When we asked our lovely bride Abby where she and her newly minted hubby went on their honeymoon, she told us,“We went to Norway to hike among the Fjords and then to Paris to eat!”
Which pretty much sums up the classic, playful romance of Abby and Charlie, as well as their wedding day! This sweet duo planned a Virginia wedding that celebrated their lives in southern France and northern California, Abby’s childhood church, her and her sister’s linen pants business (Morning at the Market) and included the reading of love letters between her grandparents from 1945, a spectacular dessert table, and Abby’s dad’s band playing “Twist and Shout.”
How did your sweetie propose?
“Charlie surprised me at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. I was completely shocked to open the door and see him in the house because I thought he was in Maine with his family! It was a big deal that he was there that day because when we were dating we always spent Christmas apart and with our families.”
How did you choose your gown?
“I found my gown at Fabulous Frocks in Alexandria, Virginia. My mom and I knew right away that it was “the one” when we saw it. Skye, who worked there, was so helpful and patient during the whole process.”
Tell us about your day! Did you have a theme or style in mind?
“I wanted the wedding to feel “traditionally whimsical.” We had a “traditional” Episcopal Church wedding ceremony at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, where I grew up going. A bagpiper played out front and a trumpeter accompanied the organist. Our friends read the psalms and prayers, the priest gave a homily, and my uncle played the guitar and sang. We exchanged vows along with gold bands. My cousins read love letters between my grandparents from 1945.
Afterwards, we had an outdoor garden party with a “whimsical” feel at Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House. Cocktails were in their beautiful garden, followed by dinner, dancing, and dessert in the tent. Our caterer made a beautiful cheese table and passed crab cakes and other bites during the cocktail hour. They then made a beautiful ‘farm to table’ dinner served family style, complete with grilled seasonal vegetables and locally raised beef and fish. Charlie and I lived in southern France and northern California, so we included elements of those experiences by weaving in eucalyptus and lavender to the table settings, my bouquet, and his boutonniere. We displayed family wedding photos of generations before us.
My sister and I have a linen pants business called Morning at the Market, so we love fabric and wanted it to be fun. We had colorfully printed napkins tucked with personalized menus. Our table assignments were hand-written on wildflower packets, encouraging guests to find their seats and then take the seeds home and plant them with the quote ‘you belong among the wildflowers’ on the back. We danced all night to the band Riverside Lights.
I wish I could go back to the dessert table. We had chocolate, lemon, and blueberry cakes, chocolate, coconut, and banana cream pies, and chocolate mousse. I love chocolate and Charlie loves cream pies. The blueberry cake was an ode to his home state of Maine. Guests threw dried lavender on us as we exited the evening and then we drove away in a Vintage car! It was so much fun.”
What’s your funniest wedding day memory?
“When my Dad and his two brothers surprised us all by getting their band back together for the first time in 50 years and performing “Twist and Shout” on stage!”
What was your favorite wedding day moment?
“Walking down the aisle. Driving from the church to Woodlawn in a vintage car with my new husband and getting honked at by all of the cars as they saw my dress spilling out the sides. Dancing with my Dad to The Beatles. Getting ready alongside my 5-year-old niece. The toast my husband gave right after our cake cutting.”
What was your first dance song?
“We danced to “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” My younger cousin, Jack, has an incredible voice and he sang it as we danced, which was very special.”
Describe your wedding day in 5 words or less:
“Can we do it again?”
What was your:
“Something old: My mom’s wedding shoes.
Something new: Dress
Something borrowed: Earrings from my friend, Jane, who runs her own antique jewelry business called Prather Beeland, Inc.
Something blue: Sapphire engagement ring from my groom.
….and a six pence in my shoe! (the same one that my grandmother and mom had in their shoes on their wedding days!)”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We went to Norway to hike among the Fjords and then to Paris to eat!”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Find a way to enter the weekend with a calm mind—whatever that means for you. My friend led a women’s circle on Friday morning that cultivated mindfulness through breath work and heartfelt story telling. I felt so calm and steady going into the weekend after that. It was so beautiful. My groom played golf during that time, which calms him in the same way.”