We are so excited to share Ashlyn & Chris’ wedding day on the blog today! We absolutely love all of the thought and detail they put into planning their big day. We would describe their wedding decor as organic, natural, slightly bohemian..but with a modern flair. Words can’t even describe how perfect it was, that’s why we are so thankful for these photos from Ashley Cox Photography! She captured every detail oh so perfectly from the ceremony site, to cocktail hour, reception, all the way to the send off. Enjoy!
For brides- picking out your wedding dress is hands down one of the most exciting moments of planning a wedding. You set up your appointment, assemble your trusted team of bridesmaids and family, and spend a whole day dressing like a princess and feeling like you are in a fairytale. The day can feel so magical, especially when you finally find the “one” that is perfect for you.
For grooms- a lot of the times picking out their wedding tux for their big day doesn’t come with as much excitement. While the bride is daydreaming about shades of white, different materials, and various head pieces… the groom typically looks at tux shopping as one more task that needs to get done before the big day.
Lucky for all, our friends over at The Black Tux have come up with an option to make groomswear & groomsmen outfits easier, cheaper, and stress-free.
As a recent bride, I know how important it is to have everything looking perfect for your wedding day. I also know how many things you have going on. You don’t have the time or the energy to spend researching tuxedo rental brands or visiting different rental stores, not to mention finding a time when you and your fiance both can see tuxedo options during normal business hours.
In my experience, helping my husband find tuxes turned out to be a headache. I couldn’t find what I wanted. The tuxes we saw were overused, low quality, out-dated styles and brands. I had to settle for a local shop because I was running out of time and patience. I also was left in the dark about the status of other groomsmen’s orders… how could I be sure who had ordered and who hadn’t? The whole process added unnecessary stress. Not to mention the fact that we paid top dollar for a less than adequate product.
Wasn’t there an easier way to rent a tux? Now, there is.
Today for our Meet The Friendors we wanted to introduce one of our favorite bands, Attraction! We did a little Q&A with band leader, Dave Barton. Enjoy getting to know a little more about this fun group!
How did Attraction form?
I established Attraction after many years in the music business. I studied at Berklee College of Music and earned my bachelors in music at VCU. The key to Attraction is that we have top-notch professional music talent all of whom value teamwork and kindness. The whole band are just fun to be around and full of smiles. After many decades in the wedding business, I now know that the right talent combined with expert planning and partnership are the secret ingredients to a seamless, one-of-kind event event.
What sets Attraction aside from other bands?
Outstanding, proven talent is our focus and we have deep bench of experienced, national-level entertainers. One of our performers was a finalist from NBC’s The Voice. Another performed on Broadway in HairSpray. Many of our band members are experienced backup musicians for well-known celebrity performers. Ultimately, it is the synergy of this talent that delivers consistent, customized performances for every party or event.
Beyond talent, I would say that our other differentiator is our expert event planning and support. We are not just a music vendor, Attraction is partner to our brides, grooms and event coordinators. An outstanding performance starts when we listen to the needs and wishes of our client and then build a customized, integrated plan to insure a super event.
What is your favorite song to perform?
Hard one as there are SO many! Every event is different so we develop and customize our song list knowing how meaningful each song is to our clients. When we see that emotional connection with a song, that tune becomes our favorite song. That said, we love playing Bruno Mars’ song – always fun, funky, and pack the dance floor!
What is the furthest place Attraction has traveled to perform?
Have bags, will travel. We are on the road every single weekend. But believe it or not in two instances clients have flown our entire band with equipment out of the U.S. We loved our gigs in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nice, France. Here at home, we are based in central Virginia but we travel all over. We actually have built a dedicated following in Cincinnati, of all places. And, of course, we love this new amazing new venue near Scottsville, VA!
What’s your favorite wedding cake flavor?
Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the world-renowned Attraction wedding cake tasters! Our combined pallet is unparalleled. A quick survey our our band members reveals that our favorite is pastry cream with raspberry. And my personal favorite flavor is carrot cake.
Alright, SOLD! How do our future brides and grooms book you for their wedding?
