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There are two beautiful details that really stand out at Sara + Justin’s wedding: the gorgeous estate tables and the innovative ceremony backdrop. I’m a bit obsessed with estate tables, and the dark wood of S + J’s is the perfect blend of formal and farm table-esque. Now that ceremony backdrop – oh my loveliness! I was already smitten with the installation, and then I read that the paintings were created by Sara’s late grandmother. Wow, I’m so impressed how Sara + Justin were able to seamlessly incorporate such meaningful pieces in to their wedding. I also love Sara’s nod to tradition by wearing the same head piece as her mother and grandmother did.

Jodi Miller did a fabulous job capturing all the details and emotion of their big day.

I wanted elegant flowers, but I also wanted to incorporate our love of cooking through the use of fresh herbs. The fresh herbs were such an amazing touch not only for their beauty, but for the scent that they perfumed throughout the ceremony and reception. I will never forget the sweet smells of rosemary and basil during our ceremony, blowing toward us from the wall of flowers and herbs behind us.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes. We wanted to be able to spend as much time with our guests as possible. It also made the trip down the aisle a tad less nerve-wracking!

I’m sure Sara’s grandmother is so honored to see her art displayed in such a lovely way.

Did you write your own vows? We didn’t, but our officiant used our own words in her address during the ceremony. Our favorite line from Justin’s interview with our officiant was, “Marriage means that I am guaranteed to have Sara as my best friend and partner for the rest of my life.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Union by Robert Fulghum
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “In My Life” by the Beatles. I walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun”, by the Beatles. For our first dance, we danced to “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Justin and I both don’t particularly enjoy cake. I am an ice cream fan and he loves cookies. We had gelato provided by a local vendor in Charlottesville and our venue made three of Justin’s favorite homemade cookies. We are adventurous eaters so our gelato flavors included a chipotle chocolate and of course, ice cream sandwich making was encouraged.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Justin and I met at our first job out of college at a consulting firm called BearingPoint. Justin had worked at BearingPoint since 2005 and I was hired and started in the late summer of 2007. Once I joined the firm, I was responsible for finding a project. As fate would have it, I was asked to interview for the same project that Justin was leading. The interview was not particularly great and during the post-interview discussion, one of Justin’s colleagues suggested I was too inexperienced for the project. While Justin didn’t agree with his colleague, the decision was tabled for another day. Fortunately, what I lacked in consulting experience, I more than made up for in shrewd negotiating skills. By the time Justin returned to his desk, he received a phone call from me suggesting that if the team did not act immediately, they would lose their opportunity to hire me. I assured Justin that I had offers from several teams at BearingPoint and needed to make a decision immediately. Backed into a corner, Justin panicked and with no real authority told me that I would receive an offer to join the team. While this gave Justin the unenviable task of explaining his new role of hiring manager to the actual hiring manager, I received an offer and the rest, as they say, is history.
Describe the proposal. Three years elapsed from the day we first met at BearingPoint to the day we booked a vacation together to Turks and Caicos. Having been through our first corporate bankruptcy (goodbye BearingPoint) and the beginning of two new jobs at rival consulting firms (hello Deloitte and PwC), stress dictated a need for some rest and relaxation in a tropical paradise. We both agreed Turks and Caicos presented the perfect option. The vacation was planned for January of 2011 and thus the engagement wheel was set in motion. In order to keep the engagement a secret until January, Justin had to buy a ring and keep the ring in his possession for two months. Needless to say, nobody thought he could do it…not even Justin. Justin was horrified by the idea of high pressured in person jewelry shopping. As evidenced by his anemic negotiating performance with me three years prior, he knew his strengths were not suited to deal with jewelry salesmen. Therefore, he did what any rational internet aged male would do and found an online establishment, performed weeks of research, and ultimately executed one of the largest purchases of his life sight unseen over the internet. Justin had to carefully coordinate the timing and subsequent delivery of the purchase so as to avoid detection. Justin chose two days before Thanksgiving. At the time, the date seemed perfect; close enough to a holiday to not arouse suspicion regarding a random work from home day for Justin but far enough from a holiday to prevent me from working from home. Unfortunately, the night before the ring was to be delivered, I mentioned offhand, “good news, my boss said I can work from home tomorrow…we will be able to hang out all day!” As you can imagine, terror and panic again shot through Justin’s body. Not knowing what to do he texted one of the our close friends, Kathleen. After some awkward cryptic text messages, Kathleen read between the lines and understood that I HAD to go to work. Kathleen called my boss and convinced her to make me go into work. Disaster averted. Despite a few minor hiccups between Thanksgiving and the vacation date, Justin was able to preserve the surprise for me. Once in Turks and Caicos, we went for a long walk on the beach. After some stealth maneuvering and good timing, Justin was able to find a quiet spot of sand overlooking the ocean. Just as the sun was setting over the Atlantic, Justin asked me to marry him. I quickly agreed and we spent the rest of the week having biking adventures, snorkeling, and eating and drinking like kings
In what month did you get married? July
How many guests attended your wedding? 128
Did you write your own vows? We didn’t, but our officiant used our own words in her address during the ceremony. Our favorite line from Justin’s interview with our officiant was, “Marriage means that I am guaranteed to have Sara as my best friend and partner for the rest of my life.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Union by Robert Fulghum
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “In My Life” by the Beatles. I walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun”, by the Beatles. For our first dance, we danced to “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Paying homage to my grandmother by displaying her hand paintings on our flower wall during the ceremony. I also wore the head piece that she and my mother wore in their weddings and a pair of her earrings.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The band. We didn’t stop dancing the whole time. We also did a photo booth and I think our guests really enjoyed it during the wedding and we really enjoy it as a keepsake. Also the venue — Veritas is a full service wedding venue. They provided us with a wedding coordinator leading up to the wedding and a day-of event manager. The day of the wedding, I didn’t worry about any details — they had it all covered. Leading up the wedding, I had an expert I could reach out to for advice whenever I needed.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We made a contact sheet leading up to the wedding and called all of our vendors the week before to confirm everything. It wasn’t necessary, but the biggest source of anxiety for us was making sure all of the vendors showed up and on time. Also, at the very least, get a day-of coordinator. You don’t want to give those jobs to your bridesmaids or parents; they should be enjoying everything along with you!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? A honeymoon to Bora Bora in October and one day, a family!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Gift Shopper reply

