Surrounded by a close group of family and friends, I watched my uncle Steve and his bride Britni share vows last summer in an intimate wedding celebration, nestled away on a quiet Virginia farm.
It was storybook.
She donned a beautifully embroidered lace V-neck Maggie Sottero ivory dress with beading from J and B Bridals in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He wore a dashing charcoal tux from Kohls, with the traditional bow tie to match.
As I sat and watched the union of this beautiful couple, I couldn’t help but think that the location was perfect. Just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, Guildford Farm is 150 acres of picturesque countryside with an inn.
The wedding party stayed for three nights at the inn, a gorgeous space that features wood paneling, original wood-burning fireplaces, carved mantels and wide heart pine floors. The rustic decor definitely gave off a warm and cozy vibe, making us all feel like we were at a mountain lodge.
And the view? Outside our windows was an epic backdrop; the scenic estate overlooks a 2-acre pond to the east and the striking Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.
A love story 10 years in the making, Britni and Steve first met through a mutual friend’s engagement party
in Frederick at a restaurant called Danielle’s. He was in town visiting from Seattle, and they ended up clicking instantly.
“Our first date was pretty casual at a little pub called Barefoot Bernie’s,” Britni says.
Her first impression of my uncle? Hilarious.
“His sarcasm and humor had me laughing all night,” she says. “I had a broken hip the day we met but still managed to make it out to the engagement party on crutches. He kept me laughing despite that, and we instantly hit it off.”
They dated for a few months, ended up parting ways but rekindled their romance almost a decade later.
“He surprised me with a second first date at one of our favorite restaurants, and I fell in love with him all over again,” she says.
It was raining and 30 degrees, but a little drizzle wasn’t going to hold him back from popping the question.
The original plan was to have a romantic dinner at one of their favorite Frederick restaurants the day before he deployed to Korea — he’s been in the military for more than a decade — followed by a romantic walk along Carroll Creek.
From there a passer-by would take a photo under the Christmas light backdrop so that he could have that memory close to him during deployment. When the rain hit, they snuck away to a bar instead.
“We were standing there talking about how much we loved each other, and in what seemed like a weird gesture, he asked me to reach into his pocket,” she says. “I laughed, and I reluctantly reached in and much to my surprise pulled out a perfect ring. It was the perfect ending to the night before his deployment.”
The big day
As luck would have it, bad weather has become their good omen. A storm made threats on their wedding day, but the rain passed just in time for their front-porch ceremony. From then on, it was nothing but gorgeous views, fresh air and the lush greenery of the mountains.
Britni calls the wedding “exceptional” and a day with her favorite people around her. The night started with heartfelt toasts, many funny family moments and, of course, wine. It ended with a family-style dinner party accompanied by candlelight and eucalyptus — one of Britni’s personal favorites — and a special dance between the two.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she says. “After it ended up raining, we had to opt for a reception indoors, with one long reception table to fit our 20 guests. It was one of our favorite moments. It was casual and elegant but still had a big wedding feel without the price tag. Those memories of that weekend we will remember forever.”