then I thought it would be. While I was on a wedding blog, I completely fell in love with a gown that I saw a bride wearing. Sometimes you don’t even have to try a gown on to know it’s yours. The only hard part was finding the gown to try it on, but once I found it, it fit me exactly how I knew it would. The best part about my gown was that it had pockets!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! Doing a first look was probably one of the best things we could have done. We were so excited to see each other and it made the rest of the day so relaxed for us. Getting all the pre-wedding jitters out really made the day a breeze and we were able to enjoy moments together that you normally wouldn’t get to do without having a first look.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Rob mentioned that he’d love me no matter how many times he had to replace a bumper on the Denali (I “lightly” bumped his SUV into something the week prior while I was in New Jersey and he was in Mississippi). We also vowed to go wherever the Navy may take us and to always find our way back to each other, no matter what life throws our way.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? During the ceremony my cousin, Dr. G. Drue Smethers, said some kind words about love, faithfulness, and growing together. He talked about how Rob and I grew closer with them while living nearby in San Diego, CA, our passion for each other, and our adventurous nature that always made us up for something new or spontaneous.

These yellow chairs are one of my favorite details about Christy and Rob’s wedding. They really pop against the wood in the barn!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If you’re a DIY vintage bride like me, start collecting everything early from rummage sales, thrift stores and antique stores. If you’re making a lot of the details yourself, have a plan and write down a project to do each week to keep yourself organized. If you know exactly what you want, go for it; don’t be afraid to be different or unique, even when people around you might think you’re crazy at times! Get to know your vendors really well and make sure you trust them fully. If something doesn’t feel right to you, they probably aren’t a good fit for your wedding. It’s important to choose vendors that you are completely happy with and whose style fits in well with your wedding.

The most memorable moment for us, besides looking at each other while walking down the aisle, was standing in the middle of our reception and seeing all of our friends and family surrounding us. It was the first time everyone was in one spot together and we will never forget it!

Tell us all about the proposal! We were getting ready to go to a Christmas Eve party in NJ three weeks before Rob’s second deployment. Right before we walked out the door, Rob got down on one knee. I was shocked, to say the least, to see Rob holding such a beautiful ring! My response was, “You’re doing this right now?” and then Rob asked, “Will you marry me”? I said YES and gave him a kiss! Rob originally had “a plan” on how he was going to surprise me, but since our life is so crazy and nothing planned is set in stone with the Navy life, it was no surprise the proposal was spontaneous.
When did y’all get married? June 22, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
Describe your wedding flowers. I really wanted the flowers to look organic and chic to add to the vintage feel of our wedding. I wanted to incorporate colors that were soft and pastel. After almost eight months of searching, I came across a bouquet by Floral & Bloom Designs on a fellow photographer’s blog. I immediately fell in love with her work! After I met with the owner, Rachel, I knew I found the perfect florist. We were both on the same page and I basically told her “it’s your show; I want you to have fun with it. Be creative and do your thing.” All of the florals for the wedding were absolutely breathtaking and I couldn’t have been happier. I’m so grateful I found Rachel at Florals & Bloom Designs and I highly recommend her!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Instead of having a traditional cake, we wanted a dessert bar that had a mix of different things. We had a mini cake that was made just for Rob and I by Rob’s aunt. The cupcakes and macrons were ordered from Pearl Cupcake in Richmond and were delicious! We also added in some glazed munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts and my mom made chocolate cookies for us!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many favorite details from our wedding, but I think our favorite was the photo booth that Rob and my dad built. All of the guests enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun seeing both of our families taking photos together. To be honest, I think the line for the photo booth was longer then the line for the bar.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For something borrowed, I wrapped my grandparent’s wedding bands and my grandpa’s dog tags around my bouquet. I borrowed my mother-in-law’s pearl earrings and my garter had blue in it.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I buried a bottle of bourbon upside down exactly one month before our wedding at our venue in the bourbon garden. I believe it helped bring us good luck because the sun was shinning and it was a gorgeous out the entire day. All of our favorite country songs were played. Rob and I were driven to our barn reception in a cameo Rhino—it was awesome! We ended the night with a family line dance called the Tush Push, which is played to “Achy Breaky Heart” from Billy Ray Cyrus. It’s a must-have tradition by the Smethers family at every wedding.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was trying to plan a DIY vintage wedding while living in different states. We literally started collecting the mismatched china plates in Virginia Beach, and bought everything else in Maryland, New Jersey, California, and Mississippi. Another challenge was organizing all the décor and china plates at Rob’s house in Maryland (he was living in Mississippi at the time). The week of the wedding, we had to do about seven trips back and forth from the venue with an SUV and trailer because we had so much stuff. Another challenge that we faced was finding vendors that were a good fit for our wedding and nailing down the details while living in California. Early on, if something didn’t feel right to us, we weren’t afraid to keep searching until we found vendors that we were happy with.
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? I would say the one vendor that we were really happy to have a part of our wedding day was our photographers, Stephanie and Stephen. They flew all the way from Arizona to capture our special day and there are no words I can express for how grateful we are to have had them there. It’s because of them that we are going to have gorgeous images that will last us a lifetime!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Just being married to each other and spending time together, something that we don’t often get to do. With the military, you never know when there’s going to be another deployment or when you’re going to have to move across the country a couple of times in one year (we’ve moved three times in the last 18 months). We want to enjoy every minute that we get with each other! Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most, like cooking together, watching a movie or just going on long drives.

