We are excited to announce Drew & Giavona as the winners of our Wedding of the Year contest, having been chosen by popular vote amongst an abundance of other gorgeous wedding submissions. Photographer Annamarie Akins did a beautiful job telling their love story through photography as seen in our print edition. We hope you enjoy this sneak peek on our blog, where you can see even more gorgeous photography.
Drew and Giavona’s romantic and family-centric wedding in the breathtaking countryside of Albemarle was a perfect combination of beauty, style, and personal touches.
It was a timeless celebration of love, as Drew and Giavona said “I Do” inside the quaint and lovely Trump Chapel.
During the planning of the wedding, Giavona’s father unexpectedly passed away. In memory of him, the couple had a chair set aside especially for him, where a sign stood with the words, “Hakuna Matata,” her father’s favorite saying.
The bride’s gorgeous A-lined Austin Scarlett dress, paired with a unique alabaster bouquet, was a sight inspiring future brides. The bridesmaids lovely Jenny Yoo periwinkle dresses were paired with blush bouquets from Hedge Fine Blooms (pictured above).
Sporting a watch that Giavona had given her father years before, Drew matched his groomsmen in a navy blue suit and ivory boutonniere, also perfectly complimentary of the periwinkle bridesmaids dresses.
The merging of the couple continued with a reception at the Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery, chosen by the couple for its significance and beauty. Drew and Giavona fell in love with the sweeping vineyard and countryside views during countless visits to the estate, while Giavona was working on its renovation.
At the reception, the menu was written in Italian as a nod to Giavona’s father’s days as an Italian chef and included all of his favorite dishes, which A Pimento Catering provided. The chosen color palette of peach, ivory and gold highlights truly brought out the beauty of the natural setting.
We are so excited to share Drew and Giavona’s love story with you. To read more of the 2016 Wedding of the Year, see the latest issue of Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddingshere.
Among so many gorgeous weddings submitted for Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, Volume 1, we were excited to announce Ellen & Chris Sweet as the winners of our Wedding of the Year contest, having been chosen by the popular vote. This wedding wowed our selection committee for not only its beauty and grandeur but also for the choices Ellen and Chris made to make their ceremony a most memorable affair. We hope you enjoy this inside scoop with photos and details from the wedding and that it inspires you as it did us!
Ellen and Chris joined hands on the picturesque grounds of Castle Hill Cider to recite their vows and officially declare their lifelong dedication to one another. With its gilded cupola, wide barn doors, latticed windows and walls of knotty pine, the barn provided a fabulous backdrop for the celebration of their marriage. In this rustic setting, surrounded by a hanging row of glittering chandeliers they chose themselves, Ellen and Chris shared their first meal as husband and wife.
Every detail reminded them of the places that they loved, from the tiny chicken-and-waffle appetizers from The Catering Outfit, reminiscent of Chris’ deep Southern roots in Texas, to the gift boxes of See’s Candies, treasured by Ellen from her parents’ native California. But, no memories shined as bright as the times they spent together on weekend getaways as their romance budded in Virginia.
Ellen stood in a full-lace gown by Alvina Valenta with asymmetrical tiers and a cascade of buttons down the back. Southern Blooms prepared the florals for the wedding and put together Ellen’s stunning bouquet.
Ellen and Chris thought a lot about their ties to Virginia and knew they wanted to showcase local artisans and businesses from the Charlottesville area, including the delicate place settings and invitations designed and printed by Jen Maton of If So Inklined, featured below.
Prepared in a labor of love by Kathy Watkins of Favorite Cakes, the wedding featured this stunning, all-white fondant cake decorated with the four different patterns of the formal china.
When you fall in love in a particular place, you also fall in love with the place itself. Every detail brought Ellen and Chris back to those first early days soon after they started dating—when it seemed like the world around them was suddenly enchanted. There are memories we keep, and memories that grow with us. Ellen and Chris knew that there was no other place where they wanted to begin the memories of their marriage than here, in the majestic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
You can read more about the 2015 Wedding of the Year in Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddingshere.
