We’re suckers for a gorgeous romantic wedding, especially when the bride is thoughtful enough to share so many of the details that made the day special and meaningful. Add in a team of all star vendors (can we talk about those flowers by Ariella Chezar?!) and we know this is one you’ll be coming back to again and again. From the magical ceremony backdrop to the marbled paper candle holders, from the personal ceremony readings to the whimsical escort cards, Lauren and Adam’s wedding is full to the brim with inspiration.
Photography by Tec Petaja.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? You hear this all the time, but the best advice I received was to savor every moment – you wedding day goes by incredibly quickly. I thought Adam and I did a pretty good job with this as it was happening, but looking back, so much of it is still a blur!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Again, at the risk of sounding trite, enjoy the process and this very special time in your lives. At the end of the day, the goal is to get married – the rest is just a party. So have fun with it!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I’m only slightly kidding when I say that I would attach a GoPro to myself during the reception. There were so many amazing moments during the evening when I said to myself, “I hope you remember this!” And of course, looking back on things over a year later, that didn’t work!
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? I did the something borrowed, something blue tradition. My bouquet was wrapped in a lace handkerchief that belonged to my maternal grandmother, and was accented with a shell cameo brooch that belonged to my great-grandmother (my great-grandfather brought it back from Italy many years ago). I also carried a beautiful beaded evening clutch that belonged to my grandmother. One of my favorite things to do growing up was to play with her amazing collection of costume jewelry and accessories, so it seemed very fitting when I discovered that her clutch matched my wedding dress perfectly – one of our guests even asked if I had the bag made to match the dress!
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Adam and I knew we wanted to get married in Charlottesville. We met here as students at the University of Virginia, fell in love here, and hope to stay here for as long as we can! The University holds a very special place in both of our hearts, and Charlottesville itself is an amazing place – it has such rich history, a fabulous restaurant scene, countless concerts and cultural activities, and incredible natural beauty. When we decided to get married, we couldn’t imagine having our wedding anywhere else.
Choosing Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards as our venue was a similarly easy decision. Adam and I had been to Pippin Hill several times before we got engaged, and it had quickly become one of our favorite places to enjoy the Charlottesville countryside on beautiful fall afternoons (Adam even took me there to celebrate my birthday in September). The view at Pippin Hill is truly breathtaking – watching the sun set over the Blue Ridge mountains is spectacular. I couldn’t imagine a more idyllic backdrop for an outdoor wedding ceremony – the scenery just captures what we love about this area so perfectly. The fact that Pippin Hill’s indoor event space is equally charming sealed the deal. It has the perfect blend of sophistication and relaxed Southern charm.
Adam and I had actually seen a couple of wedding rehearsals during our visits to Pippin Hill, and I had always secretly hoped we might get married there one day. So when we learned after we got engaged that they still had one fall date available the following year, it was a no-brainer!
“Adam and I, together with our officiant, designed and wrote our wedding ceremony completely from scratch. Adam and I read through dozens of ceremonies online and pieced together the elements that spoke to us most profoundly. Once we had a general structure in mind, we met several times with our officiant to fill in the details. One of the first things she did was ask us to each write down our memories from the day we met and the things we love most about each other. She incorporated our responses, which proved to be both heartfelt and humorous, into the ceremony itself. She was then able to help us write the rest of the ceremony script so that it was both completely personalized and deeply meaningful.”
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, heartfelt, timeless
Who officiated your ceremony? A family friend, who also did our premarital counseling, officiated our ceremony. Choosing an officiant was probably the most challenging aspect of planning our wedding. We considered a number of officiants who came very highly recommended, but it was difficult for us to envision sharing such an important occasion with someone who did not know both of us well. We mentioned our predicament during one of our counseling sessions, and when she (somewhat jokingly) suggested that she could officiate, we realized that no one else could do a better job! As someone who knew our relationship and had watched us grow together, we knew having her as an officiant would make our ceremony particularly meaningful.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We had a traditional processional with classic music, “Salut D’Amour” by Edward Elgar, and my father walked me down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. We also incorporated traditional elements, such as a declaration of intent and an exchange of rings, into the ceremony itself. But for our recessional, we chose one of our very favorite songs as a couple, “Hoppípolla” by Sigur Ros. Adam and I have always agreed that no song makes us feel more happy, so we were thrilled when our incredibly talented ceremony musicians said they would learn to play it on the violin and guitar. The result was a ceremony that we felt was the perfect blend of traditional and lighthearted.
