By now you all know that we had our wedding right here at Casa Petersik, but we actually booked a real venue right after we got engaged (before we ever laid eyes on our brick ranch). Of course as soon as we saw our future home we desperately begged for our deposit back (since it was still over a year in advance) and the venue generously handed back every last cent. We were super excited to take on an at-home wedding (you know we love a good DIY project) but we must admit that our first planned wedding location was pretty sweet too. So we stopped by two years later to take a walk down memory lane (and snag some photos to share with you guys). Without further ado we bring you the place where we almost got married: Stony Point School.
It’s a lovely little private school housed in a historic tudor mansion complete with amazing herringbone-patterned bricks, a slate roof and even a charming little breezeway.
Around back, just beyond that sweet little breezeway is a gorgeous green expanse of lush lawn to accommodate an outdoor ceremony, a tented reception, a patio for a swanky little cocktail hour and even some charming old brick walkways and other delicious details that had us at hello.
Here’s one of those sweet brick walkways that leads from the patio area down to the grassy lawn.
And look at this amazing brick archway covered in creeping ivy. Can you imagine the wedding pictures we could have taken with this backdrop?
Probably the most magical feature was this tree-lined path that ran parallel to the lush lawn. We pictured setting up a few “attractions” in this area just left of the reception tent (maybe our photo clothesline and a yellow & green themed candy bar could have made an appearance?).
And just look at this brick & slate birdhouse atop one of the brick walls that ran along the side of the yard. Have you ever seen such fabulous digs for a bird? It was details like this that made us fall fast and hard for this one-of-a-kind location.
Here’s another spot that would have been a killer photo backdrop. Who wouldn’t want to pose in front of that iron ivy-riddled gate? So green and gorgeous!
And here’s that amazing tree-lined path from the other direction. This really was our favorite feature of the entire venue. See that light steaming through the trees? It really is a magical little spot.
But even without the brick birdhouse and the rest of the amazing private school scenery, we still think our backyard wedding was the bee’s knees (and of course we saved some money by having it at home instead):
Everything happens for a reason, right? And maybe sharing this little Stony Point School shout-out will help a few engaged locals find the wedding location of their dreams!
What about you guys. Any almost-wedding locations that you pulled out of way ahead of time (or just days before?). Is there anyone else who has considered getting married at a school or a private home? Do tell.
p.s. Remember our BIIIIIIG ANNOUNCEMENT? Well, we’re dropping the bomb no later than Monday so stay tuned…
Monday? Too long!
Beautiful venue! :)
Hello, fellow Richmonders. I’m hosting a party at my home and would love to have the same or similar lights strung across the yard. Did you rent or buy yours, and where? Thanks!
What a beautiful venue for a wedding! I think you guys really captured the look and feel of the school house in your back yard though. I adore all of your wedding idea’s and the DIY touch makes everything that much more special!
Im not sure if I can take the anticipation of waiting until Monday for the BIIIIIIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
ugh…you can not make us wait until monday for the BIIIIIIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
This is so beautiful, reminds me of Charleston SC!
I’m beginning to think the big announcement is either a new website, magazine or something to do with TV… I’m about positive it’s NOT a baby! Can’t wait!
so excited for Monday!!!
That place is gorgeous! I still think your backyard was the better choice though :)
We knew where we wanted to get married before we were engaged: a little garden shop in our town. It was the first thing we had to book once I said yes!
Well, I’m Catholic (and G is now too) so we were planning on getting married at the Catholic church in the town G grew up in (and my parents live). But they could only do a morning or evening wedding, and we wanted an afternoon wedding with a reception going on into the night. So we changed to another town, in a church that was built in the 1800’s and has a beautiful rose window above the altar. In the end, it all turned out perfect. There was an arched brick walkway to get from the church building to the church, and it made for fantastic pictures! And the preacher who married us was incredible, and worked with us while G was overseas.
