Intimate Clifton Inn Wedding from Jen Fariello Photography

When Jen Fariello sent us this intimate wedding at The Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia , I have to admit I had a really tough time selecting the pics to use in the feature. You see, this wedding isn’t just about the marriage of two people. It’s the story of a family joining together in a quiet place, with the realization that none of their lives would ever be the same. It’s the story of a father and a son and a soon-to-be-mom and their commitment to each other. Each image in the gallery tells a mini-story. Each image captures the essence of love and happiness that these three share. In a nutshell, Jen’s images are much more than pictures. They are a tale of pure joy and celebration.

The day-after …

From the Bride… Dave and I met very soon after I moved to the Washington, DC area. I had just quit a job of seven years, sold my house, and moved 400 miles, a move that was fueled by the desire to spread my wings. Enter Dave.  He and I met at work, and there is no denying that we had chemistry from the start.  Dave was a single dad to then four-year-old Gabriel. Fast forward ten months. It was obvious to both of us that we had the potential for a serious relationship, but we knew the stakes were high.  We couldn’t just think of ourselves, but had to take Gabe into consideration as well. The three of us slowly started spending more and more time together.  We found that we really enjoy doing simple things together: spending time outdoors, going for walks and picnics, swimming, going to farmer’s markets, etc. This was my first experience dating a man with a child, and I found myself really enjoying it. I looked forward to reading bedtime stories as much as going out on dates!

Six months later, we were both certain that we were headed for marriage — and we didn’t want to wait too long!  Dave had planned a trip to the Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia for my birthday.  I suspected he would propose while there, but he surprised me with a proposal the night before we left!  My birthday trip turned into a celebration of our engagement. We began talking about what our wedding would look like.  Surrounded by the natural beauty of Charlottesville, Dave and I decided we should get married right there at the Clifton Inn.  We set a date four months out, hired an amazing photographer (thank you, SMP Little Black Book!), and returned home to share our news.

We felt strongly that our wedding day was about the three of us becoming a family. We agreed that we wanted a very simple affair. I love weddings, but having a big to-do just didn’t feel right. When I thought about myself making a commitment to both Dave and Gabe, I envisioned being surrounded by the things that matter most to me: a beautiful outdoor setting, my parents, and the lovely details that make a wedding day special.

I absolutely wanted to feel like a bride on my wedding day, so my dress was really important to me.  I could envision the style, but four months realistically wasn’t enough time to go shopping, order a dress and have it altered.  When I happened upon the name of a wedding dressmaker near my home, I jumped on it.  I immediately made an appointment, printed out pictures, and hoped for the best.  My dressmaker was enthusiastic and very good at what she does.  I went for fittings every six weeks or so, and literally watched my dream wedding dress get made.  It was exactly what I wanted — classic, a little bit preppy, definitely bridal — and had the added bonus of being the only one of its kind.

On the morning of July 11, 2012, Dave and I were married in a very intimate, very sweet ceremony with just our parents and Gabe by our sides.  The significance of the day was offset by how relaxed we all were.  There were no nerves, no rushing.   The seven of us sat down to enjoy a private luncheon after the pictures had all been taken, and we were in the pool by 3:00!

One of the personal touches that we incorporated into the wedding had to do with Dave’s love of boating… he won a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympic Games in rowing, and as luck would have it, the Clifton Inn has a small lake on its property. Our very willing photographer hopped into one of the two rowboats – and we hopped into the other for a romantic photo shoot on the lake!

In every sense, our wedding day was a reflection of what matters most to both of us.  It was a joyous occasion, a celebration of our love for one another, our parents’ love, and the love we share for Gabe.  We asked Gabe to make a toast at lunch, and he summed it up perfectly: “To love and happy.”


Wedding Photography: Jen Fariello Photography / Wedding Venue: The Clifton Inn, Charlottesville, Virginia / Floral Design: Southern Blooms by Pat’s Floral Design / Wedding Officiant: Claire Goodman of Sacred Ground Ceremonies / Wedding Dress: Elegance by Roya / Hair + Makeup: Jeanne Cusick / Groom’s Suit: Macy’s / Music: Marco Escobar of C’Ville String Academy / Rentals: Festive Fare

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