From the Editor: On Our 5th Issue

One of our questions on our wedding submission form is “What made your wedding day unique?” While every wedding is superbly beautiful and unique in its own right, it’s this question that often merits a variation of the same response:

“Our family and friends.”

This is not only funny to me that so many respond with this answer, but incredibly eye-opening. Perhaps what is so magical about our wedding day is not the gorgeous gown or fantastic flowers (though those are certainly important!), but instead the idea that your wedding brings people together.

Whether your families are meeting for the first time or your reception is a great excuse to bring your best friends from college back together, every couple has the same dream in their head – that their loved ones will be there on your big day to support, love and celebrate your marriage.

Your wedding day is the ultimate showcase of love, but not only for you and your spouse. It’s also a chance to show your love for guests who have traveled many miles or helped you hand-stamp 100 invitations. When we dance the night away, it’s with our very favorite people in the entire world. And what could be more special than that in making your wedding day so uniquely you?

In our 5th issue, you’ll find incredible weddings that will not only inspire you (and maybe swoon a little), but will hopefully give you that cozy warmth felt when surrounded by “your people,” those who know and love you best.

To love and magic, friends and family – may we all be so lucky to celebrate with the uniqueness that is your wedding day!

Liz Long, editor

Cover Reveal: Our 5th Issue

We are so excited to reveal the cover for our 5th issue, featuring Morgan Coartney surrounded by her beautiful bridesmaids on her wedding day that took place at Sinkland Farms. Cover image by Skyryder Photography.

You can see Morgan’s wedding on page 64, plus more amazing weddings that are sure to inspire! Magazines will be hitting newsstands across southwest and central Virginia over the coming weeks, found at B&N, Target, Walmart, CVS and more, or can be ordered on our website. We can’t wait for everyone to see it!

Be sure to check back as we update our site with new blog posts, newsstand locations, more Wedding Wednesdays and much more!

History of Weddings

How a few of our traditions began!

Your wedding day is one of the biggest rites of passage you can go through, and it has been for centuries. Long before recorded history, men and women would tie the knot and start their own families (even if they didn’t call it tying the knot yet!). Some of our traditions seem like they’ve been around forever, but you may be surprised that many of our modern day wedding habits only date back a few centuries.

Rings

One of the biggest parts in any modern wedding is the rings. The groom proposes with a diamond ring, and then on the big day the groom and bride exchange simpler wedding bands, usually silver and gold. Diamonds, however, didn’t become popular until 1477, when Archduke Maximilian I proposed to Mary of Burgundy. The ring features several flat diamonds in the shape of an ‘M.’

Back in the cavemen days, men would tie grass around their wives’ ankles, wrists, and waists in an effort to control their spirits. Since then, the idea of binding the wives has reduced to just a finger. The first recorded mention of rings was in Egypt in 2800 BCE. These rings were simple gold or silver wire wrapped around the third finger of the left hand. This particular finger was chosen because it was believed there was a vein in that finger that went all the way to the heart, the vena amoris.

During the second century, grooms gave their brides a gold ring to wear during the ceremony and during special events. He also gave her an iron ring to wear at home, according to Pliny the Elder. The tradition of engagement rings dates back to 860, when Pope Nicholas I decreed that engagement rings are required of those who wish to marry. Peasants in the middle ages, too poor to afford rings, would break a coin in half, one half for the groom and the other for the bride.

Diamonds became vogue in the late 1800’s after a diamond mine was discovered in Cape Colony in South Africa and created a huge increase in the supply. Using gems had already become popular, but diamonds were by far the most valuable and therefore the most desired.

Flowers

Today, it’s common to see flowers everywhere you look at a wedding. The bridesmaids carry them, the venue is covered in them, and let’s not forget the bouquet the bride carries and later throws. But did you know decorating the church with them and carrying floral bouquets only started in the late 1500’s?

In medieval ages, often the only flowers were worn as a flower crown. And ‘bouquets’ usually consisted of various herbs, especially garlic. The different herbs each had different meanings, such as sage for wisdom or dill for lust. Garlic was also common in these arrangements, because they believed the smell would keep evil spirits away.

It became popular during Elizabethan times for bridesmaids to make bouquets for the guests and a garland of rosemary and roses for the bride. The bride would carry the garland until the end of the ceremony, and then she’d put it on her head. The tradition of decorating the church didn’t become popular until the Victorian age. On top of that, grooms would wear a flower in their lapel. In the country, the bride would walk to the chapel on a carpet of flower blossoms.

