A Botanical-Themed Fall Wedding in Virginia
Meg and Nick
Nick Barnicle and Meg Carrigan had a clumsy start to their relationship. The former catcher for the Georgetown University baseball team attended an athletic alumni dinner in February 2014, where he won a raffle for a team-signed baseball. As Nick left the event, he bumped right into Meg Carrigan, whose father also played catcher for the same team decades prior. Nick's commemorative ball crashed to the floor in its case. "People were staring, picking up the pieces of shattered plastic, and looking for the ball," he says. "I looked up and there she was. Wow." The pair struck up a conversation later in the evening, when they both serendipitously ended up at the local watering hole, leading to the start of a whirlwind romance.
A little more than a year after, Nick—an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of a television and film company called Prospect Productions—decided to pop the question at Meg's family farm in Virginia. But upon arrival at the farm, Meg's father gave them a list of manual chores, like stacking wood and checking the fireplace for snakes. "We're sweating, it's hot, we're worried about snakes, and I have this ring burning a hole in my pocket," says Nick. "But I go for it anyway. 'Play the schedule' as they say." Meg said yes, and the couple celebrated with tears, laughter, Champagne, and family. According to Meg, a New-York based digital creative producer who works with Tory Burch and Tory Sport, "Nick told me we were going to get married the night we met. I didn't quite believe him, but I'm happy he was right."
Flash forward to the fall of 2016, the Brooklyn-based couple tied the knot in two separate weddings. They first had a small Catholic ceremony with about 15 family members on Friday, October 21, 2016, at Georgetown University's Copley Crypt Chapel. Then, on Saturday, October 22, about 120 guests gathered the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg, Virginia, for a larger gathering filled with lush greenery and botanical touches. The venue is sentimental, since Meg grew up horseback riding in the area, and fit their desired wedding aesthetic of "Virginia Hunt Country meets South of France."
But the best part of having two separate celebrations? "Marrying Nick twice in one weekend," says the happy bride.
Illustrator and calligrapher Stephanie Fishwick created the couple's bespoke invitations. "Using botanicals as the foundation for the invite, we worked together to incorporate jeweled insects, fly fishing lures (Nick loves the sport), protea and dogwood flowers (the latter being the state flower of Virginia), and other flora to create the most luscious and whimsical invitation suite," says Meg. The stationery was rounded out with designs by Katie Fischer Design, who also relied on botanical elements to create a cohesive presentation for all of the big day's paper elements.
The Welcome Boxes
The groom sported a navy Isaia suit with a faint checked pattern, a botanical print tie from Salvatore Ferragamo, and Alden shoes. Meg wore a Stella McCartney dress, which she bought while shopping with her mom in New York City. "Stella McCartney has always been a favorite of mine, and while in her Soho boutique, I asked if they had any white dresses. As it happened, they had one, with one size left. I ended up walking out with my wedding dress that day," she says. Meg completed the look with diamond studs, a ruby and diamond insect brooch pinned at her waist, and a classic ponytail styled by Colin McCarthy.
Meg paired the dress with blush-colored satin heels from Stella McCartney, which featured a chunky wooden heel covered in crystals. "They were sort of business in the front, party in the back," she says of her choice of footwear.
For the engagement ring, Nick worked with Boston-based jeweler Donna DePrisco to design a diamond eternity band. Then, on the morning of the wedding, Nick surprised Meg with a second one, "which he made clear covered him jewelry-wise for the next decade," says Meg.
Isha Foss Design created Meg's bouquet using king protea, juliet garden roses, cafe au lait and burgundy dahlias, thistle, astrantia, grevillea foliage, gunni and silver dollar eucalyptus, filbert foliage, and acacia foliage.
Nick and Meg opted out of having a wedding party, but they still wanted the men in their families to stand out. They gifted each one a vintage lapel pin with a dogwood bloom in honor of the location.
