By Heather Lipp, J. Morris Flowers
Danielle Tatchio had just completed her Master’s degree in US Foreign Policies with a specialty in National Securities Studies at American University when her husband, Kevin, proposed in early 2013. The first step was to look for a venue. “I knew that I wanted to be married outdoors. I wasn’t looking for something super glamorous and ritzy, Kevin and I wanted to be able to celebrate with friends and family in a natural setting.” Danielle visited a lot of vineyards and barns including Riverside On The Potomac in Leesburg. “I loved Suzi and Delia Anne and the fact that there was always someone on site. We were excited to have Delia Anne as our wedding coordinator.”
Danielle joined the Navy in 2014, attended Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island, and became fully engaged in the process of earning her “wings” (a warfare pin that shows a candidate is qualified to be a Naval Flight Officer). She was commissioned in January of 2015. “So, it became an interesting process. We weren’t getting married until 2016 and my primary goal before I left the area was to find a venue and then build plans from there.” Once Danielle began her flight training, it was really hard for her to get leave to return to Northern Virginia. “My mom, who lives in Michigan, was much more involved in the logistical part of my wedding plans because I couldn’t get to some of the appointments. She followed up with a lot of the vendors for me. We knew that if we put time in to finding vendors that had a lot of expertise we could rely on them to do what they do best. I tried to stay pretty relaxed in the process.”
Jennifer, owner of J. Morris Flowers, and Danielle had to have their initial consultation over the phone. According to Danielle, “I would not call myself a flower person though I can point out most recognizable flowers. I really did rely on Jennifer and her staff and their knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Jennifer led the conversation, asking me a lot of questions and probing for the vision that I had for my wedding. We exchanged ideas and photos in follow-up emails, but once I realized that she had a sense for what I was thinking I wanted to give her the freedom to go for it. Jennifer’s life is about flowers and I wanted her to express herself.” Jennifer did meet with Danielle’s mom as she stood in for her during meetings with some of the vendors they partnered with.
Danielle didn’t choose a theme for her wedding and admits that she didn’t decide on any specific colors until much later in her planning. She describes the style for her wedding with three words “natural,” “rustic” and “vintage.” Her goal was to choose a wedding style that reflected her own tastes as well as Kevin’s. “I wanted the wedding décor to be romantic, but not too feminine. That’s why I liked the idea of natural arrangements and accents for a very natural setting.” She was really excited about the succulent that cascades from her bridal bouquet (shown here). “Jennifer and I discussed the natural and authentic look I was trying to achieve; I told her that I really liked the look of succulents. In fact, we used a montage of flowers and greenery including succulents for our wedding invitations, place cards and thank you notes.
“I don’t know that I ever selected wedding colors. They ended up being the dark, rich green of the dresses and grey; colors that feel natural together. I wanted the color of the flowers to stand out and I really agonized over the color of the bridesmaid dresses.” Danielle had considered ivory, grey and coral and mentioned that choosing the colors was harder than she expected. “I chose the deeper green because I thought it would look good with the flowers and because I thought it would complement my bridesmaids.”
The bridal bouquet is a hand-tied, loose, cascading style. Danielle described what she was looking for. “Most importantly, I wanted the flowers and greenery to be authentic to the setting; not super structured. I wanted them to look like someone had swept them up from a field and gathered them in. The greenery was very important to me. Jennifer and I had talked about bigger, softer blooms, and I definitely let her select the flower varieties. They turned out looking really vintage and the greenery in the bouquet allowed it to feel very natural.”
The Chuppah and Hanging Chandeliers are examples of unique floral pieces that brides and grooms can use to really make their wedding day personal. Jennifer and Danielle collaborated to create floral elements that suited the barn at the Riverside On The Potomac. Danielle asked her best friend’s dad to build the Chuppah for her based on some pictures that she had. “He is a wonderfully interesting and talented person. He’s the kind of guy who wakes up in the morning and just goes and goes and goes.” Next, she sent Jennifer pictures of florals for Chuppahs that she liked and didn’t like. “I wanted the arrangements for the Chuppah to be asymmetrical, not just balls of flowers and I wanted them to cascade naturally. Jennifer got the idea and I loved the results.”
Danielle and Kevin were pleased with the impact of the Hanging Chandeliers. Danielle explains, “They provided an extra dimension and gave the impression that the flowers weren’t just on the table but all over the room. They drew your eye up and in to the beautiful ceiling, really complimenting the natural beauty of the barn.”
According to Danielle, “The, long wooden tables needed something that might be on a farm house table.” Jennifer and team used long, low wooden boxes, lanterns (complying with open candle codes) surrounded by mounded flowers and bud vase accent pieces to create that authentic and vintage look.
Brides spend a lot of the planning process collecting ideas and photos that help them make their final selections. While Danielle used Pinterest a little, she really focused on looking at photo montages or stories that showed complete weddings. “I focused on the different elements that couples were choosing and how they worked, or occasionally didn’t work, for that particular venue.”
Heather’s note: I had the privilege of interviewing Danielle on a sunny, warm Sunday, September 11. It was a quiet passing of another anniversary. I asked Danielle how being in the military affected her feelings about this day. “It’s a very significant day in the military. My husband is also in the Navy, and his whole ship gathered for a special morning colors ceremony as a remembrance.”
Jennifer and her team at J. Morris Flowers offer a heart-felt note of thanks to Kevin, Danielle and all of the men and women who serve, and who have served this country.