December 4, 2019

Our Wedding |The Market at Grelen, Virginia

I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

light chaser, dreamer, go-getter.

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And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:16-19

My sweet grandmother recited this verse during our ceremony. We hoped for our day to be a reflection of God’s abundant love while connecting with His beautiful creations that surrounded us on Friday, June 21st at the Market at Grelen. When the sun began to set that evening, Alex and I stood at the top of a hill to watch a beautiful live painting of every warm-toned color in the sky. One of the incredible moments I’ll never forget!

In the book, Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, she reminds us:

“Nature, of course, connects us back to that innate sense of having been created — of order and beauty and humility. We have been made. We are fragile. We live in connection to water and air and plants and sunshine, and when we acknowledge those things, we acknowledge our Creator.”

I couldn’t have imagined a better backdrop on our wedding day between the mountain view, gardens, and the clear tent that brought the outdoors in. The beautiful thing about this is that His Presence didn’t just surround us on June 21st, but instead every single day. When Alex proposed to me, I could not have been more certain or confident that he was the man I had prayed for since high school (basically the time I was “allowed” to start dating. Ha!). If you haven’t read our proposal story, you can see how God showed up on that day in many ways, even by broken sand dollars, which was very symbolic of our paths. Now we are about six months married, and I am so grateful to live this life “under the sun” with Alex by my side. <3

Today on #WeddingWednesday, I’m flipping the script and sharing Alex and my wedding day on the blog!!! It’s so crazy the amount of work that is poured into one day. I jokingly tell my brides I don’t know how some walk away from their wedding wanting to open a wedding planning business … WHEW! I’ll stick with wedding photography. 😉 But we are incredibly grateful for a beautiful celebration thanks to God for uniting our paths and to the support from our family, friends, and to our vendor team for making this day an absolute dream!!!

OUR WEDDING DAY

Prepping for Forever.

My friends and I woke up to a SCRUMPTIOUS breakfast hosted by the gracious owner, Julie, at Walden Hall while the guys were at Woodbourne Estate. Goodness, the properties were INCREDIBLE! I cannot even count the number of rooms in each estate. It was so fun getting lost running around exploring the gigantic homes! 🙂 Julie made it a one-of-a-kind experience we will never forget, and the estate was an absolute DREAM. I love that they host weddings and can accommodate their parties too!

After enjoying a relaxing morning, I compiled all of my pretty details and my dress in the bridal suite. It was crazy seeing all of our hard work come to reality!! KK’s Printing & Stationery created the prettiest ripped edge invitation suite that worked so well with our vision! 🙂 While the fabulous Best Face Forward‘s team was working on hair and makeup (THANK YOU, KARA AND LEANNE!!), I reached for my phone and saw Alex’s text message that made me tear up. <3 I still get teary-eyed thinking how blessed I am — He is so good to me! I still couldn’t believe that it was our wedding day … And as like every bride experiences, nerves started to set in. My mom and sister helped me slip on my Stella York dress, which truly made me feel like a BRIDE. ** Shout out to the FABULOUS The Bridal Room (you HAVE to visit them in McLean, VA! I wanted every dress in their boutique!). After my veil (borrowed from my sweet sister-in-law :)) was secured, my dad came in to give me the biggest hug. I love I can feel that hug just by looking at the photo below. 🙂 Then we were off to the venue. I could hardly wait to see my soon-to-be-husband!!

Alex and the guys enjoyed an easy-going morning together eating brunch while wandering around the old town part of Orange. It’s a quaint little town with little to do, but they entertained each other! Haha! They arrived at The Market at Grelen to get ready in the cozy groom suite, but you can guarantee that they found their hang out spot on the porch outside — It was a beautiful day!!! Alex looked so dapper in a grey linen suit from J. Crew and he surprised me by wearing fun baseball socks (should’ve figured ;)) as well as his Air Force tie clip. Nice touches — Gosh, he looked SOOOOO handsome!! 🙂 Alex’s tie had a label on the backside of it that read our saying, “I love you forever more.” <3 The blue and white patterned skinny tie looked great against the suite too!!! I also had a couple of surprises for him. As a wedding gift to the two of us, I got us engraved leather Bibles from She Reads Truth and his from He Reads Truth. I love using it every day. <3 It seemed like this part of the day flew by so fast, and good thing because I was SO ready to see him!!!

Our First Look.

