High school sweethearts Rebecca and Omar wanted a wedding where they would be surrounded by nature and their closest friends and family. The chose Campovida in Hopland, California for its gardens and romantic natural setting, and enjoyed a ceremony under the arbor, dinner in a Tuscan garden, and dancing under the stars.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS ROMANTIC CALIFORNIA WEDDING FROM SEALED WITH A KISS.

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Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  My something old was my grandmother’s cocktail ring. She passed during the planning of the wedding and I was devastated that she could not be there, but I felt that wearing her ring meant that she was with me. My something new was my shoes for the day. My something borrowed and something blue was a handkerchief that belonged to my great grandmother.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Someone told me to stay in your wedding dress as long as you can because once you take it off, it’s really over. That really stuck with me.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Get a planner! They are a godsend!

 

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Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink

 

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  My husband and I feel very close to nature. I studied viticulture (the study of grape growing) and my husband spent time as a ranger in Yosemite. We wanted to pick a venue that surrounded us and our guests with nature and beauty. That was Campovida for us. The first time I saw it, I fell in love with its vineyards and gardens. It seemed like I had been transported to the Shire. I could immediately envision my friends and family seated in the learning arbor, enjoying a meal in the Tuscan garden and dancing amongst the Cyprus trees.

 

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The Ceremony

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Whimsical, natural, intimate.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Omar’s family friend, Sammy officiated for us. Omar and I are of different religious upbringings so we didn’t want our ceremony to lean one way or the other, and we wanted to make sure that we had someone who knew us and loved us to officiate the ceremony.

What was your ceremony music?  Prelude: Ode to Joy by Beethoven / Bridal Party: Canon in D by Pachelbel / Bride’s Processional: Only You by Joshua Radin / Recessional: Still the One by Orleans

What were your vows like?  We wrote our own. They were short, sweet and personal.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  My favorite part was seeing Omar’s face and kissing my Aunt Mimi on the cheek as we left the altar.

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was breathtakingly beautiful. It took place in the Tuscan Garden at Campovida. The tables were set around a fountain under wisteria.”

 

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How did you go about planning your ceremony?  We had a month-of planner who kept us in line and put our minds at ease. We took our time to plan. The small details meant a lot to us, from the pinwheel toothpicks in the mini cupcakes to the personalized bug spray/ sunscreen favors. We wanted to make sure that we thought of everything.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I made a Pinterest board and found myself pinning a lot of vintage images. I noticed that I was drawn to a lot of the aesthetics of the 1920s and 1930s. We even designed our save the dates after pre-prohibition wine bottles and packaged our favors in boxes to resemble wine bricks (prohibition wine products).

 

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Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your wedding menu?  We served our menu family style. We thought that having guests pass the plates to one another would help make conversation. The menu consisted of bread from Della Fattoria, plated garden salads, grilled vegetables, penne pomodoro, miso bass, and steak.

 

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Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you have a signature cocktail?  We had a groom’s cocktail, a Damascus Mule ( a take on a Moscow Mule, we wanted to incorporate Omar’s Arab side) and a bride’s cocktail, A Very Perry Gimlet (Perry is my maiden name, we muddled blackberries and basil in it).

 

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Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink

 

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We are not big cake fans so we went with a dessert table. We had a small lemon pound cake just for cutting. We had the same flavor in mini cupcakes so the guests could try the cake. We had several other cupcakes (I made pinwheel toothpicks to stick in them), chocolate chip cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, strawberry pie, pumpkin pie, fruit tarts and pecan tassies.

 

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Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink Sweet Poppy Studios | Snippet & Ink
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Special songs:  First dance: Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by UB40 / Father/daughter dance: The Way you Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra / Mother/son dance: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  I loved dancing the night away. The dance floor was packed from the first song to the last. I’ve always wanted my wedding to be one big party and I think we accomplished that.

 

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Photography: Sweet Poppy Studios / Venue: Campovida in Hopland, California / Event Planning: Sealed with a Kiss / Dress: Yolan Cris / Shoes: Modcloth / Veil: The Bridal Project / Necklace, Earrings: Vannesa Tosoni / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm via Weddington Way / Suit, Groomsmen Attire: Bonobos / Tie: Calvin Klein / Shirt: J. Crew / Shoes: Cole Haan / Accessories: Shinola Watch / Floral Design: Monkey Flower Group / Hair: Jackie Parres / Makeup: Alexandra Kennedy / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Music: DJ Dan Lopez, Boutique Djs / Catering: Elaine Bell / Cake: Flour Girl

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Sometimes when you’re planning a wedding, the perfect venue is right in your backyard – literally! Callen and Danny were joined by 50 of their friends and family for an intimate celebration at their home. From the romantic floral details by Amy Osaba Events to the delicious menu from Sun In My Belly, it was a truly memorable day.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE DETAILS FROM THIS BACKYARD WEDDING FROM BUFFY DEKMAR.

