"My most-favorite moment of our beautiful wedding was day was when my Father gave me away to my husband, Monte. I must say, it was at this time, that I truly understood how precious not only “time” in general is; but, even more so, how fast it goes by and how so very important it is to not let time pass by without cherishing and spending time with those you love. Nothing else is more important than letting other aspects of life impede the time spent with those you love. My Dad, who has been a Marine for 30 years, was spotlessly attired in his dress blues, with all his pins gleaning in the sunlight, perfectly polished. My reflection seemed to jump back at me as I looked at his perfectly polished black patent leather shoes. I fondly remembered watching him as a child spending hours shining his pins and shoes as a child before he would go to drill, training, or to one of his 5 deployments to the Middle East. I looked at the face of my Father whom I love so much, noting the same distinct jaw line, the same proud eyes, and his distinct “Miller family” nose that I remember from childhood; however, I saw the lines of time that had passed since I was a child. The dessert sun of the Middle East, the stresses and struggles that he had overcome, and the conflict of trying to balance a military career in addition to career in the business world, while still being a Husband, a Father, a Son, and maintain a sound spiritual life. I also reminisced about some of the happiest times that we had spent together in my childhood. I used to LOVE riding in the front passenger seat of my Dad’s lil Toyota sports car listening to country music with him. He taught me so much; not just through his actions, but even more so in the conversations that we would often share together in his lil red Toyota as were going to and leaving church, or going to the gym together, or meeting Mama after work. That is where I learned about goals, working hard, saving money, the importance of education and studying hard, the importance of maintaining a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I do love him so. I remember softly placing my perfectly colored lips on his now less supple chapped lips, looking into eyes, so full of emotion at this pivotal point in his daughter’s life. Holding back tears, I whispered into his ear, through the same veil that my beautiful Mama wore on the day that she gave her heart to my Father, “I love you”. My perfectly manicured hand left the grasp of my Fathers meticulously starched white gloves into the sweaty; yet so soft hand’s of my best friend, my lover, my rescuer, Monte Ford, my Husband. Unique/Special Traditions • I wore the same wedding veil that my Mother wore when she was married. It is 35 years old. • I wore my Paternal Great Grandmother’s (“ Nannie”) Pearl Necklace • I wore my Maternal Grandmother’s shoes that she wore when she got married. They are sixty year’s old."
From the bride: "I put my now Mother-in-Law’s six pence in my shoe. She put it in her shoe when she married my Husband’s father, forty years ago. It is now a tradition that each bride who marries into my mother-in-law’s family places the same six-pence in their shoe on their wedding day. • My Grandmother in Law gave me the same handkerchief that she used when she got married. My mother-in-law embroidered my maiden initials into it; “AKF” in blue. • Embroidered within my dress was a heart with blue tatting that had my maiden initials and wedding date within it. • I wrote our vows. • Rather than tossing rose petals, I had the flower girls toss white feathers (similar to the one in the movie “Forest Gump”. There was two reasons why I had them do this: #1. Was symbolic of those that have passed, my Paternal Grandfather “Pappy” and my Maternal Grandmother, “Meemaw”. It symbolized that even though these individuals, whom I cherished so much are not physically with me anymore, that they are present, smiling down from heaven, wrapping me in their arms just through the presence of their spirits, symbolized by the delicate floating feathers in the air. “Forest Gump” is one of my most-favorite films because it so beautifully portrays a selfless love. Such a love is the blessing that my husband has so unselfishly given to me. • When our ceremony ended, we had a live butterfly release. This too was a symbol of the spiritual presence of loved one’s who were no longer present and symbolic of Monte and I entering into a new phase of our lives as husband and wife. • Our cake topper was the same one that was atop my Mom & Dad’s wedding cake. A white wedding bell and two white swallows. • As a wedding gift, I gave my husband a black leather men’s jewelry box & and a boxer puppy; whom we later named “Abigail”. Within the jewelry box was a silver heart locket with the words “Poppy” within