FINALLY. It was time to see each other. <3 My brother, Eric, drove Alex up to one of my favorite spots at The Market at Grelen and surprised him by playing on his guitar one of our songs from the beginning of our relationship, “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett. I saw Eric playing from the distance as I peered out of the car window, anxiously waiting for the thumbs up to see Alex … Gosh, my heart was racing so fast! I couldn’t believe after the numerous first looks I’ve photographed, it was now our turn! My eyes filled with tears as I walked up and tapped Alex on the shoulder — “How did I get THIS lucky?!” was all I thought!!! Alex turned around and twirled me to admire the entire dress … Because there was a lot of it! Haha! We took a quiet moment to pray over our marriage, which was so special to have a moment together, as just the two of us. Then it was time for us to step in front of the camera. 🙂 Annamarie Akins did an amazing job (OBVIOUSLY!!!!) making this part of the day so enjoyable, even if it was so weird being on the “other side!” I will cherish these memories forever!!!

Our Best Friends.

We gathered our best friends together for photos, and this part of the day was entertaining!!! 🙂 It meant the world to us having them a part of our wedding. Each of them had impacted Alex and me at different points of our lives. We loved honoring our friendship by celebrating with them and appreciate their genuine love, support, and encouragement throughout the years. To our wedding party… WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!! <3

The girls looked SO good in their long, flowy dusty blue Azazie dresses. I’m glad they found a style they all loved, yet it worked so well together! The guys also looked great in their grey linen J. Crew suits! I love that they can wear it again in the future and will look good for any occasion. 🙂 As you might notice below, we enjoyed making our wedding day personal for everyone. Each groomsman received a monogrammed pocket square and each bridesmaid had monogrammed ribbon around their bouquets because we love southern touches! Speaking of the bouquets … The Posey Detail knocked her flower work out of the PARK! I loved how everything came together and LOVED that she incorporated my parent’s wedding flower, the anemone. 🙂

While I was prepping details for our wedding day, I was inspired to paint a special bottle of champagne with things about us around it. The front had our wedding monogram and the sides/back had paintings of where we met (VA), our new home (FL), things we love like coffee and photography, as well as some inside jokes. We decided to save and open it with our friends to kick off the celebration before the ceremony … But I had NO idea what would happen next. We shook up the bottle for a fun “popping the cork” photo, which was a success … But soon after we cheered, it EXPLODED again all over Alex’s face! We all (including Alex) had a kick over it (thank goodness for his sense of humor!!).

The Ceremony.

Just moments before the ceremony, we gathered in a little room where Josh, our sweet officiant, and Charity, one of my dear bridesmaids, prayed over us. We adore these two so much and appreciate them sharing their words of wisdom before we tied the knot! As we were finishing up, I could hear the music playing around the corner. (Cue the freak out now!)

The ceremony was set up with a flower petal bar for our family and friends to grab a cone and fill it with rose petals to toss as we made our way down the aisle as husband and wife. 🙂 They were also greeted with handmade thank you and program signs my mom and I made as they found their seat. I loved the pretty garden chairs provided by The Market at Grelen, which tied in the garden set up beautifully!!! The Posey Detail created a beautiful arbor with the idea that it wouldn’t interfere with the pretty backdrop. I loved how everything turned out!! The funny thing is that I didn’t have time to see any of these details on the day of the wedding, so it’s fun seeing how everything turned out from these photos Anna took (we are so grateful!!)!

When Phil Wickham’s “You’re Beautiful” and Ruelle’s “I Get to Love You” played as I made my way to see Alex, I couldn’t BELIEVE it was time for me to walk down the aisle with my Dad. 🙂 I couldn’t break the smile that was on my face. As soon as I got to the altar, I remembered nervously laughing and telling Alex, “I just want to kiss you!” We were both SUPER excited to officially become Dr. and Mrs. Schloe!!! 🙂 Josh and Alex’s Papa officiated our wedding, which meant the WORLD to have two very special people standing at the altar with us. I wish I could remember much of what they said, but I couldn’t help but smile and stare at Alex!!! Hehe! We were gracious to have my grandmother and Alex’s stepbrother, Aaron, courageously stepped up to the microphone and speak at our wedding. 🙂 After the two readings, Alex and I shared communion while Alex’s friend, Robbie, sang Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).” The song is special to me because it was a song that reminds me of my passed grandmother. <3 I loved having her in there in spirit, which was also another reason why I chose the perfume, “Amazing Grace” as our “wedding scent.” 🙂 After communion, I looked around and counted my blessings. As soon as we were pronounced husband and wife by Papa, we joyfully came in for that kiss I wanted the second I saw him at the altar. We made our way down the aisle with family and friends tossing flowers in the air! The most joyful moments of my life!!!

Newlywed Bliss.

We had our family and wedding party follow us down to a “bourbon garden,” where we unburied a very special bottle to share. 🙂 This bottle of bourbon was one we tasted when we spontaneously took a trip to Nashville, TN last October! If you’re not familiar with this southern tradition, check it out HERE!

