It's impossible to prepare for every contingency when planning your wedding, but the advice and memories of locally married newlyweds should provide food for thought (at $60 a head).
Shelley and Albert Huntington
December 8, 2001
Ceremony at UVA Chapel, reception at Metropolitain
"Carter Mountain served as the backdrop for many of my bridal portraits. The apple orchard, expansive sky, and afternoon light all contributed to produce truly fabulous images.
"Stripping down to my undies on the mountainside, carefully working through layer after layer of crinoline, I tried desperately not to soil my dress with red clay. My very nervous mother hovered over me with pursed lips.
"While preserving the gown's purity, I forgot how cold I felt and that I was totally exposed in broad daylight. Did that guy on the tractor see this trembling, naked bride adjusting her breasts to fit the dress's corset? Who knows? Who cares! What a memory!"
Rob and Kelly McAdams
March 9, 2002
Ceremony at UVA Chapel, reception at Metropolitain
"A moment I will never forget is walking out of the doors of the UVA chapel with my new husband, hearing tires peeling and looking up to see the General Lee roaring down the street blaring 'Dixie' on the horn. My husband and mother had managed to keep the General Lee's arrival from me, and it was a great surprise. We rode in the General Lee from the Chapel to the Downtown Mall and enjoyed all the stares, turned heads, and cheers as we honked the 'Dixie' horn all the way down Main Street.
"Many of our friends grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard, and it was definitely a huge hit!"
Meg Jay and John Conklin
April 5, 2003
Ceremony and reception at Colonnade Club Garden at the University of Virginia
"We live in San Francisco but chose to be married in Charlottesville, and all of our wedding guests agreed that our location was just ideal. Charlottesville is manageable for out-of-towners but has more culture and talent than many typical 'destination wedding' locations without being a wedding 'factory.' We planned only six months ahead and had our pick of the best locations, caterers, photographers, and florists (all of whom charged fair and reasonable prices)... this scenario is unheard of in a place such as San Francisco. Why opt for waitlists and hotel ballrooms when Charlottesville offers centuries-old buildings and gardens?
"Charlottesville was also a wonderful community to be part of for the weekend. Right after our ceremony at the Colonnade Club, as we had our pictures taken around the lawn, students walking by offered us so many congratulations and good wishes that it made our marriage feel bigger than ourselves it reminded us of the positive and symbolic value that weddings can have for everyone in the community, and it made 'our' night feel connected and real rather than isolated and surreal."
Ashley & Andy High
July 20, 2002
Ceremony at UVA Chapel, reception at Colonnade Club
"Before planning a summer wedding reception in Charlottesville, it is advisable that you test the air conditioning abilities of the potential venue with your approximate number of guests, not just the two of you."
Timothy Plemmons and Michelle Quinn
May 22, 2002
Ceremony at UVA Chapel, reception at Inn at the Crossroads
"Don't let anyone talk you out of having an outdoor wedding– the weather is always beautiful in Charlottesville! Out of the whole day, our favorite part of the wedding was the ceremony the part that got the least attention in planning the wedding. Things will go wrong on your wedding day. It's the one thing that you can count on. But it won't matter, because it's your wedding day, and you'll want it to last forever."
Meredith Whibley and John DeGuenther
November 2, 2002
Ceremony at UVA Chapel, reception at Keswick Hall
"Have a break between the ceremony and the reception. It wasn't exactly traditional, but it gave us some time to take pictures and relax. Best of all, we didn't miss out on any of the party."
Lara Call and Breck Gastinger
July 6, 2002
Ceremony and reception at Touchstone Farm in Stanardsville
"One important feeling we wanted to nurture on our wedding day was a sense of place. From the ceremony overlooking the Blue Ridge, to the reception's local foods and wines, to the bluegrass band, we wanted to capture a summer evening in the Virginia countryside. But it was perhaps the dancing in the barn that anchored many of our memories. The lights made the space feel like heaven, and the memory of clapping of hands and feet to the Virginia reel will keep us dancing when we're old."
Kristina de los Santos and Dan Fertel
May 12, 2002
Ceremony and reception at the Boar's Head Inn
"We had a funny (or not-so-funny) thing happen at our wedding. We had an absolutely wonderful time. Everything went really well, and the weather was beautiful. Unfortunately, at the very end of the evening, my sister (one of the bridesmaids), who is highly allergic to nuts, ate some dessert that contained nuts. She had to be rushed to the emergency room, and Dan and I decided to go over to the hospital to make sure she was okay and help her husband take care of their young kids while they waited.
"We ran over to our room at the inn, and Dan quickly helped me out of my dress. My dress had lacing in the back, and he was just whipping the laces out; it was pretty hilarious. We went off to the ER, and my sister was doing well and was receiving an IV. We stayed with her until she was released (a couple of hours). We were so exhausted by the time we got back to our room, and of course by that time the few guests who were still dancing when we left were long gone. Despite this unfortunate incident, we still had an amazing wedding. We were so happy that day, and luckily, the nut fiasco happened right at the end of the night."