Images: Olivia Jacob Photography

Happy Thursday Romancers! Loving the pops of color and personal touches (thanks to Lula Mae Events) in today’s real Virginia wedding feature. A down to earth couple, with an adorable wedding, at a gorgeous venue in DC – I’ll take it! Kelly and Alex met at a Fourth of July party in 2010 and quickly became friends. They spent the next six years camping, hiking, cooking together, and adopting an adorable kitty who loves to play dress-up. Check out all the details and pictures from their big day below.

Alex and I first met at a Fourth of July party in 2010, through a mutual friend, Elise (a bridesmaid and the wedding officiant!). Alex and I became part of the same group of friends in DC, and over the next few years, we bonded over our shared love of good food, football and spending time outdoors camping and hiking. Somewhere along the way, I developed a crush on Alex. Although it took Alex a bit longer to realize that he felt the same way, we started dating Memorial Day weekend of 2013 and have been inseparable ever since.In April 2016, Alex and I went hiking in Virginia at one of our favorite spots — Old Rag, a 10-mile hike with an amazing view at the summit.

After eating a picnic lunch, Alex proposed and I said “Are you serious?!?” quickly followed

The whole day was magical, but the first look was an extra special moment for us. After months of planning and anticipation — and a busy morning of getting ready — to finally be able to see each other on our wedding day, in our wedding attire, was really emotional. We also loved being able to spend time taking photos together before the ceremony — it felt like we were in our own little world!

One of the most important things for us was for our wedding day to be a truly joyful celebration, and for the whole day to feel “like us.”

Early on in the planning process, we found a colorful, polka dot invitation suite on Etsy that we loved (I’m known for my love of polka dots!). We used the invitation suite as inspiration for many other elements of the decor and to help set a fun and colorful, yet still elegant, style for the day.

We fell in love with the natural beauty of our venue, a botanical garden, which allowed us to do minimal additional decor for our outdoor ceremony.In order to get the look that we wanted for the reception — at a price point that felt comfortable for us — we created lots of DIY elements. We created all of the table numbers using photos from our engagement shoot coupled with fun facts from our relationship, and handmade all of the signage and decor.  One of the most time consuming DIYs was my favorite — a “Mr. and Mrs. Reed” sign that we displayed at our sweetheart table. It took hours and hours to cut out the letters of a foam board with an x-acto knife, smooth over all of the edges and cover in glitter.

One of our closest friends — who originally introduced us — officiated the wedding ceremony. She did a wonderful job sharing our story with our guests in a way that felt incredibly heartfelt, personal and genuine. She truly set the tone for the day!

My dress was a romantic, flowy A-line dress with a gorgeous lace back that worked perfectly with the garden venue. I had a really strong vision for what I wanted the dress to look like, and the one that I ultimately picked was one that I had “pinned” as an inspiration photo. The only twist was the color — I surprised myself by ordering the dress in a light blush color that made the lace detail really pop. My favorite part was the lace back with buttons and the beautiful lace train. My mom made the beaded belt that added just the right amount of sparkle.To keep things spring-like for our April wedding, Alex wore a light gray suit from J. Crew, and a navy tie with pink polka dots for an extra pop of color. As a special surprise, my mom sewed a patch onto the back of Alex’s tie.  Alex — a huge dog lover — was especially excited about the corgi socks that he, his groomsmen and our dads wore.We wanted both our bridesmaids and groomsmen to be able to pick out their own attire — and to hopefully be able to wear everything again. We went with short navy dresses for the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen wore light gray suits and the same tie as Alex. Our dads also wore light gray suits along with pink ties with navy polka dots.

We worked with our amazing wedding coordinator, Meigh Mahaffey, to create all of our floral arrangements. As part of her services, Meigh offers a DIY floral package, and she walked us through every step of the process from selecting and ordering the flowers from a local market to assembling everything the day before the wedding. Since our wedding was at a botanical gardens and the space was so naturally beautiful, we kept the floral arrangements relatively simple and used them to bring extra color into the day. As a nod to our love of food, we incorporated kale into all of the bouquets and arrangements, and we also included hops in all of the boutonnieres since Alex is a big beer lover.

Another close friend also designed our wedding programs, which featured fun infographics about our wedding and our love story. We thought they were such a fun way to share who we are as a couple with all of our guests, and they turned out amazing.We also tried to incorporate our personalities into the music throughout the day. Alex’s favorite music is heavy metal, so our fantastic DJ, Mike Bell, played instrumental covers of metal songs before the ceremony. He also incorporated some metal songs, as well as lots of Jimmy Buffett (one of my favorites!), into the cocktail hour.Continuing with the goal of making the reception a fun celebration, we also had a pinata at the end of the evening (Alex’s idea). It was such a fun surprise for guests at the end of the night!

Wedding planning was definitely a stressful process for us at times, but in the end, it was all worth it to have all of our favorite people with us to celebrate. Our wedding day was the best day of our lives, and everything turned out perfectly (even the things that didn’t go perfectly!).

During the planning process, take time to step back and remember the big picture — celebrating the commitment that you’re making to your partner. It also doesn’t hurt to try to carve out time together where you don’t talk about wedding planning :)

Photographer:  Olivia Jacob Photography//Makeup Artist:Ashley Alana//Dress Store:Cherry Blossom Bridal //Event Planner: lulamae special events//DJ: MyDeejay Inc.//Bakery: Sweets by E//Reception Venue: The Atrium at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens//Photo Booth Equipment: Hot pink photo booth//

Submitted via Two Bright Lights


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