Brittany & Nelson’s handmade, rustic Virginia wedding is one of those submissions that makes me eternally happy to be a wedding blogger. Their love emanates from their images and they planned a wedding in the vein of everything I try to preach here : exactly as they wanted, as a perfect reflection of their selves & and their relationship. Brittany shared this detail that I think perfectly sets the stage for their entire wedding feature:
“We use the term “yellow” to describe how we feel when we’re together – relaxed, golden, happy – and so it was the basis for our wedding colors (as well as the color of my engagement ring!). The wedding ended up being a beautiful mesh of mine and Nelson’s personalities – Nelson’s charcoal modernism and my sweet, sunny vintage with weathered industrial to hold it together.”
Nelson & Brittany’s Yellow, Handmade Rustic Virginia Wedding
Photographer: Holly Cromer Photography | Videography: East West Production | Cakes: Homemade | Catering: Canton Buffet | DJ: Derrick Davis | Venue: Moose Lodge, Gallax Virginia | Ceremony Music: Dogwood & Holly Bluegrass Band | Decorations: Handmade or thrifted | Flowers: Wholesale wildflowers arranged by family
How they met:
We met via mutual friends at Waffle House during our first semester of college. I was majoring in Biology with the intention of entering medical school and Nelson was studying religion and ministry. He flirted like crazy and even though I had a boyfriend at the time, I couldn’t deny the incredible spark between us.
A group trip to Charleston, SC and a summer visit later, we were in love! After two and a half years of cafeteria dates, Skype convos, and blissful soulmateship, Nelson whisked me away for a surprise trip ending in a romantic October bayside proposal. We were married that June just after graduation!
Details on their wedding theme:
The wedding was in my charming hometown of Galax, Virginia. Our theme, color, and mood for the day was yellow. We use the term “yellow” to describe how we feel when we’re together – relaxed, golden, happy – and so it was the basis for our wedding colors (as well as the color of my engagement ring!).
^ The girl cousins on my dad’s side have a tradition of sewing a piece of our grandmother’s wedding dress into the lining their own. She passed away two years ago so it was a special way to remember her.
We also included a lot of neutral colors and vintage details that complimented the rustic setting in rural Virginia. The wedding ended up being a beautiful mesh of mine and Nelson’s personalities – Nelson’s charcoal modernism and my sweet, sunny vintage with weathered industrial to hold it together.
Details on the bride’s beautiful lace, halter dress and inclusion of winks at her late grandmother:
Though I knew from the beginning I was tired of strapless and didn’t want that, it took me trying on about 25 dresses before I realized I wanted classic all-over lace. I found it in an off-the-rack Tara Keely halter that had modern lines but was still delicate in design and easy on the budget. I added a charcoal satin sash as an accent and to compliment my dark-centered anemone bouquet. In addition, I wore some old gold earrings with pearls in the middle, which is reminiscent of her since her name was Pearl.
Love the groom’s charcoal grey suit, and yellow tipped Cole Haans:
Nelson picked a Diesel leather-lapel tux jacket to wear with gray suit pants and a black, white, and gray plaid tie. Nelson is all about his kicks, so he rocked Cole Haan LunarGrand wingtips, which were so indicative of the awesomeness that is Nelson.
Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Nelson & Brittany’s gorgeous, handmade Virginia wedding caught on film by Holly Cromer Photo!
He surprised me with cufflinks that said “Me &” on one and “Mrs. Jones” on the other, which was about to become my title.
I also fell in love with the unique and romantic head pieces on etsy, but didn’t have the cash, so I made one myself from a broken bead necklace and fabric flowers I had.
Ahh! A bride in flats – love!
I’m not fond of heels, and they aren’t compatible with a hilltop wedding, so I picked rhinestone ballet flats.
Details on their wedding ceremony:
We wanted to make our day organic, personal, and gorgeous but had a limited budget, so it was a natural choice to have the ceremony on top of a hill with a beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain view that has been family land for generations. I really wanted to have a defined ceremony space and a grand entrance for walking down the aisle, which is hard to do in an outdoor setting, so my grandpa, great-uncle, and brothers built an entry to the ceremony area out of reclaimed wood from a barn that fell and swinging doors we found while renovating the reception space.
The doors opened to a kind of “outdoor chapel” with benches borrowed from local country churches. We wanted to keep everything fun and casual and give our guests traveling long distances time to relax before the ceremony, so everyone enjoyed mingling and my mama’s mint lemonade at the lemonade stand just before everything started.
Details on their DIY wildflowers and DIY boutonnieres:
We didn’t want to spend a lot on flowers and wanted a “just picked from a field” look, so that’s what we did! My aunt stopped by a farm for us and bought five huge buckets of wildflowers for $75 that she and my mother-in-law made into all the bridesmaid bouquets and arrangements. I love the clean look of anemones so we ordered them wholesale for my bouquet. My sister and I made the boutonnieres out of feathers, twigs, burlap, and buttons.
