Wedding Details Part 1: The Team!

How do I even beginning describing the most beautiful day I’ve ever experienced? Where do I start with detailing 6 months of planning into a (mostly) brief post?! I can’t so today I’ll start with recognizing the team that came together to create such an amazing day and in a second blog post, I’ll cover the last details of the wedding weekend!

A few days after Christmas, Michael, my parents and I went to Charlottesville to scope out a few venues to host our May wedding. I called a lot of venues but narrowed it down to three possibilities. After the visits, Trump Winery stole our hearts. I’m convinced there is no better view of Charlottesville, VA than on top of Carter Mountain at Trump’s Grand Hall!

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shea-and-michael-trump-winery-charlottesville-virginia-wedding-photographer-825 copyAfter securing our venue for May 9th, 2015, I started with the next big detail: FOOD! Michael and I are slightly food obsessed, so this one was a biggie. We used Glorious Foods to cater and Maria was great to work with our creative menu. He and I love all things brunch, so items like shrimp and grits bites and bacon wrapped filet mignon made an appearance. In my opinion, the chicken and waffles next to the biscuit bar (with sausage and gravy…honey…nutella…buttah…) stole the show! For dessert and in lieu of a traditional wedding cake, we had French toast sticks, a warm gooey cinnamon bun, and a scoop of butter pecan ice cream. To have something to cut, my grandmother made my favorite dessert: bourbon pecan pie! Around the pie we had pictures of his parents, my parents, and grandparents all cutting cake on their wedding days, along with the number of years they’ve been married.

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We really wanted to honor the sacredness of marriage commitment and instead of doing a garter and bouquet toss, we opted for an anniversary dance. The remaining couple left dancing just so happened to be my grandparents with 56 years of marriage! I secretly knew that they’d be the longest standing couple, so we gave them a picture of them on their wedding day in a double-sided frame and promised to send them a picture of Michael and I to insert on the other side.

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With our venue secured, food set, I moved on to searching for the right team to capture our special day: photography and videography! I secured the incredibly talented Meredith Sledge and folks, let tell you she has a gift. She did our engagement pictures and I truly believe she’s going to be a star in the photography world! Finding the right videographer was important to me since I knew I wanted our love story videoed. Stephanie and Scott Strimple with Stephanie Day Films captured perfectly the essence of our story. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do! She also put together a little preview to our day. I cannot wait to see a longer version!

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Music was another important piece to our wedding day, especially considering Michael and I went to homecoming together for our first date in 2003 to dance the night away. To set the tune of the day, we had Rick Pfamatter from Choice Entertainment DJ our night and it was so fun to work with him. He even helped us mix together a custom first dance song in which (wait for it…) Michael and I did a surprise dance! We started with Sam Smith’s “Make it to Me”, busted a few moves on the floor to Usher’s “Yeah (a flashback to dancing to it at Prom 2004), and closed it out with Ed Shearan’s “Thinking Out Loud.” It was so much fun! Video of that coming soon :).

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Another connection to dating in high school came from having our caricature drawn at post Prom. We hired Eric Vineyard from The Nose to draw our guests caricatures during the reception! Keeping in the theme, we had our bridal party caricaturized for our wedding programs. Speaking of programs, all of our invitations, detail inclusions, ceremony programs, and menus were homemade with a very talented team! A very special thank you to my talented momma for painting countless peonies for me to set as the background to all of the lettering. And to the sweet people of Office Depot for helping me align everything just right, thank you. Finally, a warm hug goes out to my sister-in-law, Haley, for helping me two nights before the wedding (heh!) to work on the programs and menus. Whew, wouldn’t have been able to do any of that with out a little lot help from these folks!

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Oh, and peonies! And dusty miller! And silver brunia! I’m obsessed with these pretty little flowers and Susan Axtell was the master flower arranger! I am friends with her daughter Shannon from Divinity School and met Susie when I baked and decorated Shannon & Robert’s wedding cake a few years ago. I am so blessed to have had the love returned for our day. From the bouquet to boutonnieres…the centerpieces to the single-stem peonies for the bridesmaids…I couldn’t have asked for a prettier bunch of flowers! Beside the centerpieces of the table, I had made table numbers out of white Moleskin journals and gold number stickers to have guest write in each journal. The table number correlates with the anniversary year we will read what our guests wrote to us!

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Because of the massive amount of details, decorations and memorabilia, and coordination required to pull this day off, I booked Heather Higgins to be our day of wedding coordinator. She was my sister-in-law Abby’s wedding coordinator in August and I was so impressed with her professionalism and organization that I had to have her for our wedding. Heather is the kind of coordinator that makes every bride’s desire her priority and does it with a smile and assurance that it will get done!

Alright friends, I’ve given you a lot for one post and yet there’s still so many details I cannot wait to share. Elements like our rehearsal dinner, morning of our wedding, the dress, bridesmaids dresses, tuxes, the vows we wrote…I could go on and on! I promise, more to come this week on Bird’s Nest!

Michael & Shea’s Love Story

Well, I’m a wife!

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It hasn’t sunk in yet. We’ve been married for two weeks now and I still feel like I’m going to have to say good-bye to him at any second for him to go back to Memphis and me to Charleston. When we started to date again last May, the reality of long-distance was a slap in the face. We adapted by utilizing FaceTime, phone calls, and texts throughout the days. Not our preference but it was all that we had and could do.

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I knew early on that long-distance would be short-lived…I was going to marry that man! It’s much easier to endure a dreadful long-distance status knowing that it would only be for a temporary season. From the beginning, we were both on the same page when it came to our dating this go around. Without a shadow of doubt, deep peace filled my soul and I was called to marry Michael. I know that may sound strange, but when I dated Michael in high school, I never felt that peace or that “you know that you know” feeling people say when its about the person you’re supposed to marry. I was also 16 and had college and grad school on my mind! He, on the other hand, would call me “The Mrs.”, joke around that we were “absolutely going to get married”, and had more love for me than I knew what to do with. At 17, I remember sitting on my bed writing in a little pink journal, “Lord, give me the same love for Michael that he has for me.” I felt like God say right back to me, “Don’t open a Christmas gift until it’s Christmas day.” I know, weird. It was such a strange phrase, I wrote it down and took it to mean that I wasn’t ready for that kind of love and will one day have that deep love for my future husband. {cue sad music} Shortly after that journal entry, Michael and I broke up as he went to college and I finished high school.

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We took different paths those 10 years we were apart, yet every so often, the inevitable “run-in-to-each other” would occur at church or the gym when we were both in our hometown. He was also a faithful workout buddy to my dad, so that didn’t help when trying to avoid an ex! We each had our share of ups and downs during the decade apart, but I’m 100% convinced the trials and triumphs better prepared us for one another.

Getting reacquainted with Michael is my favorite part of his and my love story. It literally took Divine intervention to get me to even consider dating Michael again…but when God’s the writer of a love story and “peace that goes beyond all understanding” fills the soul and something holy and sacred is created.

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Ready to hear the rest of our love story?! Well, we put together a video to share with our family and friends! We played this at our rehearsal dinner and for all of our guests at the wedding before the ceremony. Finally, I’m giddy to share it with you!

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Our long-distance status is finally nixed and I couldn’t be more grateful for a good Creator to write us the most beautiful love story. Our wedding day was the sweetest celebration I could ever dream of and I’m still on cloud 9. But mostly, I’m so stinkin’ excited that I don’t have to have another sad goodbye with Michael and a lame FaceTime call again. Finally, we are married and get to adventure into the next season of our lives together!

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To watch how the rest of our love story came together, press play below!