Of course the plans changed with the pandemic and we were forced to make a few really tough decisions. The couple ultimately decided that the big party could wait, but that their marriage could not.
Kristina and Ryan had been together for years, got engaged in 2018, and had moved several times throughout their relationship. Ryan is a college football coach, currently at Virginia Tech, and moving is very much part of the job.
On June 26, 2020, their original wedding date, the couple eloped with just the two of them, and pushed the wedding back a year.
With the pandemic still wreaking havoc on the event industry a year later, the couple had to again make some tough decisions. Were they going to move forward with a larger event, were they going to move everything outside, or were they going to host an intimate affair, but have an elevated experience. They opted for the more intimate affair and an elevated experience. We decided on 50 guests, and elevated many of the details to enhance the guest experience.
On June 26, 2021, the pair celebrated their marriage on their first wedding anniversary. It was serendipitous and a great way to bring it all together. The couple forgo an official wedding party, but made sure to grab some photos with those who would have been the wedding party had the original plans been executed. The bride and her sister went and got their hair and make up done, while the groom and his friends spent time together in the game room at Dover Hall.
The ceremony took place out on the upper courtyard, with an abundance of lush flowers and a deconstructed floral arch. While the guests were heading to cocktail hour a quick rain storm came out of nowhere leaving behind the most vibrant double rainbow any of us had ever seen. Come to find out the Bride’s mother had passed a few years prior, and her family always sees her in rainbows. It was such a special moment for the couple and their family.
Since we are now moving from a more traditional, large, wedding, the design plan had to adjust. The color palette was one we hadn’t done before, and it was exciting to see it come together amidst a color palette of terracotta, marigold, and emerald. There was a touch of midcentury but still keeping with the elegance of the venue.
We decided to have a cocktail style reception and open dancing to keep the party social, and give everyone a chance to spend the most time together. We set up various cocktail stations around the room, a few hightops with bar stools, and some lounge vignettes for guests to gather.
The menu included an assortment of salads; a pasta station that included orecchiette with pancetta and herbs and three-cheese tortellini with clam sauce; a butcher’s table station of seared strip loin in truffle jus; and a seafood station that included seared salmon, and cajun shrimp and grits.
Not being huge cake people, a wedding cake felt inauthentic. Instead of cake, the couple chose a dessert station with house-made gelato, tres leches cake, and a brioche bread pudding.
As added entertainment, the couple enlisted a sommelier to lead a wine-and-chocolate pairing station. Guests were shown how to best pair various wines and chocolates for an intimate experience that was both education and fun. Chocolate and wine is never a bad idea, and it was definitely something that guests really took part in and spoke about after. For favors, the couple gifted guests bottles of wine with custom labels.
Venue/Catering/Sommelier: Dover Hall
Photo: Keith Cephus Photography
Rentals: Rent -E – Quip
Specialty Rentals: Paisley and Jade
Florals: A. Morgan Event Floral Design
HMUA: Elle Style Studio
Entertainment: DJ Jay May
Ceremony Musician: Jen Violin