virginia weddings

Real Virginia Wedding

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:Ashley Shipp, 38, Service Manager 

Groom: Zachary Rusk, 34, Assistant Manager

Date: April 13, 2024

Venue: Oak Creek Farm, Unionville, Virginia

Guests: 95

LOVE STORY 

Zachary and Ashley’s paths crossed on Tinder in April of 2019 when he decided to swipe right. Ashley was instantly captivated by Zachary’s profile caption: “Sports, Movies and Mexican.” After exchanging a few messages, Ashley realized they had much in common. Zachary started messaging Ashley daily until he finally asked her to attend a C.D. Hylton High School Boys’ Soccer game in Woodbridge, Virginia, where he coached the junior varsity team. That night, Zachary and Ashley shared a first kiss. 

Zachary and Ashley’s first date was a trip to Regal Cinemas in Manassas, Virginia on May 25, 2019 to watch the movie Aladdin. Afterward, they went to Bar Louie in Manassas for drinks and to watch game number 7 of the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference Championship. By the game’s halftime, Zachary and Ashley felt sparks.  

Zachary was the first to say, “I love you,” and Ashley immediately reciprocated. Ashley loves Zachary’s gentle spirit, patience and calming nature, while he relishes her smile, selflessness and compassion.

PROPOSAL

Zachary surprised Ashley with a weekend getaway to Maryland, where he proposed to her on December 3, 2022 at The Capital Wheel in National Harbor. They enjoyed a delicious meal at Rosa Mexicano in the Harbor district on the night of the proposal. After dinner, Zachary revealed he had tickets for the famous Ferris Wheel. They took a few spins in the ride’s gondola until they reached the top, where Zachary pulled out a ring, kneeled and proposed to Ashley. Though initially speechless, she said “yes!” to his proposal. He gave Ashley a beautiful petite princess-cut center diamond engagement ring encased in a double frame of diamonds artfully set to enhance the center diamond’s size and sparkle with two side-by-side rows of diamonds set in a 10k white gold band.

THE WEDDING FACTS

Venue

Zachary and Ashley tied the knot on April 13, 2024 at Oak Creek Farm in Unionville, Virginia. The charming countryside provided a stunning setting for the couple’s wedding ceremony and a breathtaking photography backdrop. They held their reception in a beautifully restored barn, offering guests a serene and intimate space to mingle.

The venue owners, Jackie and Bill Koontz, were the main reason Zachary and Ashley selected the venue. The owners were extremely kind and accommodating. And they went above and beyond to make the couple’s day unforgettable. Another reason for Zachary and Ashley choosing this venue was its various amenities: tables, chairs and decor, a bridal cottage and a groom’s den.

After reserving the venue, Jackie offered the couple a selection of preferred vendors, a budget workbook, access to the decor inventory and checklists. Ashley said, “above all, Jackie was available when I second-guessed my decisions.”

Theme

The couple opted for a wedding theme inspired by the renowned Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. They incorporated colorful Latin-American fiesta elements and a hacienda-style ambiance.

Attire

Ashley purchased her Aberle gown with coordinating sleeves by Justin Alexander at Ava Laurénne in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Ashley wore Coach Dreams perfume. Her white Vans Authentic Lace Up shoes were adorned with hand-embroidered florals designed by Ashley’s close friend. 

Ashley’s Something: Borrowed: Earrings from her mother.  Blue: Bouquet memorial photo charm with a blue pearl.

The bridesmaids wore bright-colored dresses, each styled differently to showcase their unique personalities.

The bridal bouquet was a beautiful cascade of vibrant colored flowers and natural wildflowers. It was wrapped in emerald satin. The bridesmaids’ bouquets resembled the bridal bouquet’s colors but were more petite and rounded in shape. They were wrapped in hot pink satin. The boutonnieres were made using light coral spray roses, eggplant wax flowers, white Limonium and Italian ruscus.

Zachary was dressed in a forest green 3-piece suit by Alain Dupetit adorned with a floral bowtie. He slipped on brown shoes by Stacy Adams. In his jacket pocket, he carried a personalized handkerchief Ashley had gifted him on the morning of their wedding. The groomsmen wore light tan 3-piece suits from Jos. A. Bank and brown matte Joseph Abboud dress shoes to complete their look.

First Look

The couple shared a first-look moment beside a weeping willow tree near the ceremony site. The sun shone and a gentle breeze blew as Ashley turned to see Zachary’s face. His expression is something she will never forget. In the background, Ashleys’ daughters observed the intimate moment as it unfolded. Afterward, Zachary gifted birthstone necklaces to Ashley’s daughters.

Ceremony

The ceremony took place on the side lawn of the venue’s barn. The arbor was decorated with flowers matching the bridal bouquet. Guests’ chairs were adorned with hanging rosie posie vases full of colorful flowers. Ashley’s father accompanied her down the aisle. Her cousin, Wade Murphy, officiated the ceremony. Ashley and Zachary exchanged self-written vows. But the surprise vows Zachary wrote for Ashley’s daughters stole the show and brought almost everyone to tears. 

