There are a thousand moving parts on a wedding day: anything from setup to itinerary to moving herds of loved ones from one place to the next. It can quickly lend itself to misstep and easy overwhelm, but there is one moving part which can remedy them all, and it isn’t one that can be touched or scheduled—and that part is joy. It’s the piece to an infinite puzzle that so many lose sight of under the weight of wedding day toil, but it is precisely the piece that breaks it all wide open into an unimaginable bliss. Those that have it are positively untouchable by the inevitable flaw that even the most meticulous of plans bring, simply for the fact that they are so on air with happiness that they fly just out of reach.
On one euphoric sunny day by the Potomac River, Chris & Jackie wed with such a joy as that on their shoulders, and it shone with such a brilliance that even their vendors could not ignore.
A word from photographer Carrie Coleman:
“When I left Chris and Jackie’s wedding, my assistant and I both agreed that their wedding was by far one of the most genuine, joy-filled wedding days we’d ever documented. It was so obvious how excited these two were to be married and celebrate the start of their wedding with family and friends. The tone Jackie set for the day was one in which every guest and vendor truly felt like they were an integral part in the day. It was an absolute gift to document.”
Love notes from the couple, Chris & Jackie:
Jackie: “When searching for a wedding venue, we both knew that we wanted to be married somewhere outdoors, in the early summer, surrounded by our family and friends. We loved the idea of finding a place that was cozy and inviting, with something unique that could set it apart from the other weddings we had been to together. We stumbled across Riverside on the Potomac when Chris was simply searching online for ‘wedding venues near the water in Virginia’ —the groom found the perfect venue! It had everything we could have ever dreamed of, and more: beautiful gardens throughout the property, the perfect ceremony site overlooking the pond at the farm, and a breathtaking reception space (that our friends are still talking about weeks later!). The lovely couple that lives at Riverside on the Potomac, Suzi and Travis, have put meticulous care into adorning the reception space with beautiful antique furniture and expertly curated accents. My mother had the wonderful idea to personalize these to us by adding photos of family and friends throughout the space, on all of the small tables, sitting areas, and hutches. Guests absolutely loved looking through photos of the bride and her sisters through the years, childhood pictures of the groom and his groomsmen, and family photos of both the bride and groom’s parents and grandparents. It was a perfect touch to make the space feel cozy and inviting, just like home. Our wedding day was perfect from start to finish, and we were both completely present throughout the entire day and night, never distracted by the commotion of the day. Ultimately, we wanted the day to be about the love that we share with each other and the love that we have for all of our closest family and friends. Not only did we want it to be a beautiful ceremony uniting us as husband and wife, but we wanted it to be a celebration! It’s not often that you can have every person that you love all in the same room together, so we made sure that it was the perfect night celebrating, dancing, and making memories that we will all cherish forever.
My favorite memory of the day was our first dance. Chris had a surprise up his sleeve (lucky for me, I was in the loop!) to sing our first dance song, At Last by Etta James. A handful of our friends and family know that Chris is a phenomenal singer, but to many of our guests it was a complete surprise and they were blown away by his talent. I will forever remember the two of us dancing together, while Chris sang our favorite song, with every person that we love smiling and laughing and cheering him on. It was a moment I will never forget, and wish I could relive again every day!”
Chris: “My favorite memory of the day was sneaking away from the reception to take photos at sunset. It was surreal to be together with my new wife in that perfect evening light, so happy that we were now finally married. The whole day was so full of love and in that moment we were able to take some time to ourselves in the sunset to really take it all in.”
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome during your wedding planning.
“We had the unfortunate incident that our DJ became suddenly unavailable prior to our wedding…two weeks before the big day. We truly panicked for a few days, thinking of Spotify commercials chiming in between first dance songs. We expected the music and dancing to really be one highlights of the night (our friends love a good dance floor!). Luckily, we were fortunate to be working with a really top-notch entertainment group in DC and they went above and beyond to find us a new, and great, replacement. They saved the day!”
Any special ways you incorporated your family into your wedding day?
“We really wanted to find a way to share some of the greatest moments of each of our lives, both before we met and together, and highlight those family members and friends that would be standing by our side as we got married. Jackie’s mom has a particular knack for design and DIY projects, and she helped put together a beautiful and fun arrangement of photos throughout the years of Jackie and her sisters and bridesmaids, Chris and his brother and groomsmen, and both of our families from childhood until now. Our wedding guests loved looking through the framed photos adorning the entire venue…Jackie and her sisters at the beach as little girls, Chris and his brother growing up playing baseball, our childhood best friends in middle school and high school, and recent photos of all of our friends and family together as adults. It was a great personal touch, photos that now are a part of our home together as a married couple!”
What part of your wedding day was most important to you?
Jackie: “The intimacy of the wedding ceremony was so important to us. Chris had officiated a number of weddings over the years for our closest family and friends, and we were able to incorporate much of his words and thoughts into the vows that we said to each other. We also made a point to incorporate the importance of friendship into the ceremony, emphasizing that as husband and wife we would not only be each other’s love, but best friend in life.”
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
“Play to each other’s strengths when delegating responsibilities during wedding planning! The entire process was so enjoyable and was such a breeze to get through because we each took on tasks that we really wanted to do, rather than stressing about things where we may not be an expert. Chris loves music and has a real eye for finding a great venue, and Jackie is great at the logistical planning of an event and knew exactly what kind of flowers and colors to look for to make our wedding perfect.”
photographer: Carrie Coleman Photography / venue: Riverside on the Potomac / stylist & planner: Events with Delia-Anne / floral designer: Blooming Arts / dress boutique: Love Couture Bridal / dress designer: Mikaella Bridal / cake designer: Karen Carillo / hair & makeup: Avenue 42 / rentals: Sammy’s Rentals / caterer: Savoire Faire Weddings / ceremony Musicians: Two Rivers Chamber Music / film lab: PhotoVision