Chelsea & Pretlow
January 1, 2015
How did you meet?
We met at a wedding in my hometown, Fredericksburg, VA. I was a friend of the bride, and he was a friend of the groom. The bride said to me that night, “I met my husband at a wedding, and now you probably have, too!” I didn’t believe her! But, as fate would have it, she was right. We stayed together after our first date following the wedding for 4 years before he popped the question.
How did he ask?
He proposed to me on my birthday, Halloween, at my birthday party, in fact. We were dressed in costume like Dr. John Thackery and Nurse Lucy Elkins from the Cinemax show called “the Knick,” so it was extra surreal. All of my dearest friends and my family were there for my party; they were part of the fun, too. Pretlow was trying to make a speech, but there was so much commotion, he almost couldn’t get a word in. Then he “gave me my first birthday present,” and got down on one knee, stethoscope and all. I just cried and cried … and said yes, of course!
Why did you pick the venues that you chose?
I wanted a glowing, intimate atmosphere for my wedding. I immediately thought of the gorgeous Balliceaux restaurant. It was the first place Pretlow and I ate together in Richmond, and it was ideal for the guest count of 48 and thankfully, our budget. The restaurant provided the ceremony site, reception space, set up and clean up services, the incredible, tailored menu, the full bar, and the staff! THE STAFF WERE AMAZING. It was a one-stop shop for all my wedding needs.
Richmond, with its strong feeling of community and arsenal of small businesses, is home to the off-beat bride and groom in Virginia. Pretlow and I took our wedding as an opportunity to personalize the experience and showcase the town we love. We created a master list of hotspots in RVA for our guests. This list included our neighborhood haunts, like Lamplighter, The Cask, the VMFA, the Bryd Theater, and Bryd Park, among others. Also inside our guests’ goodie bags at the hotel, we shared Rostov’s coffee (Viennese blend à la Weezie’s Kitchen), and cute RVA coasters from Tweed.
What inspired your wedding décor? Did you have a theme in mind?
For me it was a no-brainer. It was a New Year’s Day wedding. New Year’s = Sparkle! The holidays are a great time to shop for inexpensive metallic decor, too. I chose my color scheme — metallics like silver, gold, and rose gold — without having to even think about it! I bought sparkly wrapping paper at the store for $5 a roll, and used it to cover all the tables. It also provided endless hours of entertainment when our guests started to glitter bomb one another by rubbing the glitter on each other. It was a glowing winter wonderland in a RVA-chic location. Simple, yet fabulous.
One of the best parts of our wedding was our decision to have our favorite flavor cakes from WPA Bakery: pistachio, raspberry white chocolate, and hummingbird cake. There was no cake left at the end!
Which part of your wedding did you want to WOW your guests?
Pretlow and I did away with most traditional aspects of getting married. We were actually married on the front porch of our W Main St. apartment long before our New Year’s Day wedding. Thus, our dear and hilarious friend, without becoming a legal officiant, was able to perform a very memorable, tear-filled ceremony. Our Sheltie puppy, Rosie, also played a role in our ceremony by helping to dramatize one of our readings, “How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali.
With only 48 guests, the size of our wedding was intimate. I was able to enjoy a genuine conversation with each and every one of our guests, most of whom had traveled great distances to attend. In the background, the jazzy sounds of the Rick Rieger Quartet delighted us all. With the jazz quartet, I surprised my husband by serenading him with a rendition of “Old Black Magic,” too! I felt like Queen of the Day!
As the guests finished their meals, the real fun began. We played bride and groom trivia with each table being a team; of course, the parents’ table won! We hooked up the laptop to the restaurant’s sound system as the band finished, and danced like maniacs into the wee hours of the morning. It was the best day of my husband and I’s life, and our wonderful city, Richmond, was vital to making it so.
What was your absolute favorite part of the day? Does your groom have a different favorite?
For me, watching my new husband bribe the bartender to keep playing music, and dancing like a maniac until 2am.
For the groom, he loved when his new bride sang a song to him.
Photography: 88 Love Stories
Venue & Catering: Balliceaux
Band: Rick Rieger Quartet
Wedding Design: Illumination Events Studio
Rentals: Mosaic Catering + Events
Sign Art: Cassandra Loomis
Florist: Petals & Twigs
Cake: WPA Bakery
Makeup: BRIDEface Richmond
Hair: Elle Style Studio
Suit & Accoutrement: Men’s Wearhouse
Accommodations: DoubleTree Hilton Richmond Downtown