Yes, Stony Point is beautiful. I can imagine my own daughter getting married there. And living happily ever after! BUT your wedding was SO special. You could not have topped it. I really admire you two for taking it on and doing it on a tight budget and doing it RIGHT! I loved all of your ideas and I think you spent money in all the right places and none of the wrong places!
How about this idea? On your fifth or tenth wedding anniversary? Have pictures taken at Stony Point! What a keepsake that would still be!
Have a wonderful, romantic day!
Thanks for sharing~ we’re planning on hosting our own wedding, but I want to check this place out as well, it looks spacious & beautiful, can’t beat it.
That is basically where I want to live.
It’s good to dream big.
Even though your first choice was/is pretty awesome, I think you guys made the right choice. Your backyard was perfect for the occasion! It fits you (it seems, because I really don’t know you!) and I think that it just adds that special touch to your wedding story and journey as a couple. Good job guys!
This place is gorgeous!
Allison Harris says
My husband and I both attended NCSU School of Architecture. We first hung out in studio, had our first date at the Halloween Design Bash on campus and even got engaged in the Belk Rotunda (a major pin-up space). So we naturally thought we would get married at the design school too! The campus has a wonderful outdoor sunken amphitheater surrounded with beautiful azaleas. Then I read an article about beautiful wedding chapels in Las Vegas and thought ‘why not?’! So we got married in Vegas (we did not elope, we took friends and family with us) and had a casual cake and punch reception in the Rotunda when we got home!
I sang for a wedding at Stony Point School one time, years and years ago … and it was indeed magical! But seeing it through your pictures is like seeing it for the first time — and you really do showcase how lovely it is!
Hey there! I recently stumbled upon your website and am sad I hadn’t discovered it earlier … y’all do a great job and are an interesting read. I sure hope that the announcement is about a baby!!! Have a wonderful weekend y’all!
P.S. I grew up in Northern Virginia and have contemplated moving back to the state so very many times. I absolutely love it there … and am still a die-hard Redskins fan! :)
Jenelle at This Lady Blogs says
I think that HGTV is giving you a show of your own. ;)
J and I are both Lutheran, and typically Lutheran churches are pretty cool about letting Lutherans get married at the church at no cost. Although we both have home churches, my family and his family live about an hour apart. We were hoping to split the difference, and find a church in the middle where we could be married. We figured that with J’s dad being a Lutheran pastor and officiating the ceremony, it would be no biggie to find someplace that would let us have use of their building on a Saturday.
Boy were we wrong! Every place we checked had a huge fee attached to it, AND wouldn’t let J’s dad officiate, which I thought was really odd, since it’s even the same denomination.
In the end, we ended up getting married at the church that I grew up at (my parents were married there as well), with J’s dad officiating. It was a longer drive for some of our guests, but I don’t regret it at all.
Stony Point School was our first choice for our May, 2008 wedding. We called to try to book it, but they were apparently beginning a big construction project until 2010 so they weren’t booking any events for 2008! We were sooo bummed, but then found a brand new venue in Henrico that was perfect for a garden wedding (and we were the first ones to book a wedding there!) Everything works out, and yours sure did work out BEAUTIFULLY in your yard!
Hmmm…in regards to the BIG news, are you 2 cuties “movin’ on up”…to oh say – your DREAM house??? :)
Happy Weekend (& waiting) All!
I think your backyard wedding came out way better than your original venue would have :) Besides, every morning you wake up, you look outside the window and have that special memory. I only backed out of a DJ for my wedding…best $300 deposit I ever lost as our 2nd choice was awesome. Looking forward to the BIG announcement!
We’d planned a “real” wedding here: http://www.swallowcreekranch.com/barn.html. Gorgeous site, but waking up with heartburn and anxiety over such a big production, we scaled it back. (Sadly, deposit not returned.)
On to the backyard wedding. We had one, too — at my mom and stepdad’s house. Only 25 people. Loved the backyard wedding.
Kate at Centsational Girl says
I have to tell you, ever since I saw your backyard wedding photos, I truly believe you are on the cutting edge of a wonderful trend: bringing back the perfect backyard wedding. My parents got married in their parent’s backyard, and it was lovely. 35 years later, the photos still showcase the marvelous family event.
