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Ashley Amey and John Alrich-Altman exchange vows at the wedding arbor between symmetrical rows of trees at Tuckahoe Plantation.
Photos by Don Mears Photography
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Ashley chose to carry a small cluster of pink calla lilies, while her bridesmaids’ flowers were white.
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The wedding was scheduled for spring rather than fall in part to avoid conflict with football games at the University of Virginia, John’s alma mater.
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The couple met on an eHarmony date on St. Patrick's Day 2011, and got engaged about a year later.
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Guests dined on Virginia foods and wines produced from the western mountains to the Eastern Shore.
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Expectations were modest, but results were high for John and Ashley’s initial date at Café Caturra.
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The patterned dresses by Donna Karan were decidedly un-bridesmaid-like.
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Ashley’s disdain for the usual wedding tradition resulted in an all-Key lime pie reception dessert.
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Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen brought its donut truck and Blanchard’s Coffee Co. served java.
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Ashley Amey perfected every detail of her oh-so-Virginia wedding to John Alrich-Altman, from Mrs. Yoder’s glazed donuts and Blanchard’s Coffee Co. coffee after the reception to the Route 11 potato chips in guests’ welcome bags.
The one factor the self-professed control freak couldn’t orchestrate was the weather. “I was concerned about rain,” Ashley said, echoing the lament of every bride who plans an outdoor wedding. “The forecast was for a 60- to 70-percent chance of rain.”
But the staff at the ceremony and reception site, historic Tuckahoe Plantation, all but guaranteed it wouldn’t rain. “They told us to go out a month to the day before the wedding,” John said. “Behind the arbor, we were to bury a bottle of bourbon. On the morning of the wedding, they said to dig it up and take a drink.”
After a storm drenched the rehearsal, the couple thought the ceremony was doomed. But the next morning, John dug the bourbon from the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home, took a swig and the day turned out sunny with a few clouds.
Ashley and John planned a theme that showcased Virginia. About 200 guests dined on crab cakes, country ham biscuits, shrimp-and-grits, and six Virginia wines. Their must-have list included a live band, a full bar and no cake — “I hate cake,” Ashley says. Key lime pie was served instead, perched on vintage milk-glass cake stands.
Keeping the wedding casual, but sophisticated was another of Ashley’s priorities. Simplicity and practicality dictated the formalwear. Ashley’s gown was from J. Crew. Bridesmaids’ dresses were orange, pink, navy and cream Donna Karan designs from Nordstrom — easily worn again. The groomsmen went preppy in khakis and navy blazers.
“Good food, good wine, good band, a good time,” John said — and no rain.
Wedding Planner: Jennifer McBride for McBride Events
Dessert: Pies by MOSAIC and doughnuts by Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen
Reception Band: Attraction
Hair and makeup: Shannon at CeCo Salon
Groom’s attire: Franco’s Fine Clothier