No matter your wedding dreams, you are sure to find the perfect venue amongst Charlottesville’s many splendid choices. The combination of romantic countryside, elegance, vineyards, history and the creative people who are drawn to live here, has made Charlottesville one of the East Coast’s most popular wedding destinations—rivaling events held in cities from New York to Los Angeles. Just as Thomas Jefferson wed here centuries ago, couples, today, find Charlottesville to be the perfect setting for beginning their love story. We have highlighted some of Charlottesville’s unique and enchanting venues to help you envision your perfect wedding day.
King Family Vineyards, a family-owned farm and vineyard in Crozet, Virginia, offers a unique setting and venue with stunning views and suitable event spaces for bringing families and friends together on your special day. In comfortable, relaxed surroundings, it is a place to enjoy such a special and monumental moment of a couple’s journey.
Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery in Afton, Virginia is an elegant and timeless destination for a Virginia countryside celebration. Surrounded by beautiful vineyards and breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, its charming 19th-century farmhouse venue is the perfect setting to celebrate a magnificent send-off for newlyweds.
Castle Hill Cider, located in Keswick’s horse country just miles from Charlottesville, offers many indoor and outdoor sites that allow for endless possibilities from the intimate to the incredible. The Cider Barn shares the crest of a verdant knoll with a linden tree grove. Artfully arranged below are apple orchards, a two-acre lake and custom-designed pergolas framing beautifully terraced lawns ideal for lawn games during cocktail hour.
Adventure Farm is a vintage family-owned farm providing a range of idyllic settings for a wedding. The farm offers spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain views, rolling pastures, lakes, woods and rows of grape vines marching up and over the hills. Your guests will be captivated by the ambiance of a traditional working farm, the charming tasting room, meadow and pond sites.
Situated among the sprawling Charlottesville hills on 100 acres of pristine gardens, a private lake and majestic views, the historic Clifton Inn—a relais & châteaux property—creates a stunning scene for the fairy-tale wedding of your dreams. Walk up the lavender pathway and through the wisteria arbor to the court, the Clifton Inn’s premier event space. The elegant sperry tent with hardwood floors provides the perfect backdrop while dining and dancing beneath the star-filled Virginia sky.
First Colony Winery boasts breathtaking sunsets, charming Old World gardens, meticulously manicured vineyards, newly renovated facilities and an elegant atmosphere. The winery offers several venue choices, from the Tasting Room or Chanticleer Loft with its lovely cafe lighting to the Terrace Gardens or, for the most intimate setting, in the vineyard.
Keswick Hall, a 600-acre expansive property located outside the city of Charlottesville in wine country, features a grand Italianate villa among gently rolling hills. The splendid foliage with an impeccable golf course provides an impressive backdrop, suggesting an event that is secluded yet dramatic.
Set on Grelen Nursery’s gorgeous 600-acre tree nursery in Somerset, Virginia, The Market at Grelen Wedding & Event Venue boasts spectacular 360-degree views of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains. The facility’s event spaces include an expansive Stone Terrace, a Greenhouse filled with seasonal plants and succulents and a gorgeous expansive Berry Field, complete with a furnished 4,500-square-foot tent. From an intimate small rehearsal dinner or ceremony to a large wedding celebration, the variety of choices and spaces give couples the flexibility to host all aspects of a wedding.
Our third President’s historic grounds, owned and operated by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation since 1923 with a mission of education and preservation, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello offers a variety of inspired settings that provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience Jefferson’s Virginia. At Montalto, overlooking Monticello, 350-degree panoramic vistas of Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains change with the sunlight and the seasons. Repose, the gracious 11,000- square-foot country home perched atop Jefferson’s “high mountain,” offers a variety of event possibilities and is one of the most distinctive, elegant spaces in Virginia.
Mount Ida Farm is a unique wedding venue located south of Charlottesville on a secluded, 6,000-acre sanctuary. Spectacular scenic vistas, historic homes, horse-drawn carriages, tree-lined drives, historic plantation accommodations and cocktail parties, lake or stable-side, all combine to create the venue of any couple’s dreams.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is a distinctive winery and event space just outside of Charlottesville. Designed and co-owned by nationally recognized event planner and stylist, Lynn Easton of Easton Events, Pippin Hill blends rustic charm and modern elegance with well known wine and world-class cuisine. This dream venue brought to life reflects a signature timeless aesthetic and a high-touch approach to hospitality.
