Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Real Wedding Inspiration: Southern Summer

With Labor Day weekend now officially over, there’s perhaps no better way to bid summer farewell than by reflecting back upon how this year’s season first began. While for you that might have meant taking an inaugural trip to the beach or firing up the grill, for me, the early days of June brought the opportunity to coordinate a unique Southern summer wedding for my former classmate Lia and her fiance Matt.

Even though it was a cold day in January when I first met up with her, Lia’s clear vision for an intimate vineyard celebration – complete with a cocktail-style reception and plenty of creative touches honoring the couple's mutual love of books, wine and the rolling Virginia countryside – immediately intrigued me and made it seem as if summer was already just around the corner.

Here, I hope you’ll enjoy a selection of photos from Lia and Matt’s wedding day as shot by the talented Helen and Heather of Honey Hill Photography, who captured everything from the adorable bird-themed cake topper to the innovative wine-cork guestbook and outdoor picnic games. 

Lia, carrying a basket filled with baby's breath and a beloved book, made her way down the aisle to "Storybook Love" from The Princess Bride while close to 80 relatives and friends looked on. Keeping things simple and laid-back, both Lia and her bridesmaids went barefoot throughout the day. 

Post-ceremony, the couple and wedding party posed for photos all around the grounds of Paradise Springs Winery, including alongside an historic cabin where Lia and her bridesmaids had spent time getting ready earlier in the day. Meanwhile, guests enjoyed taking part in either a group wine-tasting or improvisational comedy show.  

During the reception, guests were free to mingle inside a rustic red barn, where a wine-cork guestbook and basket of homemade cookie favors welcomed them, or outdoors on the lawn, where picnic tables offered everything from books and magazines to playing cards, cootie catchers and Connect Four games. The couple's first dance to "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Don Henley was the perfect way to kick things off. 

Showcasing a vine-themed design and handmade "love bird" topper, Lia and Matt's cake was a huge hit. A delicious array of food and drinks featuring buffalo chicken dip, pulled pork sliders, lemonade and sweet tea was also displayed nearby, while various other tasty bites were hand-passed throughout the afternoon.

Congratulations, Lia and Matt, and thank you for letting me be a part of your day! May you make many more wonderful summer memories together.

Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Virginia  

Janelle Bowles 

Dave Johnson 

Honey Hill Photography

Carol Gaylor & Bruce Katsu

Wanda's Cakes

Heather & Stephen Walrath

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