Charlottesville Wedding Photographer | Rixey Manor | Emilie and Dean


Oct 20, 2016

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I am so pleased to share Emilie and Dean’s Rixey Manor wedding with you! Let me start by saying that I have had so much fun with this couple along the way! From our first meeting to the engagement session, from the tea ceremony to the wedding day…it has been a wonderful adventure with a fun, witty and romantic pair. There were four toast at the wedding reception and each person reminded us all of some key things:

  1. Both Emilie and Dean are incredibly smart and love an intellectual challenge but also know how to have FUN.
  2. Emilie is a physically strong force to be reckoned with and Dean is a perfect companion for their adventures. But Emilie doesn’t just run marathons for herself, she has encouraged so many other people she loves to get out and do the same, including her father, who expressed how life-changing her encouragement has been.
  3. Dean is not only creative and clever but he also uses these skills to surprise and make others laugh…sometimes in the middle of the night.
  4. Both Dean and Emilie have families full of personality and loving support. In a time when many do not, their appreciation for their family was evident…and refreshing!
  5. And finally, their parents REALLY want grandchildren…a thousand to be specific…you better start on this, guys.

I love the way Dean and Emilie were content to move forward with their outdoor plans regardless of the rain…even having their first look under a portable tent. And once it was time for the ceremony, the rain had turned into a light mist and everything was perfect! And they know a little rain never deterred their photographer! (;

Their day was so full of special traditions as well as specific things they planned themselves…a special cake for the best man’s birthday, giving the bouquet to a sweet guest already engaged (instead of throwing it), bouquets with only seasonal local flowers (including Japanese maple leaves and basil!) and the most amazing macaroons from their local bakeshop.

And how about that dress? What a timeless Lazaro! It was simply perfect for Emilie along with her gorgeous updo from Yisell Santos! And all that incredible hair and make up for the entire bridal party…and finished early at that! From the details to their special gifts for one another, Dean and Emilie had an incredible day and I am so very honored to have served them and their families and I am looking forward to their sweetheart session in 2017!

Congratulations Emilie and Dean! And here is their love and proposal story followed by the cool cats who helped make their day so special! And how about their hashtag with their last names?! #yehforthejohnsons

How they met (written by Emilie):

On December 7th, 2013, Dean was at a birthday party with Daniella, Emilie’s best friend and partner in crime. Daniella and Emilie had plans to go to a friend’s Christmas party later that evening. Dean graciously offered to give her a ride into DC and pick Emilie up on the way. The entire way there Emilie tried to convince Dean to stay for the party. Serendipitously, there was a parking spot a block away and he decided to stay.

In true “Dean” fashion, he spent some time googling Emilie at the party and reciting facts to her. Lucky for him, she found this quite hilarious and charming. So charming that she even let him drive her home. After he dropped Daniella back off at home, the two of them had such a good conversation that he even contemplated “getting lost” to spend more time with her.

The two got to know each other slowly over the next couple of months while talking online at work. They finally started hanging out after he promised to make me shrimp and grits one weekend and the rest is history 🙂

How he proposed (written by Emilie):

Unbeknownst to Emilie, Dean’s father gave him his grandmother’s ring before he moved up to DC in 2012 just in case he met someone special. When the time came, Dean took the ring to a jeweler (who happened to be the brother of classmates from Virginia Tech) to reset the center stone into a ring that seemed more fitting. He chose the classic three stone setting since he loved the idea of two individual stones coming together to meet a larger one.

Dean also decided he wanted to propose at a place that meant a lot to Emilie. Conveniently, they had planned on a trip to Taipei, Taiwan for late October to visit Emilie’s extended family. As they prepared for the trip, she had no idea what was about to happen. And again, unbeknownst to Emilie (a theme in their relationship), he had the ring on a chain around his neck the entire 14 hour flight about 2 inches from her face.

Dean had decided to propose on 11/1 because he also liked the idea of two ones becoming something more. It just so happened that 1/11 was the date that he first made Emilie his delicious shrimp and grits as well. Unfortunately, he had little insight regarding the itinerary but it just so happened that they would be hiking on 11/1… with her mother. Dean debated pushing the pace to lose her or to accept her as a photographer. He went with the latter, but when they reached the peak of the hike and Dean suggested to “play a game of cribbage,” she wouldn’t stop talking about bananas. Finally, Dean handed Emilie a deck of cards and asked her to shuffle.

Well this was no ordinary deck of cards. It was printed with a picture of the ring, wine cork from their first date, and had “Em, will you marry me?” on it, which Emilie did not notice since she grabbed it upside down. Dean had cut an inset out of 42 of the cards and glued them together to make a box. He kept two sets of five cards (10-Ace of diamonds and hearts!) for the top and bottom to represent their anniversary 2/5/14.

When Emilie tried to shuffle, she noticed it was stuck. She slipped open the box and saw the ring and the wine cork from their first date! The tears came down and Dean got on one knee and asked her to marry him to which Emilie replied, “Yes!”. All while Emilie’s mother asked what was going on and why Emilie was crying…

Meanwhile, Dean had a friend sneak into their home and place a bottle of champagne with the two jokers from the deck in the fridge. When they got home, Dean asked Emilie to check the fridge for food. She found the champagne was personalized with an acrostic poem Dean wrote where the first letter of each line spelled out TAIWAN E & D. She cried (again!) and they popped the champagne to celebrate!

Venue: Rixey Manor

Florals: Wollam Gardens

DJ: DJ Brennan Sullivan of Bialek’s Music

Wedding Gown: Lazaro from Rizik’s Bridal

Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Earrings: BHLDN

Ring: Pave Jewelers

Menswear: Jos A Bank

Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy Group

Hair and Make Up: Yisell Santos

Officiant: Dr. Chris Ayers

Caterer: Caroline Street Catering

Ice Cream Cake: Baskin Robbins

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

Calligrapher: Catherine Burke at CB Calligraphy

Favors: Garrett’s Popcorn

Baked goods and macaroons: Bakeshop on Filmore Street

To see more Charlottesville Wedding Venues, click HERE.

Michelle Lieb with Lieb Photographic is a Charlottesville Wedding Photographer, Culpeper Wedding Photographer, Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer, Alexandria Wedding Photographer, Washington DC Wedding Photographer, Williamsburg Wedding Photographer, High Country Wedding Photographer and a wedding photographer in the surrounding areas.

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