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.

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 Handy Wedding

Natalie & Jason Handy

October 10, 2015

Photography by: Lori Hedrick Photography

Natalie and Jason actually crossed paths several times on the volleyball court before introducing themselves at a pizza place. They got to chatting and Jason offered Natalie a slice, but she turned him down. Later, she and her friend did decide they wanted a pie so they walked out with one. They ran into Jason again not too long after, and he made a joke about the pizza they now had. Natalie threw the slice in her hand at him, and naturally true love bloomed from there.

To propose, Jason got the staff at Frankie Rowlands involved. They set up a word scramble challenge and asked the couple to participate. The first two that Natalie solved were her favorite food and drink at the restaurant, and she was more than ready for her third challenge. It was only three words, “Let’s get married.” Upon solving it, she looked up at Jason and said, “That’s not food.” Once she saw the ring and realized what was happening, she started laughing and accepted.

They both agree their favorite memory from their wedding day were their minor issues in cutting the cake. Someone had forgotten the serving knife, so they had to cut it with a small paring knife. Then, when trying to cut the cake, Jason couldn’t get the knife to go through. He even asked if the cake was frozen. After some thought they realized, no, it wasn’t frozen, they were trying to cut through the board separating the layers!

The wedding didn’t have a theme so much as Natalie just really, really liked candles and cylinders. They used them everywhere in the event space, lining the stairs and the aisle as well as putting them on the tables. For some extra color, they added flowers around the cylinders too. The effect of all the candlelight was a soft, romantic light, and it made their wedding feel even more magical.

Natalie and Jason wanted their menu to reflect them. Jason loved to grill, so they served chicken and flank steak grilled on the spot by Pumpernickle Pickle. For desserts, they had ten different kinds! The guests loved it, if the lack of leftovers was anything to go by.

Another important aspect of their wedding was their venue. They chose to get married on the Rooftop at Center in the Square in Roanoke, which gave them the freedom to do something special with the ceremony. Instead of having their guests sit in rows, they set the chairs up in a circle around them. It let the guests feel more included in the ceremony, and it provided an opportunity for some great candid shots!

Make sure to see more from the Handy Wedding on page 90 of bridebook!

Dress: Monique Lhuillier Couture from Nitsa’s Apparel
Florist: Creative Occasions
Cake: Kelli’s Cakes
Venue: Center in the Square
Caterer: Pumpernickel Pickle Catering
Planner: Simplicity
Jewelry: Tacori and Fink’s
DJ: Quest Entertainment
Lighting: Lighting Ninjas
Makeup: LASH
Hair: Prim Hair Salon
Rentals: Aztec Rental
Linens: BBJ Linens
Officiate: Mike Lauridsen of Parkway Wesleyan Church

Wedding Wednesday: The Turley Wedding

CoverBride2016Button

Jessica & Brandyn Turley

October 3, 2015

Photography by: V.A. Photography

Jessica and Brandyn met back in high school, and they’ve been together through all stages of life ever since. After seven years, Brandyn managed to surprise Jessica with his proposal. He’d told her he was out of town on a business trip, but during that week he asked her to run over to his dad’s house to pick something up for him. She was directed to the garage, where they’d had their first kiss, and found him waiting on one knee. Brandyn even had an engagement party planned with all their friends and family.

Jessica’s favorite memory of her big day was walking down the aisle. Her stepfather walked her to the top of the aisle and then handed her off to her father, but not before both men shared a hug. It meant a lot to Jessica to see both her dads in solidarity before she married her best friend.

The theme of the wedding was the Great Gatsby. Jessica had a 1920’s styled dress from BHLDN, and they strung twinkle lights in the ceremony and reception space. Gold candelabras and accents tied the theme together, but the real showstopper was the vintage 1920’s Rolls Royce getaway car.

They used flowers for most of their decorating, combining soft blush colors with deep burgundy and rich green accents. The three-foot gold candelabras and short, round gold vases were used together to create tiered centerpieces. The sweetheart table was embellished with a green garland and mercury glass votive candleholders.

Food was served family-style, and it did not disappoint. They served root vegetables in hollowed-out baby pumpkins, dishes seasoned to perfection, and an incredible presentation. The cake was even created using Jessica’s grandmother’s pound cake recipe.

Part of what made their wedding so unique was because of Jessica’s parents. Both of them are in the wedding business, and they spent over a year planning the perfect outdoor wedding. Jessica and Brandyn also wrote their own vows, which really helped to personalize the day and make it their own.

Make sure to see more of the Turley Wedding on page 88 of bridebook!

