Chic Weddings/Real Weddings

Cosy & Romantic Candlelit Winter Wedding

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I’m writing this post as I prepare to fly to Spain for my summer holidays, but in spite of the pile of sun-cream and bikinis sitting on my bed, today’s real wedding has me more excited for all things winter, rather than tapas and sangria (okay, I’m still excited about the tapas!).

Jessica and Johnathan got married with a gorgeous winter wedding at Early Mountain Vineyards in Virginia, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as their backdrop. Their day was beautifully styled with an abundance of twinkling candles and overhead string lights, luxe foliage and golden touches throughout, giving it the perfect cosy, seasonal atmosphere. 

Their fitting decor and incredible wedding day attire (the bridal party’s styling is unreal!) was so carefully curated, it makes total sense that Jessica is an interior designer with a serious eye for details and organic coordination.

With dreamy (and some emotional!) pictures by Audrey Rose Photography, I know a lot of winter brides or grooms are going to be falling hard for this fabulous wedding day. 

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Our Love Story

John and I met on an online dating website. I was new to the DC area and was working long and odd hours, so I hardly had time to go out and meet new people.

A friend had suggested I try online dating and although skeptical at first I decided to give it a try. I actually reached out to him first so I like to say that I made the first move!

We are both big baseball fans so when the Dodgers were in town to play the Orioles, that was a game we weren’t going to miss. The funny thing is we didn’t even go together. He went to the game with his uncle, and I was actually on a date with someone else!

As the innings flew by so did the text messages between the two of us. We couldn’t stop talking to each other! I couldn’t even tell you what the other guy’s name was!

After that I knew he was something special. A few days later we decided to finally meet face to face go on our first official date-mini golf and dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

And the dates have never stopped!

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The Proposal

Fast forward two and a half years…

John and I planned to go on a cruise to the Caribbean right after Christmas with his entire family.

Before we left we had a series of very serious conversations that led me to believe that a proposal wouldn’t be coming until the end of 2016. Boy was I wrong!

It was day two on the ship and John’s mom told me that we were taking family photos on the upper deck at 5:15 pm. This was one of the special days of the cruise because it was Elegant Night. The men dress up in their best suits and the women in their beautiful dresses for dinner, music, and tons of photographers set up to capture the night.

We got dressed and made our way to the upper deck. We were met by his aunt, but no one else. After waiting for 5…10…15 minutes, John suggests we take a few photos while we wait before the sun sets completely.

My immediate thoughts in that moment were about the wind and how it was blowing the hair I had just straightened in a mess and whipping my dress all over the place. How elegant could these photos really be if I’m constantly trying to keep my hair out of my face!

But after his aunt snapped a few photos he turned and grabs my hands….and I knew.

He told me how much he loved me and how he wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together. In that moment, all of my worries about my messy hair and my dress whipping all over the place seemed to melt away.

John reached into his jacket and dropped to one knee. I said yes to my future with the man of my dreams, basking in the warmth of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen.

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Our Wedding

Our wedding was magical. My vision for our wedding day was a wintery, romantic affair with lush greenery. Unlike some, when I envisioned a winter wedding, some of the elements that came to mind were eucalyptus garlands, cozy fireplaces, wood and stone accents, and a neutral color palette.

I wanted the colors to be soft and gentle on the eye without being too subtle. The beige and off-white tones complimented the wintery-scape around the vineyard, while the navy suits were reminiscent of the Blue Ridge Mountains that stood in the distance.

In addition to the soft color palette, we wanted to keep the décor and florals simple yet classic.

We worked with our florist to come up with a scheme that would complement the the space without taking away from the architectural details.

We had an all-star team of vendors who helped make this day a reality for John and I. We really can’t thank them enough for all their hard work and creativity! 

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The Photography

It’s funny because Audrey and I went to the same high school but never actually met!

A few years ago I heard that someone from our hometown was taking the wedding photography industry by storm and I knew I had to check out her portfolio. By that time she had photographed several weddings, including a good friend of mine.

After seeing how professional she was at my friend’s wedding and how amazingly beautiful the images turned out, I knew I wanted her to capture our day as well.

The day of our wedding was hectic and stressful. We were running behind schedule and since the sun sets earlier in the winter, we were in a foot race against the clock.

Audrey had a great way of slowing down time and capturing the breathtakingly beautiful moments I had pictured so vividly in my mind.

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Advice for Other Couples

The best advice I can give is to communicate with your partner. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what ‘you’ want versus what ‘we’ want.

My husband and I struggled with this in the beginning but quickly learned that our relationship wasn’t going to make it to the altar unless we learned to communicate.

Of course he wanted to make me happy. But is just as much his wedding as it is mine. Our biggest point was the budget. We set a goal and stuck to it.

You will find that there are certain things you want to splurge on and others that you can gather some friends for a wine and craft night!

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Favourite Moments

Over the course of wedding planning I fell deeply in love with the idea of a winter wedding.

As an interior designer, I know how important space can be to an overall design. I knew that I wanted a day complete with neutral tones, lots of  fluffy blooms, and natural elements like stone and wood that would pair well with a cozy, rustic affair.

Early Mountain Vineyards offered the gorgeous details like high ceilings, wood beams, wrought iron sconces and large stone fireplaces that made way for an unforgettable day. Not to mention the Blue Ridge Mountains that posed as a perfect backdrop.

One of my favorite moments of the day was our ‘first look’. I walked outside and saw John standing with his back towards me, starring at the mountains. There was a warm glow from the sunset.

I remember my hands trembling as I held my bouquet in one hand and my dress in the other. I was SO nervous, yet my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. I tapped him on the shoulder and he slowly turned around, tears rolling down his face.

We sat there in silence and embraced each other for a few seconds, taking in the moment. Everyone always says that your wedding day will fly by, and it’s true. But in that moment, time stood still.   

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The Honeymoon

We went on a five day cruise to the Caribbean. It was great to get away for a week as husband and wife.

John and his family are avid cruisers so I’ve been on a few in our time together. I can honestly say that they are definitely worth every penny! You save so much more flying to Florida for a five day cruise as opposed to flying to the Caribbean and staying at a resort for five days.

On the ship you’ll enjoy high end cuisine, fantastic entertainment both day and night, exciting adventures ashore, and waking up to a new gorgeous location every morning.

What more can you ask for!

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