Rustic goth enchanted garden Poe Museum wedding *

Rustic goth enchanted garden Poe Museum wedding *

Photos by Aniko Levai Photography

Offbeat partners: Denise & Lee

Date and location of wedding: The Poe Museum in Richmond, VA. 2/29/2020

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The theme was a rustic garden with a goth twist in plums and burgundies in an enchanted sea of green. The Museum’s Founders were inspired by Poe’s poem “To One in Paradise.”

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine—
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.
~Edgar Allan Poe

We chose to do a handfasting wedding with a ring exchange. [Editor’s note: we’ll be sharing the full handfasting ceremony script in a few days!] We felt that it was more of our style and the way we feel about each other.

Photos by Aniko Levai Photography

We walked separately on the brick garden steps across the “sea of green” and met at the fountain. He offered me his arm and I then took it as we walked towards the Poe shrine where we would stand and speak our vows. This was done as a symbol of being apart and joining together as we walked past our friends and family.

Our rings are unique. Mine is a gothic wedding set (with skulls) and Lee’s was an ogham ring with the wording of my choice, which was our wedding song “Nothing Else Matters.”

I had a custom necklace engraved with our wedding date from Pyrrha’s “We Two Are One” that features two ravens holding a ring in a heart to reflect on our chosen venue. The description: The ravens on this talisman are symbolic of a strong and mysterious force surrounding you. Together they hold a ring, signifying a faithful and loving bond.

We also had custom bowties made in our wedding colors for The Poe Museum’s resident cats Edgar and Pluto!

Tell us about the reception:
We treated our guests to a guided museum tour while we were having our photos taken after the ceremony.

We had our first dance to a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica by singer Lissie when the guests returned from their guided tour.

We had a hot chocolate bar, hors d’oeuvres, and then celebrated with a cake ceremony.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The biggest wedding challenge was staying true to our personalities. Establish boundaries from the start. It is your day because when you look back, you get to enjoy the look, feel, and photos. We also felt so loved by our friends and family that traveled a great distance to celebrate with us on our wedding day.

My parents were not able to travel, so my mother made me my “something blue” from a piece of light blue cloth from a quilt my nanny made that I treasure. It is so old, it is falling apart, but that just means how dearly I loved the quilt she made me when I was smaller. It felt like I had my nanny and parents with me that day.


Marriage Celebrant: Mary Lee
Wedding Cake: SweetfixRVA
Wedding Toppers:
Wedding Favor Boxes:
Guest Book:
Bride’s Hair: Julie Cook
Bridal Dress:
Bride’s Tiara:
Bridal Necklace:
Bride’s Rings:
Groom’s Attire:
Groom’s Ring:
Groom Boutonniere:
Cat’s Bow Ties:
Handfasting Cords:

Rustic goth enchanted garden wedding gallery

Click to view slideshow.

Unique and Stunning Luray Caverns Micro Wedding *

Unique and Stunning Luray Caverns Micro Wedding *

This year may have postponed some weddings, but micro weddings as beautiful as this Luray Caverns wedding will make you want to trim that guest list. Chelsea and Joe opted for a micro wedding at a unique and meaningful venue before throwing a post-ceremony in 2021 with the rest of their guests. This adventurous couple knew that they wanted to exchange their I do’s inside of the Luray Caverns, and we are here for it.

From the luscious green fields outside to the candlelit caverns, this private minimony held underneath the mountains was nothing short of amazing. And while we could talk on and on about this wedding, wedding photographer Ray Photography Co. summed it up beautifully.

Ray Photography’s Take On The Day

Like many couples in 2020, these two had originally planned a large wedding for Friday, August 28th. Due to COVID, they—of course—postponed but still wanted to proceed with getting married. Then, they called me with a wild idea—why not get married and celebrate in an epic cave where they shared one of their first adventures as a couple? Of course, I said, “Yes! Let’s do this.” Before we ventured into the caves, Chelsea & Joe exchanged private vows underneath the mountains and willow trees. We then wandered through the caverns with their immediate family and closest friends, paused to marvel at the insane beauty before us, and made our way to the Cathedral Room—a massive open cavern over 100 feet below the earth. It was there, surrounded by candles and their loved ones, that these two said, “I do.” It was pure magic.

Ready to go on an adventure? Scroll down and get ready to hike through a Luray Caverns wedding with Ray Photography Co.

The Couple:

Chelsea and Joe

The Wedding:

Luray Caverns, Luray, VA

From a Large Wedding to a Micro Wedding

What was most important to us in planning was to just get married. Our only concern when planning our minimony was to just make it legal! We were very fortunate to be able to do that at a place that was meaningful to our relationship.

Wedding Advice For Pandemic Couples

The only thing that really matters is who you are marrying. Your expectations may change—especially for 2020 couples—but during the difficult times, we focused on each other and reminded each other that “us” and being married is all that matters.

Why A Luray Caverns Wedding?

We had our first adventure together as a couple at the Luray Caverns. Almost 7 years ago, we went to Luray Caverns in the first month of dating. It was so beautiful and we had so much fun there. We thought it was the perfect backup venue for our postponed wedding celebration.

Luray Cavern Memories

We met up with our amazing photographer before the ceremony to take pictures and say some sweet statements to each other about our life together in the most beautiful willow trees that Ray had found. It was so intimate and beautiful and really meant so much to us.


The Wedding Team:

Photography – Ray Photography Co
Ceremony Venue – Luray Caverns
Officiant – John Charlet
Rings – Quest Jewelers

Congratulations to Chelsea and Joe on their adventurous micro wedding! Big thank you to Ray Photography Co. for capturing this beautiful ceremony and sharing it with us. If you have to trim your own guest list, consider hosting your own micro wedding or elopement. Don’t worry about where to get started, we have helpful guides for throwing a microwedding and tips on how to elope


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