Photography by Sarah Mattozzi.
I am completely besotted with this wedding! Meg & Rue married in their apartment surrounded by ten family members – including their officiant, Rue’s sister! – and then walked through the rain to celebrate with twenty-seven guests at a favorite local restaurant. Even though the whole day was so intimate, I think my favorite part was the one with no guests at all, when they read their own vows to each other in their new home.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We had planned on getting married at a park here in Richmond, in the neighborhood we were about to move to. But Hurricane Matthew was making its way up the coast, and Richmond was getting a lot of rain. Luckily, we had just signed a lease on our new apartment the weekend before so when it became evident we were going to be rained out on our wedding day, we decided to get married in our new home. It ended up being perfect and beautiful and just really, really special. And now we have those memories around us every day. I’m so happy it worked out that way!
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, heartfelt, simple.
Meg & Rue waited to see one another until their ceremony. Says Meg, “I’m a pretty emotional person and didn’t want to start crying before the ceremony even began!”
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? We asked Rue’s sister to officiate our ceremony. We knew we didn’t want a religious ceremony but still wanted an officiant who meant something to us. Mary immediately came to mind. Mary is just such an incredibly thoughtful person and I knew she would find the words that would be heartfelt and genuine, without being overly sentimental or trite.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We were very much on the same page about the overall tone and vibe we wanted for the ceremony as Mary was. I just told her we wanted her to say a few words about love and our relationship in her opening remarks, and have a reading or two, before we exchanged vows. She took over from there and it was wonderful. I really liked that we were hearing it all for the first time that day.
What was your ceremony music? None! I didn’t even process in!
What were your vows like? We wanted vows that meant something to us and were true to who we are as a couple, so we decided not to use to the traditional “in sickness and in health” vows. So after some googling, we found a few non-traditional vows and combined the parts we liked to create vows that were significant and important to us.
What were your ceremony readings? We didn’t have any formal readings, but our officiant included a quote by Alain de Botton; a passage from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letter to a Young Poet; and an excerpt from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (which made my attorney/SCOTUS nerd heart smile.)
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? We only had ten family members there and we were all crowded into our living room. Everyone was standing around us and you could hear the rain outside and it just felt so loving and cozy. There was so much love in the room, it was overwhelming. We were passing a tissue box around!
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Before we got engaged, we always said we would just elope. The idea of planning a big wedding felt very stressful – so many details and traditions and expectations that we, quite honestly, just did not want to deal with. It felt like that would be a bunch of noise that would distract us from what a wedding was really supposed to be about. But then we got engaged and we realized we did want to celebrate with friends and family. More than that, we wanted to celebrate our friends and family, who have only ever loved and supported us. Going small was crucial for us. It allowed us to focus on the things that were really important to us and create a day that honored who we are as a couple. The entire day felt like a dream.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Be true to who you are as a couple. If there are traditions or customs that don’t feel right to you or make you think “that would just be so awkward” – don’t do them! It’s your wedding and you want it to feel like your wedding. The people who love you will recognize that the wedding is true to you all and celebrate that.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Especially for brides with a limited budget, I’d recommend first deciding what you want to spend money on, rather than how much you want to spend overall. There are a thousand things you can spend money on when you’re planning your wedding, but when you really stop to think, a lot of those things might not be that important to you. What are your priorities? My bouquet, the photography, and getting my hair done were my priorities. Custom calligraphy on the invitation envelopes wasn’t. Having a list of ‘musts’ made it really easy to spend more on those things because I knew I wasn’t going to be spending money on other details.
Meg told us, “I have to mention my bouquet and the amazing Deanna at Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds. I spent every summer when I was a kid with my grandparents and their backyard was filled with wildflowers. My grandparents passed away when I was in college so it was very important to me to find a way to include their memory in our day. When I met with Deanna, I told her I wanted a bouquet that looked like I had just picked it from my grandparents’ backyard, and when I picked up the bouquet on the day of the wedding, I burst into tears. She totally captured that feeling, and every time I looked down at my bouquet that day, I felt like my grandparents were there with me.”
Meg & Rue wanted to share their own personal vows on the day, but felt it was too intimate to do in front of others. Instead, after the ceremony and while they were alone, they read out letters to one another in the front room of their apartment. How romantic!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? It was some very practical advice from a friend who used to be a wedding photographer. When it was forecast for lots of rain and I was going to order a bunch of umbrellas, she told me to order white ones. She said they let the light through and work really well in photos, and she was right!
How would you describe your reception? My favorite dinner party ever!
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We decided fairly early on that we wanted to do a sit-down dinner, instead of planning a full blown wedding reception. I just knew I was just not the person who could handle all that stress and anxiety. We started looking at restaurants in Richmond and when we found out Acacia did private events, it was a no-brainer. Their food is amazing and it is one of our favorite restaurants in Richmond. Aline Reitzer, the owner, was fantastic to work with, and I hardly had to worry about any details! It was perfect!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? It’s hard to choose! But I’d have to say when we first walked in. All of our friends and family were there and it was just overwhelming to see all of these people who love and support us all in one place. Someone put a glass of rose in my hand and we just walked around the room, getting to hug everyone and introduce friends to other friends and it was really wonderful.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We had a very small number of guests, just our absolute nearest and dearest family and friends, and we wanted to get to really spend time with them. It worked out so well – we had four tables and four courses, so we actually moved to a different table for each course. So often you’re at a wedding and you only get to spend a few minutes with the bride and groom, and then you don’t see them for the rest of the evening. But this way, we got to talk and laugh and drink champagne with everyone. It was so much fun.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? A photo I had seen of another bride’s reception – there was candlelight and the table was cluttered with wine glasses, and the bride and her sister were laughing, and I was like “Yes! I want a dinner party where everyone eats really good food and gets a tipsy and laughs a lot.”
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Not a thing!