Stephanie and John said “I do” in a modern romantic wedding celebration at Upper Shirley Vineyards on a sunny day in late May.
Stephanie, a family medicine physician, and John, currently a urology resident, met when they were scribing for the same Emergency Room. The pair left their positions as scribes to attend separate medical schools, but ultimately rekindled their relationship during their residency training in 2019.
John popped the question during a surprise proposal while the couple was vacationing in Costa Rica. John feared the surprise would be completely ruined after a rocky start to the trip, including a missed flight. Despite travel complications, all went well. “I arranged with the hotel to have us walking on the beach,” says John, “and one of the photographers from the hotel captured the moment.”
The couple shares a love of traveling – specifically visiting the Jersey Shore and skiing at John’s Family Bed & Breakfast in Vermont. They enjoy walking their dog, Max, and making TikTok videos together.
When I think of Upper Shirley Vineyards in Charles City, VA – southern romance is generally one of the first thoughts that pops into my mind (for more southern romantic wedding inspiration, check out Kelly & Mitchell’s Classic Southern Wedding in Richmond, VA).
The comforting crunch of the gravel drive beneath my tires greets me, ushering me through a sweeping green lawn spread out around a barn-esque structure boasting a veranda that brings to mind summer days sipping fresh lemonade (or in this case a glass of award-winning Blanc des Blancs sparkling wine) in rocking chairs. Upon closer inspection, a painted white horse bearing the couple’s names and wedding date draws guests intention.
If the front facing prospect of Upper Shirley Vineyards is impressive, the back is even more so – boasting peaceful perches and more lush lawn ambling down to the James River – a spectacular site for wedding ceremonies if ever there was one.
In many ways, this scenic riverside estate is an empty canvas waiting to be painted; it lends itself to a variety of wedding themes. So when Stephanie and John described a modern romantic wedding full of emerald green and blush tones, I knew it would be lovely.
The sweeping lawns and peaceful river views were accentuated by lush greenery and traditionally romantic roses. Stephanie and John incorporated a circular gold arch to add a contemporary element to their modern romantic wedding ceremony.
Stephanie’s bouquet was a stunning composition comprised of creamy white roses, ruffled white ranunculus, and elegant peonies. The floral designer for this event, Weddings by Vogue, brought in a pop of color via amnesia roses, and a touch of modernism to the otherwise traditional structure of the bouquets via accents like closed-bud lisianthus and dainty hellebores.
The joy surrounding Stephanie and John on their wedding day was palpable. It’s abundantly clear that his couple is loved and adored.
Stephanie, no doubt, drew inspiration for her modern romantic color palette from the blush liner of her Marina Liana wedding gown, which struck the perfect balance between modern and romance by incorporating elements from each category. Traditionally romantic elements included allover lace and covered button back detail, while modern elements included a plunging neckline and simple silhouette.
Stephanie’s bridal party prepped for the big day in emerald green floral pajamas and fuzzy blush slippers before donning floor length emerald gowns by Kennedy Blue. Of course the ladies had to raise a toast to Stephanie and John with some award winning wine, courtesy of Upper Shirley Vineyards.
The groom and groomsmen looked so dapper in navy suits and emerald ties.
The couple chose to embrace the first look: a modern romantic wedding tradition that allows the couple some one on one time together before saying “I do” while simultaneously freeing up time after their ceremony for portraits with their friends and family.
Stephanie and John exchanged vows on the sweeping lawn overlooking the James River. The greenery on their circle arbor rustled in the late spring breeze as a string quartet serenaded wedding guests.
Even though John had already seen Stephanie during their first look, he couldn’t stop himself from smiling as she walked down the aisle.
After exchanging rings, Stephanie and John sealed their vows with a kiss.
The couple’s recession back down the aisle was equally as exciting as the processional – John dipped his beautiful wife for a passionate kiss before heading off to take portraits during cocktail hour.
Upper Shirley’s on-theme horse trailer bar, combined with their award winning wine selection and scrumptious passed hors d’oeuvres served by the in-house catering team, made for a spectacular cocktail hour.
Immediately following cocktail hour, guests meandered into the ballroom at upper Shirley to partake in an elegant plated dinner reception. Guests were greeted by a map-themed seating chart that read “Find Your Destination,” and were seated at tables laden with blush tablecloths, green napkins, and gold accents.
After the newlyweds shared a choreographed first dance, guests took to the dance floor for a night of fun!
The newlyweds made their grand exit under the stars while guests held up twinkling sparklers in celebration of their union.
Venue | Upper Shirley Vineyards
Wedding Dress Designer | Martina Liana
Wedding Dress Shop | Le Bella Donna
Groom’s Attire | Armen’s Custom Tailor
Jewelry | Olive and Piper
Florals | Weddings by Vogue
Planning and Design | The Hive Wedding Collective
Hair | FBJ
Make-Up | BRIDEface
Videography | Profound Wedding Films
Rentals | Rent-E-Quip
Bridesmaids Dresses | Kennedy Blue
Groomsmen Attire | Generation Tux
String Quartet | Ninja Strings
Transportation | James River Transportation