WV Weddings Fall Winter 2020



Love Fin alling

South Charleston Hurricane Beckley calvinbroyles.com

We are letting you in on a secret!


WV Weddings website got a new dress ... literally and figuratively. Check out wvweddingsmagazine.com ! We added more blog posts, inspirational ideas, and styled feature photoshoots. Our Vendor Guide is front and center! MEET OUR CURRENT PLANTINUM VENDORS

Allianz Music Ensembles In Allianz Music Ensembles, you’ll find musicians of the highest caliber to provide musical selections for your ceremony and reception. 304.550.3078 ian@allianzmusicensembles.com allianzmusicensembles.com instagram.com/ allianzmusicensembles/ facebook.com/AllianzMusicEnsembles

Little Black Dress Events Little Black Dress Events is an award- winning wedding and event planning team based in West Virginia and southeastern Ohio that specializes in truly magical weddings. 740.568.8552 misti@littleblackdressevents.net littleblackdressevents.net instagram.com/lbdevents1 facebook.com/littleblackdressWV

The Gaines Estate The Gaines Estate is a 1920s-era mansion located in downtown Fayetteville that sits on 192 acres of breathtaking views, the perfect setting for a wedding. 304.382.7509 225 West Maple Avenue Fayetteville WV gainesestate.com instagram.com/thegainesestate/ facebook.com/The-Gaines- Estate-516132502245848


volume 12, issue 2 published by New South Media, Inc. 1135 Main Street #279, 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 executive editor Pam Kasey, pam@newsouthmedia.com managing editor Holly Thubron, holly@newsouthmedia.com operations and circulation manager Meggan Hoyman, info@newsouthmedia.com web and social media manager Savannah Carr, savannah@newsouthmedia.com staff writer Jordan Carter, jordan@newsouthmedia.com contributors Brittany McComas, Taylor Maple sales director Heather Mills McIntyre, heather@newsouthmedia.com advertising Bryson Taylor, bryson@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 1135 Main Street, #279 Granville WV 26534

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weddings are always a time of celebration. During this coronavirus pandemic, our celebrations may look a little different, but when it is all said and done, a wedding honors the love and commitment of two people regardless of how many guests are present or where the ceremony is held. Most of the weddings in this issue occurred prior to the

restrictions imposed because of COVID, but some of these couples had to rethink their plans and embrace new visions for their big days. For our future couples who will be using this magazine as a resource in their own planning, please take heart that there are many ways to plan a wedding that allows for you to celebrate safely, because being safe and responsible is the right thing to do. I was recently talking with a 70-plus-year-old woman. She said, “Back when I got married, you didn’t have these huge lavish affairs. We went to the courthouse.” She also didn’t have Pinterest. It does seem that, in the last 40 years, weddings have become much more elaborate. Courthouse weddings can be stunning and incredibly intimate. If you are thinking that this might be an option for you, West Virginia has architecturally amazing courthouses around the state that would provide beautiful backdrops. The management of many of these buildings will work with you if you’d like to add some flowers and decor to personalize the moment a bit more—just make sure you communicate that ahead of time. Outdoor venues, already popular, have become even more sought- after. Just look at the diverse options in this magazine. For example, The Gaines Estate, one of our longtime advertisers, is a stunning location in Fayetteville that marries the outdoors with Old World elegance. I toured this building and grounds before renovations, and I’m just blown away by the transformation. Snowshoe Mountain offers couples a place to play and celebrate with a plethora of scenic locations—and Corduroy Inn and Lodge is a new option on the mountain. Oglebay, another amazing resort, also provides all-inclusive packages that make planning simple. Tamarack, with outdoor and indoor options, is a venue that has really upped its game. And nearby Glade Springs Resort is another spot that offers a diverse range of options. Are you dreaming of a romantic castle- like backdrop? Then check out Highgate Carriage House in Fairmont. If you have your heart set on a little white chapel, then Blackberry Farm’s Chapel on the Hill in Charleston is calling your name. And if you are the outdoor adventurous type, then you should check out ACE Adventure Resort. So even with the added stress of planning a wedding during a pandemic, there are plenty of options to help make your special day a memorable one. And if you are looking for more inspiration and advice, make sure you visit us at wvweddingsmagazine.com and follow us on social media—we are always bringing you the latest and greatest inWest Virginia weddings.

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nikki bowman mills, Editor

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27 A STORYBOOK BEGINNING Shawnee and Mark’s fairy-tale wedding at Snowshoe Mountain was just the beginning of their happily ever after. 31 LET IT SNOW Laura and Trey’s February wedding in Aspen, Colorado, brought their love full circle. 35 SWEET LOVE An opportune meeting after a loving, grandmotherly nudge led to “I do’s” for this Marion County couple. 40 GONE TO THE BEACH This couple chose the sunny shores of South Carolina to exchange vows and celebrate with family and friends. 44 TYING THE KNOT High school sweethearts Lindsay and Chase sealed the deal in a Celtic-inspired ceremony. 50 WORTH THE WAIT This couple is living proof that sometimes the best thing sare worth the wait. The staff of WV Weddings shares the beautiful photos we considered for this issue’s cover. 13 STYLED INSPIRATION Be inspired with these styled shoots arranged by some of West Virginia’s most experienced wedding vendors. 55 WEDDING REGISTER Real West Virginia couples share their love stories and the details of their big days in the WV Weddings register. departments 12 TOP TEN COVERS


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Celebrate our latest round of couples announcing their engagements.



cover photo Summer DeBastiani &Christopher Hartley in Moorefield. Photo by TipToe Studios

An alphabetized listing of our couples.

