virginia weddings

Real Virginia Elopement: Chris & Katie

Virginia Bride features weddings weekly here on the blog. Being featured in the blog does not necessarily mean they are featured in the print magazine.

Bride: Katie Craig, 26, Small Business Owner

Groom: Christopher Brooks Jr., (Chris) 26, Small Business Owner

Ceremony Site: The Barns at Mattaponi Springs

Date: 01/08/2023

Guests Count: 3

Ceremony Time: 2:00 pm

Reception Venue: Private Residence

Guest Count: 18


Chance Meeting

Chris and Katie met in 2010 at a Mechanicsville Rebels football game but lost contact. In 2019, Katie shared a post on Facebook about how girls would rather have a cow than flowers. Chris commented on Katie’s post and sent her a message. After messaging back and forth, they exchanged phone numbers and continued getting to know each other. Katie said, “I told my sister about Chris, how easy it was to talk with him, and how much I liked him.” “My sister suggested I invite Chris to dinner at her house”. “He left work early to join us for dinner, and I’ll never forget how excited I was when Chris pulled up to the house driving his silver Camaro.” “We still joke that my sister practically interviewed him to ensure he would treat me right.” 

First Date

Chris and Katie’s first date was on July 1, 2019. They went swimming at Kent Lake in New Kent, VA. Sitting on a pier at the lake, they talked about everything for hours. Katie said, “Our favorite date was July 13, 2019, when we went for a drive on the Skyline Drive”. “Chris took me to his favorite childhood spot.” “We sat on a ledge that overlooked the mountains and were just talking and laughing when this couple approached. The couple said, “We can tell you are in love.” “They requested to use our phone to capture the moment to show us what they saw.” “To this day it’s still one of our favorite photos.” “The next day, Chris asked me to be his girlfriend.”  

I Love You

Chris first said, “I love you,” and the bride immediately reciprocated. When I asked Katie what she loved most about Chris, she said, “I love how intelligent he is.” “He can come up with a solution for anything.” “He has a lot of goals in life and is working very hard to accomplish them.” “I love how Chris makes it so easy for me to communicate with him.” 

Chris said, “I love Katie’s gorgeous smile and how it instantly brightens my days,” “I love her personality and how bubbly she is.” “I love Katie for being her.” “There’s nothing that makes me happier than being hers.”


On January 5, 2022, Chris proposed to Katie. Wanting to make the proposal extra special, he popped the question at the exact location as their first date. Katie was surprised but immediately said Yes! The couple selected their wedding date because it was almost a year from the date Chris proposed to Katie.



Katie wore an ivory dress with sheer long sleeves. The dress fell just above her ankles. She wore sterling silver looped earning and diamond studs along with a sterling silver double heart necklace. She wore low-heeled tan shoes.

Katie’s hair was styled by her sister. Ulta Beauty applied Katie’s make-up.

Katie designed and created her bouquet from faux silk eucalyptus, white roses, and wrapped burlap and lace fabric around the handle. 


Chris looked dashing in his white shirt, black slacks, and silk gray tie. He wore a boutonniere made of eucalyptus and baby’s breath.


Chris and Katie’s officiant arranged for the couple to be married at The Barns of Mattaponi Springs, one of Virginia’s newest barn venues with two gorgeous barns totaling over 9800 square feet, nested on hundreds of acres overlooking the water.  Katie said, “It was a beautiful spot to get married and a magical moment.”


Chris and Katie’s ceremony was held on the front lawn of the venue overlooking the water. Their officiant personalized Chris and Katie’s ceremony, and the couple exchanged vows they had composed. Chris said, “I loved that our wedding was intimate and was about us becoming one.”


The mothers of the bride and groom attended the ceremony along with the couple’s 3-month-old baby.


Chris and Katie’s reception was held at a private residence, and their extended family and friends were in attendance. The couple’s family served brisket, BBQ, baked mac and cheese, baked beans, and a fruit and veggie tray. The couple and their guest enjoyed champagne, wine from Jolene’s Winery (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and soda as beverages.


Chris and Katie’s cake was made by Ukrop’s bakery. The cake was a yellow double-layered with chocolate icing on the bottom edges, vanilla icing all over, and decorative chocolates on top. Guests enjoyed black and white cupcakes.


Chris and Katie enjoyed a honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.


Chris and Katie offer this advice to couples: “Never stop doing what you did for each other before you got engaged.” “Continue dating and flirting with each other.” “Always communicate your feelings to let your partner know exactly how you’re feeling and work through everything together; remember you’re a team and aren’t against each other.” 


Ceremony Site: The Barns at Mattaponi Springs – @TheBarnsatMattaponiSprings

Reception Venue: Private Residence

Photographer: Relish Say I Do!! Officiant & Photographer – @relishp

Officiant: Relish Say I Do!! Officiant & Photographer – @relishp

Dress: Amazon

Shoes: Target

Hair: Sister of Bride, Nikki Patterson

Makeup: Ulta Beauty

Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse

Flowers: Hobby Lobby

Wine: Jolene’s Winery

Cake/Cupcakes: Food Lion

Honeymoon: Gatlinburg, TN

If you are planning a wedding in Roanoke Virginia, Richmond Virginia, Fredericksburg/Northern Virginia, The Shenandoah Valley, Coastal Virginia or in Charlottesville/ Lynchburg Va. we can help with your wedding planning and ideas.

The author: Debra Shepperson

Debra is a native of Virginia, having lived in both Roanoke and Richmond. She is the co-owner of Relish – Say I Do!! Officiant & Photographer. She is an artist who aims to create ceremony scripts and capture photos that evoke positive emotional responses, inspire others, and deliver nostalgia. Debra holds a graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth and an undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University, Florida. Before gaining more than ten years of wedding-related experience, Debra was a human resource executive. She has been happily married to the co-owner of Relish for more than 20 years.