Cakes

You think wedding, you think cake. You think tall, three or four or five layers of cake, decorated with white icing and fancy writing. This custom, however, is less than 150 years old.

Back in ancient Rome, guests used to break bread over the newlyweds, symbolizing fertility, in much the same way as we throw rice. In medieval England, guests used to bring lots of little cakes. They would then stack these cakes and the bride and groom had to try and kiss over the top of it. If they successfully kissed, it was considered a good omen for the marriage. Later, brides would make what was called a bride pie and put a glass ring in it. It was considered bad luck not to take a piece of the bride pie, and whoever got the glass ring was said to be the next to marry. This custom slowly died out in favor of sweeter cakes and fruit pies.

The Wedding Party

It turns out marrying with your friends lined up behind you is a tradition that goes back quite a few years. Grooms had groomsmen first, dating all way back to the “Wedding by Capture” era. The groomsmen played the role of a small army, helping the groom fight off angry relatives while he married the bride.

Bridesmaids came into the picture much later, when weddings were actually planned. They helped the bride get ready, much the same way they do today.

The reason groomsmen and bridesmaids are typically dressed up like the bride and groom is because people used to believe it served as protection against evil. Evil spirits wishing to harm the newlyweds would be confused as to who was the bride and groom.

Sweet Escapes: Virginia Honeymoons

Discover honeymoon destinations right here in Central and Southwest Virginia.

You’ll never forget how it felt to walk down the aisle, the emotion of declaring your love to your special someone in front of friends and family, and the excitement when you officially become someone’s husband or wife. By the end of the evening, as you wave goodbye to your guests, it will all seem like a wonderful, cake-filled dream. Fortunately, for most newlywed couples, the dream doesn’t end when the tablecloths are cleared and the DJ packs up his equipment. For some, the best part is just beginning.

In most cases, your wedding day is your opportunity to celebrate one of life’s great joys with those closest to you, especially your family. The honeymoon, on the other hand, is just for you and your new spouse. Those few days—or few weeks—are a respite from the stress of wedding planning, time to enjoy being married before returning to the real world of conference calls and doctor’s appointments and car payments. Honeymoons come in all shapes and sizes: all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, cozy log cabins in the mountains, cross-country road trips and river cruises.

Here in Central and Southwest Virginia, newlywed couples can find a honeymoon destination that suits their taste and budget, from mountain getaways to romantic wine tours, luxury spas and water sports.

Wine And Unwind

The Shenandoah Valley is home to more than 20 vineyards and wineries along the 170-mile Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, which stretches from Eagle Rock in the south to Winchester in the north. For couples looking to discover the amazing and unique wines produced right here in the valley, look no further than a romantic honeymoon full of wine tours, exceptional food, antique shopping and luxury inns.

Private, intimate, and very romantic. That’s how Janice Fitzgerald, one of the innkeepers at By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg describes the luxury accommodations on the nine-acre property. She and her husband Dennis are dedicated to ensuring guests, and especially newlyweds, have a relaxing and romantic experience when they stay at any one of the private cottages. Oversized whirlpool tubs, wood-burning fireplaces, homemade breakfast delivered right to your cabin door, and complimentary wine upon arrival…these are just a few things you can expect when you choose By the Side of the Road for your honeymoon.

“People are very hard working and don’t always have a lot of time to spend together,” says Fitzgerald. “The easier we can make it for them when they’re at the inn, the better it. We want to make the experience romantic and memorable without having them spend a lot of effort planning the trip.”

Janice and Dennis certainly go above and beyond to ensure guests feel welcome and comfortable during their stay, be it a couple of days or a full week. A hot, gourmet breakfast is delivered to the doors of the cottages daily, and they never repeat the same breakfast twice. “Every day is different,” says Fitzgerald, “and we can accommodate dietary restrictions.”

Couples can also enjoy a romantic picnic lunch of bread, cheese and dessert by the pond or in town at one of the wineries. And, as guests of By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages, you can partake in free wine tastings at several local vineyards, as well as special offers when you visit all four of the nearby breweries.