What were your vows like? Adam and I wrote our own vows, incorporating elements of many different vows we had found online and then adding a few original elements.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? My favorite part of the ceremony was probably the moment right after Adam and I were pronounced husband and wife. When we turned to face our friends and family and saw all of them laughing and cheering, I was totally overcome. To feel such tremendous support from our loved ones just put a huge smile on my face – you can see in the pictures from the recessional that Adam and I are both positively glowing! We didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the evening.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? While creating our own ceremony from scratch was quite time-consuming, I am so glad we opted to do it. I felt like our ceremony was a true reflection of us as a couple. Since we selected every aspect together, nothing felt rote or insignificant. For weeks after the wedding. many of our guests commented on how personal and meaningful the ceremony felt.
“When we started planning the wedding, Adam and I envisioned an event that was incredibly elegant and that felt truly special, but that was also intimate and relaxed. We decided to keep the guest list relatively short, so that every one of the people who attended was someone we consider an important part of our lives. We also wanted to ensure that all of them had a wonderful time.”
From the bride: “The reception started with a cocktail hour on Pippin Hill’s lawn and veranda so that guests could enjoy the gorgeous sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains. When it was time to move inside for dinner, guests found their escort cards in a display of small glass jewelry boxes. Each box contained a die-cut card and two or three delicate blush rosebuds.”
Did you have a signature cocktail? We worked with the bartender at Red Pump Kitchen, a fantastic local restaurant, to design two Charlottesville-inspired signature drinks that were served during the cocktail hour. The Carter’s Mountain (named after a local orchard) included local apple cider, vanilla, and cinnamon-infused vodka. And since no wedding in the South would be complete without a bourbon drink, we also offered the Blue Ridge Sunset, a blend of bourbon, blood orange juice, and Aperol.
Says Lauren: “One of the first things that I shared with the Easton Events team was that I wanted the wedding to feel magical – with lush florals, lots of twinkling candles, and golden accents. Our floral designer, Ariella Chezar, suggested constructing a wild, organic arbor over the doorway of the Pippin Hill granary that guests would walk through to enter the reception. The gorgeous arbor that Ariella and her team constructed ended up being one of my favorite details of the day. Passing through it was like stepping into another world, full of hundreds of flickering candles, beautiful blush-colored dahlias and roses, and lush greenery. The room had a dream-like quality, like a secret garden brought indoors.”
“In keeping with the idea that we wanted our guests to have an experience that felt intimate and special, we opted for a seated dinner. Pippin Hill’s amazing chef and catering team helped us design a delicious multi-course meal that we enjoyed over candlelight.”
Wedding Menu: Passed Canapés: Caramelized Apple Mostarda and House Made Ricotta on Crostini, Kale and Chevre Dumpling with Sambal Aioli / Polenta Arancini with Gorgonzola Cream and Aged Pecorino / New England Lobster and Chive on Toasted Brioche / Lamb Polpettini with Chimmichurri and Pecornino Pepato // Amuse Bouche: Pumpkin and Apple Bisque // First Course: Baby Romaine and Truffle Salad with Black Pepper Polenta Croutons, Shaved Black Truffles, and Parmigiano Creme // Main Course: Roasted Tenderloin of Beef and Chesapeake Bay Crab Cake with Truffled Potato Fondue and Local Oyster Mushrooms // Cheese Course: Selection of Three Artisanal Cheeses
(“We both love Pippin Hill’s cheese plates,” shares Lauren, “so we asked Chef Bill Scatena to choose three complementary cheese selections to serve after the main course.”)
What type of cake did you serve? We served a traditional, three-tiered wedding cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I am a chocolate fanatic, but we wanted to provide our guests with options, so the cake’s layers alternated between chocolate with dark chocolate ganache filling and fresh lemon cake with a blackberry preserve filling.
First Dance: “In My Life” by The Beatles
Father/Daughter: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
Mother/Son: “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? There was a moment near the end of the night when I was dancing with Adam, and I looked around the dance floor and saw my mom and dad, my mother and father-in-law, my sister and her boyfriend, my brother-in-law, our oldest family friends, my closest college friends, and our officiant – all laughing and dancing together. It was a surreal moment to watch all of those very special people together in one place and time, and one that I hope to never forget.
Another special moment that stands out in my memory happened during our sparkler exit. As our getaway car started to pull away from the venue, Adam and I heard our friends start to sing “The Good Old Song,” UVA’s unofficial alma mater. It’s a tradition among UVA students to link arms and sing The Good Old Song at celebratory occasions, and since the University has played a special role in our relationship, hearing our friends sing it at our wedding seemed like a fitting way to close out the evening.