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THE OBERPORTS The Oberports—Emily and Bobby—are a married photography team based in Charleston. They specialize in smaller 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 12 full-time years of wedding photography, their couples know them as easygoing, professional, and experienced storytellers. theoberports.com

MICHAEL AND KRISTEN LOVEDAY Michael and Kristen Loveday of Flowers and Flannels Photography are a husband and wife team of adventurous storytellers. They are enamored by capturing the stories of two uniquely different souls coming together with all their beautiful differences, on a journey of willingness to compromise and share sacrificial love. The heart of their business is to document sincere moments in places that allow the vulnerability and authenticity of each couple. flowersandflannels.pic-time.com

KRISTY RODERICK Kristy’s passion is to tell the story of love through images that are timeless and intentional. She believes in storytelling through details and the overall emotion of the day, and loves capturing real moments that help her couples remember how they felt on their wedding day. She also prides herself on a relaxed and fun wedding photography experience. I love getting to know each and every couple. She works hard to capture every wedding day perfectly. kristyroderick.com

LIV HEFNER Consumed by wanderlust, Liv loves to travel and photograph what she finds along the way. However, her heart for her home and her love of weddings always bring her back to the Mountain State. Liv is a wife, mom (to the human and fur variety), daughter, teacher, and curator of soulful images. She loves being able to turn the emotion of love into a tangible heirloom through photography. facebook.com/livhefnerphotography

SHANNON LARSON Shannon Larson is a wedding and family fine art photographer who strives to capture the beauty, grace, and enthusiasm of those in front of her lens. Her work is described as candid, vivid, and energetic. The goal behind every wedding is to make each and every client feel at ease and to deliver images that show the personality and beauty of a client. sweetcarolinephotography2014.com

LAUREN LOVE Lauren Love of Lauren Love Photography considers herself a creator, a keeper of memories, an interpreter of light, and an artist who documents her clients’ lives with a careful, aesthetic vision. She loves the details of life and being able to tell a story through still imagery. Everyone is unique in their style, personality, and story, and she strives to produce images that reflect that individuality. laurenlovephotography.com

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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. Summer DeBastiani & Christopher Hartley, photographed by Tiptoe Studios 2. Kelsey Sproles & Phillip Shrewsbury, photographed by Kelli Carrico Photography 3. Hayley Leight & Jeffrey Dunn, photographed by Lauren Love Photography 4. Laura Hefner & Trey Oliverio, photographed by Michael and Kristen Loveday 5. Wittlee Retton & Matthew Tennant, photographed by Liz Hefner Photography 6. Madison Graham & Austin Maynard, photographed by Lexi Truesdale 7. Hayley Barnhouse & Allen Smyth, photographed by Molly Moroose Photography 8. Payton Whitt & Kasey Waybright, photographed by Rosina Marie Photography 9. Samantha Brewer & Michael Evans, photographed by Jessica Ellis Photography 10. Summer DeBastiani & Christopher Hartley, photographed by Tiptoe Studios



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—— Styled Ideas from Local Experts —— INSPIRATION

If you‘re looking for wedding inspiration the following pages deliver in spades. You might just 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 Highgate Carriage House, Fairmont BAKER The Cupcakerie COCKTAIL @macmollyblog FLORIST Perennial Floral EVENT PLANNER/DESIGNER Br idesmaids Confession and Andrea Cooper Photography DRESS The Vow Boutique SHOES Badgley Mischka INVITATIONS & STATIONARY Paper Hearts Invitations VINTAGE RENTALS & STYLING The Mustard Couch HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST Amanda Kriston, Tuscan Sun Spa & Salon WOOD WALL Brittany Anne’s Rentals HANDCRAFTED SIGNS Coco and June MODELS Calli & Douglas Fox Rich, bold colors and elegance were central to this winter-themed styled shoot photographed by Kuirsta + Seth. Event planners and designers Bridesmaids Confession and Andrea Cooper Photography spared no detail, right down to the opulent purple Badgley Mischka heels and fur stole worn by the bridal model. Her intricate lace gown provided by The Vow Boutique featured a multilayered, billowing, statement- making skirt. The multitiered naked wedding cake incorporated a rich chocolate drizzle and elegant deep red florals on the crest. The table decor followed suit, embellished with winter green eucalyptus branches, pomegranates, berries, and deep red florals by Perennial Floral. The reception setting was styled by The Mustard Couch and featured invitations by Paper Hearts Invitations, handcrafted signs by Coco and June, and a wood wall by Brittany Anne’s Rentals. Romeo & Juliet PHOTOGRAPHERS Kuirsta + Seth





