Central Virginia doesn’t get a ton of snow – usually one good one a year, but a cold front came in a few days before Jessie and Sawyer’s elopement and dumped snow and ice through the Piedmont region and into the Shenandoah Valley.
It ended up creating this incredibly beautiful winter wonderland!
We started their day at The Clifton Inn where they booked a room in the farmhouse. They ate homemade cinnamon buns and chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast in the kitchen.
Then they went back to their room and Jessie did her own hair and makeup while Sawyer got dressed. When he was done, he went outside while Jessie put on her dress.
They did a first look in the snowy courtyard outside and then we headed downtown for tacos from Brazos Tacos, which they ate in the IX Art Park.
They also stopped by Animal Connection for some treats and a Best Dog crown for their sweet pup (the only family member in attendance!)
We knew the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed due to the weather, but had planned to drive to an entrance about an hour away from Charlottesville and hike about half a mile to an overlook for portraits. But as we were driving up the mountain, we started to enter heavy fog. It’s super hard to tell what the weather is going to do in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but I strongly suspected the fog would be hanging around for a while, so I recommended we stop early and walk to a closer overlook. That ended up being a good call because the Blue Ridge Parkway was so icy that even walking five minutes was challenging!
We took some photos on the parkway and then walked behind an abandoned building near the entrance where the ice completely covered all of the bushes and trees. Jessie and Sawyer met in high school and got married on their 10 year anniversary, so Jessie secretly put together a fun playlist of some of the tunes that featured heavily in the early parts of their relationship. She played the songs on her phone and they danced. Then they pulled out a bottle of whiskey, cooled with ice pulled from the trees and enjoyed a first drink together.
On the way back to The Clifton we stopped downtown for hot chocolate at Kilwins.
They then took a little rest break for just the two of them while I scouted around the property for ceremony possibilities (ultimately choosing a spot they had already identified). After the breather, they sat on the bed writing out their vows and then got re-dressed together and walked down to the dock to get married!
Their dog also got a second wind and had pretty remarkable zoomies the whole ceremony – running up and the dock and around the bank and in and out of the water in a very canine celebration all her own.
After their ceremony, they had a first dance back in the courtyard, cut a tiny perfect cake from Cake Bloom and then ate takeout from a local restaurant at the dining room table of the farmhouse.
The whole day was totally relaxed and focused around enjoying themselves, the natural beauty of the mountains and celebrating their commitment to one another.
The Ultimate Small Wedding Planning Guide and Checklist