Rachel and Jim were married on a warm autumn day at Cana Vineyards in Virginia.
After a very sweet first look we walked around the vineyard to take some photos.
Rachel shares, “Jim and I meet via OKCupid (my matron of honor Susanne helped me put the OKCupid profile together), and after chatting back and forth for a bit, we agreed for a first date at the Mussel Bar in Bethesda, MD (right around the corner from where I work). Jim was about 10-15 minutes late (this would become a theme for the first few dates we went on). The date went very well; I was impressed by his job with the National Park Service, and he asked me all the right questions about my job (most guys before would only feign interest in what I did). After we left each other at the end of the night, Jim found out he had gotten a parking ticket; when he texted me about that, I thought that was the end, since a previous “suitor” had ended things similarly. But a few weeks later, we went on a second date at a little Mexican restaurant in Friendship Heights, and Jim was 30 minutes late. Still, we each found the other person interesting enough to keep texting. Just before Christmas, we went on our third date to ZooLights at the National Zoo in D.C. It was raining and Jim was over an HOUR late. The date didn’t start well, but it ended well. We walked through the cold rain to see all the Christmas lights, then spent time inside at some of the animal exhibits, where Jim wowed me with his random animal knowledge, before we headed off to a little Italian restaurant for dinner in Cleveland Park (we still try to go to that restaurant every year around Christmas). Our fourth date was at my apartment, ringing in the new year watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin over drinks. After that date, it was pretty official that we were dating.
The first official “I love you” came during our first trip away about 6 months into our relationship, in Orland, Florida to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had a great trip away, and it wasn’t too long after that we decided to move in with each other. We continued to take trips with each other, to see the National Parks in the desert southwest (Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, etc.) and California (Yosemite, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Alcatraz, etc.), to Iceland, to London, and many more weekend trips.”
The proposal was a surprise! Rachel continues, “Jim proposed to me in November of 2016, right before I was going away on a business trip to New Orleans. We were at one of our favorite Virginia State Parks, Mason Neck State Park. Earlier that day, when we were planning our hike for the day, I offered to just go to a nearby park to save us time. But Jim was very insistent we go to Mason Neck, and I didn’t think anything of it. We walked around the park, took lots of pictures of the sunset. I was turned away from him, staring at the sunset, and when I turned around he was down on one knee with a ring in his hand. My first response was “are you tying your shoe?” I didn’t put two and two together until he started to say something sweet (unfortunately we can’t remember what he said exactly, but I’m sure it was extra romantic) and then he proposed to me. Jim insists I was crying when it happened, I will contend it was merely something in my eye. Afterwards, I started to call and text my family and friends (Jim had told my parents and close friends he was proposing that day). When I was in New Orleans for work, my colleagues (many of whom were at the wedding) took me out for a pre-bachelorette party on Bourbon Street to celebrate.”
Cana Vineyards was the perfect place for their wedding. Rachel shares, “After Christmas, we somehow settled on a date for the wedding (10/7/17), though I personally think Jim tricked me into the date. Jim did quite a bit of searching to find a venue that was available and within budget. We finally settled on Cana Vineyards because it had such a wonderful view and wasn’t too far from our second favorite Virginia State Park, Sky Meadows State Park. When planning the wedding, we wanted it to be very personal and reflect our personalities as much as possible, which is why we went with a National Parks/Harry Potter theme. We (and by “we,” I mean “I”) made all of the centerpieces from recycled wine bottles; the pieces of wood came from a friend of Jim’s, who had cut down some trees near his house and made the pieces for us, to which Jim glued the bottles.
The wedding was pretty perfect in the end. We had a lot of fun, surrounded by a lot of people we love and care about. The honeymoon in Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies, was also amazing, and a great start for everything to come.”
The ceremony was held outside in the vineyard.
Rachel and Jim danced their first dance to “There Will Be Time” by Mumford and Sons.
Congratulations Rachel and Jim!
Special thanks to the team:
Venue: Cana Vineyards and Winery of Middleburg
Venue Coordinator: Alison Whaley
DJ/Band: Finest Sounds, Ron Gray
Caterer: John Feist, The Feisty Chef
Officiant: Emily Patton
Hair and Makeup: Bridal Artistry DC
Cake: Barbara Stephenson, stepmother of bride
Invitations: Paperless Post
Rings: Lillia Nash (bride), Justin Duance (groom)
Bride’s Dress Designer/Shop: David’s Bridal
Cake topper: Etsy’s Sugar Bee Etching
Cake decorations: Cakes by Kristi
Seating chart design: Red Line Studio
Guest book/puzzle: Personalized Art Decor
Custom cat cutouts: Almost Real Standups