The wedding cake, wreathed in hand-crafted sugar roses and fresh florals, is sometimes as much of a symbol of the marriage ceremony as the bride’s dress.  Modern cake designs range from subtle (icing patterns that mirror the embroidery on the bride’s dress) to outrageous (cakes resembling activities, things, or places the happy couple shares).  There are also weddings where multiple confectionery treats like cupcakes, donuts, ice cream sandwiches, and candies are available for guests and a smaller tiered cake is reserved for the bride and groom’s cake-cutting ceremony.  Some wedding cakes can even be as tall as the bride!  Whatever the design choices, there is one thing in common: the cake is deliciously sweet. Despite this sugary presence, the wedding cake has a very different – but decidedly sweet – origin.

Elegant and formal

Wedding cakes have their roots in ancient Rome, where marriages were sealed when the groom smashed a barley cake over the bride’s head for luck and fertility.  The new husband and wife would nibble on a few crumbs together as one of their first unified acts as a married couple.  By the medieval days, the English stopped with the plain ole barley cake and started stacking spiced buns, scones, and cookies as high as possible – a precursor to the tiered cakes of today – and the bride and groom would try to kiss over it.  Legend has it that if they smooched successfully without the whole thing toppling over, they’d have a prosperous future.  

The first known official wedding confection comes from a 1685 recipe for Bride’s Pye: a pastry crust filled with an assortment of oysters, sweetbreads, and other food oddities along with plenty of spices to mask the not-so-appetizing flavors.

By the late 17th century, wedding cakes started replacing bridal pies.  Since most homes didn’t have an oven, bakers would bake two pastry crusts on the hearth, then put currants between them like a sandwich, and sprinkle sugar on top.  Some couples waited until reaching their new home to dig into these wedding cakes.  The bride would take a bite, then toss the rest over her head like the bouquet toss today, so she and her new husband would get everything they want out of life.

When refined sugar started becoming more common (and cheaper!) in England, a bright white icing became the topping of choice for wedding cakes. The more refined the sugar, the whiter it was.  In those days, white was considered a status symbol and display of wealth.

Smaller and personal, with multiple confectionery treats for guests.

Supposedly, tiered cakes got their official start in the late 18th century, when the apprentice of a London baker fell in love with his boss’s daughter. He wanted to create an elaborate cake to impress her when he proposed.  Formal wedding cakes became bigger and more elaborate through the Victorian age.  In 1947, when Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) married Prince Philip, the cake weighed 500 pounds.  Princess Diana’s cake was 5 feet tall and adorned with marzipan Windsor coats of arms.  It was so vital to the royal union that two cakes were made, the extra serving as a stunt double in case of an accident.  There are all kinds of fun, historical, and outlandish wedding cakes to research for inspiration.

Even though it’s just dessert and disappears with the guests, your wedding cake will most certainly be a highlight for those with a sweet tooth and a memorable part of your special day.

 

Sources: Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian Magazine

Photographs courtesy of: Ryder Photography and J Ellis Photography

Weddings have so many fun traditions tied to them. We always find it interesting to find the impetus behind some of these traditions and to explore their relevance today. We shared a few fun traditions in an earlier blog https://www.brixandcolumns.com/wedding-traditions/, we thought it would be fun to focus on one from back then.

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” is a traditional wedding rhyme that you’ve probably heard at one time or another. Almost everyone has heard this rhyme, but almost nobody knows where it came from and what it means.

According to several sources, the rhyme originated in England during the Victorian Era and symbolized luck for a bride on her wedding day.  It identifies four good-luck objects (plus a sixpence) that a bride might want to include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day.  Each ‘something’ is usually a small token of love that a bride’s mother, sister, relative, or attendants will give the bride on her wedding day. The bride can even give them to herself! These tokens can carry over to grooms and bridesmaids, too.

Something Old represents the tie between the bride’s past and her family.  It can be any object that has ties to the bride’s past, such as a piece of jewelry or small article of clothing either worn independently or sewn into the dress.

A mother’s wedding gown, modernized and worn again.

Something New represents optimism for the new chapter in the bride’s life and the future she will spend with her spouse.  It is used as a token of hope for the happy couple’s long future together and can be the exchange of rings or even the wedding dress itself.

Wedding bands are a wonderful something new option.

Something Borrowed represents the sense of happiness that will transfer over to the bride and bring good luck to the happy couple for years to come.  It is also representative of the level of support that the happy couple will have from their family and friends.  Common items include jewelry, a garter or a trinket to add to the bouquet or headpiece.  Grooms might choose to borrow their grandfather’s cuff links.