Mountain Escape

If you think you have to pay hundreds of dollars for plane tickets in order to bask in the refined glow of an all-inclusive luxury resort, you’d be mistaken. The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to a sprawling 12,000-acre retreat with world-class dining, deluxe spa services, endless scenic trails for hiking and mountain biking…what more could you want?

At Primland you feel transported to another time and place entirely. “The resort is surrounded by natural beauty that lends itself to unique privacy but with all of the amenities of a luxury resort,” says Primland director of marketing Julee Midden. “The location is an easy one to travel to from most of the eastern coast. You feel as though you are away from everything without having to travel far to do so.”

Picture this: You wake up to the sun rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains and the smell of freshly brewed coffee right in your suite…or tree house, if you prefer. “A lot of couples tend to book the Treehouses,” says Midden. “They are very private and very cozy with an amazing deck.”
You spend the morning on the links of the Highland Course, mountain biking,  paddle boarding or horseback riding. And of course a honeymoon is not complete with a trip to the Spa at the Lodge where they offer couples treatments.

You end your day with dinner at elements, sampling menu items made from local, organic and sustainable ingredients. “We are firm believers in supporting our local community, and we have a wide variety of foods in our own ‘backyard,'” says Midden. “We have our own chef’s garden on property, and our chef will also offer foraging through the forest as he gathers items for that day’s menus that our guests can join in as well as cooking classes.”

No matter how you choose to fill your days at Primland, you can be certain that they will do everything to make your honeymoon special and romantic. “The staff are all aware of the purpose of your visit and make sure they have a romantic experience,” says Midden. “During their dinner we offer champagne and/or dessert. We also offer private dinner on their deck, at our chef’s table or in a private area of the resort if the weather permits.”

The many destinations throughout Central and Southwest Virginia offer myriad different views, accommodations, activities, and amenities. But one thing they all have in common: You are guaranteed to have a memorable honeymoon you’ll want to revisit for years to come.

Real Sweet Escapes

Every couple is different, and when it comes to planning a honeymoon, there is something for every taste and budget. Here’s what several local couples had to say about their post-nuptial getaways:

“For our honeymoon our idea was to combine our love of entertainment with our active lifestyle. So we came up with the idea to do a tour of Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Each location provided us with something different to do and kept us engaged the whole trip.” –Dustin and Eric Cupp-Thompson, married in Vinton on May 1, 2015 (In our 4th issue, page 42.)

“We went to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. We decided not to fly so we could spend more one-on-one time with each other. We talked a lot during the 13-hour drive.” –Derek and Ashlee Hurt, married in Vinton on May 2, 2015

“We went to Couples Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Secret best thing: Having our first 10 days as a married couple totally away from email, phone, and work to just be together.” –Tom and Emily Hartka, married in Charlottesville on June 27, 2015

“We traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico. We felt for what the resort offered and the price it was the best deal, and we were not disappointed. It was peaceful and relaxing, and that’s exactly what we wanted in a honeymoon.” –Matt and Laura Sams, married in Roanoke on August 22, 2015 (In our 4th issue, page 80.)

Wedding Wednesday: The Dye Wedding

The Dye Wedding

October 31, 2015

Photography by: Tara Lilly Photography and Design

Sarah and William met through an online dating service. On a beach trip, William proposed by exclaiming “Look what I found!” When she finally cleared the saltwater from her eyes, Sarah saw a gorgeous pearl ring.

Their wedding took place on Halloween, and Sarah took inspiration from the Harry Potter series when planning. She gave creative license to the vendors, trusting them to do what they do best, and they did not disappoint. The lighting consisted of floating candles, and the ceremony space was lined with lanterns and floral with moss accents.

Cake was lined in edible black lace, and it looked almost too good to eat. In the end, it tasted so good people ate every single piece. Their signature cocktails of the night were polyjuice potion and butterbeer, served in copper mugs.

Their wedding was elegant, with just enough touches of nerdom to match their styles. By letting the vendors have creative control, they were rewarded with a wedding they could truly call their own.

Make sure to see more of the Dye Wedding on page 122 of bridebook!

