WV Weddings Fall Winter 2021




F Couples overcome wedding bell blues having aith


volume 13, issue 2 published by New South Media, Inc. P.O. Box 279, 1135 Main Street Granville WV 26534 304.413.0104, wvweddingsmagazine.com publisher/editor-in-chief Nikki Bowman Mills, nikki@newsouthmedia.com art director Carla Witt Ford, carla@newsouthmedia.com ad design Hayley Richard, hayley@newsouthmedia.com executive editor Pam Kasey, pam@newsouthmedia.com managing editor Holly Thubron, holly@newsouthmedia.com operations and circulation manager Meggan Hoyman, info@newsouthmedia.com editorial intern Devin Lacy contributors Taylor Maple,Julie Perine sales director Bryson Taylor, bryson@newsouthmedia.com advertising Kelley Wood, kelley@newsouthmedia.com back issues Back issues may be purchased at wvweddingsmagazine.com or by calling 304.413.0104

editorial inquiries Please send queries to wvweddings@newsouthmedia.com

WV Weddings is published by New South Media, Inc. subscription rate: $10 for 1 year, $18 for two years. Subscribe online at wvweddingsmagazine.com or call 304.413.0104. frequency: Biannual

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Let us hear from you. We want to know what you think about the magazine, and we’d love to hear your suggestions. Email info@newsouthmedia.com Call 304.413.0104 Mail P.O. Box 279, 1135 Main Street Granville WV 26534

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i get asked questions about wedding etiquette all the time. When the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head, every aspect of wedding planning was questioned—and for those of us who are steeped in the business, it was challenging at best. As we geared up for 2021, we prayed that some sense of normalcy would return, but as the Delta variant raged through the country, putting those who can’t or refused to get vaccinated at high risk and those of us who are vaccinated in the untenable position of being able to unwittingly spread the virus, we are faced with more concerns about how to handle weddings. As we enter fall and winter, when cooler temperatures make it more difficult to hold outdoor events, wedding couples and their families, friends, and loved ones need to bring a lot of compassion and flexibility with each other to the process of wedding planning. If you aren’t invited to a pared-down wedding, understand that the pressure of trimming guest lists has caused the couple great angst. If you are asked to participate in a wedding either as a guest or member of the wedding party and you don’t feel safe about the gathering as it’s proposed, bring up your concerns in a loving way. If the couple does not make adjustments that you are comfortable with, you’re totally within your rights to let the bride/groom know that you’re happy to serve in their wedding party but, without restrictions in place to protect everyone’s health, you will wear a mask. Alternatively, you’re within your rights to say you’re sorry but you’ll have to decline. And if, as the bride, you get that response from one of your besties, lovingly respect the decision. We all want a return to “normal” but, as we’ve learned, the health concerns brought about by the pandemic will not go away overnight … or in a year … or even two. We must adjust our way of thinking and approach our wedding planning creatively and with sensitivity. Just look at the wonderful weddings featured in this issue. Many had been postponed, some couples had two ceremonies, some eloped and then had larger ceremonies. At the end of the day, they celebrated their love for one another, because love, after all, overcomes all obstacles. With gratitude,

Follow us on and facebook.com/wvweddings pinterest.com/wvweddings

nikki bowman mills, Editor

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25 BEST OF WV WEDDINGS Our readers have spoken. Meet our Best of WVWeddings winners. 38 COUNTRY ROADS, TAKE ME HOME How one couple’s love story overcame a few unexpected hiccups. 48 TWO WEDDINGS ARE BETTER THAN ONE How one couple made the most of a rescheduled wedding date. 53 DREAMS DO COME TRUE Laken Fleming and Dillon Meadows unite hearts and families in an outdoor service at picturesque Wilderness Lodge. 58 THAT FIRST LOOK A private moment saves the groom’s composure for a perfect wedding. The staff of WV Weddings shares the beautiful photos we considered for this issue’s cover. 21 STYLED INSPIRATION Be inspired with these styled shoots arranged by some of West Virginia’s most experienced wedding vendors. 63 WEDDING REGISTER Real West Virginia couples share their love stories and the details of their big days in the WV Weddings register. departments 20 TOP TEN COVERS


53 25


An alphabetized listing of our couples.

cover photo Shelby Toompas &Aaron Hudnall in Bridgeport. Photo by Alisha Faith Photography

38 48

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PAM KASEY Pam has traveled, brewed, farmed, counseled, and renovated, but most loves to write. She has degrees in economics from the University of Chicago and in journalism from West Virginia University. She loves celebrating Morgantown andWest Virginia as executive editor at New SouthMedia.

JULIE PERINE Julie writes for Connect- Bridgeport and handles marketing and media for the Greater Bridgeport Convention & Visitors Bureau. She loves spending time with her big family and being active outdoors, especially cycling. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and writing.

TAYLOR MAPLE Taylor is a freelance writer and communications specialist who loves nothing more than a good story. You can also find her work at ELLE.com , Bustle, ABC News, PittsburghMagazine, and in other publications. When she’s not writing, Taylor can be found marathoning through this season’s Academy Award front-runner or attempting to cook a recipe that’s much too ambitious for her tiny kitchen.