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VENUE Hi l lbrook Inn COORDINATOR/STYLIST Alyssa B. Events FLOWERS Westvi r jeni TABLESCAPE PLANNER Broad View Events Wedding Planning & Design CAKE Alex Robba Cake MAKEUP Beauty by Jessie Jo DRESS Blanc de Blanc by Chantel Lauren SUIT Stitch & Tie RINGS Rough Luxe Jewelry VIDEOGRAPHY Huff Productions STATIONARY Vidhi Dattani Designs MODELS Abigai l Fitzpatr ick and Idea Kaosh Hues of blue played a starring role in this fairy-tale wedding styled shoot photographed by Carmen May Photography. From the bridal model’s gauzy, flowing steel blue gown to the groom model’s blue bowtie and complementary boutonniere, coordinator/stylist Alyssa B. Events worked closely with Blanc de Blanc by Chantel Lauren and Stitch & Tie for a seamless color scheme. Blue carried over into the invitation details and cake finish. Organic, natural elements were used throughout the table setting to create an ethereal atmosphere at Hillbrook Inn in Charles Town. Fairy-tale Wedding PHOTOGRAPHER Carmen May Photography





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VENUE Almost Heaven Barn COORDINATOR/RENTALS Br ittany Anne’s Rentals FLORALS Bel la Fiore Flor ist FURNITURE RENTALS The Mustard Couch GOWN The Vow Boutique MAKEUP ARTIST Amanda Vicinel ly Pro Makeup Artist HAIR Hai r by Makalaa, Nico Spalon STATIONERY & SIGNS Rock Papers Sisters VIDEOGRAPHY Sloane Prince Film & Photo CAKE Honeycomb Baking DINNERWARE RENTALS W Rentals & Events CHARCUTERIE BOARD Baker Cheese Company MODELS Heather & Er ic Lopez Bold gold and striking blue made an impact in this styled shoot captured by Rocha and Co. Photography. Coordinator and stylist Brittany Anne’s Rentals utilized shades of pink throughout the decorative touches, from the floral bouquets provided by Bella Fiore Florist to the table settings and charcuterie board made by Baker Cheese Company. Vintage elements were incorporated in the wedding party accessories, and the bridal model stepped out in a daring pair of stone blue heels. The gown—a deep V-neck with ball gown skirt—was provided by The Vow Boutique. Metallic touches were added to the show-stopping cake created by Honeycomb Baking. Almost Heaven PHOTOGRAPHER Rocha & Co Photography





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The brides and brides-to-be of West Virginia are as unique as the individual flowers that make up their bouquets, and each one has a vision of what her perfect wedding day will look like. It may hinge upon vibrant fall colors, a decadent dessert table, or that iconic first dance; it may be images captured of the “dearly beloved” amidst dramatic fairy-tale landscapes; or perhaps what matters most is just being surrounded by loved ones in an intimate chapel nestled in the heart of theAlleghenies. At Snowshoe Mountain, we strive to create an experience as unique and special as each of the couples we meet. Turning those unique, individual visions into reality is our specialty. The attention to detail begins the moment you first encounter the mountain and remains beyond the last guest’s departure, so that each moment— from “Will you marry me?” to “I do”—is magical. It’s really not just décor and vows; it’s helping to write the first chapter of your forever story. At Snowshoe love is an adventure, and this mountain is ready to be part of it every step of the way.


From “Will you marry me?” That’s right. Year after year Snowshoe plays host to countless camera-worthy marriage proposals, each with a juicy twist of its own. When asked what draws so many couples to the mountain for what is often the first big leap in their journey together, Katie Leitsch, Snowshoe Mountain’s Wedding Planner, says it really varies from one couple to the next. “No two stories are the same, but I think we can all agree on one thing: no matter what activities brought you here, this place leaves a mark on you,” she says. “This mountain has a way of drawing you back, and it’s no surprise that many couples find a special connection here.” For some folks, the ultimate connection to the mountain involves taking that sacred leap and popping the question. Take one look at your surroundings from the resort’s 4,848' summit and it’s easy to see why. One couple traveled hundreds of miles in search of the perfect picturesque mountain backdrop. Another wanted to be sure there was snow. They, too, traveled from far out-of-state. Still, others may feel compelled to pop the question spontaneously, possibly inspired by the ethereal, atmospheric surroundings. In that case, you can’t recreate the moment—but you can always come back for a pre-scheduled engagement photo session, another popular choice at Snowshoe.

To “One last hurrah!” Perhaps not as surprising is Snowshoe Mountain’s appeal to bachelor and bachelorette party planners of various interests. It’s a natural fit for any group with a flair for the outdoors and, of course, snow enthusiasts. Even those with smaller appetites for adventure often find that a group ski or snowboard lesson results in quite the bonding experience. But if skiing isn’t your thing—and we get it, sometimes it just isn’t—there are a million and one other ways to “bach” it up at Snowshoe. Come in winter and you can venture into the resort’s backcountry area in a heated, four-seat, off-road Polaris RZR. There’s also an entire mountaintop village of shopping, dining, and “après-ski” nightlife all worthy of exploring. Come in summer and you can build your own itinerary with as little or as much adrenaline as you see fit. Sporting clays? Check. Golf, mountain biking, and scenic lift rides? Check, check, and check. Snowshoe is also home to Shaver’s Lake. In the winter it feeds the resort’s snowmaking efforts, but in summer it transforms into a little paradise of its own, where mountains meet the beach. Katie says, “the lake is such a unique place because you’re surrounded by all of this spectacular mountain scenery, but the activities are like something straight from the beach.” At Shaver’s Lake you can join your wedding party for a paddleboard yoga class, throw some disc golf, or take a guided nature hike. And let’s not overlook the inflatable obstacle course. All sorts of good times just waiting to happen there.


