Compared to 2016, we’ve had a very small wedding year—only five that we’ve attended, three of which were local—which made our October trip to Virginia even more special.
We met Andrew and Jane on Semester at Sea in 2011, and they quickly became part of our tribe: We traveled together in many countries in which we docked and have seen them multiple times on past Virginia trips and one jaunt to Asheville in the five years since we’ve been back.
So when we heard they’d be getting married on a beautiful fall weekend in Virginia’s Wine Country, there was no question if we’d be attending.
When in Charlottesville, we typically crash with our good pals Layne and Brian, who have appeared many times on this blog, but they recently relocated to Fort Collins—we’re actually visiting them next month if you have any tips!—so the four of us rented an Airbnb cottage in Keswick, about 10 miles from the wedding site.
While I can’t say I recommend the property itself, the area was a great one to base ourselves in because of the easy access to wineries and other key attractions in the region.
We started our weekend with a little tour of Wine Country, a route we’d done before, but with more than 280 wineries in the region, we’ve barely made it to two percent of them and will always have new spots to hit up.
This time, it was Blenheim, a winery owned and run by Dave Matthews and his family, and the 90’s teen in me couldn’t contain my glee. We did a tasting, which was $10 a person, and loved the chardonnays so much, we wound up buying a bottle of each.
Then brunch at Restoration because that’s always something you should do. This country club and restaurant just west of Charlottesville boasts a sweeping view of the mountains around and is surrounded by a well-manicured golf course, so it’s the perfect spot to dine al fresco.
Apple cider mimosas are something I need to incorporate into my regular weekend brunching schedule.
Last year when we stayed at Keswick Hall for five days, one of those afternoons was spent in Crozet, and I can see why it’s Layne and Brian’s favorite wine country town; it’s so charming and laid back, which to be honest, could be the slogan for this somewhat sleepy region in Virginia.
We rounded out our afternoon with a trip to Starr Hill to taste what’s new at this favorite brewery of ours.
Then, it was time to go back to our sketch Airbnb and get fancy for the night.
Despite a wet, cold weekend—an anomaly in this 80- and 90-degree fall the South has been having—the showers abated just moments before we drove out to the ceremony, the sun peeked through the clouds, and Andrew and Jane did not have to revert to their rain plan after all.
No, but seriously, how good-looking are our dates?
The drive out to Gordonsville was a scenic one peppered with small towns, wineries and rolling hills. Andrew and Jane had the ceremony on the lawn of Wolf Trap Farm with the reception in the barn around back.
The ceremony was short and incredibly sweet, just like the couple themselves, and the tears started flowing down this cold-hearted girl’s cheeks the moment Andrew choked up while saying his vows.
Despite the ominous forecast earlier in the afternoon, everything about the day was absolutely perfect, right down to the ginger ring bearer who I wanted to kidnap and take home with me. Before dinner, we all had cocktail hour on the lawn in front of the barn, as Mother Nature granted us one spectacular sunset.
Dinner in the barn was one of the most delicious wedding meals I’ve ever had, and we were seated at the Semester at Sea table where we got to catch up with other long-lost pals Lauren, James, Lindsey and Chris, the latter of whom had also been the stars of their own wine country wedding the previous weekend.
What I’ve always loved about this particular pair is that no one laughs harder than Andrew or is more go-with-the-flow laid-back than Jane; together, they’re the perfect amalgamation, the life of every party. Their wedding reflected this shared fun-loving nature and very quickly turned into an all-out dance club.
One of the best parts about weddings, I think, is the melding of friends and family from all over the world. I always love meeting those from the couple’s many other lives, if you want to call them that, who have known them in different phases and have shaped the people they have become.
Andrew and Jane’s posse was every bit as awesome as them, and we came home having made a handful of new friends during our brief 36 hours in Charlottesville.