Dress: David’s Bridal

Florist: Creative Occasions and Gloriosa

Cake: Cakes by Lisa

Venue: Mountain View Center

Caterer: Pumpernickel Pickle Catering

Planner: Simplicity

Jewelry: Macy’s

DJ: Blue Ridge Entertainment & The Zombie Band

Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: The Newfangled Bride

Rentals: Aztec Rentals

Transportation: Mountain Valley Transportation

Hair: Rock Paper Beauty Lounge

 

 

Wedding Wednesday: The Ivey Wedding

The Ivey Wedding

June 6, 2015

Photography by: Kim Brantley Photography

It took awhile for love to blossom between Lauren and Trey. They met when her father hosted a concert at their church, and Trey was the piano player. They became close friends, but it took six years before they started dating.

Trey’s proposal was a video of everyone important in Lauren’s life telling her to “Say Yes!” After the video, two of Lauren’s best friends came in and surprised her. Trey had flown them in to help them celebrate.

Lauren’s favorite moment was when she walked down the aisle. Everywhere she looked, she saw the faces of people she loved the most, and it was amazing to be surrounded by everyone she cared about.

Lauren’s father officiated the wedding, and award-winning singers TaRanda Greene, Wayne Haun, & Jim Brady sung during the ceremony. They were then treated to a fantastic dinner by the Hotel Roanoke staff. A friend of the family designed the gorgeous centerpieces on the table and the décor for the wedding. Most of the reception happened outside in the courtyard, and Lauren and Trey were just happy the rain held off.

They had a large bridal party, consisting of ten bridesmaids, ten groomsmen, three flower girls, and a ring bearer. But being able to include so many close friends and family made the day perfect.

Make sure to see more from the Ivey Wedding on page 119 of bridebook!

Dress: David’s Bridal

Florist: Darlene Brown

Cake: Tanya Aldrich

Venue: The Hotel Roanoke

Caterer: The Hotel Roanoke

Planner: Kelli Fink

Jewelry: Jared Galleria of Jewelry

DJ: All Occasions Entertainment

Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Videographer: Melissa Lancaster

 

Wedding Wednesday: The Smith Wedding

The Smith Wedding

May 30, 2015

Photography by: Tara Lilly Photography and Design

Leah and Travis met at church. Travis was a guitar player and singer in the band. During the Christmas Eve service, Travis claimed he had to work, but then he showed up on stage. The pastor pulled Leah up as well and that was when Travis got down on one knee.

Leah’s favorite memory from the big day was just before she walked down the aisle. She stood with her father, holding his hand and just taking everything in. All the butterflies and all her excitement in taking that first step were incredibly meaningful and sweet.

Pink worked not only for the girls, but also for the men and their gray suits. Leah found ways to incorporate the color into her wedding dress, the flowers, the bridesmaids’ gowns, and the groomsmen’s vests. For some extra flair, their cake was embellished with rhinestones. And because there are never enough sparkles, they finished off the day with a sparkler exit and a fancy Corvette getaway car.

What really made the wedding unforgettable though were the bridal party and guests. Being able to celebrate their love with so many people they cared about made their big day that much more amazing.

Make sure to see more of the Smith Wedding on page 118 of bridebook!

Dress: Patina Bridal & Formal

Florist: George’s Flowers

Cake: Cakes by Lisa

Venue: The Hotel Roanoke

Planner: The Perfect Fairytale

Jewelry: Belk

DJ: Quest Entertainment

Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Videographer: MPA Weddings

Hair: Amanda Taylor

Makeup: Liz Wray

Wedding Wednesday: The Ferris Wedding

The Ferris Wedding

May 23, 2015

Photography by: Tara Lilly Photography and Design

Joanna and Matthew met through mutual friends, but it was on a snowboarding trip that they really got to know each other. Their friends were instrumental again during Matthew’s proposal. They kept Joanna distracted all afternoon while he set up in their driveway with a blanket and a single rose. There was a firepit in the backyard, and he left her there while setting up candles, roses, and a bubble bath inside. Joanna didn’t have any idea what was happening until he finally popped the question.

Joanna had originally asked for a first look with Matthew, but he didn’t want to do it, stating he wanted to do it “old school.” In the end, Joanna was glad they didn’t; seeing each for the first time as she walked down the aisle was the most emotionally charged moment of the night, and it became her favorite memory of the day.

Waiting until the ceremony to see each other was one of the only things they did “old school.” For the most part, Joanna and Matthew tried to center the day around their love for each other, so they didn’t focus too much on the décor and the accessories. They did away with the games and a lot of new traditions, putting the emphasis of the day on how they felt in the moment rather than how they looked. According to Joanna, “We got married, and then we celebrated with everyone who made it possible.”