A cake topper used for generations

Something Blue represents love, purity, and faithfulness which are all key qualities for a solid marriage.  The traditional ‘something blue’ was often a blue garter worn beneath the bride’s white dress.  But there are other ways to incorporate blue, like wearing a blue piece of jewelry or including a blue element to the bridal bouquet.  Some brides might place a little note written on blue paper, from a family member or friend, in her shoe! Grooms can sport blue ties, socks or cufflinks.

Lovely blue bottles as a centerpiece feature

And a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe.  This last segment of the poem is often forgotten but is one we fully embrace here at the vineyard, as the name of our farm is Six Penny Farm. This name came about because of our last name, Pence, and because we have six in our family.  This Victorian Era British coin is meant to represent prosperity for the couple as they start their lives together.  Although the sixpence was officially decommissioned in the U.K. in 1980, it can still be obtained for those sticklers to detail or can be replaced with a penny (oftentimes with a memorable date).  As a memento to remember your wedding day at our vineyard, we provide an actual sixpence along with a frame-worthy version of this traditional rhyme to all couples that book a wedding with us.

A silver sixpence in her shoe.

This wedding rhyme can be an entertaining tradition to follow at your wedding in a way that works best for you.  Borrow a bit of this timeless tradition as you put those finishing touches on your special day.

 

Sources: danversport.com, theknot.com

Photos courtesy of:  Tall and Small Photography; Ameigh Photography; J Ellis Photography; Pinterest

If you are planning a wedding, chances are you’re thinking about what your dress will look like.  With options like length, formality, and color, the choices are almost endless.  You’ve likely pictured the color being some shade of white or ivory, even though some light pastels and bolder undertones have been making an appearance in recent years. Did you know that wedding dresses weren’t always white or ivory?  

In the Middle Ages, weddings were considered less of a romantic ideal and more of a political union between families, especially among higher social classes. As a result, the bridal gowns of that time period were meant to reflect a bride’s social standing and were tailored of lush fabrics in rich colors, even black.  If a bride didn’t belong to a noble family or one of higher social standing, she would simply wear her best dress on her wedding day since her family couldn’t justify the expense of a dress only to be worn for one day.

Wedding Gown c. 1740s.

Princess Philippa of England was the first documented princess to wear white on her wedding day in 1406. She was followed by Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was married in 1559.  Despite the appearance of white in royal weddings, white bridal dresses did not become popular among the common people until after Queen Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1840.  In order to show her support for the artisans who made lace in her area, Queen Victoria chose a large piece of English handmade lace for her bridal gown and the rest of her dress was designed to showcase that lovely lace.  Victoria’s wedding portrait was widely published, and this inspired brides around the world to seek out white bridal dresses. Since then, shades of white and ivory have been prominent colors in bridal fashion.  

Queen Victoria 1840

Since then, white has continued to be the color of choice for traditional bridal gowns, even though the styles have followed popular fashion trends. Shorter dresses went by the wayside in the 1940s when longer bridal dresses with fuller skirts gained popularity.  A longer bridal dress style, hailing back to Victorian times, continues to some extent today.   

Whether your dress is long or short and white or another hue, we know that you took pride in choosing the exact right dress for you, and we can’t wait to see you walk down the aisle!

 

Sources:  weddingshoppeinc.com, bellatory.com, Pinterest, Berkley M. Todd photography, Ryder photography

Weddings are personal celebrations that showcase your individual style and ambiance. While each is unique, there are trends that influence how couples spend their energy and money. There are a few common trends that we’re seeing for 2021. 

Intimate Ceremonies – These are also referred to as micro, intimate, or petite weddings. There has been a decrease in the number of guests on the guest lists, primarily due to Covid-19, and these smaller gatherings will likely continue. The micro-wedding movement tends to have a smaller guest list (up to 25). Keeping it romantic and intimate can be formal, informal, traditional, modern, or a fusion of different styles. We are now offering all-inclusive petite wedding packages.

Intimate fireside ceremony

 

Close family and friends

Picturesque Backdrops – Photo worthy backdrops are a fun way to share your personality and style. At Brix and Columns Vineyards, we offer a variety of options to suit your taste and theme. We offer a gorgeous outside wedding ceremony pergola that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our luscious vineyards and stunning sunsets provide beautiful backgrounds. The Jeffersonian-style home, with a stunning spiral staircase and grand columns, provides an elegant structure for intimate photos. These, along with other picturesque settings at the venue, will provide ample opportunities to creatively record your wedding day memories.

