A Charming Fall Wedding at a Virginia Estate
Jenny Hamilton and Geoff Alexander prove that Virginia is for lovers: The two natives became good friends after meeting in medical school there. Upon graduating in 2006, Jenny was off to D.C. for her residency and Geoff was commissioned in the Army and moved to Tacoma, Washington, for training. He often returned home to visit family and see college pals (Jenny included), but it wasn't until seven years after their graduation that the two became more than friends. Jenny had planned a celebratory trip after completing her residency and invited a group to join along, but Geoff was the only one who could make it. They sailed from St. Lucia to Grenada, and by the end of the trip, the two were in a long-distance relationship, with Geoff in Honduras and Jenny in Virginia.Geoff was assigned to a medical center in Hawaii about a year later, and Jenny followed. They dated there for three years before Geoff popped the question on an overnight trip to Kauai. Ten months later, on September 30, 2017, the two headed back to Virginia to celebrate with 121 guests on a gorgeous fall day. The laid-back evening was set on the lawns of the Inn at Warner Hall, a historic Virginia estate.
Some guests received black suites, others white. The designs, by Emily Rose Ink, featured gold calligraphy and vintage stamps. Deckle-edge paper and floral illustrations nodded to the outdoor setting, and a thin gold thread added texture and detail to the ensemble.
Location, Location, Location
The Hawaii-based pair decided on a Virginia venue to make travel easy for their East Coast family and friends. "We were looking for a venue that felt like people were coming over to our house," says the bride. They landed on the Inn at Warner Hall, a historic plantation set on the Chesapeake Bay.
A Fashionable Pair
Jenny's colorful bouquet by florist Holly Heider Chapple included peach, pink, and deep purple blossoms all tied together with a custom ribbon from Honey Silks & Co. "All of the designs had a relaxed feel and embodied the best of the fall season," says Holly. The dahlias, zinnias, scabiosa, and amaranthus were locally grown by the florist, with garden roses, ranunculus, and eucalyptus to supplement.
Jenny wore an off-white tulle Juliet veil and silver floral headpiece by Melinda Rose Design. (Both of which she accidentally shipped to Hawaii—they made it to the wedding with the help of a friend from home who intercepted the package before making the trip to Virginia.)
Jenny let the bridesmaids—all family and close friends—choose their own dresses. They ended up in Adrianna Papell and Jenny Yoo in peach and plum hues that the bride used to inform the palette of the day. The littlest ladies (Jenny's two nieces, Presley and Evelyn) wore cap-sleeve dresses from David's Bridal.
A Natural Setting
The ceremony took place on the front lawn of the venue. Airy silk fabric by Honey Silks & Co were draped in the trees to create a focal point.
The Ring Bearer
The bride's nephew, Kyle, was the ring bearer (or "ring bear," as he called it, growling on occasion). The bride's brother placed a few pieces of chocolate in the box Kyle was to carry and told him that if was good, he could have them at the end of the ceremony. "He kept opening the box and staring inside," says Jenny. "I was a little nervous he had actually put our rings inside and Kyle was just being very vigilant!"
The Bride's Entrance
At four o'clock, the ceremony began. Jenny's dad walked her down the aisle to "Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel played on strings by The Galliard Trio. Even the Inn donned its best greenery for the nuptials.
A pastor from Jenny's hometown officiated the wedding. Readings included an excerpt from "Gift from the Sea" by Morrow Lindbergh read by the bride's brother and Geoff's former roommate. The couple beamed as they recessed to the tune of "Tambourin" by François-Joseph Gossec.
His & Hers Cocktails
The bride and the groom each chose a signature drink to serve at cocktail hour on the adjacent lawn. Jenny went with a basil smash made with vodka, sparkling wine, simple syrup, lemon, and basil; and Geoff's was a twist on a dark and stormy that he called a Bob and Tod after two of his close friends from the Army who drank something similar.
Jenny's parents had been married just shy of 47 years on her wedding day (they met in middle school). The bride's mother wore a crisp white top and a blush skirt that melded with the hues of the flowers.
"I've always wanted to have a party with the biggest bottle of wine I could get my hands on and I love that the bottles are named after biblical kings," says Jenny. They opened a Nebuchadnezzar of Veuve Clicquot—which held 15 liters of bubbly. Geoff's brother, a talented welder, made a cradle with a hand crank so it could be poured with ease. "It's easily my favorite wedding gift," says the bride.
The Escort Cards
A seeded eucalyptus garland framed the display of escort cards, which were calligraphed on hand-torn black paper and pinned to a board.
A Place for Everyone
Planner Pamela Barefoot organized a kids-only tepee—complete with crafts, cushions, and hula hoops—to keep the littlest ones content during dinner.
The Reception Setup
Dinner took place on the on the back lawn of the Inn. Long wooden tables were arranged beneath string lights, and each table's green velvet tablecloth was topped with arrangements of dahlias, roses, ranunculus, scabiosa, eucalyptus, and zinnias. The brightly-hued flowers popped against the other natural tones.
Knotted black napkins brought a casual feel to the place settings. Emily Rose Ink designed the menu and the calligraphed marble tiles that kept them in place and helped guests find their seats.
The Love Boat
The newlyweds snuck away during dinner to share a quiet moment together. Geoff surprised Jenny with a rowboat ride on the Severn River before returning to their table. "We got lucky that it was high tide so stepping into the boat was easy," says the bride.
Under the Lights
Dinner, by A Sharper Palate Catering & Events, started with braised duck cannelloni and caramelized cippolinis. Crab cakes, petit filet mignonette, and fregola sarda with lemon, pecorino, and haricots verts followed. Family and friends bundled up in pashminas (in black and burgundy to match the palette) as the temperatures dropped.
The crowd moved to a tent swathed in silk fabric with lush floral chandeliers of cascading vine and pepper berry. Jenny and Geoff kicked things off with a first dance to the tune of Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing."
A Sweet Ending
The four-tiered confection by Sweet Fix had alternating layers of vanilla bean and lemon zest cake with raspberry jam and a vanilla buttercream frosting. Berries and flowers tied in the palette.
Jenny (who changed into a Jenny Packham gown for the party) and Geoff shared a final moment with their loved ones, who sent them off amidst the glow of sparklers.
Photography, Kate Headley
Location The Inn at Warner Hall
Event planning, Pamela Barefoot
Catering, A Sharper Palate Catering & Events
Flowers, Holly Heider Chapple
Stationery, Emily Rose Ink
Cake, Sweet Fix
Music, Sound Nation
Bride's gown, Maggie Sottero
Reception dress, Jenny Packham
Hair and Makeup, Lou Stevens
Flower Girl dresses, David's Bridal
Groom's suit and accessories, Vera Wang
Lighting, The Lighting and Sound Company
Transportation, Newton's Bus Service