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Do what you feel is right, and what makes sense to you as a couple.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Have fun with everything and don’t take it so seriously.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  No, it was perfect. Every single vendor we used made sure everything ran smoothly, and the day would not have been the same without our wedding coordinator Shanna Skidmore from Amy Osaba Events.

 

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“Danny and I decided to see each other before the wedding, which was so nice,” shares Callen. “We had some photos taken, while our families peeked through the windows of our home. We then got to hang out in the backyard with a few people before the guest began to arrive. It made everything feel more calm. I would recommend it to any bride!”

 

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The Ceremony

“We decided to have the ceremony and in our own backyard. Before moving into the house, we knew the backyard was something we eventually wanted to redesign and that is exactly what we did. We used our venue money and basically transformed our yard into exactly what we wanted. It was the best decision we have ever made, and we are still enjoying our new backyard everyday!”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Romantic, relaxed, unforgettable

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  My husband’s best friend, Kevin married us. He wrote his own ceremony, as did Danny and I. We then combined our ceremonies and just picked and chose what we liked and what was important to us. Kevin and Danny have known each other for 16 years, and I met Kevin in high school when Danny and I first started dating, so he knows us as a couple quite well.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  We had a string trio playing, it was beautiful: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bridal Party), Pachelbel’s Canon in D (Bride’s Processional), Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

What were your ceremony readings?  One of my best friends, Megan, did a hand blessing, but of course added her own twist. It was so sweet and meaningful.

What were your vows like?  We wrote our own vows. They were very similar to our personalities: mine was sweet and his was funny. I tried not to stress over them, vows should sound like you, so it was perfect!

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Walking down the aisle, seeing Danny waiting underneath the flower arch and looking around at all our guests was my favorite part. I was so happy to be marrying my best friend.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  The flowers were stunning, and the ceremony was everything I envisioned

 

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The Reception

“We have a massive Silver Maple tree in our yard, and every fall the colors are absolutely brilliant. We knew we wanted our wedding to be then and the weather in Georgia is usually perfect, and it was! That being said, I was inspired by a fall harvest.”

 

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How would you describe your reception?  Playful, rustic, harvest, romantic.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  We rented large farm tables and pushed them together to create really long tables. It was so great to have everyone sit down together for an amazing dinner. It was a moment in time that will always be remembered by us as something incredible. The food was also a favorite for everyone I think.

 

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Menu:  passed hors d’oeuvres: mini corn muffins with carolina pulled pork + purple slaw / alison’s famous deviled eggs with candied bacon / fried green tomatoes with spicy pimento cheese / seared crab cakes with ancho chili aoili // buffet: local apple + crispy pancetta served over fresh local greens served with a light gorgonzola vinaigrette / horseradish encrusted salmon with seasonal chutney / wild mushroom ravioli + truffled mushrooms + brown butter sauce / pepper seared filet of beef with burgundy demi glaze // sides: roasted sweet corn + zucchini in thyme butter / garlic + shallot sautéed haricot vert with grape tomatoes and toasted pine nuts / roasted fingerling potatoes with truffled mushrooms / fresh artisan breads with rosemary butter

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We didn’t do the traditional cake cutting; instead we had a dessert bar that was made up of homemade chocolate chip cookies with little shots of milk (my husband’s favorite). We also had lavender scented cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and local apple tart in a cinnamon crust.

 

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Did you have a signature cocktail?  Yes, Danny and I found our cocktail when we were in Bozeman, Montana. It was called the “GFC.” It was made with infused ginger vodka, fresh lemon and lime juice, muddled basil, and it comes with a piece of candy ginger garnish! Sun In My Belly was able to recreate the “great f***ing cocktail!”

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  Danny and I love to travel, so in order to keep the buffet line running smoothly, we made table markers with some of our favorite places traveled together. We gave the DJ a list of events that happened in each specific place, and the tables had to guess if it was their given destination. If so they got to get up to get their food. It was a fun game, and fun to see the tables squirm to get the right answer.

 

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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  I drew our large tree and had it printed on canvas to use as our guest book. We now have it hanging in our bedroom. I also found these beautiful gray woven blankets from West Elm on sale. I was so worried that it was going to get chilly at night, so I purchased blankets for all of the girls. I tied them up and embossed a little letter on each one. I feel like it is something they still use in their homes.