When the sun began to set, Annamarie Akins and our fabulous vendor team hopped on Kubota and trekked up a hill to catch the golden light! And boy … As I said in the introduction of this blog post, it was a sight I’ll never forget! 🙂 Alex and I stood on top of the hill and soaked in the incredible view. We could see the tent filled with our family and friends across the valley. As we took a minute to be still, Alex looked at me and said, “Look all around and absorb this moment watching the sunset on our WEDDING day with our favorite people all in one place.”Our hearts were and are still full. <3

The Details.

I have to give my mom a HUGE shout out! She helped me sooooo much to make this vision come to life!! My mom and her business partner, Cheryl, own a quilting company (shout out to M&M Quilting), and thanks to her machine/tools, we were able to create all of the fabric banners, signage, the guest “book” map, table numbers, and personalized napkins! It was a time-consuming project, but we ultimately saved a lot of money doing these DIY projects ourselves. I guess this means a DIY blog post is called for soon. 🙂 Haha! Thanks, mom for everything!!!

While envisioning the theme, we wanted something that worked with The Market at Grelen and the jaw-dropping atmosphere. While our guests enjoyed the cocktail hour on the stone terrace, a three-panel table assignment banner hung from a wooden pergola. We played off the location and made the middle panel shorter to work around the garden statue below. My vendor team suggested the idea and I loved how it turned out!! The center panel read “Love thy neighbor” with everyone’s names listed alphabetically. In my opinion, it’s the fastest way for someone to find their name. 🙂 We carried the blue and white theme throughout the details and a handwritten font to romanticize the look. It made my graphic designer heart happy seeing the consistent font throughout the wedding details. 🙂 After our guests found their names and made their way to the tent, we had a station where they could drop off a card in our special “greatest adventure” box I made/gifted Alex for our anniversary last year. 🙂 Next to the table was a cork map that I made/painted with my mom for guests to write their name and tack it on a place we should visit in the future! The board is now hanging above our guest bed. 🙂 For the welcome station, we used the Ruth 1:16 verse enlarged on a hanging banner that was very fitting for our “adventure table” and our future in the Air Force. 🙂 

Inside of the tent was filled with fun details! KD Custom EventsSerendipity, along with our family and friends, worked so hard to pull this off in a short amount of time. Close to the entrance was Alex and my FAVORITE station — Brick Wall Coffee Bar!!!! Chantelle and Ashley are amazing!! So professional and the idea of made to order fun coffees at a wedding is GENIUS. We would love to write a blog post all about this business this winter season! <3 Their station was soooo cute (as you’ll see below) and worked so well with the environment. The room had a combination of round tables and farmhouse tables to mix up the look. To also make the round tables a little more interesting, we used solid blue table clothes on some tables and used a few MS Events printed blue table clothes on the others. I was all about variety in the room to mix up the look and loved the mixture of the wooden cross-back chairs and the garden chairs too, thanks to Serendipity!! Our sweetheart table had a bench (thanks to Bride and Joy) that fit so well with the garden theme and had our saying, “I love you forever more” on a banner hung from behind. 🙂

The Posey Detail decked out the tables with different flower arrangements that really added SO much to the look of the room!! Over the months leading up to our big day, I had collected blue and white porcelain from thrift shops, Hobby Lobby, online yardsales, etc. We used the vases throughout the room and especially loved them around our sweetheart table. 🙂 Serendipity provided the prettiest plates, flatware, and glassware that brought the entire look together! On each plate was a personalized napkin my mom, friends and I made for each guest to take home. 

And when it came to the bar, of course, we HAD to include Ollie in some way — So why not in spirit? … or spirits? 😉 Our signature drink, “The Ollie” was our favorite beach drink — Malibu and pineapple juice! I loved how the Ollie banners turned out. 🙂 He’s so cute!!

Instead of just a cake, I wanted a way to honor our loved ones. So we had two bakers racks filled with homemade cookies! YUMMM! Gateau‘s cake was beautifully presented front and center in front of a large banner that read, “We go together like cake and ice cream.” Because we only ordered a personal cake for Alex and me, my very gracious sister who went to culinary school made our delicious guest cake! We had a chocolate cake, lemon/raspberry cake, and my parent’s wedding cake flavor — cherry pecan (unique and yet, so good!)! And our banner would be just a teaser if we didn’t really have ice cream … So outside of the tent was another favorite station of mine! We had s’mores because we love camping and homemade ice cream because who doesn’t love ice cream! <- That’s not even a question! We had two ice cream flavors named after Alex and my passed grandmothers, who both meant so much to our lives growing up. “Mama Sugar” (Alex’s grandmother’s nickname) was fudge brownie because she loved all sweets, especially chocolate! “The Virginia” was made with my family’s farm market strawberries in dedication to my grandmother. She was known for her strawberry shortcake. 🙂 

The Party.