From “I do.” Clearly, it’s easy to get in the weeds when talking about bachelor and bachelorette party options at Snowshoe, but when it comes to the wedding itself— the journey to the mountain, the ceremony, the reception—there’s no other mountain resort in the region that delivers an experience quite so dramatic. Let’s start with the location. It’s certainly remote, and there’s a level of romanticism inherent in that. The anticipation for the big event just builds as you traverse some of the most beautiful mountain roads on the East Coast, regardless of which route you’re traveling. And despite its remoteness, Snowshoe is actually fairly centrally located, just a few hours’ drive from several major metropolitan areas. Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., are all about a four-hour drive. From Charlotte, Columbus, or Raleigh, you can make it in around six hours. Upon arriving, you and your guests will quickly realize it was worth the trip. The groom and groomsmen are treated to deeply discounted golf rounds while the ladies—and guests, for that matter—

have a 3,600-square-foot full-service spa at their disposal. Of course, spa services can also be utilized for hair and makeup on the day of the wedding, but the newly renovated “Gatehouse” is another favorite for pre-wedding bridal party prep. If you’ve done any homework on Snowshoe weddings, you’ll have seen amazing photography of the building’s exterior. What you may not yet know is that the inside is just as fairy-tale-esque. The bridal quarters are spacious and well-lit with a fully stocked bar. And the groom, of course, keeps to his own quarters—and bar—well out of sight of the bride. For the ceremony, there are multiple venue options. A Snowshoe Mountain wedding means choosing not just between four uniquely beautiful seasons, but also between a variety of prime locations. The most popular choice may well be the Mountain Lodge Lawn, and it’s easy to see why. Who wouldn’t want to exchange vows out in the fresh mountain air against one of the resort’s most scenic overlooks? The Raven Golf Club is another option with classic Snowshoe Mountain appeal. And if tradition is more your style, you can’t go wrong in St. Bernard Chapel, a beautifully crafted nondenominational church that sits higher atop the Appalachian Mountains than any other chapel in the state.


To “THE social event of the year.” Not to be outdone, the reception options cover a variety of styles, tastes, and personalities as well. There’s the giant wedding tent for couples looking to keep the party going outside on the lawn. Don’t let the term “wedding tent” fool you. This semi-permanent structure actually provides a lovely ambiance where guests can enjoy the mountain experience with a little protection from the elements.

There’s also a ballroom and more traditional conference spaces that Snowshoe’s catering team masterfully transforms into uniquely tasteful reception venues. Speaking of the Snowshoe catering team, the menu and bar options are sure to please every palate. From buffets and cash bars to five-course plated meals and the finest champagne, no one leaves unsatisfied in the cocktail hour, dinner, reception, and post-reception categories.

Places to say “I do”

Snowshoe Mountain encompasses some of the most majestic scenery on the East Coast. With a variety of unique locations for your ceremony and reception, Snowshoe is a special place to begin your happily-ever-after.

THE BOATHOUSE Say “I do” from The Boathouse deck on the edge of Shaver‘s Lake. A favorite spot for ceremonies, receptions, or both.


ST. BERNARD CHAPEL A beautiful chapel located at the top of Snowshoe Mountain that offers nondenominational ceremony services.

THE CELLAR Located adjacent to the Mountain Lodge Lawn, this cozy, and diverse space is perfect for both ceremonies and receptions.

With views of the surrounding mountains and of Shaver‘s Lake below, this is the mountain‘s most iconic spot to say “I do.”


A Lifetime of Adventure The best part of all? Well, okay, the two best parts?

One, you’ve got Katie. As Snowshoe’s wedding coordinator extraordinaire, she’s here to do all the legwork for you. Her goal is to extract that fairy-tale vision from your head and make it all come to life. From guiding you to the right venue and menu options to securing lodging, Katie is the sorceress that makes the magic happen so you can focus on sitting back and enjoying the wedding of your dreams. The other best part about a Snowshoe wedding is that you and your fiancé are laying the foundation for the adventure of a lifetime—literally a lifetime. You’re forever imprinting this special place in your hearts and minds, and it will always be here for you to come back to. A Snowshoe wedding is a truly special way to start your next chapter. snowshoemtn.com

S torybook Beginning Shawnee and Mark’s fairy-tale wedding at Snowshoe Mountain was just the beginning of their happily ever after. written by Jordan Carter photographed by The Oberports a


University’s Creative Arts Center, and Shawnee saw Mark from across the parking lot. “He was all dressed up and waving a bouquet of flowers,” she says. “It was like a scene out of a movie. I thought, ‘This is the guy I’m going to marry.’” Shawnee was an undergraduate at WVU and Mark was a graduate student in the University’s College of Law. After they graduated, Mark asked Shawnee what her feelings were about Minnesota. “All I could picture was ice fishing,” Shawnee laughs. Mark had secured a job 1,000 miles from Morgantown, and the couple packed up their bags and moved to the Twin Cities. In September of 2017, Shawnee planned a romantic weekend getaway two hours’ drive from Minneapolis, in Duluth. On a Saturday at sunrise,

shawnee michelle prewett loves love —so much, in fact, that Valentine’s Day was her favorite holiday long before she met Mark on February 14, 2014. Shawnee had organized a small get-together at Rocktop Bar & Grill in Morgantown to celebrate the holiday, and a friend invited Mark to tag along. At the end of the evening, Mark walked Shawnee to the PRT and asked if he could be her friend on Facebook. “We clicked immediately,” Shawnee says. “He was so kind and so easy to talk to. I felt like myself around him.” The rest, you could say, is history. once upon a time Shawnee and Mark went on a whirlwind of dates, and, by the third, Shawnee knew Mark was the one. They were meeting to see their second show at West Virginia

Shawnee and Mark met when the pair attended WVU. They knew the first time they took in the scenic vistas offered from the ceremony lawn at Snowshoe Mountain resort that it would be the perfect place to exchange their vows.

