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Bride Liz shares her romantic mountain garden wedding!

The more Tenth-Anniversary Issue real weddings we share here, the more I realize what an embarrassment of riches we have in real wedding beauty! I must admit, though, that I’m partial to the ones from my neck of the woods. This Virginia lovely is another reminder of how lucky we are to call the mid-Atlantic “home.”

While Liz works in event planning, her best advice to brides-to-be is to hire a wedding planner! It is always so satisfying to hear (and see!) that a bride’s dream vision for her wedding came true. But Tim took the reigns in our interview to share his favorite detail of the wedding and steal the show. His favorite part? “How it was literally a perfect day. And Liz looked incredibly beautiful.” (AAAAAAAAW!)

Big hugs to Liz Fogarty for these gorgeous images!

We got married in the summer, at a bed and breakfast turned into a venue. The venue was in Waterford, Virginia, and it’s gorgeous. The ceremony has the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. We had also always imagined an outdoor wedding with a big tent for the reception and our planner helped bring our dream to life.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had brought my mom, my future mother-in-law, my maid of honor, matron of honor, and one of my bridesmaids with me the first time I went dress shopping. The boutique let all of them wander around and pick out dresses they thought I might like. I had always envisioned a huge, poofy princess wedding gown, and I could imagine getting married in all of the dresses I tried on. But when I tried on my wedding dress, I could tell all five of the ladies were in love. They saw that it was perfect for me before I realized it myself!

We wrote our own vows. Tim is the more talented writer of the family, and one of my favorite lines from his vows was, “I promise to cherish you and pursue your laughter, to be the shoulder for you to cry on, to care for you when you are sick, to rejoice in your health, and to be your best friend…I pledge to say ‘I love you’ every night, and I vow to love you from here to the moon, sun, stars and back.”

What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? I had a total of seven bridesmaids, and Tim involved them all in a series of my most memorable moments. He had written me eight letters and they were given to me by each of my bridesmaids starting from the rehearsal day. The first letter came after we had gotten our nails done the day before, then it was during our rehearsal dinner, when I had given my ladies their gifts in the hotel room, while we were driving to the venue the wedding morning, while I was getting my hair and make-up done, when I was opening the present he had gotten me, and the second to last one right before I was going to walk down the aisle. He gave me the final letter himself, and it was on the back of the vows he had written.

We imagined our guests wandering all around the beautiful property, moving guests from one area to another but with it all flowing together flawlessly. We wanted our guests’ experience to be spectacular! The reception was elegant but also had a wonderful garden feel to it. After the ceremony overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, guests moved to cocktails around the lawn and by the pool, then for dinner they walked through beautiful flags to get to our Sperry tent. After dinner, guests were passed popsicles as they gathered to watch our cake cutting. Then we ended the night with dancing by the Carriage House with a fantastic band and string lights, all under the stars!

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Hire a planner! Whether it’s a full-service planner or a month-of planner, it is completely necessary and makes all the difference in the world! We hired Pam Barefoot from Atrendy Wedding as our full-service planner (I called her three days after we got engaged) and it made our wedding planning and engagement experience so lovely!

We had our cocktail hour all around the house and by the pool. We brought in a huge built-in wooden bar, which had cascading florals and lanterns all around it. There was also lounge furniture all around the lawn and around the pool. We even rented two faux lampposts that were by the pool. The lampposts next to this beautiful blue couch were definitely one of my favorite touches!

The funniest moment was definitely when we were on the dance floor and three of Tim’s groomsmen start dancing in the middle of the circle and unbuttoning their tux shirts. After some hilarious dancing, they revealed matching shirts with Tim’s face on them! We could not believe they had those shirts hiding under there all day!

Tell us about your grand exit. We had a sparkler exit with a vintage Rolls Royce waiting to whisk us away to our after party. One of our favorite moments of the night was sitting in the Rolls, looking out the back window and seeing all of our friends standing there with sparklers sending us off. I remember looking at Tim and telling him to take a mental photo of it. It was so picturesque and the perfect way to end our wedding day. I can still remember it exactly and the image always brings tears to my eyes!

