virginia weddings

Real Virginia Weddings: Lauren & Cody

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.

This week’s real Virginia weddings tale comes by way of a bank full of employees trying to help a guy out – and the beautiful relationship birthed from their efforts.

“I met Cody when he worked as a teller at the local branch of my bank in Stanley, Virginia. I could never understand why he was always smiling when I walked in; I was totally oblivious that he was interested in me. I also thought it was a little odd that I was only ever assisted by him when I came in. It was as though everyone else had stopped working at the bank. Little did I know that there was a coordinated effort amongst the employees to make sure Cody was the only teller available to help me. They knew he was interested in me, and they all thought that we would make a cute couple. Finally, after a few months of us exchanging smiles and briefly chatting, Cody asked me on a date.”

For their first date, they “went to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse and saw a movie, Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Cody picked the movie because he remembered that I was interested in history and American politics. But, after the date was over and he took me home, I fled his car when he tried to kiss me. I had never kissed anyone before, and I was too afraid I would do it wrong. I think that instance would become the first of many testaments to Cody’s love and patience for me.”

The Scoop

Bride: Lauren, 27, Public Affairs Manager, Capital Results

Groom: Cody, 29, Environmental Monitoring Technician, Merck

Wedding date: November 5, 2022

Number of guests: 130

“One of my favorite aspects of our wedding day is that my mom was the one to give me away. Until around middle school, my mom raised me as a single parent. And while I was fortunate enough to have several father figures in my life – my grandfather, uncles, and later my stepfather – Mom and I always shared a special bond because it was just the two of us for a while. When I dreamed of my wedding growing up, I always imagined her walking me down the aisle. I was so happy when that became a reality on mine and Cody’s wedding day. It felt like the perfect tribute to the woman who had shown me throughout my life what strength, determination, and love can overcome.”

“I also think what made our wedding so unique is that we really wanted to encapsulate the feeling of togetherness we both shared with our families when we were growing up. The thing I love most about both of our families is that no one ever feels like a stranger when they come to visit. Everyone is welcomed and cherished, and there is no “inner circle” separating people. When planning out the wedding day, the way I described my dream scenario was this: “I want it to feel as cozy, inviting, and comfortable as Sunday meals around my grandparents’ dinner table.”

“Another factor that added to the uniqueness of our wedding is that we celebrated our geeky sides by having Star Wars cosplayers show up during the reception. This was a surprise for Cody that my Uncle Ken and I planned behind the scenes. There was a brief skit in which we were arrested by a Storm Trooper and Darth Vader, but then Luke Skywalker arrived to save the day and freed us to continue celebrating. After the performance, all of our guests received miniature light sabers, and we danced around with them the rest of the night.”

“Last but certainly not least, as a gift my Uncle Ken wrote a song for me and had it professionally recorded by a Ukrainian-American artist named Olya Gram. He debuted the song at our wedding reception, and all of our guests had a blast dancing to its techno dance beat. The song, “Dance Through The Stop Signs,” recalls many times growing up when Ken would take me to the movies and, along the way, we would get out of the car and dance at the stop signs. It was a silly thing that always made me laugh and cheered me up. Ken also had “Dance Through The Stop Signs” released on all streaming platforms, so now anyone can go listen to this upbeat, heartfelt and encouraging song.”

For the big day, Lauren wore a “mermaid-style white lace dress with a more circular-shaped train. The lace featured leaf and vine patterns that I felt played perfectly into our ‘enchanted woodland’ theme. My jewelry all came from my mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I wanted to make sure all of these important ladies in my life were represented on our special day.”

“One of my priorities during wedding planning was to make sure everyone felt comfortable in what they were wearing. I knew I wanted shades of green in my wedding color palette, so I told my bridesmaids to pick a dress within the range of dark green to sage. I also told them that they could select any style of dress they wanted, given that no two body shapes are identical and different styles are flattering on different bodies. The result was that everyone was able to wear a dress they felt confident in, and that in turn made me so happy.”

“Autumn is both mine and Cody’s favorite season, so I wanted to make sure the color palette showcased the most vibrant colors we see in the Shenandoah Valley during the fall.”

“Simply put: our wedding was a love letter to the people and the place that raised us. Every detail was intentional. We were married in the church my great-grandparents helped build over a century ago, a little rock church on Pine Grove Road, tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We selected our reception venue, Brenwood Lake, because it reminded us of the wooded backyards both Cody and I grew up with and played in throughout our childhoods. Given that it is such a small town (without even a single traffic light), not many individuals are aware of the beauty that Stanley, Virginia holds. Cody and I were both honored to showcase that beauty as we made our lifelong commitment to one another and paid tribute to our cherished upbringings.”

“We both wanted to celebrate the culture and history of our Appalachian background. That’s the reason why we selected our venues, our food (barbecue), and had a bluegrass band play during the cocktail hour.”

“I would describe our wedding as ‘cozy enchanted woodland.’ The decorations were very natural and played into the rustic nature of our venues. We didn’t have a lot of glitz and glamor; everything felt elevated to fit the occasion but was also very homey.”

Lauren leaves fellow couples planning their special day with this advice: “Take lots of ‘mental photos’ during your wedding day! I was so thankful to have my mom, maid of honor, and bridesmaids reminding me to take a deep breath, look around, and capture those moments in my mind. Things can be crazy and rushed during your special day; it is so important to take some time to pause and reflect on the beauty all around you.”

Vendors List:

Venue: Brenwood Lake Weddings

Photographer: Lauren Morris Photography

Day of planner: Glenn Crossman

Officiant: Reverend Cathy Tibbetts

Gown: Amanda’s Touch Bridal & Formal

Gown Alterations: Alterations by Anna

Shoes: Lulus

Hair & Makeup: Lydia Sites

Bridesmaids’ dresses: Some purchased new dresses, some wore what they already owned

Formal wear: Amanda’s Touch Bridal & Formal

Invitations: Zazzle

Flowers: Nest & Hive

Rental equipment: Central Virginia Rental

Catering: Fishin’ Pig

Music: James Mahler

Cake: Sweet Nana Cakes

Favors: Lindt

Transportation: A&A Limousine

Where did you go for your honeymoon? Lake Tahoe, Nevada

The author: rita

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

1 Comment

  • I’m so glad I read this ,What a beautiful love story! Lauren you were a beautiful bride,The flowers,everything looked amazon,I could feel the love in your words for All of Your Family Just beautiful,

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