Cara and Matt’s wedding epitomizes the impact of choosing a spectacular venue – what could possibly match the drama and beauty of dogwood tress in full bloom?! And of course it never hurts to hire a photographer like Marta Locklear, who can preserve those memories in beautiful images like these…
“My favorite part of the day,” says Cara, “was the moment when I was walking down the aisle with my Dad, I looked up and saw everyone that Matt and I love looking right back at me. All of the people who have shaped our lives for so many years had all gathered there on that day to celebrate us and our love for each other.”
“Matt and I focused a lot on the feeling and the content of the wedding ceremony. We wanted everyone there to feel love – for their spouses, their families, and the friends in their life. We hand picked readings, songs, and specific parts of the ceremony that meant something to us. I wanted all of our family members to play a role. Matt and I had our brothers escort our mothers during the ceremony and helped them to light the unity candles. The readings were done by my brother, sister, and Matt’s brother. My sister-in-law sang ‘All of Me’ and ‘Simple Gifts’ during the ceremony.”
“Matt rented a 1960 Rolls Royce to take us around town after the ceremony in order to get some pictures and just have a moment to ourselves. I have always loved classic cars and felt like royalty riding in it!”
“Our fathers used their handiwork to help with our wedding decor,” says Cara. Her father made table number posts, and Matt’s father made the large M & C initials.
Other DIY elements included table assignments painted on window frames, centerpiece doilies crocheted by the bride’s mother, and mason jars “punch glasses” decorated by the bride and her sister. The couple had two signature drinks: an Old Fashioned (Maker’s Mark Whiskey, bitters, orange zest, and a sugar cube) and “The Attention Seeker” (vodka, rosé, lemon juice, honey, rosemary sprigs).
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? The Virginia Center for Architecture is in a building also known as the Branch House. It is a beautiful mansion formerly owned by a prestigious couple in Richmond, turned into a museum in the heart of the Monument Avenue Historic District. We picked the venue because of the historic nature of it, along with the beautiful courtyard in the back lawn. The windows and hardwood floors inside just spoke of long-standing romance.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? I grew up in Western Pennsylvania where it was a tradition to have a cookie table for dessert and a take-home treat for your guests. Family members and friends of the bride and groom will get together and make a variety of cookies to bring to the wedding. It is a common occurrence to see guests heading to the cookie table before dinner is even served!
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. One of my favorite parts of the decor for the wedding was the family photo table. Matt and I gathered photos of our parents and grandparents from their weddings, put them in frames, and labeled them along with their anniversary dates. We chose the date of our wedding because it was Matt’s parents 38th wedding anniversary.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The night before the wedding, I received a note from my sister. Part of it said, “At some point during the wedding and reception, stop and take a minute for yourself. Just look around and take it all in. The music, the laughter, the room, and all of the people that are surrounding you guys on your first day of marriage. Enjoy your guests, but make sure that you and Matt steal little moments away and for each other during the evening.” This advice resonated with me, and I made sure that I did just that. Just stop, look around, and enjoy every minute of it.
What advice do you have for other brides? Make your wedding day fit your personality. There are so many dresses, vendors, decorations out there to choose from. You can easily get lost in ideas and second guess your choices. Go with the first one that “fits” and that makes you smile. Be happy and confident about your decisions because they were inspired by you. Also, I have to say that the best money that I spent on the wedding day was for my day-of wedding coordinator. She allowed me to relax and just enjoy the day.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? The guest of honor at our wedding was our brand new niece, Joy. She was born exactly one week before the wedding! She was all dressed up in her satin pink dress and was on the dance floor all night long!