Describe the proposal! After work that Friday, my best friend Brianna had asked me to coffee with her. First of all, it was really weird because a) I don’t drink coffee and b) she refused to have dinner with me too, just coffee. After our lovely coffee date, I drove home, and when I opened the door, Tim had transformed my entire house. He had put up draping and string lights leading from my front door to the back deck. The draping and lights had created a tunnel of sorts and pinned on the draping were chronological photos from the 5 years we had been dating. He had recorded a message for me on an iPad, which was sitting by the front door, and I was sobbing by the time I had finally walked to my back deck. I think he got too excited because the video we have shows me walking outside and him immediately getting down on one knee and proposing. He had a photographer hidden outside and my closest friends and his brother hiding upstairs watching a live stream of our engagement. It was perfect and more than I could’ve imagined!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? First, we went through a series of pre-marital lessons through our church, then we met with the pastor who would be marrying us. We did our actual pre-marital counseling with a couple from our church, and the counseling lasted about four months. The couple who led us through our engagement period were incredible, and they really helped us focus and prepare us for not just the actual wedding day, but for the rest of our lives as husband and wife.
How many guests attended your wedding? 200.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? I had previously worked at Main Event Caterers, who catered our wedding. I knew all of my favorite food items and knew exactly what we would want to serve our guests.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? Our dinner was under a beautiful Sperry tent, and our planner had made flags that resembled the ones on the top of the tent. The billowing flags lined the walkway leading to the tent. After dinner, butlers were lined up alongside the flags with trays of popsicles for our guests. As the guests enjoyed their popsicles, they watched us cut our cake under a huge tree, which had florals going up the tree. Then we danced the night away under string lights and the stars. It was exactly like we had imagined.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration? Two pieces of advice for the day-of that were given to us before our wedding day that we really appreciated: 1.) Don’t forget to slow down, take it all in, and take mental snap shots of everything. The day passes by incredibly quickly and you want to be able to look back and remember smells, feelings, emotions, and the people you celebrated your wedding day with. 2.) Do not leave each other’s sides the entire day (if you can help it)! The day is meant to celebrate you two and your union together, but it’s easy to wander off to try to spend time with different groups of friends, but it’s even more precious when you spend those moments side-by-side.

Photographer: Elizabeth Fogarty | Videographer: Sok Vision | Planner and designer: Pamela Barefoot Events and Design | Venue: Blue Hill Farm | Florals: Toulies en Fleur | Caterer: Main Event Caterers | Wedding cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie | Ice cream cart: King of Pops | Bride’s gown: ìStyle D2174î by Essense of Australia | Bridal salon: Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection | Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bride’s earrings: Blue Nile | Bride’s veil: Blanca Veils | Bridesmaid dresses: “Fleur Dress” in Blush by BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Amie Decker Beauty | Groom’s fashion: DC Custom Clothiers | Groomsmen fashion: National Tuxedo Rentals | Paper goods: Brooke Lauffer | Tent: Sugarplum Tent Company | Rentals: White Glove Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Ceremony music: Harpist via Bialek’s Music | Band: Six Stylez via Sam Hill Entertainment | Transportation: Chariots for Hire | Vintage car: Vintage Limos | Restroom: U.S Mobile Kitchens

Pamela Barefoot Events and Design is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!

Written with love by Catherine
2 Comments
  1. avatar Pamela Barefoot reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful wedding! We love this couple and designing their special day was such a dream!

  2. avatar Tented Virginia Summer WeddingElizabeth Fogarty Photography reply

    […] these two were on the latest Southern Weddings Magazine! […]

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Bride Kara shares her Virginia Wine Country wedding.

Kara and Ryan’s Virginia winery wedding has such a storybook, romantic ambiance that it didn’t surprise me at all that Ryan proposed using a copy of Pride and Prejudice. (Much like my favorite editorial!) It only seems fitting that a warm, countryside celebration would result!

This beautiful day, full of thoughtful touches and efforts to incorporate family history, was a labor of love that ultimately served as a vehicle for quality time. Kara shared that, “Wedding planning really brought our families together. It’s extremely time-consuming, and being able to spend that time with Ryan and both of our families was the best part.” If you’re in the midst of a similarly time-consuming wedding planning process, may this serve as a sweet reminder that while your wedding is only one day, this engagement season is full of opportunities to celebrate and grow closer to your fiance and his family along the way.

Thank you to Erika Brown for these gorgeous images!