The Ceremony Set-Up
The Goodstone Inn, a countryside estate located off a winding road in the heart of Virginia Hunt Country, provided a naturally stunning backdrop for a wedding. "Our ceremony took place in front of the wisteria-covered ruins of the estate's original neoclassical stone mansion, which burned down in the early 1900s," says Meg. The couple stood under a makeshift arch, which is actually the mansion's main doorway that leads to an outdoor pool.
Given the beauty of the venue, Meg and Nick opted to keep flowers to a minimum. Still, they adorned their ceremony site with arrangements that matched the bride's bouquet and included king protea, dahlias, grevillea foliage, and gunni and silver dollar eucalyptus. "I really wanted the greenery and floral elements to feel super organic but with interesting texture," says Meg.
At 4:30 p.m., the Sage String Quartet kicked off the ceremony by playing the National Anthem, as a nod to Nick's love of baseball. Meg's dad walked her down the aisle to "Nessun Dorma."
The ceremony included two readings: Nick's younger brother Tim read lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's classic love ballad "If I Should Fall Behind," and Meg's dad recited his favorite Robert Frost poem, "The Master Speed." In fact, Frost wrote the poem for his own daughter on her wedding day.
After reciting traditional vows, Meg and Nick recessed up the aisle to "All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles.
After the short ceremony, guests gathered around the venue's heated outdoor pool for cocktail hour. "Since the ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and dancing were all very centralized in and around the pool, we wanted to create more intimate lounge areas," says Meg. Rentals provided by Paisley & Jade and AFR included green velvet couches and chairs, vintage rugs, Moroccan poufs, wicker peacock chairs, and side tables with gold and brass accents. Candles and throw blankets gave the space a comfortable and inviting appeal.
The Escort Cards
In place of traditional escort cards, Katie Fischer Design created name tags for each guest that were attached to bubbling glasses of Champagne.
The reception took place at 6:30 p.m. around the pool. A clear tent adorned with garlands kept guests warm amidst the brisk October weather. Meg and Nick worked with the award-winning chef at the Goodstone Inn to create their menu. "A party with limited food and drink is a cardinal sin in my book," Meg says. So they decided on fresh and seasonal fare: a soup trio with wild mushroom soup, butternut squash bisque, and corn chowder; an arugula and apple salad with shaved fennel, asiago cheese, and bourbon candied pecans in a lemon vinaigrette; seared scallops on parmesan polenta; and braised short ribs with fall risotto and sautéed spinach.
The Table Settings
Forty-foot tables covered with crisp white linens, garlands, greenery, and white tea lights set the scene for the reception. Bamboo chairs made everything feel even more organic. Isha Foss created the garlands with Salal leaves, baby blue and silver dollar eucalyptus, and Grevillea foliage. Katie Fischer Design created custom menus, which doubled as place cards atop the vintage-style plates.
Making a Splash
During his toast, Nick's brother Colin decided to dive into the pool, fully clothed and in his cowboy boots, to give the newlyweds a hug. "It was actually a highlight for both of us," says Meg.
Buttercream Bake Shop in Washington, D.C., created all desserts for the reception. According to Meg, they "surprised us with these gorgeous sugar cookies decorated with jeweled scarab beetles and protea flowers, inspired by Stephanie's illustrations." The couple also served macarons and a variety of other sweets.
Photography, Elisa Bricker
Location and Catering, Goodstone Inn
Event Planning, Sara Bauleke of Bella Notte
Flowers, Isha Foss Design
Videography, Toy Box Productions
Cake and Dessert, Buttercream Bake Shop
Rentals, AFR (cocktail hour lounge furniture); Paisley & Jade (cocktail hour lounge furniture); La Tavola (linens); Party Rental Ltd. (linens, plates); Capital Party Rental (tent); United Metro Golf Cart (golf carts)
Bride's Gown, Stella McCartney
Bride's Shoes, Stella McCartney
Hair, Colin McCarthy
Groom's Suit, Isaia
Lighting, John Farr Lighting Design
Transportation, Reliable Limousine
Sound, Potomac Sound
Welcome Baskets, Marigold & Grey