It feels like I was waiting a lifetime for Joey and Ellie’s wedding day to come.
Having known these two from college days at VCU in Richmond, Virginia (go, Rams!) they saw me in the very beginning of my wedding planning journey. We were all servers at the Cheesecake Factory and knew two things— how to have a great time, and that shortly after these two started dating it was clear they were meant to be!
After 6 years together, and a lot of patience on Ellie’s part, it was finally their turn! When I first got the news that they were engaged I was over the moon. They had both always shared with me their wedding wishes and wildest dreams, so I was eager and excited to finally be able to put those plans into action for them.
Let the planning begin!
Getting married in Richmond where their love story first began was a big priority to them. They wanted to make it convenient for their family and friends to easily travel to their wedding. After a few months of searching, we landed on the perfect venue for their wedding. It was bright, spacious, and new— instantly we all felt that “this was the one”! Burlington Weddings & Events then became the house that would hold all of their wedding wildest wishes and dreams.
Throughout our planning process they knew very vaguely what they wanted out of their wedding day. It was important to them that they have a fun, light-hearted, garden party with all of their closest family, friends, and loved ones. Having their 5 animal children included in their day was also a non-negotiable. Being an animal lover myself, I easily said…
Our plans, details, and designs took shape slowly over the next year and a half. We knew we didn’t need or want to rush the process to make their day as absolutely perfect as it could be. But then…the pandemic hit. Our plans were derailed by several months and the wind was knocked out of our sails with a few hiccups trying to postpone to their new wedding date.
But in the end, all is well that ends well…and we did it!
We dreamt up a blue inspired color story for their animal lovers dreamy garden inspired wedding. Varying shades of blues filled their day and were accompanied by soft whites, creams, and five different varieties of eucalyptus for greenery. My hat goes off to their floral designer, Amanda Burnette Floral Design, for listening to our vision so well and helping us design the most perfect bouquets and blooms for them!
To touch on their doggie details, my creative mind ran a little wild. Knowing how important their animals were to them, I wanted for this to be an absolute home run. Highlighting them each in some capacity was a nonnegotiable, and something I just knew they would cherish forever.
To start, we decided to include them in the couples first looks. To be exact. they had four of them in total— one with Ellie and “her” two dogs, one with Joey and “his” dog, one together as a couple, and another first look with the bride and her dad. This was an ACW first and we loved every moment of it!
With their furbabies stamps of approval, it was time for them to say “I do.” Their ceremony overlooked Burlington’s lush gardens in a location that had never been done before. Traditionally at their venue, a square on angle of their wheat fields is the desired look; but for Joey and Ellie we all wanted something a little different. Touring the property for the first time I saw this sweet little vineyard off to the side. It reminded me of my days working at a vineyard in Charlottesville, which also happens to be Ellie’s hometown. Right then and there I was sold on having them get married in between its two big beautiful trees. Thankfully, the agreed!
With their “I do’s” done, they were officially tied together forever in marriage and it was time to start their party! Guests migrated from their vineyard view ceremony over to the stable lawn for drinks, snacks, and lawn games for cocktail hour. The side lawn right off of the venue’s main reception space was the perfect central location to host this portion of their wedding. Their guests loved their signature cocktails, both inspired by their two cats, as well as the lawn games to help keep them entertained while the couple was off taking photos.
Fun fact, Joey hand cut and customized their wedding branded Jumbo Jenga set.
During our planning, Ellie had the genius idea to personalize their cocktail hour even more with custom printed Polaroid’s of each of their guests. She printed one for each of them to be displayed on the grooms custom created escort display board. (He’s pretty handy, huh?) Guests would walk up to the stunning structure, find their faces, and then be clued in as to what table they were seated at for dinner.
Let me tell you, it was a major hit!
I think by now we all know this couple and I were super close. With them being long time college friends, it was important for me (even more so than with my other couples) to truly go above and beyond and give them the wedding day surprise. As another nod to their fur babies, I decided to have a friend hand-paint colorful plates with each of their animals faces on them. They’d be waiting for them at their head table when they walked in for their reception reveal and would be the most special gift for them to see, enjoy, and keep in their homes for a lifetime.
I had a feeling they would really love them, but the reaction they both gave in response to seeing them for the first time was absolutely priceless!
But alas, despite all of the wonderful details I touched on above, their reception wouldn’t have been complete without tying in their day as a whole though. So, what did we decide to do?
Personalize their details some more, yes!
Calligraphette & Co. created gorgeous leather hand-calligraphy’d place cards for their wedding party sitting at the head table. This was a look inspired by the groomsmen’s monogrammed leather suspenders. The two together just looked so sharp! All other guests were allowed to chose where they sat and were greeted with midnight navy blue menu cards, beautifully designed “in lieu of favors” cards with table numbers to match, and adorable little doggie paper clips to bundle them all together.
I’m a little biased, but clearly this was just too incredible. Who’s with me?
Everything from the beginning to the very sweet end of their wedding was purely fantastic. Planning and designing their long awaited day is something I’ll remember forever, and I hope they do as well!
To Ellie and Joey— Thank you so much for allowing my team and I to be a part of the magic.
Planning & Design: Angelica & Co. Wedding
Venue: Burlington Weddings & Events
Photographer: Allison Kuhn Creative
Videographer: Megan Rae Films
Caterer: A Sharper Palate Catering & Events
Floral Designer: Amanda Burnette Floral Design
Hair & Makeup: Avene 42
DJ: Kenny Barnes with Rhythm of Love
Cake: The Cheesecake Factory
Late Night Snack: Chipotle
Transportation: James River Transportation
Officiant: Jenny Coffey