With its romantic, vintage feel, topped by the stunning light captured by our friend Adam Barnes, of course I remember Tami + James’ wedding fondly from Southern Weddings V5! But what I didn’t realize was Tami’s sweet inspiration and attention to meaningful details. Tami said that her mother was the design inspiration for their wedding (I LOVE that!). “Growing up in Virginia, my mom and I would spend weekend afternoons exploring the countryside and all its gravel roads, farms and antique shops, looking for vintage treasures to incorporate into our garden or bring into our home,” said Tami. We think the couple did a fantastic job weaving such an incredible image into their big day all while keeping their own personal style at the core.
Favorite design element of your big day: The wedding paper, specifically the save the dates. Lucinda Wesson of Chocolate Creative Designs was an absolute dream to work with. I wanted to use the save the dates as an opportunity to capture our guests’ imagination and set the stage for the rest of our Southern wedding. Together, Lucinda and I created a unique design that had guests talking for months. When James proposed, he hid my engagement ring in a Magnolia Bakery cupcake box (the man knows the way to my heart!) so I thought it would be cute to package the save the dates in a bakers box that resembled those from Magnolia Bakery. The traditional Magnolia Bakery logo is a picture of the bakery storefront but instead, Lucinda created a custom design that included a drawing of the Thomas Birkby carriage house, the scene in which James and I would exchange our vows. As many of our guests would be traveling for our big day, we themed the rest of the details around Virginia: hints of dogwood prints (the state flower) and subtle cardinals (the state bird), textures of washed out burlap, watercolor paper and a touch of Southern hospitality – Virginia peanuts, used as box fillers! As our guests opened the bakery box, they found the save the date card in a customer printed burlap “peanut sack” among the peanuts. Not only did our guests love the design but they enjoyed the treat inside. So inspired was one of our guests, that they used the components of the save the date to create a custom gift box and wrapping for our wedding gift – a sentimental treasure we will long cherish.
The lovely and talented Holly Heider Chapple did a beautiful job on our flowers. My bouquet included pale pink peonies, café au lait dahlias and dusty miller. The bouquet was bound with lace from my mother’s wedding dress and tucked away in one of the blooms was a tiny ruby given to me by my deceased uncle. The bridesmaids carried pale pink blush roses, scabiosa pods, ranunculus, dusty miller, and pink hydrangeas. The stems were bound in burlap and pearl pins. The bouts were tiny pink roses wrapped in burlap.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? The bridesmaid dresses are designed by Sarah Seven. I wanted the girls to wear dresses that matched the vintage feel of the wedding and the traditional taffeta dresses were not going to cut it! I was flipping through a bridal magazine one day and came across a photograph of a wedding with the bridesmaids wearing Sarah Seven dresses. I loved the softness of her designs, they are very whimsical and girly. I wanted an eclectic look so I chose two colors, robin’s egg blue and blush pink, and told the girls they could choose whatever style dress was most flattering on their body type. The colors photographed beautifully.
Our entire office had a little swoonfest when we first got a look at this little guy! That bow tie + that hat = we die!
Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a traditional non-denominational ceremony. Our officiant, Gil, who was recommended by my boss, felt the same as us and focused the ceremony on God’s beautiful creation, love, and how to nurture, honor and enjoy it.
Who participated in your ceremony? We had two readers, our friends Allison Black and Claire Vorhees. My 14-year-old sister, Niki also sang Ave Maria during the ceremony — a performance people are still raving about!
Did you try anything new or untraditional? I walked down the aisle to Jont’s “Sweetheart,” a song that when I heard it, reminded me of James. We had a very fun parting song, Barry Louis Polisar’s “All I Want is You” that set the tone for a perfect outdoor cocktail hour.
Our summer wedding was on June 23, 2012 at the Thomas Birkby House in Leesburg, Virginia. Even though we lived in New York, we are both Southern at heart – I with my Southern roots, and James with his country club gentleman style – so we thought Virginia would be the perfect spot. It just felt like home. When we visited the Thomas Birkby House, we were both blown away at the detail and care Ron and Judy put into maintaining the venue. We also loved the old-time Virginia feel of the house and gardens. As a logistical bonus, the house was 15 minutes away from my parent’s house – the perfect staging area for our farm table, flowers and centerpieces — and the resort we used to spend time at while dating. That weekend, our guests were able to enjoy the pool during the day and James had a prenuptial golf tournament with his father, uncles and groomsmen – one of his few requirements for the weekend.
My mother was the design inspiration behind our wedding. Growing up in Virginia, my mom and I would spend weekend afternoons exploring the countryside and all its gravel roads, farms and antique shops, looking for vintage treasures to incorporate into our garden or bring into our home. Knowing James’ weekend style, cultivated by his passion for golf and love of leisurely Saturday county club afternoons, toasting his round with mint juleps and cigars, I knew he would be supportive of the Southern vintage theme I envisioned. From there, I was off to the races creating a unique experience for our guests that reflected our personalities.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. James and I met in 2007 while working for the same company in Northern Virginia. We worked in separate offices and would have never met if fate wasn’t on our side. One summer afternoon, a mutual friend and colleague invited us both to lunch. When James arrived at our office to meet for lunch, he saw, as he says, a “bouncy blonde” walking down the hall and instantly prayed, “Oh please God, let that be the friend I am going to lunch with!” Luckily it was, and after a long lunch filled with laughter, our relationship began. Unfortunately, time was not on our side as James was due to leave for business school in Chicago just six weeks after we met. We dated long distance for his two years at school, including a summer in New York. While it was challenging at times, we enjoyed the sparks that flew each time we reunited and the dream of living together in New York City after graduation.
Describe the proposal: In 2009, we settled in to our first (and tiny!) New York City apartment in the West Village, which is where James popped the question. It was a Thursday evening when James walked through the door of our apartment with a box of my favorite cupcakes from our neighborhood bakery, Magnolia. I opened the box and to my surprise, there was the most beautiful engagement ring right next to a cupcake! After proposing, James told me to pack my suitcase. I was shocked. Not only had he planned a romantic trip for us, but also arranged the vacation days with my boss without me knowing. We spent the long weekend drinking and eating pool-side, enjoying couples massages and lounging on the beach – the perfect way to celebrate our new engagement!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Vintage, personal, Southern.
What was the weather like on your big day? Perfect – 85 degrees, sunny with a gentle summer breeze
How many guests attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What is your favorite thing about it? I purchased my wedding dress from a little bridal boutique in NYC called Adriennes. The designer is Jim Hjelm. Since we were having a vintage-inspired wedding, I knew I wanted a lace dress. What I loved specifically about this dress was the design of the lace. It wasn’t your traditional Chantilly lace, it was more of a crochet lace. I thought it was unique and I loved the way the mermaid style showed off my curves.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your big day? I spent most of the day with my bridesmaids getting our makeup and hair done. James was running around making sure our guests were enjoying themselves by the pool. On Friday, James had a golf tournament with his dad, uncles, friends and groomsmen, jokingly referred to as the Prenuptial Open.
Adam Barnes is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!