SARAH HOUSTON PHOTOGRAPHY is based in Charlottesville, Virginia serving the Audrey Hepburns & Grace Kelly’s of the Historic State of Virginia. Sarah loves to curate the genuine love and emotion of a good love story and helps document those chapters in a fun way, all while capturing the true romance as well. When she isn’t photographing weddings you can find her in her natural habitat of Target or Walt Disney World. shoustonphotography.com

AMBERLEE CHRISTEY Ask Amberlee where her happy place is and she’ll tell you, “Weddings!” Her passion for capturing love and creating stunning images has made her one of the most sought-after wedding photographers in West Virginia. She’s based in Morgantown, but loves to photograph destination weddings all over the world. amberleechristey.com

THE OBERPORTS The Oberports—Emily and Bobby—are a married photography team based in Charleston. They specialize in weddings, elopements, and portrait sessions. Inspired by beautiful light, genuine emotions, and old films, their work highlights personal connections and the gorgeous scenery of West Virginia. After 13 full-time years of wedding photography, their couples know them as easygoing, professional, and experienced storytellers. theoberports.com

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The Editor’s

—— Ideas, Advice, and Inspiration ——

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BUDGET-MINDED BRIDE 10 Cost-Saving Ideas

1. Want a multi-tiered cake, but don’t want to fork over a lot of dough? Have your bakery decorate Styrofoam tiers and serve sheet cake. 2. Serve meatless hors d’oeuvres. No one will say, “Where’s the beef?” 3. Having a sit-down dinner? Serve sirloin instead of filet mignon—it’s cheaper. 4. When choosing your wedding date, think about choosing an off-peakmonth or day. Consider marrying on Friday or Sunday. 5. Decorate your cake with real flowers instead of sugar roses. Real flowers are less expensive. 6. Love flowers and greenery? Choose potted green plants like ferns, philodendrons, or ficus trees. They serve as a lush and inexpensive filler. 7. Think about state parks when choosing your venue. They offer a stunning backdrops that only nature could provide and won’t cost you an arm and a leg . 8. Shrink the size of your wedding party —or go it alone and put the focus on you and your groom. 9. Use bigger tables , requiring fewer centerpieces. 10. Skip the champagne toast and serve beer, wine, and a signature cocktail instead of offering up a full bar.


TREND TO WATCH Instead of lighting a unity candle, couples are finding creative ways to symbolize their union at the altar. In this issue, Elizabeth DeVault and Corey Ray on page 70 mixed Jack Daniel’s and Coke and toasted one another, and Shelby Toompas and Aaron Hudnall on page 90 creatively combined coffee with cream.

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8 THINGS YOUR BRIDESMAIDS WISH YOU KNEW 1 ONE DRESS DOES NOT FIT ALL. We’d love to pick out our own style. 2 TRUST US— WE WON’T WEAR IT AGAIN. But if it helps you sleep at night. 3 SOME OF US DON’T HAVE UNLIMITED BUDGETS. Providing an estimate of how much being a bridesmade will cost would be great. 4 TEACUPS & TEDDIES Have two showers so I can get you a practical and a fun gift. 5 WE’RE HAPPY TO HELP, BUT THERE’S A LIMIT. We’re here for you, but friends, family, and planners can help, too. 6 THINK BEFORE YOU ASK. What would you want as a bridesmaid? 7 RUB MY FEET. OK, not really. But perhaps we can choose our own shoes, within reason? 8 BFF

That means best friends forever. Don’t let one day change our pact.

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A WORLD OF WEDDING TRADITIONS Looking for some inspiration on adding a unique tradition to your big day? Here are a few ideas to add a creative cultural twist.




German newlyweds saw a log in half in a tradition known as Baumstamm Sägen that symbolizes the couple’s strength in the face of adversity.


In Romania, the bride is “kidnapped” by friends and family—and the groom has to pay a “ransom” that is akin to a romantic gesture to get her back .


Have French heritage? Replace the traditional wedding cake with this beautiful tower of stacked pastry balls.


Adorn the tables with small bells at each place setting. Every time someone rings the bell, the bride and groom have to kiss .


In some places in South Africa, the parents of the bride and groom bring fire from their own fireplaces to the home of the newlyweds. The couple uses the flames to light their own fire. It’s a privilege to dance with the bride, so much so that, in Cuba, guests pin money to the bride’s dress to secure a special dance. This is used to pay for the wedding and honeymoon. Although this might come naturally, a month before the wedding, a Tujia bride starts practicing crying for one hour. Ten days later, the bride is joined by her mother, and then, 10 days later, the grandmother joins them.




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BACHELORETTE WEEKEND Grab your girls and head to one of these five locations for a celebration that everyone will remember.

ADVENTURE-FILLED WEEKEND Adventures on the Gorge Rent a 4-bedroom cabin or a couple of Glamping Tents at Adventures on the Gorge and mark your special occasion at the nation’s newest national park. Spend the morning ziplining at TreeTops Canopy Tour, enjoy an afternoon lounging by Canyon Falls Pool, and end the evening with dinner and drinks overlooking the New River Gorge. adventuresonthegorge.com


Channel your inner princess at an early evening event with your choice of tea and a glass of champagne and a five-course menu of fruit finger sandwiches, scones, savories, and desserts at the historic Adaland Mansion, located near Philippi. adaland.org SALT OF THE EARTH Salt Cave and Spa Looking for a little relaxation? Take a small group of gal pals to the Salt Cave and Spa in White Sulphur Springs. This unique spa has been winning all kinds of awards and has recently added lodging and dining options. thesaltcaveandspa.com A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Pendleton County After spending the day hiking Spruce Knob or Seneca Rocks, head to Pendleton County’s Swilled Dog Cidery and Whiskey Tasting Room in Franklin for an evening of fun enjoying hard cider, whiskey, bourbon, or canned spirits. Book a stay at Germany Valley Overlook Cabins—the views from the porches are some of the most breathtaking in the state. swilleddog.com, germanyvalleycabins.com


Looking for a unique group adventure? Head to Snowshoe where you can hop into a heated, 4-seat Polaris RZR and sling some mud on the Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail. Yes, you can even drive the ATV. You’ll cross exciting terrain while taking in some amazing views that few folks ever get to see before reaching the Backcountry Hut, where dinner for up to 12 people is waiting. snowshoemtn.com

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Five Craft Beer Bachelor Party Destinations