    The idea of the eggplant on the center table is cool

  2. avatar Julie reply

    Everything was so beautiful!! It was such an elegant wedding. The icing on the cake came when we all had so much fun!!!

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After what sounds like a delicious and romantic vineyard proposal, it was only appropriate for wine-lovers Amber + Jon to plan their nuptials at Raffaldini Vineyards in North Carolina. With the addition of deep jewel tones and family heirlooms as décor, their October wedding was perfect for the fall weather. We just love that guests were treated to a beautiful mountain sunset just before dinner and that A + J incorporated some finds that they picked up at our first Southern Weddings Yard Sale! Big thanks to Nancy Ray for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Describe your wedding flowers: When I first met with our florist, I was very clear that my two main criteria were that I did not want any pink or any roses. Second, I wanted flowers that looked very natural and not over the top, nothing that was not local or out of season at the time of our wedding, and I think she did an incredible job. My bouquet was made up of antique hydrangeas, burgundy dahlias, eggplant mini callas, dusty miller, and peacock feathers then wrapped in burlap and lace, made complete with a cameo brooch that my great grandfather had made for my great grandmother. Our florist mixed in additional jewel tones for the bridal party’s bouquets and I loved the end result. Thank goodness for Pinterest, I think it was fairly new when we started planning but it was key in sharing ideas with all of our vendors!

During our 18 months of engagement and wedding planning, Jon was especially adamant that he wanted to keep with tradition and not have a “first look,” but as we got closer to our wedding date and started looking at a realistic day-of timeline, we realized it was worth considering. I found a few first looks on various wedding and photography blogs that I was impressed with and read what people had to say about it. I shared those with Jon and we ultimately decided to have a first look. It was one of the best decisions we made. I tend to be very shy and anxious in big crowds, especially being the center of attention, and it was the perfect way to calm some of my nerves by seeing Jon. It also gave us a lot more time for relaxed pictures with each other and our wedding party all together, which was a lot of fun before the ceremony. With a 6pm ceremony, we lost light fairly quickly after and we wouldn’t have been able to get half of those pictures or really enjoy that time if we had decided against a first look.

Did you write your own vows? We knew all along we wanted to incorporate personal vows into our wedding day. We shared our special self-written vows during our first look, and kept the ceremony fairly traditional. We had the idea to involve both of our immediate families in the ceremony. After my dad presented me, both of our sets of parents joined us at the altar as a symbol that both families were uniting to create a new family and to also give us their blessing. It was different and we loved the expression.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Jon’s sister read Colossians 3:12-17. She forgot to bring her Bible to the wedding, so she ended up reading it from her iPhone which was pretty funny.

