BRIDE AND GROOM
Whitney Metzger Weireter and Brian McIntosh Weireter
CEREMONY + RECEPTION LOCATION
Church of the Good Shepherd + The NorVa Theatre
THE STORY – HOW YOU MET AND THE PROPOSAL
Brian and I originally met in high school at Norfolk Collegiate School, though he was a few years older than me. We both had the opportunity to go on the same trip to the Galapagos Islands with our environmental science teacher and became great friends from the experience. We kept in touch throughout college. When Brian moved back to Norfolk in 2005 after graduating from JMU, I was attending ODU. The timing worked out, so we decided to give dating a try and were together for just under 7 years when Brian proposed over a plate of pancakes in which he had written “will you marry me” into them with the batter. What a sweet (and delicious) way to begin a new chapter in our lives!
THE WEDDING – WEDDING THEME + OVERAL VISION
We’re a couple that loves to have fun, so we knew we wanted a celebration that would reflect our lifestyle and personalities. Those that know Brian and I know that we like to do things outside the box. We balanced having a traditional church ceremony with a rockin’ reception. Because of our love for live music, it wouldn’t have made sense to have our reception anywhere but at the historic NorVa Theatre in Downtown Norfolk, where we’ve attended dozens of shows together throughout our relationship. A concert venue isn’t a traditional setting, but it’s a place where people know they’re going to have a good time!
Our save the date postcards were the first indicator to our guests that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary wedding day. We had a friend custom design them to look like vintage concert posters, with a heading that read “live in Norfolk for one night only” and a list of fake bands such as I Do & the Me Too’s. Our invitations were traditional script and letterpress but we put a playful twist on the RSVP cards. Rather than respond with a “yes” or “regret,” guests chose whether they would attend with “bells on,” “free of bells,” or regretfully decline because they “heard people will be wearing bells.” As guests were leaving the ceremony, they were handed multicolored strands of ribbon and bells attached to sticks so they could be rung when Brian and I made our grand exit from the church as newlyweds. The reception cards were designed to look like vintage concert tickets to the NorVa.
The morning of the wedding was (surprisingly) calm and relaxed. Brian and I exchanged letters with each other the at our rehearsal dinner to read as we got ready. I sipped mimosas and talked excitedly with my bridesmaids while we did our hair and makeup at my childhood home. Brian and his groomsmen relaxed in the NorVa’s legendary dressing rooms. We decided to do “first look” photos prior to the ceremony, which gave us some cherished time together before the hustle of the rest of the day. We were lucky to have beautiful fall weather, so we took photos in the garden and along the water’s edge of a nearby friend’s home.
A traditional Episcopal ceremony was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Norfolk. With Brian and his family being Catholic, our ceremony was conducted jointly by Good Shepherd’s reverend and Sacred Heart’s priest. It truly felt like our families were joining together. White lilies wrapped in satin were placed at the ends of the pews. My dearest girlfriends from high school serenaded guests as they entered the narthex with a rendition of “Chapel of Love” while another friend played acoustic guitar. As people were ushered down the aisle, a mix of traditional and popular songs were piped from the church’s organ. This may have been the only wedding in history where one would have heard “Ave Maria” followed by the theme from “Jurassic Park.”
It was important for us to honor our families on our special day. Brian’s maternal side is Irish, so he wore a custom kilt of his grandmother’s McIntosh tartan. The groomsmen and ring bearer wore kilts of the Royal Stuart tartan to reflect my Scottish heritage. Brian decided on black Converses to complete the look, which got a seal of approval from all the groomsmen and male guests. Brian’s older sister, a classically trained choralist, sang a solo during the ceremony. A traditional bagpiper surprised Brian and I by heralding our entrance into the NorVa.
Our florist, Lee Snyder, arranged my bridal bouquet with beautiful white lilies and glued rhinestones to some of the petals. She wrapped the bouquet with a piece from my Nana’s wedding dress and also arranged buttons from it and rhinestones throughout the bouquet. We used another piece of my grandmother’s dress to make the pillow for the ring bearer and as liner in the flower girl’s basket.
My dress came from Pure English. It was a beautiful white and satin gown with a cut away in the front to give the gown layers and folds. I only wore jewelry belonging to my mother and Nana, including a peridot ring my Nana gave me when I was born to specifically wear on my wedding day.
My beautiful bridesmaids selected their own black cocktail dress and each lady wore shoes with a color unique to them. Their bouquets were tied with ribbon that matched their shoe color. I opted for a pair of custom glitter wedges I’d be able to dance the night away in!
