Today’s lovely wedding comes from one of the most fabulous photographers we know, Bit of Ivory’s Chelsea LaVere, whose extensive fine arts background has given her a keen photographic eye attuned to beauty in all its forms, and the extraordinary videographers behind The Girl Tyler.
Tiffany and Josh’s wedding took place in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, a fact disguised by the beautiful photographs, the memorable film, and the couple’s serene demeanor. “We joked around because these two reminded many of America’s royal couple, JKF and Jackie,” Chlesea said. “They had unbelievable poise and grace!” Tiffany, who opted for a classic green and white color palette, transformed a spacious hotel ballroom into an invitingly intimate setting using candles, soft flowers, and warm amber lighting. Wearing a sleek dress with intricate lace straps and a traditional cathedral-length veil, handmade by her mother, she was the definition of elegance. But it’s the intangibles—love, joy, happiness—that are really palpable in these images. “There is one word that comes to mind when I think of Tiffany and Joshua: genuine,” Chelsea said. “Genuine in love, friendship, faith, and thanksgiving. They balance each other. They keep their faith at the center of their relationship. They love.”
Q + A with Tiffany
What’s your love story? How did you meet, fall in love, and get engaged?
Josh and I first met through friends in the neighborhood where he grew up. We had an amazing year of dating, but then he moved to Florida. I was finishing my degree at ODU, and so we had to do the long-distance thing for a few years. But with a lot of prayer and hard work, we got through it, and I got through school! We have grown together and are more in love now than ever before. Josh proposed the weekend before my last final, and we announced it the next day at my graduation party. Thus, the graduation party doubled as an engagement party. It worked out well, as the same people would have been at either gathering. I moved to Florida shortly after we got engaged, and we were able to be together for the planning process. I didn’t realize how much that meant to Josh until later on, and I’m glad it worked out that way.
Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your wedding and your sources of inspiration?
We knew that we were going to have a large wedding, so my main goal was to make sure that the whole evening had an intimate feel. Warmth from candles and flowers was my main inspiration. Most of the elements that we ended up including on the day of the wedding were inspired by pictures I found on Pinterest. The vision was a mix of two pictures I found early on. Long banquet tables with a mix of white and green flowers running all the way down the middle were my dream. We met with our florists several times along the way to make sure that we evolved the idea together and stayed on the same page. Every time I left the florists’ shop, Palette of Petals, I got more and more excited about the big day! Our florists were a dream to work with and were willing to do whatever it took to make sure that my vision was realized while adhering to the budget as much as possible. We trusted those girls from the beginning and knew that they were not trying to profit off of us. They were willing to put in the brain and muscle power needed to make my dream come to fruition.
To make sure that all of our guests had enough space at the tables to eat comfortably while still reserving room for the decorative elements, we had to piece together four smaller tables to create each large table. This made it possible for a foot-wide runner to frame the flowers, candles, and lanterns scattered on top. Figuring out how to get my hands on the runners turned out to be the biggest headache of the entire wedding planning process. Due to the fact that the tables were so large and the feel we were going for was so specific and dependent on the runners, we could not just rent some from an event company. I scoured all the fabric shops in my area to see what was available and turned up nothing. The idea of sewing the runners—or just cutting them out, for that matter—seemed very daunting. Online searches were futile. Thank God I had my OCD timetable and due dates marked in my calendars to make sure that I had all the elements in place, or in my possession, when needed. The runner situation was days away from being overdue on my timetable, and I was explaining the predicament to my close friend and colleague. Before I was done with my rant, she had already conducted a Google search and pulled up some Crate & Barrel table runners, which turned out to be the ones we used. The best part about them was that they were pre-rolled, a foot wide, green (the planned color), and made of paper that could be cut to size. What?! Pinch me! We drove down to the closest Crate & Barrel to pick up all the runners that they had in stock. When we got home, I ordered the rest online. Those runners were meant for our event! We painted the table numbers on the end of the runners and angled the tables so that guests could see the numbers as they walked into the ballroom.