Contract our great agency www.samhillbands.com or through www.attractionband.com. We will work closely with the bride, groom or event planner with in-depth discussions on exactly how Attraction will create the perfect, customized entertainment experience!
Photo: Rachel May Photography
Photo: Rachel May Photography
We are extremely excited to introduce another one of our favorite and trusted event professionals. Today we did little Q&A with Aaron from Aaron Watson Photography. Aaron has shot more weddings than we could count at both the Event Barn and The Lodge and always produces beautiful work. Enjoy getting to learn more about him!
How did you get in the world of photography?
I started early at 17, when I asked for a summer job from my high school photo teacher who also photographed weddings. After working as an associate for 3 years, I started Aaron Watson Photography in 2007! Little did I know that a summer job would turn into a great career as a wedding photographer!
What is your opinion on first looks?
My wife and I did a first look on our wedding day, and it was our favorite moment of the day! I would recommend it to everyone! Seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day is a big moment, and very emotional, so it was nice having that moment more privately. I also liked that it calmed our nerves beforehand and gave us time to be together and with our wedding party. Not to mention we were able to get more great pictures because of it, and weren’t as rushed!
What is your favorite location at Mount Ida Farm for photos?
There are so many great spots it is always hard to pick! I love the vineyard, and the iron gazebo at the farm! At the Lodge, my favorite spot is a little off the beaten path by the cow field. I call it Tom’s spot because it was once described to me as his favorite area too! There are amazing views of the mountains, and it’s incredible during sunset.
In 2007 my friend Eric Kelley and I traveled to Brazil for a wedding. That was one of the most gorgeous destination weddings I’ve photographed! The groom wrote the travel guide for Rio de Janeiro, so he knew all of the best spots!
Aside from weddings, I know you do a lot of photography work in the wine industry. Can you tell us a little more about that?
One of my best friends is a wine maker, so I was introduced to a lot of the wineries and the winemaking process early in my career. It is amazing to experience and photograph the process from growing the grapes, to picking, and pressing them into wine. I’ve done a lot of behind the scenes photography, and also love capturing the beautiful landscapes that the wineries provide. Wine grapes seem to grow in the most beautiful places, which is probably why vineyards make for popular destination weddings!
There is no piece of advice that will prepare you for your wedding day! It’s a whirlwind of a day with many emotions; you’ll be surrounded by friends and family (some of whom you only get a second to talk with), and it will go by too fast. The best thing you can do is to enjoy it, and relive it many times through your pictures! The pictures will be what makes it last longer!
We saved the most important question for last. What is your favorite flavor for wedding cake?I love Carrot cake with cream cheese icing, and Almond with Almond icing cake!
Thank you, Aaron! To see more of Aaron’s photos head over to his website here, “like” his facebook page @aaronwatsonphoto, or follow him on instagram @aaronwatsonphotography.
(This probably goes without saying, but all photos on this post provided by….Aaron Watson Photography)
Kelly & Brad… so much to say about this sweet couple! We had a blast celebrating their love and marriage with them on Saturday, April 22nd of this year. We were really excited when this couple decided to use our new church pews for their ceremony seating as we had JUST gotten them. We love the look of the church pews for a ceremony, especially with the floral that they added to the ends. We stumbled across Kelly & Brad’s wedding website which included their love story, as told by the lovebirds themselves. It was too sweet (and funny) not to share. Take it away Kelly & Brad!