 

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What was your first dance song?  Danny and I danced to “our” song, “Do You Remember” by Jack Johnson. We picked that song in high school because the lyrics were so much like us, and 13 years later we danced to it at our wedding.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  It was everything that I could have imagined. I am so pleased that we had such an amazing photographer so we are able to relive it again and again!

 

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Photography: Buffy Dekmar / Venue: The Couple’s Backyard in Atlanta, Georgia / Event Planning & Design, Floral Design: Amy Osaba Events / Catering: Sun In My Belly / Dress: Leanne Marshall, via The Sentimentalist Atlanta / Shoes: Valentino / Leather Jacket: Veda / Jewelry: Cartier Love Bracelet / Bridesmaid Dresses, Suit, Tie, Shirt: J. Crew / Shoes: Cole Hann

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Camille and John met as students at Ole Miss, and though they live in Washington D.C, now, they returned to their Alma Mater to tie the knot followed by a gorgeous reception at the groom’s parents’ farm. The celebration was equal parts elegance (from the bride’s cathedral length veil to the bridesmaids’ elegant navy blue dresses to the stunning flowers and candlesticks) and playfulness (a snow cone bar in lieu of a groom’s cake, plus a bourbon bar and cigar station), all captured beautifully by photographer Lauren Kinsey.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS MISSISSIPPI WEDDING FROM LAUREN KINSEY.

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Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Our wedding was filled with traditions! Of course I had something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Something Old: the diamond in my engagement ring, which belonged to John’s great grandmother, and the diamond in a necklace that I always wear belonged to my great grandmother / Something New: a beautiful pair of diamond earrings with vintage inspired jackets that my mother gifted me at my bridesmaid luncheon on Friday / Something Borrowed: my mother in law’s gorgeous cathedral veil / Something Blue: a sapphire and diamond band that John gave me the night before our wedding, as well as a strand of navy silk ribbon tied to my bouquet.

 

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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Our wedding was truly a labor of love by our family and friends. I really can’t begin to list all of the thoughtful things they did, but I’ll name a few. My mom put together some pretty amazing welcome boxes for our guest complete with homemade soap, wedding cookies, cereal mix, and lots of other goodies. She also worked with a friend who is a graphic artist, to design fans, signs, and lots of other unique paper goods for the weekend. My stepmom is an artist and created the most beautiful one of a kind stained glass crosses for my wedding party. John’s parents put in so much work at the farm for months before the wedding, working on all kinds of special touches – everything from planting a garden, to having benches made, to painting custom bars for the reception.

 

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The Ceremony

“John and I knew from the time we were engaged that we wanted to be married in Oxford, Mississippi. We both went to college and law school at Ole Miss and some of our best memories were made there. We also knew that it would be very special to have our wedding in the place where we met and fell in love. Not to mention, most of our friends love Oxford as much as we do, so they were super excited to be making the trip back. We were married in Paris-Yates Chapel, on the Ole Miss campus. We had originally booked a different church for that evening, but after running into some logistical problems, we had to consider other options. The chapel was only available in the afternoon and, while we had originally envisioned a traditional evening service, our wedding planner encouraged us to consider the benefits of an afternoon wedding – with an evening reception. We took her advice and decided on an intimate 12:30pm ceremony. It turned out to be the best decision we could have made!”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Religious, Intimate, Joyful.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  We had a traditional Episcopal service, so we used the template that’s included in the Book of Common Prayer. Our priest guided us through the planning and personalization of our service, as this was very important to us. We were also fortunate enough to have a very close family friend, who is also a very talented musician, help with music selections and perform a solo.

Who officiated your ceremony?  The Bishop of Mississippi, the Rt. Rev. Brian Seage, who was previously the Rector at my home church, married us. At the time we got engaged, Father Brian had been at our church for almost a decade and John had gotten to know him while we were dating.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  Seating of the Mothers: Be Thou My Vision, Traditional / Solo: The Gift of Love, Hal Hopson / Wedding Party Processional: Canon in D, Johann Pachelbel / Bridal Processional: Trumpet Voluntary, Henry Purcell / Congregational Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy, Traditional / Recessional: Joy to the World & Ode to Joy, Traditional & Ludwig Van Beethoven

What were your ceremony readings?  We knew that we wanted to have an Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel reading, so we spent time discussing what scriptures reflected our commitment to each other. It turned out we couldn’t choose just three and decided on Song of Solomon 8:6-7, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, Colossians 3:12-17, and Mark 10:6-9.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  The moment when the church doors opened and we saw each other was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It sounds cliché, but I couldn’t get down the aisle quick enough. Vowing our commitment to one another in the presence of God, our family, and very special friends was an incredibly powerful and solemn moment.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  We had our smaller more intimate ceremony at 12:30 in the afternoon, and then were able to celebrate with a much larger group of our friends with an evening reception. This allowed us to really focus on our vows – the most important part of the weekend. Not to mention, we were able to spend almost our entire wedding day with each other. The afternoon break allowed us to relax, visit, and enjoy lunch with family and our wedding party.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  My friend Adele kept reminding me our whole wedding weekend to soak it in, and it’s so true – it goes by so fast!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Plan as much as you can beforehand, but once the weekend arrives don’t worry about a thing!

