Love might be blind, but Brandon certainly isn’t.
When he met Amanda, a lovely, statuesque brunette, he was blown away. He was joining a pretty big fan club, however. Amanda is one of the top-rated pediatricians in Charlotte.
(She has been my sons doctor for the past 12 years and we think really highly of her! So I was extremely excited to be a small part of this wedding.)
So how did Amanda, this doctor with a demanding schedule, and Brandon, an extremely successful technology executive who frequently travels for business, end up meeting each other?
They met each other the best way possible: through a mutual friend who knew them both.
“Our real estate agent, Kathy, set us up on a blind date,” Dr. Amanda said. “After much encouragement from her, we met at Dean and Deluca Wine Bar. The chemistry was instantaneous, and the conversation very easy.”
To say the date went well would be an understatement. A funny, affectionate man, Brandon has the chiseled good looks of a movie star. And Amanda is a dream date in anyone’s book.
Amanda described that first date as “scary good.” Brandon, knowing a good thing when he saw it, asked her out for another date before their first date was over.
It didn’t take long before the two became an item. As their relationship deepened, Amanda and Brandon spent a couple of months discussing marriage and looking at rings.
Amanda had a sneaking suspicion that Brandon might ask her to marry him on her birthday. Brandon threw her a surprise birthday party, and handed her a small gift box. Excited and nervous, she tore open the wrapping… only to find a Garmin sports watch nestled inside. Although she was grateful for the gift, it wasn’t quite what she was expecting.
Amanda began to worry that she was pressuring Brandon. She decided she would not even mention the words “engagement,” “wedding,” or “marriage.”
That very weekend, she was on call, rounding and working the weekend clinic. By Saturday night, she was exhausted. She slipped into her PJs, a comfy bathrobe, and swapped her contacts for her glasses. Amanda and Brandon were relaxing on the couch and waiting for college football to start on TV.
Out of the blue, Brandon turned to her asked, “When are we getting married?”
Amanda then launched into her dissertation.
“No more wedding talk! No more rings! Not until there is an actual proposal!”
Annoyed by his teasing, she turned her head, only to hear him ask again, “When are you going to marry me?”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the telltale flash of an enormous diamond ring.
She screamed, covered her face and declared she couldn’t believe he asked her to marry him while she was in her PJs and glasses.
“That’s exactly what I wanted,” Brandon said. “To surprise you and propose when we are together, just as we will be every day.”
As they began planning the wedding, they knew they wanted an elegant venue, but one that also catered largely to families. Amanda and Brandon each have a son, and they wanted to make their wedding a family affair. They ended up choosing The Homestead Resort and Spa, a luxury getaway in Hot Springs, Virginia, which combines refinement and plenty of fun for families.
The resort, originally built in 1766, is famous for its golf course, archery, falconry, skeet shooting and elegant service. It is also well-known for its natural hot springs, which have drawn visitors from across the country for centuries. The Jefferson Pools are named for Thomas Jefferson, who spent nearly a month at The Homestead in 1818. Soaking in the Gentlemen’s Pool House three times a day, Jefferson proclaimed the spring waters to be “of the first merit.”
There is a separate pool sanctuary for adults, but for families there is a sprawling pool complex with water slides, lazy rivers and comfy lounges for the parents.
“Our wedding was an intimate celebration of family,” Amanda said. “We chose The Homestead because of its devotion to families and making memories. Every detail, from the ‘family favorites’ welcome bag, to our choice of recreational activities, and our home-made jam wedding favors, were intended to include guests of all ages. We wanted the most important people in our lives to laugh, love and live together with us for this special event.”
Amanda said there were so many lovely things about her wedding day, she couldn’t pick just one favorite memory.
“Our wedding day was the most relaxed we had been all weekend,” she said. “We each spent the day with our family and friends. Brandon and his son went skeet shooting with his father after our sons did archery with several of the families attending. I spontaneously decided to rent a cabana at the outdoor family pool. I surrounded myself with my sons, nephews, close friends, and their children. We laughed, ordered food, soaked in the sun and watched the water-slide races. I nearly missed my spa appointment making sure everyone else was taken care of! Brandon then joined the crew while I readied for the ceremony. The ceremony was relaxed, emotional and beautiful, and the mountaintop reception… just one big family reunion! Neither the bride nor bridegroom felt nerves at all… just elation.”
Amanda was radiant in her wedding gown, designed by Anna Maier. The gorgeous crystal accent at Amanda’s waist complemented the hair ornaments hand- designed by Whitney Alyssa.
But, as always, what makes a wedding sacred is the bond the couple creates, and the love of family and friends that surrounds them.
“Our family and friends, who have seen us through difficult times, spoke at the wedding about how much we each bring out the good in each other. We both feel this amazing sense of contentment, like we’ve never had in life. Our sons, their closeness… our families and their love… our friends and their support… it is priceless and calms our hearts.”
Those who really know Amanda know she is rarely (ok never) at a loss for words, and one of the highlights of the day was when she was overcome by emotion looking at Brandon during the ceremony and could not recite her vows. The raw emotion brought tears to many, including the groom!
A sign of the trust Amanda places in Brandon was her decision to let him plan a surprise honeymoon after they returned to Charlotte. Anyone who knows Amanda has been shocked with her relinquishing this control. It speaks volumes about her love and trust in this man.
Did Brandon deliver? He most certainly did. He swept Amanda away for a luxurious, sun-drenched week in St. Thomas Ritz Carlton.
Photography for wedding: Chuck Eaton
Wedding consultants/planners: Esme Pitard at The Homestead Resort
Ceremony location: The Homestead, Hot Springs, VA
Flowers: Gillespie’s Flowers, White Sulphur Springs, WV
Gown: Hayden Olivia Bridal Designer: Anna Maier
Shoes: Nordstrom Designer: Valentino
Flower Girls’ dresses : Katina Katoo
Suits Taylor, Richards, Conger Designer: Coppley
Headpiece: Whitney Alyssa – hand designed combs
Engagement and Wedding rings: Diamonds Direct – Charlotte
Hairstylist and Makeup for wedding: Jessica at The Homestead Resort Salon
Invitations/Stationery: Paper Source
Music/Entertainment/Booking Agency: Alan Boyle (DJ), Richmond, VA
Clergy: Rev. Bill Roth – Myers Park United Methodist, Charlotte, NC
Reception location: The Gun Club, The Homestead, Hot Springs, VA
Rehearsal dinner: Sam’s Snead’s Tavern at The Homestead
Rental providers : Gillespie’s Flowers, White Sulphur Springs, WV
Wedding night hotel/inn: The Homestead
Specialty gifts/favors: Homemade jam from groom’s mother & fruit flavored moonshine from the bride’s family – Both in Mason jars
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