When did y’all get married? April 29, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I had thought about this day since I was a little girl. I went with my mom, and I knew the second she zipped up the fifth dress of the day that I had found the dress of my dreams. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful lace, the full train, and the plunging sweetheart neckline. I couldn’t wait for Ryan to see me in it.
Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, and Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Ryan calms me; he always has. I knew I would be emotional enough that day, and we wanted to share a moment together before the ceremony to just be with each other.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Seeing Ryan, as I was walking down the aisle with my dad. The emotions were everything I ever dreamed they would be. There is truly nothing like it.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The florals! Our wedding coordinator, Cody, went above and beyond to bring my whimsical romantic wedding vision to life!
What was Southern about your wedding? We had wedding portraits displayed from our parents and grandparents’ wedding days, honoring their love and traditions.

Early Mountain Vineyards was the first venue we visited, and we both knew the second we entered the tasting room that it was perfect for us. Ryan and I share a love of wine, and the romantic elegance of the venue was perfect!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We chose to have assorted cupcakes from a local Charlottesville bakery, Sweethaus. We wanted the Charlottesville charm to show through on our special day, so we chose to keep all the vendors local.

Tell us all about the proposal! It was January 21, 2016. I was getting ready for what I thought was a birthday dinner to celebrate my parents’ January birthdays. I walked down the stairs of our Baltimore row home and saw a bottle of champagne and a Pride and Prejudice book with a single rose laying next to it. Ryan stood up, opened the book, and I saw that he had carved out a heart with a black velvet ring box laid inside. He took the box out, and beneath it, he had highlighted the word “engagement” from the text of the book. He then got down on one knee and proposed. We enjoyed a glass of champagne while we called our parents and told them the good news. We ended the night with a romantic dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, McCormick and Schmick. It was the perfect night.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Ryan is a beautiful writer, so he wrote the entire ceremony himself. It meant so much to me that he wanted to make our day so personal. We chose the Irish Wedding Blessing as our reading, to honor my family’s Irish heritage. (I wanted bagpipes, but marriage is all about compromise right?)
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Landon Austin’s “Once in a Lifetime.” I first heard it in a wedding video Ryan and I watched the night we got engaged. It brought a tear to my eye, and I knew I had to incorporate it somehow. Ryan chose our first dance song, William Michael Morgan’s, “I Met a Girl.” He wanted it to be a song about me through his eyes. I loved it!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? How much time and energy it demands, while working full-time. It truly is exhausting, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone that helped us out throughout that year.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made a list of things that were important to us and things that we didn’t care too much about, then we budgeted more for the important things. It helped keep us from getting carried away and going over budget by too much.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! Even if you think you’re the best planner in the world, they are professionals for a reason, and they are lifesavers!

Photographer: Erika Brown | Planner and Florist: Amore Events by Cody | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards | Wedding Cake Baker: Sweethaus | Caterer: The Local | Rentals: MS Events | DJ: King Studios | Paper Products: Paperwhites Press | Bride’s Gown: Allure Romance | Hair Stylist: Something Blu (Jayme Eipperle) | Makeup Artist: Emily Marcellino | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Jos A Bank

Written with love by Catherine
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    How about a sweet-as-pie love story for your Thursday, belles? Ellie and Grayson are University of Virginia sweethearts whose friendship turned into a budding romance over a summer spent writing letters to each other. After Ellie found out Grayson had called her daddy to ask if he could take Ellie on a date, they never looked back. Their relationship grew thoughtfully and intentionally–despite their busy college schedules, they kept a standing Wednesday garden date to reconnect, share their joys and challenges, and pray for each other. Fittingly, Grayson got down on one knee during the last garden date of their college careers! Just five months later, these two were married right down the road at Castle Hill Cider, where the talented Mallory Joyce helped them pull their vision of a “refined comfort” aesthetic to life. I love the way they combined family heirlooms, local flowers, and even custom art to create a celebration that was as gorgeous as it was meaningful!

    Thank you so much to Elisa Bricker for sharing this dreamy day with us!

    My grandma, mom, and I went to a small boutique in my hometown of Louisville. It was a place I’d passed many times growing up, never knowing when I’d wander in looking for my wedding dress! I tried on a bunch of dresses but was not enamored by any of them. After an hour or so, we decided to call it a day. On our way out, I quickly browsed a few more racks, just to make sure I hadn’t missed any. Tucked in the back, I found my dress. I knew it was the one before it came off the hanger. I tried it on and it was perfect!

    Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding planner, Mallory Joyce, is also an incredibly gifted florist (a woman with many talents!). The vision of our wedding was simple and organic. In keeping with that, she prioritized local flowers that were in season. Everything from the bouquets to the decorative flowers felt freshly picked and naturally beautiful.