My vision for our wedding was always vintage, rustic, and fall-themed. Our wonderful planner helped us create that by using lots of jewel tones, lace, peacock feathers, touches of burlap, and lots of vintage doilies. We also incorporated a lot of family heirlooms from both sides of our families and tried to involve family as much as possible. I loved that our wedding was set overlooking the Yadkin Valley of NC, which is by far one of our favorite places. We got to share something special to us with all of our friends and family who had traveled so far, and our guests were able to experience a beautiful NC sunset over the Blue Ridge just before dinner. Also, no Southern wedding is complete without acknowledging one’s alma mater! Jon is a Hokie so I surprised him with VA Tech colors for the ribbon wands used for our exit.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through mutual friends while out playing trivia in March of 2009. I was invited and hardly knew anyone who would be there so I took my best friend with me. We barely spoke to anyone all night and probably brutally lost at trivia, but Jon and I kept making eye contact across the table. We spoke briefly at the end of the night and I left hoping I’d run into him again, but assuming I would not. Two days later, he had tracked down my contact information and emailed me to tell me he’d like the chance to get to know me better. The next week we met at Raleigh Times for drinks, and over five hours later, we realized we were just about the last people there and they were closing around us. That night he bravely admitted to me, “Either you’ll run or you’ll stay, but you’re it. This is it.” We just knew immediately.
Describe the proposal. Usually once a month or so, Jon and I jump in the car and either take a day or weekend trip in NC or VA. At the beginning of July 2010, we looked at our calendar and realized that every weekend of June was booked with weddings or out of town visitors. Jon knew I was stressed with work and our packed schedule so he offered to plan a getaway just for us at the end of the month. He told me not to worry about anything, he would take care of it all and it would be a surprise. He even helped me pack! For Jon to plan a surprise wasn’t really out of the ordinary, he loves doing things like that. I really didn’t think anything of it at first. Of course, as we got closer to the trip, I started becoming a little more hopeful. Early that Saturday morning, we got in the car and I drove the first part of our trip with directions from Jon. We took the back roads and reached the Virginia state line and jumped out to take a picture. That’s when Jon informed me we only had four more states to go. I was so confused. Still traveling on back roads, I started to get impatient and told him I wished we were going to Charlottesville, because that had been our first trip together and a special place for my family. Jon admitted that we were, and before I knew it we were pulling into the parking lot of Veritas Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries. After our wine tasting, we decided to head to King Family. We had a romantic picnic under a huge tree out on the grounds at King and once we finished, Jon presented two dessert boxes from the bakery he always brings me pastries from on special occasions. I told him there was no way I could eat dessert after our lunch. He convinced me and handed me one of the pastry boxes and kept one for himself, suggesting we just take a bite. When I opened it, there was a ring box inside. It had been in our refrigerator all night without me snooping or knowing. He got down on one knee and asked that we always strive to better ourselves and continue to grow together and I, of course, said yes!
In what month did you get married? October, our favorite time of year.
How many guests attended your wedding? 120
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Shopping for a wedding dress was something I was most excited about. Shortly after getting engaged, my mom and I started visiting boutiques. I knew I wanted something very different, with lace, and not strapless. My mom was the only person I took shopping with me and I feel like that was really special for us. Plus, my style is so different from my friends’ that I didn’t really want their opinion! I had pretty much decided on the Watters Escalante, but I kept holding out and kept getting more frustrated trying on dresses because nothing felt just right. We were visiting stores around Charlotte one day and I mentioned NY Bride to my mom, which wasn’t far away from where we were, so we decided to drop in. They just happened to be having a Blue by Enzoani trunk show that Saturday. My mom pulled the Concord from the rack, but I really wasn’t so sure about it on the hanger. When I came out in the dress, we both started crying, which was a first, so we knew that was the one. It was so different and so me, I couldn’t imagine having worn anything else. Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. All of our ceremony and first dance music was performed by Swift Creek, who also played throughout the cocktail and dinner hours. They were fantastic and were willing to learn anything we asked for. I walked down the aisle to our band’s instrumental rendition of “Storybook Love,” the theme from The Princess Bride since we both love that movie. Our recessional was “Swept Away” by The Avett Brothers and our first dance was “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We only took one dance lesson and had so much fun dancing around the house practicing before the wedding. By the time our wedding day came, we just had a great time. My dad and I danced to “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III, it was both fun and emotional since I’m an only child. And the last song we played at the reception was “Salvation Song” also by The Avett Brothers. Our friends just gathered around us in a circle and sang; it was the perfect end to our wedding day.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Neither of us really cares for cake, and keeping with our rustic fall theme, we decided to serve an assortment of seasonal pies. We had full size apple, pumpkin, and banana/coconut crème (a combination of our Dads’ favorites) pies. There were also mini bourbon pecan pies, which were in honor of my late grandmother who used to bake mini pecan pies for me, so that was definitely a special touch.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many projects we (really Jon) worked on for the wedding. Jon’s from upstate NY and I’m from NC, so he made a sign post with different places our family and friends were traveling from with how many miles they had traveled to be there. The two things we still laugh about most are the cameos and the invitations. Each project took a lot longer than expected and we were both really happy how each turned out. It’s just hilarious how much time was spent on them and you just hope your guests notice the hard work. Another of my favorite details were the amber, purple, and green glassware and vintage doilies my mom and I collected from antique stores and flea markets for our centerpieces. We also used some glassware that I picked up at the first SW Yard Sale!What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We live in Raleigh and decided to get married three hours away at Raffaldini Vineyards. The majority of our vendors were based in Winston Salem, so we spent many weekend hours driving back and forth for meetings and tastings. However, we’ve always enjoyed visiting the vineyards in Western NC, so we were able to incorporate that here and there, which made for enjoyable weekends away during sometimes hectic wedding planning. Plus, we really liked all of our vendors so we didn’t mind spending time with them!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Well, a couple of things were top priority for us – the food, the dress, and the photography. We were happiest we splurged on the food because rarely do you walk away from a wedding remembering how good the food was. We’re foodies and vegetarians and wanted our food to be delicious and representative of us but memorable for our guests. We were able to work with our awesome caterer to achieve exactly what we wanted and we still receive compliments from our guests about our food. We had a sit down dinner with choice of grilled salmon with lime butter or Portobello lasagna with gruyere. Both were served with parmesan asparagus and the salmon also came with a side of macaroni and cheese (my favorite). Our caterer brought in a large commercial wood fired grill so the guests could smell the food grilling while they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour.

