REAL WEDDING | Art Deco Garden Wedding in Virginia | Ambah Parkah Photography

Johanna and Matthew decided to have a destination wedding in Johanna’s family hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The couple chose the charming and unique venue of the Historic Polegreen Church to live out their inspiration of an art décor garden party. DIY touches pulled the day together and added a personal feel. The couple created CD place cards that symbolized their favorite bands and artists. Johanna purchased real and faux flowers to build the floral chandeliers and arbor for the ceremony herself. Their favorite moment was taking a college tradition that signified the end of the party by closing out the evening with the song “Wagon Wheel” while everyone danced and sang their hearts out.

Johanna & Matthew

How did you meet?
Matt and I met on the dating website OKCupid in October 2012. I was had moved from Virginia to Minnesota to attend grad school. We started dating and went to great lengths to appear as though they only kinda sorta liked each other for about a year. This silliness ended with a heated discussion where I demanded that Matt read my twitter feed (sign of the times). It was filled with several tweets like the following: “Still not sure about this boyfriend thang, but mine is pretty cool sometimes. #commitmentissues.” We’ve been inseparable since.

What is your proposal story?
Our proposal story starts with a trip to a vintage jewelry shop on a random summer Saturday. We just planned to browse options but I found a ring I absolutely loved and put it on hold while Matt settled into the idea. A week later, the ring shop accidentally called me to ask about picking up the ring so I knew he had purchased it. Over the next few months, potential proposal times came and went. On October 30, 2016, Matt and I settled in for a night of pumpkin carving and scary movies. He opened a bottle of wine and we both agreed to ignore a friend’s invite out for a drink. We got up to make popcorn to start 28 Days Later. When we sat back down, Matt basically handed me my ring and noted that this was the best time. I reminded him that he has to actually ask even though obviously this was a mutual decision. He asked me to marry him, I said yes, and we watched a bunch of zombies eat people.

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
Before we were even engaged, we had talked about doing an intimate wedding in my home state of Virginia and a second celebration in Minnesota. With that in mind, we sorted through venues in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland area while remaining budget-conscious. In addition, we wanted our venue to need minimal decoration because any of the decorations that could not be rented would need to travel approx. 1000 miles. Based on that criteria, we thought a Fall wedding would be perfect to avoid the humid heat of Virginia and hopefully pull in gorgeous Fall colors. We decided on Historic Polegreen Church because the church structure was subtle, yet stylish and the beauty of nature spoke for itself. The clean lines of the structure reminded us of the geometric shapes of the Art Deco movement. We kept this in mind while crafting and picking decorations. We also tried to keep the style simplistic and classic due to the circumstances. We decided on the rich colors of navy, burgundy, and gold on the backdrops of white and greenery as a departure from typical Fall leaf colors.

Tell us about your attire choices.
I wanted to look like a big, fluffy marshmallow because there are very few days in life where that’s appropriate. I went with David’s Bridal because I love a good deal and was able to get my dress on clearance. I then hired a great tailor to make it into the dress I wanted. Screw being figure-flattering! We opted to go with rental tuxs from Menguin because we wanted to stay budget-friendly and our menfolk were shopping from two different states. We thought navy was classic on the guys. We went with burgundy dresses on the ladies after several of them tried on styles at David’s Bridal and that color suited everyone best.

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
Matt and I really wanted our food to rock! We splurged and everything from Garnish was delicious! Other than tasty food, we just wanted people to have a great time and feel a part of our journey. We also knew the importance of having amazing, candid wedding photos. Amber Parker was fabulous! We chose to skip a wedding video because we doubted we would ever watch it again. No regrets.

Vendor Love – Photography: Ambah Parkah Photography | Venue: Historic Polegreen Church | Floral: Blooms By The Box | Catering: Garnish Catering | Hair: So Chic Beauty | Makeup: So Chic Beauty | Wedding Cake: Katherine’s Confections | Audio Visual: Leap Light + Sound | Rentals: The Prop Shop | Lawn Games: Richmond Cornhole | Officiant: Rev. Dr. Cheryl L. Cook-Posley | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Menguin | Bride’s Shoes: ASOS | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Headpiece: bride to be wedding consignment | Submitted via: Matchology

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Shafonne Myers is a certified wedding and event planner who longed for bridal inspiration that looked like her. She has created a website and magazine that brings bridal inspiration to plus size brides. She does speaking engagements educating the world about plus size brides and self confidence.
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About Shafonne Myers {Editor-in-Chief}

Shafonne Myers is a certified wedding and event planner who longed for bridal inspiration that looked like her. She has created a website and magazine that brings bridal inspiration to plus size brides. She does speaking engagements educating the world about plus size brides and self confidence.