A Fall Wedding on a North Carolina River
A week before he popped the question, Mark Battin convinced Virginia Nash—who goes by her middle name, Crutcher—that there was no way he'd be proposing any time soon. "It was right before Labor Day weekend, and we were going to spend the holiday at the beach with my family," says the bride. "That Wednesday night, we'd planned to go out to dinner at a restaurant I wanted to try, and I was ready to walk out the door with my purse over my shoulder when he got down on one knee. I was completely shocked!" Mark also planned a second surprise: drinks with a small group of family and friends afterwards. "Needless to say, we ended up missing the fancy reservation," says Crutcher. "We ended the night with Champagne and cheeseburgers. It was perfect."
The number one thing Crutcher wanted for her hometown wedding was for their guests to understand why Washington, North Carolina, was such a special place. "My goal for a fall wedding was for everyone to enjoy their time there and to just enhance the natural beauty that we were already so lucky to have," she says. "In addition to that, I wanted to highlight the fall season, but without feeling overly rustic." To that end, the pair decided on shades of hunter green and natural beige tones with seasonal florals. Their neighbors graciously agreed to share their outdoor space for the ceremony, while the reception was held on Crutcher's parents' property. "There is a lot of extra planning and care that comes with preparing for a wedding at your home," says the bride, who organized the celebration without the help of a professional. "My parents handled all of the logistics in terms of getting the house and yard ready, and I handled a lot of the vendor coordination—it was definitely a team effort and a labor of love."
The wedding festivities, which were overseen by a weekend event coordinator, were family affairs, beginning with Thursday-night cocktails and dinner for loved ones hosted by Mark's aunt at a beautiful bed and breakfast in town. "It was the perfect way to welcome people for the weekend!" says Crutcher. On Friday night, the couple threw a rehearsal dinner followed by a welcome party at a gin distillery, which is also known as one of the area's best restaurants. Family and friends also hosted a welcome brunch for the pair at their home before the Saturday morning ceremony. "They were all such gracious hosts—so wonderful and excited for us throughout the entire process," says Crutcher. "I am thankful for both immediate and extended family and friends, who were endlessly selfless in ensuring that everything was wedding ready. The phrase 'it takes a village' has never been truer." Another personal touch? The wedding date. "We were married on October 26, 2019, which is also my parents' anniversary," says Crutcher. "It is so special to share that with them."
The couple's classic thermographed invitations from William Arthur featured a special personalization—wax seals with the Nash family crest, which Crutcher and her mother made themselves. "It was something that made it really unique and special for us, and was something that was actually really fun to do together," she says.
After a pre-ceremony brunch, Chas Kinney arranged Crutcher's hair into classic low updo.
Lots of Lace
Crutcher's Pronovias wedding dress was covered in lace and featured a delicate sweetheart neckline. Her lace-edged veil was a family heirloom.
The bride's bouquet, arranged by Doug Cutler of Deep Root Farms, was full of fall color and featured dahlias, golden rod, hypericum, greenery, and zinnias.
Mark was outfitted in an Alton Lane tuxedo he commissioned for the occasion.
A Sentimental Moment
Crutcher was moved to tears by the card Mark wrote and had-delivered to her before the service.
A Bright Bridal Party
Mark's sister and Crutcher's two siblings served as the maids and matron of honor, standing up for her during the ceremony; a slew of her close friends served as honorary bridesmaids, as well. "My sisters and Mark's all wore the same hunter green one-shoulder dress," she shares. "For my bridesmaids and greeters, I told them they could wear whatever they wanted. They all met me as I finished getting ready for a glass of Champagne before the ceremony. And everyone's dresses ended up looking gorgeous together!"
The bridesmaids also created a very special moment when Crutcher found herself anxiously awaiting the start of the ceremony. "They all sensed this, and started singing 'I Say a Little Prayer for You'—one of my favorites," says the bride. "It was such a fun, spontaneous moment—even the rector joined in!"
The groom chose his father as best man; a mix of friends and family served as groomsmen. Each gentleman wore his own tuxedo.
Resplendent Ring Bearer
The couple's littlest member of the wedding party was Mark's nephew, Crosby, who wore green velvet suspender shorts and carried his stuffed dog down the aisle. "He was a little unsure of it all at first, but did great!" says Crutcher.
