Virginia wedding

Real Wedding Wednesday: Kristen & Dan

This week’s real Virginia weddings tale comes from the adventurous couple, Kristen and Dan.

“We met in August 2016 through a mutual friend at college, who was Kristen’s roommate at the time. Dan graduated the spring before but came to visit and we became fast friends. Our first date was at Clementine’s Cafe in Harrisonburg, VA. We had a great time talking all night and went stargazing at the end of the night. We had been friends for a little while at that point so the date was comfortable and fun!”

The Scoop

  • Bride: Kristen
  • Groom: Dan
  • Wedding date: August 27, 2022
  • Number of guests: 100

“Our wedding day was unique because of all the DIY details of the day, the location in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the friends we got to support as vendors. I am an artist and making items for the wedding was a lot of fun for me. I handcrafted many of the items in the photos throughout, including the watercolor painting on the invitation, the invitation design itself, the lace on my shoes, the wax seals, and the polymer clay dinosaur suit cake topper. The reason for the quirky cake topper is that we both have inflatable dinosaur suits that we like to don every once in a while, in public – this was especially a fun activity to do to lift people’s spirits in the height of the pandemic! The table numbers, seating chart, menus, and all other signs at the wedding were also my creations. The proudest handmade items for the day were our wedding bands that Dan and I designed and forged together (included in attached photo)! I was a metalsmithing major in college and had experience with jewelry making but this was Dan’s first time. We had a lot of fun working on this project together and Dan made a video of the process. I specialize in preserving flowers in epoxy resin (which is of course popular for wedding flowers!) and was able to preserve my bouquet in various keepsakes to keep in our home.”

“My dress was second-hand from Blue Sage Bridal in Richmond, VA. It is a chapel length mermaid style dress covered with delicate lace and beading. I wore a lace cathedral veil during the ceremony. My shoes were from Lulu’s and I added lace details on them to match my dress and veil. The bridesmaids wore dresses in Fog, from Kennedy Blue.”

“Our wedding venue at Valley Road Vineyards was special to us for several reasons. Dan and I met at James Madison University in 2016 and the Blue Ridge Mountains have been a backdrop to our love story. We have always enjoyed hiking and camping and our biggest accomplishment as a couple is hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro together. We wanted our love for the mountains to be reflected in our wedding day and Valley Road Vineyards was the perfect spot to get married with the beautiful mountain range surrounding us. We also loved that it was a dog-friendly venue and we could bring our dog Kili (yes, named after Kilimanjaro) with us to share the day.”

“We were happy our friends and family could be there for our day, especially Kristen’s grandmother and Dan’s grandfather. Our photographer, Leah, has been a friend of ours since our JMU days and we were thrilled to have her as a vendor, especially because she is becoming more popular in the Virginia wedding business. Kelly, our ceremony violinist, and Jonathan, our officiant, are also friends of ours. The support from our friends and family made our day all the more special.”

“The mountainous backdrop was an inspiration for our wedding but overall we were very creative with keeping our budget small, especially with creating a lot of the decor, but keeping the quality of our guest experience in mind. Our decor could be described as romantic and rustic. We used gold accents and white florals to create a classic look for our venue. The handmade items gave the entire day a personal touch.”

Kristen leaves future couples with this thought: “Wedding planning was very fun for us and I hope all brides who read this remember that fun is the core of your wedding day. It is important to enjoy every part of the day and the process of putting it together!”

Vendors List 

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.

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