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These High School Sweethearts Tied The Knot at a Historic Home in Virginia

By Patricia Garcia | Photography by 

Sarah Cramer Shields

Emily Hayes, director of operations at Tuckernuck, and real estate developer William Grayson first started dating when they were in high school, but like most young relationships, it didn’t last for long. Luckily, the two gave it another go during Billy’s senior year in college and seven years later, the couple got engaged during a trip to the Adirondacks in 2017. “On the second day of our vacation, we hiked near Lake Placid,” Emily remembers. “During a picnic lunch, post-hike, he popped the question.”

When thinking of where to host their wedding, one of the first places that came to mind was Billy’s parents home in Upperville, Virginia; a horse farm that has been in their family since the 1920s. “It’s been my favorite place to visit since I was sixteen,” Emily says. For their wedding’s aesthetic, Emily was inspired by the main house of the farm, which has a gorgeous front living room with dark green walls. “It felt fitting to go with a dark green palette for a country wedding,” she says. “To make it more fall, and less holiday-ish, I mixed in navy, stripes, and florals.” Rather than hosting the actual event at the family farm, though, the couple decided to use a nearby event space, the Long Branch Historic House and Farm, that was better suited for a large crowd. They set the date for September 29th, 2018 and started planning away.

Like many brides these days, Emily ended up finding her dress on Instagram. “I wanted a dress with a little bit of lace, but nothing too dressy since the wedding was cocktail attire,” she says.  After seeing spotting something just like that on Anne Barge’s feed, she searched for a local D.C. boutique that carried her dresses. She later paired her dress with a pair of her mother’s vintage emerald and diamond earrings, a last minute something borrowed add-on that worked perfectly. Meanwhile, Billy and his groomsmen wore navy suits with dark green striped and floral ties.

The day of the ceremony, friends and family gathered at Trinity Episcopal Church, the same church where Billy’s parents had tied the knot back in the 80s. Emily’s second grade teacher, who also happened to be Billy’s religion teacher and high school lacrosse coach, officiated the short and sweet ceremony. “I couldn’t stop smiling,” Emily adds. “I always thought I would have butterflies, but I have never felt more calm.”

After the ceremony was over, guests headed to the Long Branch Historic House for appetizers and cocktails. “We’re big fans of passed apps, so there was a big emphasis on that,” the bride explains. “We also wanted our guests to enjoy the sun setting on the Blue Ridge mountains, so we had an extended cocktail hour.” At one point, three of Emily’s girlfriends, who sang acapalla in college, performed with the wedding’s jazz band. “They sang ‘Crazy Love’ by Van Morrison,” she adds. “It was so special.”

Later on in the evening, guests enjoyed dinner and toasts from the bride’s father, sister, and the groom’s brother, and music from the Waller Family Band. “The dance floor was packed,” Emily adds. “In hindsight, we could have used a larger one!” And once the party came to a close, friends headed out to the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg for more drinks and sliders by the fire pits outside on the lawn. The perfect close to the evening, according to Emily: “It was just what I wanted.”