I might as well get the wedding recaps out of the way so I can start with the business of the rest of my life :) Since the wedding, I've cut myself off from wedding blogs cold turkey. It's 99% a massive relief, but there's a little part of myself that's kind of wistful about seeing how various other bloggers' weddings turned out. When we landed in Charlotte from Paris, I saw that the new Martha Stewart Weddings was out, so of course I had to look to see if Grace from Design*Sponge's wedding was featured (it was, and it was gorgeous, and confirmed my decision to stop reading wedding blogs: there are an infinite number of perfect weddings, and I'm just going to sit back and be happy with my own) and Chris had a minor fit when he saw that I was reading a wedding magazine.
Wow, how many more times can I type the word "wedding" in one paragraph?
So most of the photos I'm putting up are borrowed from friends' Facebook albums; I'll credit our official photographer when I use hers. We took Chris's laptop to France and our first hotel had free wireless, so of course we had to log on at the end of each day to see what people were posting :) Sometimes the Internet is fun, after all.
I'll start with choosing our location. It's a bit blurry to remember--this was summer 2008--but we decided on Virginia because to do it in New York City meant all our families would have to travel; East Hampton, where Chris's mom lives, was a bit too pricey for us; and northern Maine, where Chris's dad's family lives, is very remote and would be difficult to travel to. Still, it was a tough call because all of those places would make lovely wedding settings. (We didn't consider a destination wedding for one second--it just wasn't something we wanted to do.)
Once we decided upon Virginia, it took us a few months to stumble across Lake Ritchie. We checked out various plantations, manor homes, bed & breakfasts, and other wedding "plug-and-play" sites, as Chris termed them. They all shared whopping price tags and a certain blandness that we weren't crazy about. Then Kristen, our photographer, mentioned Lake Ritchie to my mom. She had shot a wedding there that had been gorgeous even though it had poured rain. We drove out one early fall weekend to check it out, and we were convinced fairly quickly.
All that's there is a lake and a pavilion with a kitchen and two bathrooms, so it's definitely a Bring In The Troops kind of location. It's not something with a website--it's a lady who rents out the family land now and again. But it was gorgeous. It was exactly the unpretentious, naturally beautiful setting we had hoped for, wanting to show all our guests just what we love about Virginia.
We rented a tent, tables and chairs, brought in a caterer, and had our cake delivered. Otherwise, the wedding was put together by me and Chris, our families and bridal party, and run by the amazing Cole & Jeremy, two of our best friends. We couldn't have done it without them. To anyone planning your own wedding: you DO need a Day-Of Coordinator. I resisted that idea too, thinking I could do it all myself, but without Cole there, I would have been a nervous wreck. And so many of our other friends chipped in that day, too, helping to set up and take down. Thanks, guys. I would do the same for you in a heartbeat, even though I wish you hadn't had to lift a finger.
Finally--we were so lucky (blessed, honestly) with the most beautiful weather. It was a sunny, blue-skied day in the mid-70s, not a cloud to be seen. According to the news anchors the days leading into it there was a 0% chance of rain, which would have relieved my mind considerably if I hadn't already made the decision not to worry about it. Hooray for sunny outdoor weddings!
And for ravishing sunsets!