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Like so many great love stories, the tale of Katelyn “KK” Kelley and Austin Harris’s happily ever after stalled before it started. The two were introduced in 2007 by a mutual friend when Austin, a chief financial officer, stopped by the Richmond restaurant where KK, now a brand manager, was working at the time. “I felt right away that I wanted to know her,” recalls Austin, who friended KK on Facebook the very next day, only to find out she had a boyfriend. A year later, after KK’s in-real-life status went from “in a relationship” to “single,” he asked her out. This time, she was on the same page. “I remember melting when I saw him again,” she says, “and sensed it was the start of something special.”
That intuition came full circle six years later when KK, in a dramatic fit-and-flare satin gown, walked down the aisle at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Virginia to a folk song (“Peace Like a River”) performed a capella by the parish’s choir. The 170 loved ones who attended listened as the reverend read words that KK and Austin had written to each other. “It’s a custom among couples marrying at St. James’s that you write a letter to your beloved, a part of which is read by the priest during the ceremony,” says KK.
Afterward, everyone made their way to the stately Commonwealth Club, built in 1892. “I love to surprise people by mixing traditional and modern styles together,” says KK. To that end, old-school elements like the historic venue, the groomsmen’s white dinner jackets, and the bridesmaids’ long gloves were juxtaposed with unexpected touches, such as the foil-printed invitations and watercolor menus. Dinner was a five-course meal of favorite family dishes, including German schnitzel and hummingbird cake. Then came the dancing to an eclectic mix of electropop, R&B, and Top 40 tunes played by a Las Vegas DJ flown in for the day. As evening turned to late night, the couple put one last contemporary spin on a classic moment: Amid a joyful chia-seed toss (a nod to Austin’s job at a natural-foods company), the newlyweds made their getaway in a pedicab playfully painted with the words Chia Later.
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Welcome to Virginia
Guest room baskets contained a collection of goodies made in Virginia. Each included homemade Virginia apple-pie moonshine, harvested sunflower seeds from the bride’s family farm, candles, which the bride hand poured, and lavender sachets from a local farm.
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The groom’s monogrammed seersucker cummerbund coordinated with the bride’s pale lilac Austin Scarlett gown. Wedding portraits were taken in nearby Charles Gillette garden on the grounds of KK’s favorite historic home in Richmond. “It was such a nice way to honor the beauty of Richmond’s historically built environment,” she says.
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A Punchy Idea
Hummingbird punch, a vodka-based concoction created by KK’s mom, was served from a 1910 Limoges punch bowl.
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“The wedding was full of sentimental touches that honored our grandparents,” says KK. She repurposed her late grandfather’s handkerchiefs as napkins for the cocktail hour.
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What’s for Dinner
Floral watercolor details, lifted from the crest design, accented menus.
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Reception tables were dressed in lilac linens and showcased either vintage milk-glass vessels or cherubic compotes that held lilacs, roses, scabiosas, and greenery. Vintage ceramic flowers served as place-card holders and votives, painted by KK’s mother, added a warm twinkle.
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Ceremony Location: St. James’s Episcopal Church
Reception Location and Catering: The Commonwealth Club
Event Planning: Merriment Events
Flowers: Janie Medley Flora Design
Photography: Katie Stoops Photography
Officiant: The Rev. Carmen Germino of St. James’s Episcopal Church
Calligraphy: Mary Sue Sanderlin
Cake: WPA Bakery
Reception: DJ Tina T
Bride’s Gown: Austin Scarlett
Hair: YY Salon
Makeup: Stephanie Parker Makeup
Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss
Lighting: Event Technologies, Inc.
Audio Production: Choice Entertainment
Tea Towels: Maison Midi
Embroidery: Atlantic Embroidery Works
Engagement and Wedding Rings: Cheryl Fornash
Seamstress (for Bridesmaids’ Dresses): Heidi Story
Servers’ Bow Ties: SolidColorNeckties.com