To create a warm and intimate feel in a huge hotel ballroom, we used warm amber lighting, lots of soft flowers, and a ton of candles. My family and I made some six-foot trees anchored in pots. We painted the trees and strung café lights on them, creating a soft, cozy vibe. The trees turned out better than I thought they would and were placed around the dance floor.
Hurricane Sandy was visiting the East Coast on the weekend of the wedding, so we will all remember her well. Josh was supposed to have a big golf outing the morning of the wedding with a bunch of guys, and I was supposed to run a 10K race with a few friends. Well, some of the guys made it out with Josh to play in the gusts, but I didn’t get a wink of sleep, so I didn’t race. I figured that with the rain and high winds, the probability of something going wrong during the race was much higher. That weekend also happened to be Halloween weekend, and running in the race required wearing a costume. I was planning on going as a bride, if you can imagine. My videographers were ready to run alongside me for a stretch to capture that event. I’m sure they were relieved when I bailed.
For the champagne toast, we handed all the children milk-filled champagne glasses along with cookies. We thought that this was a good way to make them feel included.
When it came to the seating chart, we knew the way we wanted the tables set up, so we drew them on a dry erase board. We used the smallest Post-it strips in color-coordinated order to represent each person. This was perfect for us, as we’re very visual people. The board helped us get through the dreaded seating-chart stage of the planning process. The day we started the chart, I actually broke my ring finger knuckle while tickling Josh. Crazy, right?! This was six weeks out from the big day. All I have to say is: Windex! It slid that ring over my swollen knuckle with ease. It still hurt like hell, but they didn’t have to cut the ring off! Thank God! In the hours leading up to the ceremony, I iced my finger so that my rings would fit back on it.
Tell us about your gorgeous dress.
I originally wanted my dress to have lace. The dress I fell in love with had no lace in it, so the owner of the bridal shop showed me how I could add lace straps. She also showed me how great it would look with a lace-trimmed cathedral veil. My mother made the veil that I wore for the ceremony. I would like everyone in the world to know that my mom made that veil for me!
What kind of advice would you offer to future brides?
I used Excel spreadsheets for everything. We have a friend who is a wedding planner, and she helped steer us in the right direction at the beginning. We hired wedding planners to handle the day-of coordination. We met with them about six weeks before the big day and caught them up to speed. It was wonderful handing everything over to them so that we could enjoy the weekend and not worry about a single detail. They took care of everything that day, and all we had to do was enjoy the ride. I would advise every bride to use a day-of coordinator or a team of coordinators. They will make a world of difference. When we met with our lead coordinator six weeks out, Josh walked out of the meeting asking me why we hadn’t hired them in the very beginning.
Another huge plus for us was the videography. Our videography team was really great, and we couldn’t have asked for a better documentation of our day than the edited-down segments that the team made for us. We loved working with them, and the quality of their work was beyond. We had heard people say that videography was a waste and that they had never watched their wedding videos at all, so we were a little bit skeptical about hiring a videographer. However, we couldn’t be happier with the outcome of that investment! It turned out that my grandfather had a mini-stroke on the week of our wedding, and one of our groomsman (Josh’s godfather, who is 87) fell and broke his nose on the way into the church, so neither of them could make it to the wedding. The videos that captured all of our wedding moments mean so much to our loved ones who didn’t get to see them live. After watching the videos, they felt like they were a part of our wedding day. Invest in a videographer!
At times, I felt like I was a bother to my vendors, but the biggest thing I learned is that it’s better to over-communicate than to under-communicate! I felt more at peace as the day came closer knowing that I had communicated in detail all the things I wanted and expected from each vendor.
Photography: Bit of Ivory Photography / Videography: The Girl Tyler / Ceremony venue: First Presbyterian Church, Virginia Beach / Reception Venue: Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront / Day-of coordination: Emily Weddings / Flowers: Palette of Petals / Catering: Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront / Cake: Lisa Carroll / Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals / Cocktail hour music: Galliard Trio / Lighting and reception music: Astro DJ / Hair and makeup: Liz of Behind the Veil / Bride’s dress and jewelry: Ava Clara / Bridesmaid dresses: Nuova Vita / Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits: Dan Ryan’s
This wedding was submitted via Two Bright Lights.