These two lovebirds are setting the mood for summer with their light and airy wedding that took place in beautiful Charles City, VA. We love the smiles on the faces of this adorable couple and the authentic love that they have with one another. The venue was wonderful, displaying many locations for gorgeous pictures and a fun reception. Be sure to notice the signature drink of the night and their festive cake that ended the night with a sweet treat! Happy Scrolling!
How did the proposal go? Chip proposed to me on opening day of our beloved Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team on April 13, 2018 (it was Friday the 13th). We were avid fans and I’ve always wanted to do one of those fun games at the beginning. I was ecstatic when Chip told me that through his work connections there they agreed to let me participate in the infamous Toilet Seat Toss before the game! My friends and I got all dolled up and went together. Chip told me he would be at the game working (which was not unusual for him) but would come down to watch me play. I was so nervous and played horribly. By the time Chip came down to the field I was mortified and ready to get out of there! Unbeknownst to me, everyone was telling me to look at the scoreboard which read “CARLEY, WILL YOU MARRY ME?”. Then Chip got down on one knee and proposed to me in front of 10,000 people. And all of our friends and family were there too! We had champagne and watched the rest of the game together and hit the town afterwards.
Tell us about your wedding day vision! Classic elegance with sentimental details was my vision from the beginning. My absolute favorite color is yellow (specifically buttercup). I always wanted to get married on the water, but after living in Virginia for several years I fell in love with plantations, so I was determined to find a venue that had both (and I still can’t believe I did!) When it came to choosing our venue, we both met in Richmond and lived there so we knew we wanted to get married near there. My husband was raised in Charles City, a small town on the James River about 30 miles east of Richmond. Sadly his parents passed tragically when he was only 8 years old and after that he moved to Richmond with his adoptive parents. We both knew it would be really special to get married in Charles City and feel close to that part of his life, and his parents, on our special day. We toured a few venues there but didn’t love any of them until one day we were leaving church and a couple we’d never met came up to us and said they have a few weddings each year at their home on the river, and that we should stop by their house on the way home. Little did we know their home was Westover Plantation. Without knowing pretty much anything about the place, as soon we stepped out of the car and saw the view of the river and the beautiful grounds, we looked at each other and said “this is it.”
Tell us about your attire choices.
Ever since I can remember I wanted a big white wedding dress. I’ve always said I have the rest of my life to wear any other type of dress, but only one time to wear a perfect, poofy white dress. It only took me one weekend to find my dream dress, and it was one of the last ones I tried on at Annalise bridal. What I loved most about it was that it was so me and so not me at the same time. It had heavy layers of horsehair tule which was what I envisioned, but it also had a very low, plunging neckline – something you’ll never find anywhere in my closet. I literally own nothing with a low v. But I was obsessed with it and will be forever.
I knew I had to have my bridesmaid’s in buttercup yellow, but it was near impossible to find a bridesmaid dress designed who had yellow in their color palette. If they did it was either a super bright yellow or mustard yellow, which would not do. I was so happy when I found Fame & Partners who let me design each piece of the dress from the back to the neckline to the skirt, in the exact color I was looking for. They were also super affordable and came a month early!
For my husband’s tux he wanted a classic white dinner jacket, which I was definitely on board with. Dick Fowlkes, the owner at Peter Blair helped him purchase the perfect jacket and all the other pieces. My only condition was that I wanted him to be the only one in white (like me!) so his groomsmen wore black tuxes. Our wedding was “black tie welcome” and all the men looked immaculate!
For my reception dress, I purchased an adorable short white dress with a plunging neckline and back and a twirly skater skirt from Nordstrom. It was kind of like a short version of my wedding dress! I brought it to one of my last wedding dress fittings for a few quick alterations and my incredible seamstress offered to add a bow on the back – it was the perfect touch and I can’t wait to wear it again!
When it came to my shoes, I fell in love with a pair of yellow and blue floral Sam Edelman pumps on sale at Nordstrom after the holidays. I loved them so much I bought another pair in white with yellow flowers. I actually switched on and off and wore both pairs throughout our wedding!
What was the most important thing to you while planning? If you ask me, I’d say the invitations were actually one of the most important things to me. I think invitations are beautiful works of art that really set the tone for the whole event; I thought about them for months. But together, we both agree that the two most important things to us were getting married at this very special venue and all the sentimental details – we had two empty seats at the front for his parents, one with his dad’s duck call and a feather, and the other with a small bouquet of white lilies for his mom, her favorite flower. We also had a homemade wooden cake topper as well as hand-painted signs and two paintings of the venue signed by each of our guests. Another special detail was the person who married us – she’s the reverend at the local church who actually knew Chip as a child and officiated his parents’ funeral.
As far as splurging, I’ll say we definitely splurged on the band – we’re both huge classic rock fans and we had to have the band that we did. Zero regrets! We also splurged on some of the rentals – the wooden bars and high tops, the farm tables (no rounds allowed!), the glassware, etc. Those were important details to us.
We also splurged a bit on alcohol, spending more than we originally intended but luckily our venue let us bring our own so we were able to save more than we would have otherwise. Our signature cocktail was the “Bootsie Palmer”, named after our dog and was our take on an Arnold Palmer with vodka and peach schnapps. It was so popular that our caterer said they’d never served so much of a signature cocktail ever! So we knew we did that right. We also had a “prosecco table” with pre-filled flutes right by where the ceremony took place so that when it ended, guests people could quickly grab a glass while they waited in line for the bar – which was that was a huge hit too!