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  I wouldn’t change a thing about the weekend, but I might relax a little more during the planning!

 

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“One month before the wedding, John’s dad buried a bottle of bourbon in one of the gardens at the farm for us to dig up on our wedding day (unfortunately, we could not participate since we live in D.C.),” shares Camille. “This is an old Southern tradition that is said to keep rain away. With a completely outdoor reception venue, we were willing to try just about anything. Plus, we knew that our friends Loren and Jake had done this and had perfect weather, so we thought there might be something to it. On the afternoon of our wedding, we dug up the bourbon and passed it around among the wedding party. Even though it rained for about twenty minutes, we ended up with beautiful weather for most of the day, so I would say it was a success.”

 

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The Reception

“We had our reception at John’s family farm in Holly Springs, Mississippi (about 30 minutes outside of Oxford). Originally we were looking for a venue close to our ceremony location, but couldn’t find a place that offered everything we wanted. We had envisioned an outdoor location that could accommodate a larger crowd, yet still feel open and relaxed. At some point it occurred to us that the farm was the perfect spot. It was pretty amazing to see one of our favorite places transformed into such a beautiful venue.”

 

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How would you describe your reception?  A gorgeous evening in a very special place, complete with all of our favorite things – family, close friends, good food, delicious drinks, soul music and lots of dancing. To us, it was the perfect celebration.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Above all, we wanted to create a welcoming and fun weekend that felt genuine to us as a couple. We kept things fairly traditional, but were constantly looking for ways to infuse personal details. Aesthetically, we embraced the natural beauty of the farm, which inspired a soft and natural palette. Early in the planning process, my planner, Jessica, worked with me to create an inspiration board, which was incredibly helpful in keeping everything cohesive and communicating the feel we were looking to achieve.

 

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What was your wedding menu?  Planning our menu was especially fun because we were able to incorporate lots of fresh ingredients that were grown on the farm, just steps away from the reception site. We decided on a menu that included some delicious passed apps and savory menu options.

Passed Appetizers: Maple Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast / Fresh Garden Vegetable Bruschetta / Belgian Endive and Gorgonzola Salad // Entrees: French Chicken Breast / Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs / Chargrilled Pesto Tuna // Sides: Potato Au Gratin / Roasted Asparagus / Parmesan Crimini Risotto

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a traditional almond wedding cake accented with simple foliage and, in lieu of a groom’s cake, a specialty snow cone stand. John’s favorite treat is a cherry supreme snow cone (a snow cone layered with soft serve ice cream) from “Jerry’s Sno Cones” in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. We recreated this for him as a surprise at the reception, which turned out to be a huge hit not only with him but also with our guests, many of who decided to top-off their snow cones at the bar.

 

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Special dances?  Our first dance was to “September” by Earth Wind and Fire. I danced with my Dad to “Turn Around” by Kenny Loggins, and John and his mom danced to “Moondance” by Van Morrison.

Did you have a signature cocktail?  
John’s drink of choice is bourbon and there’s nothing I love more than a margarita, so we had a specialty bourbon and margarita bar, as well as Old Fashioned’s and refreshing cherry limeade cocktails at the bar.

 

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Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  We incorporated lots of special details into our reception. Before the wedding, Lesley, our florist, visited my mom’s house and identified things she could use from her yard. My mom and I then foraged buckets full of greenery that were included in our arrangements and bouquets. // We knew that it could potentially be a warm day, so my mom created fans with an abbreviated version of our wedding program. This was a wonderful way to share the details of our ceremony with the guests who joined us for the reception. // Also, we set up a cigar station amongst the trees for our guests. It was a huge hit with the guys! // Another very special addition to our reception, was rose-shaped mints made by my grandmother. These are not your average mints, they are absolutely delicious and my grandmother has made them for countless weddings over the years, even carrying them as far as Colorado on one occasion. Throughout the planning process, my grandmother’s sole concern became where we would place the mints at the reception. Rest assured, “Mimi’s mints” had a special spot right beside our guest book and received rave reviews.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  For the last song of the night, John had arranged for the band to play “Shout” (always a crowd pleaser). We were surrounded by friends on the dance floor and before we knew what was happening, John and I were lifted up in the air. This is a moment neither of us will ever forget – we did not want the night to be over!

