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: Rebekah Closs, 38, Marketing Strategist
GROOM: Steven MacLauchlan, 40, Data Management Consultant
DATE: November 11, 2023
VENUE: The Virginia Cliffe Inn
GUEST COUNT: 132
Steven and Rebekah met on a blind date. A mutual friend connected them. They both had told their mutual friend they were ready to date and meet someone special. On November 25, 2019, the couple met during Happy Hour at The Continental Westhampton, Richmond, Virginia. Steven and Rebekah’s conversation flowed easily and in a light-hearted way. They both left that date, knowing it would be the first of many.
I Love You
After four months of dating, Steven said, “I love you,” and Rebekah quickly followed!
When I asked Rebekah what she loved most about Steven, she said, “His love makes me feel safe, seen, and fully known.” “His love is honest, consistent, patient, and kind, which made me believe in forever.” Steven told me, “Rebekah is the most thoughtful, kind, patient person I’ve ever met!” “She’s conscientious, generous, equitable, and passionate, and I am grateful to be with her for the rest of my life!”
In December of 2022, Steven scheduled the couple’s annual trip to Lewis Ginter to see the GardenFest of Lights, the location of their fourth date and first kiss. That year, Steven invited his 11-year-old child, Izzy, to join. The three enjoyed the holiday lights, took pictures, drank hot chocolate, and walked toward the tunnel under the tree house where Rebekah and Steven first kissed. Along the way, Rebekah was walking slightly in front of Steven and Izzy due to the narrow path when Steven gently held Rebekah’s shoulder to turn her around, and he and Izzy dropped down to one knee and asked Rebekah if she would marry “them.” Rebekah recalled, “After my heart skipped a beat, I instantly said Yes”!
On a wintery and snowy day, the couple toured The Virginia Cliffe Inn and knew immediately the property would fit their wedding vision. The venue is known for its temperature-controlled, indoor-outdoor combination event spaces: the Clifton cottage, a 30’x50’ pavilion, a 40’x40’ tent, and two 10’x12’ bar tents surrounded by an inviting lawn, large trees, lush gardens, and a pond with swans.
The wedding theme was a backyard dinner party. Steven and Rebekah wanted their guests to witness their commitment to one another, but they also desired each guest to feel loved, appreciated, and valued. Rebekah said, “We could not have made it through the pandemic, blended family, work, and life changes without their support.” The couple’s longing to reciprocate drove every planning decision, such as ceremony group vows, long communal tables, candles and low lighting for intimacy and beauty, magnolia leaves and soft color palettes for a feeling of calm and friendship, personal notes for each guest that doubled as the guests seating chart, and moments of interaction (painting, crossword puzzles, and s’more roasting).
The wedding color palette consisted of soft neutral tones to soften the environment, with a few pops of navy and mustard to align with the late fall season.
Rachael Gordon, Owner of Riverwood Events and Catering, a sub-contractor for The Virginia Cliffe Inn, served as the couple’s lead wedding planner, day of coordinator, and liaison with all vendors.
Rachael’s support team provided the event set up/break down, and the entire wedding décor, which included vases with candles, tealight candles, large pampas grass-filled jugs for the wedding aisle, cake stands for the dessert table, linen napkins, frames for the custom signs and pictures, easels for the large display items, and lots of small details.
The bride said, “Just before our guests arrived, Rachael gave me a sneak peek of the decorated ceremony and reception spaces, and I cried.” “The results of months of planning far exceeded my expectations. “It was everything I dreamed of and more.” “The Riverwood team and The Virginia Cliffe Inn anticipated our needs and delivered flawless results.” “The professionalism, creativity, and hospitality provided throughout our entire experience – start to finish was exceptional”!
The bride wore a white gown and a lace sleeveless high-neck top during the ceremony through dinner. Both were purchased from Tiffany’s Bridal. Rebekah said, “The gown was a classic, strapless sweetheart neckline fitted through the waist and flared at the hips. “My sister and a best friend gifted me with the lace top, and I wore a simple pair of white heels with an ankle strap.” “I wore a veil during our ceremony, pearl and gold jeweled hair pieces, and matching earrings.” “I added a matching belt with pearls and jewels when I took off my lace top for an evening of dancing.”