Photographer: Stephanie Fay | Planner: Bride | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Silverbrook Farm | Florist: Floral & Bloom Designs | Cupcakes and Macarons: Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe | Caterer: Mosaic Edibles | Vintage Furniture and Reception Chairs: Something Vintage Rentals | Lighting: Mosaic Edibles | DJ: Mattie Fresh | Bride’s Jewelry: Marolsha Etsy Shop | Bride’s Veil: Jefre Bridals | Bride’s Garter: Rose Bud Lips Etsy Shop | Bride’s Clutch: Juneberry Stiches Etsy Shop | Bride’s Gown: Paloma Blanca, Jefre Bridals | Invitation Design: Paper Dolls Design | Envelopes: Paper Source | Burlap Cases, Tags, Labels, Liners, Vintage Stamps, and Wedding Programs: Handmade by the Bride and Groom | Hair Stylist: Mikyla from The Shop Salon | Makeup Artist: Jodi from Ariel Lewis | Bride’s Shoes: Aldo | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic | Groom’s Tie: Handsome and Lace Etsy Shop | Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan | Rentals: DC Rental | Bridesmaids’ Necklaces: JaeCmaie Etsy Shop | Flower Girls’ Dresses: Kate Feist, Mother of Flower Girls | Favors: The Succulent Source Etsy Shop

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Keira reply

    The ties look great Rob!! Of course you guys are the MOST ATTRACTIVE COUPLE EVER!!!


  2. avatar Ken Tan reply

    Love the colours! Beautiful wedding :)

  3. avatar Dana reply

    One of the most beautiful rustic chic weddings ever! I love the color palette!

  4. avatar Resa reply

    Stunning!!! As expected :)

  5. avatar Fred Forbes reply

    Actually, Lisa, Rob did wear his Navy outfit for the ceremony. Check the shot of them during the ceremony where he is wearing his dress whites. Changed for the reception. Great time had by all!

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  10. avatar mary reply

    Is the dress in natural or cream color?

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Remember that gorgeous light I spoke about in Part I? Here it is again in these divine portraits from Adam Barnes! Absolutely dreamy!

A mini-food fan, I know our Emily was completely smitten when she first peeked at Tami + James’ reception. I love how T + J not only served adorable and yummy food, but it came complete with a story — the best part! Each course was a customized culinary trip through their lives, from “Childhood Favorites,” “Southern Comfort” and “Old Bay,” all the way to “The City That Never Sleeps.” What fun!

P.S. Be sure to scroll all the way down and read about T + J’s Great Gatsby moment! So cool!

We had an outdoor cocktail hour among the Carriage House and Gazebo at the Thomas Birkby House, where we served our signature cocktail, a strawberry mojito and oysters in mini Ball jars with individual Tabasco pairings.

What was your reception like? It was a tented reception where guests enjoyed our personalized four-course dinner and dancing afterward.  When planning the wedding, I wanted to incorporate something that would blow James away, and decided to surprise him with a cigar roller and scotch bar, which ended up being a huge hit at the reception!  The cigar roller did his thing on the patio, just outside of the tent, where many of our guests congregated after dinner to enjoy the last few minutes of sunlight and socialize among the trees and carriage house.  For an added unique touch of evening ambiance, we projected a romantic 1920s silent film in the background against the carriage house. The scene of bow-tied gentlemen enjoying cigars while entertaining each other and their lovely ladies was magical, drawing a comment from one guest likening the evening to one of the many painted by Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.