SCREECH OWL BREWING , Bruceton Mills The best way to describe this brewery is, it’s a cross between Cheers and Duck Dynasty. Located in a rather remote part of Preston County on a farm called Chicken Lips Farm in Cuzzart, it is worth the drive. Not only do they serve award-winning brews, the food and atmosphere are perfect for a guys’ getaway, too. screechowlbrewing.com

GREENBRIER VALLEY BREWING COMPANY , Lewisburg Wth six flagship brews and an ever-changing selection of creative small batches, thereʼs lots to try at GVBC. We love their explorer series that highlights West Virginia outdoor adventures, so make this brewery your first stop before heading to some of the destinations they feature—like the North-South Trail Scottish Heavy Ale in honor of a trail in the heart of the Cranberry Wilderness or the Overlook Trail Pumpkin Porter named for a hiking trail in Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park. gvbc.beer

BIG TIMBER BREWING COMPANY , Elkins BIg Timber, conveniently located as a jumping-off point for adventures into the Monongahela National Forest, has a new location in Elkins, with more room for you and your guys to gather. Since opening in 2014, it has quickly become a statewide favorite. Purchase one of their branded pint glasses as a keepsake for each of your guys. bigtimberbrewing.com

BAVARIAN BROTHERS , Shepherdstown The Bavarian’s new brewery is drawing folks from near and far. Enjoy dinner or shareables with craft brews and then stay in their European-inspired boutique resort. With a brewpub, brew lounge, and outdoor beer garden with a firepit, it offers plenty of places to gather. bavarianinnwv.com

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5 Socially Sensitive Suggestions ARM UP Provide a basket of armbands for your guests to choose from that are color-coded to indicate their level of comfort for social engagement. NO CONTACT RECESSIONAL Eliminate the hugs and handshakes and replace the bubbles or birdseed with ribbon wands or sparklers. SAY YES TO VIDEO If you’ve had to downsize your wedding, a wedding video will allow you to share your special day with friends and family who are not in attendance. COMMUNICATE POLICY Mask or not to mask, that is the question. Let your guests know before they enter your ceremony venue whether you prefer them to wear a mask. An elegant poster on an easel will do the trick. Often, churches will have mask mandates posted on their doors and, if guests or greeters are not masked up, it leads to confusion and discomfort. PRE-RECORDED MESSAGES If loved ones aren’t comfortable being in attendance around large crowds, have them pre-record a message that can be played during the ceremony.

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Top 10 Covers The staff of WV Weddings shares the beautiful photos we considered for this issue’s cover. Here are the winner and top runners-up.










1. Shelby Toompas & Aaron Hudnall, photographed by Alisha Faith Photography 2. Carissa Elkins & Mason Tyler, photographed by The Oberports 3. Alexis Weaver & Jason Wells, photographed by Sarah Houston Photography 4. Amber Miller & Richard Belcher, photographed by Crissy Musick 5. Elizabeth DeVault & Corey Ray photographed by Amberlee Christey Photography 6. Gracen Samples & Tyler McKinsey, photographed by Carly Triplett 7. Brooke Estep & Nathan Welch, photographed by Jenny Reece Photo 8. Lauren Chambers & Rodney Dingess, photographed by Brittany Coonrod 9. Elizabeth DeVault & Corey Ray photographed by Amberlee Christey Photography 10. Julia Vaglienti & Grant Perrine, photographed by The Oberports



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—— Styled Ideas from Local Experts —— INSPIRATION

If you‘re looking for wedding inspiration, the following pages deliver in spades. You just might find the perfect colors, cake, dress, invitation design, and more in these styled shoots arranged by some of West Virginia‘s most experienced wedding vendors.

VENUE Bai ley Barns Venue FLORALS Rooted In Flora RENTALS The Mustard Couch HAIR Laura Does Hai r MAKEUP ARTIST Amanda Vicinel ly Pro Makeup Artist JEWELRY shopmosshandmade.com STATIONERY Paper Hearts Invitations CAKE Alex Robba Cake CALLIGRAPHY whoahannacreative.com MACRAME @floraandfray WALL BASKETS @lunajunethrift VIDEOGRAPHY Weekend Projects Studios RING BOX @velvetrose_designs Orange tones set the stage for this peachy styled shoot photographed by Rocha & Co. Photography. The cake, made by Alex Robba Cake, was a blush and rust–colored masterpiece with intricate macrame-inspired decorative elements and complementary fresh florals cascading from the top. The table setting for two incorporated accents of gold and amber in the glassware, cutlery, votives, and even through tiny duck statues adorning each place setting. The whimsical invitations were designed by Paper Hearts Invitations, and the vintage basket wall art was created by Luna June Thrift. The styled shoot was staged at the Bailey Barns Venue in Fairview, this year’s Best of Weddings winner in the Best Outdoor Venue category. A Hint of Blush PHOTOGRAPHER Rocha & Co. Photography





VENUE Puesta Del Sol Farm PLANNING AND COORDINATOR Rebecca Hott, Sarah K. Events TABLE SCAPE STYLING Sarah K. Events & The Mustard Couch DRESS The Val ley Br ide TUX True Elegance Br idal and Formal Boutique FLORALS Petal Pushers RENTALS Jefferson Rentals HAIR Kinsey Hott MAKEUP ARTIST Paige Parker TABLE NUMBER & PLACE CARDS Scr ibble Savvy MENU CARD Artisan2 CAKE Crumbs and Crumbles DECOR The Mustard Couch Puesta Del Sol Farm in Yellow Spring was the backdrop for an extensive styled shoot featuring several photographers and three real couples. The styled wedding featured here was photographed near the greenhouse on the property by Carly Rose Photography. The natural arrangements and greenery used throughout the location were created by Petal Pushers. The bride model is seated on an antique couch provided by Sarah Hott of Sarah K Events, who also designed the tablescape shown above. The bride model wore a chiffon ball gown from The Valley Bride, and the groom wore an elegant black tuxedo from True Elegance Bridal and Formal Boutique. Into the Sunset PHOTOGRAPHER Car ly Rose Photography





