Fourteenth: NOT Your Average Wedding Reception

I have designed for many brides. I have been to many wedding receptions. The Maffett reception will stand out in my mind for all of my life.

Wedding photography by Allison Kuhn.

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In past blogs, I have written about Brielle and Alex's wedding photographer, Allison Kuhn. What I have learned as I have journeyed through publishing this blog, is that her photography work is more than just great photographic style. She has actually made my task of putting this blog together quite difficult. She and her husband, Travis, took over 1200 photos. All were poignant and worthy to post. Together, they captured so many micro-segments of the day. Allison's full photo gallery is so incredible it could actually be made into a time lapse video and we could relive the day through her still shots.

The gorgeous grounds of Historic Mankin Mansion were meticulously prepared for the arrival of the Hunt and Maffett guests.

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Mr. and Mrs. Maffett were on their way. This would prove to be a night for all to remember.

Mr. and Mrs. Maffett were on their way. This would prove to be a night for all to remember.


Don't be fooled by this seemingly tranquil great looking bunch! Mankin Mansion will never be the same after celebrating with the Maffs! "The time to be happy is now!"

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Richmond blood runs through the veins of all of the groomsmen. Six were members of the Richmond Spiders Baseball Team, and Brielle's brother, Schuyler, studied at VCU Brand Center. 

Richmond blood runs through the veins of all of the groomsmen. Six were members of the Richmond Spiders Baseball Team, and Brielle's brother, Schuyler, studied at VCU Brand Center. 

I'm not sure, but I think this was a team huddle. After today this bond would never be broken.

I'm not sure, but I think this was a team huddle. After today this bond would never be broken.

There are so many beautiful photos of Brielle and Alex. I love this picture of just the two of them in the gardens of Mankin Mansion right before cocktail hour began.

There are so many beautiful photos of Brielle and Alex. I love this picture of just the two of them in the gardens of Mankin Mansion right before cocktail hour began.

Brielle seemed so happy and ready to celebrate. I think this is the point in the day, for all brides, where time seems to pick up speed. All wish for time to slow down so the moments will be savored for eternity.

Brielle seemed so happy and ready to celebrate. I think this is the point in the day, for all brides, where time seems to pick up speed. All wish for time to slow down so the moments will be savored for eternity.


Brielle and Alex's wedding theme centered around "Richmond". It all began with this one idea! Brielle wanted the tables to be marked with Richmond street names and not traditional table numbers.

I hand constructed the centerpieces with printed acrylic street signs (made by my sister Kathy) and added a delicate hanging bud vase to balance the beauty of this simplistic table decor design. We collected cut glass tea cups and dessert dishes for over one year from Diversity Thrift, our favorite thrift store in Richmond, to create a beautiful but elegant tablescape.

I hand constructed the centerpieces with printed acrylic street signs (made by my sister Kathy) and added a delicate hanging bud vase to balance the beauty of this simplistic table decor design. We collected cut glass tea cups and dessert dishes for over one year from Diversity Thrift, our favorite thrift store in Richmond, to create a beautiful but elegant tablescape.

Brielle hand scripted the table seating cards inviting guests to meet her and Alex at a specific street in Richmond. Signage by Made Pretty With Paint welcomed all to RVA. The pallet display was made by Tom Culppeper and will be repurposed into an outdoor bar at the Maffett residence.

Brielle hand scripted the table seating cards inviting guests to meet her and Alex at a specific street in Richmond. Signage by Made Pretty With Paint welcomed all to RVA. The pallet display was made by Tom Culppeper and will be repurposed into an outdoor bar at the Maffett residence.

The bar was perfectly stocked by Jeff Hunt. You've got to Love Richmond! 

The bar was perfectly stocked by Jeff Hunt. You've got to Love Richmond! 

This was one our few crazy "clearance" searches from Michael's Craft Stores. Family and friends searched from Massachusetts to Virginia to find all the letters. The letter "A" was nowhere to be found. So we made an "A" from an upside down letter "V".

This was one our few crazy "clearance" searches from Michael's Craft Stores. Family and friends searched from Massachusetts to Virginia to find all the letters. The letter "A" was nowhere to be found. So we made an "A" from an upside down letter "V".

Everyone was ready to celebrate, especially Abbey! 

Everyone was ready to celebrate, especially Abbey! 

I asked Katie Hoer, our wedding planner from Mankin Mansion, if our wedding vision came to life. She invited Jeff and me to take a sneak peek inside the tent while guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the Gallery, another incredible building on the Mankin property. 

I asked Katie Hoer, our wedding planner from Mankin Mansion, if our wedding vision came to life. She invited Jeff and me to take a sneak peek inside the tent while guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the Gallery, another incredible building on the Mankin property. 

It was absolutely breathtaking! Katie mastered internalizing every design detail we had in our mind and made it into a wedding day masterpiece! 

It was absolutely breathtaking! Katie mastered internalizing every design detail we had in our mind and made it into a wedding day masterpiece! 

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I always say the secret to happiness can be found on the dance floor. That is if you have the right music... and the right dance floor!