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  As part of our gifts for our wedding party and others who played a special part of our wedding activities and celebrations, John and I supported the purchase of an acre for a camp facility being built by Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation. The mission of this foundation is very dear to us, and we wanted to do something that would be a perpetual symbol of our appreciation of the kindness, love, and generosity shown to us.

 

Photography: Lauren Kinsey / Venue: Woodland Farms in Holly Springs, Mississippi / Church: Paris-Yates Chapel / Event Planning & Design: Jessica Sloane / Dress: Liancarlo via Carines Bridal / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo via Bella Bridesmaid / Tuxedo: Alton Lane / Stationery: Chelsea Petaja / Calligraphy: Marie Castigliola Calligraphy and Jesse Early / Floral Design: Tulip Floral / Hair, Makeup: Amanda Gros, Molly Gee Designs / Rentals: Details Specialty Rentals / Ceremony Music: Kris Harrell, Jason Derrick, John Schuesselein / Reception Music: Memphis Soul Revue / Catering: River City Management / Cake, Dessert: Cakekim / Cigar Bar: Havana Mix Cigar Emporium / Videography: Frameblender Films
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Pippin Hill is such a lovely venue, it’s no wonder Meredith and William chose it to celebrate their wedding day. Details we love? The bride wore her grandmother’s veil, the groom and groomsmen wore monogrammed cummerbunds, and bridesmaids chose their own dresses in shades of nude. If you’re planning an elegant, traditional wedding, we know you’ll love this!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS TRADITIONAL WEDDING BY ELISA BRICKER.

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Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  My something old was my maternal grandmother’s veil. She went to Belgium to buy it when she was getting married. She wore it in her wedding and then my mom wore it in hers. My something blue was a blue ribbon pinned inside my dress that my paternal grandmother pinned in since she wasn’t able to travel to the wedding. My paternal grandmother gave me the knife she used at her wedding to cut the cake so William and I were able to use that same knife to cut our cake.

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Ahh the welcome bags. We’d been told by so many people not to worry about welcome bags that they are so much more of a hassle than its worth. But we were having a destination wedding, and I felt like if people were making the effort to travel to Charlottesville, I should make the effort to welcome them. My compromise was that I wasn’t going to make it fancy but really reflective of William and me so I included all of our favorite things, including blue Powerade and Sour Patch Kids. It was definitely a lot of work but I’m glad I did it.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Start with a budget! It’s so much easier to make decisions when you can look at it from a budget perspective. You can really focus on what’s important to you and make tweaks accordingly. Out of respect for my parents, I’m going to keep the specific breakdown private but I will say that things add up fast!

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  A friends’ mom told me on the Thursday before our wedding to “take mental snapshots over the weekend. Take a step back, look around, soak it in and take a mental snapshot.” I took that to heart and can really remember each event of the wedding and how I was feeling. I tell all my friends who get married to do the same! // On the advice of our wedding planner, I set a date (mine was Wednesday) after which, I told everyone that if something was going wrong not to tell me about it. There were so many unknowns the week of our wedding – the snow storm was preventing guests from getting in, venues didn’t know whether they would have power, etc. But by that point, I was just ready to get married and couldn’t worry about things I couldn’t control. By Wednesday, I was able to relax and just enjoy the weekend and trust that my support system was working behind the scenes to make sure everything ran smoothly!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Just remember, at the end of the day, you’re going to be married and that is all that matters! Also, our wedding planner was 110% worth every single penny. I have been in a lot of weddings and looking back at ours, I am so beyond thankful that I wasn’t concerned over one logistical detail. So if you’re debating hiring one, I say do it!

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  I would have had the videographer there while I was getting ready and during the reception instead of just at the rehearsal dinner and ceremony.

 

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The Ceremony

“While Charlottesville is a beautiful location for an outdoor ceremony, it was really important to us to be married in a church. St. Paul’s Memorial Church was a no-brainer – the church is elegant yet simple. It is also right on the corner (near UVA grounds) which was easily accessible to our guests and gave them a chance to see where we met.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Simple, Christ-centered, and holy.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  Our incredible wedding planner, Easton Events, gave us a guideline of ceremonies they had which helped us plan the ceremony.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Stan Buckley was the pastor of Williams’ hometown church, First Baptist Jackson, and he officiated.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  This was actually kind of stressful because we chose this last. I just assumed I would know instantly what I wanted but there are so many options and didn’t know how to choose. I asked my grandmother who is involved with music at her church in Baton Rouge for her advice and looked at what friends had used in their ceremonies.

