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We Southerners sure are proud of our alma maters, so it’s no surprise that Kimberley and Jonathon were ecstatic to have been selected in the lottery to follow the time-honored University of Virginia tradition of getting married at the chapel on the campus grounds! Together with their planner, Amore Events, they planned a beautiful day full of sweet details and absolutely stunning florals. Out-of-town guests (flying in from Asia, Australia, and around the country!) were treated not only to Kimberley and Jonathon’s love and pride in their university, but also a glimpse at where their love story began. For their alumni friends, this celebration was a highly anticipated homecoming! Along with experiencing where these two started their journey, I’m sure hearing them recite the vows that they wrote together during the ceremony was truly remarkable!

We’re so thankful Ashley Cox captured all the sweet moments!

My flowers were absolutely gorgeous! Cody did a fantastic job representing the UVA colors of orange and blue. I wanted a fluffy, soft bouquet and it was breathtaking! The orange poppies really popped.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My wedding dress hunt revolved around my mom’s veil. It was the only item that I knew I wanted, so I focused on finding the perfect dress to go with it. Since my parents live half a world away in Singapore, a few of my bridesmaids and close friends went with me to help me choose. It was a great day of bonding and beautiful dresses, but I was still unsure and chose to leave empty-handed. When my parents visited a few months later, we found a few contenders, but not the one. Then, my mom suggested that I look into creating a custom dress, and I never looked back. I got to wear the dress of my dreams!

We were hesitant about doing a first look when Cody first suggested it, but it ended up being a great decision. It gave us a private moment to share together during the hustle and bustle of our wedding day. We were also able to get some great pictures at both the chapel and vineyard without taking too much time away from the cocktail hour, so that was a plus!

We wrote the whole ceremony together. It was an intimidating task, but it was a great bonding experience for us. We wrote our own personal vows and kept them secret until the ceremony. It made hearing our promises to each other even more special!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As alumni of the University of Virginia, getting married at the chapel on the grounds is a time-honored tradition. When we found out that our request was selected in the lottery, we were ecstatic! It allowed us to show our pride and love for our university as we completed one journey and started another. Our reception was held outdoors under a Sperry tent at Keswick Vineyards. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the venue is breathtaking, and we were hooked from the minute we saw it. Having separate ceremony and reception venues gave us the opportunity to give our out-of-town guests a glimpse at our college playground, while, needless to say, for our alumni friends, it was a highly anticipated homecoming.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Besides all the monograms, we wanted to add a little Texas flair to our wedding to represent where we now live. In the middle of dancing, the DJ played a few fun country songs. We ran to the guestbook table, where we had set up our cowboy boots as decorations, and put them on. The boots were special; Jon’s are made of sharkskin and mine are green lizard skin. Everyone had a blast. We also tried to showcase food from the region, such as candied bacon, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, and Virginia cheeses.

We had a full dessert bar along with a cupcake spread and a traditional wedding cake. Our dessert bar included candied bacon, milk and white chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate cups, fudge brownies, blondies, and lemon bars. There were three types of cupcakes: orange and blue funfetti with peach filling, lemon poppy with strawberry filling, and red velvet with cream cheese. The cake was a fudge chip cake with cherry filling and vanilla buttercream icing. It was all delicious and we loved the variety!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The first time I laid eyes on Jon, he had a faux hawk, was wearing a Space Jam tank, and had a plastic duck bill on his face. His fraternity was hosting a ’90s party and a group of them had decided to dress up as Space Jam characters–Jon was Daffy Duck! I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but when the resident advisor of my first-year dorm introduced him to me, I was just very amused. Even though our first meeting was less than stellar, my resident advisor continued to sing Jon’s praises. Jon asked me to dinner a few weeks later and I accepted. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On date nights, we love trying new restaurants. That night, Jon chose a beautiful restaurant with a delicious tasting menu. It was a particularly special dinner since Jon had recently accepted a job in Houston and was moving away from Virginia. I didn’t think I would be able to join him, so we were trying to take full advantage of the time we had together. Four courses later, we were full, happy, and waiting for dessert. We had both ordered the same dessert, and Jon joked that he wouldn’t have to worry about me stealing his. When dessert arrived, I remember seeing something shiny in mine. My mind went blank and I could only manage a lame “Why is my dessert different?” Jon said he could see the realization cross my face as he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. I was so stunned that I barely heard him. He was just glad that I said yes!
When did y’all get married? August 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something old was a gift from my mom. It was a diamond necklace and earrings set that my dad gave her when I was born. I was over the moon when she gave it to me to wear on my wedding day. My something borrowed was the cathedral veil that my mom wore on her wedding day. When we took it out of storage, it broke our hearts to see a tear, but we managed to stitch it up, and it felt so special to walk down the aisle with it on. For my something new, I picked heels from Jimmy Choo. I wanted a pair of shoes that I could wear again, and my blue nail polish complemented them perfectly.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Distance was one of the biggest challenges we had to overcome. On top of planning a Virginia wedding from Texas, we had guests flying in from Asia, Australia, and around the country. Fielding calls from 200 of your family and friends about what to do, special exceptions, and guest count were definitely stressful. The other big challenge was combining the cultures of the East and West. Our families are both Chinese and we wanted to acknowledge our Chinese culture, while also celebrating in the Western way. We split the day in half, reserving the morning for traditional cultural events like the tea ceremony–a tea drinking ritual with the family elders where they are given the opportunity to bless the marriage–and the afternoon and evening for the traditional Western ceremony, reception, and party!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to having free time to read, travel, and just hang out! The wedding process is very time-consuming, and sometimes, you wonder if it’s worth it. Now that we aren’t planning, we want to explore the world!