Make sure to see more of the Ferris Wedding on page 117 of bridebook!

Dress: AmRhein’s Brides and Formals

Florist: Best Wishes Cake: Buttercream Custom Cakes

Venue: Braeloch

Caterer: Blue Ridge Catering

Planner: Events by Sherri

Jewelry: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

DJ: RSP Entertainment

Attendant Dresses: J. Crew

Groomsmen Attire: Perry Ellis

Hair: Winning Image Salon and Day Spa

Makeup: Glamour by Gigi

Photo Booth: StarCity Photobooth

 

 

Wedding Wednesday: The Merritt Wedding

The Merritt Wedding

April 25, 2015

Photography by: Lori Hedrick Photography

Andrea and Owen met while working the same case for a client. It took a while for any romantic feelings to develop, but once they did Andrea started dropping hints until Owen asked her out (though he’ll tell you differently.)

Owen’s proposal was quite theatrical…literally. He likes to act with Roanoke’s community theaters, and it was at the end of a performance when he came to the front of the stage and got down on one knee. Andrea was in the front row, and he proposed right there with a live theater audience.

Andrea’s favorite moment from their wedding was their vows. They each wrote personal vows; Owen spoke about her personal passions and promised to support her, and Andrea talked about how good of a person he really was.

Their wedding took place at Andrea’s Alma Mater, Hollins University, with pink and green as their colors. The pastor was Owen’s father, an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Instead of favors for the guests, Andrea and Owen decided to make a donation to the RVSPCA in their guests’ names. And Andrea even donated her gown to Brides Across America after the wedding. Giving back to the community is very important to both of them. They used as many local vendors as they could. It was just their way of saying thanks to the local community.

Make sure to see more of the Merritt Wedding on page 116 of bridebook!

Dress: J. Crew

Florist: Gloriosa

Cake: Wildflour Café and Catering

Venue: Hollins University

Caterer: Meriwether Godsey at Hollins University

Planner: Kimberly Merritt

Jewelry: Fink’s

DJ: Master Taylor Entertainment

Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

 

Wedding Wednesday: The Kirby Wedding

The Kirby Wedding

December 23, 2015

Photography by: Tara Lilly Photography & Design

Aaron and Tyler originally met at Fork & Cork, but they didn’t date until a friend set them up a year later. These same friends were the first ones the two told after Tyler proposed. His proposal was small and intimate, set up on a Monday evening before his birthday. They were at a lodge, sharing wine and cheese on the balcony, when he asked Aaron to marry him for his birthday.

Aaron’s favorite memory from the big day was on the dance floor. The DJ had been playing a number of fast songs, but Tyler asked him to play a slow song—Their slow song, to be exact. When the song came on, both of them were surprised to find many of their friends joining them on the dance floor and singing along.

Music was a big aspect of this wedding. Most of the songs were compiled by the guests; their invitations had included “I will dance if I hear _____” as part of the RSVP, and the responses gave the reception a wide variety of music. They started the night with “What You Do to Me” by The Embers, a song that included the two of them taking Shag lessons weeks before the wedding.

Aaron and Tyler were the first to request an outdoor wedding at their venue, which gave them some interesting logistical challenges to overcome. Restrooms, lighting, and food prep all needed to be figured out, and then on top of everything else it rained on their big day. A tent was added at the last minute with heaters to keep guests warm.

The rainy day just made the orange pops of color even brighter though. The color came from a golf glove the groom found, and the groomsmen even used the gloves as pocket squares. From there they added tropical socks and orange bouquets for the girls.

What truly made the day special for them was the inclusion of their families. This was a second wedding for both of them, and they wanted to focus on the fact that they were merging their families. Aaron’s sons walked her down the aisle and gave her away, and Tyler addressed them personally during the ceremony, and they all exited together.

Make sure to see more from the Kirby Wedding on page 115 of bridebook!

Dress: Church Street Bridal

Venue: Old Monterey Golf Course

Caterer: Tracy Hamilton Catering

Planner: Mark Taylor

Jewelry: Sandra Eileen Designs

DJ: Master Taylor Entertainment

Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: Jim’s Formal Wear

Makeup: LASH

Hair: Les Cheveux Salon & Day Spa

Officiate: John Coleman, CrossPointe

Rehearsal Venue: Sheraton Roanoke

Monogramming: John and Susan Kirby

 

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