Dress: BHLDN
Florist: George’s Flowers
Cake: Plantation Creations Catering
Venue: Plantation on Sunnybrook
Caterer: Plantation Creations Catering
Planner: Tammy Scaggs- Plantation on Sunnybrook
Jewelry: BHLDN
DJ: RSP Entertainment
Attendant Dresses: The Newfangled Bride
Groomsmen Attire: Davidson’s
Hair & Makeup: Les Cheveux Salon & Day Spa

September Only: Early Bride Submission Special

Early bird special? Try Early Bride Special!

We’re so excited about our 5-year anniversary issue that for the entire month of September, we’re offering killer savings for those wanting to be in the magazine.

From September 1 through September 30, brides have the opportunity to receive a discount on their wedding submissions:

  • 2-page spread (normally $295) is only $245
  • 1-page (normally $195) is only $145

savings-details-2017

Interested in RSVPing your space but aren’t married before our “early bride” September discount? No problem! Reserve your spot today by filling out and returning our form with payment. We’ll touch base about getting your love story details and images as we get closer to production.

Questions? Email Editor Liz Long at llong@leisuremedia360.com and she’ll be glad to walk you through it!

Wedding Wednesday: The Prisley Wedding

Sandee & Stephen Prisley Wedding

September 12, 2015

Photography by: Noah Magnifico- Photographer

After both Sandee and Stephen had posted statuses on Facebook on Valentine’s Day, a mutual friend introduced them to each other. They traded messages back and forth for a while, and then they met for Brunch at Rockfish. They spent the morning talking, and the rest was history.

Steve’s proposal came as a complete surprise for Sandee. He invited her along on a work conference to Virginia Beach because he knew she loved the ocean. On a walk along the beach, just as Sandee was asking if he was ready to go back to the hotel, Steve caught her in a kiss and started telling her how much he loved having her in his life. She didn’t even realize it was a proposal until halfway through! When he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring, the people in the hotel behind them cheered.

Sandee’s favorite memory of the wedding was when the reverend read the letters she and Steve had written for each other. His letter was loving, funny, and wise—Just like him. (Clowning around during the cake cutting was a close second though!)

The style of the wedding was what Sandee jokingly called “vintage whimsical.” She and her mother made about thirty pillows using lace from her grandmother’s stash and map-printed fabric to represent Steve, and they scattered them on the benches during the ceremony. Sandee also made, refashioned, or repurposed all the cupcake stands, designed the table centerpieces, crafted the aisle markers for the ceremony, and made their cake toppers. The main colors of the wedding were rich red coral and aqua blue, with lime green and orange as accents.

The train of Sandee’s dress was fashioned from the Watteau train on her mother’s dress, and the gold brooch pinned at the top had been worn by her great-grandmother, grandmother, and her mother.

For their venue, they chose the Center in the Square Rooftop. The amazing vista of the mountains and the city was only part of the reason why; they also had a history with it. The night of its grand re-opening, they had gotten dinner downtown and found a band playing in the market. It was the first night they danced together, and the night Sandee realized she was falling in love.

To end the wedding, they had a parade from the reception to the hotel. It was only a few blocks away, so they handed out maracas, bells, and kazoos. Thirty or forty guests came along through the streets and across a footbridge, the perfect ending to a wonderful day!

Make sure to see more from the Prisley Wedding on page 84 of bridebook!

Dress: Nicole Miller from Nordstrom’s
Florist: Creative Occasions
Cake: Evie’s Wedding Cakes
Venue: Center in the Square
Caterer: Center Stage Catering
Planner: The Perfect Fairytale
Jewelry: Sylvie and Brilliant Earth
DJ: Music, Music, and More Music
Groomsmen Attire: Proms, Pageants, and Pretty Things
Hair: Bliss Studio- Brandy Moorman
Makeup: Pampered & Polished- Jolina Goad

Wedding Wednesday: The Smith Wedding

Jana & Cecil Smith

August 22, 2015

Photography by: Pat Cori Photography

Jana and Cecil met while living in Radford, Va. She had just finished school, and he was working at Norfolk Southern in Roanoke. Jana says they were both “stubborn with each other for dating, but once it happened… we both knew it was definitely meant forever.”

The night Cecil proposed, he was running late. Jana had just gotten off work when he let her know he’d be late, but he wanted to go to dinner. Jana made it home and got ready, and then she waited. Two glasses of wine later, she was still waiting. When he finally came in, he got down one knee and asked her to go to dinner with him as his fiancé. Jana said “YES” of course, and then he asked her to marry him. At dinner, she found out why he was late: he’d been with her father in Christiansburg asking for his permission.