I cannot stress enough how pivotal a role our family and friends played in our wedding. Seriously, I don’t know how to emphasize it without writing a huge list of all the people and support they gave. Nelson’s grandpa, a minister, performed our ceremony.
My mom, sister and I made the reception centerpieces. My mother-in-law helped design and print our invitations, made the bouquets, and cake-pops. My aunt styled my hair. My grandma made my garter. Numerous friends and family members helped decorate the ceremony and reception space, provided dessert items, and acted as servers. My mama hand-painted all our wedding signs. My entire family worked hard to restore the reception space.
On top of all these things and actually being in the wedding, our families gave us support throughout the whole process. I know for sure the whole thing would have been a huge mess without my mama – she was the one who took our vision and made it reality! We are so grateful to everyone who helped make our day the unique, sweet, intimate time it was.
Love their ceremony music selections:
We had Dogwood and Holly, a folk/indie/bluegrass band as well as longtime friends of mine play for our ceremony, and it was perfect for the setting, for our music style, and because Galax is known as the “old time music capital of the world.”
The wedding party and bridal processional were to the song “Yellow” by Coldplay, tying into our theme/mood for the day, and the recessional was to one of our favorite songs ever, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
We also wrote our own vows, which were based on a text message I had saved from nearly a year before.
On their laid-back wedding party attire (love this so much!):
I wanted the bridal party attire to be easy and no-fuss, so I gave each member guidelines and let each pick his/her own outfit. We loved how the end result highlighted each person’s personality.
A perfect example of how mismatched bridesmaids & groomsmen really can work beautifully:
On all their DIY wedding projects:
We did almost everything ourselves with the help of friends and family. The only things we rented were linens, plates, forks, and glasses. Literally everything else was either made or borrowed.
Budget was a huge factor for us, so the DIY was as much out of necessity as it was for style. We were really pushed to be creative, use what we had, and to re-purpose, but it was so much fun and I discovered I have a knack for it.
The ceremony benches were borrowed from country churches and tables; wooden fold-up chairs for the reception were from the Moose Lodge. I didn’t want the guests to get bored while waiting for us at the reception, so we printed crossword puzzles featuring trivia about us using a Groupon and placed them at each setting. My mom, sister, and I made the centerpieces out of spray painted glass bottles, branches collected from our river cabin, and tissue paper flowers.
All the food was lovingly made by family and friends. We collected glass jars for months to hold candles. The furniture used in the ceremony and reception areas were vintage pieces my family already owned. In the end, we were so thrilled with how much history and meaning every component of our wedding carried.
I was passionate about putting a personal, handmade touch into all the wedding details, and since the wedding was in my hometown, it really turned into a family project that brought us closer together.
The reception space was a real labor of love. My dad co-owns an old building in downtown Galax and it was our dream to have our reception on the 2nd floor, even though it was a mess and hadn’t been used in decades. My family and friends spent months transforming the space into a beautiful loft with refinished hardwood floors and red brick walls that fit so well with the vintage industrial wedding style.
We wanted to create a wistful, magical ambiance so we collected over 300 glass jars from family and friends, lit a candle in each, and filled the middle of every table from end to end with soft, glowing wonder.
We both have a huge sweet tooth, so we had a dessert buffet catered by a family friend, a milk and cookie bar featuring six different kinds of milk, and a sushi bar because it’s our favorite food of all time. It was so wonderful how many people pitched in to provide sweets for the reception.
Nelson’s mom made the most delicious cake pops, my mom made brownies, and several friends and family made cookies for the cookie bar, including Nelson’s grandma, “Bogie”, who made traditional New Mexican biscochitos. Some of my favorite things of the night were blackberry cheesecake, an Alaskan roll, and chai milk.
I love how much thought & consideration they put into their wedding songs:
Our first dance was to “Sweetest Berry” by David Ryan Harris, a song that Nelson included on the first mixtape he ever made me.
The father/daughter dance song was a surprise for my dad. He used to sing the old gospel song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to me as he tucked me into bed as a little girl, and I knew the tears would flow as soon as he recognized it on the dance floor. It was such a sweet, intimate moment for us.
I was never the little girl who had her whole wedding planned out at age 8, mostly because I never thought traditional wedding décor was pretty. Only after Nelson and I became serious could I actually visualize what our wedding would look like, because he was just as disenchanted with traditional weddings as I was and wanted to make ours casual, unique, and personalized.
Congratulations Brittany & Nelson. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, handmade & 100% personalized Virginia wedding. A special thanks again to Holly Cromer Photo for sharing her beautiful film images of the wedding day!