A Vintage, Formal Outdoor Wedding in Virginia

Photo: Jodi & Kurt Photography
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Laine and Rob

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After a tiring day at work, Rob was ready to skip the party he was planning on attending in the evening. But after remembering his friend's advice of never turning down an invitation since you never know who you're going to meet, he changed his mind and kept his plans. As he drove up to the soiree, he saw Laine perfectly framed through the kitchen's bay windows and immediately felt the evening would be great. That chance encounter led to a first date, which turned into three dates in three days. Eight years later, the duo tied the knot.

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The Location

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Initially considering a destination wedding on a beach in Florida, Laine and Rob found something special not too far from their home in Charlottesville, Virginia -- James Madison's Montpelier. With the date of May 12, 2012, available, everything soon fell into place for planning a wedding on the historic property.

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The Scene

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With more than 2,000 acres of rolling hills and manicured gardens, the sprawling estate offered countless backdrops for portraits and impressive views at every step.

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The Fashions

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Laine paired her Vera Wang "Genevieve" dress with Butter shoes, Swarovski earrings and bracelet,. But the best accessory of all? Rob, who sported a shawl-collar Ralph Lauren Black Label tuxedo, with a shirt that stayed crisp through the night thanks to Tiffany & Co. collar stays engraved with the couple's initials and wedding date (a gift from Laine).

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A Special Something

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A charm holding a photo of the bride's brother, who unexpectedly passed away eight months before the wedding, was attached to Laine's bouquet to honor his memory.

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The Boutonnieres

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A succulent and privet flowers were accented with dusty miller for the groomsmens' boutonnieres.

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A Handsome Pup

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Finn, the couple's goldendoodle, had been a part of their lives for two years come wedding day. During the planning stage, Laine and Rob had just one request: their venue must allow dogs for the entire celebration. The beloved dog roamed freely and mingled all day to the couple's delight.

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The Bridal Party

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Laine's bridesmaids chose their own dresses in a palette of peach, pink, and beige. The grouping included frocks by Alice and Olivia, Ann Taylor, and Meg. Custom-made jewelry by Erin McDermott unified their looks. Each piece of jewelry was designed especially for each girl, as a nod to her own strengths and personalities.

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Bridesmaids' Bouquets

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The four ladies in Laine's bridal party carried petite bouquets of peonies, parrot tulips, dusty miller, ranunculus, and wild viburnum.

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The Portraits

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With Montpelier's sprawling grounds, the picturesque photo backdrops were abundant. Pre-ceremony pictures were snapped by Jodi Miller in the gardens and on the lawn near the manor house.

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Crafted with Love

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With Laine's background in art (it was her major in college), she put her skills to use creating many wedding details by hand, including a hand-painted chalkboard sign that greeted guests.

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Snacks Upon Arrival

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Guests were welcomed to the ceremony with the couple's favorite local kettle corn from Blue Ridge Kettle Korn in small boxes sporting labels designed by the bride. The grown ups also sipped on Champagne. To help everyone settle into the stunning setting and feel relaxed touches like these were incorporated throughout the fete.

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All Set Up

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A week before the wedding, the idea for a beautiful table at the outdoor "altar" came into play. A distressed farm table was rented and topped with mercury glass, candles, ornamental peaches, and flowers -- some of which were displayed in two of the couple's own vases. "It's wonderful that we have vases at home that were present on our wedding day," Laine said.

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The Flower Girl

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Nataley, the bride's niece, served as flower girl and looked the part in a layered-organza dress accented by a linen bloom made by Laine. Since the ceremony aisle was already covered in petals, she had long-stemmed peonies to hand out (to anyone that smiled at her). Each bloom was wrapped with ribbon streamers.

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The Ceremony

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Laine and Rob created a special ceremony, drawing from traditional Christian elements and poetry. Readings of Rilke's "Pathways" and Pablo Neruda's "Epithalamium", adapted vows, and a ring passing ceremony for each guest to bless the wedding bands made it truly one-of-a-kind. One surprise addition? Bunnies hopping amidst the 120 guests while the couple exchanged vows.

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The Music

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A three-piece gypsy jazz ensemble played Jose Gonzales's rendition of "Heartbeats" as Laine made her entrance and Beethoven's "Sonata no. 8 Pathetique, 2nd Movement" during the ring passing ceremony.

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An Effervescent Exit

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Bubbles were on hand for a festive walk back up the aisle at the ceremony's conclusion. The fun touch helped transition from the service to the party to come.

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Written With Love

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Escort cards were paired with personal messages of love and gratitude from the couple.

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The Decor

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The escort cards were strung between ladders dressed up with a few floral arrangements.

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The Reception

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Long tables decorated with striped runners (sewn by the groom's mom) were dotted with low floral arrangements and mercury glass votive holders that allowed conversation to flow easily.

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Joint Seating

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A grapevine-and-flower wreath sweetly joined the bride and groom's chairs together.

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The Table Numbers

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Laine printed menus on thick paper and painted table numbers on another piece of cardstock. She then sewed them together and added lace trim. Silver vessels holding loose arrangements were surrounded by succulent rosettes, small pillar candles, and mercury glass votives.

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The Dinner

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The sun set beyond the tent as dinner was served. On the menu: a salad of fresh arugula, roasted beets, red onion, and Champagne vinaigrette; steak chinoise with a sauce of tamari, scallion, and ginger; roasted new potatoes with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh rosemary; grilled asparagus with charred tomato vinaigrette; and homemade focaccia, seeded rolls, and breadsticks.

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The Favors

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A week before the wedding, the couple made salted caramels -- a specialty of the bride's -- for their favors. Each guest received a dozen of the addictive sweets, which were wrapped by friends and bridesmaids. The glassine bags were sealed with baker's twine and labels designed by Laine and Rob.

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The First Dance

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The band played Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" as the bride and groom showed off the result of month's worth of dance lessons.

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On Display

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To celebrate their love of travel, the couple purchased vintage postcards and displayed them on a stand made by a friend. Guests had a nice time looking through the collection that was suspended from twine with small clips.

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Notes for the Globetrotters

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Guests were asked to "wish the bride and groom a world of love" by picking a postcard with a destination that resonated with them and writing a message to the couple. Finished cards were placed in a "mailbox" made from reclaimed wood and old post-office box doors. Each postcard was stamped, addressed, and mailed by a friend, to the newlyweds so they'd be waiting for them upon their return from a mini-moon on Ocracoke Island.

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The Cakes

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A selection of cakes decorated in different ways was presented on simple glass cake stands. Flavors included: almond cake with cherry filling and vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, coconut cake with marshmallow frosting and a dusting of shredded coconut, pineapple-speckled cake with pineapple curd and rum-laced buttercream, old-fashioned chocolate cake with chocolate-hazelnut filling and vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, and lemon cake with lemon curd and ginger Italian meringue buttercream.

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The Sweets

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Homemade vanilla marshmallows dyed in an ombre fashion to match the color palette were presented on wooden sticks from The Bakers Confections. French macarons filled with orange-scented cream were also served.

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Jodi & Kurt Photography

Photography: Jodi Miller Photography

Location: Montpelier

Catering: The C&O Restaurant

Flowers: Nature Composed

Videography: Shaking Hands Productions

Stationery: Minted

Cake: Go Girl Goodies

Music: Olivarez Trio; Walrus

Rentals: Stonegate Event Rentals; Classic Party Rentals

Tents: FDS Tents; Sperry Tents Southeast

Hair and makeup: Faces by Joy

Engagement ring and bride's band: Andrew Minton Jewelers

Groom's band: Angelo Jewelry

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