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The reception was focused on fun and tasty treats. Guests played cornhole during a sunset cocktail

hour. After dinner, they were treated to a pie table and a s’mores station.

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the couple was walking the rocky shoreline of Lake Superior in search of translucent agates when Mark said “I found a big one.” Shawnee turned around to find Mark down on one knee, where he pulled a ring box out of his jacket pocket. They spent the rest of the morning on a bench on the banks of Lake Superior planning their future, which would include a September wedding in West Virginia. happily ever after It was important to Shawnee, a Morgantown native, to be married in West Virginia. “I knew I wanted to get married outdoors, surrounded by family, friends, and the rolling hills that I love,” she says. So, in November 2017, they headed to Shawnee’s home among the hills to look at venues. They started with Snowshoe Mountain resort. “The moment we stepped on the ceremony lawn, we knew this was it,” Shawnee says. “The beauty of it all was overwhelming.” The following fall, the couple said their “I do’s” against the backdrop of the Allegheny

Mountains. And in true fairytale fashion, the ceremony was complete with a visit from far far away: Shawnee’s brother, Logan, a Marine, had been deployed right before the wedding, and the bride was able to have a FaceTime conversation with him following the ceremony. A cocktail hour complete with cornhole paid homage to Shawnee and Mark’s time as Mountaineers. The reception was autumnal with fall decor, including table numbers and a card box handmade by the father of the bride. In addition to the couple’s two-tiered wedding cake were mini apple and pumpkin pies and a s’mores station. To round out the fall theme, the mother of the bride hand quilted acorns in a labor of love as favors for the guests. During the reception, the newlyweds slipped away for sunset photos. “It was like we were the main characters in a story book,” Shawnee says. “I didn't think much about my wedding before meeting Mark, but if I would have dreamt about it, I bet it would have paled in comparison.”

Following the ceremony and before joining their guests for a reception, Shawnee and Mark stole away for a sunset photo session at the iconic mountain resort.

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L et it Snow Laura and Trey’s February wedding in Aspen, Colorado brought their love full circle. written by Jordan Carter photographed by Michael and Kristen Loveday

L laura and trey have known one another for more than half their lives. They both grew up in Bridgeport, but attended different elementary schools. They first crossed paths on their last day of fifth grade in 2006 at a combined end-of-year party. They became fast friends and started dating six years later during their senior year of high school. During Trey’s freshman year of college, he started saving for an engagement ring. 11,212 feet In February 2019, Trey invited Laura on a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, where they took a gondola ride to the top of Aspen Mountain. While they were absorbing the breathtaking view, Trey asked Laura if she liked it, to which she replied “Yes!” “Would you like it even better if I was doing this?” he asked as he dropped to one knee. There, at 11,212 feet, Trey asked Laura, “Will you marry me?” Laura always knew she wanted a winter wedding, and what place more perfect than where she said “yes”? Exactly one year to the day, they married in the Hotel Jerome Courtyard against the backdrop of the Aspen Mountains. wvweddingsmagazine.com | 33

A gondola ride to the top of Aspen Mountain was the setting for Laura and Trey’s romantic proposal

in 2019. The couple returned to Aspen and exchanged vows on the exact same day one year

later. The ceremony and reception were held at the historic Hotel Jerome.

a winter wedding The big day began much the same as the day of the couple’s engagement, with a 20-minute gondola ride to the top of Aspen Mountain, where Trey waited for the first look. Laura was accompanied in the gondola by her mother, Tawnya, and her father, Chip, who presented her with a pair of pearl earrings. Together, they prayed for the couple to have a good marriage and to put Christ and one another first. The couple prayed for snow on their wedding day, and they got their wish when it began to flurry during their first look. The groom’s black velvet tuxedo with hand-studded Swarovski crystals stood out in the winter wonderland, and the bride stayed warm in a white fur stole that fastened with a crystal closure. Guests arrived at the Hotel Jerome Courtyard dressed for the wintry weather. The mother of the bride wore a family heirloom—a vintage fur coat. Bridesmaids wore long black velvet dresses, black fur stoles with rhinestone closures, black fur muffs, and black satin gloves. The groomsmen wore black wool sports coats with white stitching. The bride was escorted down the aisle by her father. Her brother-in-law, Andrew, performed “This Is It” by Scotty McCreery before officiating the wedding, in which the couple exchanged traditional vows. “We loved that our close family and friends got to experience Aspen, the little town that Trey Hotel Jerome opened in 1889 during Aspen’s silver mining heyday. “We loved its classic Americana vibe,” Laura says. The newlyweds were welcomed with open arms to the cocktail hour; the bridal party entered the room in pairs before splitting apart to form a human arch for the bride and groom. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were then asked to accompany the newlyweds on the dance floor. The reception took place in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where the tables were decorated with greenery, white roses, freesia, and wisteria blooms. Antlers accented the floral centerpieces to pay homage to both Aspen and the couple’s home state. A warm cauliflower soup was served as the first course, followed by dinner and dessert—a three-tiered naked cake with fresh fruit on every tier. The evening’s entertainment was provided by the high-energy and interactive live band Raising Cain. Following the wedding, the couple spent their mini- moon in Aspen before returning to Bridgeport; they plan to honeymoon somewhere warm. and I fell in love with,” Laura says. black-tie optional

