Real Weddings/Rustic Weddings

Decorated Army Bride Has A Fairytale Dover Hall Wedding

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Who knew Virginia could deliver such a fairytale wedding? The immaculate estate, Dover Hall, is a dream for any East Coast couple pining for a destination wedding akin to the English Countryside. But, the ease of traveling to their own backyard.

Bride, Chloe, and groom, Andrew, knew this was the place the moment they turned down the drive. With aims to let their historic venue shine, the couple asked florist Morgan Event and Floral Design to fill the space with greenery and white blooms, resulting in the most romantic & luxurious scene.

However, we were sold before we even saw the photos. “The bride is a total babe, but also a decorated service member. She received the Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation medal for her service in Afghanistan, and also a Purple Heart, making her one of only a few women to ever receive the award,” said Kristen of Published + Pretty. We’re so thrilled to see both Army vets get the wedding they so greatly deserve!

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Elegant Dover Hall Princess Wedding – Army Veteran Bride – Alex Tenser – Bridal Musings 1

Our Love Story

Our first date was a walk through the National Mall in Washington, DC that lasted far longer than either of us expected, nearly six years ago.

On his birthday, Andrew asked if I wanted to start the morning off with a walk. He recreated that first date, even stopping in the same local bookstore and reminiscing. Then as we reached the reflection pool, he knelt down and started talking. Numerous on-lookers were also excited to be a part of the moment. So, not only was Andrew proposing but we were receiving advice from married couples, directions from spontaneous photographers, and cheers from surprised tourists. It was a chaotic outpouring of human connection and joy, which made it all the more special. And then I said yes.

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The Venue

We chose our venue as soon as we turned down the drive. It was sunset when we arrived and the lights had just flickered on, and we were both in awe. After a tour of the estate, we both knew we wanted to bring our family and friends here to share in the magic. Dover Hall set the stage for our colors of burgundy and fresh greenery.

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The Dress

I knew when looking for my dress that I wanted it to match the grand esthetic of the venue. I loved how the drama and grandness of the dress were in the details. The floral appliqués and structured silk were stunning. I never wanted to take it off.

I convinced Andrew to get a custom tux, and we spent time picking out the paisley ivory insert and black fabric together. It was a special moment in the wedding planning because it is rare that he takes the time to do something for himself.

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The Ceremony

The string quartet set the perfect ambiance as guests arrived on that hot summer day. I remember hearing it as I was putting on my final touches before walking down, and feeling a calmness.

We both served as Bomb Techs in the Army, and we were lucky enough to have a team leader there to operate our robotic ring bearer, the PACBOT. It was a fun surprise for our guests and a nod to our favorite job we have had.

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The Photography

We spent a lot of time interviewing photographers and videographers. This was the most important decision for us. We felt like after it was all over, this was the one thing we would have to look back on the day. And for us, this would likely be the only day we would have all of our friends and family together in one place.

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Favorite Moments

Our favorite moment was recommended by our DJ. At the end of the night when all the guests were out front getting ready for the grand exit, the DJ dimmed the lights and played a special song just for us. We got to have a “moonlight dance” in the great big hall and share one last dance together.

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The Decor & Details

We loved the bright green and white floral arrangements. They felt fresh and timeless. We didn’t want to take away from the venue but enhance it.

The signs were all handwritten by Andrew’s mom. We had an incredible artist for the menus to add a personal touch. And Andrew and I hand crafted the place cards with greenery from our garden and wax seals.

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Advice to Other Couples

  • Once the day comes, just enjoy it. It will go quickly, do not spend it worrying about little details or family drama. Just have fun.
  • Also, work with a planner!
  • When budgeting, splurge on photography and videographers and save on any of the little details like place cards or gifts.
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The Honeymoon

We spent two weeks road-tripping through Alaska for our honeymoon. It was definitely a non-traditional option, but we had some incredible experiences. From hiking a glacier to seeing bears, there are so many opportunities for adventure. There was only one near-death experience during a white water rafting excursion, but we learned Andrew can swim really well under duress. Overall, it was amazing. We definitely recommend taking a moment for just the two of you after all of it.

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