All too often, when you look at a gorgeous real wedding, filled with luxe linens, beautiful florals, and pretty paper goods, it can be a little hard to see how the groom is reflected in the day.
Now of course, lots of grooms are into flowers and decor, but for many, their wheelhouse is more in the realm of the catering and music.
What we love about today’s wedding, is that Dominique & Hunter, and their life together, shines through in every last detail.
And if you’re planning to start your marriage as you mean to go on, with equal opinions, shared passions, and a serious side of fun, take your cue from Dominique & Hunter and you’re in for one incredible happily ever after!
With their day captured so beautifully by Stephanie Yonce Photography, Dominique and Hunter got married at King Family Vineyards, with ribs, bourbon and baseball, alongside lace, sequins, and lots of cupcakes.
Now that sounds like our kind of wedding!
Scroll down to read more about this chic, gorgeous, and super fun BBQ bash, and we’ll meet you at the end for s’mores and a sparkler send-off!
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
Our mutual friend Ryan invited Hunter to join a co-ed dodgeball team in NYC that Dominique was a team member of.
We tell a fake story about Hunter diving in front of Dominique to stop an oncoming dodgeball being the seminal moment in our early relationship which led to us getting together.
Really though, it was probably the post-game Happy Hours and our mutual interest in music and sports…and Hunter’s Costco membership that gave Dominique access to delicious Chicken Bakes that sealed the deal.
The team would stay together for several years and play several others sports including more dodgeball, kickball, and volleyball.
I went to five or six bridal salons, at each, I found a dress that I liked but couldn’t get myself to commit to. I had been told that I would just know when I found the dress, but I wasn’t so sure.
Each trip I felt like I was getting closer and closer to knowing what I wanted, but I just wasn’t sure if I’d know or if I’d settle for something that was pretty and fine.
When I put on the Allure Bridal dress at Global Bridal Gallery, I knew it was the dress. It just made me feel like I was glowing and the look on my mom and MOH’s faces (and tears in their eyes) were sure signs I had found the dress.
Hunter tried on a few suits but ended up finding his Ralph Lauren suit on sale at Macy’s. He’s always worked at startups so he’s never had to wear a suit for work. The only time I ever get to see him in a suit is at weddings and he’s worn the same two suits since we met. I was excited to get to help him find a new suit!
My bridesmaids wore Badgley Mischka dresses from Rent the Runway. I’ve been in so many of my friends’ weddings and have a closet full of bridesmaid dresses that I’ve never re-worn. Rent the Runway allowed us to have beautiful designer dresses at an affordable price!
I love fluffy peonies, Juliet roses, and ranunculus.
Because my wedding was in the fall, peonies were out of season and Juliet roses were just too pricey.
I ended up having white and pink ranunculus with white hydrangeas and white anemones in my bouquet.
The rest of the wedding party had ranunculus in their bouquets and buttonholes.
We wanted a relaxed and fun wedding.
An outdoor venue with yard games, BBQ, and a firepit for smores mixed with the glam of sequins and gold.
We planned our wedding in Virginia so it would be closer for Dominique’s larger family to easily attend, but we wanted to capture a bit of Denver, where Hunter is from, so we picked King Family Vineyards for their stunning view of the mountains.
We loved how casual the venue was and the big outdoor area that was perfect for lawn games and a fire pit.
We loved the personal touches our officiant added to the ceremony – it was important to us that our families were thanked as part of the ceremony.
Our friend read Mark Twain’s poem, “A Marriage” which we picked together.
My absolute favorite part of the ceremony were the songs we chose, all played by Vitamin String Quartet: You Still Believe in Me (family processional), Tupolo Honey (bridesmaid processional), Fidelity (bride processional), and God Only Knows (bridal party recessional).
Stephanie Yonce had done such a wonderful job at my brother’s wedding that we had to ask her to come back and join us for our wedding.
We love her fresh and bright style and ability to capture beautiful moments without getting in the way.
