The Inspiration for Our Summer Wedding

We received our wedding pictures from Caiti Garter Photography last week, and we have had so much fun reminiscing about our wedding day.  Just like everyone says, the whole thing went by in a blur!  I’m just glad I remembered to eat my FULL slice of wedding cake.  As the bride AND wedding planner, I want to walk you through the inspiration and details that made our wedding our BEST DAY EVER.  If that’s not your thing, just scroll for the beautiful pictures taken by Caiti Garter Photography.

The Church:

For Daniel and I it was easy to pick Sacred Heart Church in Richmond as our wedding ceremony site as it is our current church home.  We started going to church there as a couple approximately 1.5 years ago and received great support from the congregation during our engagement.  With the church’s population being 70+ percent Latino, we had the honor of being the first English-speaking wedding in 10 + years!  What an honor (and interesting challenge at times!).  Our pastor made our nuptial mass so special, highlighting words we each wrote about the other person and our Catholic faiths.

The Reception Site:

You might remember that Daniel and I purchased the first home we toured with a realtor.  Well, we also booked the first wedding venue we toured!  We fell in love with the setting of Pocahontas State Park, just south of the city, nestled among tall trees and winding gravel paths.  It prompted memories of driving up my grandparent’s long country driveway in Upstate New York and family camping trips as a kid.  The architecture of the Swift Creek Banquet Hall truly sealed our enthusiasm—it had that rustic chic vibe that I love about the Farmhouse movement.  We also loved the idea of picking a wedding reception site that we can visit in the future—I imagine many trips to park when we have a family of our own.

The Reception Vibe:

We were truly blessed that my parents wanted to host a reception, while still allowing us a lot of freedom to plan our ultimate party.  For me, it was important to a reception that felt like a true representation of us as a couple—casually elegant, with excellent food and drinks and non-pretentious music.  I loved the juxtaposition of the exposed wood beams and gold china plates.  We wanted to include nods to some of our favorite dates: listening to live bluegrass music, eating delicious food at Comfort, and exploring the outdoors.  Let’s go into some of the details that helped this vision come to life.

The Food:

If you ask me the food is usually one of my favorite parts of a wedding.  We loved working with Louis of Garnish Catering to create a menu of classic Southern comfort dishes.  We stumbled upon the menu by thinking of giving our out-of-town families a taste of our city.  I think I will always long for the beef short ribs at our wedding—they were amazing! If I could eat our wedding dinner once a week for the rest of my life, I would happily do so!

The Flowers:

I worked with Victoria Zachary of Flowers by Victoria out of Flowerama to create romantic bouquets for the myself and my bridesmaids.  Victoria executed my vision of white roses, heavy greenery, and accents of soft pinks and blues.  When I asked to find a way to include touches of gold, she had the brilliant idea to spray paint magnolia leaves and eucalypts.  She carried these themes into a delicate basket of flowers for the church and beautiful pew floral arrangements.

Due to the distance between the church and reception site, and my personal belief that most wedding expenses are totally unnecessary, I decided to order flowers from Trader Joe’s and create my own table centerpieces.  The day before the wedding, my mom picked up the flowers and friend Melissa and sister-in-law Emily created lovely arrangements for the table centerpieces.  They did a great job! We got about 15 arrangements for the cost of 2 traditional arrangements.

The Cake:

People who know me, know that I LOVE cake.  My criteria for the wedding cake were simple: must taste fantastic and be decorated with fun whimsical touches.  We decided to play up the outdoor setting and choose a birch tree cake design.  I absolutely love the love bird cake toppers I purchased off Etsy. I asked to repeat several roses from my bouquet to tie the theme together.

The Band:

Early in the planning process my parents insisted we HAD to have a live band, as opposed to a DJ.  I am so glad they insisted.  It was so fun having live music—of course people who enjoy dancing danced and the people who don’t got to enjoy watching the musicians.  We booked Gallatin Canyon through Sam Hill Entertainment and they did not disappoint!  They learned a Head and Heart Song for our first dance (Let’s be Still) and Tom Petty’s Wildflowers for the Father-Daughter dance.  We loved jamming to bluegrass and classic rock covers.

There you have it.  Our summer wedding- a tribute to our love of God, each other, and sweet Virginia.

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