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An opportune meeting after a loving, grandmotherly nudge led to “I do’s” for this Marion County couple. Sweet Love written by Taylor Maple photographed by Liv Hefner Photography

Y years ago, a teenage wittlee retton frequently saw a boy running near her grandmother’s house. She recognized him as the son of her junior high science teacher, but didn’t think much else of it. One day, though, her grandmother issued a warning. “You better go talk to him,” she said. “Or you’re going to regret it.” Wittlee balked at the suggestion at first—she didn’t even know who this boy was, and she didn’t want to seem desperate or strange. But her grandmother’s words stuck with her, so one day the extroverted high schooler made her move. She strolled outside and waited for Matthew Tennant to run past the end of her grandmother’s driveway. Matthew was confused and had no idea who was waiting for him in the distance. “She just stuck her hand out and introduced herself, and said, ‘Hi, I’m Wittlee,’” Matthew remembers years later. Little did they both know that simple, straightforward introduction would change their lives forever. They remained friends for the rest of high school, and, after Wittlee moved away

from their hometown of Fairmont to attend Marshall University, they managed to keep in touch. They reconnected after she returned to town years later, and that time, the romance clicked. Since then, they’ve been inseparable. touchdown! When asked about the proposal, Matthew chuckles in the kind of exasperated way someone might when they’ve told a stressful yet important story more times than they can count. The first time he tried to propose, he says, was at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. They both loved Pittsburgh sports, and it seemed perfect. He’d contacted the team at PNC Park ahead of time, and was told to watch the big screen at the end of the third inning—the couple would be on camera then for his proposal. The third inning came and went as he waited in their seats next to an unsuspecting Wittlee. He thought at first that perhaps the team had a bigger surprise planned for both of them later in the game,

Camp Muffly Park was the perfect venue for this Tuscan-inspired wedding. As a nod to her departed grandmother, Betty Witt, who enjoyed hummingbirds, Wittlee, her mother, aunt, and cousin all displayed temporary hummingbird tatoos for the day.

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The bride’s rosewater-colored gown was accented by her attendants’ steel blue dresses and by the cream and lavender-colored

bouquet she carried that held a collection of her grandmother’s pins and her aunt’s turquoise rosary.

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The reception fare was Tuscan- inspired and featured tables of bread, olive oil, and cheeses. Homemade

Italian cookies made by the groom’s mother also awaited the guests’ arrival at the reception.

but no such event ever occurred. It turns out that, for whatever reason, the team had forgotten his plans. Before long, he received an apology, a refund, and some free tickets from the team, but he had already set his sights on the Pittsburgh Steelers for his next attempt. Wittlee ultimately said “yes” at Heinz Field, while fireworks lit up the Allegheny River. a tuscan dream Their ceremony was officiated by Matthew’s aunt and former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and included vows the couple wrote together. They paused for a moment of silence for those they’d both lost, including the grandmother who gave Wittlee that fateful nudge out the door to introduce herself to the boy outside. After Natalie closed the ceremony by saying cheekily, “I am Natalie Tennant, and I approve this marriage,” the party was ready to begin. Wittlee and Matthew brought their love for travel right to West Virginia with a “Tuscan romance” themed reception, foreshadowing the Italian honeymoon they’d soon embark upon. European details dotted the room, and tables of bread, olive oil, cheese, and homemade Italian cookies baked by Matthew’s mother awaited the guests. Friends and family danced the night away, but, despite the loving company, Matthew and Wittlee only truly had eyes for each other. Wittlee had watched a teenage Matthew run toward her all those years ago as she waited to introduce herself for the first time. Their wedding day was a little different. This time, Matthew had stood watching as his future wife approached the altar from a distance. “Walking down the aisle, you always hear that you won’t see anyone else,” Wittlee says. “But it was like a movie. I really don’t remember seeing anything other than Matthew.”

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Beach Gone to the ThisWest Virginia couple chose the sunny shores of South Carolina to exchange vows and celebrate with family and friends. written by Holly Leleux-Thubron photographed by Kristy Roderick Photography

K karli pinkerton and haley minsker have been “forever friends” since childhood. It was nothing out of the ordinary for Haley to ask Karli to hit the beach with the Minsker family for their annual vacation in 2013. The outcome of that trip, however, was extraordinary. When the girls arrived at Holden Beach in South Carolina, Karli was introduced to Hayley’s first cousin Tommy. The pair locked eyes but didn’t say a word to each other beyond initial pleasantries. A pattern repeated each day of vacation: not a word spoken out loud, but conversation that blossomed via text for hours each night. As the beach trip came to an end, a beautiful relationship was just getting started. full circle

before Tommy—a military police officer for the U.S. Air Force—learned the very next day that he would be deployed to the Middle East in just a few months’ time. They began planning a summer wedding for the following year with thousands of miles between them. The big day was originally scheduled for June 19, until an uninvited guest—COVID-19—and an extension of Tommy’s deployment in Qatar forced the couple to postpone the wedding for two more months. Tommy made it back stateside with just two weeks to go until the pair’s rescheduled wedding date. They again returned to South Carolina—this time Myrtle Beach—to say their “I do’s” during a picture-perfect beach ceremony. all the details An antique Rolls-Royce carried the groom to the site of the beach ceremony at the North Beach Resort and Villas, and the bride arrived by white limousine. The pair infused a fun, throwback vibe into guest transportation by way of “Lucy,” a pink vintage Volkswagen bus decorated for the affair, right down to a pink and white floral wreath adorning its front grill. Karli wore a custom-made white lace gown with beading and a matching veil. Her wedding day look

