Bride and Groom Kissing under their neon light at the sweetheart table. Dover Hall Wedding. Wedding Planner Richmond Va.

Real Wedding: We Put Together An Eco-Friendly Winter Wedding and It Was Fabulous

April 7, 2020

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Eco- Friendly Winter Wedding at Dover Hall in Richmond Virginia 

Most of the time when we think of Eco-friendly, or ‘green’ weddings I imagine sitting around in vegan leather, smoking a peace pipe while crunching on granola.  If we have ever done anything together, you know this is not my vibe. I am much more of a maximalist and I prefer things to be much more exciting.

When I first met Sabrina I knew that together we could do something really cool. Sabrina had a great vision and was very focused on using sustainable resources. She wanted to be environmentally conscious but also have a very cool, unique, event. Sabrina isn’t local to Richmond, Va so many of our design meetings and decisions were made remotely. 

The event industry can be very wasteful. Coming up with new plans on sourcing environmentally friendly flowers, food, dishes, and keeping things local, was a refreshing challenge.  The vendors worked tirelessly sourcing paper, flowers, and food that was local, sustainable, and animal friendly.  Dover Hall even made beets look like filet, found locally sourced vegan cheese (that was actually pretty good), and found humanely caught fish.

The design plan was multi-faceted.  We layered on the textures, flavors, and colors. We threw around words like Marie Antoinette, winter, moody, maximalist, plaid, velvet, and cinnamon.  The colors were rich and moody and the food was amazing. We even SCENTED the wedding.  We wanted the wedding to feel, taste, and smell like an experience. The experience started with the very first thing that guests touched.  Curious Fox Press put together the most amazing invitation suite and scented it to smell like cinnamon. When the guests opened their invitation the smell of cinnamon was released. This set the tone for the rest of the event. The guests knew they were getting invited to something fabulous.

Upon guest arrival, they were greeted with the most elaborate and personalized escort table display.  I didn’t feel that having just a regular seating chart, or table tents was going to suffice.  It felt out of alignment with the rest of the attention to detail that was put into this event. Sabrina and I brainstormed, and I searched retail storefronts for inspiration.  The wedding had a few Anthropologie and West Elm vibes going on so I went to those locations first. Upon finding some cloches at one store, and some glass shadow boxes at another, I ran the idea by our bride.  She added to this a museum type element where they included books, photos, gems, notes, etc., reflecting the last ten years of their relationship. As guests walked around the table looking for their name they got a little insight into Sabrina and Andre’s relationship.   Amanda Burnette did an amazing job of filling in the spaces around the ‘museum’ with interesting plants, flowers, and vases.  Of course under the moss and around the vignette Amanda has stashed cinnamon sticks and sprinkled everything with cinnamon-scented essential oil.  It was everything we had envisioned and more.  I loved watching the guest’s reactions as they looked over the display.  They were absolutely delighted when they came across something they remembered or something that reflected their side of the family.  Guests even said on several occasions that the wedding smelled of winter, or it smelled like their invitations.  Tying together all of those details was so important and I couldn’t be happier with how it came together. 

Guests were then invited to take their seats for the ceremony. The ceremony site was complete with a floral arbor, lanterns, and candles. The guests were all dressed in their best “creative black tie” attire.  The bride wore a fabulous Marie Antoinette inspired wedding gown and even had extra length added to her train.  A girl after my own heart. Her grandmother handmade her cathedral length veil.  It was so special to see her grandmother’s reaction once she saw her in the veil. The groom was not to be outdone in his plaid tuxedo.  Sabrina loves plaid but did not want it to be an overwhelming element of the wedding. This was the perfect place to showcase the pattern. I love the fact that the Groom made a unique fashion statement.  So often the guys play it safe or don’t realize that they too can push the limits with fashion on their wedding day.  The wedding was officiated by Jeff, one of Dover Halls’s owners. Jeff looked dapper in his cowboy hat and delivered a really great ceremony for them.

When you have an indoor ceremony at Dover Hall it requires a room flip.  They have this down to a science and with a professional vendor team, this can be executed flawlessly.  The guests went to cocktail hour and we immediately got to work transforming the space.  There was a neon sign put up, velvet linens put on every guest table, and each place setting was set with a stack of vintage mismatched plates and jewel-tone goblets. The vintage plates were hand-selected for each guest.  The VIP clients had plates that reminded the Bride chose just for them.  There were lots of inside jokes. 

As the reception space was being flipped, the guests were enjoying the cocktail hour.  There were signature drinks, custom drink stirrers, and custom napkins. The couple’s pugs were the main focus of this phase of the event.  It was such a great way to include their most loved family members and I know that Nacho and Captain Kirk, aka chicken, appreciated having a cameo at their people’s wedding. The napkins were recyclable and the drink stirrers were printed on bamboo. 

When we were working through the cake plan it was decided that having multiple cakes was going to be more fitting then just having one cake.  Each of the cakes was a spicy flavor to go with the mood of the event.  They were displayed on vintage cake stands and accompanied by a giant bowl of whipped cream.  The guests were invited to plop a dollop of whipped cream right on their slice of cake.  It was a fun experience for the guests and it gave them an opportunity to get a closer look at the cake vignette. 

The evening wrapped up with a stellar dance party and an after-party complete with karaoke and a fried pickle bar. 

To see this event in action check out the video here.

This wedding was published on Rock- N- Roll Bride 

As always, I would love to chat.

Creative Partners:

Venue: Dover Hall, Richmond Va

Photography: Alex Tenser

Florals: Amanda Burnette

HMUA: Nicole Laughlin Makeup Artist and Co.

Stationery: Curious Fox Press 

DJ:  Rhythm Of Love

Cakes: Whisk RVA

Dress: Couture Bridal Of Maryland

Videography: Emotion Pictures Wedding Films

Eclectic Vintage Tableware: The Runaway Dish

Rentals: Party Perfect 

Neon Sign: Shop Narwall 




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