Leigh Ann & Ben | 718 Venue Wedding

This snowy, wintry day calls for a warm winter wedding full of emerald greens, faux furs, and greenery, don’t you think?

Back in December, I got an email from Meg Flores of Happy To Be Events about an urgent wedding request due to a family emergency. I was in Colorado at the time, but after hearing their story, I immediately knew I had to hep however I could.

You see, Leigh Ann’s father didn’t have a lot of time left. He was passing away from terminal brain cancer. Leigh Ann and Ben wanted to get married before he passed. Meg did an incredible job of planning this small wedding/elopement in just SIX DAYS. And let me tell you, these photos don’t look like it was planned in less than a week. They are gorgeous.

Meg and Leigh Ann just wanted one invitation. Something that matched the wedding and wouldn’t take too long to design or update. So I sent them over a few options of already designed pieces that we could just update with their information. The tricky part here was that I was in Colorado and not in Virginia. But after a few phone calls and emails to Meg to walk her through printing one sheet of invitations on her own, I’d say she pulled it off completely! She truly worked some magic for this entire wedding.

I was so honored to be just a small part of this beautiful wedding that was full of so much love.

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Vendor List

Coordination, Planning, and Styling: Happy to Be Events

Ceremony Venue: 718 Venue

Photography and Videography: Rowlands Photography 

Restaurant: Castiglia's Restaurant

Designer: Vagabond Co

Florist: Blushing Blooms

Bakery: Kadi Bakes

Stationer: Twila and Co

Rentals: Something Vintage

Makeup: Glamper Salon

Bridal Furs: Bash Boutique

Gown and Veil: Ava Laurenne

Alterations: C-talents

Jewelry: Fredericksburg Jewelers

Decor Elements: Fraser Wood Elements

It's A Wonderful Life Styled Shoot

Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.

Definitely one of my favorite lines from a Christmas movie. And if you know me, you know I LOVE Christmas, like REALLY love Christmas, so when I was asked to participate in an ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ inspired styled shoot, we all knew my answer!

Ashley Link of Virginia Ashley Photography did an amazing job putting this together and taking gorgeous photos. I am just in awe and it makes me love Christmas even more and want to do MORE Christmas styled shoots!

And with that, enjoy the photos! I’m going to go enjoy come Colorado Snow.

Cross Stich: Earthologie
Makeup: Shasta Hypes
Hair: Elle Style Studio
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid
Wedding Dress: Tiffany’s Bridal
Photography: Virginia Ashley Photography
Calligraphy: Canary Lettering
Invitations: Twila & Co.
Planning: Chickadee Events
Floral Design: Courtney Inghram Florals
Cake: DIY
Wedding Venue: Paisley and Jade

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Kaitlin & Aubrey | Braehead Manor Wedding

So remember Hurricane Florence? And how it came to Virginia like a crazy, and made weddings all over the state and east coast just awful with it’s wrath?! Well, you wouldn’t even be able to tell with these incredible photos.

With all of the bad forecasts and weather leading up to Kaitlin and Aubrey’s wedding, they surprisingly had a beautiful in its own way day and the photos are just spectacular. In my {humble} opinion, the grey sky actually just accents the moody, bold colors of their wedding. Those deep greens, reds and navy’s match that cool grey sky, probably almost better than a bright blue sunny sky would have.

Kaitlin and Aubrey are so awesome. I just love them together. They are so much fun, such goofballs and they always make me laugh. I had so much fun working with Kaitlin on these invitations, especially when it meant doing a watercolor of my favorite venue. The wedding is at my favorite spot, Braehead Manor, and Kelsey Rae Photography totally killed it!

Enjoy!

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Photography | Kelsey Rae Photography

Dress | Ava Laurenne Bride

Stationery | Twila & Co.

Makeup | Kaley Pleban

Hair | Alia Sirch

Catering | Pifer Bros BBQ 

Flowers | Kelsey Manuel 

Venue | Braehead Manor

Band | Cabin Creek

Wedding Rings | Aubrey’s - Ulmans, Kaitlin - Elaine B Jewelry

Dessert | Sugar Shack Donuts 

A Little More Wedding...

Well, I have a little more to show you from the wedding…aka, OUR WEDDING VIDEO IS HERE!

And oh my gosh, it’s incredible. Nic, Amanda and the rest of the NuGen Media team did a phenomenal job. I’ve watched this video too many times to count now and get teary eyed/cry every time. It doesn’t help that I’m really missing Joe I suppose.