Hub and I put on a lavish reception in Tiburon, CA ten years ago. In hindsight, I wish we’d saved our money ! Our pics turned out beautiful – stay tuned for photos on our anniversary in September. But I tell everyone, don’t do it big and expensive, do it like John and Sherry ! I truly mean that.
I love seeing beautiful venues for weddings! I can just see all the beautiful pictures being taken!
Your wedding was very personal and charming. It fit your personalities. I think I would of preferred doing a backyard wedding also.
First of all, your wedding looked beautiful! I can’t even imagine how much work it must have been. How stressful was it?! Although I’m a control freak myself so it must have been nice to have control over all the details. :)
My husband and I got married in his grandma’s backyard. She has a beautiful modern home and a great backyard. She was a master gardener for the botanical gardens here in St. Louis and last summer her backyard was featured in a local magazine. I don’t think the pics the mag took did it justice though!! It was such a special way to get married. Our ceremony was small with just family and bridal party but we did have a reception with everyone at a fun venue- 3rd Degree Glass Factory. Having the reception at the glass factory was great- we opted to have a live glass blowing demo!
So I think I had the best of both worlds- a private residence ceremony and a fun location change with the reception. It really made our day special… you know, besides becoming husband and wife! :)
Burger is expecting!!!!
No, I too think that the big announcement has something to do with your having been discovered by Real Simple or something similar.
And I’m glad you got married at your home. It’s more you.
Oh the suspense!!!!!!! Come on Monday!!!!!
You two show that the backyard wedding can still be chic and upscale…love it!
Our ceremony & reception was outside a historial house-turned-museum built in the 1920’s and the grounds definitely had that backyard feel. In fact, we ended up doing our rehearsal dinner there too…the first night, super casual BBQ, the second – slightly fancier food & clothes!
Hi- First I love your blog and it is one that I visit every day! I got married at my school- Glenelg Country School in Maryland. It was perfect and so beautiful- we only had about 65 people there and it was a great October day.
This blog post does not quench my thirst to know about your big secret! I dont feel like I can wait till Monday! I am heading to the outer banks on sunday and was not planning on taking a lap top on vacation….however….! I hate not knowing secrets!!
My fiance and I are in the midst of buying a real fixer upper (foreclosed farm. OY!) and planning a wedding. We have a stunning location but REALLY want to get married at our new place. I don’t think we’ll be closed on the house in time to get it fixed up enough to have the wedding, though :(
Wow that venue is gorgeous too! But you’re right, everything happens for a reason!
Sarah aka. "Crazy Cat Lady" says
“Due to overwhelming demand we’re unable to take on new clients at this time. Please check back on Monday, July 13th at which point we’ll be accepting three new orders (a word of warning: they go fast!).”
Well after seeing this comment I definitely think a show will be your BIG announcement!! Whatever the announcement is I can’t wait to hear about it, I’m excited already :O)
At my budget wedding site I ALWAYS encourage people to look to their homes (or parent’s homes) as their first venue consideration. Yes, it takes a bit more elbow grease but the memories are so very worth it. Think about it, for years to come that oak tree won’t just be a tree. It will be the place were you vowed to be together forever. No rented venue can give you that.
My sister and my cousin got married at my parents house and it was beautiful!!
See pictures here:
What a beautiful place! Your backyard wedding is way more personal and special, though. Good choice.
I don’t think I can wait until Monday!!! At first I thought baby, but now I’m thinking…a book? Maybe you’re writing your own home deco book? If not, I think you should…I’d buy a copy! :)
I think y’all are going to be on Oprah. That’s about the biggest thing I can think of (other than a baby, but for some reason I just don’t think it’s that).
My husband’s cousin got married at Stony Point School and my kids were the ringbearer and flower girl. It was a beautiful location and we have some great photos of them. We were married at the Italian Gardens in Maymont which was beautiful, but Stoney Point is much more private. Can’t wait until Monday!!