Karli and Tommy went back to where it all began for the proposal—Holden Beach and the same annual family vacation that brought them together seven years prior. Tommy asked Karli’s dad for permission to marry her before they left. During a family picture session on the beach, Tommy dropped to one knee and asked Karli to be his wife. The pair were surrounded by Tommy’s family, and Karli’s family watched the proposal play out via FaceTime. She said “Yes.” The couple barely had time to soak it all in

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 41

also included embellished, beach-themed flip flops, a blue topaz ring gifted to her by her mother, and a gold starfish pin that belonged to her great-grandmother that was affixed to her wedding bouquet. The beachy palette extended to the bridesmaids’ dresses, which were all floor-length and coral-colored. Each bridesmaid picked a unique dress style, and all wore gold starfish earrings and brown sandals trimmed with white lace. Tommy and his groomsmen wore three-piece navy blue suits with coral-colored socks. Hues of pinks, peaches, corals, and creams were also incorporated in the floral arrangements and throughout the wedding decor. When Karli and Tommy were pronounced husband and wife, a flower cannon fired sprinkling paper confetti and blooms all over the ceremony site. It was one of the bride’s favorite moments of the day, she says. cake catastrophe averted The couple held a reception to celebrate with family and friends at the resort. Delivery of a magnificent wedding cake was set up in time for the event—that is, until the wedding cake designer texted the couple just after noon on the day of their wedding to let them know she could not make it and their order would not be delivered. They begged to pick it up from her. She insisted that would not be possible. Unsure what to do next, the couple turned to the resort staff, who did not miss a beat. They created a wedding cake for the couple complete with a gold “Mr. and Mrs. Parrish” wedding topper just in the nick of time.

Karli and Tommy chose the coastal destination of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for their wedding day. Their

palette of pinks, peaches, and oranges carried through from the attendants’ attire to the flowers, decor, and

wedding cake. A vintage Volkswagen bus carried guests from the resort to the beachfront ceremony site.

42 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2020

“We’d even asked her the night before how everything was going. She’d responded ‘good.’ So, we thought all was well. It was quite a frustrating experience, but the North Beach crew got right on it and provided a cake that was perfect,” Karli says. The couple enjoyed the evening, with family and friends dancing to a diverse selection of music hand-picked by the couple. They dined on a buffet-style meal that included pastas, a mac ’n’ cheese bar, prime rib and mashed potatoes, and Southern favorites like barbecue, catfish, and collard greens. Sweets were covered, too. Beyond the three-tiered, last-minute wedding cake, they included a Philadelphia Eagles groom’s cake, a chocolate fountain with a variety of dippers, and a sweets bar with cupcakes, cookies, macarons, and mini-cheesecakes. The night came to a close with a group rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Guests formed a tunnel and delivered a festive sparkler send-off for Karli and Tommy. The couple departed the reception in a white trolley and spent their wedding night at the resort. Following the couple’s departure, guests were treated to late- night snacks of fresh bagels and pastries, personalized M&Ms, and pink salt water taffy. After the wedding, Karli and Tommy traveled south to Destin, Florida, for a three-night mini-honeymoon at The Henderson before returning home. Tommy is still stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, and Karli is finishing up her master’s degree in business administration at the University of Charleston. Tommy plans to retire from the Air Force in March, and Karli is currently applying to medical schools. The couple will decide where they will make their shared home one day soon.

Tommy arrived at the ceremony in a vintage Rolls Royce, while Karli was delivered for the vow exchange in a

sleek white limousine. The ceremony and reception both took place on the grounds of North Beach Resort and Villas.

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High school sweethearts Lindsay and Chase sealed the deal in a Celtic-inspired ceremony. Tying the written by Jordan Carter photographed by Sweet Caroline Photography Knot

I it’s 2005 at jefferson high school in Shenandoah Junction, fifth period, health class. Two freshmen, Lindsay and Chase, notice each other for the first time. By the spring of their sophomore year, the two were officially an item; they canoodled on bus rides to ski club, cheered each other on at sporting events, and made frozen pizzas at Lindsay’s house after school. By the end of that semester, they were sharing a locker. But when it came time for college, the two kids who’d spent most of their time together in high school wondered what it would be like to spend some time apart. College was an opportunity to find themselves, try new things, and explore the world. After parting ways, they found themselves living in the same dorm—on the same floor—at West Virginia University. Their lives were intertwined like the

circling back Sometimes, it takes 1,500 miles apart to know with whom you’re meant to spend forever. A year and a half after Lindsay’s big move, she made a return visit to Shenandoah Junction. She and Chase picked up right where they’d left off, and, after spending some time dating long-distance, they moved to the D.C. area and began enjoying life together—trying new foods and local beers, going hiking, and visiting places near and far. InMay of 2018, the couple traveled to Islay, Scotland, a woodland isle on the “whisky coast.”While walking a coastal path between a series of scotch distilleries, Chase proposed. “Our engagement in Scotland and love of the Celtic culture very quickly became a guiding theme to the wedding itself,” Lindsay says. A year and a half later, Lindsay and Chase welcomed guests to the courtyard of Lindsay’s childhood home, Broad View Farm in Shenandoah Junction, for a Celtic- inspired ceremony against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

unbreakable bond of a lover’s knot, and the duo dated throughout college. The lovers parted ways for the last time when Lindsay’s first post-college job forced her to move halfway across the country.