Food is a big part of our lives. Growing up, we both had family dinners on Sundays and everyone always seemed to be in and around the kitchen enjoying the food and drink that day’s host was preparing. As a continuation of our quest to make our wedding personal, we took the opportunity to come up with a menu that reflected the path of our lives. We started with a “Childhood Favorites” course of Lobster corndogs, grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters, and a side of gold fish crackers. Then on to “Southern Comfort,” a nod to my Southern roots with white cheddar, gruyere and truffle oil mac and cheese, a country biscuit with Virginia ham, and shrimp and grits. The third course was “Old Bay,” a nod to James’ hometown and late night college years with Maryland crab cakes and a mini philly cheesesteaks with shoestring fries. To finish the meal and kick off the toasts, we ended with our fourth course, “The City That Never Sleeps,” which was a manhattan, the city where we currently make our home.

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: We used vintage scales, vintage cigar boxes, homemade painted wooden signs, ball jars with burlap wrapping, homemade burlap silverware holders with individually sewn flowers, and a homemade “sweets” sign over the dessert bar
Describe your centerpieces: They were a mix of pale pink peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias and roses in vintage wood boxes, vintage tins and apothecary jars. They were arranged around stacked antique books and vintage tea cups with tea light candles inside.  The table number signs were designed to reflect specific parts of our personalities and story, including a Christian Louboutin pump, a bull and bear (James works on Wall Street), golf clubs, a Virginia peanut, and more.

My favorite detail of the wedding was the custom farm table my mother and father built for us to serve as the “head table.”  We weren’t allowed to see it until the day of the wedding and we were truly blown away. The most special part was that they engraved T + J on the top! It is something we can’t wait to move into our home (once we leave the cozy confines of the West Village) and incorporate into holiday family traditions. 

Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to Jason Mraz’s “Lucky,” which we liked because it was light and fun, and we both feel that we are each other’s best friend.  James tried to organize us for dance lessons a few weeks before the wedding, but we had too many other things to take care of.  We faked our way through it and just had fun with a couple of “homemade” twirls and dips.  None of our guests noticed the lack of dance skills, or at least we don’t think so!!

Describe your wedding cake: We used Maggie Austin’s ruffle cake design, a beautiful white cake with sugar peonies and dahlias to match our wedding flowers.  It was the classic Maggie Austin cake with meticulously molded hand-ruffled layers.  We had two flavors: peanut butter butter-creme and white velvet cake with raspberry preserves. The cake served as the centerpiece of our dessert bar, surrounded by mini strawberry milkshakes, pop-tarts on a stick, cake pops and other sweet treats.

What was Southern about your wedding? Everything from the country music playing in the background, the sweet tea served pre-ceremony, and the “Southern Comfort” menu complete with shrimp and grits, mac and cheese and a delicious country biscuits with Virginia ham.
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day?  James’ speech, welcoming everyone to our wedding and hearing him talk about the first time he saw me and how he knew good things were to come.  It was quite the tear-jerker for all of the ladies at the wedding.
What were some of the highlights? The personalized menu was a hit with everyone — definitely something bespoke that had the intended effect of sharing with our guests the formative times in our lives. Our guests also loved the scotch bar and cigar roller!
What was the funniest moment?  What was the scariest? The funniest moment was trying to get the ring bearer to sit with the wedding party for group pictures.  Lou, James’ best man ended up grabbing the back of his overalls to keep him from exploring the gardens! The scariest moment was standing up in front of all our family and friends and taking the leap!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? No, but James’ father gave a beautiful blessing before dinner.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? Both.  James tossed my garter to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” a fitting tune, especially given James’ love of the guitar and Jimi Hendrix in particular.  His college band mates got a kick out of it!
Tell us about your grand exit. As a parting gift, and to keep the party rolling, we made s’mores kits for all our guests.  We all piled into a trolley enjoying whatever cocktail happened to be in our hot little hands at the end of the night and proceeded to the fire pit at the resort where everyone was staying.  It was the perfect way to end the evening, where guests who hadn’t had a chance to catch up could banter about their latest happenings and new friendships made that evening were solidified.  James and I were a few of the last to leave, enjoying everyone’s well-wishes and hearing about their personal evening highlights.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding:  The custom cigar labels Tami had made for our scotch and cigar bar!!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding?  Time management. We wanted everything to be perfect and spent a lot of our time focused on the details.  As the date neared, we weren’t quite sure we could get it all done.  But, thanks to a combined family effort, everything went off without a hitch!
What range did your budget fall into?  $25,000-$50,000
Did you take a honeymoon?  If so, where? We took a wonderful trip to the Amalfi coast in Italy, spending time on the island of Capri and the coastal towns of Ravello and Positano.  We loved the casual glamour of the Mediterranean, and of course the food and wine!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?  We are tremendously blessed with many opportunities that may either keep us in New York, or take us somewhere new.  But, for now, we can’t wait to make the most of our time as a young couple in New York City.

