Meet Wes and Tessa, the winners of our annual Real Wedding Competition held on social media each Valentine’s Day. The couple celebrated their wedding day at the winery they bought the day they got engaged, making for an intimate and sentimental ceremony among the vines. A collection of personal touches incorporated into the couple’s special day made the ceremony truly unforgettable. Don’t forget to also check out the winner of this year’s Styled Wedding Competition!

Wes Tessa Lovingston Winery wedding ceremony
Wes & Tessa's Lovingston Winery Wedding, Image © Rivkah Fine Art Photography

Meet the Couple

bride and groom close up Lovingston Winery
Wes & Tessa's Lovingston Winery Wedding, Image © Rivkah Fine Art Photography

Along with Tessa’s parents, the couple purchased the Lovingston Winery in Nelson County on August 16, 2021. With no background in wine or farming, Wes and Tessa uprooted their lives in Wyoming and moved to Virginia to manage the winery full time. From day one on property, Tessa began dreaming of her wedding day, but time was tight between the couple settling in Virginia in late October and planning their rustic wedding for early June.

The Vineyard Wedding Venue

Tessa hoped to play off of the charm of the property’s rustic 1906 farmhouse, situated atop a knoll surrounded by ancient oak trees and beautiful vineyards. Located in the rolling countryside of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the couple tied the knot surrounded by scenic mountain views and lush greenery.

Tessa drew inspiration for the wedding colors from a painting titled “The Swing” by Jean-Honore Fragonard. Her bridal bouquet features delicate peach shades offset by neutral, cooler greens and blues.

Ceremony Preparations & the Wedding Gown

The couple celebrated the night before the wedding with a special party at Devil’s Backbone. The morning of the wedding, Wes and Tessa returned to the vineyard to prepare for the walk down the aisle.

The couple’s two dogs, Arnie and Hank, joined Tessa in the bridal suite and decided to curl up on her train as she dressed. The beautiful lace gown incorporates a trendy corset-style top and slim silhouette. The bride wore her hair up, drawing attention to the strapless neckline of her wedding dress and her dainty pearl earrings. The groom embraced the wedding color-scheme with a light pink tie.

A Rustic Wedding Ceremony Among the Vines

Wes and Tessa said their vows in a rustic outdoor ceremony overlooking the vineyard. The couple stood underneath a stunning arch of flowers, while flower petals matching the bride and bridesmaids’ bouquets lined the aisle. The white and peach tones making up this soft color palette are also a current wedding trend, popular for their delicate warmth and sense of soothing they inspire. 

ceremony under trees
Wes & Tessa's Lovingston Winery Wedding, Image © Rivkah Fine Art Photography

Tessa’s bridesmaids worse floor-length neutral gowns that complimented the bride’s beauty and the natural landscape surrounding them.

Arnie the dog stayed with Tessa on her way down the aisle, creating a heartwarming scene when he curled up on her train during the ceremony. Adding a beloved pet to your big day is a classic way to craft a truly heartwarming scene, and it certainly does the job of creating a unique moment for your ceremony.

Celebrating Love at a Vineyard Wedding

Following the ceremony, guests proceeded into the reception where they joined the couple in celebrating their new marriage with a cocktail hour followed by dinner.

Wes Tessa Lovingston Winery wedding bride and groom kiss
Wes & Tessa's Lovingston Winery Wedding, Image © Rivkah Fine Art Photography

The delicious multi-course dinner catered by local company Rill Cross Farn was accompanied by live background music from a local band. Of course, as expected of a vineyard wedding, the food was accompanied by wine pairings from the property.

Guests enjoyed dinner underneath a gorgeous white tent decorated with dazzling lights, highlighting the beauty of the vineyard. Throughout dinner, the couple sat side-by-side, relishing the moment.

Rustic Wedding Inspiration Details

Tessa further imbued the day with history by sourcing much of the wedding décor, including unique and tasteful floral-themed place settings, from a variety of local antique stores. Sprigs of lavender lay delicately across the menus at the wooden farm table, and guests sat in rustic wooden chairs both at the ceremony and the reception. To effortlessly incorporate a rustic ambiance to your own wedding, consider looking for venues that feature walls of climbing wisteria, or simply implement wisteria-inspired decor. This natural addition not only adds a sense of timeless elegance, but it also serves to soften your surroundings and create a more comforting environment.

Guests enjoyed a delicious three-tier wedding cake and cupcakes with floral designs inspired by the bride’s bouquet, a cookie table with over 1,000 cookies and to-go bags at the ready.

Personal Touches for a Rustic Wedding

Wes and Tessa’s beloved pets shared the spotlight on their special day. Aside from their dogs, two of their horses were stabled at the venue to add to the rustic atmosphere. Ringbearer Charlie led Wildman, one of Tessa’s miniature horses, down the aisle with him.

“Ringbearer Charlie led Wildman, one of Tessa’s miniature horses, down the aisle with him.”

The couple’s twist on the traditional idea of a flower girl provided one of their favorite moments of the day. They had “flower grannies” instead. The couple’s grandmothers sprinkled petals along the aisle moments before Tessa walked down to meet Wes.

Happily Ever After at a Vineyard Wedding

Later in the evening, the guests took to the dance floor under lights strung in the oak trees. The couple danced the night away with their friends and loved ones before being seen off in a shower of sparklers.

Festivities continued into the wee hours — a lovely celebration uniquely rooted in the couple’s new home. At the end of the night the couple sped away from the party in one of the vineyard’s John Deere four-wheelers, trailing sparklers behind them as they set off on their new adventure together. ~

wedding vendors

Photographer: Rivkah Fine Art Photography
Venue: Lovingston Winery
Planner: A&J Event Coordination
Caterer: Rill Cross Farm
Florist: Blue Ridge Floral Design
Rentals: MS Events and Aztec Rentals
Hair Artist: Pavia Salon
Makeup Artist: C. Hope Makeup Company
Baker: Uncommon Cakes

Virginia Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Virginia Wine & Country Life is a semi-annual luxury print magazine with a full digital presence. The Virginia Wine & Country Gold Book is an annual guide to the top award-winning wines, wineries and experiences in Virginia Wine Country. The annual Virginia Wine & Country Wedding Planner is an art book of elegant Virginia weddings. The brand includes the Virginia Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, Va. It is a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. Virginia Wine & Country tells the stories of Virginia wineries, the farm-to-table movement, luxury travel, entertaining, art and the elegant country lifestyle. Ivy Life & Style Media also provides branding, web design and PR services for the wine industry.

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