And because we had the little snafu of the gunshots (apparently, the neighbor of the venue enjoys shooting their guns around the ceremony time, but I like to call it a 99 Gun Salute to our marriage), I’m sharing some of the readings from our ceremony. After watching the video back again, I remembered how amazing our officiant’s speech was, so I wanted to share it because I think it says so much about life.

If you’re like me, after reading the officiant’s message and the letter from my Grandma, you’ll savor each moment a little more, hug your family a little tighter, and kiss your loved one a little harder, because life is too short.

*Video is at the end of the blog.


Officiant’s Message

As I think back to having first met you two, I’m awed at how you have bloomed as a couple and how your lives as individuals have been enriched by the other. Over the years I have watched you two have the times of your lives together. I’ve seen you travel this earth together and I have been there to see you stand by each other and face all the ups and downs that life could throw at you. Just as you have been there with me and watched my own love story unfold. As you have been there to welcome our new baby boy. We’ve shared this life together. As I think back I will always remember the day you announced that you two were starting a family of your own, as you snuck a tiny fur baby named Grohl into my bar. Look at him now. Look at us now. Our families bigger, Grohl much much bigger and our lives even richer. When I think back to all the time we’ve shared, I’m blown away at how fast it all happens. As I held my son and thought about just how fast this day too, will go so fast,  I had this thought…

As we grow older, we measure time in a different way than when we are a child.

For a child, an hour or a day seems an eternity

As we get older we begin to measure time in months… then years

And we begin to understand that they move quite rapidly

There comes a time in your life when you begin to measure time in terms of decades

And when you look back upon them

You realize that your time upon this earth is very short

And so each moment that you’re given on this earth

Is a time to celebrate.



A letter from my Grandma

When Johnna was born – she was the very first grandchild on my side of the family & she had a very special place in my mother’s heart. Before she passed away – she gifted Johnna with a Memory Book and while she prayed that she could dance at Johnna’s wedding that just wasn’t meant to be. So today – I’d like to read an excerpt from that Memory Book and invite her to join us on this special day:

In order for me to become a Gramma, of course I had to be a ‘mama’ first. I’ve always considered myself very blessed to have had six children. They and Papa Jere were my life. Those years were so busy but so much fun too – watching everyone grow and blossom into ‘real people.’ Sometimes you’re asked the question, if you could go back in years, would you do things differently. If I would ever have that chance (you don’t but lets pretend), the only thing I would change is how I spent my time. I would have spent more time with all my children and not be as concerned about how clean the house should be. Time is all we have and it goes by much too quickly and children grow up and leave home and there’s plenty of time to chase dust balls and cobwebs.

My wish for the future is your good health, happiness, and a contentment in who you are. Enjoy life’s experiences as they come along – there’s something to be learned from all of them. I wish for you a wonderful life. I love you.

Gramma P.


Our Vows

I promise to be faithful to you, honest with you, patient with you and to trust, respect and protect you.

I promise to hold your hand and always take care of you, through one foot or two

I promise to be there when our love is simple and easy but also when its challenging and hard?

I promise to be the strongest supporter of your dreams, your biggest fan, and to always help you stand back up if you fall down

I promise to grow with you and encourage you to be a better person because you bring out the best in me

I promise to challenge you, laugh with you, leap with you, be your refuge and follow you to the ends of the earth

I promise to be your home, your partner, your soulmate and your best friend

I promise to update our vows as we grow because one set of vows cant possibly cover a lifetime of growing and changing together

I promise to love you with everything I have and to continue falling more and more in love with you every day

You are the family you both get to choose. Do you promise to go on choosing one another from this day forward through all of the uncertainties of the future.


Our Wedding

Wow, what a whirlwind the past month or so has been. Everything has been moving so far, that it’s taken me a while just to wrap my head around everything.

So today’s blog is just going to focus on the wedding! I’m SO excited to finally share these photos with ya’ll. I’ve had the gallery from Hope for longer than I’d like to admit, and things have finally calmed down enough and I have showed them to our families, so I feel like I can show you too!

Not to mention, it’s been exactly ONE MONTH since our wedding, and this is my way of celebrating one month of wedded bliss…or something like that hahaha. I’ll be real- between a very…interesting (trying to stay positive here) honeymoon and Joe still being on crutches, we haven’t had the easiest first month of marriage. However, I’m married to my best friend and we’ve been through worse, so this is just another chapter in our book.

Back to the wedding.

