Rain on This Couple's Wedding Day Changed Their Outdoor Ceremony Plans in Virginia—for the Better
Leyla and Bryce had both recently moved to Maryland when, at the urging of several friends and family members, they each created an account on Bumble. "We downloaded Bumble the same weekend, matched on a Sunday, went out on our first date that following week, and the rest is history," says Leyla. "Our first date was at the Owl Bar in Baltimore where we had Moscow mules and bonded over our similar taste in music. We then headed to a concert down by the waterfront in Baltimore." When Bryce popped the question at the couple's home in March 2019, he included Moscow mules alongside the ring—"a nod to our first date," says Leyla.
Though the couple hoped to get married in October 2020 in Charlottesville, COVID-19 forced them to pivot. After eloping on their planned date, they chose the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg, Virginia, for a 110-guest celebration on October 16, 2021. "On a drive to the original wedding venue for a meeting with our florist, I had dropped a pin on my Google Maps as I was driving through Middleburg, Virginia. I remember telling myself, 'I need to bring Bryce back here with me—this town is so charming and the drive is stunning,'" says Leyla.
The couple leaned into the fall atmosphere with a palette of "golden hour hues," including shades of yellow, peach, and rust. "Not only did we fall in love with the venue, but the drive through Middleburg to the Goodstone Inn is absolutely breathtaking during the fall," says Leyla. "It takes you through downtown Middleburg, full of historic buildings from the 19th century, to winding country roads surrounded by beautiful fall foliage and a nearby creek."
The day of their wedding forced another pivot, when rain forced the couple to move their ceremony from a fully outdoor spot to a covered, paved pergola. But after last-minute changes to the flowers and setup, the couple said their vows in the much-more-intimate space, grabbed the last of the golden hour light for their portraits, and then celebrated with their friends and family while sipping—what else?—Moscow mules. "It felt like it was all meant to be," says the bride.
Pressed for Success
Custom invitations from Emily Baird Design included a dusty blue envelope that matched the letterpress ink, a rust-colored ribbon, and a watercolor envelope liner designed to mimic pressed fresh flowers. "Knowing that the majority of our guests would be traveling from out of town, it was very important to us to set the tone of the wedding from the beginning and to get guests excited for fall in Virginia," says Leyla. "We wanted our invitations to have a romantic, garden-inspired, and early fall feel."
Follow Your Heart
Leyla's soft trumpet wedding dress from Oscar de la Renta was the first one she tried on, while on a shopping trip with her mother. "We both fell in love with the unique guipure lace, and the bow felt both dramatic and classic," she says. "I tried on two more dresses but I kept going back to the first dress due to the gorgeous, hand-sewn lace. My mother encouraged me to trust my intuition. Ultimately, I wanted to feel like myself and not worry too much about trends or what was in style at the time—it was important for me to not overthink it and to pick something that felt the most 'me.'" She added a Lela Rose veil covered with floral appliqué, pearl-and-diamond earrings (her "something borrowed"), a blue sapphire ring, and Jimmy Choo heels.
A pre-ceremony rainstorm forced the couple and their bridal party into the property's window-lined conservatory for portraits. The groomsmen donned navy tuxedos to complement the groom, and Leyla's bridesmaids chose their own gowns. "I had my closest family members as bridesmaids instead of friends, including my sister, sister-in-law, and two cousins," she says. "It was important to me that my bridesmaids felt beautiful and most like themselves. They were provided a color palette and encouraged to find a dress that suited their personalities and different body shapes."
An asymmetrical bouquet from Mallory Joyce Design embodied the delicate autumn color palette, with eye-catching petals in sunset shades of "gold, rust, terracotta, magenta, current, and rose."
Wet weather forced the couple to relocate their ceremony to a covered space: the pergola near the pool. Floral garlands wrapped the pillars, while the chairs were set up to surround the bride and groom on three sides as they said their vows. "The flowers absolutely took my breath away," says Leyla. "Mallory, our floral designer, worked tirelessly that morning through the rain and pivoted from our original design elements to create a new floral design for our new ceremony location."
