wedding in charlottesville

How sad, that my cousin had to get married in such an ugly setting…

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But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Let’s go back in time, say, to… November. My cousin went from donning pearls at UVA to kicking butt at an NYC hedge fund to nose-to-the-grindstone-ing it at law school to writing wills and contracts and so on at a law firm. Somewhere in there, she fell in love with the very affable Mike, who at Christmastime in 2012 proposed to her in a highly public and dramatic fashion by the Old Well at UNC. (My worst nightmare, incidentally, but she loved it).

Being one of her only two first cousins (crazy!), I was invited to a weekend of wedding festivities, from the rehearsal dinner to the post-rehearsal after party to the wedding to the post-wedding brunch.

The rehearsal dinner was kind of massive for my taste. In a fancy shmancy hotel.

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The absolute highlight of the evening, for everyone but especially my family members, was a priceless video clip of my late paternal grandparents being interviewed about how they first fell in love. Or, as my grandmother put it, how she “can’t say it was love at first sight!”

They met in Africa, she a medical social worker who left London after all the horrors of World War 2, stopping in postwar Germany and on a troop ship full of shell-shocked soldiers in the South Pacific en route (my grandmother led a REALLY INTERESTING LIFE), and my grandfather a South African expat doctor who’d left because of his opposition to apartheid and enrolled in the British Colonial Service to do public health work in Kenya. Apparently their early dates consisted of walking around a leper colony (!)

Having enjoyed that reminiscing, and a rather staggering number of toasts (FOURTEEN!), we chilled at our hotel.

Sidebar: I spent a lot of money (for me) to stay at the Red Roof Inn in Charlottesville, because it was the cheapest place that was still somewhat conveniently located. It kind of sucked. Our room smelled like feet and we constantly heard the weirdly rowdy elderly people staying across the hall and we were almost late to the rehearsal dinner because it took TWENTY MINUTES for me to wait in line to check in.

So, when I woke up early on Saturday, I didn’t feel like luxuriating in a hotel room and hit the town, wandering around early morning Charlottesville. It was an absolutely gorgeous walk.

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Hahaha, speaking of food blogs, this piece of paper literally flew down the street to me.

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More pretty…

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My aunt had had to go to an 8am professional hair and makeup appointment (thank God no one so far has made me be a member of their wedding party. Lydia, I’d do it for you, but that’s about it).

So, I met up with my beloved uncle Tim and we had lots of fun walking around the fabulous Charlottesville farmer’s market.

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(Someday I’ll be able to afford farmer’s market furniture. And I’ll have the coolest house ever.)

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I had to get my aunt Jeanie (she getting the expensive makeover) a case of Profani-Tea! So adorable.

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For breakfast, I opted for an exceedingly fresh tamale.

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Gahhhhhhh this was so delicious It had a really nice veggie filling- a really nice variety of perfectly cooked squashies and things.

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And the toppings! Cheese, a cilantro-licious chopped up salsa, and zippy hot sauce.

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Tim and I then enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee, and catch up session, at Mudhouse, a delicious coffee shop on the downtown mall. A lot of other people had the same idea, so the line was a little loopy, but it was well worth it for the hearty coffee and lovely view.

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We aimlessly drove around Charlottesville, trying to zen motor back to the salon where my aunt was, and inadvertently stumbled across a Christmas parade, which was fun. By this point in the morning, my late sleeping sister and my late sleeping boyfriend were finally up and about, so we picked them up after we got my aunt and we all went back to the market once again.

By this time it was lunchtime ish, so I split these aaaaaaaaaaaawesome sesame noodles with Malindi and Steve. They got tamales, too, based on my enthusiastic recommendation. And Steve got dumplings, because he’s Steve.

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We had a brief interlude at Sweet Haus, which of course I’ve read about via Kath. I didn’t need to get a full sized cupcake after tasting a salted caramel sample that almost made me weep with pleasure.

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And then we got dressed up in our finery and headed out on our shuttle bus to King Family Vineyards, the wedding locale.

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Gooooooooood griiiiiiiiief it was beautiful.

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It was also SO. COLD. I THOUGHT I WOULD DIE.

They gave us blankets and hand warmers. The hand warmers did not seem to feel like activating during the actual ceremony (though I did stick some in the sides of my bra during the dancing at the reception, which made me comfy then!)

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The boys waited at the front, under the pretty flower-bedecked arch.

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The adorable ring bearer came in via wagon…

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Here comes the bride!

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The ceremony was gorgeous. The sun was setting in the background in a very dramatic and beautiful fashion. They wrote their own vows, and despite not having at all consulted with one another, had segments that were almost word for word the same as their new spouse’s. There was also some cute humor involving rooting for the Nationals and providing a home for “a reasonable number of pets”.

So beautiful. I don’t know how Sophia didn’t keel over from hypothermia, but she just looked super happy and lovey. And her sister Ashley was a champ at keeping the veil from blowing away, which it threatened to do a fair number of times.

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And then, praise everything holy, we were allowed to go inside.

There were lots of cute rustic touches to the decor, like this old door with name cards and table assignments….

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And a pretty shelf decked out in old family photos.

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Including my grandmother on her wedding day, and a picture of my great-grandparents that I had never seen! That was pretty neat.

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The bar was stocked with wine from grapes that’d been grown outside, which was fun.

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Annnnnd I think my body was so grateful not to’ve died from the cold that I had to eat a whole bunch just to feel alive.

Plus this cheese plate was a force to be reckoned with.

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Particularly great combination, inspired by my sister: grainy-nutty cracker topped with brie, quince jam, and a few pomegranate seeds.

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These little spinach ball appetizers were also pretty rad. DSC04102

Had to take a peek inside where we were dining and dancing!

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Tables by important locales in their lives- we were seated at Sutton’s Bay.

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The nummy menu…

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… and my favorite part at the bottom! Mike used to fight the good fight as an intern at the Brady Center (he’s now practicing law at Sophia’s firm but they’re both still true believers!)

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Yummy rolls.

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Yummy salad.

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Pretty chandelier.

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Round 1.

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Ate a thousand pounds of mashed potatoes, just to make sure they were okay (they were, from what I could tell, equal amounts of potatoes and butter. HEAVEN! Plus mushroom enhanced gravy!)

We listened to some speeches, including Mike’s sister’s toast about toilet training her little brother, which was so funny I cried laughing.

Aaaaaaaaand… cute cakey! (They looooooooooove their cats)

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And then there was a lot of dancing. This was chronicled by the wedding photographer, whose pictures either indicated that I have some sort of nervous disorder that causes me to swing my arms in a wildly out-of-control fashion at all times…. or that it’s just better if I no longer appear in photographs.

Anyway, it was a fun night getting my dance on, and it was nice to celebrate with two people who seem really happy together.

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