Best of WV Weddings

2021 Winners

Are you planning your dreamwedding? If so, you know just howmany people, places, and things it takes to create your special day. This year, we decided to ask brides and grooms just like you to tell us about the very best wedding vendors in the state. Readers cast ballots, and thousands of votes rolled in selecting the winners in dozens of Best of Weddings categories. Read about the winners and use the following pages as your personal wedding planning guide.

capturing your love story

CEREMONY PHOTOGRAPHY Br itani Edwards Photography @britaniedwardsphotography on FB RUNNER-UP MELISSA KINCAID PHOTOGRAPHY @melissakincaidphotography on FB PHOTO BOOTH Snappy Camper Photo Booth @snappycamperwv on FB


Ladies looking for a spicy wedding gift for their groom should look no further than a boudoir photography session with HEK Productions. West Virginia–based photographer Hillary Kemerer is behind the lens at HEK and understands the importance of documenting life’s sweetest and most sultry moments. Kemerer offers a keen eye for detail and loves making her subjects feel beautiful on camera, especially during her boudoir photography sessions. 304.941.3138, hekproductions.com, @hekproductions on FB


RUNNER-UP CHAMPAGNE AND LACE BOUDOIR @champagneandlaceboudoir on IG

ENGAGEMENT OR BRIDAL PORTRAITS Burns Exposures Photography This husband and wife photography team of Cathleen “Moxley” and Jeremy Burns is based in Charleston and won top honors this year as the best provider for engagement or bridal photos in the Mountain State. Clients can take advantage of both in-studio and on-location sessions for their engagements and weddings with a creative couple that believes in capturing the biggest moments, the smallest details, and everything in between during one of the most romantic seasons of a couple’s lives. 2005 Quarrier Street, Charleston, 681.753.4749, BurnsExposures.com, @BurnsExposures on FB


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VIDEOGRAPHER Elevated Media Voters selected Elevated Media as the best videographer in this year’s Best of Weddings contest. It’s clear that the company’s lifelong love of creating films, telling captivating, unscripted stories, and capturing life’s important moments—big and small—wins couples over one at a time. When you hire them, you can expect more than a wedding film. Instead, you get a personalized work of art that can be passed down generation to generation or used to keep your love alive years after the “I dos” are done. 304.451.9300, elevatedmediawv.com, @elevatedwv on FB

RUNNER-UP HEK PRODUCTIONS (see enhanced listing on page 26) @hekproductions on FB

wedding attire

TUXEDO/MENSWEAR Daniel’s of Morgantown @danielsofmorgantown on FB

STORE FOR BRIDESMAID DRESSES Oliver io’s Br idal, Prom & Pageant Boutique “Oliverio’s Bridal and Prom Boutique” on FB

ACCESSORIES Coni & Franc @conifranc on FB

RUNNER-UP THE VOW BOUTIQUE @thevowboutique on FB

RUNNER-UP OLIVERIO’S BRIDAL, PROM & PAGEANT BOUTIQUE “Oliverio’s Bridal and Prom Boutique” on FB WEDDING GOWNS The Vow Boutique @thevowboutique on FB RUNNER-UP OLIVERIO’S BRIDAL, PROM & PAGEANT BOUTIQUE “Oliverio’s Bridal and Prom Boutique” on FB

STORE FOR FLOWER GIRL DRESSES Oliver io’s Br idal, Prom & Pageant Boutique “Oliverio’s Bridal and Prom Boutique” on FB

RUNNER-UP CONI & FRANC @conifranc on FB

RUNNER-UP THE VOW BOUTIQUE @thevowboutique on FB

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ceremony and reception venues

B&B, INN, OR COUNTRY CLUB VENUE BerryHills Country Club @berryhillscc on FB


BARN, FARM, OR CABIN VENUE StoneHouse Lavender

BRIDAL SHOWER VENUE Hale Street Center @halestreetcenter on FB RUNNER-UP THE GAINES ESTATE (see enhanced listing on page 29) “The Gaines Estate” on FB RECEPTION VENUE StoneHouse Lavender @stonehouselavender on FB

This unique venue is beloved by couples looking for a barn- or farmhouse-style celebration for their big day. The 20-acre Fairmont farm is actually a working lavender farm with a custom- designed, 5,680-square-foot barn that accommodates up to 160 guests inside. The facility also features plenty of other flexible spaces, like the large bridal suite, the groom’s man cave, a prep kitchen, and more, all overlooking lush lavender fields and rolling meadows. 227 Lanham Lane, Fairmont, 304.363.6637, stonehouselavender.com, @stonehouselavender on FB

RUNNER-UP BAILEY BARNS VENUE (see enhanced listing on page 30) @baileybarnsvenue on FB

BEST LARGE VENUE The Venetian Estate Voters chose The Venetian Estate as the best large wedding venue in West Virginia. It's easy to see why. The mansion was originally built in the early 1920s and remains jaw- droppingly gorgeous. Couples can choose between several packages utilizing many beautiful spaces across the property and accommodating small to grand gatherings of over 250 guests. The Venetian also offers full-service catering, decor, and design assistance, event planning, and more. 1742 Midland Trail, Milton, 304.390.4575, venetianestate.com, @venetianestate on FB, @the_venetian_estate on IG

RUNNERS-UP THE GAINES ESTATE (see enhanced listing on page 29)

“The Gaines Estate” on FB STONEWALL RESORT @stonewallresort on FB


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This historic Parkersburg hotel earned top honors as the best hotel wedding venue and as the most romantic place to spend your wedding night. The location has witnessed the wedded bliss of countless couples during its 130-plus years in business and remains a living example of the grandeur of Parkersburg’s past, providing all the luxury, comfort, and all the modern conveniences a couple in love could want on their special day. 329 Market Street, Parkersburg, 304.422.3131, theblennerhassett.com, @blennerhassett.hotel on Instagram



