Though they didn’t meet until they were both living in New York City after graduating college, Courtney and Oliver both attended University of Virginia as undergrads, so it made sense when they chose to tie the knot at Pippin Hill in Charlottesville. The day was timeless and elegant, with nods to their alma mater throughout.
“Seeing Oliver for the first time that day (since we adhered to the other tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony), and exchanging our vows was the most amazing part of the day.” says Courtney. “It was completely surreal, since it had rained cats and dogs in the hours leading up to the ceremony, but the sky cleared up just 30 minutes before our ceremony had to start. Right when we began exchanging our vows, the clouds parted and the sun came out. Several of our guests described it as a pretty surreal moment as well, and one even described the sun coming out as God using a spotlight on us.”
Your ceremony in three words. Modern, Idyllic, Energetic.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? I grew up in Virginia so I knew I wanted to get married in my home state, but what made the decision a shoe-in from an early stage in our courtship was that both Oliver and I went to the University of Virginia as undergrads. We were three years apart so we didn’t actually meet until we were both living up in New York City, but our mutual love for UVA and the ‘hoos acted as an instant magnet. Throughout our dating years, we’d go back to Charlottesville for basketball and football games, so we just knew that Charlottesville was the place. The month before Oliver popped the question, we had gone down to Charlottesville to visit several vineyards around the area, so it made the decision that much easier once we were officially engaged! As soon as we saw Pippin Hill the first time, we just knew that was the place we wanted to get married. It takes your breath away.
Who officiated your ceremony? Randy Singer officiated our wedding. He was my pastor at Trinity Church in Virginia Beach where my father was an Elder, but he’s also an author, a lawyer and a professor. I truly don’t know when the guy sleeps, but his accomplishments and overall character are truly humbling, and we were so honored to have him marry us.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Randy gave a traditional homily, and we exchanged traditional vows as well.
Ceremony music: (played by a string quartet)
Prelude: Brandenburg Concerto by Bach
Seating of the Mothers: Ave Maria by Schubert
Processional, Bridal Party: Divertimento by Mozart
Processional, Bride: Canon in D by Pachelbel
Recessional: La Rejouissance by Handel
Readings: Psalm 36:5-9 and Colossians 3:12-15.
How would you describe your reception? Modern farmhouse meets Southern hospitality.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Fortunately Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains are an idyllic backdrop as it is, so we didn’t have to do much décor-wise. We’re self-proclaimed foodies, so one of the most important elements (other than the scenery) was the food.
First dance song: “So Happy Together” by The Turtles
Father/Daughter Dance: “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys – I grew up going to Beach Boys concerts together with my dad and I feel like my entire childhood could be set against a Beach Boys album.
Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Cantaloupe and Crispy speck / Wagyu Beef Coin / Spanish Pork Belly / Crispy Chesapeake Oyster / Yellowfin Tuna Medallion // First Course: Virginia Beef Carpaccio // Main Course: Chesapeake Bay Crab Cake with Fried Green Tomato and Radish and Silver Corn Salad / Dry Aged New York Strip Loin // Late-Night Snack: Hand-Cut French Fries with Shaved Parmesan and Herbs
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Kathy from Favorite Cakes is a true confectionary genius. Our main wedding cake had our monogram, and I had also asked her to make a cake celebrating that the UVA men’s basketball team won the ACC championship, so that was a little surprise for Oliver on the day of.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? We did the something old, something new bit, and I also had two sixpence in my shoes (one in each) as I’m told that’s good luck. I also had a blue garter that Oliver put around a football and threw to his groomsmen right after the ceremony, which provided some fun pictures!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? One of our close family friends made beautiful ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ signs with ribbons in our wedding colors that were draped over the backs of our seats at dinner. My dad handmade fans that we placed on each guest’s seat for the ceremony, since we knew June in Charlottesville could mean sweltering heat. Oliver collects matchboxes, so my mom also created and ordered custom matchboxes with our initials and wedding date in UVA colors (orange and navy blue). She also set up an extensive candy bar with all types of our favorite candies (we both have quite the sweet tooth) for guests to fill bags and take home with them.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The only thing that truly matters is that you’re marrying the love of your life, so don’t get caught up with the small stuff.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? I’m certainly a big planner and I don’t like surprises, so I’d say the more you can do upfront instead of waiting until the last minute is the way to go. Also, think about ways you can repurpose things over the course of the wedding weekend to cut down on costs, and this is especially true for flowers. We had our rehearsal dinner at Farmington Country Club and had two gorgeous flower arrangements that flanked the fireplace in the dining room. We ended up reusing the arrangements to flank both sides of the ceremony seating at Pippin Hill the next day.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I would have considered hiring a videographer.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? It’s difficult to pick just one, but I think we’d say listening to the heartfelt speeches. And the dance moves once the band fired up, of course.