Photographer: Ashley Cox / Planner and Florist: Cody Grannis / Ceremony Venue: University of Virginia Chapel / Reception Venue: Keswick Vineyards / Cake and Dessert Baker: Buttercream Dreams / Caterer: Roadside Chive / Rentals: MS Events / Lighting: Skyline Tent Company / DJ: Derek Austin / Monogrammed Bow Ties: Mercy Streams / Bride’s Gown: Custom from Ieie Bridal / Headpiece: Enze Bridal / Hair Stylist: Brianna Adams / Makeup Artist: Susan Lim / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Navy Blue Lace by Watters / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: Menguin / Custom Watercolor Wedding Map Guest Book: Luz Design / Wedding Vow Book: Noteworthy Design Co / Fudge Favors: My Chocolate Shoppe / Vintage Cowboy Boots: Texas Junk Company / Cake Topper: Emily Steffen

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful flowers and I love the bridesmaid dresses!

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It is sweet enough to know that Erin and Stephen are high school sweethearts, married in a small Georgia town just as spring began to turn into summer, but knowing how much love and thought they put into their wedding makes it all the better. As Erin said, “My number one goal of the wedding was to get married–-anything else would be a bonus! My second goal, however, was to make sure that each and every one of our guests felt appreciated and important.” From the personal, handwritten notes Erin and Stephen wrote to each of their guests, to the family-style meal that was served, we can only imagine how honored each guest felt to be a part of this special day. We were certainly honored to share it in V6!

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Jeremy Harwell, of Harwell Photography, for sharing Erin and Stephen’s beautiful wedding with us!

We both enrolled in a program that allowed us to take college classes full-time while still in high school, and we met during the college orientation events leading up to the first week of classes. The first event was a meteor shower viewing, where we gazed at the stars until 2 a.m. and hit it off talking about everything from our favorite music and books to our life ambitions. After six years, we still haven’t run out of things to talk about.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I have always loved Grace Kelly’s wedding gown, so when I saw a similar-looking dress in the window, I had to try it on. It was perfect–it didn’t even need any alterations! I guess it was meant to be.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? We were so grateful that a longtime friend and minister was able to officiate our wedding. It made the ceremony that much more personalized and heartfelt. The most special part of our ceremony was taking communion together; it was the perfect way to begin our life as a married couple.
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? My parents had displayed a hand-blown glass dove at their wedding in remembrance my dad’s deceased father. We displayed the same dove during our ceremony to remember him and other family members who have passed away.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes! We had a wonderful cocktail hour. Immediately after we exited the church, a bluegrass band that was waiting outside began to play. As the guests exited the church, the band strolled down the street playing music and leading our guests to the party! Once at the venue, our guests enjoyed pimento cheese and other local cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy.

I was lucky enough to get to pick the recipes I wanted to use for the menu, which were simple and delicious! We had all the dishes in big bowls on the table so guests could serve themselves and eat in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: From Stephen: The whiskey bar was a really cool touch. The bartender was super friendly and knowledgeable, and he served small tastings so people could try several different whiskeys. Erin’s mom also made an amazing light fixture out of vintage olive baskets that we used above the bar.

What was your reception like? Our reception was in the backyard of the Bed and Breakfast on a grassy lawn next to a beautiful red barn. Trees surrounded the eating area, but the center of the dance floor was completely open to the night sky. We wrote handwritten letters to each of our guests, which also served as escort cards for each guest to find their seat. We had a mix of round tables and long farm tables. The tables surrounded the dance floor, where Goodwin Tents and Events had draped strings of cafe lights to illuminate the reception area. To the side of the dance floor, we had two bars: a “girls” martini bar and a “guys” whiskey-tasting bar! The reception was magical to say the least. I couldn’t believe all that Amy Osaba and our other vendors had done to make the space so breathtaking!

All of the design inspiration for the reception started with my dress! I wanted our reception to have an “organic elegance” to it. Amy Osaba really helped this elegance come to life by pairing silver vases with floral arrangements that looked handpicked from the garden. In terms of color, we used a lot of whites, greens, and gray, but we also included some pops of pink– a very fun and creative touch on Amy’s part!

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Besides getting to marry the man of my dreams, the best part of the wedding was being completely surrounded by the people who love and support us. It was such an overwhelming feeling walking down the aisle and seeing all of the family and friends who had traveled so far to celebrate our wedding. That love and energy was truly amazing.

Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. It was our second date–I was sixteen and had never dated anyone before. He was seventeen, and I thought he was the funniest, smartest, most handsome guy I had ever met. Naturally, I was very nervous. We had a picnic by the Chattahoochee River. He couldn’t have timed the date more perfectly–the sun was setting, the water looked gorgeous, and the crisp fall air had begun to settle in. We finished our dinner, and as the conversation drew quiet, he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. After I said “yes,” he went in for the much-awaited kiss. Our lips barely touched and I burst into tears out of sheer nervousness. Thankfully, he was unfazed, and after calming me down, we got to work “practicing” our kissing skills!
Describe the proposal: I knew we were going to get engaged that winter break, which made it hard for him to surprise me, but he still did! He picked a day full of family events so that I wouldn’t expect it–we had my little brother’s wrestling meet during the day and a family dinner party that night. I arrived home from the wrestling meet to find the house normal as ever, but in my room was a note to get ready for a special night for two. When I had finished getting ready, I opened my door to find the house transformed, with rose petals, candles, and hand-written notes lining the hallway and a beautifully set dinner for two in front of the fireplace. Hands shaking, he got down on one knee. Of course, I said yes!
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how/why your husband (or the two of you!) chose it: My grandmother (who passed away April 2012) left me a beautiful diamond to incorporate in my engagement band. We wanted something that would accentuate the stone’s natural beauty in a classic but unique way. We chose a stunning J.B Star setting that frames the center stone with two pear diamonds.
How many guests attended your wedding? About 175
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? The guys spent their morning relaxing and then went to get old-fashioned, straight-razor shaves! All of the bridal party spent the night before the wedding at the Bed and Breakfast, and the morning of the wedding, we all excitedly strolled to downtown Senoia for a delicious breakfast!
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Whenever I spoke with a wedding vendor, I always told them my number one goal of the wedding was to get married–anything else would be a bonus! My second goal, however, was to make sure that each and every one of our guests felt appreciated and important. In that sense, I would say that each guest was very special to us.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band. It’s a really sweet song about following each other to the end of the world and being able to do anything together.
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? I’d say the funniest moment would be the bouquet toss. In mid-air, the bouquet hit the lights strung over the dance floor, but that didn’t stop one bridesmaid and a good friend from literally diving onto the floor to get to the fallen flowers before anyone else. There were actually two points during the reception where the power went out completely, but that didn’t stop anyone from continuing to party.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We were very excited to have some stress-free time to ourselves after the wedding. We honeymooned on Peter Island, a small resort island in the British Virgin Islands. It was relaxing and isolated and serene.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are adapting to life in New York City and are enjoying its vibrancy, but we plan to eventually return to the South to settle down and start a family. In the more near future, the things we look forward to most are the simple things, like getting to have breakfast together every morning and taking long walks through Central Park.

Photographer: Harwell Photography / Floral and event design: Amy Osaba Events / Ceremony venue: Senoia United Methodist Church / Reception venue: Veranda Historic Bed and Breakfast Inn / Ceremony coordination and reception food design: Kathy Black / Bride’s dress: Sassi Holford / Bridal salon: Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta / Bride’s accessories: Haute Bride / Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung / Mother of the Bride dress: Mon Cheri / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: J. Andrews Bridal / Alterations: Betty Harrah / Hair and nails: Ici Paris Day Spa and Salon / Makeup: Katie Gant / Cocktail hour band: Sourwood Honey / Cocktail hour appetizers and cheese: Sweet Grass Dairy / Invitation print consultant: The Paperie at Sam Flax / Bartender: Mobile Cocktails ATL / DJ: BeatHouse Productions / Cake: Blooming Flour Bakery / Tables, chairs, dance floor, lighting: Goodwin Rentals / Bars, highboys, serving dishes: Peachtree Tent and Events / Paper Products: Designs by Robyn Love / Calligrapher: Donna Dow / Linens: I Do Linens / Gallery artwork and map watercolor: Georgia Water Color Society / Monogrammed napkins: Mactees Inc

Harwell Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
12 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin reply

    Hand-written letters to each guest? I LOVE this personal detail. And of course, I an 100% on board with Erin’s goals in planning her wedding!!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    This was such a beautiful story! Love the photos too! Added one to my wedding board on Pinterest! xoxo

  3. avatar Kat reply

    Beautiful wedding!! Such a perfect mix of classic & playful. Love it!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    So, so many details to love in this wedding, from their beautifully-wrapped bread to their citrus cake! Love them all, and this sweet couple!

  5. avatar Dana reply

    very pretty flowers and such a silly second date story!

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  7. avatar Jeremy Harwell reply

    I am so honored to have this beautiful wedding on Southern Weddings! Erin & Stephen were such an amazing couple to work with, and the vendors involved provided such beauty for me to photograph! Thanks so much for the post!

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  11. avatar Katie reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! I love the vintage get-away car. Can you please let me know that vendor?
    Thanks!!!

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