Nancy Ray and Rebecca Rose Events are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
9 Comments
  1. avatar McAvoy photography reply

    Nice lighting and colours throughout, love the shot of the bride and the bridesmaids. Stunning!

  2. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

    Beautiful couple :) I love the color scheme of this wedding!

  3. avatar Featured on Southern Wedding Magazine’s Blog | Rebecca Rose Events reply

    […] blog earlier this week.  If you haven’t already seen it, head over and check out the feature on Amber and Jon’s gorgeous fall wedding from last year.  If you want to see more, revisit our post and be sure you don’t miss […]

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    […] always a joy to be featured on Southern Weddings Blog, and this autumn they showcased Amber and Jon's gorgeous vineyard wedding. Perfect for autumn, if I […]

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Happy Monday, ladies! We’re back with another inspiration board, and this one is actually a reader request! Christina asked to see ideas for a merlot, blush, and champagne vineyard wedding on our last inspiration board post, and I was happy to oblige! I think this combination is stunning and elegant, while still being relaxed and easy. And I love that the wine cork accents are subtle and sophisticated — perfect for a grown-up vineyard wedding! I could see this event coming to life at Montaluce Winery in Georgia or Raffaldini in North Carolina… what do you think?

Credits:

First row: Vineyard table settings from Napa Valley Celebrations (photo by Meg Smith), wine bottles photo by Kate Kelly via Style Me Pretty
Second row: Bouquet-ed groom photo by Carla Ten Eyck via Elizabeth Anne Designs (florals by Just For You), table setting photo by Karen Wise beribboned wine corks photo by Adam Barnes via Southern Weddings
Third row: Merlot bridesmaid dresses photo by Landon Jacob via Southern Weddings, wine cork heart by Lovely Morning
Fourth row: Wine barrel arrangement by Vibrant Table (photo by Kate Kelly, via Style Me Pretty), chocolate drip cake by Nine Cakes (photo by Karen Wise), calligraphy place card photo by Carla Ten Eyck (calligraphy by Elizabeth Porcher Jones and styling by Jubilee Events, via Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Be sure to check back next week for Nicole’s color palette finds based off of this board, and don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments if you have a board in mind you’d love to see come to life!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Gorgeous! And couldn’t be more perfect timing, theme-wise…my best friend since I was 3 years old is getting married this Friday at a winery in Williamsburg, VA!! I am giddy with excitement! :)

  2. avatar Lesley – Lesley Veronika Photography reply

    Oh my that cak looks soo yum! And I love that purple as a wedding color. Its so pretty!

  3. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] before you know it. Now on to the round-up! Things became vineyard-inspired with Emily’s Merlot and Champagne inspiration board — a wonderful request from one of our readers! The deep colors are so […]

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    […] became vineyard-inspired with Emily’s Merlot and Champagne inspiration board a wonderful request from one of our readers! The deep colors are so […]

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    […] merlot + champagne vineyard inspiration board from last week had me really excited to pull some fun finds that correspond to the rich color […]

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Color Palette Finds: Merlot + Champagne Vineyard | Gift Registry News reply

    […] merlot + champagne vineyard inspiration board from last week had me really excited to pull some fun finds that correspond to the rich color […]

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