Readers voted The Gaines Estate as the winning historic site wedding venue in the state. Take one look at the property, and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful 200-acre estate dates back to the 1920s and was one of the most prominent residences in Fayetteville at the time. It was damaged by fire in 2008 and completely renovated by Cascade Properties to its former glory. The estate provides the perfect setting, with multiple venue options for indoor and outdoor events that accommodate groups of all sizes. 225 West Maple Avenue, Fayetteville, 304.382.7509, gainesestate.com, “The Gaines Estate” on FB

RUNNER-UP HALE STREET CENTER @halestreetcenter on FB

UNIQUE VENUE Highgate Carr iageHouse

For the most unique wedding venue in the state, head to Farimont’s Highgate Carriage House. The Tudor revival–style architecture, including the building’s striking terracotta roof and verdigris copper accents, is a romantic backdrop for indoor or outdoor weddings. The surrounding gardens can accommodate bigger events, up to 300 guests, all of whom will feel like they’ve been transported to a bygone era. 830 Walnut Avenue, Fairmont, 304.333.2552, highgatecarriagehouse.com, @highgatecarriagehouse on FB


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ceremony and reception venues

BEST INTIMATE VENUE Adventures on the Gorge ElopementDeck @adventuresonthegorge on FB


REHEARSAL DINNER VENUE Oliver io’s Ristorante, Br idgeport @oliverioswv on FB


OUTDOOR VENUE Ba iley Barns Venue

Voters agree that Bailey Barns Venue in Fairview is the best outdoor wedding ceremony and reception venue in the state. The 4,400-square-foot facility is surrounded by more than 190 acres of breathtaking and secluded property. The venue works for both indoor or outdoor weddings, and couples will also find a full bar and kitchen on site. The converted barns are simple and elegant with large windows that overlook the property, a floor to ceiling stone fireplace, and exposed beam ceilings 120 Grant Street, Fairview, 304.216.8893, baileybarnsvenue.com, @baileybarnsvenue on FB

RESORT VENUE Snowshoe Mounta in Resort @snowshoemountainresort on FB

RUNNER-UP GLADE CREEK FARM @gladecreekfarm on FB

RUNNER-UP ADVENTURES ON THE GORGE @adventuresonthegorge on FB

RESTAURANT The Wonder Bar Steakhouse @wonderbarsteakhous on F

RUNNER-UP BRIDGE ROAD BISTRO (see enhanced listing on page 31) @bridgeroadbistro on FB

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eat, drink, and be married

WEDDING CAKES Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes Only the finest ingredients—organic whenever possible—and plenty of love and care go into each cake created by the best wedding cake maker in the Mountain State. Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes isn’t a stranger to accolades. The bakery was the first in West Virginia to land on the 101 Best Cupcakes in America list. After seeing this year’s voting results, there is no doubt that you should trust them with your wedding cakes, too. 95 Olde Main Street, St. Albans, 304.729.8038, lilbitofheavenrocks.com, @bestwvcupcakes on FB

GROOM’S CAKE Rock City Cake Co. @rockcitycakeco on FB

RUNNER-UP CUSTOM CAKES BY NESSA @customcakesbynessa on FB

LIBATIONS Mounta in State Brewing Co. mountainstatebrewing.com


RUNNER-UP KENZIE’S KAKES @kenzieskakes2011 on FB



CATERER Br idge Road Bistro There is no catering event too big or too small for The Bridge Road Bistro located in Charleston, and voters have declared the restaurant the best wedding caterer in the state. With its more than 20 years of catering experience, the food at your wedding will be the least of your worries. The professional staff led by Chef John Wright can create customized menus and guarantee that every detail will be taken care of. 915 Bridge Road, Charleston, 304.720.3500, thebridgeroadbistro.com, @bridgeroadbistro on FB RUNNER-UP PASQUALE’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT @pasqualesitalian on FB

CELEBRANTS AND OFFICIANTS Weddings by Mathew @weddingsbymathew on FB


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DANCE LESSONS CenterStage Dance Studio @centerstagewv on FB

RUNNER-UP MARY LOUISE KING @charlestonwvdance on FB

DJ The Cats Meow Enterta inment @djcatsmeow on FB

LIVE MUSIC: CEREMONY Couples love the sounds of Key to Adam for wedding ceremonies and receptions, according to the results of this year’s “Best of” contest. The dynamic musical duo took top honors in both categories. Duo members Adam Moyer and Kiara Williams specialize in live ambient music. Moyer plays the guitar, and Williams plays the violin and fiddle. Together they create romantic background music that helps to make events even more magical. 304.931.1661, keytoadam.com, “Key to Adam” on FB

RUNNER-UP BRAVO LIVE DJ @djbravolive on FB

RUNNER-UP ALLIANZ MUSIC ENSEMBLES allianzmusicensembles.com LIVE MUSIC: RECEPTION Key to Adam “Key to Adam” on FB


health and beauty

DENTIST FOR TEETH WHITENING MaceDental @macedental on FB RUNNER-UP GLO AESTHETICS AT BRIDGEPORT @gloaestheticsatbridgeport on FB

FITNESS CENTER Never Give Up nevergiveupzone.com

HAIR STYLIST J.R. Dean at Tonique’s Tr ilogy toniquestrilogy.com


RUNNER-UP BOHO BRIDAL BABE @boho.bridal.babe on FB

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SALON FOR MANICURES AND PEDICURES The Beauty Bar morgantownbeautybar.com

