From Kristen Gardner Photography: “Nicole and John wanted a wedding day backdrop that highlighted the gorgeous Virginia countryside. They mixed classic and contemporary flowers and details to create an event that was so lovely and ethereal… It was truly a joy to photograph every minute. And while the setting was gorgeous, the emotion and love that they have for one another is the element that shines through. This was easily one of my favorite weddings of the year.”
A chic rustic barn wedding in Leesburg, VA
Growing up in the DC metro area, Nicole and John grew up as huge Redskins fans. When the 2016 schedule came out, they realized that the Redskins were playing in October in London — and that the game was also only five days away from Nicole's 30th birthday. They planned a European adventure — meeting up with friends in Belgium, spending a few days wine tasting in Italy, and then finishing up at the Skins game in London. On the last day of Nicole's 29th year, John got down on one knee, in the middle of a vineyard in Serralunga D'Alba, Italy, and asked Nicole to be his wife.
About the Wedding
We knew we wanted to throw a party! Our big priorities were great food, a lively band, and a beautiful venue. Nicole grew up about an hour west of DC in “real Virginia,” in the middle of rolling hills and lush pastures. Our hope for our ceremony and reception was a backdrop of green, but also to have somewhere central to Maryland, Virginia, and DC. Welcome to Leesburg, VA. Murray Hill (a gorgeous estate on the banks of the Potomac River, with a restored llama barn on the propery) took our breath away. We selected seasonal colors of blush and sage to complement the venue, and our caterer was known to serve up a mean plate of barbeque with all the right fixins. The mix of elegance and comfort was exactly what we were looking for.
The bride wore a Casablanca gown with a blush underlay, and the groom wore a bespoke suit from D.C. Custom Clothiers. We wanted our bridal party members to have some individuality, so everyone was given a color family and asked to go for it! Champagne and blush for the ladies, and light gray for the gentleman. The flower girls' each put on a highly anticipated “fashion show” of 7 dresses each and picked their own dresses! The bride wore a bracelet with the letter “J” for her new husband, and opted to forgo a necklace in favor of chandelier earrings.
We each loved spending the day with our families and core groups of friends; we were both kept very calm and relaxed throughout the day. However, later in the evening, we couldn't stop laughing! Pictures of our wedding prove that our emotions were evident on our faces. Just pure joy. We have also loved hearing the stories of things we MISSED at our wedding. We were so busy we didn't know one of our friends had gone into labor!
The Flowers & Cake
Even John knows what a succulent looks like, that's how much Nicole loves them. That was the first vision for flowers — succulents and a lot of greenery. An enormous head table (full of family and close friends) was also part of that vision — specifically a 50 foot garland of greenery stretching down the center of the entire table. For the additional guest tables, Nicole had a collection of antique milk glass bud vases to hold a single stem of a dinner plate dahlia. The copper table number and a zinc bucket of hydrangeas, blush spray roses, and succulents made up the decor of those tables. The ladies of the evening carried bouquets of dahlias, succulents, thistles, ranunculus, Earl Grey roses, blush spray roses, and seeded eucalyptus. Each groomsman sported a succulent and ranunculus boutonniere.
Wedding cake, out. Ice cream sundae bar, in. Nicole really doesn't love cake, even though John loves every baked good under the sun. HOWEVER, Nicole and John together love ice cream. Almost every weekend is closed out with ice cream on a Sunday night. Even the dog gets his bowl! So we decided to serve our guests ice cream in lieu of a traditional wedding cake.
Heirlooms & Personal Details
Nicole's grandmother passed away about two years before the wedding, shortly before she met John. They were very close. Nicole made a quilt from scraps of her Grandma's clothing, which was placed over a chair at the ceremony, to mark her spot Nicole also had a blue porcelain flower that belonged to her grandmother in her bouquet.
John and Nicole play a. LOT. of. Scrabble. Their placecards for “bride” and “groom” were spelled out in Scrabble letters. Nicole did all of the lettering for the wedding signs (except for the table numbers).