Orange, Pink and Red Brought a Sunset-Inspired Vibe to This Backyard Wedding in Norfolk, Virginia

Hunter and Rich initially planned to tie the knot in Lake Tahoe, California, but as a result of the COVOD-19 pandemic the duo pivoted their wedding pl

Hunter and Rich initially planned to tie the knot in Lake Tahoe, California, but as a result of the COVOD-19 pandemic the duo pivoted their wedding plans and ended up celebrating their union with a backyard wedding in Norfolk, Virginia inspired by the vibrant hues seen as the sun goes down. "We spent almost 2 years planning our wedding to be held in Lake Tahoe, California, where I had been a wedding planner for the last 10 years. During COVID we waited as long as possible before we canceled the wedding," explains Hunger. "After watching the cases, restrictions on social gatherings and travel needs we decided in July 2020 due to restrictions and safety that traveling to Tahoe was no longer going to be an option. Six weeks before the wedding we decided to move the celebration to Virginia and re-plan the wedding. The original inspiration was sunset in the mountains, so we really tried to transfer that same style to our riverfront location in Virginia. I knew with six weeks to go, it would be best to try and use the same style and design as close as I could instead of fully re-imagining the whole weekend. We used the colors of the alpenglow sunset for the invitations and flowers, originally designed to pop off the blues and greens of Lake Tahoe. We also really wanted to be immersed in nature and let the color and celebration pop off those natural colors. Once we decided to move, I tried to keep the same ideas but had to adjust from a more bohemian style to modern based on the availability of rentals in our area." Although Hunter and Rich's wedding involved lots of last-minute changes, the colorful celebration that they pulled together ended up being absolutely stunning. 

Beyond just planning a visually appealing wedding, the duo threaded personalization and meaning throughout the day as well. "We did not have any specific cultural or religious traditions, but we did get married on my husband’s grandparent’s 70th wedding anniversary. I was the 23rd bride to wear the 1900s french dot lace wedding veil in the ceremony and I had my great grandmother’s wedding pin on my bouquet." In the end, even the couple's venue choice was an especially meaningful one. "Although it was a total change of plan, getting married in Rich’s parent’s backyard was really very special. We spent so much time there as teenagers when we first dated, it really felt like the perfect venue to get married and officially bring our families together."

The success of the couple's wedding, despite all the changes, is a testament to the strong team of vendors they gathered for the job. "Our dear friends from Napa, Morgan and Irma Robinson were always going to be our caterer and when we decided to move the wedding they were the first call. They said they wouldn’t miss it and we proceeded to figure out a plan to have them provide the catering and almost the exact same menu in Virginia. They flew in on Tuesday and we set up a full outdoor kitchen at the venue. Morgan shipped some products from California and was able to source some locally in Virginia. We pooled resources from our contacts in local hotels & restaurants and pulled together a front and back-of-house staff. Morgan is the best and the wedding would not have been the same without him. His wife Irma runs their front of house and we had total trust in her to bring our vision to life even with the travel and last-minute changes and working with a brand new team of staff and vendors. They are truly a dream team. The bucket of fried chicken that Irma brought out to Rich and me on the pier during cocktail hour was one of the best bites of food I have ever tasted, second only to the bite of caviar and burrata that was a surprise wedding gift from Morgan and Irma right after the ceremony." 

As a wedding professional herself, Hunter explains that she, "really tried to follow the advice I used to give to my clients while being on the other side of the aisle this time as the bride. It was really important to that Rich and I sat down after we got engaged and discussed what was really important to each of us about the wedding. We sat down with our parents to find out what was really important to them, and we tried to make the planning and priorities based on those items. Just like in life, there are always going to be changes that happen at the last minute during the wedding and you just have to roll with it. At the end of the day, it’s just a big party so make sure you are having fun planning it and remember you are there to celebrate love. Don’t get lost in the details and logistics and forget to have fun planning it and while you are there. The day goes by so quickly, I already feel like the wedding was 10 years ago. The best thing we did was sit alone out on the pier for a glass of champagne and a few pieces of fried chicken to enjoy some time after the ceremony alone together, to slow down and enjoy a few moments during the whirlwind of the day." 

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