Stunning spiral staircase

 

Beautiful vineyards

Weekday Weddings – This is a popular choice for both 2021 and your wallet! Many venues have limited 2021 weekend availability due to postponed dates from 2020. A weekday wedding increases the likelihood that your dream venue and preferred vendors will be available. Weddings on the weekdays are also typically more cost effective than weddings on the weekends, and your wallet will surely appreciate that!

Fashion Forward – 2021 is sure to provide some noteworthy fashion trends. From dresses for the brides and bridesmaids to suit choices for grooms and groomsmen, we’re seeing everything from formal to informal and color choices that coordinate versus match. A detachable train gives a bride the opportunity to show different styles for the ceremony and reception. Some fashion publications are showing puffy, billowing sleeves and shorter above the knee dresses. Hairstyles and headpieces also provide a creative way to showcase personal style. A formal updo, textured half-up half-down, tiaras, sparkly barrettes, or flowers all add a statement. Wedding bands are also a fantastic way to allow the happy couple to showcase their personal style by choosing from a variety of metals and estate type designs. Let your imagination take you on your own fashion journey!

Classic meets modern

 

Gorgeous braided up-do

Colorful Choices – Vibrant colors are seeing a comeback. Opportunities to introduce vibrant color can be everywhere from décor, floral bouquets, shoes, ties, and table settings. Being creative with color is just another way to add that personal touch to your special day. The bright, cheerful hues put a smile on guests’ faces and add an element of fun for everyone. 

 

Bold and bright bouquets

 

Coordinated and colorful

Sustainability – Efforts around sustainability are becoming increasingly popular. To focus on moving in this direction, pay special attention to the elements that can do double duty. One way you can do this is by allowing your place cards to double as wedding favors. Taking centerpieces to a local nursing home and donating leftover food to a shelter that could accept them are awesome ways to use your wedding day to give back to your community. You can use recycled-paper or digital invitations instead of ones printed on specialty paper. Setting up a wedding website and having virtual celebrations (especially with guest size constraints due to Covid-19) are also becoming popular and sustainable options this year. In this trend, it truly is the little things that make a difference.

While there are many interesting trends popping up this year, we thought these would be fun to focus on. Let your imagination be your guide to set the tone for your perfect wedding day. Which trends are you incorporating into your own wedding day? 

 

Sources: Virginia Living magazine, wedinspire.com, brides.com

 

When we imagine a wedding, we picture a day of celebration of two people meeting their soulmate and choosing a lifetime of happiness together.  We see the bride walking down the aisle, in her beautiful gown, to meet her groom patiently waiting for her at the altar.   Even though the main focus of this vision is on the bride’s dress, the groom’s attire is an important part of the wedding day fashion portfolio.

While wedding outfits for both grooms and brides have an interesting history, we’re focusing on grooms in this blog.  According to several sources, way back in the mid 1600’s men’s wedding attire was breeches and frock coats. That trend made its way out, and in the late 1700’s grooms were dressed just as extravagantly as brides.  Grooms from wealthier families would wear silks, velvet, pearls, furs, silver, gold, and even precious gems during this fashion period.  Their clothing was a lavish exhibition of their wealth.  Not everyone could afford to dress like this, so those who couldn’t dressed much more modestly, just wearing their best everyday clothes.

Source: sites.udel.edu

The wedding of Prince Albert to Queen Victoria, in the 1800’s, brought a significant change. The prince chose to wear his Field Marshall’s uniform which continues as tradition today for royal weddings. Prince Albert also wore a morning suit, that day, which takes inspiration for its cut and tails from the Field Marshall uniform.  From that moment on, there was a change from flashy ostentation to the clean lines and precision that Albert demonstrated on his wedding day.

10th February 1840: Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) and Prince Albert (1819 – 1861) on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London. Original Artwork: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images) Source: Wikipedia

The morning suit became the traditional menswear attire for weddings during this time.  It provided an alternative to the decadent apparel of previous generations.  This was also a time when weddings primarily took place in the morning, so the groom and his groomsmen naturally wore their morning wear.  The formal evening tailcoat was only worn for other special occasions and formal events held in the evening.

Fast forward to the twentieth century where a variety of styles became mainstream.  The Stresemann style suit was created in the 1920’s and quickly became a popular choice for grooms.  It was around the 1930’s that the tuxedo came onto the scene.  This British creation quickly grew in popularity and became the picture of presentability.

Stresemann & Morning Suit Source: Pinterest

Classic Tuxedo Source: Pinterest

From there, different shapes, cuts, and colors became fashionable: wide-peaked lapels in the 1940’s, bell-bottom trousers in the 1960’s, and the double-breasted suit in the 1980’s.