    We did not do a first look. We both felt convinced we wanted our first look to be the moment when we locked eyes at opposite ends of the aisle. And we are so glad we waited. That moment, when my laughing eyes met his tear-filled eyes, is one I will never forget. Never before has the world been so silenced. The only thing that mattered in that moment was that I was walking forward to marry my best friend.

    We had our good friends play our ceremony music, which was really meaningful. While we loved the songs we chose, it was even more special that the beautiful music came from our talented friends! I walked down the aisle to a musical version of the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King,” which was a beautiful expression of the joy and thanksgiving we had on that day. We walked back up the aisle to the piano and violin playing Ben Rector’s “Brand New.” We’d danced, laughed, and celebrated to that song during our engagement season, so it was fitting to kick off our marriage with such a celebratory and dance-worthy song. One thing we loved about our ceremony is that my grandparents were our ring bearers! They have been married for over 50 years and are still madly in love. They have a relationship based on faith and friendship, something Grayson and I hope to emulate. Grayson and I look up to them in so many ways, and it was incredibly significant to have them present our rings to us. We hope and pray our marriage will look like theirs in 50 years. They still go camping in a favorite spot in North Carolina, for goodness sake!

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the beginning of our wedding planning, I was already stressing about some detail. Grayson sat me down and said, “Ellie, no matter how hard you plan, something is going to go wrong.” While this may sound a tad pessimistic, he was completely right. Some people didn’t receive the invitation we sent, expenses were higher than estimated, the list could go on. However, I held on to the second part of Grayson’s advice: “We are still going to be married, let’s keep our focus and joy set on that.” In twenty years (maybe even five), the little mishaps have no place compared to the immense joy of entering the covenant of marriage and celebrating that with all of your favorite people.

    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I completed about 75% of the borrowed, blue, old, and new…does that count? The most significant was my something old. I got to wear my mom’s veil! The best part was that it matched my dress perfectly, and we didn’t even plan it that way. The lace appliqué detail on the veil resembles the appliqué on the skirt of my dress–something we discovered after we’d ordered the dress! I admire my parents’ relationship so much, and it was sweet to wear the veil that was with them at the start of their marriage.

    Our relationship began in Charlottesville and it was really important to us that we were married there. The rolling Virginia hills hold so many memories, and it was only fitting that our wedding was in Charlottesville. We chose Castle Hill Cider for both our ceremony and reception because we had gone to a sorority formal there and loved the beauty of the setting and facilities.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We love collecting art when we travel, something to hang in our home and capture the memories of our experiences. We wanted to carry that tradition into our wedding for our guests to enjoy! Our stationery artist, Jessica McSweeney, painted a watercolor of Castle Hill with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At each place setting, we had a 4×4 print of the piece with each guest’s name attached as a vellum overlay. We wrote a note on the back to welcome and thank our guests and share the story behind the painting. It is our hope that our guests took the watercolor home as a symbol of our gratitude for the impact they’ve had on our lives.

