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Images: Kristen Gardner Photography

Hoping this blog post helps me survive the day. Excuse my pity party but things are just STRESSY right now in life and I am hoping by next Monday things will be in a better pace. Evie has gone on a bit of a sleep strike this whole week (with last night’s disaster of being awake from 1am to about 4am and then waking up at 5:30 to “start the day”), my day job is anything but simple at the moment, and I have about 5000 emails (I’m exaggerating) that I need to respond to and work on and all I want to do is lie on the couch and troll Twitter.

BUT you don’t come here to hear me complain, so let’s focus on the positive. We’ve got THE COOLEST Valentine’s Event coming up (#BiteMeDC tickets on sale now!) that was featured on Popville blog, our designer just sent me a first round of designs to start outfitting the Capitol Romance Shop (and omg they’re AMAZING), AND we’re teaming up with one of our FAVSSSSSSSS (Maggie at Pop Wed Co!) for a wedding workshop at The Lemon Bowl! So no more pity party here, let’s focus on the positives ok. And in the meantime, you guys enjoy this super sweet, intimate Virginia wedding, why I go setup my IV of coffee.

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Brittney and Justin grew up just miles from one another. They went to different schools and traveled in different circles, but they knew of one another in a way that is possible when you grow up in a small town. They were even “friends” online, and when Justin wished Brittney a happy birthday a few years ago on Facebook, she noticed that he too had moved to the DC area from their home town in Pennsylvania. (She also noticed that he was pretty cute!) So she responded to his message… and the two went on their first date just a few days later!

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When Justin and I began thinking about our wedding day, we originally planned on eloping. We wanted the day to be all about us – our memories together and the promises we would be making for our future together. We didn’t want to take on the stress of planning a large wedding, just to feel like the whole ceremony and reception passed by in a FLASH (like we had heard from so many of our close friends!) We also felt that a more intimate ceremony would suit our personalities – we were both on the same page about saving money for the future and couldn’t fathom spending the average $27k on just ONE day. Instead, we discussed all the fabulous places we could visit with the money we would save. We were able to splurge on our Cabo honeymoon. We were also able to spend our first married Christmas exploring Iceland for 8 days. It was beautiful!!

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—> click READ MORE for the rest of Brittany & Justin’s intimate, Springtime Virginia wedding <—

One rainy weekend in January 2015, we planned on driving to a few bed and breakfast locations in Warrenton/Orange, VA to find an intimate location. As we were driving, I happened to do a search for nearby inns and found the Inn at Poplar Springs. We decided to stop in and check it out. As we drove the beautiful stone driveway back to the historic property, we fell in love. Not only were the grounds beautiful, but everything we needed was there – the Inn, a relaxing spa, and the elegant Manor House restaurant with the gorgeous stone patio which provided the perfect backdrop for us to exchange our vows. Better yet, the staff was SO kind and helpful. After seeing this beautiful venue, we realized that we wanted to involve our immediate family in our special day. We knew our mothers would be respectful of our desire to get married in whatever way we wanted, but we knew that they would be excited to hear that we wanted them to be there for our big day. Our guest list included Justin’s mother (Christine), his stepdad (David), his childhood mentor/family friend (Gary), my mother (Paulette), my sister (Amy), brother-in-law (Rob), my two nieces (Abby and Addison), and the two of us. Ten of us in total.

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Even though Justin and I planned an intimate ceremony with just our family, we included our closest friends in other aspects. My girl friends joined me at Love Couture Bridal and helped me find the perfect dress. We both had awesome bachelor and bachelorette parties with our friends, mine in Dewey Beach and his in Annapolis. Our parents also planned a reception at a local restaurant for our friends and family in Pennsylvania in August (a month after our wedding.) We were able to celebrate with our recent nuptials with our family and friends, even though we didn’t go the route of the traditional wedding.

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A big priority for me was finding a brilliant photographer that would capture every special moment of our wedding day. In comes Kristen Gardner! I researched and researched, read numerous reviews – but kept coming back to Kristen’s blog full of gorgeous candids and portraits… I contacted her and we chatted on the phone about my vision and plan for the day and I felt comfortable with her immediately, like an old friend I had known forever. She even helped me come up with a timeline for the day (seeing that our wedding was not following the traditional time schedule). She contacted us throughout the planning process and sent adorable “care packages” after booking and the week prior to our big day – these personal touches make her services even more memorable!

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We found our officiant, Janice Hart through an internet search and met her for breakfast in Warrenton to see if she could help us with our vision for the day. As soon as Justin and I walked out of the restaurant, we both gushed about how much we loved her and how she just felt like family already. She was so supportive throughout the entire planning process. It was very important for Justin and I to exchange our own written vows (which we wrote in personalized vow books that we ordered on Etsy). We asked her to do some unique things, such as the Blessing of the Hands (so beautiful!) and a memorial to my late father. Near the beginning of the ceremony, my mother recited a short prayer, “Paul, although we cannot see you, we know that you are here smiling down, watching over us as our daughter says “I do.” You’re forever in our hearts, you’re forever in our lives. And so, as they say their vows today, in loving memory of you, this white rose serves as a symbol of our love remembered, their new lives together and how deeply we are all missing you.” My mom carried a white rose with her and we placed it at the table as we ate following the ceremony. My dad passed away in September 2014 from a two year battle with brain cancer – I wrapped his black rosary beads around the base of my bouquet, so that he was right there with me throughout the ceremony. :)

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Our wedding colors were determined mainly from my wedding shoes! After purchasing a short, lace modern dress (Pronovias) with a gorgeous lace bolero [my favorite part!], I knew that my shoes had to be unique and fun. I found a pair of royal blue Badgley Mischka shoes and knew my colors would be shades of blue and blush pink to compliment the shoes. It’s all about the shoes! Justin found a beautiful blue suit at Nordstrom Rack (yay!) that matched perfectly and my nieces ordered adorable blush pink flower girl dresses to go with the theme.

Being the laid back bride that I was, I had plans of running out to the local Harris Teeter or Whole Foods to get flowers the morning of the wedding, but instead my sister, Amy (the planner.. I think just hearing my last minute plan made her anxious) called a local florist in Warrenton the day before and ordered a gorgeous blue and white hydrangea bouquet – my favorite flower. My husband still ended up getting his corsage at Harris Teeter though.. lol. It was pretty cool to find out that grocery stores are willing to do things like that and MUCH cheaper. My best friend, Katelyn sent a gorgeous bouquet to us at the Inn and our pastry chef was able to incorporate a few of the flowers from the arrangement to create a beautiful topping to our almond with cherry filling cake.

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After our ceremony, we sat down on the patio of the Manor House and ordered off their regular dinner menu. The food was delicious and the guests were able to order whatever they wanted! My favorite part was definitely relishing in the company of our families and celebration of our love while we drank champagne and laughed over stories.

Oh, and we also were able to spend the day before our wedding at the Inn… just exploring the Warrenton area with our wedding guests. We visited the Pearmund Winery (where my nieces fell in love with their winery dog, a golden retriever named Tug). They took hundreds of selfies with him and even friended him on Facebook. I guess he even won Virginia’s Best Wine Dog.. LOL – it was a gorgeous day and the staff at Pearmund made our day so special. It is definitely our favorite winery now and we love going back. :)

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