We got married on the quad on JMU’s campus (yeah for va schools !)
I hope you are pregnant! BC I want to be, but have some exams to get past first (CPA). Want. Baby. Now. And if it’s not time for me, I hope it’s time for ya’ll!
But, if you aren’t preg, I hope you are getting your own TV show – how awesome!
I don’t think the “overwhelming demand” thing has anything to do with the surprise… that has been there many times before.
The venue reminds me in so many ways of the Alcazar in Seville. I even have a picture on my blog of me posing by a garden gate with ivy like the one you posted. The light and the gardens at the Alcazar are amazing- as they are at that venue. Just gorgeous!
What a coincidence. We dated & got engaged & selected a veunue & found a house & cancelled our venue – all with the same sort of time frame you had.
Then, we got married in our new home. Which was the best thing I can think of.
I did not put down a deposit on our venue- I paid 100% of the cost in exchange for a reduced rate AND it was non-refundable. BUT- I approached the owner with the idea that I would donate our timeslot to her favorite charity so I could take a tax write-off as a charitable contribution. Her animal rescue orgaqnization had a nice party and we was happy. We had booked The Elm in Baltimore- great place.
I’d bet that you’re preggers and one of your big projects coming up (what you wanted to spend that conest money on) is a nursery. You keep hinting at babies all over the place, so I’m pretty convinced I’m right. I’ll be waiting to find out the news on Monday, though.
Read a few comments up to see our no-baby bombshell. We know a bunch of people are disappointed but someday we’ll get to make that announcement and make tons of baby-hungry readers very happy. But there’s something else in store for Monday!
I also had a similiar experience. I kept putting off making a deposit on the reception venue we reserved (thank god I did not have to rely on my charm and begging skills to get the deposit back). It dawned on me I was holding off to use th funds for a new home. We purchased our home with the same intentions, a backyard wedding. We even chose it for it’s backyard. After moving in I discovered I did not want to get married with dogs and car music booming in the background.
We’re still unmarried, but we’ve been together 10 years. Maybe the next home will have a peaceful backyard. I love the idea.
i think that you completely captured what a wedding should be about-sharing a special moment with family and friends in a relaxed setting that invites a good time and doesn;t break the bank.
just one question-and i mean this in all seriousness-what were your plans if it rained? i love the whole thing but that would be the one little niggling thing in my brain holding me back!
We knew we’d know a few days beforehand if rain was in the forecast so our plan was to take everyone out to a big dinner somewhere instead of meeting at our house but luckily July is a notoriously dry month here in Richmond so we didn’t really worry that much and there was nary a rainy day the entire month! Hope it helps.
Hi there! I love your blog..unfortunately recently most of the pictures are not coming up-I have tried on several computers with the same issue-am I the only one experiencing this?
Thanks and keep blogging!
Hmm, this is the first we’ve heard of this problem so we’re stumped. We have thousands of readers, none of whom have mentioned this issue but the fact that you’ve tried it on several computers has us scratching our heads. Are the computers all on the same network (all with Comcast as the internet provider for example)- if so, it could be an issue with their server that will hopefully fix itself the next time their server reboots. If you’re viewing our site on a number of work computers it also could be that they blocked the server that hosts our photos so you might want to try checking on a computer that’s not policed by a corporation like a private home computer. We hope it helps!
Is anyone else having this issue? If so feel free to pipe up.
I’m going to be doing a DIY wedding next June at my fiances parents lake home. How did you transition the seating from ceremony to reception? Did everyone take their chairs over to the table when it was time to eat?
We had a bunch of strong guys in charge of transferring chairs right after the ceremony so it went really quickly. Basically while people were milling around and congratulating John and I, a few guys were “behind the scenes” moving all the chairs, so by the time people started looking for their place cards on the tables there were already chairs waiting for them. Hope it helps!
Our backyard wedding will be at the in-laws this October,and I have found so much inspiration from your special day!.
Thx for sharing all the photos and priceless info!
I went to school here!