A Gorgeous Setting
The ceremony was held in their neighbors' breathtaking yard, where Crutcher had envisioned getting married since she was a girl. The pergola-covered terrace by the river set the lovely scene, and the couple chose a simple altar so as not to compete with the beauty of the setting. "We covered a chest with a natural linen cloth overlaid with a vintage tablecloth," describes the bride. "Our church loaned us a brass cross, which we flanked with candles and antique glass hurricane lanterns."
A Sentimental Journey
"My dad walked me down the aisle, and was such a calming presence," says Crutcher. "It was also special that my 89-year-old grandfather escorted my mom to her seat—so it was his second time walking her down the aisle on October 26."
A Sweet Smooch
Crutcher and Mark paused for a kiss on their way back up the aisle after exchanging vows during the Episcopalian service.
Buried the Bourbon
The couple didn't serve a specific signature drink during the cocktail hour, "unless you count the bourbon we dug up!" says Crutcher.
Since they were hosting their wedding in a coastal area, the couple wanted to make sure they had plenty of local seafood, including these passed tuna-tartare appetizers served during a very special cocktail hour that the bride and groom joined. "The 'golden hour' during cocktails really felt magical," says Crutcher. "There was so much joy during that time—the light was perfect, people were getting their first drinks and all catching up, and it felt like a really intimate time that we loved being a part of."
The couple stole a few moments alone on the dock to reflect on their special day together.
Color and Texture
Round tables were swathed with textured, neutral tablecloths for the reception and topped with vibrantly hued floral arrangements that featured dahlias, cattails, Spanish moss, okra, ferns, hydrangeas, and more. Floating candles in cylinders with bittersweet wrapped inside continued the fall theme and color palette on alternating stations.
Sabering the Champagne
At the end of cocktail hour, and before the food stations opened, guests gathered on the front porch for a toast and a blessing by Crutcher's father. "After that, Mark sabered a Champagne bottle in front of everyone, which was so festive and a fun twist," says the bride. "Thank goodness it worked!"
Table for Two
"One of the best decisions that Mark and I made was to eat dinner together, just the two of us," says Crutcher. "We knew we wanted to do this, but my Mom really took over to make this a special part of the evening. She set up a candlelit table in our sunroom with my great-grandmother's silver, which now belongs to Mark and me. It was a time I will never forget, and one of the first moments we had to just relax and enjoy each other's company."
A Southern Delight
The pair's semi-naked cake from Scarborough Fare Catering was made of southern pound cake and featured a delicious caramel sauce. Fresh blooms in fall hues decorated the tiers.
A Little Aretha
"My Cup Runneth Over" by Aretha Franklin played during the couple's first-dance song. "I'd loved this obscure song for a while, and always felt like it kind of summed us up," says Crutcher. "It is a little unusual for a first dance song (and probably a little slower than I imagined), but I loved it anyway!"
The wedding itself was a gorgeous affair that flowed smoothly from beginning to end. Even the couple's exit was extraordinary. "We left by boat, surrounded by sparklers, and with a fireworks display that was brought up from South Carolina by my sisters (and that my uncles took great pride in setting off)," says Crutcher. "After that, we circled back around and joined guests for late-night karaoke and food. The perfect end to the evening!"
Photography, Carrie Coleman Photography
Weekend Event Coordinator, Linsey Prewitt for Day Dreamer Events
Flowers, Doug Cutler for Deep Root Farms
Invitations, William Arthur via PaperBuzz
Calligraphy, Liza Steed Calligraphy
Stationery, Litho Graphix
Officiant, David Williams
Bride's Gown, Pronovias
Shoes, Marc Fisher
Hair, Chas Kinney
Makeup, Hannah Edson
Bridesmaids' dresses, Lela Rose
Bridesmaids' Jewelry, Gabrielle Jewelry
Groom's Attire, Alton Lane
Wedding Bands, Stewart's Jewelry Store (Mark) and Will Manning/Milliard Diamond Concierge (Crutcher)
Music, The Black and Blue Experience for East Coast Entertainment
Catering and Cake, Scarborough Fare Catering
Rentals, Chair & Equipment Rental; Party Reflections
A/V Rental, PC Sound
Favors, SCOUT Bags
Transportation, Roberson Cab Service; Sunway Charters
Welcome Party Venue (Thursday), Elmwood 1820 Bed & Breakfast
Welcome Party Venue (Friday), The Hackney
Rehearsal Dinner Venue, Washington Yacht and Country Club