She made us feel so comfortable and we love our photos!
The Decor & Details
We love going to Washington Nationals games every summer and Hunter is a huge fan of the sport. Hunter wrote to all the MLB ball clubs and asked them to send any extra bobbleheads and we ended up with enough to give out as favors to our guests!
We also had custom bobbleheads of ourselves made for the cake topper.
We used gold sequin table runners to glam up the dining tables which went well with our DIY vases: pony bottles of miller high life emptied and dipped in gold glitter. Bobbles and gold – every girl’s dream!
We also wrote a thank you letter to our parents and decorated an area with their wedding photos. It was really important to include them in our big day and show our love and gratitude to them.
We budgeted $40K and ended up spending just a little more than that. We had 130 guests and the majority of the costs went towards food and drinks.
We splurged on our photographer and my shoes. We saved by having my mom and aunts do our reception flowers. We were a bit surprised by how much the charter buses for our guests cost.
Advice for Other Couples
Google’s Wedding: All-in-one wedding planner spreadsheet was a Godsend- it helped us budget and stay on track of all our tasks.
Our caterer at BBQ Exchange, Jacqueline Conlogue, was a gem of a find. She recommended so many of our vendors and was always getting creative in order to help us save money.
We also used Borrowed and Blue to find vendors, too.
I was a bit surprised at how far in advance I needed to book my hair and makeup – I started calling around five months before the wedding and most of the recommended vendors were already booked by then!
We were so excited to serve BBQ at our wedding. The thought of eating ribs in my wedding dress was so fun!
We served passed hors d’oevres during cocktail hour, had a BBQ buffet for dinner, and passed out fried chicken and waffles for a late-night snack.
Our signature cocktails were Gentleman’s Press (bourbon & ginger beer) and John Daly (sweet tea vodka & lemonade).
For dessert, we had four cakes and a boatload of mini cupcakes! All the cupcakes!
Our first dance song was Celia Cruz’s ‘Te Busco’.
I danced with my dad to Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Beautiful World’ and Hunter danced with his mom to Sam Cooke’s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’.
Our family and friends made our wedding so special. Instead of a traditional guest book, we ordered a custom rint from Etsy for our guests to add their fingerprints to.
Now we have it hanging up on a wall in our home and it reminds us everyday of how much fun we had with them on our very special day.
Watching them dance and have a good time was the best part of the wedding. That, and the bourbon bar by the fire pit!
We waited three months and took a three-week trip to New Zealand for our honeymoon.
We love to take active and adventurous trips and we knew we’d be too exhausted to take that kind of trip right after our wedding.
What we did do right after our wedding was to spend two nights at the Salamander Resort an hour away from home so we didn’t have to go straight home and feel like we needed to clean up and start real life right away.
Having the New Zealand trip to look forward to (and a few more months to plan a spectacular trip) was perfect.
Doesn’t that look like such a fun wedding? I just love the idea of Dominique eating ribs in her wedding dress, and you know we’re suckers for s’mores and sparklers, right?
Thanks so much to Stephanie Yonce Photography, and of course, Dominique and Hunter for sharing their beautiful BBQ wedding with us!
Be inspired by more amazing Real Weddings.Photographer: Stephanie Yonce Photography / Bride’s Dress: Allure Bridals #2751 / Bride’s Veil/Hair Accessories: Jimmy Choo Baxen Wedges / Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren & Tie Bar / Bridesmaid Dresses: Badgley Mischka via Rent the Runway / Day-Of Coordinator: Jane Maples / Vineyards: King Family Vineyards / Catering: BBQ Exchange / Flowers: Hedge Fine Blooms & bride’s family / Cake Baker: Sweethaus / Invitations & Stationery: Minted / Lighting & Rentals: MS Events / Rentals: Paisley & Jade / DJ: Sound Enforcement / Hair & Make-up: Ave 42 / Ceremony Officiant: Dave Norris