The bride’s cousin made Rebekah’s bouquet, a blend of fresh and dried flowers.
The groom wore a navy suit from Alton Lane and a deep blush tie. He accessorized with camel-colored shoes, colorful socks, and a watch matching those he had gifted his close friends.
The ceremony was held on the front lawn of The Virginia Cliffe Inn, facing a large, aged tree. Riverwood made aisle arrangements using dried florals and eucalyptus. The bride’s sister created dried floral stands nearly 7’ tall, which framed the couple during the ceremony. The stands were later used as reception decor.
General instrumental music was played while guests were being seated. “You Are My Sunshine” by Paul Hankinson was played as family members walked down the aisle. The groom’s child, Izzy, escorted Rebekah down the aisle to “Canon” in D Major (String Quartet) by Johann Pachelbel. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder was played after the couple was announced as Mr. and Mrs. MacLauchlan.
The bride and groom wrote their vows. The officiants led the ring and commitment exchanges along with the group vow exchange for guests committing to walk alongside the couple through their marriage.
During the cocktail hour, guests mingled in The Inn’s garden and were greeted with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Signature cocktails were an old-fashioned and margaritas.
The couple entered the reception, held under The Inn’s tent to the DJ, announcing the couple as Mr. and Mrs. MacLauchlan. The tent featured beautiful white tulle, bistro lights draped across the top and sides, and heaters to keep everyone warm.
Deep Run Roadhouse catered dinner, set up in The Inn’s pavilion, and featured pork barbeque, brisket, portobello mushrooms, green beans, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn muffins, and slider rolls.
The couple’s first dance was held under the tent, and the song played was “Can’t Do Much” by Waxahatchee. The Arthur Murray studio choreographed the dance, which included Foxtrot and Rumba dances.
In honor of Rebekah’s dad, a photograph of him was displayed in the pavilion.
The couple selected an audio guest book to capture the power of loved one’s voices, which was set up under one of the bar tents.
During a 3-minute song, “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet, the couple moved swiftly from dinner table to dinner table to be photographed with their guest. The couple said, “The results were an extraordinary set of photos we will cherish forever.”
The guest enjoyed seven different cakes from Shindigz. During the evening, the couple shared a private moment to enjoy a slice of their favorite cake and a glass of champagne. Steven and Rebekah’s favorites were the Spotted Cow (chocolate cake with cream cheese icing) and salted chocolate caramel.
Vintage dinner table glasses served as wedding favors.
After the last song was played, guests were asked to leave the pavilion and line up for the sparkler exit while the bride and groom shared their moonlight dance to “Let’s Be Still” by The Head and The Heart.
The couple honeymooned in New Zealand.
VENUE: The Virginia Cliffe Inn – @virginiacliffeinn
ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER: Courage & Co Photography – @couragecophoto
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER: Courage & Co Photography – @couragecophoto
AFTER-PARTY VENUE: Capital Ale House – @capitalalehouse
PLANNING, DÉCOR & RENTALS: Riverwood Events and Catering – @RiverwoodEventsandCatering
CATERER & BARTENDER: Deep Run Roadhouse – @deeprunroadhouse
MUSIC: Black Tie Entertainment – @blacktiedmv
DANCE LESSONS: Arthur Murray – @richmondarthurmurray
OFFICIANT: Sean O’Hara and Laura Smith
LEGAL OFFICIANT: Sean O’Hara
GOWN: Tiffany’s Bridal – @tiffanysbridal
VEIL: Bridal Accessories Shop – @bridalaccessoriesshop
GROOM ATTIRE: Alton Lane – @altonlane
INVITATIONS: Created by Rachel Closs using Adobe Suite – @adobe
BOUQUET: Nick Robinson
CAKE: Shindigz – @shindigzdessert
HONEYMOON: Meredith Riley Travel – @meredithrileytravel
ACCOMMODATIONS: Hilton Garden Inn, Richmond/Innsbrook – @hiltongardeninn
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.