“Emily and Chris planned an eco-friendly wedding filled with lots of their own personal DIY details! They filled out the questionnaire to provide more details about their day.”
Bridal Q & A
Q1: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A1: Our wedding was inspired by our love of nature, national parks, and the notion that the entire weekend was about the joining of our two halves as one. We wanted our friends and family to be able to spend multiple days getting to know each other and have as much opportunity to spend time with everyone along the way. the quotes on our programs, the readings during the ceremony, and the songs during the reception were all personalized and chosen to represent love, community, and fun. it was important that the wedding weekend be as eco friendly as possible, including no single-use plastic at the wedding, online save the date and invitations, all-vegetarian menu, asking people to carpool to events, and saving food after each event.
Color palette: we wanted a sense of romance and outdoors, we knew we wanted the fall with changing colors of the season. once the groom chose his amazing burgundy suit we had that to play off so we asked our sisters to wear blush and our brothers to wear navy or grey. We didn’t want anything artificially colored so we used flowers in season and pumpkins in season to complement the color scheme of burgundy, blush, ivory, green, and orange.
Traditions: we aren’t institutionally religious but incorporating a few traditions with our personal spin was important. we exchanged vows but we wrote them ourselves to each other, we exchanged rings but wrote the words together to each say, we had an officiant but chose the bride’s childhood best friend, we had readings during the ceremony and chose our siblings to say them aloud together as an illustration of families coming together. our parents each walked us down the aisle because it was their day, too. no one was given away but rather we joined as a union in our own right. we did a cake cutting because the mothers asked us to and it was delicious. our first dances were a special time to have with our parents and the speeches by the bride’s sisters and the groom’s best friends were a traditional ask but not traditional presentations. vendors – it was important to us that we worked with vendors who shared our values and vision for the day/weekend. we wanted to support only women and or minority-owned businesses in the area. we’re so lucky that we’re now all friends in real life! it was incredible the power of our vendor team in supporting us, recommending each other to us to hire, etc.
Q2: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A2: we knew we wanted to use the natural venue setting as the backdrop. we wanted to incorporate our personalities and our love of travel and national parks and the outdoors into the decor. The main theme was national parks! The groom designed beautiful crafty signs that all incorporated the national park logo including “find your seat, find your park” for guests to pick up their branch picture frames aka table cards and favors to go to their tables. we also had “but first, bubbles” for the welcome champagne and “we love you s’mores” for our campfire-esque s’more station during the reception and “you mean the world to us” for guests to sign a globe we purchased at a national park gift shop, instead of a guest book.
Our friends and family helped us DIY by stuffing the table cards, making hand-painted wooden signs that said “adventure begins” and “love” with our initials. the groom designed a huge welcome sign that looked like the guests were entering Shenandoah national park but with our wedding day details. Centerpieces were vintage national parks postcards, surrounded by wooden mountains, and bud vases with flowers, all on top of wooden slabs, to create a vintage, romantic, outdoor decor that was low enough for guests to talk over. most of our decor was DIY and was inherited! It was important to us to use vintage glass jars and ceramic pottery from her grandmothers’ farm in WVA, vintage suitcases from her grandparents on the display table with the guest globe, vintage cameras for the groom’s love of photography. we displayed photos of our absent loved ones so that they felt present on our day. and by we, I mean our amazing coordinator took all of our items and used her creative expertise to make our vision come to life! we never would’ve been able to display and create an atmosphere as she did.
Q3: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A3: Using locally and ethically grown flowers were important to us. we chose bees wing farm in Virginia. the bride knew she wanted dahlias and greenery but nothing too elaborate or stuffy looking. we wanted a natural, homegrown, beautiful color, classy vibe. the florist met with us over the phone and in-person and really delivered! We had wristlets for the sisters and mothers and boutonnieres for the dads and brothers and groom. the bridal bouquet was the stuff dreams are made of and the flowers all photographed so well we got so many compliments. again, our coordinator took the lose stems and buds and arranged them all for us at the ceremony and reception site to make it all beautiful.
Q4: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A4: The whole wedding was us! we were both very active in the planning of details and macro-level vision, in communication with our vendor team. we want attendees to get to know us as a couple better by attending our wedding since much of our relationship was long-distance and some folks only knew one of us. so we wrote the ceremony, designed the programs, designed the signs, picked out the decorations, etc. The whole day was magical!!! It truly was the best day ever. People said it felt very us and they appreciated that.