Today, while the options are endless, we have seen a trend towards the classic tuxedo in colors that complement the bridesmaids and wedding theme.

Photographer: Kara Leigh Creative

 

Photographer: Ryder Photography

 

 

 

 

 

Your wedding day can be a time to show off your decorating sense in addition to your fashion sense. Creating a gorgeous space with ambiance can contribute to the feeling of joy, celebration, and happiness at your reception. Centerpieces are an essential part of wedding décor, giving your wedding a personal touch that makes it special. They reinforce your theme, show off your creativity, and can even serve as a bonus favor for your guests.

The size of your reception space, tables, and type of wedding reception, whether formal or informal, are important factors when determining the size and shape of centerpieces. Having your guests enter a reception space that feels vibrant and full can be achieved by mixing short and tall centerpieces. Every choice should make sense in the grand scheme of things, as they give purpose to the rest of the décor.

Tall centerpieces can be a dramatic choice and are great for formal wedding receptions. They also work well in a large reception space since the added height helps to make the room feel more elegant. Shorter centerpieces work well for accommodating conversation among guests. An important factor of designing a great centerpiece is remembering that you want your guests to be able to talk while they’re sitting down at your reception. Whether you opt for low centerpieces or tall centerpieces, keeping them from blocking guests’ view is key.

Your floral designer is there to provide guidance and ensure your vision comes to life. They have design experience with everything from room size to table shape, ensuring that the space feels comfortable and reflects your overall wedding theme. A creative floral designer will also assist with using local or seasonal flowers to help you stay on budget.

If you want to guarantee your centerpieces get a second life after your wedding, there are some options. You could donate them to a hospital or nursing home that has a connection to you, your family, or your guests. Another option would be to have guests take them home. Since there will not be enough centerpieces for each guest, couple, or family, you’ll want to plan out how to orchestrate this. For example, the couple that traveled the farthest or the person whose birthdate is closest to the wedding date would be the one to take the centerpiece.

The possibilities are endless and choosing the perfect centerpieces for your reception will give your wedding the personal touch that makes it truly special.

Photos courtesy of: http://j-ellisphotography.com/; https://www.ameighphotography.com/; http://www.jessryderphotography.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“With this ring, I thee wed” is commonly heard during the exchange of vows at a wedding ceremony. 

The wedding ring has been an emblem of love through time, an agreement between two parties to love and cherish one another for the rest of their days.  A round ring, with no end and its opening representing a gateway to the unknown, welcomes the newlyweds to an unexplored life ahead and serves as a powerful symbol of eternity.  

It is believed that the first examples of wedding rings were found in ancient Egypt.  Relics dating back to about 6,000 years ago provide some evidence of the exchange of braided rings of hemp, reeds, leather and stone between spouses.  The ancient Egyptians considered the circle to be a symbol of eternity, and the ring served to signify the perpetual love of the newly wedded couple.  This is also where the custom of wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger of the left hand began.  The ancient Egyptians believed that this finger had a special vein, the vena amoris, which was connected directly to the heart. This belief continues to be recognized in western cultures and is the main reason the engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger, referred to as the ‘ring finger’, on the left hand.  However, there are some cultures and religions where the ring is worn on the right hand since that is the hand used for oaths and vows.  And then there are countries where couples wear plain bands as engagement rings on one hand, and then switch them to the other hand once married.

While the history of wedding rings is interesting, the different styles of rings and materials takes us on quite the journey.  Signet, Lovers Head, Fede, Claddagh, Posy, Gimmel, Jewish Marriage and Diamond are some of the more historically significant styles.  Each one has deep religious or cultural meaning and unique qualities.   

The wedding ring is quite possibly the most recognizable symbol of marriage.  After all, wedding rings are designed to last forever and many are passed down through generations.  They often become heirlooms and are intimately connected to personal or family history.  Whether you choose something simple or ornate, wear it on your left hand or right, it’s your marriage, you get to have fun determining what works best for you.

 

  

Photos courtesy of: http://j-ellisphotography.com/; https://www.ameighphotography.com/; http://www.jessryderphotography.com/

 

Practically everyone has been to a wedding where the charming little ring bearer or flower girl steals the
show as he or she walks down the aisle in their adorable outfit. What many of us do not know, is how
these traditions began. While there are many different explanations, each having its roots in various
cultures, the origins are hard to pin down.

