Grab a Badge
Amanda & Jordan: A DIY Backyard Wedding in Virginia
Photos By Katie Nesbitt
By L. K. on Dec 4, 2012 at 9:01 am in Vintage and Homespun
Sometimes, a wedding simply melts our hearts the moment we see it, and this is one of those weddings. Captured by the exceptionally talented Katie Nesbitt with a fresh eye for sweet moments and pretty details, Amanda and Jordan’s nuptials epitomize laid-back elegance.
The bride and groom decided to tie the knot on the one-year anniversary of their engagement; Jordan popped the question during a sun-drenched September picnic at one of the couple’s favorite wineries in Charlottesville, Virginia. After much thought, the two selected the historic Chapel of the Centurion as their ceremony venue. Located at Fort Monroe, a decommissioned military base that was built in the 1850s, it is a striking little church with original Louis Comfort Tiffany stained-glass windows. “We loved the sort-of vintage, small-town feel that the chapel gave us,” Amanda said. “And our guests had to cross a moat to get there!”
The reception was held nearby in the scenic backyard of the groom’s family home. Amanda wanted the event to have an invitingly warm, homespun feel, so she undertook the task of making many of the details herself, from cheerful billy button boutonnieres to a charming bird’s nest cake topper. On the night she met Jordan, they had explored haunted houses in her hometown together, and she had acquired an old metal lantern during the adventure. This she displayed on a table that was dedicated to old photographs of family members—both those who were present in body and those who were present in spirit only.
The rain that arrived unwelcome on Amanda and Jordan’s wedding day proved to be a happy misfortune. “One great unexpected perk of a rainy day is the amazing lighting that the rainclouds provide,” Amanda said. “I could not be happier with how our wedding photos turned out. Our photographer, Katie Nesbitt, quickly became a close friend during the wedding planning process. I am so thankful to have had someone so great on our side!”
Q & A with Amanda
What’s your love story?
Jordan and I met through a mutual friend when I was home from college in 2007. That night, we explored “haunted houses” in my hometown, then started chatting a few days later via MySpace (yes, really!). Once I was back home for the summer, Jordan and I dated very casually and then lost touch for a year. (If you ask him, I blew him off!) The next fall, we reconnected and went out for sushi and a movie as our second “first date.” A week later, we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend and never turned back.
We are a very non-traditional couple, and Jordan moved into my apartment after only six months of serious dating. He moved in as a “short-term” fix to a housing hiccup and then never left! Over the next two and a half years, we moved to a different city once and to different apartments twice, finally landing in Richmond, Virginia. We got engaged on our third anniversary during a sunny September picnic at one of our favorite wineries near Charlottesville.
How did you choose your venue?
We figured out very quickly that our engagement anniversary fell on a Saturday, and we set our wedding date for that day, September 29, 2012. We struggled with choosing our venue; we couldn’t decide between a funky, historical venue in our new home of Richmond and something closer to our family and friends on the peninsula. After months of deliberation, my then future in-laws offered us the use of their backyard for our reception. Their home, yard, and view are so lovely that we couldn’t say no! Our ceremony was held at the Chapel of the Centurion, which is located at Fort Monroe, a decommissioned army base that was built in the 1850s. We loved the sort-of vintage, small-town feel that the chapel gave us. And our guests had to cross a moat to get there!
What was the most difficult part of the planning process?
The thing that I had the most difficulty with during the planning process was developing a vision! There were so many amazing wedding blogs, Pinterest boards, and helpful friends offering advice that I felt lost for quite a while. I love all things vintage and antique, so I knew that I wanted a touch of the old during our special day. I also knew that we wanted things to be simple so that everyone could enjoy our day together.
Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your wedding and your sources of inspiration?
We were working with a budget, and instead of only inviting 50 guests and enjoying an elaborate sit-down meal with full catering, we decided to invite all the people who are most important to us and serve them desserts and cocktails! We each chose a signature cocktail (mine was a French 75, Jordan’s was an Irish whiskey and cider cocktail) that we served along with beer and wine. Our desserts included French macarons, whoopie pies, homemade cookies, lemon and raspberry bars, and cheesecake. I am the wedding coordinator at a bake shop near Richmond, so we had to serve cupcakes in all of our favorite flavors!
I hunted for vintage items, such as a suitcase from the 1960s to hold cards and gifts and old wooden drawers to house our wedding favors. We dedicated an entire table to old photographs of family members—those who were present on our wedding day, and those who were there only in spirit. On that same table, we placed an old metal lantern—something that I had found on the very first night we met in those haunted houses! I love all things DIY, and I tried to incorporate small handmade touches. I hand-lettered a banner that we hung out front to welcome guests, made the men’s boutonnieres, and put together our wedding cake topper. (Yep, I put a bird on it.)
It ended up raining on our wedding weekend, and as upset as I was about having to tweak my initial vision, we went with our plan B, and everything was perfect. One great unexpected perk of a rainy day is the amazing lighting that the rainclouds provide. I could not be happier with our wedding photos. Our photographer, Katie Nesbitt, quickly became a close friend during the wedding planning process, and she earned the title “friendographer.” I am so thankful to have had someone so great on our side!
What kind of advice would you offer to future brides?
If I could give any advice to future brides, the two main pieces would be: 1) Figure out your direction, and then stop looking. 2) Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Part of my wedding planning difficulty stemmed from having “too many options.” I kept browsing, researching, and scouring bridal magazines, only to drive myself (as well as Jordan and our mothers) crazy. I can absolutely see the value in appointing a day-of coordinator (or a mistress of ceremonies if you have a close family friend willing to do so). There are so many last-minute questions and decisions that you will be grateful to have someone there to help!
I felt overwhelmingly loved during our entire wedding weekend. I was not nervous about marrying Jordan—that was something I had been ready to do for quite a while. We had family and friends who traveled from places as far away as Florida and New Jersey to celebrate with us, and that was a really amazing gift. We had three perfect days of celebrating, and I hope every bride feels as loved as I did.
Sharing is Happiness
Bride’s feather hair clip > The Headband Shoppe
Bride’s ceremony shoes > Nine West
Bride’s reception shoes > TOMS
Cupcakes > Frostings Bake Shop
Groom’s pants and vest > Express
Groom’s Tie > Macy’s
Macarons > Petites Bouchées
Whoopie pies, cookie favors, and marshmallows > DOLLOP DESSERTS
Photography > katie nesbitt
Ceremony Venue > chapel of the centurion
Reception Venue > groom’s family home
Flowers > norfolk wholesale floral
Rentals > ABZ RENTALS
Bride’s Dress > bridal elegance
Bride’s Veil > Diamond Wedding Veil
Programs > minted
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What's Being Said
Kim, Jun 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm
LOVE this wedding so much. I was fortunate enough to be there and I have already decided that Amanda will be planning my wedding one day. Everything was perfect.
Katie Nesbitt, Jun 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm
Thank you so much for featuring Amanda and Jordan's wedding! They are such a sweet couple and it was such a treat to read what Amanda wrote! (she is so cute!)
Shannon/Flourish, Jun 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm
I love their color scheme and the paper suite is to die for! What a beautiful bride, too. Congrats!
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