Planning a Mindful + Local-loving Wedding in RVA
My introduction to the world of weddings began as a child, where growing up in the church meant the whole congregation was invited to a church member's wedding to sing hymns, witness nuptials + end with sugary, delicious buttercream iced cake + pastel punch (because that was the simplistic fashion of that time). So our family attended lots of weddings where I was constantly mesmerized, by the grace of the bride, the traditional vows + of course, cake + punch (church ladies know how to craft some fine punch). That was also a time when fairy tales molded my view of romance + partnerships, so each of the weddings upheld the same traditional fantasy idolized during my youth.
Mid 20’s hit + something suddenly happens, your mailbox becomes a slow growing vortex of save the dates, bridal showers, lingerie parties (my version of torture) + wedding invitations. Hooray! Your friends are starting to get married + now there’s an exciting responsibility that comes with each RSVP. Gifts needs to be purchased (after time spent skimming their registry for the most financially digestible, of course), days off work need to be penciled in, but the over-the-top parties + marital merriment surrounding each wedding keeps your young spirit happy + excited.
Then, your 30's happen, weddings are a peak (now sprinkled in with baby showers). You have to think through how make your beach vacation + also attend 3 weddings, can't help mentally tallying up just how much you've spent + are kind of tired sitting through another fluffy wedding shower. However, you feel the wedding part is amazing, seeing two people you care about say sweet words to one another, eat free food (possibly drink free booze), then dance the night away is truly magical. It certainty is.
Oftentimes, the lead up to a wedding (bachelorette, engagement parties, engagement photo shoots, showers) + all the things that come with it (finances, awkwardness, patriarchal tradition) can feel like a detachment from what it's really is about, two people connecting their lives together authentically, surrounded by the energy of people sacred to them.
All this being said, when I asked my girlfriend to marry me last June, on a casual Wednesday night, I did it because it felt right, my intuition was clear, I asked the Universe to send me the signs it was time + it did. I just wanted my partner to keep riding this journey with me, now as my wife + likewise. I didn't see this as a "new beginning" or a "brand new chapter". I didn’t need a public space to propose, champagne or attention. I just needed her, the summer sky + my bubbling excitement. Everyone is different, some people find delight in public proposals + that is quite alright, too.
This same low-key + authentic mindset trickled into the planning of our wedding celebration. We went with a conscious approach which can translate into something different to everyone, for us it was agreeing bachelorette parties, showers + gifts were not sacred (nor necessary). It was also also ditching wedding traditions that didn't sit right (garter toss, father daughter dance, the Cupid Shuffle, etc.). Once of the hardest things was establishing boundaries with family, this is a constant theme with anyone getting married, but once those boundaries are established (earlier the better) they're set. For me, it meant not looking at one bridal magazine or blog.
Being mindful during this time can also mean tweaking your celebration style in all realms, for example, I was barefoot the entire night, no religious ties into our ceremony + we had crystals everywhere (our guest tables were named after crystals). You don't have to kick into The Knot mode to have a full wedding experience, simply let the day reflect you + your partner in all ways, shapes + forms.
This all being said, supporting local + woman-owned businesses was also at the top of our list. With so many amazing creatives + nontraditional options in this city, aligning with our vendors was a delight. Each person truly made our experience intimate + mindful. Thank you to all those who worked with us, we are forever grateful!
If you're getting married or know someone who digs the whole mindful wedding vibe, below I've listed everyone who we worked with, wanted to work with or friends who are doing amazing wedding-related things in Richmond.
Interested in our Colorado honeymoon? Check out the Maven Guide on Denver, Boulder + Everywhere in Between.
F O O D
For our reception, we chose a southern fare-inspired menu (including the best sweet potato biscuits) from Mosaic Catering. The city is full of other options like Mean Bird, Ellwood Thompson's Alamo BBQ (communication was kind of crappy, a fair warning to all) + Lunch.Supper. who also has a venue space for rent.
Our cakes came from our favorite bakery, WPA. Our pear ginger cake with cream cheese icing + coffee cake with chocolate icing was unbeliveable but, even better? They offer gluten free + vegan options. Olivia at Metzger or Kuba Kuba's infamous tres leches cake are excellent local options as well.
M U S I C
We met the woman who would end up being our DJ working at Rosewood during a pop-up event. The mix of music she played during the pop-up was great + we got to chatting. She mentioned how much she mixing playlists + witnessing how it can raise people's energy. I asked her if she would consider DJing our wedding, the rest is herstory. Dominique, you are a goddess. Connect with her here.
F L O W E R S
Kelsey was not only our florist, but a dear friend. She helped us create our first Valentines Day bouquet together + she nailed our wedding day florals. This was the one thing I was most excited about (so much I cried when she unveiled my flower crown). Kelsey is now in New York but Amanda Burnette + Rhea of Photosynthesis Floral are just as magical + personable.
I N V I T E S
You know that wild friend, full of ideas + coming up with detailed party themes (her 90's dance birthday party was historical)? That would be our friend Molly of Rabbit Foot Fern. Not only is Molly down for an adventure, but she's wildly creative + we couldn't have thought of anyone better to concept our invitations + RSVP's.
F A V O R S
For our wedding party + out of town guests we used herb-infused cooking salts from Hummingbird Gardens, customized wedding candles from R.A. Wicks + a hangover cure duo with the Headache + Tension roll-on + Quinton Hypertonic vials from Boketto Wellness.
For guest favors, we created custom bar wrappers for milk + vegan dark chocolate bars Gearharts Chocolates.
M I S C
Christine, fellow boss babe + our Day of Coordinator, saved our asses when she calmly informed us we were running out of booze during cocktail hour then hopped in her car + drove 30 minutes away to restock our wine + beer. This one is cool as a cucumber + can diffuse any drama. Find her services + get to know her better at Wood Grain + Lace. We fell in love + purchased our Maggie Sottero dresses from Christine's shop, Urban Set Bride.
I was on the fence about hiring a DOC since we had a small 60 person wedding + I'm so glad we did. If you're on the fence, do it - saves lots of running around on a day you should enjoy.
Our wedding was at the magical + minimal Seven Springs (about 45 minutes from RVA). Beautiful space, but pretty off-putting experiences with the customer service there. Fair warning.
We couldn't think of anyone better to marry us than our friend Drew, we followed this simple process for him to officiate our wedding.