What were your ceremony readings?  Ephesians 4: 1-6

What were your vows like?  Our vows were the traditional vows – that was important to us because we’d talked about what each of those vows meant.

SEE MEREDITH AND WILLIAM’S FULL ORDER OF CEREMONY HERE.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Our ceremony was really simple and ended up lasting only 12 minutes (that was probably our guests favorite thing about the ceremony, ha!), but what I loved most about it was that it was really about the fact that our marriage isn’t just about William and me, but about our covenant with God and that there are three, not two, in this union.

 

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The Reception

“Pippin Hill was exactly what we wanted our reception to be. It’s rustic, elegant, and sits on a breathtaking landscape. I knew just from seeing the pictures online, and as we pulled up for the first site visit I told the planner, ‘I don’t even need to go inside…this is it!'”

 

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How would you describe your reception?  Elegant, rustic, and fun.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Blogs! I wasn’t one of those girls who had known what they wanted for the wedding their entire life so I had to hit the blog and Pinterest scene hard. I just pulled images that I liked and relied on our amazing planner and her team to make that vision come to life! I trusted them and it was exactly what we wanted.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Honestly, my favorite part was after William and I took pictures while our guests had cocktails. Our planner arranged for us to go to the loft for 15 minutes to eat dinner, just the two of us, before we joined the reception party. I start to tear up thinking about those 15 minutes because it was such a joyful time.

 

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Elisa Bricker, Easton Events | Snippet & Ink Elisa Bricker, Easton Events | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your wedding menu?  Oh gosh there were so many things but the main ones I remember were the sliders – everyone was raving about the sliders!

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Carrot cake was the main cake but we also had an almond poppyseed cake and a chocolate on chocolate groom’s cake.

Special songs: 
First dance: This Magic Moment from the Sandlot movie
Father/daughter dance: Brown Eyed Girl

 

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Elisa Bricker, Easton Events | Snippet & Ink Elisa Bricker, Easton Events | Snippet & Ink

 

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  A friend told me to make the reception really “us”, that when you look back on weddings that they all kind of blur together unless there’s something really unique to the couple. That made a lot of sense to me so we decided to have a foosball table during cocktail hour because William LOVES foosball and we also used the Wahooptie which is a big green ridiculous party bus from the ceremony to the reception. They were just little things but ones that made the wedding more reflective of our personalities. // The week of our wedding there was a huge snow storm – Pippin Hill didn’t even have power on the Friday before the wedding. By the grace of God, Saturday afternoon was 60 degrees and sunny. All of our guests were able to have cocktail hour outside and enjoy the beautiful setting. // Our band, Right On Band, really set the tone for the evening – they came out in platform glittered boots and feather boas – it was just a really fun energy! // A favorite moment would be that during our first dance, William’s niece, CeCe, who was 2 at the time, came and grabbed my hand and swayed back and forth with us – it’s such a special memory!

 

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Photography: Elisa Bricker / Event Planning & Design: Easton Events / Venue, Catering: Pippin Hill Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia / Officiant: Stan Buckley / Dress: The Grove Dress by Lela Rose / Shoes: Valentino (satin jeweled Bow D’Orsay platform pumps) / Cumberbund: Custom monogramed from Smathers and Branson / Stationery: Crane & Co / Calligraphy: GDE Calligraphy / Floral Design, Rentals: Beehive Events / Hair: Moxie Bridal / Makeup: Lora Kelley  / Ceremony Music: Madison Trio / Reception Music: Right On Band / Cake: Favorite Cakes
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Moriah and Chris wanted their wedding to feel personal and intimate, and their beautifully rustic Napa venue set the stage for just such a celebration. From their Dog of Honor to the wedding arch built by the bride’s father, from the romantic swing to the charming table decor, this DIY wedding was truly a labor of love.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS RUSTIC NAPA WEDDING BY CHRISTINA McNEILL.

