Stephanie and James – A Southern Barn Wedding with horses, dogs, hockey, and a dash of wanderlust
Sometimes, you meet a couple, hear about their relationship, and you fall in love with their story without any tangible reason why. Thats was Andrew and Stephanie for me. As soon as I met them I felt at ease – it doesn’t hurt that they are huge dog people – and even now after their wedding when I look back at the answers they wrote for my pre-wedding questionnaire below reading them fills me with this happy glow. I feel so lucky to have been chosen to be a part of their Virginia horse country southern barn wedding. I hope that their story and their photos make you feel the same way!
A few of my favorite highlights from the day were the custom cake that featured their dog, Ranger, riding the sugar zamboni and the travel themed guest book table at the reception. Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of the post to see all of the very personal details!
Tell me how you met. Where were you? What were you doing? What did you each think when you first saw the other person?
Andrew: We met playing pick-up hockey during lunch at Bowdoin College. I was talking to one of my friends when I noticed Steph sitting on the bench next to the ice. I was telling my friend about how I stopped playing hockey in high school because I didn’t like how physical the game was, and definitely noticed a bit of judgement coming from Steph (who played varsity boys hockey through high school and then at the Varsity level at Bowdoin). But we kept seeing each other at lunch hockey and things kind of went from there.
Stephanie: Yeah, I think Andrew has it pretty much right. We didn’t have a love-at-first-sight-across-a-c
rowded-room thing, but it was sort of love-at-first-conversation. We just hit it off. I distinctly remember being so surprised at how easy it was to be with him. Even from the very beginning I felt like I’d known him forever. I’m a year older and we met three months before I graduated. After my graduation, Andrew flew down to Texas and joined me on a two-week Blues & BBQ road trip through The South. He’d never been to Texas or The South before, and we spent two weeks in a car together driving around, even though we’d only known each other a few months. We had an amazing time. I always thought that was telling. We’ve also done long-distance twice in our 5 years together – One year for Andrew’s Senior Year in college and two years later when he moved to New York six-months before me.
Tell me about your first date. Where did you go? Who picked the place? Was it a huge success or did it have it’s challenges?
Andrew: For our first date, I was going to take Steph to one of the nicer restaurants in the town near our college. However once we started making our way into town, Steph brought up that it was a game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals, and asked if we could go to a sports bar instead. It was at that point I thought our relationship could be something special! So we went to a bar, ate pasta, watched hockey, and had a fantastic time.
Steph: I had totally forgotten about that! That was the best first date, ever. We watched hockey and ate waaay to much pasta.
Tell me the story of your proposal. Where and when did it happen? Were you surprised? Was it an impromptu decision or had it been all planned out to the smallest detail?
Andrew: Since hockey was such a big part of how we met, I wanted to try and tie that in to the proposal. I proposed the day after Steph’s birthday, which was also a Saturday. So in the lead up I had told her that I had special birthday stuff planned. To start we got brunch at a place we like near our apartment in Brooklyn, and then that afternoon I took her ice skating in Central Park.I had the ring with me, and got nervous when I saw that people were being screened with a metal detector on the way in. But luckily I got through without issue and we had a good time skating.
After that, I took Steph up onto the platform that overlooks the rink and Central Park South. She was really hesitant at first to be staying in the wind and cold, but stopped complaining immediately when I got down on one knee and proposed! After the proposal, I had a reservation at a nice Portuguese restaurant downtown and by great fortune we ended up at the chef’s table for a delicious meal. We then went back to Brooklyn for a little surprise party I put together at our favorite neighborhood bar. It ended up being a really fantastic day with staking, good food, and being with the people we love.
Steph: Andrew’s proposal was perfect. He managed to incorporate all of these elements that made it really special, an perfectly balanced. I really liked that he had planned this dinner for just the two of us after he proposed and before the suprise party. I was so shocked, and literally speechless, I needed that time alone with him to let it all sink in before being surrounded by friends & family. (Actually, the first person I told was our Uber driver, Muhammad haha)
But then, after dinner it was so so so awesome to have all of our loved ones around us at our favorite neighborhood bar, where we’re friends with the owners. It was so warm and special and a memory I’ll always cherish. I agree – I can’t wait to recreate that for our wedding!
The thing that I like best about us as a couple is:
The thing I like best about us as a couple is how well we get along. Our priorities are aligned and we work to always respect each other, to listen and express our gratitude. For example – even though we’ve been together for 7 years, I just noticed recently that we have a really consistent habit of acknowledging the other’s effort by thanking them (so Canadian of us lol). i.e. “Thanks for cooking dinner”, “Thanks for doing dishes”, “Thanks for walking the dog”, etc. I LOVE that we are so harmonious and cohesive, and that Andrew is far and away my best friend. He’s the person I trust the most, and with whom I feel safest and most happy.
I also love that we’ve been able to go through different locations and phases of our 20s without disrupting our cohesiveness. We’ve gone through (almost) our whole 20s together and lived in several different areas of the US, as well as a couple of episodes of long-distance dating. We’ve always adapted fairly seamlessly. It gives me confidence that our venture to Prague will be just as successful.
Some of our favorite things to do together are:
We like to sit outside at restaurants with our dog.
We like outdoor music festivals.
We are season ticket holders to NYCFC, the MLS soccer team, and go to all the home games.
Before we moved to New York we used to play ice hockey together. Now we both go to kickboxing classes.
We’re really good at traveling together. We’re really synchronized and if we disagree about what to do, 99% of the time we can quickly compromise or concede.
Our favorite place that we have visited is:
Our Istanbul, Greece, Albania Trip.
Our favorite local place to eat is:
Travel Bar (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn) is our “Cheers”. We know everyone and visit all time. Ranger is basically the mayor of Travel Bar. We had our engagement party and are having our goodbye party there.
Event Coordinator/Wedding Planner
Ashly Townsend, B. Mingled Weddings & Events, Ashburn, VA, 410-458-0059
David Grimm, Reston, VA http://djdavidgrimm.com
Keira Sherper, Eat & Smile Catering, D.C. eatandsmilecatering.com/
Invitations and Paper Goods [Name/City, State/Website]
Family-Friend, Carolyn Quan, Dallas, TX
Yisell Santos, Bristow, VA, www.yisellsantosmakeup.com
Fleet Transportation, Alexandria, VA http://fleettransportation.com
Rebecca Schoneveld, Brooklyn, NY http://www.rebeccaschoneveld.c
Shoes and Jewelry
Earrings & Necklace, loaned by Thanh Hoang, Le Dragon d’Or http://www.ledragondor.com
Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Hair comb, Etsy: The Wedding Shop W3, London, UK
Don’s Johns, Luxury Restroom Trailers, Washington D.C.
Don’s Johns, Luxury Restroom Trailers, Washington D.C.