“I knew JonCon (Kelly’s twin sister, Stacy’s, husband) in college. He and I crooned together, and our paths re-crossed when I moved back to ‘Murica from Japan. Once, we went out to dinner with a few other friends, and Stacy said something about her twin sister moving in with them for a while, to which I responded, ‘Twin sister? Jackpot.'” -Brad
“Brad? Never heard of him. I didn’t know Brad, but I did know that I was finishing up PA school and would soon be studying for my boards. Until I passed them and got a job, I did not exactly know where life would take me, and Stacy and Jon graciously offered to let me crash with them for a while. When I moved in, they were busy doing the married-with-kids thing, and they mentioned that I should meet their only remaining single friend, Brad, because he would know the other single people.” – Kelly
“JonCon called one day and asked if I had plans for New Year’s Eve. I had evening plans, but he said he was just doing dinner, BBQ style, so we’d be done in plenty of time. I like to party, I like the Connellys, and I like me some BBQ, so I told them I’d be there! I was expecting a yard party with several people.JonCon called one day and asked if I had plans for New Year’s Eve. I had evening plans, but he said he was just doing dinner, BBQ style, so we’d be done in plenty of time. I like to party, I like the Connellys, and I like me some BBQ, so I told them I’d be there! I was expecting a yard party with several people.“ -Brad
“We were headed back from a mini-vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, and I was exhausted. We were originally supposed to meet up with a group of people for a BBQ, but the host’s work schedule changed and he had to cancel at the last minute. I was relieved because I really just wanted to go home and sleep. When we got back to the house, I flopped facedown on the bed and fell instantly asleep. An unknown amount of time later, Stacy woke me up to say that Jon’s friend, Brad, was coming over for dinner and that I needed to get up and look presentable.” -Kelly
“When I arrived, I was surprised to find only Jon and Stacy at their house…there was no party. Not that I’m complaining, Jon and Stacy are fun, but it’s not what I expected. Soon after, however, Kelly came upstairs looking all foxy, and I realized that this was a double date! Which was surprising, because after that “Jackpot” comment earlier in this story, Stacy had looked at me unequivocally and shook her head, “No, Brad. You’re not allowed to hit on Kelly.” J&S swear to this day that the BBQ was not a setup, but you do the math. I cranked my charm up to eleven (Mom, it’s a 10 point scale, like a volume knob).” -Brad
“I dragged myself off of the bed, not at all excited about having to be social when I was so tired. Stacy reminded me that Brad was one of Jon’s single friends who knew plenty of other single people in the area. I remained sleepily disinterested. She emphasized that he would be a good person to know because he frequently partied with the single crowd, but he would NOT be a good person to date because he frequently partied with the single crowd. Brad arrived while I was still getting ready for dinner. Shortly afterward, I walked upstairs to find him standing in Jon and Stacy’s living room in a suit. A suit?! Weird.” -Kelly
“Dress to impress, young gunz. I look good in suits, so what? We ate dinner, I told many jokes, and Kelly clearly thought they were hilarious. I took off a few hours later, but not before I made a mental note to track that smokewagon down in the near future. I did, and the rest is history! Good call, me.” -Brad
“Well, there were only four seats, so it’s not like I could sit far from Brad. He told a lot of lame jokes, but I giggled politely. When he sent me a message a few days later, my guard was still at an all time high, but I agreed to meet him for dinner. And the rest is history! Questionable call, me.” -Kelly
Jacqueline & Eric’s wedding was filled with an abundance of love & joy. Their family and friends gathered to celebrate this wonderful couple on June 18th at the Lodge. Family & friends watched the two say their “I do’s” at the Mountain Grove ceremony location, surrounded by their very best of friends. We stumbled across their wedding story and thought it was too sweet not to share. As much as we would love to tell it ourselves, I think the bride and groom say it best. Enjoy Jacqueline & Eric’s take on their love story along with these gorgeous photos from their wedding day by Ashley Cox Photography!
