Warm wishes: An autumn wedding overflows with love

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The bride and groom wrote their own ceremony (vows included) and had their friends officiate and perform readings. Photo: Meg Runion The bride and groom wrote their own ceremony (vows included) and had their friends officiate and perform readings. Photo: Meg Runion

Jenny and Brendan | October 29, 2016

As they started the task of planning their wedding, Jenny and Brendan began with a basic question: big wedding or small? Ultimately, they opted for the former, realizing that the bigger the big day, the more love they’d get to share with friends and family. And the decision paid off, especially at the ceremony during the ring warming (a tradition in which the rings are passed through the crowd so guests can “warm” them with well wishes).

“Our guests were so dedicated in their warming that we needed an extra minute of music before the rings made it back to our officiant,” says Jenny.

After settling on the wedding size, the couple focused on making the wedding special—not just for themselves, but for guests, too. “We wanted to provide them with an experience that showed how much we appreciated them traveling and going out of their way to be with us,” Jenny says.

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Jenny and Brendan dated long-distance for a year and a half before Brendan moved to New York City, where Jenny was working, to get his MBA. They were together four years before getting married. Photo: Meg Runion
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Jenny’s mom outdid herself with the décor, crafting paper flowers for the arbor and cake decorations; creating the print materials and games; assembling the centerpieces, favors, welcome bags and quilt squares that served as the couple’s guest book. Photo: Meg Runion
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Photo: Meg Runion
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The favors, individual soaps, symbolized two families coming together: one in the form of the Chinese symbol for double happiness and the other a shamrock, representing the groom’s Irish heritage. Photo: Meg Runion
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Choosing the wedding cake was one of the easiest decisions of the wedding, Jenny says: a princess cake from Albemarle Baking Company. “I could eat it every day.” Photo: Meg Runion
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Photo: Meg Runion
Photo: Susan Kalergis
Jenny enlisted her mom, grandmother, aunts and family friends from all over the country to make 1,000 paper cranes for the wedding. In all, they ended up with closer to 2,000, which the bride’s mom strung together as a backdrop for the cake and table cards. Photo: Meg Runion
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For guests who weren’t interested in dancing, the couple included giant word searches with guests’ names or places the couple had traveled to as clues. Photo: Meg Runion
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Photo: Meg Runion
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Photo: Meg Runion
Since both Jenny and Brendan were anxious about the first dance, they took lessons together prior to the wedding and performed choreography to a cover of “The Book of Love.” “People were definitely surprised we had anything more than swaying back and forth and cheered us on for every spin and dip,” Jenny says. Photo: Meg Runion
Since both Jenny and Brendan were anxious about the first dance, they took lessons together prior to the wedding and performed choreography to a cover of “The Book of Love.” “People were definitely surprised we had anything more than swaying back and forth and cheered us on for every spin and dip,” Jenny says. Photo: Meg Runion

THE DETAILS Day-of coordinator: Julia Define of Down the Aisle Events Ceremony and reception venue: James Monroe’s Highland Officiant: Personal friend Catering: Harvest Moon Catering Flowers: Hedge Fine Blooms (bouquet and boutonnières) Cake: Albemarle Baking Company Music: Plum Blossom Music trio (ceremony and cocktail hour); Dennis Payne, DJ Playback (reception) Dress: Eddie K. Shoes: Badgley Mischka Rings: David Yurman (engagement ring); James McHone Jewelry, Harrisonburg (bands) Hair and makeup: The Spot Beauty Shop Videographer: Sallah Baloch Donuts: Duck Donuts Lighting: MS Events and Virginia Tent Rentals Ring bearer outfits: Janie and Jack Invitations: Minted

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