Real Wedding: Julie and Shawn

Handmade table settings and personalized shawls made for sweet touches at this rustic wedding.

Julie Hittle and Shawn Garman on their September 23, 2012. All photographs by Astrid Photography.

Julie Hittle and Shawn Garman’s romance began with a high school crush. The two met while attending the same boarding school in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. After years of being in the same circle of friends, during their senior year, they decided to take it a step further and go on a first date. “I told our conservative school that I was spending the evening with Shawn’s sister,” says Julie, now a marketing coordinator. “We spent the evening attempting to make each other food and ended up with Bagel Bites.” Ah, young love.

As their taste in food evolved, so did their relationship, which continued throughout college. It was toward the end of their university years when Shawn, a small business manager, planned his proposal. He whisked Julie to San Diego on the pretense of a graduation gift, and spent a romantic day on nearby Catalina Island, a spot Julie fell in love with as a little girl. “Before we boarded the ship back, Shawn took me to the pier and suggested we take some photos,” says Julie. “He asked me to take a few of him, and as I was snapping away, he pulled a Tiffany box out of his pocket, so I caught it on camera. It was such a beautiful moment!” On September 23, 2012, the couple were married in a rustic-chic wedding at Virginia’s historic Long Branch estate.


Photographer: Astrid Woltering, Astrid Photography

Wedding Venue: Historic Long Branch

Bride’s Gown: Justin Alexander, Blush Bridal Boutique

Hair Dresser: Sherry, Alexandre de Paris

Groom’s Tux: Black by Vera Wang, Men’s Wearhouse

Caterer/Cake: CrossRoads Catering

Wedding Cake Flavors: Chocolate

Florist: Wegmans

Wedding Flowers: Mini green hydrangeas, spray roses, white gypsophila, lavender stock, pink statice, and Gerbera daisies

Videographer: Villatoro Productions

Music/Entertainment: DJ Richard Barreto, Signature Talent

First Dance Song: “Save the Last Dance” by Michael Bublé

Invitations: Minted

Biggest Surprise of the Wedding: “Before the wedding, Shawn and I did our first look. I thought he had given me my gift already, but then he pulled something out of his pocket and set it in my hand. He had a dog tag made for our dog that said ‘Mom’ with my phone number. It was the sweetest gift,” says Julie.

Favorite Wedding Detail: “Greek culture is very important to my family. So when the Greek songs came on and Shawn’s family joined in, it felt as though our families were one,”says Julie.

Favorite Decor Detail: “Table runners that I sewed with my stepmom. We bought the fabric and lace, and she helped me make my dream table settings a reality without breaking the bank. We sat and sewed for hours! It was a task, but the result was so lovely,” says Julie.

Wedding Theme: Country chic

Four Words That Describe the Wedding: Romantic, whimsical, Southern, charming

Honeymoon Spot: Positano, Italy

Where They Currently Live: Gainesville, Virginia