Allie and Bryce love their Virginia heritage, and their wedding vision was centered first and foremost around Allie’s dream of being married at Tuckahoe Plantation. Their classic Southern soiree feels traditional and timeless but not at all stuffy! A fresh color palette of shades of purple and green echo the lush surrounding gardens, while touches such as black and white striped grosgrain ribbons add a modern twist. Whitehouse Flowers incorporated peonies into the arrangements as the couple’s own garden is filled with peonies replanted from each of their grandparents’ gardens. In keeping with the Southern theme, they opted for a classic buttercream cake with a cascade of lilac hydrangea. Special touches abound, from oyster shell escort cards to a fabulous custom monogram crest – each moment captured by Sarah Jane Winter Photography is so special and joyous and we’re in love!
How did you meet?
Bryce and I met through mutual friends during the summer of 2011. Social kickball leagues are popular for post-grads in Richmond and he was on a kickball team with a couple of my girlfriends. One of their birthdays happened to fall on a kickball night, so I joined the team after their game for the birthday festivities. We struck up a conversation and found ourselves stuck at the bar talking all night. The rest is history!
What is your proposal story?
I always told Bryce that I wanted a proposal that felt natural and real. I didn’t want it centered around a holiday, an over the top presentation, or any onlookers. To put it simply, I wanted him to make an ordinary day, extraordinary. That said, it was an ordinary Tuesday evening and shortly after I came home from work, Bryce suggested we go out to dinner. It was a cold night, so, he headed out to warm up the car. When I joined him, he immediately started driving, which was odd as we typically debate and go through a long list of potential dinner spots. As he drove, I kept trying to guess where he was headed. With every turn, I became more confused. We landed near a Richmond historic spot, Libbie Hill Park, which has views overlooking the city. I commented that I’d never seen the park views at night. He suggested we pull over. At that point I knew something was up, because it was frigid! We walked around a couple minutes and then he got down on one knee! He had chosen Libbie Hill because we are both Richmond natives, and our love for our hometown is one of the first things that bonded us. After he popped the question, he surprised me with a bottle of champagne he had snuck into the car. We toasted to the future and ended the night with dinner at our special spot, Edo’s Squid, followed by dessert at our first date spot, Can Can.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
What was most important was a sense of Southern Hospitality. That doesn’t tie itself to one area in particular, but rather it guided lots of little decisions. A perfect example would be chair choice (one of the decisions Bryce had a surprisingly big opinion about!). My top choice, of course, was gold chiavari chairs, however, I was inclined to choose a less expensive wooden folding option. Bryce was adamant we splurge on the gold, as he shared experiences of getting tangled up at other weddings when getting up and down in the folding chairs. Music choice would be another example. We were intentional in our song choices to ensure that all generations would be motivated to get up and dance…and it really paid off! Our dance floor was hopping all night long! In terms of skipping, we decided to skip favors, and instead decided to use those funds to elevate our guests’ experience at the wedding. We also skipped a champagne toast. Our wedding was open bar, so people were just fine toasting with their beverage of choice.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
There were so many special parts of our day. It really was a dream come true! There are a few that stand out, though. The first and favorite being our first look. Both Bryce and I agree it was our most special part of the day. It was so nice to have time together, just us, before the flurry of events to come. A next special moment was right after the ceremony recessional. With our wedding party, we gathered off to the side and there were so many hugs, laughs, and congratulations with our nearest and dearest. Finally, a particularly fun memory was toward the later part of the night. I had done so many rounds of “Hello”s and “Thank you”s at that point, and was just ready to get on the dance floor. A couple of Bryce’s groomsmen interrupted a conversation I was in and grabbed me. They took me to the dance floor where I danced goofily, surrounded by all 6 groomsmen. Bryce joined a few minutes later and that fun moment really kicked off the party for the rest of the night!
Did you include any handmade details?
As a lover of fabric and prints, custom table linens were a must for me. Having never met a green trellis I didn’t like, I fell in love with Lacefield’s Imperial Jade. I ordered several yards of the fabric and my now mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law made table toppers for our head table, cake table, and guest book table. My grandmother-in-law also made a couple table runners with leftover fabric that I now use on our dining room table. I had clutches made for myself and bridesmaids in the same fabric, as well. It was one of those details that is not only memorable, but was just “so me.” We also incorporated oysters as a theme for our day, and saved a bunch of shells from a friend’s oyster roast the fall before our wedding. A close friend, and mother to one of our flower girls, hand calligraphed all guest names and table numbers in gold onto the shells for us. We skipped traditional favors, but these served as favors for some and it’s been nice to see them on display in a few friends’ homes!
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
We did the classic “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition. My something old was a fox hunting horn pin we attached to my bouquet that my mom also wore on her wedding day. My something new was my wedding gown and veil. And finally, my something borrowed and something blue were most special. For something borrowed, we borrowed our getaway car. One of our best friends, Frank has an old, classic BMW convertible that was passed down from his grandfather with the license plate “OLFOOL.” It’s a Virginia Military Institute license plate, Bryce’s alma mater, and also has a University of Virginia sticker on it, my alma mater. Frank arranged to have a VMI alum drive us, in his old uniform no less, which was a fun detail! Frank and his wife Emily, a bridesmaid, could not make it to the wedding as their baby girl arrived just 10 days before, so it was a special way to have them be a part of our day. Secondly, my something blue was a diamond and sapphire ring that was passed down to me by my grandmother on my 18th birthday. Due to deteriorating health, this grandmother was not able to make it to our wedding, either, so wearing the ring was a special way to feel her presence.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Remember that at the end of the day, your wedding is all about you and your love for one another. The choices and decisions you make should honor and reflect that. It’s so easy to get caught up in the opinions of others or to play the comparison game, but do your best to stay true to yourself. Secondly, budget is likely to be one of your biggest challenges when planning. Try to think outside the box when making some of your dreams a reality. Being a details person, I worked to find ways around the heft price tag little details often bring. For example, I knew details like peonies, custom linens and chargers were not in the budget for every table, so instead I focused on the head table when it came to “splurge” details. Furthermore, if you have an idea you think may be out of your price range, don’t be afraid to talk to your vendor about it. Chances are they might have some alternative options for you. For example, I worked with Virginia Lucas Hart, our calligrapher and invitation designer to find the most cost effective way to bring my paper dreams to life. She was able to offer us a custom monogram wedding crest for a flat fee. I then used that to design and print my own programs, menus, and signage. I was also able to use her file to order cocktail napkins and frosted cups with our monogram.