Jenny is our Bella Bride of the Week! We loved her in our dress “Alaina” by Mikaella. What a gorgeous wedding for such a lucky couple. Everything was so chic and elegant, we loved the nautical touch. Congratulations Jenny and Brian!
Photography by Island Photography ￼ ￼ ￼
When and where was your wedding?
“Our wedding was on Saturday, June 2, 2012 in our hometown of Newport News, VA. The ceremony took place at Hidenwood Presbyterian Church, Brian’s church, and the reception was at nearby Christopher Newport University.” ￼
“It was great because the ceremony and reception site were literally a mile apart so it was easy for our guests to get to and from the day’s events. We loved the look of the timeliness brick and white column buildings at CNU and being such huge fans of our college days, it only made sense we would have our reception at a university!” ￼ ￼
How did you and your fiance meet/ how did he propose?
“Brian and I both grew up in Newport News, VA and attended the same high school but our paths never really crossed. Our relationship began following the tragedy at Virginia Tech as he and his friends decided to take a road trip for the weekend to James Madison University to get away from the stress and chaos. As luck would have it, a mutual friend of ours and my current roommate offered to let Brian stay at our apartment. After that weekend, our relationship progressed and luckily we both were going back to the Hampton Roads area for work.” ￼
“About 3 ½ years into our relationship in December 2010, Brian orchestrated a Christmas-themed proposal on a surprise getaway to the Eastern Shore complete with a roaring fireplace, poinsettias, Christmas candles, red roses, enlarged pictures of us throughout our relationship, and a decorated Christmas tree. I was overwhelmed with excitement- his attention to detail was absolutely amazing. We decided that we wanted a spring wedding and the time to plan our wedding and soon after, June 2, 2012 was set!” ￼ ￼
How would you describe your style, and how did you incorporate it into your wedding?
“Brian and I are both born and raised in Virginia. Growing up so close to the water, we both have a love for the coast and all of the activities it has to offer. Additionally, we loved our time in college and so we wanted our wedding to have a very Virginia feel with summertime coastal elements.” ￼ ￼
“Our tables were named after Virginia waterways such as the James River and Chesapeake Bay. We created a seating chart on a piece of vellum that overlaid on a map of the Chesapeake Bay. We made the frame out of rope to give it the coastal feel. We had a fresh lemonade stand immediately following our ceremony and had lemon accents in our centerpieces and in other areas to bring out the feeling of a lazy warm summer day.”
￼￼ “Though our reception venue was in a formal ballroom, we wanted our guests to feel relaxed so we created a Virginia comfort food inspired menu. From Virginia ham biscuits to freshly grilled oysters and clams, crab cakes and shrimp and grits, guests could move at their leisure to the different stations. We also had carving station and a lobster mac and cheese station where guests could add different toppings.” ￼
“And as a tribute to the first meal Brian ever made for me, we had a mini grilled cheese station where guests could enjoy freshly grilled ham and cheese, tomato basil mozzarella, and others! We really liked the station option because we didn’t want people to feel trapped at their tables – we enjoyed having guests stop by and talk to us on their way to get food. We also had signature cocktails – the “Ladies Lemonade” with vodka and a bourbon and whiskey drink we named the “Virginia Tech Gentleman.” ￼
“Brian and I love Chick-fil-A so we decided to serve their nuggets on custom Chick-fil-A skewers with their signature sauces as a fun late night snack for our guests.” ￼ ￼
How did you pick your dress/ know it was “the one?”
“I was nervous to try on dresses because I was certain that I wasn’t going to be like the girls on “Say Yes to the Dress” and instantly start crying and fall in love. I have always been the type of person to weigh my options and make definitive decisions after careful consideration! I knew I wanted to look back at my wedding photos and still love my dress so I was looking for clean lines and a timeless feel.” ￼ ￼
“The dress I picked was actually the second dress I ever tried on but at the time I wasn’t certain. After that initial appointment, I probably tried on 25 more dresses. When I got to Bella Rosa, I told Phyllis that there were 2 dresses from previous appointments that I still liked and she quickly added those to the rack of dresses we were pulling. After trying on a few different ones, she suggested to put on one of the originals. I tried it on and went out to show my Mom and 2 of my bridesmaids. Still hesitant I was going back and forth between the two.”
