Today we have another apple orchard wedding! This one feels just like autumn, with a pie buffet and Hunter wellies on the bride, who says: “We let the season and surroundings be our inspiration. We really wanted our guests to have an authentic Virginia experience. Our venue is surrounded by apple orchards and we knew the trees would be full of fruit at our wedding, so we used apples a lot: our favors were apple cider donuts from a local donut shop, we used apple cider from my family’s orchards in West Virginia in our signature cocktail, we even used apples in the bridesmaids’ bouquets.”
The signature cocktail, The Apple-achian, included apple cider from the bride’s family’s farm and was garnished with a very thin slice of apple. A pie buffet took the place of wedding cake, and included Dutch Apple, Pumpkin, Cherry, French Silk, and Lemon Meringue.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Location was an easy choice for us. I grew up in Roanoke and we met, fell in love, and got engaged in nearby Lexington, Virginia when we were both working at Washington and Lee University. Getting married in the church where I grew up was a no-brainer. And once we had set the date for a fall wedding, we knew we wanted a reception venue that would allow our guests to enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the fall. Sundara was the first and only reception venue we visited and we signed the contract the next day.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Stick to your budget and plan for emergencies. When you’re talking in such large figures, it’s easy to think that going $500 over budget here and $300 over budget there isn’t a big deal, but it adds up quickly. If you’re going to splurge in one area, remember to scale back in another. And make sure to have some padding in your budget for unexpected issues! We had a freak snowstorm the night before our wedding and had to bring in heaters under the tent so our guests didn’t freeze. It was a painless decision for us because I knew we had some wiggle room left in our budget.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? When the sanctuary doors opened and I saw Mike at the other end of the aisle, that was pretty incredible. One of those moments you think about your whole life and it was so breathtaking when it actually happened. I was so excited to get to him! My other favorite moment was when the DJ played “Shout.” Everyone was on the dance floor, including our parents and their friends, and everyone was really into it. It was so much fun and also a great feeling to look around and see all of those people there for us. I still smile when I think about it.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We chose not to have a “first look” session, so the first time we saw each other was when I walked down the aisle. I wore something old (my paternal grandmother’s locket on my bouquet), something new (my jewelry), something borrowed (I carried my maternal grandfather’s handkerchief), and something blue (my shoes!). We did the bouquet and garter tosses. And my favorite: Mike proposed with my paternal grandmother’s ring, so her engagement ring is now mine.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I can’t remember who told me, but the best advice I got was to sit down as a couple and each write down the 3 things that are most important to you about your wedding. Those things should be your top priorities; everything else comes after. Establishing those priorities really helped us throughout the planning process, especially with budgeting.
What advice do you have for other brides? The advice I have for other brides, to paraphrase William Morris, is, “Have nothing in your wedding that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” The wedding industry is so trend-driven these days, and it’s so easy as a bride to be convinced that you just have to have X, Y, or Z in your wedding because a magazine or website tells you to. With every single detail related to our wedding, if one of us didn’t absolutely love it or it wasn’t necessary, we didn’t include it. It makes things much simpler and, after all, shouldn’t your wedding be a reflection of you as a couple?
Photography: Cramer Photo / Venue: Sundara in Boones Mill, Virginia / Bride’s dress: Pronovias / Veil: C.L. Costa Designs / Groom’s attire: JoS. A. Bank / Groom’s tie: J.Crew / Stationery: Lemon and Lavender / Calligraphy: InkyBug / Vintage stamps: Verde Studio / Flowers: Creative Occasions / Caterer: Center Stage Catering / Ribbon streamers: Romancing Juliet