David Sporn has been described as a gifted DJ with mixing skills that have made him rise to the top of the DJ scene. His ability to create a playlist to appeal to all is unmatched. This was evidenced by a packed dance floor throughout the night. You didn't even need a partner to dance. You just wanted to be out there!

David Sporn has been described as a gifted DJ with mixing skills that have made him rise to the top of the DJ scene. His ability to create a playlist to appeal to all is unmatched. This was evidenced by a packed dance floor throughout the night. You didn't even need a partner to dance. You just wanted to be out there!

David said, "I loved everything about this wedding...the Richmond theme, University of Richmond, the dance floor--just everything!"

The custom Richmond dance floor for the Maffetts---Inked by me, scripted by Brielle, formatted by my sister, printed by Bombshell Graphics, and laid by RVA Graphics and Wraps. 

The custom Richmond dance floor for the Maffetts---Inked by me, scripted by Brielle, formatted by my sister, printed by Bombshell Graphics, and laid by RVA Graphics and Wraps. 

"One of the things that stood out for me as a DJ was one of the first things on their suggestion list. I remember it said that if I had a remix or a mashup of any of the songs on their list to 'go for it'. Being able to take a few risks and use everything in my arsenal, really made it fun to perform as a DJ, and I'd like to say it showed on the dance floor!" ---David Sporn

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You instantly knew from bridal party introductions where this night was heading.

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There were no warm-ups! Alex and Brielle entered the room to "I Want To Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston. The party was on!!! Everyone was on their feet and ready to hit the dance floor!

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It was F.A.M.I.L.Y. time. Forget About Me I Love You.

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After a year of searching, Brielle and her Dad chose the song they would dance to just one month before the wedding. It would be Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman.

This would be the only point in the evening where I commanded my heart and breathing to slow. Time was sitting beside me. I watched as my first baby girl dance with her dad, just as she had done so many times before. Tonight was different though. It was the sweetest and most beautiful dance they had ever danced.

This would be the only point in the evening where I commanded my heart and breathing to slow. Time was sitting beside me. I watched as my first baby girl dance with her dad, just as she had done so many times before. Tonight was different though. It was the sweetest and most beautiful dance they had ever danced.

I love this pic of Alex and his mom! She is so full of life and laughter. Tonight we had something in common...we both became a mother-in-law!

I love this pic of Alex and his mom! She is so full of life and laughter. Tonight we had something in common...we both became a mother-in-law!


There were no speeches this night, but only words spoken from the heart.

"The most important factor in any marriage is the foundation...the acronym F-A-M-I-L-Y." "Family is forever. FAMILY is what you make of it."

"The most important factor in any marriage is the foundation...the acronym F-A-M-I-L-Y." "Family is forever. FAMILY is what you make of it."

"Brielle, you've always been a princess to me...a sort of Cinderella. The only difference is that you didn't just bust your ass all along and then turn into Cinderella...you were a princess from day one. Maybe every day wasn't perfect, but my love for you sure was."

"Brielle, you've always been a princess to me...a sort of Cinderella. The only difference is that you didn't just bust your ass all along and then turn into Cinderella...you were a princess from day one. Maybe every day wasn't perfect, but my love for you sure was."

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"Alex, I know you to be helpful, cheerful, hardworking, and a great guy. The fact that you are smart, talented, successful, driven, and good looking doesn't hurt either. The fact that you own all of those attributes is not the true test though. Brielle "chose you" and that's "Case Closed! Please join me in raising your glass to an amazing couple and special union...to Brielle and Alex Maffett" ---Jeff Hunt

"I am extremely proud of my younger brother. Alex was successful on the baseball field and in the classroom at Richmond. Additionally, Alex is graduating with his MBA from Virginia Tech, go Hokies! I am also proud to be the brother-in-law of Alex's new wife Brielle. Brielle has been a very positive influence in my brother's life. And again, the guy is my best friend, but wow, God bless you, Brielle for keeping him in line." ---Andrew Maffett

"I am extremely proud of my younger brother. Alex was successful on the baseball field and in the classroom at Richmond. Additionally, Alex is graduating with his MBA from Virginia Tech, go Hokies! I am also proud to be the brother-in-law of Alex's new wife Brielle. Brielle has been a very positive influence in my brother's life. And again, the guy is my best friend, but wow, God bless you, Brielle for keeping him in line." ---Andrew Maffett

"When I was entering my junior year at Richmond, Brielle was studying at the Richmond School of Law and we decided to live together in a cute little house a few minutes away from campus. When we moved in, our landlord told us to make sure we keep up with the lawn because the yard is big and the grass grows fast. Once we heard that, I kid you not, we looked at each other very seriously and said..."let's get boyfriends this year!!" Two months after we moved in we got boyfriends...and four years later those same guys are still here!" ---Aubrey Hunt

"When I was entering my junior year at Richmond, Brielle was studying at the Richmond School of Law and we decided to live together in a cute little house a few minutes away from campus. When we moved in, our landlord told us to make sure we keep up with the lawn because the yard is big and the grass grows fast. Once we heard that, I kid you not, we looked at each other very seriously and said..."let's get boyfriends this year!!" Two months after we moved in we got boyfriends...and four years later those same guys are still here!" ---Aubrey Hunt

The words spoken from Brielle's other parents meant so much to Jeff and me. Carsten and Marianne traveled from Copenhagen to come to the wedding. They were Brielle's host parents when she studied abroad at the University of Richmond. They made her feel welcome in Denmark and made us feel at ease in the U.S.A.. For this, they will always be true family.