You know all of those girls who plan their weddings and then want to be wedding planners afterwards so they can do it again and again and again?

I am NOT one of those girls. I never want to plan another wedding (or an event to that caliber) again (and obviously, I won’t have to haha!). As most past bride’s know, it doesn’t matter how hard you plan or how much you organize, theory and thought isn’t the same as what happens on the actual day. Rather than going through all of the details that went wrong or focusing on the bad, I’m at a much better place where I’m able to look back and enjoy the positives. Enjoy the moments with my family and friends that I will cherish forever.

Obviously, I learned a lot during this entire process, and that’s a conversation for another time, but here are some of my best and worst decisions.

I’ll start with the worst. It’s no secret that Joe and I have lived together for a long time. Actually, the entire time we’ve been dating because we were roommates already when we started dating, and then he had his amputation, and it just made sense. Anyways, I thought that it might be nice for me to go stay with my parents the week before the wedding to…I don’t know, make the wedding night and honeymoon more special? Get some separation before the wedding? Quite honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking because it was a TERRIBLE IDEA. Seriously. It made me so much more anxious and stressed out not being able to see Joe regularly. And same for him! We hated it! So much so, that Joe ended up coming to stay at my parents with me for a few nights that week because it was so terrible. The thing is: wedding planning is hard. To me, it was not fun. And the stress it was causing me while also not being able to sleep in my own bed and be in somewhat of my own routine, it made me even more stressed out. Do anything you can to make yourself the least stressed possible.

The best decision of this whole wedding thing we made, other than getting married to begin with, was to get married before the actual day. Joe and I technically got married at the Fredericksburg City Hall on the Tuesday before the wedding. According to the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, an officiant has to go through an expensive process to become an officiant, and to avoid that but to still have one of our favorite people ever officiate our wedding, we decided to get married ahead of time.

So the Tuesday before the wedding, I married Joe in my favorite blue jean romper at City Hall by Santa Clause (I’m not even kidding, but that’s another story). It was just the two of us, goofing off and being together. So why was this our best decision ever? Because after that, nothing else mattered! We were already married and that’s all we wanted out of this whole thing. It made me much more calm on the day of, I didn’t focus on all of the little things going on around me, and I was able to enjoy the day with the people I care about most in the world.

Joe and I did a first look as well, which for me was also another amazing decision. If you’re not sure about doing a first look or not, not sure if it takes away from walking down the aisle, or lessens the ceremony, here’s what I’ll tell you: it took all of nerves away. All day I had been pretty anxious, a relaxed anxious, but what bride isn’t anxious?! As soon as I saw Joe and we were together, nothing else mattered. Once we got the first look over with, we were able to hang out the rest of the afternoon, goof off and just be us! It was amazing. We got to talk all about our days getting ready, and catch up and talk about how nervous we had been and how nervous we weren’t anymore. It was just us being….us. A chance we wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t done the first look. And when I walked down that aisle, it didn’t make a difference at all. I was still just as excited and still had the biggest grin on my face and shed a few tears, and so did Joe, and the moment was incredible.

Well, I’ve already written a novel, and thank you if you’re still here reading. Obviously, these are only highlights for our crazy, amazing, memorable wedding, and maybe one day I’ll share more of some o the behind the scenes, but for now, I’m just enjoying these gorgeous photos of my handsome groom, the best bridal party, and the most amazing friends and family a girl could ask for.

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Invitations/Signage/Details |  TWILA & CO. 

Florals/Decor/Lighting | Christina Moore of BELLA GIORNATA EVENTS 

Hair + Makeup |  HELLO DARLING BEAUTY 

Planner | Emily Ritchey, SCARLETT GRAY EVENTS 

Rentals | VINTAGE IS FOR LOVERS

Bride’s Gown Retailer |  AVA LAURENNE 

Bride’s Gown Designed by Jeri Hetrick & Johnna Hetrick with Shannon Thorpe of Mackenzie Clare

Jewelry |  MONKEE’S OF FREDERICKSBURG  by KENDRA SCOTT

Shoes | Custom Designed by Johnna with ELLIE WREN SHOES

Ceremony Musicians | Sam & Rachel Wagner

DJ |  ROSS ANDERSON, BELO SONO MUSIC 

Caterer |  CHIPOTLE  & NOODLES & COMPANY 

Cake |  SORBY SWEETS 

Videographer |  NUGEN MEDIA, NIC DONOVAN 

Transportation |  TROLLEY TOURS OF FREDERICKSBURG