Historic Manor Home Gets New Life and New Name with Local Wedding Planner
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The historic Katherine Grace Manor, a popular bed & breakfast and wedding venue in Wirtz, VA, (and the cover venue for bridebook 2018), is getting new life, new owners, and even a new name. Now called Belle Garden Estate, the home has had a rich and storied past. It was first established in 1771 and has had ties to George Washington, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. It was lovingly renovated and converted to a B&B by its previous owner, Susan Mitchell Ober, and new owners Isabelle and Jordan Russell will continue to run the manor as a B&B and wedding venue.

The purchase of the estate is a natural expansion for Isabelle Russell’s business and brand. Isabelle is a full-time, certified wedding planner. She has organized more than 60 events since she built her business, Garden Rose Events and Design, from the ground up in 2016. Her husband and co-owner of the estate, Jordan Russell, also contributes to the community with his military service. Together the Russells have big plans for Belle Garden Estate, including the construction of an outdoor pavilion for wedding receptions that will enhance the bridal experience.

 “We feel so blessed and grateful to have this opportunity to contribute to the manor’s history,” says Isabelle. “We will continue to honor Susan Mitchell Ober’s dream, as well as the colonial charm that makes this place special.”

For more information about Belle Garden Estate, visit www.bellegarden-estate.com and keep an eye out for our open house announcement this spring!


Belle Garden Estate- Facebook | Instagram

Garden Rose Events & Design- Facebook | Instagram

Liz Long
Are You a Bride With an Adventurous Side?

by Emma Grosskopf

Consider these wedding ideas that are ANYTHING but traditional.

There's nothing wrong with a traditional wedding, familiar with all of the elements that we know and love, but sometimes in order to give your wedding a more unique flair, you have to thing outside of the box. Here are five ideas for spicing up your wedding if the traditional "something borrowed, something blue" doesn't really appeal to your adventurous side!


Holiday Weddings

This might seem iffy at first, but imagine the possibilities for a winter wonderland, Christmastime wedding, or a dark and moody wedding with Halloween undertones! Incorporating these seasonal details in bouquets, décor accents or invitations is a sure way to keep your wedding tasteful and unique, as opposed to moving into office-Christmas-party or trick-or-treat territory.

Brides Hannah Parker (left) and Emily Hilbert found unique ways to incorporate the Christmas spirit into their special day! See more of Hannah on page 70 of bridebook, and Emily on page 68!

(Parker wedding photography by Anna Bowser Photography)
(Hilbert wedding photography by Pat Cori Photography)


Themed Weddings

This is an idea that many brides shy away from as well, choosing to go for more common themes such as "elegant," "romantic" or "rustic." In the past year, the wedding industry has seen more couples choosing to have themed weddings such as "Roaring 20s," "Carnival Chic" or "Travel." While this idea is definitely for the more adventurous bride, incorporating small elements of the concept can allow you to maintain the air of the theme without going overboard.

Bride Sydney Solomon chose to have a "Travel" themed wedding, including a reception with several genres of international cuisine. See more of Sydney on page 44 of bridebook!


(Solomon wedding photography by Chris Jackson Photography)


Anything-But-White Wedding Dresses

This trend has spiked over the last few years as more and more brides are dismissing the traditional white for their wedding dress. While some of the bolder brides might opt for something drastic, like a black or red gown, some brides are dipping their toes into the pool of colored dresses with shades such as blush, buttery yellow, icy blue or silver.

Bride Krystina Angelini opts for a soft blush instead of the traditional white for her wedding dress. See more of Krystina here!


(Angelini wedding photography by Tara Lilly Design & Photography)


Pantone Brights

The colors that Pantone has released as trending for this fall are mostly muted, autumnal hues, but there are a couple outliers in shades of bright yellow and lime. These colors, which many, more traditional brides might avoid, can add a vibrant, unexpected pop to any brave bride's wedding day.

Brides Marybeth Pruitt and Jordie Lane both chose to incorporate the vivid, trending colors in their eye-catching bouquets. See more of Marybeth on page 72 of bridebook, and Jordie on page 34!

(Pruitt wedding photography by Heather Chipps Photography)
(Lane wedding photography by Kaitlyn Phipps Photography)


Unique Bouquets

Bouquets are an important part of every wedding, but if you're yawning thinking about a typical floral arrangement, maybe try for something a little more avant garde, like bejeweled or feather-adorned bouquets. The most adventurous among you might choose to forgo bouquets all together and choose something unique like lanterns or parasols for you and your bridal party to carry down the aisle on your special day.

Bride Aynsley Gresko chose to combine traditional bouquets with the fresh idea of parasols on her wedding day. See more of Aynsley here!


(Gresko wedding photography by Ashley Eiban Photography)

Liz Long
Fun Facts about the Royal Wedding

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

May 19, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are marrying this weekend and we are so excited for the celebration. They are a gorgeous couple and their story is truly something out of a fairytale. Even all the way across the pond, we feel as if we've known Prince Harry for years after being in the spotlight for most of his life. No lie, we're already pretty excited to watch the Lifetime movie and read all the romance fiction that will come about from so much inspiration! 

If you're a Royal Wedding watcher like us, you should check out our fun facts below. Congrats to the happy royal couple–we can't wait to see all the details of their big day!



Fun Facts

They have been together for 16 months.  It is quick compared to William and Kate!

Got engaged November 2017.

Meghan is not royal or British, so she breaks that rule. She is American and comes from a blue collar family. She is mixed race.

The engagement ring will come from precious diamonds from Diana’s personal collection.

Meghan was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school. This is in conflict with the Royals who can only marry a member of the Church of England since Henry the 8th. She was recently baptized in the Church of England. She did so out of respect for the Queen.

Meghan is a divorcee; until recently that was not allowed. The Queen has never attended a church wedding for a divorcee. She didn’t even attend her own son Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla; she only attended the reception.

For 180 years since Queen Victoria, the bouquet also will have a sprig of lemon myrtle, which dates back to 1858. It represents love.

The cake is usually always a fruitcake but Prince Harry’s cake will be a lemon butter cream cake. Yum!

The engagement photos are usually covered up and demure, but Prince Harry and Meghan's photos were more fashionable.

Prince Harry and Meghan break tradition because they show more PDA than any other royal!

Most of the Royal weddings have been during the week because the Queen doesn’t like to do things on her weekends, but Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding will be on a Saturday. 

The Queen had to sign off for Prince Harry to marry Meghan. She waited until four months after the engagement to do so.

Meghan is the first person to join the family’s inner circle for the royal Christmas activities before being married into the royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan are breaking tradition by not inviting heads of state to their wedding. They are instead inviting 1,200 people from the public to be on the grounds of Windsor Castle at St. George’s Chapel.

The wedding will take place at St. George Chapel, a smaller church than usual that can only have 800 people in it so it will be more intimate. The Westminster Abbey could hold 2,000.

Traditionally the bride will wear a tiara borrowed from the Queen. It is assumed that Meghan will do the same.

Traditionally the bride and groom do not kiss. It is actually forbidden in Westminster Abbey, which is why William and Kate had their first kiss on the balcony after their wedding. We will have to see what Prince Harry and Meghan do!

-Special thanks to Shiree Carr for compiling our facts!

Liz Long