An Upscale Outdoor Wedding with a Green-and-White Floral Palette in North Garden, Virginia
As a freshman at Young Harris College in January 2015, Maddie Barnes told a friend she was smitten with junior Sam Clayton. "Sam will tell you otherwise, but I definitely made the first move!" says Maddie. "We had a mutual friend who introduced us after I expressed interest, and the rest is history."
A little more than three years after they began dating, Maddie took Sam to her family's beloved cottage in Interlochen, Michigan, for the first time—and he made the vacation unforgettable with a surprise proposal. "We were getting ready for dinner and 'Tupelo Honey' by Van Morrison was playing on the speakers and we had been dancing around," she says. "Sam asked me right there in the middle of the cottage, just the two of us. It was perfect!"
Maddie and Sam began their search for a wedding venue close to home, looking at locations in Georgia and North Carolina, but couldn't find anything that fit their August 10, 2019, wedding date and could accommodate their 130 guests. When Maddie came across the website for Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards in North Garden, Virginia, she says, "I thought it was gorgeous. Dream venue." They visited the next weekend and booked it immediately. "We loved that it was far enough away from home to feel like a destination wedding but close enough that people could still drive," she says. "We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it was great that we could still get married in the same mountain range."
Maddie knew she wanted a floral-heavy wedding with a neutral color palette, vibrant green foliage accents, and lavish details. "It was definitely a garden-inspired vision with a splash of timeless elegance," she says. "I wanted a wedding that I could still look back on in 40 years and think was beautiful. It came to life exactly as I envisioned."
Coming Up Roses
Maddie and Sam chose a muted olive green as the accent color for their invitation suite from Esther Clark, using it for the envelopes, embossed printing, and rose-and-vine illustration on their vellum cover and envelope liner. "The rose design was custom," says Maddie. "My middle name is Rose and I wanted to incorporate that into the design."
Breaking the Rules
When she began her search for the perfect wedding dress, Maddie had a few style guidelines: "I knew I wanted a dress that was fitted and had some structure," she says. "One of my rules was that I did not want a strapless dress." But for a silk cotton mikado mermaid gown from Carol Hannah Bridal, Maddie found herself willing to make an exception. "When I tried it on, I fell in love. The entire group loved it!" she says. "The best moment was when I put on a veil for the full effect and my mom started crying. It was so special."
Maddie's bridesmaids wore pale gray tulip-skirt gowns from Shona Joy and ankle-strap shoes with a block heel—chosen for easier waking on the outdoor terrain. "We knew it was going to be hot, so we didn't want to go for full-length gowns," says Maddie. "We decided on midi dresses—a little less stuffy, but still had the elegant look that I was going for."
Maddie and Sam planned their first look before the ceremony in a grassy field with sweeping views of the mountains. "I wasn't nervous at all!" Maddie says. "Sam, however, was super nervous. We had debated not doing a first look, but I'm so glad we did. It gave us a private moment together and allowed us to calm down and re-center."
Ivory and white landscaping at the venue matched Maddie's "elegant, loose, and organic-feeling" bouquet from Sophie Felts. Blooms in shades of ivory included roses, zinnias, ranunculus, and Canterbury bells, while a variety of fresh greenery added contrast. "I love all things floral," says Maddie, "and knew that I wanted that to be the focal point."
Field with a View
Maddie and Sam held their ceremony outside, where a generous floral arch acted as a focal point for their vows. Wooden cross-back chairs with white cushions held laser-cut wooden fans for each guest; lush hydrangeas filled low box arrangements, which adorned the back of the space.
At the Altar
Maddie and her father walked down the aisle after the flower girls and ring bearer. "The ring bearer had instructions to hand the rings to the best man, so when he got down the aisle, he made a beeline for him, totally ignoring Sam's high five," says Maddie. "The girls did great after a little coaxing!"
Saying "I Do"
Maddie and Sam recited traditional vows in a religious ceremony officiated by Roger Stansell. "From the planning process to the actual wedding day, it goes by so quickly," says Maddie. "I'm so thankful for all of the times where I got to pause and just enjoy the moment—make sure to stop and smell those roses."
After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed for a few portraits and then joined their friends and family for cocktails—including the "Mrs. Margs" signature drink. "I'm so glad that we took that time to connect with our guests," says Maddie. "The rest of the evening just flew by!"
Delicate corked olive oil bottles, placed on a white stand, held escort cards that directed guests to their assigned seats; the setting sun threw shadows on the ornate shelves and a trailing floral garland enhanced the garden atmosphere.
Inside the dining area, a large arch made of emerald greenery and white hydrangeas framed the wooden doors.
Gray and Green
Up above, wine stave chandeliers were draped with loose foliage for a natural element that contrasted with the rustic wood tones in the space.
The white-and-green floral story continued with bountiful centerpieces in low white vessels. Beige taper candles and mercury glass votives glimmered, while two-tone flatware accented white china and linens.
A Moment Alone
While guests dined on a meal that included heirloom tomato salad with burrata, persillade crusted lamb rack, and dry diver scallops, Maddie and Sam took a short break outside for sunset photos. "It was nice to escape the party and enjoy some time to ourselves while also enjoying our gorgeous venue," says Maddie. "The photos came out so dreamy."
So Much Love
Round tables covered with neutral linens framed the intimate space while providing open views of the speeches—including an especially emotional one from Maddie's father. "So many people were in tears, including me," says Maddie. "He had cried every time he had practiced it, but he held it together. It was such a heartfelt moment and really showcased all the love we felt on that day."
A three-tier white buttercream cake from Maliha Creations included layers in two different flavors: lavender cake with St. Germain buttercream, and vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, raspberry jam, and fresh raspberries. "We also had a groom's cake in the shape of a Champagne bucket with a bottle that had our name on it," says Maddie. "The flavor was carrot cake and cookie butter buttercream."
For their first dance, Maddie and Sam turned to a classic standby: Louis Armstrong's "La Vie En Rose." "We deemed it our 'couple song' early on in our relationship," says Maddie. "It seemed to always be playing at some of our favorite moments together. Plus, my middle name is Rose, so it's very fitting!"
The newlyweds closed out the evening with a sparkler exit. "The exit was so epic and joyous," says Maddie. "We walked through a tunnel of our family and friends holding sparklers and cheering for us. We felt so loved and it was a great way to end the night."
Photography, Laura Gordon Photography
Venue and Catering, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards
Event Planning and Design, Lauren Emerson Events
Flowers, Sophie Felts Floral Design
Videography, Joshua Bryan Cinema
Stationery, Esther Clark
Cake, Maliha Creations
Music, Encore String Quartet; Sound Enforcement
Rentals, Emerson James; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; MS Events; Paisley and Jade
Bride's Gown, Carol Hannah
Bride's Accessories, Jaclyn Jordan veil; Twigs and Honey hairpiece; Jamie Wolf earrings; Prada shoes
Hair, Anna Breeding
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Shona Joy
Groom's Attire and Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's Shoes, Dexter and Duke
Lighting, Blue Ridge Event Production
Transportation, James Limousine
Guest Book, Arcoalbum
Rings, Spicer Greene Jewelers