Wedding Recap Part 1: Getting Ready, First Look, and Pre-Ceremony

I'm taking this week off of recipe blogging to focus my efforts on helping prepare two Thanksgiving dinners! If you need some gluten-free Thanksgiving recipe inspiration check out this crostata, these biscuits, and this heavenly mousse dessert. Check out this post for some Thanksgiving survival tips and list of other gluten-free holiday friendly recipes. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and a fun filled Thanksgiving! And recaps!! In case I haven't mentioned it a few thousands times already, I got hitched on Oct. 28! I've been itching to do a full recap post of the big day but was waiting until we had our photos in hand. Now that our photos are here, I can't stop looking at them! I love looking back on that day and reliving every laughter and joy filled moment. I'm dividing the recaps up into several separate posts simply so I don't crash everyone's computers with all the photos. This post is going to be a long one, so grab some coffee and settle in!

*all photos (c) Jack Looney Photography

Getting Ready

My bridesmaids came to my hotel room to get hair and makeup done and hang out during the day before the ceremony. My mom got us some snacks and champagne (always good) and we had a great time getting pretty and chatting. The time seemed to fly by and before I knew it, my hair and makeup were done, my veil was on, and I was walking with Brad to meet our limo. We chose to see each other most of the day and we rode over to the venue together in a vintage limo. We decided to do this instead of ride back in it because we knew we would have a lot to bring back that night and really wanted to savor each moment of the limo ride. Seeing Brad for most of the day and riding over with him was one of the best decisions I made. It really helped me stay calm and also got me increasingly excited about the ceremony and reception. Seeing each other didn’t take away from anything during the ceremony and I would do it the same way again.

After arriving, the ladies did some final touches in the bridal suite at our venue while the guys hung out and had some fun.

My mom zipped me into my dress and my bridesmaids helped me put the final touches on my attire.

I'm so glad we had some time to just drink champagne, munch on snacks, and laugh together.

I was already getting emotional and having everyone around me made me so excited and kept me calm. I don't think I stopped smiling or laughing the entire time.

First Look

The weather wasn’t looking good - it was cloudy, very very cold, and was forecasting rain so there was a possibility that our ceremony location would be moved from outside to inside. As I was going to take pictures with the photographer and do the first look, our coordinator gave me the forecast (rain pretty much guaranteed) and told me that we needed to make the decision – inside or out. I didn’t hesitate and decided to move the ceremony inside. For some reason, I thought that moving the ceremony would be bigger deal to me but it wasn’t. It was an easy decision that was made easier by the fact that I knew all of our vendors would make magic happen. After calling it, our photographer drove me up to meet Brad.

He was standing on the hillside with the second shooter, his back towards me. I started walking towards him and thought my heart might beat out of my chest. Initially, I was going to walk all the way to him but froze when I got a few feet behind him – I was so nervous, I thought I would collapse if I took another step. Instead, I said “hey you” and he turned around and walked towards me with his eyes all misty. I started to cry and was smiling so big my face hurt and we hugged and kissed amongst the gorgeous hillside backdrop.

He told me I was beautiful and we walked together to our vintage limo for some more pictures. At this point, I felt so ready and giddy with happiness.

We snapped some more pictures and then drove to the vines and took more photos.

At that point, we were freezing so our photographer had us jump in our limo and quickly got us back inside to warm up.


After we got back from taking pictures, we took formal family and bridal party portraits since it was beginning to rain. We spent very little time on these since we aren’t fond of super formal portraits but wanted to have pictures with our 4 families and all of our bridal party. After we finished, we went inside and my bridesmaids had me sit down, eat a larabar from my emergency kit (thanks Kelly!!!), and gave me some wine.

They could tell I was getting nervous and made sure I had everything I needed and calmed me down. Brad was in another room with his groomsmen and he was also getting extremely nervous. It felt like mere seconds passed and our coordinator had us line up and escorted us to the procession area. At this point, my nerves really kicked in. My dad and stepdad joked with me to calm me down and before I knew it, it was just me and my dad and stepdad standing arm in arm waiting to walk down the aisle.

Some Details:

Photographer: Jack Looney photography (I cannot say enough about Jack - he is professional, kind, and amazingly talented. He is such a great person to work with and really went above and beyond)

Florist: Amy Webb of Blue Ridge Floral (Amy is one of the nicest people I've met and she really outdid herself with our event. She completely captured our vision and ran with it to a place that was beyond our dreams.)

Cake: Melinda of Bake Love Bakery (Melinda is one the sweetest people I know and her talent is truly amazing. Our cake was a huge collaborative effort between us, her, and my stepdad and she translated the vision to something deliciously spectacular)

Band: John Conley Band (John and his band are AWESOME. So many people commented on how great the band was that night!)

Venue & Catering: Veritas Vineyards (There are no words to express how wonderful everyone at Veritas has been. Jill, our coordinator and Chloe, our previous coordinator were lifesavers and were instrumental in making our day absolutely perfect.)

Vintage Limo: Albemarle Limo (Can I just say that I want that car?!)

Hair & Makeup:  Katie Blue Salon Richmond, VA. Hair by Missi Manning and Meaghan Hobson; makeup by Meaghan Hobson