“At one point, Phyllis said, “This is the dress you are not immediately returning to the dressing room to take off… you stay in this one.” And my mom noted that I was kind of twirling in the dress while standing on the podium which I hadn’t done much of in the others. At that point, I realized they were right and that I DIDN’T want to take it off. Once we added the sash that I wanted and a veil I realized that this was the dress!”
What was your favorite moment at your wedding?
“Definitely hard to choose… There was a moment before the reception officially started where Brian and I were led by our coordinator, Kim Pietsch from Weddings by Michelle to the ballroom to get a “first look”.
“We had just finished taking all of our photos and our guests were still enjoying cocktail hour but the ballroom was ready to go. The staff at CNU opened the doors and Brian and I walked in to the room that we had envisioned and worked on for so long!!! I literally felt like I was in a dream as the two of us walked around all of the tables, stations, the cake table and took it all in.” ￼
“The staff at CNU stood watching us - it was like that scene out of Sweet Home Alabama where Reese Witherspoon walks into Tiffany & Co. and everyone is waiting to help. They brought us each one of our “his and hers” signature cocktails and we just had a moment where we were able to take in all of the hard work of the past year and a half.” ￼
“Seeing the centerpieces, menu cards, chargers, and everything that we had talked about all come together was amazing. You see everything separately so often but you always wonder how it is going to all come together and honestly it really came together perfectly for us. After we came back down to real time, Brian led me out to the dance floor to take a private spin before the craziness began. It was perfect - to see it all together, to share the moment alone and just feel happy that it all worked out! I couldn’t wait for our guests to see it!” ￼ ￼
Did you ever have a “bridezilla” moment?
“I don’t think I ever was that screaming angry girl that you see on TV though perhaps my brothers might disagree! I think in general everything was just emotional for me - either in a good or bad way. I never wanted to be angry at my vendors because I wanted to make sure they were happy to work with us. I felt that it would benefit Brian and I if they enjoyed working us. I tried to remain extremely professional; I almost treated it like a job where first impressions matter and hand written thank you cards go a long way. I wanted everyone - from friends and family to vendors to have a great time at our wedding!” ￼ ￼ ￼
“I will tell you one moment though that happened about 2 hours before the rehearsal. Severe weather was moving in to the area and we were having an outdoor Rehearsal Dinner. Various other things seemed to be going wrong and it all seemed to hit me Friday afternoon so I was on edge.” ￼ ￼
“Prior to the day, I specifically told my brothers to be out of our bathroom at our parent’s house so I could get ready at a certain time. Of course they didn’t listen and there was a moment when all 3 of us (all over the age of 18) were standing in front of the mirror brushing teeth, finishing make up, and brushing hair. My mom thought it was cute and it reminded her of our younger days — at the time I didn’t see the humor! We had it out in the bathroom but we got to the rehearsal on time. We did however manage to have some of the worst severe weather of the season at the outdoor rehearsal - from a nearby tornado to frequent lightening it got pretty intense. I think it resulted in our friends and family bonding a lot faster than expected. We all ended up dancing in the rain to “Rain is a Good Thing” by Luke Bryan, which was perfect!!” ￼ ￼
What advice would you give future brides?
“It is so easy to get lost in the details and the minutia of wedding planning! Everything seems like a big deal - chargers, table name cards, entrance songs, that it is certainly overwhelming. I would say take a moment to really think about what will make the biggest impact on you and your guests’ experience at the wedding.”
“At some point you have to realize that even though you spent hours making hand painted signs that detail isn’t going to make or break anyone’s experience. The little things are nice and extra but don’t go too crazy over them - focus your resources and energy on the things that matter the most.”
“And be sure to find time with your new husband during the reception to just take it all in. Step aside and just enjoy watching your handwork come together and your family and friends having a good time.”
“And finally - hire a good wedding coordinator! I worked with Weddings by Michelle and they are FANTASTIC! They will save you time AND money and make your wedding day enjoyable! So many people asked me how I was doing during the day while getting ready and honestly, I wasn’t worried about a thing. I knew I had great vendors and a wonderful coordinator and I was at the point where whatever happens happens so you might as well enjoy! I did not worry about any of the details the day of - I was truly able to just be in the present and enjoy the true meaning behind the day!”
Congratulations again Jenny and Brian! We are so proud to have you as a Bella Bride Jenny :)
If you would like to be featured as a Bella Bride please email us.