2021

Real Virginia Weddings: Natalie and Tommy

This week’s Virginia weddings tale started in Northern Virginia, as two young professionals looked for love…

“For Natalie and Tommy, like most love stories of young professionals in Northern Virginia working 60 hour weeks, technically it started on a dating app. Natalie, living in a 400 square foot studio apartment in Washington with one cat, a giant bean bag in place of a couch, and plans for a second cat, was mindlessly scrolling through the bleak and near constant string of ‘lawyers at large firm’ and ‘consultant’ at “boozeallanlockheedgruman” when she came across a very sweet, very cute, very original guy on Hinge – Tommy. Between being a band teacher (undeniably the cutest job ever) and the fact that he had most recently listened to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack on Spotify, Natalie was intrigued. Naturally, uniqueness came at a price – Tommy lived nearly an hour from DC on one of the most heinous stretches of endless highway traffic jams in the country in the city of Fredericksburg.”

Natalie and Tommy’s first date took place at Sedona Taphouse. “I came down from DC and because we met on an app, I was initially a little concerned he simply wouldn’t show up. I actually planned a whole evening to myself exploring the town in the event he didn’t show up…but he did! And here we are! It was low key – we got beers (we love craft beer) and flatbreads, and couldn’t stop talking and laughing. I originally figured I’d be on the road back to DC by 8 or so, but I ended up not leaving until after 10 I was having such a good time. Tommy walked me back to the car, and like an idiot I gave him ‘finger guns’ and said ‘Hey, let’s do this again sometime!” Luckily he looked past my awkwardness and kissed me instead. The spot where I parked (on Amelia street in downtown Fredericksburg) and where he kissed me, we still refer to as “the kiss spot” and share a kiss every time we walk or drive past it.”

The Scoop

Bride: Natalie, 29, Impact Finance Associate, Weave Social Finance

Groom: Tommy, 29, Band Director, King George High School

Wedding date: June 19th, 2021

Number of guests: 100

“I’m an urban planner by trade (and I’m actually now on the planning commission for the city of Fredericksburg) and for me, our love story was really rooted in and was because of a number of really special places in Virginia. I wanted to celebrate this place we’ve come to love as much as possible, so there were a number of special, unique pieces that I wanted to bring to the day.

“Our place cards were these ‘Paint the Town’ cards created by the Fredericksburg Economic Development and Tourism Office. They’re postcards of scenes around the city that you can color in and mail to a friend or back to the tourism office for display in the front window! All of the flowers came from Westwind Flowers in Orange. I always dreamed of having a lot of beautiful, unstructured wildflower type flowers for my wedding (I feel like a lot of florals at weddings are super staged and sterile) – I worked with the farm directly to get hundreds of local, Virginia flowers, and my bridesmaids, mom and I spent a beautiful afternoon two days before the wedding assembling them into vases and bouquets! My mom found dozens of gorgeous antique vases at an estate sale, so the whole effect was beautiful and completely unique. I also had a ton of fun learning to flower arrange from books and YouTube.

“Probably my favorite thing though was our wedding favors. We’re big craft beer people as I said before, and I always loved the idea of having a special beer made for us. Intermission Brewing in Glen Allen is one of our favorites, and I’ve come to know the owners through my previous job and by well….my frequent patronage. They helped us develop the “I 95 IPA” which was an homage to our 8 months of dating where we were constantly driving back and forth on the worst stretch of highway traffic in the country before I moved to Fredericksburg. They printed a special label (featuring a screenshot of one of the more heinous traffic jams I sat in!) on one of their best beers and made 100 cans for us to distribute as favors!”

“My dress was a gorgeous Justin Alexander ballgown from Ava Laurenne. I initially didn’t want a strapless dress, but as soon as I saw it on me I was blown away. I knew I wanted a big ballgown, and the floaty-ness of this dress was both beautiful, and perfect for a summer wedding – not too heavy. It was actually SO comfortable. I got it off the rack, and it fit me almost perfectly – it didn’t even need to be hemmed! It was meant to be. My shoes were a FIND – brand new, sparkly gold Kate Spade heels from Poshmark for $30! My jewelry was a pearl earring and necklace set from my mom – I got her some rose quartz jewelry and planned to wear a rose quartz bracelet to match her, but I forgot to put it on.”

The bridesmaids word a skirt and top combo – a gold silk top and light blue silk skirt – custom made from an Etsy shop. “The shoes were these really cute floral strappy sandal and I got each girl a floral necklace from Kate Spade to wear with their dress!”

“We actually had to have two ceremonies because of covid, so our church ceremony at St. George’s Episcopal was family only. We did a second full ceremony at the Fredericksburg country club. I belong to St. George’s, and beyond just loving their welcoming message, I love the history of the church and their involvement in the city. (We also got the ring the bells for the whole city to hear after the ceremony – photo of that included.) The country club is also stunning and full of history – the cocktail hour was in the historic home part of the club, and it just fit the “antique / historical” vibe I wanted so well. We actually only toured one venue it was so perfect. As a plus, we both love to golf, so we knew we wanted to hit some golf balls on our wedding day… pics of that attached.”

Natalie leaves us with these thoughts for fellow brides planning their own special day. “If you have a specific vision for something, don’t be afraid to look outside the box or DIY it. I had a very specific vision for the flowers and the bridesmaids dresses. Everything at traditional bridal stores or traditional florists felt sterile and wrong. I got a lot of opinions from people about this (basically saying it would be a disaster, and that I should just change my vision), and it was discouraging at times, but I stuck to it and could not have been happier that I did. Cost is one reason to DIY stuff, but even if you have an unlimited budget (we definitely did not, but cost wasn’t the reason I chose to do some of this stuff) don’t be afraid to learn a new skill (like flowering arranging!) or asking if someone can custom do something to fit your vision.”

Vendor Credits

Wedding Venue: St. George’s Episcopal church

Reception Venue: Fredericksburg Country Club 

Photographer: Kathryn Jarvis Photography

Video: RVA Productions

Officiant: Will Dickenson (at St. George’s) & Norman Connor (Weddings by Norman) at Country Club

Gown: Justin Alexander (from Ava Laurenne Bride

Veil: Ava Laurenne Bride

Shoes: Kate Spade

Reception ShoesLilly Pulitzer

Hair: Regina Sutti

Makeup: did it myself! another fun DIY/Youtube learning experience 

Bridesmaids’ dresses: EM Silk Design

Formal wear: The Black Tux 

Invitations: Ann’s Bridal Bargains

Flowers: Westwind Flowers

Catering: Fredericksburg Country Club

Cake: Publix 

Favors: Intermission Beer Company

Where did you go for your honeymoon? Long Beach Island, NJ! Stayed at the Hotel LBI

The author: rita

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.