It took more than 10 years of friendship for Jill and Adam to realize that true love was right in front of their eyes. "We met in 2000, when Adam's brother was roommates with one of my childhood best friends," says Jill. "Timing wasn't in our favor until 2013, but at that point it took only 22 months for us to fall in love and get engaged!" While visiting family in West Virginia for the weekend, Adam brought Jill to the highest point on her family's farm, with a 360-degree view of the Greenbrier Valley, and popped the question. "It was the perfect proposal," she remembers. "It was on the farm where we now live, and it was a moment we'll never forget."
While the bride is a family physician, her parents own The Greenbrier, an 11,000-acre resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, that has been hosting presidents, celebrities, and families in search of incredible getaways since 1778 — not to mention one of our picks for the Best Venues in America! So of course, choosing a venue was easy! In an effort to make the day their own, Adam and Jill skipped the traditional ballrooms in favor of a tented reception on the 17th green of the resort's championship golf course. The ceremony was a chance for Jill's father to complete a project he'd always dreamed of: building the Greenbrier Chapel. "It was finished the night before our wedding, seriously!" says the bride. With a romantic garden party theme and 1,250 guests on the list, Jill and Adam spent a whirlwind seven months planning the wedding of their dreams for September 5, 2015. Take a peek inside this surprisingly intimate celebration on a truly grand scale, photographed by Hopkins Studios, below!
A little bit of everything came together to create Adam and Jill's invitation suite. The Jeep Wagonner save the date, filled with the family dogs, was a nod to the car Jill and Adam restored together. The wedding weekend itinerary included watercolor illustrations by Momental Designs, outlining all of the activities the pair had planned. And the formal invitation? Rose gold embossing and a playful script was the perfect combination of fun and formal. As guests arrived at The Greenbrier, they received welcome boxes with an itinerary, local snacks (including cupcakes from Gobble Cakes), and custom koozies.
Jill and her bridesmaids got ready in the presidential suite, where they stayed for the weekend. The two-story windows and crystal chandeliers were a stunning backdrop for the bride's Tony Ward wedding dress!
The bride rocked crystal-topped Jimmy Choo flats, while the groom paired his tuxedo with a handmade bowtie combining pheasant and guinea feathers.
Jill fell for an embroidered A-line wedding dress with a high collar and cap sleeves. "It looked like lace, but the details were stitched into the fabric," she says. "I had never seen anything like it before!" She added a dramatic 10-foot train to the skirt, a beautiful foil to the simplicity of the dress. "I felt strong and confident, and I knew it was so timeless," she says. Her bridesmaids wore dusty rose J.Crew dresses, topped with lace toppers from BHLDN.
The bridesmaids' bouquets were bundles of dried lavender, tied with gray silk ribbon. Jill carried blush and cream garden roses, Artemisia, seeded eucalyptus, and lavender sprigs, wrapped in silk ribbon. In the center was her grandmother's wedding band, and her mother's bracelet was tied around the stems.
For a dramatic entrance, Jill and her father rode to the chapel in a horse-drawn carriage.
The construction of the chapel was an amazing project, completed in just six months. "My father was able to place the copper cross on the steeple," says the bride. "And our wedding planner and the project manager realized that, at 5:30 p.m. on our wedding day, the sun would be shining directly through the stained glass window and onto the altar."
The aisle was decorated with candles and arrangements of white hydrangeas. "My father wanted to add more flowers, so we had four flower walls flanking the altar, as well as young maple trees surrounded by lush hydrangeas," Jill describes.
The altar featured dozens of pillar candles surrounded by hydrangeas and roses. Jill's childhood reverend performed the ceremony, including a reading from the book of Ruth. "It was extremely meaningful, particularly because both of my late grandmothers were named Ruth," says the bride. Her 10-foot train and floral-edged veil made quite a statement as she walked down the parquet aisle.
After the I do's, the couple and the wedding party took to The Greenbrier's grounds for some totally stunning portraits. "We wanted our wedding day to unfold like a story, with each part of the event being a bit different," says Jill.
Adam and his groomsmen all rocked classic tuxedos to complement both the bridesmaids' gowns and the dramatic venue. Their boutonnieres combined seeded eucalyptus, green wheat and Artemisia, with the groom's flaunting soft white roses. Adds the bride, "Having the Allegheny Mountains in the background was a perfect representation of who we are as a couple and a family."
At the garden party cocktail hour, guests nibbled on miniature BLTs with sugared bacon, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and horseradish red bliss potatoes. "We didn't have space to invite everyone to the ceremony, so half of our guest list went straight to cocktail hour. We had a live event painter illustrate the ceremony, then bring the painting to the entrance of the dinner tent so guests could see our vow exchange," says Jill.
Inside the tent, the couple worked with their planner to create five distinct spaces to accommodate all of their guests. "We named each section after the flowers of West Virginia, then had tables simply numbered 1-25," says Jill. They placed poster-sized boards at the entrance of the tent to help guests find their table. With a neutral palette of blush and ivory, tables were topped with a variety of textured linens, with flower arrangements combining roses, dahlias, astilbe, amaranthus, dusty miller, and hydrangeas in ivory, blush, and pink.
In the main tent, the head table was set beneath a hanging arrangement of lush blooms and strands of crystals. As a centerpiece, the blush lace linens were covered with a floral garden of roses, hydrangeas, and astilbe.
The bride and groom's table featured pink dishes accented with flowers and rimmed in gold. Each table featured a display of West Virginia antipasto, including shaved Virginia ham and pimento cheese spread. The elaborate food stations displayed the couple's favorite comfort food, from filet mignon with wild mushrooms to lobster whipped potatoes (a specialty at Prime 44, one of The Greenbrier's restaurants).
"Since we knew our guests would be spending most of the night In the reception tent, we wanted to make the space warm and inviting — with a touch of romance!" says Jill.
The blush wedding cake was decorated with fresh roses and a miniature version of the couple's pup, Molly. The cake itself was a crème brûlée cake (a recipe from Gobble Cakes!), served with Greenbrier peaches and whipped cream.
After the cake cutting and first dance, the bride's father had a surprise for everyone: A live performance by Lionel Richie! "My dad had started making arrangements to have Lionel Richie play shortly after we got engaged, and that was before I'd chosen one of his songs for our father-daughter dance," Jill explains. After the father-daughter dance and a set of his hits, Lionel left the stage and Party on the Moon took over. "They were incredible!" says the bride.
With a wedding on such an incredible scale, Jill knew having an amazing team was what she needed to make it all happen. "Maren and the team at Greenbrier were vital to our wedding's success. They were so creative, and made sure every single tiny detail was taken care of."
Venue, Catering, & Cake: The Greenbrier || Wedding Planner: Maren White, The Greenbrier || Bride's Wedding Dress: Tony Ward || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Studio G Hair Salon || Makeup: Lou Stevens Glam Squad || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew; BHLDN || Groom's Attire: Hart Schaffner Marx || Engagement Ring: Lewisburg Diamond and Gold || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Floral Designer & Rentals: Gillespie's || Invitations & Paper Goods: Low Country Paper Co.; Momental Designs || Music: Equinox Orchestra; Party on the Moon || Tent: Select Event Group || Videographer: Life Stage Films || Photographer: Hopkins Studios
Watch another couple say I do in neighboring Virginia in the video below.