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The Ceremony

“When we first thought about the kind of wedding we wanted, we imagined a small, intimate gathering to avoid making a spectacle of the most profound day of our lives, but Chris has an enormous family, and we didn’t want to exclude any of the people we cherish. So we had to change gears. We were thrilled when a close family friend offered their beautiful property in my hometown of Napa for consideration. The rustic setting among the vineyards in the hills made it possible to have a casual, down-home, ‘backyard’ feel for our wedding – avoiding the pressures of a large, formal event – while still giving our celebration the magical ambience it deserved. The ceremony itself was in a clearing in the vineyard on a hill that seemed to have existed for the sole purpose that we could devote our future to each other in that very spot.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Intimate, Natural, Genuine.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  Figuring out how to best demonstrate the love we feel for each other in just 20-30 minutes was quite a challenge! We started with the thought that the entire purpose of a wedding ceremony is to make permanent the bond we feel for one another, so it must personify us. It was also important that we include all the amazing people we invited to witness our wedding. We decided to do a Ring Blessing: our wedding bands were passed on a dish to every guest while four of our dearest friends read passages and song lyrics we had selected. The readings varied from sentimental to fun and silly, keeping our guests engaged and entertained. The ring passing tied us all together, and allowed each guest the chance to symbolically send us their well-wishes before we placed the bands on each others’ fingers.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Neither of us is religious, but we both respect that this commitment is a deeply spiritual, transcendent bond. We wanted someone we know to do the honors, but also someone who respects and personifies the understanding of the spiritual elements of marriage, and who could be playful with the tone. We arrived at a close family friend of Chris’s family, who did such a wonderful job. It was perfect!

 

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What was your ceremony music?  I had my heart set on a particular song for the processional that I had long ago deemed “our song”. Duet, by Rachael Yamagata and Ray Lamontagne, has lyrics that tell our love story, one in which we dated for a long time, went our separate ways, and then found our way back home to each other. The music to this song was absolutely perfect for the processional, and exactly what I wanted to hear as I walked down the aisle toward the man of my dreams.

What were your ceremony readings?
Touched By An Angel – Maya Angelou
Wedding Song – Bob Dylan
When I Am With You – Rumi
I Like You (Abridged) – Sandol Stoddard Warburg

What were your vows like?  The vows became the secret nightmare of the wedding. We, of course, wanted to compose our own so everything would feel personal. We assumed this would be easy and natural. But with the million-and-one details of the wedding planning and execution, it kept getting pushed back. We ended up scrambling to compose our vows together the day before the wedding which resulted in tears (on my part) and exasperation. Finally we agreed we just needed to divide and conquer. Somehow, when we stepped apart, and started jotting down our sentiments, they actually did pour out quite naturally. Despite the panic and last-minute effort, our vows ended up being our guests’ favorite part of the ceremony and we received countless complements. It must have been the process of cutting away all pretense and just dumping out our true feelings that made them so special.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  It’s hard to compete with the fact that our furry love-bug best friend, Papago, served as our Dog of Honor and was escorted down the aisle by my aunt. Aside from that, I would have to say that what stands out most about our ceremony was that we felt so present and connected, not only to each other, but also to our families and our guests. I will always remember the looks of joy, the laughter, and tears of happiness on everyone’s faces throughout the readings and our vows. It was so powerful to feel overwhelmed by their support.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  We had a rough outline of the ceremony events. Our wedding planner walked us through a quick, somewhat scattered rehearsal the day before, and panic set in that maybe we should have better formalized the details and rehearsed more, but it was too late. Our planner kept assuring us that everything would fall into place, and she was right! I’m so glad we didn’t put undue stress into trying to control every detail. Our relaxed approach did not compromise the ceremony, and it flowed perfectly. It was beyond my dreams. Once it was done, we were elated with how it had gone. The ceremony was so truly a celebration of our love.

 

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Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received was to focus on staying present and to try to stay near my man throughout the events. It’s easy to get separated, catching up with different people, but then you miss out on enjoying it all together.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  We were so glad we went on our honeymoon right after our wedding weekend. The wedding flew by too quickly. It was important to continue the celebration but to step down out of planning and entertaining others. We recommend other couples do the same.

 

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Did you include any special traditions in your wedding?  My mom sewed beautiful matching robes for all of the bridesmaids to wear as we prepared. My mother-in-law gave me Chris’s baby Hanky-Bonnet as something old (it’s a baby-bonnet made from a handkerchief that he wore home from the hospital after he was born). I carried it with me throughout the night. My mom gave me some hand-carved silver hairclips that had been a wedding gift to her, which I wore in my hair. I also borrowed my grandmother’s wedding slip to wear under my wedding dress. I wore TOMS wedges out of necessity with the uneven terrain, and they have baby blue on the logo.

 

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Did you include any DIY projects?  We actually went a little overboard with DIY projects. One of my favorites was the swing my dad constructed to hang under the big oak tree draped with fabric near the vineyard, which we encouraged our guests to use as a photo backdrop. My dad also made the white birch arch under which we said our vows…my mom made the table runners and hundreds of beautiful throw pillows that filled the hay-bale seating area for the cocktail hour and post-dinner gathering, to name just a few things…our friend is a talented graphic designer who did our stationery exactly to our specifications, as well as the necessary fan-programs for the ceremony…my sister found antique lampshade frames at the Alameda Flea market that we wrapped with twinkle lights to tart up the barn… our wedding planner made moss covered table numbers…our family friends restored vintage neon signs of our initials and built a display for the dance floor in the barn…and on and on and on. Everything came together so beautifully. It truly felt like our community of people helped create our wedding, instead of some rental place showing up with a cookie-cutter wedding package.”