Favorite part of the day? The ceremony of course! Chip’s five-year old godson sprinting down the aisle to him, my dad giving me away, our heartfelt readings by family members, and our vows to each other. Looking back we also really loved the intimate hour we had together for photos after the ceremony. I thought we would kind of dread that time and wish we were with all our people at the cocktail hour, but we actually really savored it. It was just the two of us, walking around the beautiful grounds, watching the sunset, we got to talk and laugh and just really take each other in. We didn’t do a first look – just a “first touch”, which was also sweet, but that hour of photos together was a special memory thats engrained in both of our minds.
Another highlight was the “after party” on the 45-minute bus ride back to Richmond – platters of ham biscuits, bags of Doritos, the bottle of the bourbon we dug up, lots of dancing and singing (AKA screaming Lizzo lyrics) until it dropped us off at the Jefferson Hotel.
Tell us about your wedding flowers! I owe all of this credit to my sweet mother in law who has an eye for florals and Deanna King, the owner of Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds. They both understood my vision right away and ran with it – creating something even better than I could have ever imagined. My main focus was always magnolia. Our venue was full of magnolia trees and I just love magnolia for both its beauty and its versatility. I wanted to incorporate as many magnolia leaves as possible and as for the type of flowers, anything yellow or white was fine by me. The magnolia draping over the fence we got married in front of was just impeccable, as was the magnolia wreaths and the amazing rectangular installation that hung over our dance floor; just beyond! All of my magnolia dreams came true.
From the Photographer: Chip grew up in Charles City, VA…playing on the magnolia tree outside his family’s church. When he was 8 years old, his parents tragically died in a plane crash. He was adopted into his Aunt & Uncle’s house in Richmond. Flash forward to meeting Carley. Her deep sense of family and loyalty was something that Chip loved about her. When he proposed, he gave her a ring made with his mother’s center diamond. Carley wanted their wedding at Westover Plantation to celebrate Chip and his family by integrating magnolia leaves into everything. From the arch over the gate at the ceremony to the sail cloth tent entrance, a magnolia wreath over the dance floor, I could go on! Carley choose a buttery yellow , soft green, and cream color palette to compliment her love of the south and hospitality.
Any handmade or heirloom details? My super talented cousin painted our signature cocktail signs and two paintings of the venue which each guest signed as a guest book alternative. She also made our wooden cake topper!
We went back and forth on getting directional signs made but in the end we decided people could figure out where they needed to park and they would see all the ceremony chairs before they’d see a “ceremony” sign anyway.
One really important thing we wanted to do was honor my husband’s late parents and other family members who couldn’t be with us on our special day. We had two empty seats at our ceremony for his parents, in the front row right across the g from my parents, and on his dad’s chair was his duck call with a feather and on his mom’s chair was a small bouquet of white lilies, her favorite flower. On my bouquet was also my late grandfather’s duck’s unlimited pin and a charm bracelet in honor of my late friend Mac. I also wore a bracelet my grandmother lent me.
Another special element was the person who married us – she’s the reverend at the local church who actually knew Chip as a child and officiated his parents’ funeral.
From the photographer: Adorned in a classic Anne Barge gown and Chip in a butter cream jacket, they said “I do” surrounded by their closest friends and family. To honor his parents, a vase of flowers for his mom, and his father’s vintage duck call – which Chip wore in his breast pocket the rest of the evening. This wedding, planned by Starry Night Events was the perfect combination of honoring the memory of his parents and celebrating their future as husband and wife.
What’s your advice for other couples? Don’t let it take up your time together as a couple; enjoy being fiancés! We were engaged for 15 months and for the last six we were long distance. Our time together during those months was really rare and we tried hard not to talk about the wedding during our visits. For me, wedding planning was really stressful. We did all the big things so early on that as we got closer I struggled with making decisions about all the other things. We had an incredible planner and great vendors but wedding planning still wasn’t something I loved or looked forward to each day. All brides should know that is totally okay! I so admire brides who find joy in it – but I truly don’t miss a minute of it. I will say all the hours of planning and stress paid off perfectly – our day was everything I dreamed of and more, but looking back I wish I remembered that in the end it will all work out and to not to let it effect me so much.
Photography: Kathryn Ivy Photography | Ceremony Venue: Westover Plantation | Reception Venue: Westover Plantation | Event Planning: Starry Night Events | Floral: Strawberry Fields Flowers and Finds | Stationery: English Tea Paperie | Videography: Justin Bayless | Wedding Cake: Ukrops | Rentals: Rent E-Quip | Hair: Lou Stevens Glam Squad | Makeup: Kara Waggoner Make Up Artistry LLC | Band: Adrian Duke Project | Catering: Goodrich Gourmet | Cake Topper: Lindsay Tallman | Signage: Lindsay Tallman | Paintings: Lindsay Tallman | Tent: Rent-E-Quip | Engagement Ring: Carreras Jewelers | Wedding Ring: Carreras Jewelers | Wedding Ring: Hoover and Strong | Transportation: Richmond Limousine | Rehearsal Venue: The Commonwealth Club | Guest Book Alternative: Lindsay Tallman | Restrooms: Edmonds Waste Removal | Ring Bearer Outfit: Jos A Bank | Officiant: Rev. April Greenwood | Wedding Dress: Anne Barge | Groom’s Designer: Peter Blair | Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bridesmaid Dresses: Fame and Partners | Veil: Fariba Alterations | Cufflinks: Schwarzschild Jewelers | Alterations: Fariba Alterations | Flower Girl Dress: David’s Bridal | Groomsmen Designer: Peter Blair | Ring Bearer Outfit: Jos A Bank | Dress: Nordstrom | Submitted via: Matchology