To the Ceremony
Instead of using the property's ivy-covered wall as the backdrop for their ceremony, the couple adorned the door that led to the pergola with coordinating flowers, marking the entrance for their guests. The same door led to the aisle, where Leyla and her brother walked together to the altar to meet Bryce.
Words of Love
Leyla and Bryce exchanged custom vows that they wrote separately from each other. "Despite eloping on our original wedding date, Bryce and I had saved our vows for our wedding, knowing that we wanted our friends and family to be a part of this special moment," says the bride. And even without discussing the vows in advance, they were remarkably similar: "Our vows somehow naturally mirrored and echoed one another's," says Leyla.
Although holding the ceremony under the pergola wasn't part of the original plan, it worked out perfectly. "We didn't realize how intimate and special it would feel to have our friends and family surround us on all three sides underneath the pergola," says the couple. "There were lots of tears and laughter throughout our vows."
Pool of Blooms
The pair filled the property's pool with a mix of blooms and petals, which created an unexpected floral moment as guests walked by.
After the ceremony, the couple took advantage of the golden hour lighting for their portraits before joining guests at the cocktail hour. Pre-dinner music was provided by a pianist and saxophonist. "I grew up playing piano and Bryce plays the saxophone, so this was a little nod to our musical hobbies," says Leyla.
The floral arch that would have backed the couple while they said their vows became a dramatic entrance point for the reception tent.
Setting the Bar
A custom-designed bar included floral detailing that matched the watercolor envelope liner from the couple's invitations and the newlyweds' monogram. Bartenders served up signature cocktails that included the "Owl Julep," named after the bar where the couple had their first date; and the "Hot Teddy," a take on a classic hot toddy re-christened to honor Leyla and Bryce's cat, Teddy.
Rustic wooden chandeliers draped in garlands of vines and leaves were suspended above the dance floor, adding an elegant glow to the tent.
Citrusy yellow flowers and terra-cotta-colored pillar candles accented the muted peaches and pinks of the low centerpieces that lined the dining tables.
Round tables were covered in floor-length linen, while the bare wood of the longer tables provided a natural contrast.
At Each Setting
Woven chargers, blue-patterned plates, and personalized menus that matched the watercolor liner of the invitation sat at each place setting. The inn's chefs provided a meal of tomatoes with pine nuts, beef tenderloin, chicken, and mushroom truffle risotto. "We really loved that the Goodstone Inn sources most ingredients from their own garden and onsite orchard and supplies meats from local butcheries," says Leyla. "Everything felt very farm-to-table."
Sweet and Savory
After dinner, the couple served dessert from Fluffy Thoughts Cakes—spiced pumpkin cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and chocolate chip cake with American buttercream, cookie dough, and milk crumbs. They also passed out chicken and waffles as a late-night snack while guests danced to music from the Adrian Duke Project.
Just What They Wanted
After sharing their first dance to "Rest" by Michael Kiwanuka, the couple requested a lineup of "oldies and jazz" from artists including Van Morrison, Steely Dan, and Dr. John. The newlyweds ended the night—after listening to meaningful, and also hilarious" toasts from the best man and Leyla's mother and siblings—by joining their guests for a fire pit and fresh s'mores. "Music and food," says Bryce. "Two of our favorite things."
Photography, Liz Fogarty Photography
Venue and Catering, Goodstone Inn
Event Planning, Simply Chic Events
Flowers, Mallory Joyce Design
Stationery, Emily Baird Design
Cake, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes
Music, Adrian Duke Project via Sam Hill Entertainment
Rentals, BBJ La Tavola; Emerson James; Paisley and Jade; Party Rental Ltd.; Sugarplum Tent Company
Bride's Gown, Oscar de la Renta
Bride's Accessories, Lela Rose veil; Jimmy Choo shoes
Hair, Amie Decker Beauty
Makeup, Nour Kazoun
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Blue Ridge Event Production
Transportation, Point to Point Limousines
- 9 Wedding Trends You'll See Everywhere in 2023, According to Wedding Planners and Event Designers
- 7 Wedding Dress and Accessory Trends Every Bride-to-Be Needs to Know About in 2023
- Princess Eugenie Is Pregnant With Her Second Child—and Is Due This Summer
- How to Tell Your Loved Ones—Especially Your Parents—That You're Engaged to Someone They Haven't Met