Q5: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A5: As someone that wears a navy suit regularly, Chris wanted something that would stand out from the typical navy, grey, or black formal wear worn by most grooms and set off to find a color that would tastefully stand out. At first, Chris looked into a forest green suit but we both worried that it would inadvertently blend into the outdoor venue filled with trees and bushes. Since the wedding was taking place in the fall, Chris found a burgundy suit that really captured the fall colors we hoped to incorporate into the wedding itself. When Chris showed Emily the suit online, she was immediately smitten and it ended up helping set the rest of the color palette for the wedding itself.
Emily had a long Pinterest board of dresses but narrowed in o the idea of long sleeves, long dress, with a romantic vintage flowy feel. The dress she ended up wearing was the first one she tried on in a random bridal store in Denver in August 2019 and her face lit up. After a trip to another fitting in Virginia with her family in October 2019, it was the last dress she tried on and it was the one to beat. she felt like herself but bridal. It was lightweight enough, was romantic with a little bit of sexy class to it, and she could move all day and night long no problem. she wanted a dress that made her feel pretty and she didn’t want a costume change so she wanted to feel in her own skin and she did! She looooves her wedding dress. It was more expensive than she planned but she’ll never regret how she felt wearing it. she wanted to wear booties not heels and she chose a vegan leather blush bootie to match the color scheme.
Q6: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A6: We met through our jobs when Emily was working in African conservation and I was working in marketing African safaris. At first, we worked together professionally before our interactions began to become more friendly. At the time Emily lived in DC and Chris in Denver. Our first date took place when Emily flew back to Colorado for a destination wedding in the mountains and invited Chris along for the weekend, our first date lasted 72 hours and we’ve been in love ever since!
Chris chose to propose to Emily at the Frank Llyod Wright home, Falling Water, one of the architect’s most famous homes. It incorporates multiple passions into one space, history, architectural design, and nature. Chris set up to tour the home as late as possible so that as the crowds dwindled we could have some time to ourselves. After the tour, standing at the famous overlook that gazes back towards the home, they both stood nervously waiting as Chris pretended to fuss with his camera until finally the other tourists were gone. He then dropped to one knee and before he could get his question in Emily leapt with joy and said yes yes yes! Emily couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spot and way to propose! at a historical natural setting, just the two of us, in a place that was new to us both so our first memories of the place is our proposal. I was nervously twirling anxious he was up to something with his camera and I remember hopping like a pogo stick. We spent the night in one of the apprentice built homes and we didn’t tell our families for 24+ hours, just keeping the news to ourselves for a sweet bit.
Q7: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A7: For Chris the most anticipated or special moment was our exchanging of our vows. We worked together to make the ceremony unique to ourselves and each wrote our own vows. It was so special to hear what each of us had written to each other. For Emily the whole experience is to be relived over and over. Nothing went wrong that mattered. Our loved ones, our friends, our vendors, each other – everyone showed up to witness and celebrate our union as one family. I remember stopping the ceremony to just take a minute to drink it all in – the sunshine, the faces, my handsome groom, and the leaves waving. Chris outdid me in his vows for sure! they were equally hilarious and thoughtful.
Q8: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
A8: Do it together – but recognize each person has some parts of the day/weekend that matter more than the other and vice versa. divide and conquer given your interests and skills and mental capacities for the tasks. ask for help from your friends and family – it turns out people love being involved and doing things with you! make the day about yourselves as much as you can, while respecting that the day is also important to your families and the guest experience is key. Think about what you like about weddings and give that to your guests. if the day feels like you then you’ll be enveloped in the day and cherish it more. Drink up every single second because it flies by and its so incredibly special to marry your person in front of your people. Also hire all of our vendors for your wedding!!!
Vendors in this Wedding
Dress Designer: THEIA
Caterer: Great Blue Heron Catering
Ring Designer: Shelter
Bakery: Scout’s Bakeshop
DJ: Elite Mixers Entertainment
Makeup Artist: Makeovers On Call
Dress Store: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique
Design and Decor: Always Creating Studio Weddings & Events
Floral Designer: Bee’s Wing Farm
Event Venue: Rust Manor House
Photographer: Megan Rei Photography
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