A Mauve-and-Berry Wedding in the Rolling Hills of Bealeton, Virginia

katelyn jose wedding couple smiling
Rachel May Photography

For Katelyn and Jose, who have known each other since high school, getting engaged felt like a natural step: "Jose proposed about a week before we both graduated from Arizona State University," says Katelyn. "We were about to move across the country, so I definitely knew it was coming." The pair were headed to new jobs in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, and the change of scenery wowed them. "We were both enthralled with the lush, rolling landscapes of Virginia, paired with historic architecture so many buildings here have," says Katelyn. They began planning their wedding with a focus on the "green that exists everywhere you turn here in Virginia," choosing Great Marsh Estate for their July 27, 2019, celebration. "We kept nature and natural elements at the heart of every decision we made when planning," says Katelyn. "Timeless, effortless, and natural beauty were terms I used frequently when meeting with vendors."

Katelyn took over the planning without the help of a professional, interviewing vendors and finessing her vision. "I had a really clear idea of what would make my heart sing," she says, "so when I did come across a vendor, a design element, or a unique idea that fell in line with that vision, it was an easy choice." But sometimes the sheer number of choices felt like too much: At one point, she says, "I actually deleted Pinterest from my phone because I was overwhelmed with all the possibilities! From there, I went with my gut and if I was ever lost for inspiration, I would just close my eyes and envision Jose and I on our wedding day, filling in the details from there."

The couple added in several thoughtful touches—printing signage in English and Spanish to honor of Jose's Mexican background, stocking the bar with their favorite wines, and incorporating Mexican traditions into their ceremony—that made the day even more special for their 72 guests. "Spend time with the details," says Katelyn. "Those one-of-a-kind details that are totally unique to you and your relationship are the ones that will stick."

01 of 19

All About the Details

katelyn jose wedding invitation suite
Rachel May Photography

Katelyn and Jose chose a traditional scripted invitation from Shine, accenting the envelope with a floral liner and coordinating postage. "We chose a font that was classic and elegant without being overly formal—or too informal," says Katelyn. "I think the simple beauty of our invitation suite set the tone for the [wedding]—effortless and beautiful."

Other details included wooden fans the couple would ultimately leave on each ceremony chair and a set of 13 coins that Katelyn and Jose used during the service ceremony, as part of a Mexican wedding tradition.

02 of 19

Her Perfect Gown

katelyn jose wedding bride holding bouquet
Rachel May Photography

Katelyn's A-line Stella York wedding dress featured contrasting ivory lace and a mink-colored satin skirt. She found it on a mother-daughter shopping trip and knew it was the one: "It was just so undeniably beautiful, and I no longer felt like I was playing dress-up anymore—it was just so me. [My mom and I] will always remember sharing those tears that inevitably come when you transform into a bride after putting on your wedding dress!" And though she kept the design a secret from Jose, he wasn't surprised by her choice. "Jose actually described my dress down to the last detail before seeing it on our wedding day," she says. "I guess it really was perfect for me—and that I am consistent in my style choices." Jose agrees she chose the ideal gown: "The dress was great," he says, "and I high-fived myself endlessly for guessing all the details so spot-on."

03 of 19

Floral Focus

katelyn jose wedding rings and bride accessories
Rachel May Photography

She continued her vision for a nature-inspired day with a set of floral accessories, including embellished heels from Bella Belle, blush velvet hairpins, and a floral bracelet from BHLDN. Her drop earrings, delicate necklace, and champagne-colored veil added to the overall color scheme. "I wanted everything to be effortlessly natural, and nature is not pure white," she says, "so my entire aesthetic was made up of blush and neutral tones."

04 of 19

Berry Nice

katelyn jose wedding bride in dress holding floral bouquet
Rachel May Photography

The "naturally-gathered" shape of Katelyn's bouquet from Wild Green Yonder was created with a variety of blooms, including majolika spray roses, scabiosa, astrantia, and lisianthus. "Our incredible floral designer named our color palette best: mauve, berry, burgundy, and muddy neturals," says the bride. "I wanted all of our floral to fall into that classic mauve-and-berry story."

05 of 19

Blue Mood

katelyn jose wedding bride in dress with bridesmaids in blue dresses
Rachel May Photography

Katelyn's far-flung bridal party skipped the group dress shopping trip and instead ordered their gowns from BHLDN. "Because all eight of my bridesmaids lived in seven different states, I chose a gown I knew would be flattering and adaptable to all heights and sizes," says Katelyn. "The dusty blue was incredible against the green-and-white backdrop of the estate manor and greenery surrounding it. The crepe fabric also brought in some natural texture."

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06 of 19

Men in Black

katelyn jose wedding groom and groomsmen posing in tuxedos
Rachel May Photography

Jose and his groomsmen wore classic black suits; the groom chose his from Bonobos, and the groomsmen wore matching ensembles from The Black Tux. "You can't go wrong with a classic black suit!" says Katelyn. Jose added a sentimental accessory: His late grandfather's gold watch.

07 of 19

Together at Last

katelyn jose wedding couple high-five during first look
Rachel May Photography

By the time Jose and Katelyn saw each other for their first look, they were more than ready. "Kate and I always spend time with each other, and leading up to the wedding we had spent a couple days apart, which was too long," says Jose. "I knew how hard Kate had worked to plan every last detail and I just wanted to see the glow in her face when she finally got to see all of her hard work come together." Katelyn was "on cloud nine," she says: "I really just missed Jose and was ready to hang out with my husband at the celebration of our dreams!"

