Real Richmond Wedding | Maryann and Burton at Linden Row Inn

Your Name Maryann Divina
Partner Name Burton Brooks

Wedding Date 10/29/22
How many guests did you have at your wedding? 50
Tell us how you met and about the proposal. (mm/dd/yy too!) We met during our senior year at E.C. Glass High School in 1991. We had the same first period math class and our lockers were right next to each other. We were voted the “Cutest Couple” but in the fall he headed to college near Nashville and I headed to JMU. The 10-hour drive long distance relationship was too difficult, so we broke up during our freshman year of college.
We never spoke, emailed, friended, or followed for 26 years. During that time he got married and got divorced. After a string of narcissistic exes, I was finally at peace with my spinster status.

Then, in October of 2020 (26 years after our break-up) he texted me of the blue. Turns out, that his mother played matchmaker by friending me on Facebook and asking for my phone number! Burton and I agreed to meet up in our hometown, Lynchburg, VA, during Thanksgiving break.

I pulled into his mother’s driveway, got out of my car, and he had already walked out to greet me. We embraced and immediately felt at ease, even after 26 years apart. A few months later, he moved from Nashville to Richmond. And a few months after that, he proposed to me at sunset on one of the beaches in the Outer Banks.

Give us a brief description of your wedding. We got married later in life (almost 50 years old for both of us) so we didn’t want a big, extravagant affair. I pictured a small wedding in the fall with lots of dahlias and peonies because they were my favorite flowers.
There were about fifty guests. We chose the Linden Row Inn because we loved the historical significance and we wanted something quintessentially “Richmond.”

We don’t have children of our own, so our wedding party consisted of our nieces and nephews, who we love as if they were our own.

It was the perfect fall day in late October and the leaves were just starting to turn. I loved seeing the bold-colored leaves on the ground as we danced at the ceremony. Downtown RVA is spectacular in the fall.

Which part of your wedding did you want to WOW your guests? I wanted to incorporate Filipino wedding traditions, so we included the cord and veil ceremony which symbolizes unity. And our wedding cake topper said “Mahal Kita” which means “I love you” in Tagalog.
But besides that, we aren’t big on “wowing” people with fancy food and gimmicks. We are introverts at heart, so we just wanted a ceremony that was understated, but meaningful.

There were a lot of happy tears from everyone, especially when my sister sang One Heart from West Side Story and when Burton — who is a man of few words — said the sweetest vows.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in planning your wedding? It wasn’t challenging at all. That’s what is so lovely about having a small wedding. I planned my wedding all by myself, and I loved every second of it.
Despite planning everything myself, I did need a lot of help on the actual day of the wedding. My day-of coordinator was my dear friend, Amy Williams, and I knew she’d do an amazing job directing everyone. And my DJ (Andrew Vessey) and my photographer (Ashley Hesse) also played integral leadership roles during our special day.

Further Credits

Photography: Ashley Hesse Photography | Shower: Clifton Inn | Caterer/Rentals: Groovin’ Gourmets Officiant: Stephen Willis | Ceremony Music: Rhodey Entertainment, Andrew Vessey | Gown:  Ashley Grace Bridal, designer Lillian West | Alterations: The Gilded Thimble | Shoes: Seychelles | Hair: Colibri Hair Studio, Susan Francisco | Makeup: Magnolia Artistry, Chelsea | Stationery: Minted | Cake/Sweets: Shyndigz (cakes) and Sweet Fix (macaroons) | Day of Coordinator: Amy Williams