Ronni and Pete’s enlisted the help of Fête Weddings to craft a custom wedding day that—despite hurricane threats—was relaxed, delightful and totally unique to the couple. Some of our favorites details include the serendipitous discovery of the (super-cool-modern) venue, the deep draping back of Ronni’s Carol Hannah Bridal gown and the splashes of color in the florals by Amanda Burnette Flowers and velvet of the vintage rentals from Paisley & Jade. And, thankfully, Kacie Lynch Photography was a master of mixing it up in the rain to create some pretty magical images of Ronni and Pete’s lovey Richmond wedding day.
What made the wedding special and unique?
When the couple first moved to Richmond, Virginia they did some catering with a company in the city. They were both sent to work at an event at 1000 Old Locke Lane and as soon as they pulled up, they recognized the house. Having both studied Architecture they immediately identified the Richard Neutra house, but neither of them knew it existed in Richmond! The majority of his life’s work exists on the west coast, specifically California, so to have one of his projects hidden so well on the East Coast was an amazing discovery.
Gifted to the Science Museum of Virginia by Ambassador and Mrs. Walter Rice, the Rice House was designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra. Situated on Locke Island overlooking the James River, the Rice House is a hidden mid-century modern architectural landmark and is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I did A LOT of Pinterest searching to start. Sadly, most gowns you find on social media (at least gowns that were aligned with my taste) were either from past seasons and impossible to find or incredibly expensive! While browsing Feté Wedding’s Facebook page one afternoon, I came across a link to Carol Hannah’s 2015 collection: The Alchemist. The dresses all looked elegant and graceful, but with a sort of bohemian ease to all of them. I immediately fell in love with the Kyanite, always having wanted a simple, backless dress that would be comfortable to wear the entire evening. I visited Carol Hannah’s showroom in Manhattan and immediately fell in love! The dress was custom made for my body, and they even made slight alternations to lower the neckline and add more blousing in the front. I wore Jimmy Choo’s Alina flats in a pale pink velvet that were understated and ensured I wasn’t taller than the groom!
What were some touches added to make it personal?
One of the most non-traditional aspects of the wedding would be our decision to have a private ceremony. The main level of the house has a balcony that runs the length of the house and overlooks a terrace below. We held the ceremony on the terrace below, inviting just immediate family and the bridal party down. Guests were invited to observe from the deck above and audio was transmitted to the interior of the house as well.
To complement the hard line minimalism of the house, vintage lounge furniture, warm lighting, and splashes of color were used. The mother-of-the-bride made throw pillows to use in the Japanese-style sunken living room area and scattered around various furniture in the house. The bride and groom also designed their own save-the-dates and invitation suite.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The most memorable part of the day was probably seeing each other at the ceremony. We elected to not have a first look, so the first time we saw each other the day of the wedding was as Ronni walked down the aisle. We will certainly never forget the weather either! The east coast was facing threats of a hurricane the weekend of the wedding, with gale force winds and serious rain. Needless to say we were immensely stressed, but the ladies at Feté had every backup plan we needed. Unfortunately we had to use a couple tents, which did obstruct the river view to some degree, but with the right attitude and all our family and friends present, we hardly noticed. (We also got lucky and the Hurricane turned east and was less severe than expected
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
We met in 2009 as coworkers in Blacksburg while both working to complete our Bachelor of Architecture degrees at Virginia Tech. Upon graduating, we made the move to Richmond where we have continued our education through creative fields at VCU. The engagement story is certainly memorable for us; it was the night before Pete started graduate school at VCU’s Brand center and Ronni had just gotten back in town from a bachelorette weekend celebrating another friend getting married. Pete already had the ring and was planning to propose that evening, but Ronni also had plans to surprise Pete for his last evening of summer. Ronni packed a picnic and loaded the car up with blankets and pillows, not telling Pete where they were headed. Pete brought the ring along with him, again not knowing where they were headed, but hoping a moment would present itself to pop the question. When they pulled in the drive-in movie theatre just outside of town to see a less-than-romantic movie (Guardians of the Galaxy) he knew that it might not be an ideal time. So for the duration of the move, he had this ring box awkwardly in his pocket as he tried to not let Ronni notice it!
When we got home from the movie, we went for a walk to our neighborhood park to check out one of the year’s supermoons (when a full moon coincides with the closest point in the moon’s orbit around the earth). Pete proposed on our favorite bench and we were married October 3rd, 2015.
The story behind the engagement ring is also sentimental to us. Pete’s sister, who also officiated the wedding, was the executrix of his aunt’s estate and when she passed away stumbled across the 100-year-old Edwardian ring in a desk drawer! The interesting thing about Pete’s aunt is as far as the family knew she was never engaged and certainly never married. His sister later found a number of love letters from a man she knew in her youth. After extensive research, Pete’s sister tracked the gentleman down in Canada and he later told her his biggest regret in life was never marrying her aunt.
When Pete told his sister he wanted to marry me, she gifted him the ring and I couldn’t have picked out anything more perfect.
Wedding Planning & Event Design: Fête Weddings // Photography: Kacie Lynch Photography // Florals: Amanda Burnette Flowers // The Rice House (no longer a wedding venue) // Cake: Sugar & Salt //Makeup BRIDEface //Bride’s Gown Carol Hannah Bridal //Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo //Catering and Lighting: Mosaic Catering // Rentals: Rent-E-Quip //Speciality Rentals: Paisley & Jade // DJ: In the Mix // Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: Classical Guitar Ceremonies, Inc. //Transportation: James River Transportation