it. Inside the locket was the picture of our now, “Abigail” She was only 3 weeks old at the time and flown in to Richmond, Va from Missouri on September 7th at 4:30 in the afternoon. This wedding gift was not just a new puppy as a wedding gift. There is much symbolism in this special gift of a new, baby, “puppy boxer” My husband, Monte, adores boxers. He received his first boxer the summer before the start of his junior year. Scarlett was “his #1 girl” for 15 years. She literally went to college with him, experienced frat parties, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and walked with him when he received his Bachelor’s in Biology from Wofford College. Often, people questioned whether Scarlett knew if she was a dog or a person. Usually boxers live to be 12 years old at the most, Scarlett lived to be 15 years old. Everything Monte did, she too did. Scarlett physically left us October 31st, 2011. What a sad day it was. My husband did not want another boxer until we had children; however that would be 5 years down the road. As time passed, my Husband brought up reminiscent memories of Scarlett more and more often each day. Despite Monte saying that he was not ready for another Boxer, I knew that he was ready for another one. My best friend Jeanette delivered his gift to him. When he opened the jewelry box and saw the locket, I must admit, that he was a bit perplexed. When he opened it, and saw the photos of then “Poppy” and photos of her parents. Tears started streaming from his beautiful green eyes. • My “Pappy” passed away on August 2nd, 2012. Pappy was an amazing man. I loved him so, so very much. He loved growing Zinnia’s. I had always admired them from childhood through adulthood. Each one is so, so beautiful; yet, so different. In his memory, a single, pink zinnia was placed in my flower bouquet, the groomsmen and ushers all work a zinnia as a boutonniere, and my Gramma, Pappy’s widow wore a pin full of beautiful Zinnia’s. • The soft light of tea candles illuminated family wedding photos from both sides of our family. The photo’s captured 4 generations of love from both sides of our family Theme, Style, Color Scheme • Theme: Romantic, Whimsical, (inspired by the following films: The Notebook & Forest Gump), Vintage, Southern • Color: Rose • Style: Romantic/Whimsical/Vintage What I Loved Most about Our Wedding Day • What I loved most about our wedding day was the actual ceremony itself. We were married under beautiful European Linden Trees. We rented actual church pews to be placed in the grove. We married at 6:30pm that evening. I must say, thinking back to that day, I could cry tears of joy ……. I remember feeling SO, SO beautiful. More beautiful than I have ever felt or even imagined in my life! I had a bit of nostalgia as my Father, in his military dress blues walked his daughter through the tiny pieces of coarse gravel and onto the lush brilliantly rich green grass. As we were advancing to the grassy aisle, my mind briefly drifted to the realization that I no longer was a child. My how time seems to dissipate over the years. It seemed like yesterday that I was a child playing in the woods with my pony, Princess. As we met the grassy aisle I couldn’t take my eyes off of my husband as I confidently walked into my new life as a married woman. I thought to myself, how did I get so lucky to win my Husband, Monte’s hand in marriage. He smiled, holding back tears. There was a soft whisper of the warm breeze blowing through the bracnhes of the 100 year old Linden Tree’s. I could feel myself being embraced by the smiling faces of all 125 of our guest’s; and I felt the love of my Pappy and Meemaw from heaven above. Spirtually, they embraced me that day. Katydid’s were singing in the warm summer air, a sound that sweetly takes me back to my summer nights as a child running barefoot on my parents farm catching fireflies in a jar to serve as a night light when I would drift off to bed. When I planned our wedding, one of the most-important aspects of the wedding itself was the ceremony. Monte and I have a love that is hard to find nowadays. If one has seen the movie/read the “Notebook”, one can understand what I am aluding to in reference to how he loves me in that he is my “Noah”. Our love is the kind that awakens one’s soul; thus. Enabling us to reach for more; that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds."
Photography: ABI Q PHOTOGRAPHY
Hotel: KESWICK HALL
Venue: CASTLE HILL CIDER // Keswick, Virginia
Event Planning: CCS EVENTS
Band: The Heartbeat of Soul
Hair: Rachel Shrader of AVENUE 42
Makeup: Natalie Gordon of AVENUE 42
Flowers: GM LITTLETON
Dress: MAGGIE SOTTERO
Grooms suit: HAPSEL
Wishbones & Paper Fans: BHLDN
Catering: CATERING BY JILL
Bridesmaids Dresses: ALVINA VALENTA
Cupcakes: Cupcakes by Tiffany