Some date the tradition of ring bearers back to ancient Egypt, when jewels were often carried on
ornamental pillows during various celebrations including weddings. In medieval times, rings were often
presented to the bride and groom on the tips of swords. These swords were likely carried by adults
while a page boy would carry the bride’s train and a prayer book. It is thought that wealthier families
replaced the swords with pillows (a rarity in that day) to display their wealth, and thus transferred the
duty of carrying the rings to the page boy. The ring bearer having a role in traditional weddings, grew in
popularity during the Victorian era. The outfit for ring bearers, back then, was typically velvet jackets,
kinckerbockers, and big collars. Today’s ring bearers tend to wear a boy’s tuxedo that matches the other
groomsmen, while some bridal parties get creative with these little guys whether it be a theme or full
out costume.

 

The tradition of flower girls seems to date back to the upper-class Greeks and Romans. In those days
flower girls would walk ahead of the bride, showering her path with grains and herbs, which
represented the hope that the bride could have children. The interpretation of this tradition got a little
looser around the Elizabethan era. During this time, the inclusion of children in the wedding party itself
was more a reflection of how that culture idealized childhood, seeing them as symbols of hope and
innocence. Since the flower girl walks down the aisle before the bride, she was seen as representing a
younger, more innocent version of the bride and her transformation from child to adult. Today, most
couples, include a flower girl in the wedding party to honor a little one who is a family member or close
to the family. She is usually outfitted to match the bridesmaids or complement the bride. And, while
most carry a bouquet or basked of flowers we see some who carry pretty lanterns, flags or scrolls with
messages like ‘here comes the bride!’


While researching the tradition of ring bearers and flower girls reveals some interesting information,
their main duty today is to set a cute tone and leave guests smiling from ear to ear.

Photos courtesy of  http://j-ellisphotography.com/

Planning a wedding is exciting, time-consuming, and sometimes stressful. Since all eyes
will be on you, in your wedding dress as you walk down the aisle, brides put a lot of thought
into what kind of bouquet to carry. After all, a stunning bouquet can complement your dress,
tie in with your décor, match the season of your wedding, and provide a pop of color to
make you feel and look absolutely gorgeous. But have you ever thought about why brides
even carry bouquets?

Believe it or not, the practice of brides carrying bouquets dates back to ancient times. The
Greeks, Romans, and even Egyptians carried fragrant herbs and spices to ward off evil
spirits and bad luck during weddings. In those times, flowers also symbolized a new
beginning and brought hopes of fertility, happiness, and fidelity. During the Victorian age,
flowers became more widely used in bouquets and were selected to send secret messages
between partners. Exchanging flowers became a popular way to express love. The
modern version of the bridal bouquet was popularized by Queen Victoria who, when
marrying Prince Andrew, incorporated a sprig of myrtle from her grandmother-in-law’s plant
into her bouquet. Ever since, all of the royals have used a sprig of myrtle from this original
plant.

Today’s brides carry a bouquet for any number of reasons and attach as much or as little
meaning to it as they choose. Some brides pick a bouquet that matches their favorite
colors, makes them feel beautiful, or incorporates florals from a relative’s garden. Other
brides focus on what complements the design of her gown or overall décor. Whether it’s
traditional, loose and organic, minimal, or non-floral, at Brix and Columns Vineyards we
enjoy seeing how brides choose to add that air of romance and elegance to their wedding day.

 

White and Airy

 

Colors of Spring

 

Classic Red Roses

 

Colorful and Fun!

 

Thank you to:  Tamaras Designs LLClavender Dreams VA,   J. Ellis PhotographyKara Leigh Creative,  and Meghan McSweeney Photography

 

Grooms and their groomsmen are starting to show their fun side by accessorizing their tuxedos or suits with funky socks.

Traditionally the groom and groomsmen match their sock color to their suit or tuxedo.  But lately we’re seeing an uptick in mixing colors and adding a pop of pizzazz with fun and festive socks. From vibrant solids, stripes, polka dots and argyle, to abstract or theme-based, we love when grooms show their style with fun socks on their wedding day. How about adding ‘something blue’ or a pattern that pulls in colors from the flowers, ties or bridesmaid dresses?  Socks can be a perfect way to add some personality to a groom’s ensemble.  Have a little fun, while you say “I Do”.

The photos below offer some inspiration.

 

Classic Argyle –https://bessieblack.com/

 

Something Blue – https://classictuxedos.net/

 

High Stepping It – http://j-ellisphotography.com/

 

Circle of Fun – https://classictuxedos.net/

 

Photos Courtesy of – J Ellis Photography, Bessie Black Photography, and Classic Menswear and Tuxedos.