This Blush, Black, and White Virginia Wedding Was All About Rustic Elegance
On their big day, two wedding photographers stepped in front of the camera for a change.
Michelle Harris and Nathan Templeton came together the modern way—they met on Match.com. "Some guy from the Baltimore area tried to get Michelle's attention, which was out of her range," shares Nathan, whose bride hails from Fredericksburg, Virginia. "However, there is a 'similar to' section on these profiles and I caught Michelle's eye instead!" Although Michelle's profile was intimidating, Nathan summoned the courage to send her a message after she liked one of his photos. "I didn't think I had a chance with a woman like her, but I figured if she was willing to drive one hour to meet up, I must have a shot," he says. After a few video chats, the pair linked up for brunch in D.C.
"It only took two dates," Michelle recalls. "We just clicked and we both knew what we wanted and were willing to make the 100-mile distance work." The pair married on their one-year-anniversary (to the day!), March 31, 2019, at a beautiful venue in Reva, Virginia. "We chose Walden Hall because we had shot a wedding there the November prior to our own and fell in love with it," says Nathan. However, once they settled on a location and a color palette (blush, black, and white), the couple stayed completely hands-off, entrusting their wedding's design to Christina Moore of Bella Giornata Events. "We didn't have a single input on the design," says Nathan. "We had no idea what it was going to look like and Christina knocked it out of the park."
"I have worked with Christina on many occasions and we became close friends over the years," says Michelle. "She has an incredible eye for design, so we felt completely comfortable just leaving it up to her and didn't want her to feel hindered in the design process." Needless to say, it was beyond perfect. "We were in tears during the reveal," says Nathan. "It was a surreal, breathtaking evening with Michelle's signature love for blush everywhere in a grand hall. Radiance and happiness beamed from every little detail."
Watch Michelle and Nathan's wedding video by Ya Mean Studios.
White wedding invitations with gold foil details and blush borders by Vernita Stewart Designs conveyed the details of the event—and prefaced its color palette—to guests.
Powerful First Look
The duo's first look was intensely emotional moment for both the bride and groom. "I was already crying before I turned around to see Michelle," recalls Nathan. "I couldn't believe I was about to marry this amazing, beautiful, powerful, and caring woman. It felt too good to be true."
This was also the moment when Michelle showed Nathan her wedding dress for the first time. This gown, however, wasn't the one she had intended to wear: "I found this one five days prior in a frenzy at Ava Laurenne Bride. I realized my original dress was oyster-colored and Nathan's suit jacket was stark white—it was almost a disaster. But I found a ceremony dress and it zipped up perfectly with no alterations at all!"
Michelle's bouquet featured roses and ranunculus blossoms in soft shades of pink; the clutch was accented with white blooms and tied together with ribbon in two shades of blush.
Pink Suede Shoes
The bride's pumps were also a lovely shade of blush—her favorite! Shining gold embellishments ran up the stiletto heels.
The final pink touch to Michelle's bridal ensemble? A beaded clutch, complete with a crystal clasp.
Bridesmaids in Pink
Michelle's bridesmaids topped their embellished pink gowns with cozy white wraps for the late-March celebration.
A Sharply-Dressed Groom
Nathan paired a white jacket trimmed in black—believe it or not, this part of his ensemble was sourced on Amazon—with black pants from Men's Wearhouse for the vow exchange. He found his unique black-and-white patterned bow tie on Etsy.
The groom's attendants—a mix of friends and his brother, who served as his best man—donned black suits from The Black Tux.
Fashionable Flower Girls
Flowers girls slipped blush jackets emblazoned with "Team Templeton"—they were gifts from the bride and groom—over their simple blush dresses.
Sprawling Ceremony Arch
The late-afternoon ceremony took place outside, in front of the property's pond; the altar was anchored by a white structured covered in climbing pink-and-white flowers and branches.
Barrel of Blooms
Flowers in shades of vanilla and blush decorated antique barrels rustic, but elegant flair. The aisle arrangements referenced the blooms seen further down the aisle.
A Memorable Processional
Michelle's adoptive mother, Karen, and her birth mother, Melanie, accompanied the bride down the aisle. Having both women stand by her side meant everything to her, she recalls, citing the first look she shared with them ahead of the service as one of the day's most poignant moments—especially in hindsight (sadly, Karen passed away just a few months after the wedding).
Following a non-religious ceremony officiated by the bride's uncle, Lenzie, the newly minted spouses recessed back up the aisle to the song "Love Like This" by Faith Evans.
A Special Moment Together
Ahead of their sunset portraits, which were snapped just outside the main house, both Michelle and Nathan changed into their reception looks. "I found my reception dress for $100 on Amazon!" reveals the bride. "I had it altered to take out a mesh piece on the bodice but other than that it was perfect."
She swept her hair up into a high bun for the party, and completed her new ensemble with a small tiara.
Men in Pink
Nathan traded his white jacket for a blush one, also from Amazon—an apt decision, since his new ensemble referenced much of the party's pink décor.
Guests took home Champagne flute favors; they were arranged on a draped table around a beautiful blooming tree near the reception venue's entrance, doubling as escort cards.
Garlands of pink carnations wrapped around flowering branches decorated the light fixtures hanging from the wood beam ceiling.
A Touch of Gingham
Settees upholstered in black-and-white gingham were accented with "Mr." and "Mrs." pillows, as well as pink cushions. Blush ottomans completed the small vignette.
Lucite Table Numbers
Each table was marked with an acrylic panel; they were etched with numbers and featured hand-painted green leaves.
Compote centerpieces—comprised of blush roses, snowy hydrangea blossoms, and tulips—topped guests' tables, which were set with rose gold chargers and white linens.
A Miniature Cake Cutting
During the party, the couple cut into a tiny cake. The confection, polished off with a wooden topper, was surrounded by a wrought iron halo of flowers and ivy vines.
As for the evening's entertainment? A sketch artist impressed guests with artistic renderings of the festivities and portraits.
Save the Last Dance
The couple's wedding came to a close with a slow song. "At the end of the reception, after most of the guests had left, Michelle and I were completely in our own little world, dancing and swaying to some of our favorite songs the DJ saved for us," says Nathan.
Photography, Corrin Jasinski
Venue, Walden Hall
Event planning, Design, and Flowers, Bella Giornata Events
Catering, ClearWater Grill
Videography, Ya Mean Studios
Stationery, Vernita Stewart Designs
Music, Classic Entertainment
Bride's gown, Ava Laurenne Bride (ceremony), Amazon (reception)
Hair, Hair by Reyunna
Makeup, Shanelle Squire
Bridesmaids' makeup, Faces by Jordan
Groom's attire, Amazon (white and pink jackets), Men's Wearhouse (pants)
Groomsmen's attire, The Black Tux
Photo booth, A/Ten Photo Booth
Sketch Artist, Cris Clapp Logan
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