When Nicholas Malla threw a tiny paper ball at Katherine Ross during sixth grade Earth Science class, she rushed to uncrumple it discretely. “Will you go to the dance with me? Check yes or no” was scrawled on the paper in 11-year-old-boy handwriting. “Even though I had the biggest crush on him,” Katherine (who goes by Kate) says, “I denied the invite.”
Little did she know, the two Virginia Beach natives would later become high school sweethearts. Read on for their story with photography by Lauren Simmons.
As middle school relationships go, Kate and Nick’s first date was in the cafeteria, where they made a splash by abandoning their usual tables to sit together instead. “She was the smartest one in science class,” Nick says, “and my first ‘friend who was a girl,’ so of course, I wanted to make her my girlfriend.”
When freshman year of high school rolled around, the two went on the quintessential parent-chaperoned movie date—during which Nick’s dad awkwardly positioned himself on the far side of the theater.
It wasn’t until the following year, when Nick got his (long awaited) driver’s license, that he took Kate on a proper first date at a Virginia Beach restaurant overlooking the water. Both big key lime pie fans, they split a slice for dessert— “and to this day,” Kate says, “whenever it’s on the menu, we order it and compare it to that very first one.”
Come Kate’s senior year of college, Nick could think of no more magical a place to propose than the Shenandoah Valley.
In the Virginia Beach Fire Academy at the time, he picked up Kate from her apartment in Harrisonburg and they went out to their usual brunch spot. “The only thing out of place,” Kate says, “was that Nick didn’t eat much.” Not to mention the fact that it was snowing—in March.
Weather aside, Nick suggested an “adventure” to one of their friend’s houses at the top of a hill overlooking the Valley. As they arrived, the snow began to lighten up, and once they reached the front porch, Nick dropped to one knee.
Seeking a venue reminiscent of their relationship, Nick and Kate were drawn to the Eastern Shore, where they vacationed as kids at Kate’s family’s beach house. They settled on Cheriton, Virginia’s lush Mimosa Farm, where they held an outdoor ceremony against the backdrop of Eyre Hall Creek.
A white-and-wood reception beneath an outdoor tent featured centerpieces overflowing with garden roses, Queens Anne’s lace, and delphinium. Guests sipped on wine from the nearby Chatham Vineyards and indulged in miniature frozen treats from local Brown Dog Ice Cream.
No shortage of sweets, there was a selection of red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes, in addition to a rustic two-tiered almond wedding cake.
After a dazzling sparkler-lined exit, Kate and Nick escaped to island paradise in Negril, Jamaica, before returning to their Virginia Beach home.
Photography: Lauren Simmons | Event Coordinator: Jacklyn Launi | Venue: Mimosa Farm | Videography: Sarah Mezzy | Florist: Gather Floral | Catering & Cake: Sweetwater Cuisine | Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Behind the Veil | Wedding Dress: All the Rage | Tux: Philip Michael Fashion for Men | Wedding Invitations: She Design Co. | DJ: Endless Mic Entertainment | Calligraphy: Natalie Napolitano