RUNNER-UP POLISHED NAIL BAR @polishednailbarwv26330 on FB

SPA Spa Bliss @spablisswv on FB

RUNNER-UP TUSCAN SUN SPA & SALON tuscanspaandsalon.com

TANNING SALON Sun Tan City suntancity.com

RUNNER-UP GEORGIA’S BOUTIQUE @georgiaboutique19 on FB

DERMATOLOGIST Amy V. Vaughan M. D. Dermatology Amy V. Vaughan Dermatology has been helping brides feel even more beautiful on one of the biggest days of their lives since she opened her practice in 2006. The staff is committed to providing the region with superior skin care and the latest technology and techniques. Vaughan is considered a leading authority in both general and cosmetic dermatology and is a certified master injector. 6007 U.S. Route 60 East, Barboursville, 304.733.3333, dramyvaughan.com, @dramyvaughan on FB Pinev iewDermatology pineviewderm.com

MASSAGE Natural Healing Massage LLC Tanille Spencer started Natural Healing Massage four years ago to address her clients’ needs and because she loves giving massages. She especially enjoys incorporating heated bamboo, essential oils, and cupping treatments when those options will help her clients. Whether the day calls for full-body relaxation or an entire session focused on one area, you can trust your body, mind, and soul to this Saint Albans–based provider—the winner of this year’s Best Massage category. 89 Olde Main Avenue, St. Albans, 304.437.0690, naturalhealingmassage.love, “Natural Healing Massage LLC” on FB

MAKE-UP ARTIST Makeup by Amy McCoy @makeupbyamymccoy on FB

RUNNER-UP THE SALT CAVE AND SPA thesaltcaveandspa.com

RUNNER-UP PAIGE LEMLEY toniquestrilogy.com

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ROMANTIC PLACE TO SPEND YOUR WEDDING NIGHT The Blennerhassett theblennerhassett.com (see enhanced listing on page 29) RUNNER-UP honeymoon

TRAVEL AGENT Insider Travel Planners insidertravelplanners.com RUNNER-UP NATIONAL TRAVEL nationaltravel.com

WEST VIRGINIA HONEYMOON DESTINATION The Greenbr ier greenbrier.com RUNNER-UP ADVENTURES ON THE GORGE adventuresonthegorge.com


STORE FOR FINE JEWELRY Calv in Broyles Jewelers

STORE FOR COSTUME JEWELRY Coni & Franc @conifranc on FB RUNNER-UP THE HOUSE OF FASHIONS hofwv.com STORE FOR RINGS Calv in Broyles Jewelers calvinbroyles.com

For more than 70 years, West Virginia couples have headed to Calvin Broyles Jewelers when it was time to purchase their wedding jewelry. It’s no surprise, then, that voters chose the South Charleston store as the best store for fine jewelry and rings in this year’s Best of Weddings contest. The Broyles family—with

patriarch Calvin Broyles at the helm—envisioned a store built on honesty, integrity, quality, and personal service when it opened its doors in 1947. Experience all that and more with a visit to the only third-generation family-owned jewelry store in the state. 4708 MacCorkle Ave SW, South Charleston, 304.768.8821, calvinbroyles.com, “Calvin Broyles Jewelers” on FB

RUNNER-UP WHITE’S FINE JEWELRY whitesfinejewelry.com

RUNNER-UP WHITE’S FINE JEWELRY whitesfinejewelry.com

planning and decor

FURNITURE RENTALS Br ittany Anne’s Events brittanyannesevents.com RUNNER-UP

FAVORS AND UNIQUE GIFTS Mounta in Spun Cotton Candy Co. @mountainspun on FB RUNNER-UP MACY LOU’S GOURMET APPLE CO. “Macy Lou’s Gourmet Apple Co.” on FB

INVITATIONS AND STATIONERY Paper Hearts Inv itations paperheartsinvitations.com RUNNER-UP YOURS TRULY INVITATIONS BY LINSEY @yourstrulyinvitationsbylinsey on FB

THE MUSTARD COUCH @themustardcouch on FB

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UNIQUE TRANSPORTATION Country Roads Carr iage Serv ice countryroadscarriage.com RUNNER-UP HARDLY ABLE CARRIAGE COMPANY “Hardly Able Carriage Company” on FB

LIMOS Morgantown’s Red Carpet LimousineServ ice morgantownwvlimousine.com RUNNER-UP ENTOURAGE LIMO WV entouragewv.com PARTY SUPPLIES W Rentals & Events wrentalsandevents.com RUNNER-UP POPPY PLANNING @poppyplanning on FB REGISTRY Delmonte Market thedelmontemarket.com RUNNER-UP SERENDIPITY GIFTS AND TOYS “Serendipity Gifts & Toys” on FB TENT RENTALS QuantumParty Rentals quantumpartyrentals.com RUNNER-UP

LINEN RENTALS Elite Br idal & Events “Elite Bridal & Events” on FB RUNNER-UP MIA BELLA ORIGINALS miabellaoriginalswv.com

FLORIST Bessie’s Floral Designs

If you’re on the hunt for extraordinary florals for your big day, look no further than Bessie’s Floral Designs in southern West Virginia. The shop offers the finest arrangements, from table decor to bridal bouquets and more. Stop in at the Oak Hill shop to browse the collection of gifts for any occasion, too. Past customers already know and new customers will soon learn that Bessie’s friendly and responsive service is almost as lovely as the flowers. 124 Main Street, Oak Hill, 304.469.2230, bessiesfloraldesignsinc.com, @bessiesfloralwv on FB RUNNER-UP BRANDIE’S BOUQUETS @brandieracquel on FB

WEDDING PLANNING AND COORDINATING Brittany Anne’s Events brittanyannesevents.com RUNNER-UP BELL OF THE BALL DREAM WEDDINGS AND EVENTS “Bell of the Ball DreamWeddings and Events” on FB

