Real Richmond Wedding: Alexis and William’s Larger Than Life Celebration
Alexis and William
November 3, 2018
How They Met
Alexis and William met in their teenage years when they were students at Godwin High School. Although they disagree on whether they were friends or just acquaintances, they can tell you their love story started years later after college. Alexis shared, “We like to say that our real story started in 2015. I had just moved back to Richmond from a few years in New York post-college graduation. We re-connected at a friends’ party in the Fan.” Soon after they had an adorable classic first date…dinner and a movie!
William planned a surprise proposal that fell into place perfectly. Claiming they had a retirement lunch to go to for his father, William was able to get Alexis dressed up and in the proposal location with ease. “That day, we both got dressed up to go to this mysterious retirement lunch and ended up with an hour to kill beforehand. I suggested we go to Church Hill to get coffee and pastries at a bakery we love. Little did I know, he had been worried all morning about how to get me to that exact neighborhood…Once we got our coffee and pastries, he suggested going to the Libby Hill overlook that we visit frequently.” When they arrived at the top of the overlook, Alexis saw the beautiful picnic William had set up. Without wasting any time, he got down on one knee and proposed. Just moments after saying, “Yes!” their friends emerged from a hiding spot to celebrate with them!
When it came to choosing the venue, they knew they needed somewhere big since their guest list was over 300 guests. They fell in love with the Dewey Gottwald Center due to its accessibility and space. Along with the venue being large, it was also a blank slate, “We were really able to customize it and make it feel exactly how we wanted it to for our big day.”
They filled their venue with decor inspired by “old Richmond.” Having both grown up in Richmond, it was important to them to have Richmond at the core of their wedding. “It was really important to both of us that all of our vendors not only be local but be celebrated and shown…The more we planned, the more we started to see that we wanted to showcase the city that we grew up in just as much as our marriage.”
Cool tone colors filled the large venue on the day of their November wedding. Gray, blue, and hints of blush were perfectly incorporated into every bouquet, boutonniere, and centerpieces. Each table, differing in sizes, had a unique flower arrangement that differentiated it from the next. The couple honored their wedding party by seating them at an extra large table. “We had a very large wedding party (10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen) and plus their significant others put us at 34 for our head table. We thought it was important that our wedding party was honored and so we did an extra large farm table that was 36 feet long in the center of the dining area.”
Their ceremony reflected Alexis’ Greek Orthodox background. “William knew how important it was to me to get married in the same place my parents did. We had a traditional Orthodox ceremony but had it done in English so all of our guests could follow along.” To incorporate another layer into their ceremony that reflected them as a couple they had personalized music. “We are both huge movie buffs, and all of the music played during the ceremony were piano arrangements of our favorite film scores.”
The two most important aspects of their wedding were food and music! With family-style, self-serve platters at each table, guests felt right at home with the same type of dinner Alexis and William grew up with. They incorporated both of their backgrounds into the food with Mediterranean and Southern classics. Nothing was left out, especially not dessert! “Another unique thing of ours was our Richmond sweets table. We had a wedding cake from Ukrops Bakery, 4 different kinds of donuts from Sugar Shack, 2 flavors of Gelati Celesti ice cream (Strawberry and Cookie Dough, our respective favorites), and Greek pastries from Nick’s International Foods.” The music was provided by The Gentleman and Their Lady with ECE. “They were incredibly professional, lively, and kept the party going all night long. The dance floor was never empty and they even cheered on our Greek dancing during their breaks.”
Favorite Part of the Day
Alexis’ favorite part of the day was getting ready and thanking all of their guests at the reception. “I loved getting ready with my bridesmaids and female family. It was a lovely and calm morning where I had intimate time with each woman who had such a profound impact in my life.”
William’s favorite parts were the special moments they shared just the two of them. “The Dewey Gottwald Center had set up a private dinner for the two of us before the cocktail hour ended, and it was the perfect way to let the excitement sink in with just us.”
“As far as planning, my mother and I did nearly all of it together. Once we booked Dewey Gottwald, we knew that we’d be navigating hiring vendors all on our own since they do not provide anything in-house. It did give us an opportunity to curate our team, but it was definitely more work for us.” Thanks to their planner, it all came together perfectly.
Alexis continues, “Another thing we kept in mind was making sure a wedding of 315 guests felt intimate. With a wedding that size, it could have been easy for guests to feel lost in the crowd. But with our small personal touches everywhere, it brought a familiar feel to it all.”
Best Piece of Advice
“During the planning process, I’d recommend doing as much as you can as early as you can. That way, you can hopefully spend the last few weeks leading up to your big day just getting excited…Ultimately, your guests are attending your wedding to celebrate you and your love. If there are any small things that go differently than you had expected or hoped, it’s more than likely you’ll be the only one to notice it!”
*All information in our Featured Weddings is provided by the couple. Richmond Weddings™ is not responsible for discovering and adding vendors who were not on the submission form completed by the couple.*
Rehearsal Dinner: Willow Oaks Country Club | Shower Location: Bride’s aunt’s house | Photography: Kristi McKeag Photography | Videography: Memories Videography | Wedding Consultant: LK Events and Design | Ceremony Site: Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral | Reception Site: Dewey Gottwald Center | Officiant: Father Nicholas Bacalis | Ceremony Music: Sherri Matthews | Gown Designer: Allure Bridals | Gown Alterations: Fashion Design | Shoes/Accessories: Macy’s | Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie | Hair Salon: Farmhouse Salon | Hair Stylist: Derek Hedgepeth | Makeup: Kirsty Wingfield | Formalwear: Franco’s Fine Clothier | Invitations: Invitation to Party | Cake/Sweets: Ukrop’s, Sugar Shack Donuts, Gelati Celesti, Nick’s International Foods | Transportation: RVA Trolley | Accommodations: The Berkeley Hotel & Courtyard Marriott Downtown | Cocktail Food: Rappahannock Oyster