Classic never goes out of style. And Carter & Mark’s wedding was a classic, black tie affair that will stand the test of time along with their relationship. We love how sweetly the details were captured by David Abel, and how all their family and friends rallied around them for this picture-perfect Virginia affair!
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
We met through mutual friends at a football party. Mark knew the way to my heart from the very beginning. After he ordered pizza for the entire crew, I was immediately hooked. Later that night he told me we were going to be best friends, and to this day I’ve always admired his confidence. Turns out he was right!
And Mark has always said that his first impression of me was sweet, but a little quiet.
How did the proposal go?
We were in Costa Rica on a family trip with my family. Mark and our families had been able to keep the secret for months, but had managed to totally fool me. So naturally when Mark was pushing me to get ready for sunset pictures on the beach our second night there, all I wanted to do was enjoy my drink by the pool and take pictures another day. He kept insisting, and Mark doesn’t usually ask for much, so I finally gave in. By the time he actually got me moving, we had about 20 minutes before sunset. To this day I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever gotten ready for something, and we both look back wondering how in the world I managed to do that. Let’s just say I’ve never been happier that I rushed. We got to the beach right at sunset, and Mark didn’t waste any time before getting down on one knee and asked me if I would “make him the happiest man in the world.” I can’t really put that moment into words. We had talked about getting married and engaged, but in that moment I think we both realized how fortunate we were to have found our person and to have each other. The rest of the night was followed by many happy tears and a lot of FaceTime calls that I’m sure turned into a big cell phone bill. Worth every cent. Travel tip – if you want to see one of the best sunsets, visit Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Particularly at the the Pangas restaurant where you can get a panoramic view. Props to Mark for finding that one. Mark is the type of guy that…you can always count on Carter is the type of girl that…is friends with everyone and is up for trying anything
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
One of our favorite stories was from our first date. The restaurant we went to was in a busy part of town with little parking – most of which was parallel parking only. Mark was so nervous that he actually drove there the night before to find the best parking areas and practice his parallel parking skills. He nailed it on our date night, and I never knew about it until a few months later. So smooth.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Kids or no kids at the wedding. This is such a hard decision that I think a lot of couples struggle with. In the end, we gave ourselves time to think about the pros and cons and realized that our day wouldn’t have been the same without the little ones there. Especially when you have long-distance relatives that you don’t see much.
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
We both have special family members that passed away before the wedding, so we knew from the beginning we wanted to find a way to include them. I decided to wrap my bouquet with my Grandma’s handkerchief and wedding band, and Mark carried a pocket frame with pictures of his uncle and Grandaddy. It was such a sweet touch, and we were so glad we incorporated them.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
The the best parts of our wedding day were those brief moments of time we had just with the two of us. We debated on whether or not to do a first look, but we couldn’t be happier that we decided to in the end. Seeing each other for the first time alone was so incredibly special and important to us. We’ll cherish those twenty minutes forever.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Mark has taught me how to be an incredible friend. He’s so loyal to everyone in his life, and I’ve always looked up to this in him.
For Mark, he’s learned to be more optimistic and embrace positivity.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
For Carter, it goes back to the previous question. I’ve never met anyone more loyal than Mark. He’s inspired me to be more forgiving of others and truly cherish those special relationships you have with people in life.
For Mark, it’s how selfless Carter is. She puts others before herself and it makes me be a better me.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
It was all amazing. We’re grateful that we never felt stressed or overwhelmed with any of it. That said, the cake tasting definitely stands out. We had a morning appointment, so we had an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. A lot of it too. So much of wedding planning is hard to envision and seems intangible, but the cake tasting made it all feel so real.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Find time on your wedding day to step back from everything and just take it all in together. Watching the party go on from afar was incredible. All of the hours that you pour into wedding planning will be so worth it when you see it all come together.
Our last tip would be to not sweat the small stuff. No matter what happens, you’re getting married to the love of your life surrounded by your family and friends. There’s nothing much better than that.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Love is the best gift on earth – never take it for granted.
Photographer: David Abel Photography / Venue: The Commonwealth Club / Stylist / Planner / Designer: McBride Events / Floral Designer: Petals & Twigs / Dress Boutique: Annalise Bridal Boutique / Dress Designer: Anne Barge / Cake Designer: Sweet Fix / Makeup Artist: Stephanie Parker Makeup / Hair Stylist: Avenue 42 / Men’s Formalwear: The Black Tux / Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab / Church: Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church / Bridesmaids Dresses: Brideside / Videographer: August McCue Films / Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations / Entertainment: East Coast Entertainment – Kustom Made Band / Lighting: The Lighting Professors / Transportation: RVA Trolly