An Elegant Nautical Naval Wedding at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Zach (35 and a naval aviator, Lieutenant) and Monica (35 and a Navy supply officer, Lieutenant Commander) ran into each other while stationed on the same ship, but they didn't go on a date until two years later when they met through a dating website. Monica says she fell for the chocolate lab in one of his profile pictures. Though communicating via email, they soon realized that they had been deployed together and instantly remembered having met on the ship. They dated for ten months, a few of which were long distance when Monica moved to North Carolina to pursue her MBA at Duke. During her first stressful semester, Zach took her on a trip to the Biltmore Estate, where they rode in a hot air balloon before taking a tour of the mansion. At the very top, underneath the American flag, Zach proposed--and even had a photographer standing by to preserve the memory. The two naval officers appropriately decided on a classic nautical wedding theme at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club, a private club overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Monica says, "I had always dreamed of getting married on the water, at sunset, acoustic guitar playing, with cafe lights strewn above the cocktail hour and a big white tent for the reception--and the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club had it all!" Luckily, Monica's father (also a naval officer) is a collector of nautical antiques, so he provided almost all of the decor, including oil lanterns, wooden sailor figurines, and Japanese glass fishing floats. For favors and place cards, Monica and Zach gave their guests blue glass sailboat votive candles. Monica carried a blue and purple brooch bouquet to save and pass down as an heirloom. Most significantly, Zach and his squadron built the wedding arch with trees from Zach's farm and decorated it with white fabric with roses and lavender. In keeping with the military theme, the couple surprised their guests with an ice luge in the shape of an F-18 Hornet, the same plane Zach flew in the Navy. "We didn't want any part of our wedding to be traditional or 'cookie-cutter,' so we went to great lengths to personalize our details and ensure the wedding represented us as a couple," Monica explains.