"We were blessed by having you live with us as part of our family for a semester when you came to Denmark to study. We met a talented, warm hearted young woman, and we were so happy that you took a chance and moved into our home and lives. We enjoyed having you among us and we are happy that you survived the Danish culture and humor none the least, and we feel so fortunate that we now are allowed to see you getting married with the love of your life. And Brielle...we did check him out last night and he is perfect. So you have our blessing."

"We were blessed by having you live with us as part of our family for a semester when you came to Denmark to study. We met a talented, warm hearted young woman, and we were so happy that you took a chance and moved into our home and lives. We enjoyed having you among us and we are happy that you survived the Danish culture and humor none the least, and we feel so fortunate that we now are allowed to see you getting married with the love of your life. And Brielle...we did check him out last night and he is perfect. So you have our blessing."


As the night neared its end, love was found on every inch of the Mankin Mansion property...love of dance, love of friends, love of sweets, love of drink, love of Richmond! 

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Naked cake by The Mixing Bowl Bakery and cake topped by Made Pretty With Paint. 

Naked cake by The Mixing Bowl Bakery and cake topped by Made Pretty With Paint. 

My only regret of the night was not having a donut from Sugar Shack Donuts. There wasn't one left!

My only regret of the night was not having a donut from Sugar Shack Donuts. There wasn't one left!

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What can we say about this groomsman? Let's face it... he had the best dance moves but the biggest repair bill for his torn tuxedo pants!

What can we say about this groomsman? Let's face it... he had the best dance moves but the biggest repair bill for his torn tuxedo pants!

I also wished I had one toast at the outdoor bar. It was such a beautiful setting, but my feet never left the dance floor.

I also wished I had one toast at the outdoor bar. It was such a beautiful setting, but my feet never left the dance floor.

The theme was Richmond. The spirit was Richmond. The people were Richmond. The love was Richmond.

The theme was Richmond. The spirit was Richmond. The people were Richmond. The love was Richmond.

At the end of the night I found my mom at the piano inside the mansion. She was playing Heart and Soul.

At the end of the night I found my mom at the piano inside the mansion. She was playing Heart and Soul.

This is a favorite picture of mine taken by Allison. I can't explain why. It's of our new family as the night came to a close.

This is a favorite picture of mine taken by Allison. I can't explain why. It's of our new family as the night came to a close.

So many memories were made tonight on this property filled with so much history,. For me, this wasn't just a wedding venue. It was the Mankin family home, where years ago they prospered and eventually struggled, much like life. A footprint of our family tree will be left on these grounds.

So many memories were made tonight on this property filled with so much history,. For me, this wasn't just a wedding venue. It was the Mankin family home, where years ago they prospered and eventually struggled, much like life. A footprint of our family tree will be left on these grounds.

The final wedding song of the evening summed up all that took place. This song is a traditional ending for all who marry from the Richmond Spider Baseball Team. Every guest was on the dance floor arm and arm. "Sing us the song, your the piano man. Sing us a song tonight. Well we're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright." 

The final wedding song of the evening summed up all that took place. This song is a traditional ending for all who marry from the Richmond Spider Baseball Team. Every guest was on the dance floor arm and arm. "Sing us the song, your the piano man. Sing us a song tonight. Well we're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright." 

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No sooner had this day begun, it was time to turn out the light.

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Zach Boyd owner of Something Blue Films provides the Grand Finale for our wedding blog. I have seen many wedding trailers in my career as a bridal designer. Zach's talent is exceptionally unique in the world of wedding videography.

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Zach, received his bachelor's degree in Cinematic Arts from Liberty University in Virginia. His company has filmed weddings all along the east coast. Couples love Something Blue Films for their craft and the personality of their crew. Zach has "personally tied many bowties, helped carry many brides trains, taken Iphone photos, and provided snacks." Helping to preserve memories through film is his passion.

Photo by Nicholas Woolsey

Photo by Nicholas Woolsey

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Photos by Ashley Sue Photography

Photos by Ashley Sue Photography

Enjoy this amazing wedding trailer by Something Blue Films and watch Brielle and Alex's wedding day come to life!

Many of my clients and followers have asked---what's next for the "Fourteenth" wedding blog now that Brielle and Alex's wedding day is over.

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We have so many future blogs already planned and in the works. Next month, will be my final thoughts, memories, and secrets about my design creations for the Maffett wedding. The March blog will be one of the most informative blogs yet for any bride! I will document "When Your Dress is a Mess!" We will follow brides, stylists, and creatives on the Fourteenth of every month in our own unique and engaging way. So we hope you continue to follow us and our love of design. <3 --- Marie