A Botanical-Inspired Wedding at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards


Office romances might be taboo, but for Kathryn Carski and Christopher Fezza, the timing was perfect. “We met in February of 2012 and became close while working at a start-up in D.C.,” she says. “Our relationship evolved into something more, and fortunately, that was right when we ended up getting new jobs!” The couple were together for three years before Kathryn enrolled in business school in New York City. Shortly after moving, Chris planned a trip to Nantucket, which is where he proposed on the beach at sunset.

But long before the proposal, Kathryn visited a friend at the University of Virginia and fell in love with the nearby Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards while there for a wine tasting. “Once Chris and I were engaged, I sent the link to my mom, who quickly rejected the idea of a destination wedding and insisted we find a venue near Baltimore or Annapolis, where I grew up,” says the bride. But Kathryn was persistent and persuaded her mom to visit the venue in person. Over the course of their day at Pippin Hill, Kathryn’s mother slowly warmed up to the idea of having a wedding there—and by the time they headed home, they had booked a date for June 17, 2017!

With so much natural beauty on the property, Kathryn decided to use the venue—which is one of our favorites!—as her inspiration and called on Easton Events and Beehive Events to enhance the setting with botanical details and soft wildflowers. Together, they embraced a blue-gray palette (inspired by the reception's homemade plates) and ultimately created a spectacular “Botticelli Meadow” of blooms for the ceremony and reception. “Pippin Hill is a truly special place that takes your breath away, and we wanted to let that really shine through,” says Kathryn. On the big day, the couple (and their 148 guests) headed to Charlottesville, where Laura Gordon Photography was on hand to capture all the floral-inspired details and special moments. Keep reading for more!

Pippin Hill’s vineyards and forests provided a gorgeous backdrop for portraits. In fact, Kathryn selected the bridesmaids' dresses—a slate blue style by Amsale—to coordinate with the setting.

The bride’s Lela Rose gown was made with an embossed fabric and featured a deep-V neckline with a sheer overlay. "It was unlike anything I had ever seen," says the bride. She paired the classic gown with a bridal bouquet that combined peonies, garden roses, mock orange, asclepias, blueberries, scabiosa, viburnum, and passion vine, all tied with silk ribbon.

The bride had a special "something blue" on her wedding day. “I wore an aquamarine ring that had belonged to my paternal grandmother," she says. "It was a piece I’d always admired, and I loved having her with me on our wedding day.” A piece of her maternal grandmother’s wedding gown was also sewn into her dress’s pocket as an additional "something old" and "something borrowed."

The ceremony took place in a sprawling field, where the altar was framed with gray-washed boxes overflowing with Russian olive, mock orange, spirea, eremerus, Annabel hydrangea, allium, and cotoneaster. “It created a defined space, while still giving guests an incredible view,” says the bride.

Instead of exchanging personal vows during the ceremony, the couple opted to exchange letters with each other beforehand. "We were both worried we might get a bit emotional up there if we read our own vows during the ceremony," says the bride.

After their first kiss, Kathryn and Chis headed down the aisle hand-in-hand as musicians played John Legend's "All of Me" and "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" by Elvis.

During cocktail hour, guests sipped cocktails on the lawn, where they enjoyed fried green tomatoes and mini lobster rolls. “There was a lot of debate over having Maine or Connecticut-style rolls, but Maine’s mayonnaise-dressed version ultimately won out,” Kathryn explains.

Inside the venue's indoor barn space, the couple incorporated details—like escort cards tucked into boxes filled with fragrant lavender—inspired by the outdoor meadow.

Guests were welcomed with a gorgeous arbor featuring Russian olive, cotoneaster, garden spray roses, and peonies. This statement flower moment framed the entrance to the reception space, where a mix of round and rectangular tables were arranged beneath glowing chandeliers.

Long farm tables were dressed with gauzy runners, and round tables were draped in blue-gray cloth and surrounded by chairs that only enhanced the refined, rustic setting. Each place setting featured a handmade blue plate, which became the focal point of the entire evening. “I really wanted the menus to also serve as place cards, which meant assigning every seat," says the bride. "I had a romantic notion of new friendships forming across the table!”

Low centerpieces—combining tree peonies, fox glove, garden roses, mock orange, mint, basil, and blueberries—also added a fragrant, gathered feel to each table.

After a meal of tenderloin and Maine lobster tails, the couple served a beautiful wedding cake that featured a playful flavor (funfetti!) inside.“We also served an interpretation of Chris’s favorite ice cream, Green Monster from the Juice Bar Ice Cream Shop on Nantucket, as a surprise,” says Kathryn. The bride worked with the catering team to create the vibrant green treat, a combination of cookie dough and mint chocolate chip.

To really set the tone, Chris and Kathryn followed the advice of Easton Events and revived a time-honored wedding tradition: Dancing before dinner! “It was so much fun to have everyone on their feet for a 20-minute set right after our first dance," she says. "After we ate, the dance floor was packed again!”

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