Veritas Vineyard & Winery features a variety of inviting indoor and outdoor spaces and has garnered praise as one of Virginia’s most sought-after venues. Whether you prefer an intimate sit-down dinner at the Farmhouse or an all-out celebration in Saddleback Hall, Veritas stands ready to make a couple’s dream event a reality. This beautiful setting awaits your personal touch for a truly unique and memorable event.
Photography by Daane Studios
A space with sweeping mountain views and intimate, secret gardens—from the reflecting pool and the grove of pines by the pond to the meandering stream and the rose and butterfly gardens, Waterperry Farm is a living work of art, always evolving in bloom and in light, so no matter where you turn, the magic is waiting to happen.
The modern groom is a man who understands what it means to wear his father’s cuff links and his grandfather’s pocket watch on the day of his wedding. This blend of vintage charm with personal meaning will remind any groom of the men who helped shape him into someone worthy of marrying his bride.
With a fresh haircut, fitted tuxedo, crisp shirt and polished shoes, grooms will be ready to confidently wait for their soon-to-be wife as she comes down the aisle—a vision of loveliness.
Personal touches, like custom-embroidered ties, will help make the day unforgettable for the couple. Matching cuff links are a classic way to add personality to an attire and are a tried-and-true gift for groomsmen. After all, a groom has shared a lot of adventures with his groomsmen, who are about to see him off on his biggest adventure yet. So, why not thank them with a little gift?
For other gift ideas, choose from a wide array of leather goods from Charlottesville artisans. Leather-tabbed braces, personalized belts and grosgrain key fobs to match the wedding palette or school colors are all great keepsakes. Or, consider something more traditional such as an elegant money clip similar to that pictured below from local jeweler Jason McLeod. It is both practical and classic.
While getting ready for this new adventure, grooms remember the memories and moments that have led them to this very day. The woman of his dreams has agreed to spend the rest of her life with him, and everything is set and ready to go! “You may kiss your bride.”
Ask any engaged couple what they hope for their wedding day and most will tell you they want their guests to have an incredible experience. This rhetoric is trending across the country. Couples today want their big day full of meaningful touches that reflect themselves while giving their guests a night they will rave about for years to come. This isn’t always an easy task, but hiring the right entertainment agency, like East Coast Entertainment, will eliminate the stress and have your guests, from cousins to grandparents, dancing the night away.
Central Virginia has become a hotbed for quality entertainment. Charlottesville couples are fortunate, since some of the country’s greatest entertainers are based right in their backyard. Professional bandleaders and DJs will have the masses flocking to the dance floor. Hiring experienced entertainers that have the ability to read a crowd can keep the momentum going, so you can enjoy your special night worry free.
While the playlist is important, so is your party space. Cramming a 12-piece band into a tight corner can get a little uncomfortable, while a dance floor so spacious that it feels empty with all of your guests on it can be equally awkward. Consulting a wedding planner, venue coordinator and/or entertainment agent can be of huge value. These wedding pros know which configuration is going to work best in any given space and can easily guide you toward a perfect match.
More and more weddings are going beyond the traditional Saturday night fête as couples treat their guests to fun and eventful wedding weekends. Welcome parties are a big trend right now, and many times are hosted in lieu of, or as an extension of, the rehearsal dinner. To avoid the same entertainment on both Friday and Saturday nights, welcome parties are an excellent place to showcase your couple style with themed entertainment. For example, mix it up with a bluegrass, 80s, 90s or even yacht rock band! Just as popular right now are the after parties. Many couples choose to keep things going after the rice has been thrown by extending the party with a DJ and laser light show. So whether you want to entertain your guests for a long weekend, one stupendous night, or into the next day, music plays a key role in picking the perfect party atmosphere for your special event. With your entertainment coordinated, you can enjoy however you choose to party without the worry!
Located in the countryside of Central Virginia, Charlottesville is surrounded by rolling fields and statuesque trees all framed by arresting mountaintops. With all its stunning natural beauty, Jefferson’s Virginia is the perfect place to hold an outdoor wedding.
With sweeping landscapes and a multitude of great venues available, there’s no better backdrop for wedding pictures. Whether bordering your photos with the undulating peaks of the Blue Ridge or the lush vines of a splendid vineyard, the stunning natural light and colors will make any couple glow.
