Courtney & Austin
October 17, 2020
How it all began
Courtney recalls, “We were out and about in the Bottom in 2013 with our respective friends. As introverts we both gravitated to the fresh air outside. Our friend groups eventually merged, and we slowly realized that we shared a unique cross section of interests.” The two hung out many times in a group setting before finally meeting up alone for their first date at Tarrant’s Cafe. After close to a year dating, Courtney got a job offer in NJ and Austin agreed to leave the only city he’d ever lived in to be with her. “He has since followed me as my career moved me around the country, back down to Richmond and now to Atlanta, GA.”
After Austin’s two proposal plans were sidelined due to weather, it finally happened in September 2018. They took a trip to Carter Mountain Orchard to pick apples. As Courtney turned from picking an apple she found Austin on one knee. “I said yes, and (unable to get lost in the moment) promptly told him to get up and out of the mud!”
The wedding details
They both knew Richmond was where the wedding would take place. It was where their love story began. Historic Mankin Mansion was an easy choice for the ceremony and the reception in one space. “Our rehearsal dinner and welcome party venues were influenced by the pandemic – we wanted to host at venues that could hold 2-3 times the number of people, so that everyone could spread out. We loved the idea of showing off the city where we fell in love, so we went with a room at the Boathouse at Rockett’s Landing overlooking the river for rehearsal dinner on Thursday and The Jefferson Hotel for our welcome party on Friday.
The decor for the day was designed to compliment the prominent red brick at the venue. “Austin’s one request was that if our wedding wasn’t blue and orange (for UVA), that we didn’t feature the maroon of their rivals (VT). We settled on main colors of emerald green and gold, to pay homage to Austin’s Irish roots. We brought in accents of red, white, and (Georgia) peach in the flowers.”
Courtney and Austin gave their guests a little something different to encourage outdoor mingling with cornhole boards for the cocktail hour, and then after dinner there was a fire pit for s’mores.
Favorite parts of the day
Courtney: “I loved getting ready with my bridal party because it was such a rare treat to have all my closest friends and family gathered in one spot. We sipped champagne, got dolled up, and broke the pre-ceremony tension by rocking out to Cardi B. (even my mom) I also loved when we continued our family tradition of playing Arms Wide Open at the reception, and both my and Austin’s family linked arms in a giant circle. I’m so glad that the pandemic didn’t deny me that memory.
Austin’s: “By honoring the tradition of spending the night before the wedding apart, it really made the first time he saw me in my dress [at our first look] into one of his favorite moments. I also had been making up increasingly inventive stories about what my dress looked like to guarantee that he’d be surprised, from “we need to take 2 cars up to Richmond because it takes up the entire backseat” to “it’s just a hula skirt and coconuts”. He also loved the entire reception because he could finally relax after months of planning.”
“My initial instinct was to say the pandemic. Honestly though, we would have had a lot of the same issues that were brought on by the pandemic since we were planning the wedding from a different state. In some ways, I think we may have benefitted because businesses had to quickly pivot to the remote planning meetings. It did make traveling to do in-person walk-throughs and vendor meetings really challenging, and the pressure of cramming tons of meetings/consults all into a small number of trips was intense.”
“When you’re first starting out, have a discussion about what really matters to you about your day. We separated out what was a need vs a want, which really helped us navigate the roller coaster of event planning during Covid. Our needs were the color scheme, the aesthetic, and highlighting Richmond.”