MPE RENTALS @mperents on FB

setting up your nest

HOME FURNISHINGS AND DECOR WellsHome Furnishings Voters selected Wells Home Furnishings for the top shop for setting up your nest. Five generations of the Wells family have worked in the furniture business for more than 95 years. And given two convenient locations— Charleston and Morgantown—couples throughout the Mountain State can benefit from the Wells’ commitment to quality: in the furniture you buy, the way you’re treated, and the level of service you receive. 101 Bowers Road, Charleston, 304.343.3600; 1040 Fairmont Road, Morgantown, 304.322.2129; wellshome.com RUNNER-UP

REAL ESTATE AGENCY Property Elite propertyelitewv.com RUNNER-UP J.S. WALKER AND ASSOCIATES jswalker.com

REAL ESTATE AGENT Cra ig Allison, Property Elite callison.propertyelitewv.com RUNNER-UP CAITLYN ALEXANDER, HOWARD HANNA @caitlynalexaderrealtor on FB

NOSIN AND SHOPPIN “Nosin & Shoppin” on FB

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36 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2021

How one couple’s love story overcame a few unexpected hiccups. written by Taylor Maple photographed by The Oberports Take Me Home Roads Country

W when mason tyler visited a south dakota hospital to interview for a medical residency in 2018, he didn’t expect to find more than a potential career move. But as he toured the facility, he came across something much more. He said a brief “hello” to Carissa Elkins, working as a resident at the hospital at the time, as he passed by. It was a small interaction, but it had a lasting impact on Mason. “I was like, ‘Well, I could definitely come to this spot if she’s here,’” he remembers years later.

she said yes After about a year and a half, the couple was ready for the next steps, and Mason took care to hatch the perfect plan. He would take Carissa to one of their favorite hiking spots. He arranged to fly her parents out from West Virginia and have friends come along to watch. He was ready. But then, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the plan. The sudden onset of the pandemic resulted in cancelled flights and myriad other problems Mason had to deal with at the very last minute. To top it off, the trail where he wanted to propose was packed with snow on this particular day, making the picturesque set-up he’d envisioned more difficult to arrange. And, although his Plan B was to FaceTime Carissa’s family during the proposal, there was no cell phone service to be found. In the end, Mason pulled it off with the help of a photographer, plus a friend who delivered Carissa a letter from Mason and helped her get where she needed to go on that snow- packed trail. She said yes, and in that moment, nothing else really mattered.

The interaction that day was so small, Mason jokes, that it didn’t even register with Carissa, who clocks them as officially meeting six months later. “She obviously did not care at all,” he teases. Carissa first remembers meeting Mason when she sat next to him at his welcome luncheon after he’d accepted the residency position. They got along well, but were both extremely busy in their residencies. Yet, over the months, colleagues and friends who spent time with the two of them sensed that they were destined to be more than friends. “Anytime we worked together, everyone always asked me, ‘What’s going on with you and Dr. Tyler?’” Carissa says. “I feel like there was a palpable chemistry there that other people picked up on.”

40 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2021

Emerald greens and navy blues set the stage for the wedding celebration of Mason and Carissa.

The groom and his groomsmen wore American flag socks, and the bride wore an Air Force–themed

garter as a nod to the groom’s active military service.

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 41

Rustic elements were incorporated into the decor for the ceremony and reception. Floral arrangements, which included hydrangeas and pale pink roses, were created by Bessie’s Florals.

the big day Mason and Carissa’s wedding wasn’t one single event— it was a weekend full of celebration. In addition to all you’d expect from a wedding, the festivities included a post-rehearsal dinner pool party, a whitewater rafting excursion, and games like cornhole. “I’m very proud to be from West Virginia,” Carissa says, noting that people were flying into the state from all over the country for their nuptials. “I wanted to show all these fantastic people who live in beautiful places what West Virginia really had to offer.” Like their engagement, the wedding day had its share of hiccups. Mason and his groomsmen were tasked with hanging delicate paper cranes throughout the ceremony space—something they thought would take 30 minutes but ultimately required hours of work, putting them behind schedule. And if that weren’t stressful enough, one of the groomsmen’s garment bags was missing his jacket, throwing off the group’s cohesive look. After a frantic search among guests for a spare navy jacket and, ultimately, a three-hour round-trip to a shop that had one in stock, Mason was ready for a breather. “I had no idea,” laughs Carissa, who was getting ready for her bridesmaids during all this time. “I appreciate that they sheltered me from all of this.”

Carissa and Mason hosted a West Virginia wedding weekend with family and

friends, which included an intimate ceremony at The Confluence Resort and

a reception hosted in a newly constructed barn on the property.

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 43

Guests were given tiny potted succulents as

wedding favors and were treated to a variety of

cupcakes and cookies decorated for the occasion.

But as always, once the focus returned to the two of them, all was well. In front of their family and friends, Mason and Carissa exchanged both traditional vows and personal ones. They also performed a foot-washing ceremony to symbolize how they wanted to start their lives together. “In the Bible, it talks about how Jesus washes his disciples’ feet, and it’s a very humbling experience,” Carissa says. “So we wanted to emulate that and start our marriage off with that servitude toward each other.” A “mocktail hour” followed, with drinks like the Pikes Peak Peach Bellini to pay tribute to Mason’s Colorado hometown and the Mountain Mama Blackberry Spritzer, a nod to Carissa’s beloved West Virginia. As the newlyweds prepared for their grand exit, another happy accident created one of the most magical moments of all. After closing the reception with “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” their getaway car was nowhere to be found. “We’re standing in the middle of all these people holding sparklers, all our friends and family, and the song ends, and our car’s still not quite there,” Carissa says. “So then everyone just starts singing the song again, a cappella this time. That was probably one of my favorite parts—obviously that song means a lot to me, and it was the biggest day of my life with the person I love most.”

