The idyllic backdrop of her parent’s backyard served as the perfect reason for Julie to sweep her groom away from their home in New York City to have a Virginia wedding. Drawing inspiration from the atmosphere of the local area and the great outdoors, the couple added in their love of the city using the theme, “Brooklyn goes to Brightwood.” From their rustic and vintage décor to the bride’s arrival to the ceremony in a Yellow Cab – captured perfectly by Dominique Attaway Photography – these New Yorkers brought a piece of the Big Apple to Virginia. The lovely bride Julie is here to share her planning insight:
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
I have to give a lot of credit to my parents, in particular my dad. My parents bought the property where we got married as a sort of semi-retirement project with plans to do about ten years of work on it. They ended up having to do most of the work in one year! From brainstorming (sometimes with very silly ideas–I had to say no to the zip line multiple times) to backbreaking manual labor, my dad deserves much of the credit for pulling it off. My husband put in a year of effort, ideas, and patience, and I will always be grateful that he came along for the ride of a slightly non-traditional wedding at home. And my wedding coordinator, Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings, was a tremendous asset, especially since I was planning a Virginia wedding from New York (and none of us are from Virginia). Throwing a wedding at home could have meant no fun for my parents, but we were able to enjoy the special day we’d planned because Amanda made sure it ran smoothly.
What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?
I wanted to feel comfortable with the vendor, and know that I was being heard. I remember speaking to one planner who made me feel like a little kid, and I was thirty at the time. When we started planning, I didn’t know what kind of bride I’d be–and just in case I became a bridezilla, I wanted to work with vendors I could have a meltdown in front of. (I never did have a meltdown in front of a vendor–my poor husband got that honor!) It was also important for the vendor to get along with my dad, since this was a very personal undertaking for him and it would grease the wheels if everyone was on the same page. We found that liking our vendors personally made planning the wedding fun.
What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?
The main inspiration came from the venue–outdoorsy with straw and hay bales, lots of lights, and gorgeous local flowers by Sugar Magnolias. We were also inspired by the rustic/urban aesthetic of Brooklyn, NY, where we live. It was fun to play with city and country elements. I arrived to the ceremony in a yellow cab, for example, and we mimicked streetlights at the opening of the tent. Our invitations were made from an image of the bench in Prospect Park where my husband proposed. But we didn’t focus on being themey–we just kind of included what we liked.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding?
It’s hard to choose, but one thing I loved was the polka lesson. My grandmother passed away a few months before the wedding, and we wanted to honor her in a way that wouldn’t make half our family cry. My grandparents had loved the polka. We increased the size of the dance floor and hired Karen to give our guests a polka lesson with her husband. It was a hoot. I figured lots of guests would join, but the dance floor was utterly packed! And the pictures were great–Dominique captured our friends and family grinning, laughing, trying not to run into each other, and having a blast polka dancing in honor of Grandma. I loved it.
What is your best piece of advice for other brides?
Go with the flow, especially on the big day. Things will go wrong–with so much going on, something is bound to. But if you’re having a good time, and you’re happy to be there, the guests will be happy to be there, too–and so will your husband! Know that you can’t please everyone, but you can feel good about doing your best to make it a good time for your guests. And don’t forget what you’re there for–you’re getting married! When I arrived down the aisle and looked at my almost-husband, I totally forgot that just fifteen minutes before, I was so stressed I was ready to scream. Our marriage was starting, and I’m so glad I didn’t let anything overshadow the sacredness of that moment.
Wonderful advice, Julie! The detail I loved the most from this darling backyard wedding was the “burying of the bourbon” tradition. Typically performed before outdoor weddings, Southern tradition states that if you bury an unopened bottle of bourbon exactly one month before your nuptials – and at the site of your ceremony – you’ll ward off any chance of rain. Dig up the bottle on your wedding day and share with your bridal party to seal the deal. How about you? Are you participating in any traditions or superstitions prior to your big day? I’d love to hear!