Kelley & JeffOctober 1, 2016
From the Mother of the Groom, Barb Lundgren: October 1st was THE wedding of 2016! I do not mean in any way to take away from all of the beautiful and wonderful couples we have worked with. However, this was the day my youngest son was married – my baby boy (he loves that).
Having a future mother-in-law for a wedding planner could be ideal or, well, it could be problematic. In our case, it was a true blessing for all of us. Kelley and I had actually started planning long before Jeff popped the question. How silly of us! No, we didn't have the whole thing planned out, but we had definitely talked about what we would do "when the time comes." And when the time came, we were so ready!
Kelley’s Mom was grateful, since this is her only daughter, and she claimed to be clueless to any first steps. What fun this was going to be for me! I could enjoy all the planning and then hand the reins to my staff to celebrate and enjoy the way a parent should – the way I always advise my client parents to do.
Enough about that. Let's talk about the wedding!
Kelley and Jeff were planning from a distance, but the venues were in Jeff’s hometown of Charlottesville, where I have been planning events for nearly 20 years. We had about 18 months to plan, and Kelley was wasting no time.
Jeff could not quite understand the "hurry" and thought we were too far ahead. But Kelley wanted to enjoy the planning process. As it turned out, we got the major items out of the way, so they could take a break for the spring and summer months.
First came the venue, and we had a short list. We made a weekend adventure of shopping with Kelley’s parents – but we had only visited two locations when they made their choice of Trump Hall. For many reasons, this was the obvious choice, and not only for its beauty and amenities. The farm estate had history for Jeff.
I worked on this property under previous owner John Kluge, and as a little boy Jeff got off the school bus there. We were there for ten years, and Jeff’s brothers and sister-in-law also took jobs there over that time. And more recently, in May 2015, Jeff surprised Kelley at the Trump tasting room to pop the question.
Every aspect of the wedding fell together into Kelley’s vision as they shopped for the perfect team of vendors who not only fit the mold for her and Jeff, but for the venue and its beauty.
Wedding week was finally here, and the most important vow the families took together was “don’t blink.”
Jeff and Kelley arrived in Charlottesville on Wednesday, and it was “that day.” Everyone has it: the day during wedding week when everything seems to be going wrong, and you begin to wonder why you ever went to all of this trouble and expense. My experience playing the “fairy godmother” as a planner and also a mom paid off, as we worked together to get things in perspective.
Lots of errands, hustling and bustling around the house, unpacking, re-packing... it was an amazing blend of happiness and chaos. Two families coming together and bonding for the future. In all of my years of putting weddings together, this was a new experience for me, and we were all having the time of our lives.
Friday came, with plans for picking up dresses, manicures, pedicures, and a winery bridesmaids luncheon complete with gift bags for all. The Moms were treated to their own extra large wine glasses – imprinted with “Mother of the Bride” and “Mother of the Groom” – to enjoy at all of the weekend events.
It was a cloudy, rainy week, and the rehearsal was done under rain plan. Of all the things that might have stressed Kelley, I never heard her mention the weather. This is the sign of a strong bride: she knows what she absolutely cannot control.
The other good sign is when you get to a point where the couple lets go of all of those tiny things that were stressing them out weeks before. Jeff and Kelley were ready to be married, and it was all about the strength of their marriage. They were surrounded by the closest of family and friends. That was all that mattered.
Wedding day dawned with more clouds and drizzle. The bride and bridesmaids arrived at the family farm for a mimosa brunch and a full morning of hair styling and make-up. The guys were on another part of the farm shooting skeet until time for everyone to travel to Trump Hall, where the bridal party dressed and prepared for the First Look.
Kelley and her parents, Sandi and Steve, are very emotional, and one of their worries as the day got closer was how to get through without tearing up at every turn. Steve, in his infinite wit, took care of breaking the emotional strain by showing up for Dad’s first look with an unexpected prop.
Did I mention clouds and drizzle? Just hours before the ceremony, the clouds parted, and the sky filled with the most beautiful fluffy formations in baby blue skies… perfect! And the perfection continued throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.
The bride and groom met in the Albemarle Estate garden for their First Look. No two were ever so stunning or so in love.
Finally, it was time to make it official. With the perfect backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the dream wedding was happening.
What a gorgeous bridal party! Kelley was a vision, and you could see it in Jeff’s eyes as he watched her down the aisle. With their best friends and families taking part, at last they were married.
The meal was perfection in its own right. And the night only got better, with hilarious toasts by Kelley’s maid of honor Kendra, Jeff’s brothers and best men Keith and Gary, and Kelley’s brother Parker. The cake cutting was also entertaining, as Kelley led in the thank yous to her parents.
Time for dancing – starting with a touching Father-Daughter dance. Kelley's Dad surprised her with the Elton John song “You Will Be Blessed.” Jeff and I could not do the traditional sentimental stuff that sons usually do for Moms… I requested “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns & Roses. He started with air guitar, and I joined in! And who was the most entertaining on the dance floor but the Junior Groomsman, Jeff’s nephew Trenton, who at one time challenged the AGR Frat boys in a dance off.
A sparkler exit and they were on their way in Jeff’s Ford 150, now decorated by “friends” and family.
We didn’t blink… we savored every moment and every experience. Every effort was worth it, and we would do it all over again. We love you Jeff and Kelley.
Event Planning and Coordination: Barb Wired Event Management
Barb Wired Team: Iris, Lauren & Vicki
Venue: Trump Winery
Photography: Kate Supa
Hair: Brianna B. Adams
Make-up: Samantha Vignoe
Floral décor: Blue Ridge Floral Design
Catering: Eric Stamer
Rentals: MS Events
Cake: Albemarle Baking Company
Ceremony, Cocktails & Reception Music: DJ Derek Tobler