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 45

Two Weddings Are Better Than One How one couple made the most of a rescheduled wedding date. written by Taylor Maple photographed by Amberlee Christey Photography

Elizabeth and Corey’s original wedding plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were married in an intimate ceremony at The Wonder Bar Steakhouse in

Clarksburg, and then again on the wedding day of their dreams at Stonewall Resort.


you can meet the love of your life anywhere , including in line for coffee at an airport. Elizabeth DeVault and Corey Ray are living proof. The two were standing next to each other waiting for Starbucks at the Pittsburgh International Airport—Elizabeth flying to San Antonio on her way to meet friends in Austin, and Corey also heading to San Antonio, where he lived at the time. “He started giving me some places to go and some restaurants,” Elizabeth says. “I was eavesdropping,” Corey jokes, noting that he heard her talking about Texas and took the opportunity to strike up a conversation. They found out through that conversation that they were from the same general area around Pittsburgh—Corey from St. Clairsville, Ohio, about an hour and a half from the city, and Elizabeth from Morgantown. They kept in touch after that airport meeting. Texting turned to FaceTime calls, and FaceTime calls turned to trips to see each other. Eventually, the two were embarking on a whirlwind long-distance romance. Long-distance is hard, but they made the most of it.

“We like to travel a lot,” Corey says. “So it was a lot of fun because, instead of her flying to visit me or me flying out to visit her, we went to Nashville, we went to Tampa, we went to Key West, we went on a cruise. It was like going on super-dates.” These super-dates carried on for about eight months before the couple managed to move in together in Washington, Pennsylvania. engagement Elizabeth knew Corey had a ring—they picked it out together, and Elizabeth even had the opportunity to design it herself. But she still didn’t want to see it in person until he was ready to pop the question. It was just after New Years’, 2019, when they traveled to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh. The couple love exploring botanical gardens together, and Phipps’ Winter Flower Show and Light Garden was the perfect picturesque location to pop the question.

50 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2021

The couple exchanged vows for the second time in the Grand Hall at Stonewall Resort— moments after the

young ring bearer was freed from the bathroom, where he’d accidentally locked himself in.

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 51

Family and friends joined Elizabeth and Corey for a big reception at Stonewall Resort following the

ceremony in the Grand Hall. The crowd enjoyed live music from The Company Band.

As they wandered the gardens, Elizabeth got a whiff of what was going on, and gently guided Corey to pick a good spot. “Not here!” she quipped when it looked as if he was about to get down on one knee in a spot that was packed with people. Ultimately they found a waterfall in the back that suited their needs. A small group nearby ooh’d and ahh’d, but the moment was mostly about them, as they’d always wanted it to be. two weddings are better than one After COVID-19 safety restrictions rendered the couple’s original plan, getting married in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, unattainable, they worked quickly to make something else happen. Instead of a large gathering on their original September 2020 wedding date, they had a small, intimate ceremony with just their close friends and family. Many of their original vendors were able to do smaller-scale versions of what they were originally going to pull off at the museum—a miniature cake, a simpler flower order. About 15 people showed up at The Wonder Bar Steakhouse in Clarksburg to watch the couple exchange vows, even if it looked different than they’d originally had hoped.

The celebrations didn’t stop there. Elizabeth and Corey then transformed their original plans for a large party in May 2021 at Stonewall Resort. After months of planning, replanning, and adapting their original vision, all of their friends and family gathered at the stunning venue’s Grand Hall to watch them tie the knot on a larger scale. Though the ceremony was larger, so many sweet, personal details remained. The couple’s officiant—a close friend—read out text messages that Corey had sent about Elizabeth when he’d first met her. The pair did a unity ceremony mixing Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola into a glass to represent their lives coming together—a special nod to the trip to Nashville when Corey asked Elizabeth to be his girlfriend, which included a trip to the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Despite the changes of plan that took them to Stonewall, all in all, it was perfect. The Company Band played throughout the night while guests danced and partied to their hearts’ content and even learned how to play “Take Me Home, Country Roads” for the couple to close out the day. For these two West Virginia– loving WVU alumni, after all they’d gone through with last-minute adjustments, there was no better way to end the day.

52 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2021

Laken Fleming and Dillon Meadows unite hearts and families in an outdoor service at picturesque Wilderness Lodge. Drea C m o s m d e o True written by Julie Perine photographed by Amberlee Christey Photography

Laken and Dillon exchanged vows in an outdoor ceremony at Wilderness

Lodge. The bridesmaids donned rust-colored gowns, a hue that was also

incorporated in the floral decor and bouquets.

L laken fleming always had her sights set on marrying a cowboy—one who owned a cattle ranch in Montana. The girl of Dillon Meadows’ dreams was happy, had good Christian values, and cherished family. Besides the Montana thing, they hit a home run. a match made at mountaineer field Laken, of Bridgeport, and Dillon, of Paradise, Texas, met in September 2017 at West Virginia University. She was earning her master’s in health sciences, and he was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management. It was a blind date arranged by Dillon’s WVU roommates and baseball teammates. Though both were skeptical, they met sight unseen at the WVU vs. East Carolina football game. “He was wearing a cowboy hat,” Laken says. “It was hard to miss him.” Under that hat, she found a handsome Texan who liked to have fun but took his faith, academics,

and goals seriously. His family even had hundreds of longhorn and angus cattle. Dillon was just as impressed with Laken. “She just kind of had this glow. I know it sounds cliché, but when I first looked at her, I said ‘Holy cow, who is this girl?’ She was giddy and super polite, nice, and respectful. It just seemed like everything that mattered to me, I saw in her right off the bat.” Though the attraction was mutual, it took Dillon three tries to get Laken to go out with him again. “I kept saying I had to study,” she says. “I really did.” But the courtship continued. “We shared a passion for the outdoors,” says Laken. Daughter of Curtis Fleming, host of Fly Rod Chronicles , she grew up traveling the world to film shows, fly fishing and hunting. Dillon was into that, too. So, many of their dates were spent fishing and hunting deer, squirrel, and eventually even hogs. Their love deepened. Laken learned that Dillon had overcome three major surgeries to pursue his dream

54 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2021

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