Written by: Clare Spencer
Photography by: Heather Jowett
Mimi's Bridal was the second boutique Kiley visited in an attempt to find her wedding gown. She came looking for a specific gown which she had tried on at a different store. In addition to that gown, Kiley was also encouraged to try similar looking gowns and others she mentioned liking in order to eliminate options and narrow her search down to just one. Everyone's experience is different when it comes to find 'The One'. Not everyone cries, not everyone gets butterflies in their stomach, not everyone feels a glow of absolute certainty and that's perfectly okay.
"It was a slower transformation for me, realizing that I couldn't wait to put the gown back on and finding myself looking back at pictures of me in the gown constantly."
Her gown was Hayley Paige's iconic 'Guindon' ballgown, which has a sweetheart neckline and uneven flouncey layers of striped organza.
Kiley grew up in the northern part of Virginia. Joshua grew up in Traverse City, Michigan but during his last semester of high school he joined the Marines and was stationed in Washington, DC at the White House. Ironically Josh would drive past her house everyday on his way to work.
"[...] but we would only meet years later!"
Kiley was working on her Masters at San Diego State University, when Josh came to visit her downstairs neighbor, who was a mutual friend. This friend would often joke that if Josh and Kiley ever were to meet they would fall in love and get married. It was during this visit that the two were introduced. Once she was done with her Masters program, Kiley planned to move to Florida to further her education. The school was to attend was fifteen miles from where Josh was living at that time.
"We always wonder if we would have crossed paths in Florida if he hadn't visited his friend in San Diego at the right time!"
Kiley, Josh and Kiley's family was on a trip in Napa, California when Josh popped the question. Josh had a plan but nothing was going quite right. On the day he planned to propose, the couple spent most of it caught in the rain. On top of that, Josh wouldn't let Kiley too close under their only umbrella because if he did she would have felt the ring in his jacket breast pocket. Since nothing had gone according to plan, Josh chose to propose at the end of the day when the two were alone. It was the perfect way to brighten up a pretty miserable day.
The wedding took place at Gunston Hall in Virginia, just a few miles from Kiley's childhood home. As a kid she took many field trips to visit the hall and she always loved the magnolia trees and the old historical colonial mansion. From just the pictures, Josh knew it was the perfect spot. Gunston Hall provided an outdoor ceremony space, which the couple wanted, and then separate sites for both the cocktail hour and reception. The ceremony was held in the back garden of the mansion by the Potomac Rive and the reception was under a tent in the front of the mansion which was lit up at night.
"I wanted to do a first look by my husband did not! [...Our photographer] walked Josh into the room I was in backwards so we could be back to back. We each prepared notes to pass to each other and the moment was beautiful."
Kiley has a few suggestions for future brides and some good advice:
"I would say to prepare as much as you can; and [on] the day of the wedding, trust all the work you have done to that point and enjoy your day."
She also suggests taking your portrait photos the day after the wedding. It gives you more time to spend with your friends and family on the day of your wedding.