Adam Barnes is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    I love how delicate and Southern all of the details are. Her flowers are absolutely gorgeous!

  2. avatar Ken Tan reply

    Love all the little details in this wedding! The old table looks so cool! …and the fork holder thingy ;) BEAUTIFUL! :)

  3. avatar Tomi Lynn Heard reply

    Where can I get the printed burlap peanut favor bags?

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, my friends! And on Friday, we sure had a reminder that winter is sticking around for a few more weeks (freezing rain, ick). This inspiration makes me pretty happy with exactly where we are in the calendar right now, though, with touches of cranberry red for V Day and icy white and blue for winter. Kudos to Vine & Light for the lovely photos!

Our goal was to create an inspiring editorial session that captured winter elegance in an unexpected and modern way. We pulled together a muted color palette of icy blue, ivory, forest green and cranberry. The white muslin fabric throughout the design pulls from white snow, the greyish blue from icy water, and the brown recycled kraft paper from bare trees. Because of the earthy color palette, it seemed fitting to do hand lettering with a very light and free hand. The antlers were used throughout to frame different components tied in the wintery earthy feel, as well.

Love this cascading centerpiece in a vintage urn!

Gorgeous metallic china supplied by Dishie Rentals!

I am obsessed with this dress by Ines Di Santo. Fun fact – the dress was shipped directly to us from the designer. It was pulled right off the runway at bridal fashion week and sent to Solutions Bridal for the shoot! These are the first photographs of this gorgeous dress outside of the runway photos. I was in wedding heaven! I love the lace detailing and tulle overlay. So dreamy. And Josh from Willard Randall did a fantastic job styling our groom to keep up with our bride’s gorgeous look – I loved the grey and on grey layering.

Thanks again to Vine & Light and all the other talented ladies and gents who brought this shoot to life!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar invitation consultants reply

    killer bridal ensemble! adore!

  2. avatar Courtney reply

    It turned out so beautifully! I was so thrilled to be part of this shoot with such amazing ladies!

  3. avatar Tali reply

    Yay! Had such a blast working with this team and styling up this gorgeous model. I hope you southern gals love this look as much as we do!!! The dress from Ines Di Santo is just splendid. I almost fell over backwards when I saw it come down the runway at Bridal Fashion Week! So happy the photographer loved it as much as I do. Such a soft couture look! Can’t wait to style the next shoot!

    As for the accessories…. I was fortunate enough to meet the designer of the bolero this past Fall. She makes these gorgeous lace pieces as well. The bolero can come in ivory if you want to go for a more traditional look and I’m sure she can make it without the beading as well. The earrings by Maria Elena are my favorite pieces from the collection. I actually own a pair for myself. I couldn’t resist! And don’t forget to stack your cuffs for some bridal flare by Desla and Erin Cole!

  4. avatar Shannon reply

    Oh joy! I just love this shoot. Thanks so much for sharing, ladies!

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    […] feels so wonderful to finally share these images with the world. Best of all, the lovely ladies at Southern Weddings Magazine are featuring this session today. Head over to their blog to check it out and leave us some love. : […]

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    […] In addition to beautiful flowers, we love the thought of including unexpected touches to dress up a Valentine’s table, like the cranberries and gold accents in the table above from Southern Weddings Magazine (see more here). […]

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