    Despite good intentions, we did nothing to prepare for our first dance–no dance lessons or even living room practices to our song. That said, we’ve had years of learning each others’ dance moves from many formals and spontaneous swing dancing events. We walked onto the dance floor, totally unprepared, and all credit to Grayson, we nailed it. We danced our hearts out, dipping, spinning, and swinging our way across the dance floor to the song “(I Love You) More Today than Yesterday.” It was the most beautiful culmination of our years of dancing through life together, and foreshadowed a life of celebration and rejoicing together.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was freshman year at the University of Virginia and I was on my way out of a class when I noticed a familiar face holding the door for me (a true gent). I recognized Grayson from a brief encounter after our Christian fellowship’s weekly gathering. I reintroduced myself to him as we made our way back to our neighboring dorms. We quickly realized we had a lot in common, including our aspiration to apply for the business major. That sparked many hours spent studying together for the classes we shared. Rumors buzzed that we were dating after we were spotted having lunch after class in the cafeteria (gasp!), which we completely denied for the remainder of our freshman year–we had effectively “friend-zoned” each other. Summer came, and Grayson worked as a counselor for a camp where he grew up spending summers. Without cell service to keep in touch, Grayson struck up letter writing with me. I started to fall for this boy who wrote me letters, and returned to school eagerly anticipating what it could bring for the two of us. I mean, he wrote me letters…that must mean something, right?! Our nonchalant first interaction after summer quickly deflated any hopes I had. Little did I know that Grayson was definitely interested, but wanted to play his cards close to his chest until he know I had a sweet spot for him. Thus began the stalemate: both interested, both too scared to do anything about it! One day, when I was on the verge of giving up hope, I received a call from my mom telling me that Grayson had reached out to my dad asking if he could take me out for a date–a gesture that landed Grayson major points with my Southern-mannered dad. After a few dates hiking and brunching, Grayson finally revealed his admiration for me, and I got to do the same for him. We started slow, but our relationship was so worth the wait! We both really value the firm foundation of friendship on which our relationship began.
    Tell us all about the proposal! We had a standing garden date every Wednesday of our senior year. We asked each other the same seven questions weekly and jotted down each other’s answers in a shared notebook. The consistency of the questions helped us realize growth and challenges, as our answers changed weekly. It was through this structure of seven questions that we began our discussions around marriage. On our last Wednesday date of our college career, I showed up in the garden as usual. Although it had been torrentially raining that morning, the sun decided to pop out just in time for our date. We struck up conversation and per routine, we whipped out our notebook of seven questions. We went through the first few, answering questions about joys, challenges, ways we could serve each other better, and prayer requests. Then came the question, “Is there anything left unsaid between us?” When it came Grayson’s turn to answer, he started speaking in poem! Grayson recited a thirty-line poem that he had written about the history of our relationship and the reasons he wanted to call me his wife. He ended with, “So get up now and stand, as I get down on one knee, Elizabeth McKinnon, will you marry me?” and of course, I said “yes!” Not only did Grayson plan the perfect proposal, he had also planned a surprise engagement party with 200 of our friends that evening. We had friends who had walked alongside us through every phase of our relationship celebrating the engagement. It was truly the best day of our lives, until the wedding!
    When did y’all get married? October 29, 2016
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
    Did you write your own vows? We did not! We kept to traditional vows.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had dear mentors of ours read two different passages. One couple who had mentored us through our relationship and conversations about engagement selected and read Romans 12:9-13. A professor who discipled Grayson in college read Philippians 2:1-20. It was incredibly special to have some of the most influential people in our lives minister to us and our guests through those readings.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was fall in Charlottesville, which means one thing: pie. We had a simple mini cake for the traditional cake cutting, while our guests enjoyed an assortment of pies á la mode! As an ode to my hometown, we served Derby pie, a favorite of Louisvillians (mostly because of the equal portions of bourbon, brown sugar, and chocolate it contains). The pies helped make our wedding feel so homey and warm. They were the perfect addition!
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We actually planned for our marriage before we planned our wedding. Through the guidance of our mentors, we completed pre-engagement counseling sessions. We went through the same content as premarital counseling, just before we were engaged. Because there was no ring, social media post, or save the date, we were able to freely address fears and concerns about marriage. These conversations ultimately led us to a place of confidence in our relationship. When we got engaged, we felt well prepared (as much as you can be, at least) for marriage. Throughout our engagement, we continued to seek wisdom from our mentors, parents, and friends.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are loving living together in our apartment and creating a home together! We are just starting to form regular rhythms and adjust our habits to each other. What we’re loving most is the joy of just doing life together, from starting and ending our days together–it’s the little moments of laughter, bad jokes, and takeout Chinese that we treasure. After packing lots of life change into 2016, we’re hoping 2017 will be filled with fun as we discover the new normal. We are planning to join a small group through our church and are looking forward to making new friends in the area! With all of our free time now that we’re not planning a wedding, we hope to explore Richmond and discover favorite date spots, coffee shops, and walking trails. We will also return to Charlottesville to watch some basketball and cheer on the Hoos!

    Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Videographer: DeVries Productions | Planner and Florist: Mallory Joyce Design | Venue: Castle Hill Cider | Wedding Cake: Arley Cakes | Caterer: C & O Restaurant | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting: East Coast Entertainment | Band: TFC via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: Poppy and Scooter | Bride’s Gown: Style D1751 by Essense of Australia | Bridal Salon: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Anna Breeding | Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Tablecloths: Willow Knows | Napkins: Dot and Army

    Mallory Joyce and East Coast Entertainment are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Catherine Marks reply

      I’m loving all these gorgeous Virginia Wine Country weddings lately, and this one is no exception! Her dress is to die for!

    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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