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was both relaxed and exciting. Afterward, we heard from so many guests that everything flowed so well and people really enjoyed the ease and beauty of the setting. Dancing in the barn overlooking the lights in the valley below was epic, and the rustic hay-bale seating with throw pillows and blankets around fire pits was comfortable and inviting.”

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Pretty much every wedding that we had ever been to that bucked tradition and stuck true to the couple told us that we wanted to create a celebration where people felt welcome, comfortable, and free to enjoy every minute of the event. We just kept thinking, “What kind of party would WE want to go to on a vineyard in the hills of Napa?” That made it easy.

 

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Moriah & Chris' Wedding // 9/20/14 Moriah & Chris’ Wedding // 9/20/14

 

What was your wedding menu?  I could go on forever about the excellent food. We are so glad we splurged on our favorite caterer. People expect great food in the Napa Valley and Alex’s Catering delivered.

Did you have a signature cocktail? We most certainly did have a signature cocktail but not enough time to give it a clever name. Passion fruit puree, vodka, lime juice, St. Germaine, simple syrup and soda water. We invented it ourselves. It was a hit!

 

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Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  We wanted it all, on a limited budget. We saved money by taking a DIY approach, but that has its own cost in terms of time and stress, and as we neared the wedding day we just started hacking away projects from our agenda out of sheer necessity. Looking back, I can’t even remember what they were. What matters most is your guests and your interactions with everyone. Put just enough money into your decor to feel like it portrays a sense of your aesthetic, and put more money into your guests’ experience (like food and music), and what will allow you to remember the day afterward (like photography and videography). People remember how much fun they had, not the linens and candles.

 

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Long tables were decorated with DIY table runners, bud vases filled with simple white flowers, moss covered table numbers, and a miniature Seckel pear at each place.

 

 

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I wish we’d spent less time during cocktail hour taking photos. Even though we set aside time pre-ceremony for a chunk of photos, we ended up doing a bunch afterward to capture everything. I would have added more time pre-ceremony for the photos and spent more time at our cocktail hour. No matter how you plan, things just fly by far too quickly.

 

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Special music:
First Dance – “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding
Father/Daughter – “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw
Mother/Son – “In My Life” by The Beatles
First Group Dance – “Happy” by Pharrell

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Neither of us really likes cake, so a wedding cake was a tradition we really didn’t care about. Instead, we opted to do a champagne tower to kick-off the reception, and later in the evening offered a selection of favorite desserts. We still had our fab photo-op doing something celebratory (and super fun) together, but didn’t feel like we were just succumbing to wedding traditions that felt empty to us.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  The champagne tower at dinner followed by toasts that blew our minds are among our best memories of the reception. My father made everyone feel so welcome and was truly flattering and loving. Chris’s brother gave a hilarious speech that made everyone realize he should be a stand-up comedian or writer, and my sister brought everyone to tears.

 

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Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  The dances were surprisingly delightful. It was my one chance to get my men to dance lessons and I took full advantage. Chris was such a good sport, trudging his way to a dance studio after excruciatingly long work days in Manhattan. And my dad abhors dancing, but he wanted to do this thing to make his little girl happy. He tolerated dance lessons despite his aversion. In the end, we all had a great time practicing, and it was a relief to have something fun to show our guests instead of just teetering back and forth to a song like we were in high school. People hooted and cheered, and some even cried during the dances. It was a blast!

 

Photography: Christina McNeill / Event Planning & Design: B Events / Venue: One Lane Bridge Vineyard, a Private Estate in Napa, California / Dress: Blush by Hayley Paige / Shoes: Toms / Jewelry: Daisy Chain by Eriness / Bridesmaid Dresses: Joanna August / Floral Design: Melody Raye Flowers & Design / Suit, Shirt: Brooklyn Tailors / Shoes: Church’s / Watch: Shinola / Stationery: Plaid Design / Hair, Makeup: The Beauty Team / Catering, Dessert: Alex’s Catering / Videography: Well Spun Weddings / Rentals: Wine Country Party and Events / Ceremony Music: Kevin Ayers, Jules Larson and Peter Davies / Reception Music:Kevin Ayers, DJ Peter Davies

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