Our guests found their seats and our wedding party ran in showing off their best moves. I love them! HAHA! And what’s the point of having a #ThisistheGreatestSchloe hashtag without the song, “This is the Greatest Show!” So much fun! We made our way to the patio under the bistro lights to have our first dance together as husband and wife to the song, “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector. 🙂 I feel like this was destined to be “our song” since our third date after Alex mentioned this would be the perfect first dance song. Little did he know that was a song that I dreamt of dancing to with my husband on our wedding day. 🙂 But little did we know that we were going to be married two years later! We sat down at our sweetheart table to listen to my Dad’s speech, and I had a surprise waiting for him. Growing up as the farmer’s daughter, I wanted to honor him by having a milk toast! He discovered the surprise before the end of the toast, and he got a KICK out of it!! 🙂 After praying over our meal, we enjoyed a FABULOUS dinner provided by Serendipity!!! Gosh, the service was phenomenal and the food was juicy and satisfying! Alex and I made sure to enjoy our meal without feeling the need to rush. Although, then we found ourselves rushing through tables trying to see friends before the party kicked off! It was so great seeing everyone, even if it was just for a minute!!

My sister and Alex’s twin brother stood up towards the end of dinner to share some sweet, encouraging words and hilarious stories. We appreciated their roles on our wedding day as our MOH and BM! 🙂 We loved that Andrew (Alex’s bro) didn’t have a projector screen and instead used printed photos on paper to share stories with everyone! HAHA! After we all toasted (thankfully, not roasted), my dad met me for our father-daughter dance. I honestly cannot remember the last time we danced together — Maybe since our father-daughter dance back in elementary school?! Oh geez … Anyways, he chose a special song, Al Martino’s “Daddy’s Little Girl,” which was actually the same song my mom and her dad shared as their dance together at my parent’s wedding. 🙂 Alex then shared, “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill, with his mom. So sweet!!! As the sun began to set, the colors showed through the clear tent, which made the atmosphere so magical, especially with the twinkle lights!! Then it was time for DJ Craig Wood to show off his “skillz.” Alex and I were so excited to have him a part of our wedding day — He has been a part of so many couples I’ve photographed, so it was fun actually to be on the dance floor this time!! 

I love looking through the dancing photos and be reminded, “Oh, yeah!!! That happened!” Photography is a powerful tool to relive the past. 🙂 We paused dancing to cut the DELICIOUS cake made by Gateau! Oh, gosh, it was SO GOOD!!!! After a few playful moves (LOL!), DJ Craig Wood turned on a recognizable Nationals song, and Alex’s dad surprised Alex with a Nats themed groom cake shaped like a baseball, made by my very talented sister!!! He was surprised!! 🙂 Throughout the night, we all enjoyed dancing, the Brick Wall Coffee Bar, s’mores, homemade ice cream and cookies, and of course, the company! Ah, it was the best night surrounded by our favorite people!!! <3 We shared our final dance and headed out of the door to thank our guests for coming. We were EXHAUSTED, but so very happy! It was just the start of our greatest adventure. 🙂

Thanks to our amazing vendor team for making this day the best day for us!!! We are so grateful for the time and energy that was poured into our wedding. We know it was just one day, but we are forever appreciative of these friends listed below!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!

Meet our AMAZING vendor team who made this possible!

VENUE: The Market at Grelen 

ACCOMMODATIONS: Walden Hall + Woodbourne Estate

CATERER: Serendipity

COFFEE BAR: Brick Wall Coffee Bar

STATIONERY: KK’s Printing & Stationery

RENTALS: Serendipity + Bride and Joy

PRINTED GUEST TABLE LINENS: MS Events

WEDDING PLANNER: KD Custom Events 

HAIR AND MAKEUP: Best Face Forward 

DJ + LIGHTING: Perpetual Sound LLC / DJ Craig Wood

PHOTOGRAPHER: Annamarie Akins 

ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER: Alisandra Photography

BAKER: Gateau (personal cake) + Amanda Messick (guest cake + surprise cake)

FLORIST: The Posey Detail

OFFICIANT: Josh Griffin + Papa

WEDDING DRESS: The Bridal Room

DRESS DESIGNER: Stella York

BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Azazie

GROOM + GROOMSMEN SUITS: J. Crew

BANNERS, SIGNAGE, MAP, & NAPKINS: M&M Quilting

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