Outdoor weddings also provide an array of opportunities to incorporate new ideas, items and aesthetics that aren’t options at indoor weddings. The expansive open space makes it possible to play with seating arrangements, aisle configurations, decorations, musical entertainment and even allows for inviting special animal guests!
Repurposed wine barrels make great table or seats for guests. Large arbors covered in flowers or incorporated straight from nature create a stunning spectacle to surround a couple as they take their vows of love and promise. Tree limbs become convenient canopies and hangers while leaves ingratiate flawlessly into color schemes.
After the ceremony, guests will continue to be enamored with breathtaking views during the reception or cocktail hour. While casually conversing with friends or enjoying a fine wine, the open-air seating will extend guests’ experiences to enjoying artful surroundings and perhaps inspire discussion!
As day turns to night and the sun fades into twilight, outdoor weddings provide a venue to utilize brilliant pyrotechnics. Sparkler send offs, mounds of patterned, criss-crossed fairy lights and fireworks create a magical evening experience all will be sure to remember.
Ethereally lit tents provide shelter and ambience for guests worried about Mother Nature’s fickle personality, while also supplying an amazing venue for attendees to dance the night away. These tents further provide freedom to play with atmospheric lighting in a way that indoor receptions hinder. Having a wedding out of doors can provide ample opportunities to expand anyone’s wedding pallet while enjoying nature’s richness.
Trends will come and go in any industry including wedding flowers. Over the years, there seems to be a general shift in popularity towards loose and varied bouquets and away from the traditional neat monochrome arrangements. The easy availability of images and ideas to brides and florists through shared social spaces, such as blogs and Pinterest, has fashioned a culture which bolsters the creativity of flower designs. Evolving from a tidy display of a few select flowers, bouquets have grown not only in size and color options, but also the variety of floral elements included in each composition. From bold rich colors to unconventional greens, brides have a plethora of options to choose from to create the perfect one for their special day.
While florists have been creating arrangements that are more vibrant and colorful than ever before, brides choosing to remain in a traditional color palette spice up their bouquets with touches of subtle hues. From nosegay bouquets to boutonnieres, pastels and delicate pops of color compliment a white dress or outdoor wedding with a more naturalistic approach to greenery.
Many brides opt for cascading floral arrangements. Gracefully flowing flowers mirror the movement of a gown’s train while abundant ivy gives the display a free-spirited air. Tumbles of flowers and greenery evoke a whimsical atmosphere that amplifies the magic of anyone’s special day.
It is easy to pinpoint the substantial changes to modern bouquets in not only color and size, but also in the actual composition of the arrangements themselves. Different species of flowers are being used in a single assemblage. Instead of roses and baby’s breath, couples are choosing thistles and berries, instead of calla lilies and hydrangeas, water lilies and hyacinths. The manner in which the flowers are combined together have become bold and adventurous, with different textures and feelings. The expansion of floral arrangements options and ideas presented to a modern bride provides ample opportunities for her to create the perfect bouquet to complete her dream day.
Robert Radifera Photography captured the enchanting union of Megan and Walker Slawski on October 4, 2014, as the couple took their vows under the open sky before a backdrop of tall autumn trees.Megan and Walker said “I do” at their intimate ceremony at a private residence. The bride’s romantic lace and full-back button-down dress by Sealed with a Kiss trailed across the season’s first fallen leaves as the pair walked down the aisle as a married couple. Megan’s beautifully done hair decorated with a floral hair piece was perfected by Moxie Hair and Lounge.
A fall-theme decor completed the outdoor wedding with amber-colored goblets and votive holders, accenting dark wooden tables. The bewitching ambience was enhanced with the deep reds, greens and gold florals by Southern Blooms that mirrored the changing leaves.
The reception was breathtaking, under a spellbindingly lit and clear tent by Skyline Tent Company, which allowed guests to watch the stars come out as the sunlight faded.
Under a royal blue sky, attendees dined on food to delight anyone’s taste buds from The Catering Outfit at long tables in a homey familial fashion. The meal was concluded with a slice of cake from Albemarle Baking Company as the whole party enjoyed a beautiful evening together in celebration.