Today’s wedding is a study in all things lovely and cohesive. Christine and Tim met when they were just teenagers but their wedding eight years later was a grownup vineyard affair with quirky and personalized details. They handmade so many elements of their wedding day that the details came together to perfectly summarize their long courtship and their hopes for their marriage. The little graphic design elements- from those sweet silhouettes to the lovely paper goods- pull together the hundreds of ideas the couple gathered during their engagement to present a beautiful wedding weekend to their family and friends. A huge thanks to the oh-so-talented Heidi from Our Labor of Love by Heidi for sending it over!
From the bride, Christine: When we got engaged, we both knew that Charlottesville was where we would say our vows. It is a vibrant college town where I’d recently graduated, surrounded by gorgeous rolling hills, orchards, and vineyards and defined by a Southern charm and welcoming vibe unlike anywhere else. Take all that, add the stunning colors of fall, and you’ve got a little slice of what Tim and I are all about. We wanted to bottle that warmth and create a unique, personalized event by bringing together all those people we love most in a comfortable, relaxed, and most importantly FUN atmosphere where they could kick back, share a glass of wine, and become woven into the romantic history of the area.
Instead of a single wedding day, we chose a three-day wedding weekend so that our guests could have a getaway in Charlottesville; we hosted a bride vs. groom family soccer and frisbee match on the UVA Lawn, an apple-picking exploration in the orchards, and toured Jefferson’s Monticello. By wedding day, there was a magical buzz as everyone from all sides of our lives came together to create one cohesive family. It was exactly the feeling we’d both envisioned but never imagined would play out so perfectly.
Our goal for the wedding was to achieve homey, rustic, Virginian warmth. Our color scheme really played off the incredible fall tones evident in the grape vines and treetops in Charlottesville in October. Beyond that, our florist, Pat Roberts, was a genius at reading our minds in terms of turning our (sometimes scattered) ideas into an incredible, unifying reality.
Tim and I are high school sweethearts. We actually met on the first day of school our freshman year on the gym bleachers (and that’s where Tim proposed eight years later!) With that sort of history, it was only fitting that we get married in a spot where history surrounds you. The University of Virginia chapel is a gorgeous but intimate stone building in the middle of Grounds (UVA students don’t use the word “campus”) just adjacent to the Rotunda and the beautiful colonnades of the UVA Lawn. Its interior is defined by bold stained glass scenes and dark, rich wood tones. The location allowed us to have a lunch reception in a nearby garden after which we had UVA student guides lead our guests on a historic tour of Jefferson’s University, which is also a World Heritage Site.
The reception site was a bit more complicated. After spending a full day hopping from vineyard to vineyard, Tim, my mom and I were tired, cranky, and ready to give up. We had one more stop and almost decided to forget it and head home! Thank goodness we didn’t, because as soon as we drove down the long, gravel lane to the gates outside Delfosse Vineyard and Winery, we knew we’d found something special. Nestled in the Charlottesville hills, Delfosse is a French-style vineyard with incredible wines and an even more impressive location and ambience. The property has a historic log cabin with a large, wrap-a-round porch overlooking the expansive views where we held our cocktail hour and a large open terrace where the dinner and reception took place. It was made even more perfect by the fact that the winery is owned and operated by one of my French teachers from the high school where Tim and I met!
After commissioning a graphic artist from New York to design a personalized silhouette as our cohesive wedding “icon”, we designed and then printed, lined, and hand crafted our invitations, welcome bag paper goods, programs, and menus with supplies from The Paper Source. We found a budding wedding calligrapher on Etsy for our envelopes.
We created our own welcome bags with goodies that had played prominent roles in our relationship or were special to Charlottesville. They included Old Dominion root beer, Route 11 Potato chips, Virginia salted peanuts, Swedish fish, sour patch kids, bottled water, and Juicy Fruit gum. We also included a welcome letter, custom map of the area, and lists of our favorite restaurants, bars, historic sites, hiking spots, and wineries.
We used iron-on transfers of Tim and I’s individual silhouettes to customize the burlap runners we’d created for each table.My mom created the mason jar chandeliers that hung from the clear top tent at the reception. She aged 6- and 8-foot wooden planks and then screwed the mason jar tops into holes she’d drilled into the planks. The pillar candles illuminated the tent with a soft, romantic glow throughout the entire night!
I used an old window I’d salvaged from the trash and a white ink pen to create our seating assignment chart.We designed all the table names after funny memories, mostly self-deprecating humor of embarrassing moments, from our years together. Each card had a name on one side and the story on the other.
We hand stamped hundreds of white paper bags with our custom silhouette to create lanterns to illuminate the walk down from the cocktail hour in a historic cabin on the property to the reception tent down below. This was also the pathway we drove back up to get to the cabin where we spent our wedding night!
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? I think a lot of brides question whether taking the time and energy to dabble in what might seem like minute details is really worth it. To me, what made Tim and I’s nuptials so incredibly special were the personalized details we’d worked on together over the course of the prior year – from the paper goods we’d designed and hand crafted individually to the violinist and trumpeter Tim had secretly hired to play during the recessional a la “Love Actually” to the surprise groom’s cake inspired by a book Tim had written as a second grader to the table names based on hilarious and/or important moments during our long courtship to the dance Tim and I’d choreographed for our first dance (which included a “Dirty Dancing” element and the robot). These were the things that made our day “ours,” and they are the things that our guests continue to bring up time and time again. So, my advice is to go for it – take the extra time, listen to every crazy idea that pops into your head and make it happen. It’s completely and entirely worth it!
The corresponding piece of advice is to book your key vendors as early as possible and pay attention to reviews and references. That way you have a creative, reliable crew who can execute the big picture stuff and free up time for you to focus on your own special, personalized additions!
Processional: Canon in D by Pachelbel, played by my little brother on saxophone
Recessional: Hallelujah Chorus by Handel, played by our long-time friend and professional organist Donny Isaac and two UVA students on violin/trumpet Tim hired as a surprise (mimicking the opening scene from Love Actually)
First Dance: “Everything” by Michael Buble, remixed and played live by our amazing band, 10 Spot
Wedding Vendors (Charlottesville, Virginia):
Ceremony Venue: University of Virginia chapel / Reception Venue: Delfosse Vineyard and Winery, Faber, Virginia / Photographer: Our Labor of Love by Heidi / Wedding Dress: Priscilla of Boston, Vineyard Collection “Maeve” gown / Veil: cathedral-length, also from Priscilla of Boston / Wedding Shoes: bronze Enzo Angiolini heels / Hair and Makeup: Julia Shifflett (no website) / Bridesmaids dresses: mistmatched from Anthropologie, J.Crew, Banana Republic and other small boutiques / Groom and Groomsmen suits: Heritage Italian wool shadow plaid suit vests and pants from Banana Republic, different color Argyle socks from Brooks Brothers / Wedding Band: 10 Spot / Caterer: Pierce at 20 South / Flowers: Pat’s Florals / Bride and Groom Wedding Cakes: Paradox Pastry / Donuts: Carpe Donut / Stationery: silhouettes designed by BDUB / Calligraphy: Danielle Writes / Transportation: Vintage 1959 MA convertible from Sports Car Rentals