Photography by Ashley Cox.
Jacqueline & Eric put together one of the most intimate, thoughtful ceremonies I’ve ever come across, set against the backdrop of the stunning Virginia mountains. I particularly love their wedding covenant, signed by their closest friends and family, and inspired by the one belonging to Eric’s Quaker ancestors which hangs in his grandparents house today! Their aesthetic is beautiful too – simple and romantic, the focus is on pale blue and deep fuchsia. And speaking of romance, Jacqueline told us some particularly lovely budget advice (of all things!) that we couldn’t agree with more: “don’t stress about your budget. Eric and I were so excited to get married, we seriously considered convincing our officiants to meet us several times throughout our engagement to marry us. I would have married Eric in the Target parking lot just to have what we do now – he is the best husband in the world! It’s not the place, the dress, or the food that makes this day sacred, it’s hearing the person you love most in the world promise to love you until the day you die, and you promising the same to him or her.”
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? I really wanted to wear my mother’s wedding dress, but sadly it had been damaged in storage. So, my mother made the dress into a shawl, and made long white ribbons and handkerchiefs from it. I had the ribbon fixed on my bouquet, and Eric and my brothers had the handkerchiefs in their jacket pockets. It was fun to get to include her wedding dress into our day!
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Choosing Mount Ida was a no-brainer – it was the first venue we visited. We loved the Event Barn, but when we walked up the hill to the ceremony location at the Lodge, and stood in front of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we could see our entire wedding right in front of us. We fell in love in these mountains, so we couldn’t think of a better view to have as we said our vows.
What was your ceremony music? Our processional was the hymn Come Thou Fount. During communion for our bridal party, as we whispered our own private vows to each other, our friend (and beautiful performer) Liz Brand sang O Come to the Altar. Our recessional was the song Ever Be by Kalley Heiligenthal, which started the moment our officiant pronounced us as man and wife, and we shared our first married kiss.
Jacqueline told us that “Eric really wanted the first time he saw me to be as I was walking down the aisle. I felt the same. I loved the special moment when the curtain was pulled back, and my parents led me down the aisle toward Eric. When we finally took hands at the altar, it was the perfect moment to finally see each other.”
Your ceremony in three words. Thoughtful, light, sacred
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Eric and I were so excited to plan our ceremony; it was by far the aspect of the wedding day we were most excited for, and had the most ideas for. What made our ceremony unique was the fact that we just took out a piece of paper, and wrote down what we wanted to happen, in the order we wanted. It was informally planned, and original. We didn’t use a template because we didn’t really care if it was ‘normal’ or ‘typical’. This allowed us to be creative, and incorporate aspects like a moment of silence for family members who couldn’t attend, vows we said aloud in front of our guests, vows we whispered just to each other, communion for our bridal party, etc.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Our officiants were Dave and Joy Fuller, who run a church in Roanoke, Virginia. They are like spiritual parents to us, and Eric had known them since he was in high school. We had walked through our relationship with them, and then did marriage counseling with them. On the day of our wedding, it felt like two people we loved a lot and who really had influence on our relationship could truly give us their blessing and join us together in the most holy of ways.
What were your ceremony readings? Our ceremony reading was a Puritan prayer entitled Divine Promises, from the collection “The Valley of Vision”. The language is beautiful and old and our favorite section from it is as follows:
Bless me with Abraham’s faith that staggers not at promises through unbelief. May I not instruct Thee in my troubles, but glorify Thee in my trials. Grant me a distinct advance in the divine life; May I reach a higher platform, leave the mists of doubt and fear in the valley, and climb to hill-tops of eternal security in Christ by simply believing He cannot lie, or turn from His purpose.
What were your vows like? Our vows were another special aspect of our ceremony. We chose to use the vows that Eric’s Quaker ancestors said. Eric’s words were “friends I take this my friend, Jacqueline Noelle, to be my wife, promising through divine assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us.” I said the same about Eric. These words are part of the wedding covenant that was signed by Eric’s ancestors closest friends, and the document hangs on the wall at Eric’s grandmother’s house. We have always thought the words were beautiful and special, and so we said the same. After our ceremony, our wedding party signed our covenant document along with us.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? After we took communion, our officiants offered communion to our wedding party. During this time, Eric and I took hands, and whispered vows we had written for each other. Liz was singing a beautiful worship song, and we were able to have a private moment, making sweet promises to each other in front of the beautiful mountains. It felt like we were the only two people in the world, and it was a moment we will cherish forever.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t take the ‘wedding planning’ too seriously. Your wedding should be a reflection of the love you have, and the joy you feel about spending the rest of your lives together. It should be light and fun to plan a huge party that is all about your love for each other! Help each other with the to-dos, listen to each other’s ideas, and enjoy it!
How would you describe your reception? Our reception was fun! It was the time where we got to jump up and down with friends, hug our grandparents, and dance with joy. We loved seeing friends visit with other friends, people enjoying food and wine, and just having time to play!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our favorite moment during our reception was being able to visit with so many different friends and family members, and have them all together in one place! The Lodge has amazing outdoor seating options (on the patio in front of a roaring fire, plus a huge back terrace), as well as seating options inside, so it was fun to find a spot and visit with people there, as well as see our friends enjoy meeting other friends! Eric recently had one of his best friends from high school (a groomsmen) fly to South Carolina to visit one of of his best friends from college (another groomsmen), and it was so cool to see how the wedding brought people together and produced real, deep friendships. We love sharing our friends with other friends!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We took rocks from my family’s lake house in Maine and made those into table numbers. Now the rocks are back on our beach in Maine which is lovely to see!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We served apple cider donuts from a Carpe Donut truck, and we also cut a beautiful little cake made by The Master’s Baker. The cake was special because when Eric and I met living across the street from each other, we often sat on my house’s front porch swing. In fact, I was sitting out there one night when he walked across the street and asked me to go on our first date! The cake featured that porch swing, and the cross street-sign between our houses.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I would say pick one or two things that you feel really strongly about for your wedding. For us, it was having a photographer who we trusted, and whose work we adored. We knew the photos were the one physical part of the day that would last forever, so we felt comfortable making this choice one we did not compromise on. We also splurged on our venue. Mount Ida Farm is so beautiful it doesn’t take a lot of ‘extra’ to make it a spectacular site for your special day. So, we didn’t have to spent a ton decorating the space.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Knowing that after we planned the wedding, we got to plan the honeymoon! ;)
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? Our first dance song was Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur. We actually had another song picked out that we loved, but when we heard this one we both stopped in our tracks! It just felt so right for us. We used to dream about our life together, taking turns asking the other to tell us about our future. We dreamt of breakfasts in bed, picking kids up from school, growing old together… this song captured the feelings we had as we were falling in love. The father/daughter dance was to Make You Feel My Love, the Adele version, because of our shared love of Adele. The mother/son dance was to Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received was to just enjoy the ceremony, as well as the reception, and be a guest. Going into the day, I was so worried about making sure everyone in the wedding party was having a good time, making sure I got to speak to each and every guest, making sure things were running smoothly. Our wedding coordinator, Liz Crowder, made it so easy for us to just be guests, and have fun. Looking back, the best moments were sneaking away with Eric, dancing with my girlfriends, and laughing as we ran through the line of guests for the send off as they tossed (well, threw!) lavender at us.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? We would both try not to blink at all if we got to re-live this glorious day!