Ceremony Music

Groom’s processional: “Color of Love” by Boys II Men. Bride’s processional: “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Kina Grannis. Recessional: “Forever” by Chris Brown.

Cocktail Hour 

The cocktail hour was a delightful affair held under the covered patio of the charming barn. Zachary and Ashley were terrific hosts, generously providing an open bar for their guests. To ensure everyone’s satisfaction, they requested that their guests share their drink preferences ahead of time via their wedding website, The Knot. This allowed the bartender to stock the bar with various drinks to suit everyone’s taste. Zachary’s signature drink was a Jamaican rum punch, while Ashley preferred a Chambord raspberry Margarita. For appetizers, guests were served three of the couple’s favorite Mexican dishes: bacon-wrapped jalapenos, beef empanada bites and cheesy quesadillas. 

Reception 

Ashley repurposed their ceremony flowers for reception decorations and utilized printed images from their save-the-date invitations to create unique seating charts and table decor. 

The dinner menu featured a taco bar with chicken, beef and shrimp. It was served with refried beans, rice and fajita vegetables. Moe’s Southwest Grill provided guests with a nacho bar at night’s end.

Zachary and Ashley’s photographer planned a table dash to capture a picture of the couple with each guest. This became a fun way to release each table to be served dinner.

The cake was a beautiful two-tier cake inspired by the iconic artist Frida Kahlo. It looked stunning and was adorned with vibrant Otomi floral designs in pinks, corals and deep greens. The cake topper was an incredible masterpiece created by Brunella Art Studio, located in Asuncion, Paraguay. The topper was a miniature replication of the bride and groom, featuring intricate details. Ashley kept the topper hidden from Zachary until the reception to avoid spoiling any details about her dress.

Entrance Music

Parents: “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. Daughters, bridal party and groomsmen: “Turn Down for What” by Lil’ Jon. Best man and maid of honor: “Good Time” by Charlie Wilson. Couple: “Just Us” by DJ Khaled and Sza.

First Dance Songs

Couple: “She Is” by Ne-Yo (Feat. Tim McGraw).  Dad/daughter: “You’ll Always Be My Baby” by Alan Jackson. Mother/daughter: “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. Mother/son: “A Song For Mama” by Boyz II Men.

Zachary and Ashley’s last dance song was “I Do” by Aloe Blacc. As they exited the barn, they ran through a tunnel of sparklers held up by family and friends while John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” lyrics played in the background.

MICRO-MOON  

Zachary and Ashley spent their honeymoon in Charles Town, West Virginia, where they enjoyed a romantic evening at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. They plan to attend World Cup events in the Americas during their two-week honeymoon in 2026.

ADVICE

Ashley said, “enjoy your engagement, stay organized, trust vendors and focus on marrying your best friend.”

Bride IG: CuckooForCocoaRusks

VENDORS

WEDDING VENUE: Oak Creek Farm – @oakcreekfarmva

https://www.oakcreekfarmva.com

DAY OF PLANNER: Jackie Koontz – @oakcreekfarmva

ENGAGEMENT VENUE: The Capital Wheel at National Harbor – @capitalwheel

PHOTOGRAPHER: Melissa Diane Photo – @melissadianephoto

CONTENT CREATOR: Brittney Boakye – @bybri.captured

OFFICIANT: Wade Murphy 

LEGAL OFFICIANT: Ciao Bella Celebrations – @ciaobellacelebrations

ENGAGEMENT RING: Zales – @zales

WEDDING BANDS: Groom – Northern Royal @northernroyal

GOWN: Ava Laurénne – @avalaurennebride https://www.avalaurennebride.com

Justin Alexander @justinalexander

VEIL: Tang’s Bridal – @tangsbridal

SHOES: Vans – @vans

SHOE ADORNMENT: Becky Carey, Richmond, VA – @___omgbecky___

HAIR: Rachel Z Riley – @rachelzrileybeauty

MAKEUP: Vow by Alondra – @vowbyalondra

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: David’s Bridal – @davidsbridal 

Azazie – @azazieofficial

GROOM’S ATTIRE: Alain Dupetit – @alaindupetit

TIE: tiemart.com

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Jos. A. Bank – @josabank

INVITATIONS: I Invite You – @i_invite_you

FLOWERS: Lacy’s Florist of Orange – @lacysfloristoforange

CATERING: La Naranja Mexican Cocina – @lanaranjamex

MUSIC: DJ Rell – @rellshouse

CAKE: Sugar on Top Cakes – @sugar_on_top_cakes

NACHO BAR: @Moessouthwestgrill

ACCOMMODATIONS: Couples Retreat and Farm Stay, Unionville, VA 

VA – Escape Getaways on Airbnb

PHOTO BOOTH: IMTHEDJ.NET – @imthedj_va

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.
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