virginia weddings

Real Wedding Wednesday: Olivia & Tom

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 story comes from Olivia and Tom, a couple who met during their senior year at James Madison University (JMU), in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Olivia says, “It is hard to believe that we were coexisting in the same happy little place for 3 years before meeting one another at a fraternity function. From the time we met, it was clear we had a strong, special connection. We look back so fondly on the memories we made together at JMU.”

Olivia says, “Upon graduation, we embarked on a new chapter of long distance for a short period of time before the we came back together when I began my accelerated nursing program in Northern Virginia. Living together in Arlington, we enjoyed growing our relationship surrounded by friends from JMU. We then made their way to Richmond, VA, my hometown, where we lived in the city before settling down and buying our first beautiful home together in Midlothian, VA. The move to Richmond also brought our dog Bowie, who is at the center of our lives. In July of 2021, Tom popped the question (on his birthday!) to seal the deal, surrounded by family.”

The Scoop

Bride: Olivia, 28, Medical Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit Nurse Manager, HCA Healthcare

Groom: Thomas, 28, Financial Consulting Director, KPMG

Wedding date: October 22, 2022 

Number of guests: 160

“Most of our guests came from out of state and joined us at Hermitage Country Club for a wonderful evening. The most special touch in the wedding was the officiant. I am a full-time Medical Surgical Trauma ICU Nurse Manager at the largest ICU in Richmond, Virginia. I have worked in this ICU throughout COVID, where much of the staff became a large family as they fought through the tough times dealing with lots of loss. Though this time was horrific, there was a silver lining as I became close with the Hospital Chaplain, Bayard Taylor. Bay and I shared many hard times throughout the pandemic, through many of which Bay truly got to know me to my core. After Tom proposed, I insisted on having Bay as our officiant because I felt he was beside me in my most vulnerable times with all of my patients. Bay was involved in our marriage counseling and ultimately declared us husband and wife on October 22nd!”

Olivia’s dress was inspired by the bride’s love for Berta dresses. “I came across the dress designer, Zavana, and absolutely fell in love. I actually found the dress online, looked all over the states to get someone to ship the dress in, and finally landed with The Bridal Room agreeing to pay to ship the dress for me to try on. I had something blue sewed into the seam. I also wore my mother’s earrings from her wedding day for my special day. The bridesmaids’ dresses were terracotta and desert rose from Revelry. I absolutely love terracotta and this was the large inspiration for the day.”

The bride was a collegiate level swimmer at Penn State and her lifelong swim coach, Ted, attended the wedding. “Out of all of his swimmers, this was one of the only swimmer’s weddings he attended. Ted is incredibly special to me as I credit him to helping shape me into the person I am today. I coach swimming on my off days from the hospital to help make an impact on other swimmers lives’ just as Ted did in mine.”

Olivia describes their wedding as, “Elegantly unique in the sense I absolutely love gold accents with black acrylics. I am very much an originalist, which led me to a florist with many ideas. I insisted on having flower towers as the main piece for the ceremony. Believe it or not, the towers had to be big enough to match my groom which is six-foot-six. I also wanted unique, elegant pictures with my bridal party, which included smoke sticks to truly make the pictures magical. Smoke sticks were used during the pre-ceremony photos of the bridal party as well as the exit.”

Olivia leaves us with this advice: “Never let the stress of your wedding cause you to lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing — marring the love of your life! Be creative, be fun, and make it all about you because this is the one of the only times you are going to have all of the people you love in one one place.”

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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.