The Tropics Came to Virginia for This Wedding at Pippin Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia
Ali and Jake "got married in Charlottesville at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards, a winery with sweeping views of Blue Ridge Mountains and the Virginia Piedmont." However, the couple brought an out-of-the-box twist to their wedding down south. "Most weddings in Charlottesville are traditionally southern. But we aren't a traditional southern couple. Ali is from New Jersey, Jake is from Utah, we met on the California coast, and we're both Jewish and Filipino. Our goal was to create a design as modern as our relationship. Rather than start from a specific color palette or motif, we approached planning with our purpose in mind—to have a modern wedding in a traditional place," says Ali of the twosome's decidedly tropical and contemporary celebration. As an homage to Ali's Filipino heritage, the couple decided to add a tropical twist to their otherwise modern vineyard affair. "We both preferred to highlight greenery and use white florals as the accents. This was exhibited in our hanging centerpiece over the main table as well as the unique floral arrangements on each of the guest tables. The bride's bouquet was left largely up to the floral designers, who made the bouquet vibrant, elegant, modern, yet still understated," the couple recalls.
Because of rain, the couple's outdoor ceremony kicking off their wedding day nearly didn't happen. "Pippin's grass was too wet to use their usual lawn, so for the first time ever, they arranged our ceremony below a sweeping, bending path of hydrangeas," says Ali. "Jake's best friend, grandma Meme, walked him to the Chuppah as a string trio played her favorite song, 'What A Wonderful World.' Always the crowd-pleaser, she winked at family and friends. Ali walked alone down the hydrangea path to 'Can't Help Falling in Love.' It was a dramatic entrance, and Jake cried enough for the whole audience. The mist and fog burned off the mountains as Ali walked, and the sun peeked through the clouds for the first time all day. At the top and bottom of the hydrangeas, Jake arranged photos of Ali and her dad, Harry, who died when Ali was nine, on wine barrels with candles, so that he could 'walk' down the aisle with her. We also left an empty chair for Harry in the front row, next to Ali's grandma, who rested her hand across it throughout the ceremony. On the chair we placed a single, long-stemmed flower and a drawing based on Ali's favorite photo with her dad. The ceremony itself incorporated a few reform Jewish traditions," shares the couple.
Following Ali and Jake's wedding ceremony in the hydrangea grove at Pippin Hill, guests entered the barn for a reception with a "modern look in a traditionally rustic setting. We wanted to utilize greenery and contrast that with acrylic for texture and neutrals for color. We loved the pink velvet lounge area we set up for our guests to relax after dinner." However, beyond the stunning décor, the real highlight of the evening was the couple's "surprise Silent Disco we had for our guests. The party moved from inside to the gorgeous outdoor space at Pippin. Seeing the lights of the headphones contrasted with the silence of the night was such an unforgettable part of the night. It also allowed many of our guests who did not know each other to break the ice and celebrate together when they noticed that they were listening to the same 'station' on their head phones. After the silent disco, we served late night snacks. The paella cups (Jake and chef Ian's unique creation) and grilled cheese toasties were a hit after a long outdoor, silent disco dancing spell," recalls Ali.
As for advice for current to-be-weds, the couple urges others to remember that "your wedding day flies by fast. You spend months planning it, then, like that, it's over. In the moment, try to remember every moment—and not just the big ones, but the fleeting ones. Hold onto the way your mom grabbed your hand as you left the aisle with your partner to 'Here Comes the Sun.' How sweet it felt to watch everyone watch your partner dance. The split-second when you caught an old friend's eye during dinner and shared a smile that only old friends can share, as if to say 'hey, would you look at us now?' The many times heard your groomsmen crying too loudly and randomly clapping during the ceremony. The way your grandma stole the show with smiles and winks, crowd-pleaser that she is, or rested her hand across your dad's empty chair, as if she were holding his hand. Or how it felt to watch your loved ones talk, laugh, eat, drink, and cry together. These moments make all the difference. The point is—don't get caught up in the moment. Notice the moments instead."