Real Wedding: Janet & Joel

Like Martha and Jon’s wedding featured yesterday, Janet and Joel had an intimate wedding with fewer than 50 guests, with an historic ceremony venue followed by a simple dinner reception. There’s just something so lovely about this type of wedding! Says Janet:

Very early in the planning process, we decided that the most important things to us were sharing a really good meal with our friends and family, and hiring a great photographer to document the day. So we focused our resources on those things, kept the guest list small, and asked talented friends and family to help out.

After the wedding, the couple’s friend, Tania Lee, illustrated a charming wedding announcement for them (above left).

Janet arranged all of the flowers herself, and a friend made the magnolia leaf garland used as a ceremony arch. Janet made the programs using letterpress cards with a dogwood illustration from Paper Source.

Joel and I met in England several years ago while studying the art and architecture of country houses. We wanted our wedding to have an English Regency feel, but also to celebrate the history of Virginia. Having a beautiful old Georgian house as a backdrop really set the scene. I had my dress made by a local designer, who played up the Regency theme with an empire waist and a high ruffled collar. Joel completed the look by giving me a strand of 18th-century coral beads, which he found in an antique store and painstakingly restrung himself.

Janet also wore a vintage brooch at her waist, as well as her mother’s antique lace mantilla veil.

So much of what happened in the morning leading up to the ceremony was a blur of activity and excitement, but I remember the moment after our vows when Joel took my hand and we walked through town together to the restaurant. Just the two of us, taking our first steps into the future together. Such a special moment. When we arrived at the restaurant, our guests were having so much fun they didn’t realize we had arrived. We sipped sparkling rosé together in a quiet corner and just soaked in the happy babble around us!

Decorations were kept to the bare minimum – because I knew there would be so many wine glasses on the tables, I simply assembled small nosegays of flowers in glass rose bowls. Place cards were done by the same calligrapher who addressed our invitations, Kathryn Murray, and my 12-year-old niece made paper origami cranes (a symbol of honor and loyalty), which she placed at each setting. We sent guests home with jars of Virginia peanuts.

The autumn menu included butternut squash soup, veal meatballs with corn polenta, and pear crisp with ginger ice cream for dessert. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, the chef made us a miniature three-tiered cake, which made everyone laugh when they brought it out. We cut it with much ceremony!

When people tell you it all goes by in the blink of an eye, they aren’t kidding. So breathe deeply, steal every kiss, hug as closely as you can, and say “I Love You” again and again.


Photography: Kate Headley

Ceremony venue: Carlyle House in Alexandria, Virginia

Reception venue: Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia

Bride’s custom dress: Elegance by Roya

Headband: purchased at The Hour

Shoes: Nina

Groom’s suit: Brooks Brothers

Tie: vintage Liberty of London

Bridesmaid dresses: Anthropologie

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

Wedding announcements: Tania Lee Illustration

Calligraphy: Kathryn Murray


Happiest wishes Janet and Joel! See more from this lovely wedding at photographer Kate Headley’s blog, and at Janet’s own blog.


Wedding Paper Divas is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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  • I’m thrilled to see Janet and Joel’s celebration here! Janet is one of brightest, most generous people I know and her wedding truly reflected her spirit — their spirit! And Kate captured every lovely detail so beautifully.


  • Absolutely breathtaking! I love intimate weddings. The details are gorgeous. I especially love the navy blue details. The bride’s shoes are to-die-for!

  • little augury says:

    I have been lucky enough to see some of these photographs at JCB- it is to me- what a wedding should be, intimate, personal and shared. thanks for doing that. pgt

  • MeitMo says:

    What a stunning wedding, I love how the bride and groom let the space speak for itself, and that arch, oh my goodness- what a brilliant idea! This is advice I’ll try and remember myself “So breathe deeply, steal every kiss, hug as closely as you can, and say “I Love You” again and again.”

  • I love everything about Janet and Joel’s beautiful wedding – from this historic venue and Kate’s beautiful photography to the beautiful invitations and announcements. Elegant and understated – everything a perfect wedding should be!!

  • In love with the gorgeous illustrated announcements. So charming and so perfect for an Old Town wedding. Lovely!

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