I wanted to honor Brian’s profession as a Norfolk firefighter, so I contacted the Old Dominion Fire Historical Society to arrange for a vintage fire engine to pick us up from the church and take us to the NorVa! We decided on a grand exit from the church rather than reception, so our family and friends rang the bells as we climbed onto the fire engine and drove away. It was a breathtaking ride!
To ensure there would be something for everyone to dance to at the reception, we booked the fabulous band Trademark. They played all genres, from jazz to Motown to modern covers, with Brian and I having our first dance to the classic “It Had to be You.” As a surprise, my mother arranged for an Elvis impersonator to appear and get the party started! The band brought Brian and I up on stage several times throughout the evening to dance and sing- they even brought my bridesmaids up for us to do a semi-choreographed dance. We provided glowsticks, sunglasses, and inflatable instruments for guests to enjoy in addition to a photobooth with outrageous props and accessories.
We didn’t want to take away the aspects that make the NorVa so unique, so for reception décor I chose an elegant black and silver color scheme. Tables were draped in textured sequin tablecloths. We set minimalist centerpieces on the tables that consisted of tall cylinder vases filled with silver glitter branches and white lilies in water. Lee placed LED lights at the bottom of the vases to provide some colorful table lighting. The NorVa looked like it was sparkling all over!
The quality of food was Brian’s top priority for the reception and he wanted a caterer that would provide a range of options. Sweetwater Cuisine provided decadent, gourmet food that guaranteed there was something for everyone. After passed hors d’ourves during the cocktail hour, food stations opened to serve shrimp and grits, sriracha glazed scallops and lamb lollipos, bbq sliders with a variety of sauces and toppings, chicken pot pie, southern biscuits, vegan-friendly options, and even a mac ‘n’ cheese bar. Our dessert bar featured displays of glitter bonbons, assorted macarons, cake pops, and miniature pies. For a late-night snack, guests were treated to grilled cheese sandwiches and warm chocolate chip cookies served with a shot of milk. The fare that night was straight out of a southern gourmand’s dream. The bar served selections from local breweries as well as signature drinks, including Manhattans made just the way Brian’s grandfather used to.
We cut our wedding cake with a custom engraved fire ax. We decided on a dessert bar rather than serve traditional wedding cake, so a friend of ours decorated a small cake for us to cut on the stage of the NorVa. The simple yet modern all-white funfetti cake design was topped with two dinosaur figurines, which I had dressed as a bride and groom, and palm trees were arranged to form a “W.”
My family has an ongoing Christmas tradition regarding Elvis memorabilia, so I should have known the King would be making an appearance at my wedding! My mother planned the surprise with the help of our wedding planner, Sandy Baxter of Baxter’s Creative Events. Once Brian and I shared our first dance, Elvis appeared onstage to serenade the crowd and get the party started! Several of my sorority sisters were able to attend, and so hand-in-hand we sung a fun Zeta Tau Alpha ritual together.
MOST MEMORABLE – FAVORITE MOMENTS + FAMILY TRADITIONS
My favorite moment of the reception was dancing onstage with Brian as he belted out “Wagon Wheel” with the band and twirled me around under the glow of the stage lights. He gave quite the performance for someone who tends to shy away from the spotlight! The moment was so fun yet intimate and seemed to perfectly encapsulate the happiness of the day.
The whole day, from start to finish, was everything we envisioned for our wedding. It was filled with numerous personal touches to make both the ceremony and reception special to us and those we care about. There was so much love and laughter between us, our families, and friends as we celebrated our marriage and new life together.
Ceremony: Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd,
Venue: NorVa Theatre,
Gown & Veil: Pure English,
Groom: Scots Connection,
Groomsmen: Atlanta Kilts,
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Steve Fanelty, Gold Rush Jewelers, d’Art Center
Wedding Coordinator: Sandra Baxter, Baxter’s Creative Events,
Photography: Michael Dragon, Dragon Studio,
Florist: Lee Snyder, email@example.com
Caterer: Sweetwater Cuisine,
Videographer: Marcus Williams,
Invitations: RSVP Stationary,
Hair & Makeup: Gil Trautman, Elite Day Spa,
Photobooth: Astro DJ,
Elvis: Tim Beasley,
Transportation: Venture Tours,
Fire Engine: Old Dominion Historical Society,
Bagpipes: Jim Roberts
Save the Date and custom posters: Justin Brown,
Printing services: Colley Avenue Copies,