  • Pro Tips for Capturing That First Look Magic
08 of 19

In the Garden

katelyn jose wedding ceremony with flowers and flower petals along the aisle
Rachel May Photography

The couple held their ceremony outside, on the back lawn of the estate. "It was my favorite scene of the entire day," says Katelyn. "We opted for growing garden floral installments down the aisle and framing Jose and I at the front to make it feel really natural and effortless."

09 of 19

Sign Language

katelyn jose wedding ceremony sign with greenery detail
Rachel May Photography

At the entrance to the ceremony, a linen banner with the words "Simple Gifts" greeted guests as they entered. "The 'Simple Gifts' poem is one that is close to my heart, and so accurately describes the simplistic, natural beauty we were hoping to bring into our ceremony," says Katelyn. "A few months later, the linen banner now hangs as a statement art piece in my home office!"

10 of 19

A "Simple" Moment


After the bridal party and family walked down the aisle to "Grow as We Go" by Ben Platt, Katelyn's father escorted her to the tune traditionally associated with the "Simple Gifts" poem. "I've loved this piece for a long time and have known it would be the music I would walk down the aisle to for many years now," she says. "The first words are ''Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,' and completely encompass the bridal bliss I felt walking down the aisle!"

11 of 19

In Their Own Words

katelyn jose wedding couple exchanging vows
Rachel May Photography

Katelyn and Jose asked a family friend—who is also a pastor—to officiate their religious ceremony. "We did write our own vows," says Katelyn. "They were really unique to the journey of our relationship, and Jose elicited laughs from all of our guests when he vowed to 'always update our Google calendar.' Best relationship advice ever!"

12 of 19

A Family Tradition

katelyn jose wedding ceremony couple holding hands
Rachel May Photography

In honor of Jose's Mexican heritage, the couple also included the traditional Las Arras Matrimoniales in their ceremony, as the pastor blessed 13 coins—the same set Jose's parents were given during their wedding ceremony—and presented them to the couple. "The coins symbolize a promise between the bride and the groom to remain grateful for the blessings bestowed on them throughout their married life," says Katelyn.

13 of 19

Game On

katelyn jose wedding band performing
Rachel May Photography

The couple joined their guests for cocktail hour on the lawn, where the Mariachi El Rey band created a lively atmosphere. "The live music completely transformed the vibe of the cocktail hour—it was such a celebration!" says Katelyn. They also celebrated their love for game night with an oversized version of their favorite classic: "My dad built a giant Connect Four yard game, which is our go-to game night opener, so that was really special and we wanted to make sure we had time for a quick match," says Katelyn.

14 of 19

Natural Elements

Katelyn & Jose Submission

Wooden accents around the reception space—including X-back chairs and a head left bare, except for a runner—"holistically brought in a woodsy feel," says Katelyn.

15 of 19

Mauve Along

katelyn jose wedding place settings with blue napkins
Rachel May Photography

Low centerpieces on the tables included the same mauve, berry, and neutral tones as the ceremony flowers and bouquet. Tall taper candles added a cozy feel—embellished with amber uplighting around the space—as the party continued after sunset.

16 of 19

The Golden Touch

katelyn jose wedding place setting next to floral centerpiece
Rachel May Photography

Gold-edged plates and gold flatware added sparkle to the rustic tables and chairs, while acrylic scripted table numbers offered a modern accent. Knotted linen napkins and detailed menus sat on each plate.

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17 of 19

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

katelyn jose wedding menu with blue napkin
Rachel May Photography

Katelyn and Jose shared their love of Virginia wines with their out-of-town guests by curating a custom wine list of their local favorites and printing a detailed guide on the back of their menus. The wines complemented a meal from caterer Root & Stem, which included a spinach and berry salad and a Urfa biber pepper-grilled chicken breast with lemon pearl pasta. Since the catering company uses local, seasonal ingredients, Katelyn and Jose didn't get to pick their menu in advance. "We did our tasting during the winter, and weren't able to taste recipes that could be served during our summer wedding," says Katelyn. "We just had Craig surprise us with the menu, and we absolutely loved it!"

18 of 19

Piece of Cake

katelyn jose wedding cake with pink flower detail
Rachel May Photography

A three-tiered cake from Eloise's Pastries, decorated with stucco-finish buttercream frosting and fresh flowers, offered guests their choice of two flavors—Champagne with citrus or almond with raspberry and vanilla. "Jose and I seriously struggled with cutting our cake!" says Katelyn. "They don't prepare you for how thick that fondant can be, or how you have to wiggle the slice out from the weight of the second tier! It was such a laugh, and we have an awesome photo with the amused and elated faces of our friends and family cheering us on after finally pulling out that piece of cake."

19 of 19


katelyn jose wedding couple kissing with sunset backdrop
Rachel May Photography

Photography, Rachel May Photography
Location, Great Marsh Estate
Catering, Root & Stem
Flowers, Wild Green Yonder
Stationery, Shine Wedding Invitations
Cake, Eloise's Pastries
Music, DJ Eddy Bobby, Black Tie Entertainment (ceremony and reception); Mariachi El Rey (cocktail hour)
Rentals, Something Vintage; White Glove Rentals
Bride's gown, Stella York
Bride's accessories, BHLDN jewelry; Bella Belle shoes
Hair and makeup, Les Bourgeois Artistry
Bridesmaids' dresses, BHLDN
Groom's suit, Bonobos
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Black Tie Entertainment
Banners, Leah Letters
Guest Book, Starboard Press
Rings, Brilliant Earth

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