46 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2020

Lindsay and Chase’s engagement in Scotland and love of Celtic culture inspired this show-stopping wedding.

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 47

The couple chose Broad View Farm as the backdrop for their

big day. In lieu of a traditional guest book, wedding guests helped

to weave a wall hanging that now hangs in the McKitricks’ home.

48 | WV WEDDINGS Fall/Winter 2020

stretch of driveway that would be the course for the competition. The bride’s brother-in-law and the ceremony’s officiant, Jeremy, announced the competitors: Chase, dressed in a traditional Scottish kilt in the Douglas tartan, and Lindsay’s father, Alan; Chase’s brother, Michael; and Lindsay’s Aunt Wendy—all who would compete against the longtime suitor for Lindsay’s hand in marriage. The participants took part in a sheep toss, the couple’s playful take on the Scottish sheaf toss, in which the players threw a stuffed sheep as far as they could. After two rounds, a winner emerged victorious—Aunt Wendy; she allowed Lindsay to choose her groom. The ceremony took place in front of a triple set of antique doors decorated with flowers by Westvirjeni, chosen to match the color of the Cobb and McKitrick family tartans. Lindsay was escorted down the aisle by her father, wearing his own dress kilt, to music performed by local bluegrass group Chelsea McBee & The Random Assortment. Lindsay completed her look with her great-grandmother's heirloom moonstone earrings. The couple tied the knot—literally—in the Celtic tradition of handfasting using cloth from both of their tartans. Chase’s ring was made in part with wood from whisky barrels. libations and merriment In lieu of a receiving line, the newlyweds opted to greet their guests with a scotch tasting of three whiskies from their trip to Scotland, and, in lieu of a traditional guest book, Fiberfeels Modern Macrame Designs set up a loom where guests could help weave a wall hanging for the McKitricks’ home. The strolling reception took place inside the old bank barn, the focal point of the property. The couple created a warm atmosphere with greenery, uplighting, stained glass, pops of flowers, and mixed fabrics and upholsteries. The newlyweds had their first dance to "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis, their song from high school. To complement the entertainment provided by D.J. Carey from Zandi Entertainment, Lindsay and her sisters, cousins, and close friends performed a traditional Irish step dance. The McKitricks’ special day ended not in a Scottish tradition, but one a little closer to home—a true West Virginia send-off to “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” “Our main goal in bringing in all of these unique elements and character to our wedding day was to make sure that everyone had fun,” Lindsay said. “We're grateful for all of the love and support everyone gave us on our special day, and we hope they all had as much fun as we did!”

bagpipes, kilts, and whisky Guests arrived at the peach tree–lined drive of Broad View Farm on an impossibly gorgeous October day. They helped themselves to craft beers, wine, and hot cider and meandered through the lounge areas on the lawn to the tunes of live bluegrass music. At 3 p.m. sharp, the skirl of a bagpipe signaled it was time for Highland Games. Lindsay, dressed in an off-the-shoulder, white lace gown shrouded beneath a green crushed velvet cloak made by her grandmother, proceeded into the courtyard behind a bagpiper in full Scottish regalia. She was accompanied by her bridesmaids dressed in jewel-toned gowns and “Lindsay” tartan shawls, ring bearers, and flower girls. They took their seats in the “Ladies In Waiting” lounge, facing the guests and the

The bride wore a stunning off-the-shoulder white lace gown, and

the groom donned a tartan kilt for the wedding.

wvweddingsmagazine.com | 49

This couple is living proof that sometimes the best things are worth the wait. written by Taylor Maple photographed by Lauren Love Photography Wor Wth the ait

S some of the greatest love stories start slowly , ebbing and flowing until two people are truly ready to start their lives together, and that’s exactly what happened for Hayley Leight and JJ Dunn. The pair were no more than two students at rival West Virginia high schools who occasionally crossed paths when their swim teams shared a practice facility. JJ was older, thriving as the popular swim captain, and, although she always admired him, Hayley kept her feelings to herself. When they both ended up at West Virginia University, they grew closer, sharing dinners and study sessions. JJ was the one with the crush, then, and even helped Hayley’s father move her into an apartment at WVU. But although college is a place where many long-lasting relationships sow their roots, it still wasn’t quite their time. After leaving WVU, the two set out on their separate paths and eventually lost touch. They didn’t reconnect until years later, when Hayley traveled back to West Virginia from her new home in New York City. One brunch together in Bridgeport was all it took for the spark to return, this time in both of them equally, and at the same time. Before they knew it, they were head-over-heels in a long-distance romance, one traveling six or more hours to the other’s home nearly every weekend.

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