“I first saw Jacqueline at a Welcome Week event at UVA in August, 2015. She was a face in a crowd of hundreds of people, but a face I would not soon forget. She was stunning. I had no clue who she was or who her friends were, but I hoped that our paths would somehow cross another time. Little did I know that just a week earlier we had both moved into houses across the street from one another.” -Eric
“A few weeks later, I saw him again. This time at a tailgate with both our houses. Everyone left, and we somehow walked into the UVA football game together, and he was asking me questions. I told him I moved from Boston, and he asked if I liked New England sports. I quickly told him I loved the Red Sox and the Patriots, but only because my parents are from a small New England town, a tiny place in Rhode Island. He asked me which town, and smiled as I said the word “Barrington”. As fate would have it, his mother’s family is from Barrington, and his relatives still live there, as do mine.” – Jacqueline
“As the fall semester progressed, we continued to go on dates and spend time with one another. We had fun exploring Charlottesville together, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and making the quick walk across the street to sit on her porch swing together. It became evident to us both that our hopes and dreams for our futures aligned, as we both have an interest in using our respective careers internationally doing mission work. Though our friendship grew, we decided to stop dating as the semester wound down. Spring came and my graduation from UVA was quickly approaching. Even in our time apart the last few months my feelings for her had not wavered. One Sunday afternoon in March I asked Jacqueline to grab coffee and told her that I missed her companionship and wanted to date again. A few days later we grabbed dinner at Brazos Tacos and never looked back again. “ -Eric
“Eric asked me to marry him on November 4th, with our friends and family in town to celebrate that night. As Eric lives in DC, we often meet half way in Culpepper for date night at our favorite farm to table restaurant. Every time we say goodbye, he whispers, “one goodbye closer to no more goodbyes”, and I repeat it to myself as I drive back to Charlottesville. I cannot wait to share a house and a room and a life with him, and for no more goodbyes.” -Jacqueline
Planning a wedding or any large event comes with an endless possibility of options. It’s sort of like one of those “choose your own adventure” books from back in the day! In this day and age there is no right or wrong way to plan your wedding day, which can give you a lot of room for creativity. One of the more fun (and tasty) choices you get to make leading up to the big day is deciding on your food! There are a few options for styles of food service, and we wanted to make sure our couples knew about the different styles. We hope you enjoy this delicious blog post!
(Featured image: Paula Player Photography)
(Tom Daly Photography)
Oh yes, the classic seated dinner. This is the most formal service style. With a seated dinner, every guest has a seat and is served their meal from the catering wait staff. If everyone is going to be served the same meal, you technically wouldn’t need to have assigned seating..but you could if that is what you prefer.
(Sarah Der Photography)
Seated Dinner with Choices:
Some people decide to give their guests a choice between a few meals such as beef, chicken, or vegetarian. Typically, you would ask for their meal choice at the same time they turn in their RSVP. If you are doing choices it is helpful if everyone has an assigned seat. You could then pass along your seating chart to your catering manager who will ensure that your guests get the correct meal.
(Chelsea Schaefer Photography)
A buffet is a meal consisting of several dishes where a guest can serve themselves. Guests like a buffet because they can dictate what does and doesn’t go on their plate. The picky eaters can make sure they only get foods that they know they like. The big eaters can make sure they get enough fuel so they can dance all night long!
(Raygan Michelle Photography)
This is when food is placed on the table in serving dishes from which those eating may help themselves. Family style has similar benefits to a buffet, such as getting to choose what food/how much food you want to eat. A perk is it is a little bit more formal than a buffet. Keep in mind when doing family style there isn’t much room for elaborate center pieces and you can’t always fit as many people at a table.
(Melissa Durham Photography)
This is when your caterer sets up multiple stations of food throughout your reception space. Similar to a buffet, but it is split up so it is not one long table of food. Stations are fun because it gets your guests moving and mingling with others. It can also be as formal or as casual as you want it to be. The good thing about stations is that you avoid the one long line that often forms at a buffet. You can either have a stand alone station like a salad station where you can serve yourself, or you can have a chef-manned station like a carving station!
(Nick Kessler Photography)
Imagine the food service that you get during cocktail hour, just extended through the entire length of the reception. This is the newest trend, a cocktail-style reception! Servers will pass hors d’oeuvres all throughout the night. If you decided to do this for your actual dinner, the items passed would need to be a little more substantial than your average cocktail hour items. Some ideas for foods that can be passed are salads in a cup, soups, shrimp and grits, sliders, truly anything! This is fun because the servings are usually smaller, but you get a larger variety of items, therefore you get to try more fun things! This is more popular for corporate events, but can be a great option for a brunch-time wedding!
