Classic, romantic, fun: At James Monroe’s Highland, elegant meets down to earth

Photo: Beth Seliga of 3 Cats Photo Photo: Beth Seliga of 3 Cats Photo

Isabelle Marshall &  Andrew Giordano | September 15, 2018, at James Monroe’s Highland

Photography by Beth Seliga


Not wanting to look back in a few years and cringe at the trendy choices she made, bride Isabelle Marshall worked hard to choose details and décor that wouldn’t go out of style. And, she says, she wanted a mix of traditional and unexpected.

“We had a traditional Catholic ceremony,” she says, “but tried to lighten that up later with a DIY photobooth (a Polaroid camera and props).”

The couple chose a color palette of navy blue, blush, and gold (“The combination of soft pink and gold made things look elegant and the navy helped things from looking washed out,” Isabelle says.)

In the end, a few intimate moments were what made the most lasting impression. For Isabelle, it was when her sisters (her matron and maid of honor) stepped up to sing a version of Taylor Swift’s “22,” which they’d rewritten as “Said ‘I Do.’” For Andrew, it was taking photos on the Downtown Mall after they had, in fact, said “I do.” Some things never go out of style.

Form and function

A few wedding choices did double duty: The couple’s letterpressed save the dates, designed by Isabelle’s sister, Allie, doubled as coasters and were among the bride’s favorite details. The place cards, color-coded with glitter, clued in servers to the guest’s menu choice.

Pride of place

The couple looked at a lot of venues, but only one—Highland—really spoke to them. “I grew up on a farm and loved the cattle,” Isabelle says. “And Andrew loved the history of the place.”

Let’s eat

Isabelle and Andrew didn’t like how buffet meals can sometimes feel disjointed, so they chose a seated dinner. “Knowing we’d have to please 150 guests, we tried to pick universally enjoyed food,” says Isabelle. “Enter mashed potatoes!”

Missed connections

A year after a mutual friend tried to set them up but it didn’t work out, the pair finally met and had a first date visiting all of Charlottesville’s must-sees (UVA, Monticello, Bodo’s). They dated long distance for a year and a half, survived three moves, a new puppy, and a presidential election (“We voted for different people!” Isabelle says) before getting engaged at Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.

The details

Event planner: Logan Powell of Blue Ridge Event Production (month-of wedding coordinator) Ceremony and reception venue: Holy Comforter Catholic Church (ceremony), James Monroe’s Highland (reception) Officiants: Father Joseph Mary Lukyamuzi and Father Alexander Drummond Catering: The Local Flowers: Logan Powell (Blue Ridge Event Production)  Cake: Cakes by Rachel Music: Andy Wilfong (DJ Party Masters) Bride’s attire: Paula Varsalona (Sealed with a Kiss) Shoes: Keds  Earrings and hairpiece: Powder Blue Bijoux (Etsy) Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse Bridesmaids’ dresses: Azazie Hair and makeup: Face Value Salon