This bride planned her wedding with a vision of a “West Virginia heritage/western frontier/1930s vibe” — are you as on board as we are? Her ideas came together brilliantly for a truly unique affair with the help of the lovely Emily Porter behind the camera. This is one gallery you won’t want to miss!
From the bride: Jeff and I both love West Virginia and wanted to celebrate some of the things we love most about it. We decided to plan a destination wedding very close to home. Along with about 15 of our guests, we took the train from our home in Charleston to White Sulphur Springs. Making this trip a part of the day meant a lot to me because it took us through the New River Gorge, a historic and very scenic area where I grew up, during fall foliage season. The train excursion, though, is much more than just a fall foliage train ride. Much of this stretch of the New River Gorge is inaccessible by car, making the trip a unique opportunity to view the beautiful New River Gorge up close — passing ghost towns, old coal mining sites and numerous scenic spots tucked deep into the Gorge. Our destination was the Greenbrier Resort, another historic icon unique to West Virginia.
We wanted our wedding to feature the natural beauty of West Virginia. We also leaned toward a vintage feel, which developed very naturally from the train trip, which just makes people feel nostalgic, to the Greenbrier Resort, which has been around since the 18th century.
I love DIY projects and was so thankful that the Greenbrier allowed us to provide most of the decor ourselves. For the centerpieces, we used Fostoria glassware, which came from the factory in Moundsville, WV when it closed a few years ago. Other centerpiece containers were wooden boxes, originally antique sewing machine drawers, which I found at local antique shops. I made all of the table runners from vintage lace doilies and place mats and I made a vintage brooch bouquet which held some pieces that belonged to friends.
The most time-consuming but enjoyable projects were the save-the-dates and invitations. For our save-the-dates, we used vintage postcards from the Greenbrier, which we found at a local antique store. Most of them were from the 1930s and 40s. We wanted our invitation to look like a vintage broadside poster, so we designed it ourselves and had it printed onto folded 7″ x 15″ cardstock. The postage stamps used to mail the cards, invitations and thank you notes were over 50 years old and were purchased unused from a local stamp and coin shop.
We used a double wedding ring quilt, made by my grandmother, as a table cover on the gift table. Other DIY items were the flag bunting cake topper, and the cheer flags that we handed out for guests to cheer for us as we arrived at the venue.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? I had heard this before, but it bears repeating. Something will go wrong. For us, the worst thing that could go wrong with our planning was for the train to be late that day. Sure enough, the train was 3 hours late! But you know what? Everything still turned out perfectly. My advice is to accept that everything may not go as you had planned, but know that, as long as you have the people you love around you, it will be perfect anyway.
Processional: “Simple Gifts”
Recessional: “St. Anne’s Reel”
Final song: “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” John Denver
Wedding Vendors (West Virginia):
Wedding venue: The Greenbrier and Howard’s Creek Lodge / Photographer: Emily Porter Photography / Caterer and Cake: The Greenbrier / Florist: Gillespie’s / Dress: Claire Pettibone / Shoes: Marc Jacobs / Hair flower: BHLDN / Earrings: Tejani / Groom’s vest: Perry Ellis / Groom’s tie: Michael Kors / Invitations: Designed by bride and groom / Transportation: Amtrak from Charleston, VW to the Greenbrier / Band: The Majestic Brothers
Debra has listed her Claire Pettibone in our Recycle Your Wedding section. Click here to see her listing.