A relaxed Brunch wedding at Historic Mankin Mansion in Richmond, VA. Photographs by Awesomesauce Photography, the story written by Bride and Groom- Max and Amanda.
Despite attending the same high school and having many overlapping friends, we didn’t meet until we were both students at VCU. I met him when I was a freshman and he was a junior. It was at a house party that I got dragged to by my best friend at the time. We ended up playing against each other on the flip cup table (there are conflicting stories of who won), and I introduced myself to him after the game. He gave me his digits “in case I needed help around campus,” so I gave mine in return. Max texted me the next day, and the rest was history!
November has always been a special time in our lives—not only is it when we made our relationship “official,” but it’s also the month in which we adopted our two beloved cats (in 2014 and 2015, respectively). In 2016, we had gone shopping for rings in the summer, so I knew that I should expect a proposal at some point.
I decided to make it easy on him. I planned an anniversary getaway for mid-November and we went out to Blacksburg to hike and see April (my bridesmaid). We love waterfalls, so I made sure to find a waterfall hike for our trip to give him just the perfect backdrop. I’m super type-A, so it would make sense that I planned my own proposal!
Long story short, we went to Blacksburg and came back and there was no ring on my finger. I wasn’t upset, just confused. Fast forward two weeks, and it’s November 30—the last day of November. I’m at work and I get a text—he had gotten a raise and wanted to take me out to a nice place for dinner. I take my time getting dressed up and start to wonder why he hasn’t gotten home yet. I go downstairs to wait, only to find Max waiting on one knee next to the Christmas tree (YES, I had it up already). All the lights were off but the twinkling Christmas lights and it was just us, and our two fur babies. Turns out he couldn’t propose earlier because he was waiting to ask my parents for permission at Thanksgiving. It was the definition of perfect. (Funny enough, after saying yes, I excitedly asked him if he really got a raise—he hadn’t.)
I wanted my dress to be affordable—I couldn’t fathom spending a grand on a dress I would only wear once. I ended up going to David’s Bridal on a whim one day (“just to look”) and found the dress on sale. I tried it on and got this feeling of “this is it.” I took pictures and waited on it. After I found myself obsessively looking the photos I took, I decided to buy it and it was super affordable. Like less than $500 affordable. I always had it in my mind that I would get a belt or something to dress it up, but then I went to get my alterations and they told me they could jazz up the straps and showed me their beading…I fell in love and knew I needed those gorgeous straps to make this simple dress my own. Alterations may have cost more than the dress, but no regrets!
Definitely the ceremony, by far. Throughout the whole planning process, I wanted to speed up the ceremony so we could focus all of our energy on the reception. People come for the party, anyways! I was so utterly unprepared for the emotions that would surface during the ceremony. It started with seeing my dad for the first time and the quiet moment we had before it was our time to walk, and it continued with seeing Max for the first time and walking down the aisle towards my best friend. Fighting tears the whole time and watching him do the same… again, I will never, ever forget it. The reception was amazing, but it pales in comparison to the stillness of the moment it was just him and me at the front of the altar, looking at one another with tears in our eyes.
The beer! It has quite a backstory. Alexander Keith is a beer from Canada that has been a favorite of my dad’s for years—since we started our annual trips to Atlantic Canada in 2000. Fast forward 18 years, and Max (my dad’s beer buddy) also finds that Alexander Keith is his favorite beer ever. Well, it’s not available here in the states, so we drove up to Niagara Falls (20 hours round trip) to cross the border and buy 12 cases of beer. Customs asked us a few extra questions when we crossed the border back to the US!
Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bars—our favorite brunch drinks, so of course we had to go all out! Max is a hot sauce fanatic, so he had a lot of fun picking out hot sauces.
I loved the Señor/Señora chair signs—I got them from Etsy and they came out so beautifully! They are now displayed in our apartment. 🙂
Our wooden flower bouquets. I was a little nervous about it as they’re not traditional, so I’ve never known anyone to use them, but I’m so happy I did. They were so gorgeous, totally speaks to my love for being green and eco-friendly, and they last an actual lifetime! My bridesmaids loved them as well, and now they all have a keepsake from the wedding.
Advice for Future Couples Planning Their Wedding
Planning a wedding isn’t easy. For the last six months, my biggest regret was that we didn’t just run off and elope in Hawaii. (Still, that could have been awesome.) We went through a lot of changes during our engagement—moving, new jobs, new car, health issues—and we didn’t enjoy the planning process as much as we should have. I hate to admit it, but we even got to a point where our wedding sentiment was “let’s just get this thing over with.”
“All of that was so unnecessary and the wedding day itself was transformative. It was all worth it in the end!”
I don’t know if there’s anything I could’ve changed about the process itself, but I would have approached it differently and with a more positive attitude. That said, no regrets and I’m forever grateful we did have a wedding.
So, I guess my advice would be—if you chose to have a wedding, suck it up and deal with it because I guarantee it will be so worth it. Don’t worry about the little things (you won’t even remember them after the fact!) and pace yourself on planning and projects. Hire a planner if you need to (I didn’t, but I’m sure it would’ve helped!). Have evenings and weekends where the word “wedding” doesn’t come up and just enjoy each other’s company throughout.
Another word of advice: Plan a honeymoon right after your wedding, but give yourself some time to breathe. We are both introverts so, as much as we love and cherish our family and friends, we needed to escape and be unreachable for a bit after the wedding. Leaving for our honeymoon right away was the best way for us to get away from the madness.
Photographer | Awesomesauce Photography
Dress Store | David’s Bridal
Ceremony and Reception Venue | Historic Mankin Mansion
Florals | Etsy
Cake | Family Friend
Caterer | Champagne Taste Catering
DJ/Entertainment | Martin Ramirez
Officiant| Ceremonies by Mandy
Awesomesauce Photography offers colorful, fun, and emotional storytelling wedding photography at an affordable price. Based in Richmond, VA available for travel worldwide.