Jana’s favorite part of the wedding was when they were saying vows. Cecil went first, and his voice cracked with emotion. And then the bridal party all started crying too. Jana wiped the tears from Cecil’s face, and the pastor asked for the rings. The next moment felt like it was straight from a movie: his dad dropped the rings. Thankfully, things didn’t turn into a disaster; on the contrary, Jana feels like it made a perfect moment even more perfect.

Another one of Jana’s favorite elements from the day was the live band. She and Cecil had decided they wanted a live band before he even proposed, and it was everything they ever wanted. Their guests still give them comments about it!

The theme of their wedding was classic and simple, with ivory/rustic pink and gold/silver as their colors. Their centerpieces were antique silver trays and three mercury glass candle holders with piles of pink roses at the base.

There were two wedding favors in particular that Jana really loved. The first was a keychain that spelled LOVE and doubled as a bottle opener. There was a tag attached that said “A brew for one, a brew for two, let the ‘L’ove open for you! Enjoy!” courtesy of her mother. The second favor was a black and gold koozie that said “Best Day Ever.”

One of the reasons Jana and Cecil’s wedding was so special was because Jana and her mom planned everything themselves. Jana works as a wedding planner, so after four years of planning other people’s big days it was nice to plan her own. She called her mom with any plan or thought she had, and together they were able to bring everything together exactly how they wanted it with the help of some friends and family.

Be sure to see more of the Smith Wedding on page 82 of bridebook!

Dress: AmRhein’s Brides and Formals
Florist: The Flower Shoppe on Main
Cake: Cakes by Lisa
Ceremony: Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church
Venue: Roanoke Country Club
Caterer: Roanoke Country Club
Jewelry: Henebry’s
DJ: Sam Hill Entertainment & Soul Expressions
Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Makeup: Jessica Hall
Hair: Plaza 101
Seamstress: Mary Lou Prillaman
Transportation: Executive Limousine

Clueless Maid of Honor Reporting for Duty

Thoughts from a clueless Maid of Honor as she helps her sister plan her wedding.

She said yes!

He finally proposed!!!

Hearing that your sister’s boyfriend finally proposed is some of the best news you can get all day. And having her ask you to be the Maid of Honor and the only bridesmaid at all just puts a special feeling in your gut. I was glowing with happiness for a solid hour after I heard. Seriously, I could not stop smiling.

And then I realized the Maid of Honor actually has to, like, do stuff. What kind of stuff you ask? That is a great question, one that I do not know the answer to. Yeah, that happy glow faded pretty fast as I rushed online to see what my sister expected me to do.

Most of it seems pretty easy- plan the bridal shower, go dress shopping, keep track of the registry, be the bride’s right hand gal. Simple enough, right?

Maybe if you’re in the same state. Or even just a couple hours away. But no, because wedding planning on its own isn’t challenging enough, we are planning this wedding from three different states, none of which are next to each other. Yep, my sister lives in Illinois, I live in Virginia, and her fiancée as well as where the wedding will take place is in New Jersey.

So all those seemingly simple Maid of Honor duties just got ten times more complicated, because they will have to be done remotely. And I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing in the first place. (My sister may have more faith in me than I deserve.)

Thankfully, we have a wonderful mother who does have a clue, and is more or less the actual wedding planner. It helps that she’s in Jersey too, so she can actually go stake out places and vendors. Let’s hear it for Wonder-Mom!

IMG_9884

It’s only been a few weeks since the engagement, but we’re already doing a lot of planning. The ceremony will be in our home church in October 2017, the wedding colors are most likely going to be navy and ivory, the guest list has been made, a venue secured, we’re already stressing about budgets, and my sister has tried on her first wedding dress. Not bad for less than a month, huh?

Most recently, my sister asked me to take charge of her bouquet. The only requirements were it had to have at least two of these three requirements: Simple, Elegant, and Quirky. And she pinned some ideas on Pinterest, to give me visuals on what she was thinking (Pinterest is also a Godsend). So, my mission has been set.

There’s still fourteen months until the wedding, which is both a blessing and a curse. It gives us time to plan everything, but then it also gives us this weird “well it’s too soon to start thinking about that.” Decorations for the ceremony, for example, are probably not things we need to have planned out so well just yet. Things like the venue and food feel just a little more important. But, thanks to Wonder-Mom, things are working out. (Not that she tells me half the time. I only found out half an hour before writing this that they picked a venue.)

But, truth be told, of all the stuff we still have to do, I’m most excited for the dress shopping. We’ve picked a week in November for my sister and I to meet my mom in Jersey and go shopping, and I am already counting down the days until I can see my big sis wearing a wedding dress. It’s been a long time coming, and we’re all excited to see her finally get married. Here’s to hoping the stress doesn’t get to us!

%d bloggers like this: