I’ve lived in Charlottesville, Virginia since 1996, with the exception of the two years I was in graduate school and the one year I spent in Australia. I love Charlottesville. The city has been consistently recognized as a delicious, smart, beautiful, and all-around great place to live.
Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia. UVA is not only my alma mater, but also where I’ve worked for a collective eight years. This summer Forbes and The Huffington Post (UK) recognized UVA for having one of the most beautiful college campuses, and the university consistently ranks in the top three public universities in the country. I love UVA too.
For our May 4 wedding, Gav and I had our ceremony at UVA in one of the 10 gardens that surround the historical Academical Village. As a UVA alumna and employee, I reserved Garden IX for free, and we were blessed with the perfect spring day for a wedding celebration.
Before our wedding day, Gav and I explored the University, the Corner, and the Downtown Mall with our fantastic friend and wedding photographer Allison Suter.
One of the beautiful gardens
South Lawn side of the Rotunda
On May 3, we met with family, the wedding party (half had just flown in from England!), and our pastor for a rehearsal in Garden IX.
And on May 4, we gathered with a small group of family and friends from across the USA and around the world (one friend flew in from Japan!).
The gals and I got ready in one of the newest buildings on Grounds, with ample natural light and a beautiful interior.
Gav and the groomsmen arrived an hour before we planned to start our pre-ceremony photos to check in on the ceremony set up.
Two and a half hours before the ceremony, Gav and I met for our “first look”. If you’re familiar with the University, we’re on a staircase between Wilson, New Cabell, and Rouss & Robertson Halls.
I’ve always loved the columns found around the university, especially those on the Lawn. The Lawn is one of the most special spots on Grounds. Before your first day of class at UVA, you gather on the Lawn with your new class for Convocation. Then, just shy of four years later, your class gathers again to walk the length of the Lawn for graduation.
Some girls can rock heels. I can only manage a few steps. Add brick sidewalks, gardens, and the Lawn. Wedge flip flops FTW.
The Rotunda has been under significant construction for months. The copper dome top, signs, and scaffolding are all temporary, but they’ll forever more be part of our wedding day. We had to have a photo of the Rotunda from the south side!
After our first look, eight wonderful friends joined us on the north side of the Rotunda for photos before we all returned to Garden IX for an afternoon ceremony.
Before we departed from the UVA Grounds and traveled north for our reception, our parents and siblings joined us in a nearby garden for family portraits. In addition to our wedding, we saw two other ceremonies taking place in the gardens!
We loved having a couples shoot and our ceremony in Charlottesville, especially at the University of Virginia. Both places are near and dear to my heart, and Gav has embraced both as well.
If you missed the previous post, check out how we incorporated Star Wars into our wedding. We’re geeks like that. In the next wedding post, I’m going to highlight another of my favorite themes from our special day.