Today we are SUPER excited to share Sarah and Jon’s wedding day with you! It might look a little familiar because it was recently featured on Style Me Pretty, which we are SO excited about! These two lovebirds got married on June 3rd of this year with a ceremony at our Mountain Grove location followed by a reception at The Lodge. Sarah & Jon decided to have a first look before their ceremony on the one lane bridge on the property. This is definitely one of our favorite first look locations! After the two tied the knot they invited guests down to the Lodge for a cocktail hour. The weather was absolutely beautiful so their guests made the most out of the porch and outdoor cocktail areas. After a few rounds of corn hole, everyone came back inside for dinner. The Lodge was decorated with gorgeous drapery from Blue Ridge AV & Lighting, it really softens up the place! We loved all of the shades of gray and silver they used for decor. Did you notice that the bridesmaids all had different dresses? We love this trend! Everything was picture perfect. Thank you Sarah & Jon for sharing your big day with us! Enjoy these photos from Meredith Sledge Photography.
Everyone dreams of a stress free wedding but when you’re planning it yourself without an event planner, things can take a turn from glorious to stressful faster than you can say “I do”! There are many choices, decisions, timing and logistical questions to be answered, having someone who is experienced and can navigate all of those questions along the way is worth their weight in gold! We recently worked with wedding planning expert, Katie from Shindig Weddings and Events, whose detailed approach pays off big for her clients. While working with Katie, we got to know her a little better and loved how she navigated the wedding planning process – we think you will too!
Q: How did you get the “wedding bug”?
A: I first starting working for Shindig Weddings & Events back in 2013. I was extra hands on wedding day just trying to make a few extra bucks, and while it was a very fun weekend job, I swore I never wanted to be “the one in charge.” Well it only took a couple of wedding seasons to completely change my mindset. I love the organization, the eye for detail, and the relationship building that planning weddings demands. It has every dynamic that I need in a job, and once I figured that out, I dove in headfirst!
Q: What is your favorite aspect of the wedding planning process?
A: Our company offers very comprehensive approaches to wedding planning. I love the time that this level of service allows us to spend with each of our clients. The relationships we build with our brides & grooms, their families, and other wedding vendors is what really keeps us going. Every wedding is unique, and celebrating that from weekend to weekend is a priority for us!
Q: What is your hidden talent?
A: I make an excellent Moscow Mule. My husband and I love to wind down each day with a cocktail. We go through phases, and right now, we are totally hooked on Moscow Mules. It’s all in the ginger beer, and we are convinced we have found the best!
Q: One thing you wish you could tell every bride who is planning her wedding?
A: Trust your wedding planner. Planning a wedding is tough, and you have hired us to help you, so please let us help you. We are all on the same team. We want your wedding to be just as beautiful and perfect as you do. Releasing will help you as a bride to enjoy your wedding day so much more!
Q: We often think of wedding planners as the hands behind the magic curtain, what is the craziest thing you have done in an effort to “make it happen” on day of?
A: Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? Somedays I truly think I have see/done it all, and then something new happens! That is the excitement of the job. I am actually a little wary to share anything too detailed here because most of these types of stories would make a bride panic.
The thing that I have learned is that something is bound to happen on your wedding day. But when you have surrounded yourself by wedding vendors you trust, they can take the crazy in stride and deal with the hurdles as they come because they are so well-prepared in every other area. And 9 times out of 10, the bride & her wedding guests never know anything happened in the first place!
Q: When you aren’t working on the weekends, what can we find you doing for fun?
A: If I am not working a wedding, you can most likely find me with my husband and our pup. We would likely by working on a home improvement project or swimming at the river. Time with family is very important to us, so when that free weekend does come along, we absolutely make the most of it!
We are so excited to share this wedding with you all! Maggie & Bryan had such a beautiful wedding here at Mount Ida Farm! They celebrated with us for FOUR days, yep…you read that right! They were here from Thursday-Sunday staying overnight in the beautiful Mount Ida Manor. Saturday, June 3rd was the big day. They had a lakeside gazebo ceremony followed by a reception in the Event Barn. They chose an elegant color scheme including blush, blue, and mint. And do you notice anything different about the Event Barn?! These are the first photos we have received since we changed the floors and we are IN LOVE! Maggie & Bryan also did one of our favorite exits ever with LED tambourines. Enjoy these photos from their big day!