Wednesday, July 1

Real Wedding: Rustic Elegance at Explore Park



This past weekend I had the pleasure of helping with a wedding in an absolutely beautiful location: Virginia's Explore Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The wedding was extra special to me because the bride is my BFF Breeze's younger sister and since I've known her for 20 years, I love her like she's my own sister too. She and her groom actually met at Breeze's wedding and everyone there could see that it was love at first sight.


Photo by my sister-in-law Autumn


The wedding ceremony took place in Mountain Union Church, a reconstructed Greek Revival church and schoolhouse from the 1880's. The bride was given away by her grandfather, who later said in his toast that it was the happiest day of his life because both of his granddaughters are so happy. Special touches included vows written by the bride and groom and a tree ceremony with readings from both of their mothers. The couple became homeowners last year so knowing that the tree will be planted on their homestead was a sweet touch.



The reception was held in the Chestnut Ridge Room in the Arthur Taubman Center, a modern building designed with 18th century style in mind. The bride and her bridesmaids filled the room with special touches including a puzzle guest book and chalkboard relationship timeline. The wedding colors were coral, cobalt, and gray, and everything came together through the use of repeated textures - "tree cookies," chalkboards, burlap, and lace. Photographs were also a major decorating theme for the reception.


We created this sweetheart table with antique chairs from the couple's home. The drink holders are from Kirkland's - I couldn't resist picking them up when I saw the burlap!



The bride's best friend is a photographer who created this "LOVE" art on a hike through the woods. The bride adores owls, so we had to get a few feathered friends in on the decor!



The centerpieces included a "tree cookie" cut from the bride's grandfather's farm, a cobalt wine bottle from a local vineyard wrapped in lace and filled with baby's breath, a burlap-wrapped glass soda bottle filled with cobalt and blue flowers, and a tiny Weck-style burlap-wrapped canning jar filled with an LED light and glass marbles. Each table also had photos of the bride and groom at similar phases in their lives (and in poses that basically proved they are soulmates).





The couple are known as avid environmentalists who love hiking, camping and attending music festivals, and their plates and cutlery were 100% compostable. The dinner buffet included wraps, veggie slaw, and fruit salad from a local cafĂ©. 

This rustic, elegant wedding at Explore Park was one of the most unique and creative weddings I've attended - it was certainly a labor of love for friends and family, and the bride and groom have never looked happier or more in love.



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