“I was simply blown away.”
Kayla Ward and Andrew Plochan were married April 26, 2019 at Raspberry Plain Manor in Leesburg, Virginia. It rained on their wedding day, something every couple planning an outdoor ceremony anticipates but hopes to avoid. Still, she had this to say about her initial impressions of the fully decorated indoor-ceremony, soon-to-be-reception site. (Kayla was driven to a door that entered into the reception space to avoid the rain and had a preview of the ceremony when she walked in.) “Walking into the venue, I was absolutely blown away by what the J. Morris Flowers design team had created. I had given my contact, Myriam Marquez, inspiration photos and we discussed the designs in-person and over several phone calls, but I had not been able to picture what our wedding ceremony would actually look like. When I walked into Raspberry Plain Manor and saw how beautifully J. Morris Flowers had transformed the space, it brought tears to my eyes. They had captured the essence of what Andrew and I wanted, perfectly. The picture of Andrew and I sharing our first kiss as husband and wife under the beautiful floral arch is something we will cherish for the rest of our lives. It exceeded all of my expectations and set the perfect backdrop for the most important and intimate moment of our lives. Additionally, the staff at J. Morris Flowers had found a way to repurpose so many things so the overall design was both cost efficient and beautiful.”
Of course, the couple was disappointed that the ceremony would have to be indoors but Kayla was relieved that she and Myriam had outlined a detailed rain plan during her follow-up meeting. The plan was to use three elements to frame the couple and officiant. First, a hanging chandelier designed to suspend over the exact spot where the head table would be placed when the room was flipped. Next, the floral materials for the outdoor structure were brought inside where a three-pole frame was raised just behind the hanging installation. The greenery and flowers from this structure would be added to the head table later. Finally, the most personal element, a hand-made cross that was a gift from Kayla’s brother-in-law and his father. Vases of flowers and greenery with ribbons were suspended from the chairs and the tall centerpieces were placed on candlestick stands that lined the aisle.
Neutral and timeless color palette and designs
Kayla knew she wanted a classic, romantic look for their décor. But, she also thought a lot about how things would look in the photographs that would mark the occasion. She explains. “I wanted the colors and style (sic) to be something that I could look back on five and ten years from now and see something more than a trendy color or something I liked at the time. I wanted the flowers to be classic. I also thought a lot about the season and whether I wanted to incorporate the colors of Spring. When I chose the bridesmaid dresses and flowers, I decided to avoid making them look seasonal.” Kayla’s bridesmaids wore a soft grey, a great canvas for flowers, with one exception. Kayla’s sister, her maid of honor, wore a crepe dress with light green and grey flowers.
Color palette is always a big decision for wedding couples. Some couples choose to be married during a season that feels appropriate for the colors they want to use. A spring wedding, for example, can include softer-hued pastels associated with the awakening of local gardens. But, Spring brings lots of strong colors like yellow, purple, red and hot pink, colors that we see from even the earliest bulb flowers. Summer lends itself to vibrant color and yet a softer summer palette can include some extra texture and greenery from softer toned wildflowers. And, yes, we all associate deeper hues with Fall and Winter, but you can choose to soften a fall palette of flowers, especially if your wedding party is wearing a Fall inspired color. In other words, anything goes, anytime. Kayla admits she re-thought her color choices throughout the planning phase. “I thought about adding a bit of color and I love the way a colorful bouquet looks. Somehow, I always came back to the neutral palette.
Raspberry Plain Manor made so much sense for the two big families that would be joined by this union. The couple expected to have 250 guests and wanted to make sure that their reception could be completely inside if necessary. Kayla explains, “Raspberry Plain Manor could accommodate our guest count but it also felt intimate to us. When my husband walked through, he loved that we are both from Virginia, that we live in Northern Virginia and that the house has such an historical feel. We had a lot of family coming in from other states who had never been to Virginia and it’s really a classic home.” Raspberry Plain Manor is just North of Leesburg and is easy to access from Route 15.
Kayla continued to explain why they were so drawn to the venue. “The reception space is beautiful; the windows are nearly floor to ceiling (and the ceiling is vaulted) so you really feel like you are in nature. And, then, contrast that with the hardwood floors. My husband and I had been to 30 weddings prior to looking for our own venue. We were so pleased that when we walked in, the space really wowed us, which was kind of hard to do at that point.” The windows on three sides let in lots of light, contributing to the warmth of the space.
The couple combined florals, candles and personal artifacts to create interest in the parts of the venue that are used for cocktail hour and as overflow as the night continues. “Andrew and I wanted to be really intentional in everything that was there and we wanted it to be representative of us, our relationship and our families. It was meant to be a good reminder about what the day was about. So, we had photographs of our grandparents who had passed. We also went back 150 years on his side and pulled old wedding photos and put those on the bookshelves in place of the books. We even hung a photo that my grandmother had painted above the mantle.”
Kayla explained that the gold chairs, chargers and cutlery were provided by Gala Cuisine, the company that operates Raspberry Plain Manor as well as local venues Fox Chase Manor, Rose Hill Manor and Poplar Springs Inn. The couple chose a combination of tall and low centerpieces. The tall centerpieces were designed so that they would not overwhelm the tables. Lots of artful greens with Hydrangea, Stock, Spray Roses and Lisianthus complete the desired palette. It was important to Andrew that their guests enjoy good visibility when sitting at the tables. The lower centerpiece included a center grouping of flowers and greenery with gold dipped cylinders and gold votives nestled among Eucalyptus and Ruscus greens with white Stock, Spray Roses and Lisianthus. The J. Morris Team helped Kayla and Andrew decide where each centerpiece style would go in the follow-up meeting. Kayla explains, “Our J. Morris Flowers designer, Myriam, told me specifically which tables she wanted to put the centerpieces on to fill the space.”
The Bridal bouquet
Kayla explained that she wanted her bouquet to look like she had gathered beautiful white flowers and greenery herself. “I wanted the bouquet to be loose and resemble wild flowers, but I also wanted it to be classic and elegant. When I sat down with the team during the consultation, I saw flowers I had not really thought of and the input was priceless. I let the designers take creative liberty to bring this arrangement to life, as I trusted the team completely.” Kayla’s bouquet included Ivory Spray Rose, Peony, Lisianthus, Freesia, Ranunculus, Veronica, Olive Branch, Bay Leaf, Nagi and a few other flowers and greens. Designer Myriam Marquez and Kayla talked about limiting the number of larger blooms like Peony so that there was more emphasis on the smaller blooms. “I was looking for a minimalist feel,” Kayla continues, “I didn’t want it to be too overpowering.”
Kayla offered some great advice for other couples facing a laundry list of wedding planning choices. She said. “Stick to your guns. The things I ended up tweaking were the things I was never sure I wanted. Once I talked to you guys (J. Morris Flowers) I began to feel like this is what I always wanted. And, once I stopped thinking about it, I knew I had made the right decision.”