Hill City Bride | Virginia Wedding Blog » a wedding blog to inspire brides


This light, airy Lynchburg wedding features mint, gray and blush pink in perfect harmony – so lovely! Lots of shine and a beautiful view (compliments of City View and Terrace View venues!) are parts that I adore about Brittany & Justin’s big day. Here are a few more things I love:

  • I know I mentioned it already, but… that VIEW. Lynchburg is so stunning from the vantage point of both of these venues – you can see mountains, the river and the gorgeous buildings that make up the downtown. I can’t get enough of that stunning view!
  • Sparkle! From Brittany’s look – shiny shoes and a gown with just the right amount of sparkle – to the sequin tablecloths, the day shone on and on.
  • Speaking of the venues, I adore how this couple did the reverse of what I normally see by having their Lynchburg wedding inside at City View and their reception on the terrace level – it’s fresh and fun to see the venues utilized in this way.
  • The florals!! I’m so partial to peonies (we had them in my yard growing up). Coupled with white hydrangea and other flowers makes for a soft statement.
  • The state map guest book is so cute and such a fun keepsake – don’t miss it in the photos.

I hope you enjoy this wedding today – don’t forget to soak in the view!





Ashley Grace Bridal is a bridal boutique that opened in December to service brides. Actually on the outskirts of Lynchburg – in Forest – this shop was born out of a college conversation between the owner, Teresa Thomas, and her daughter, Lauren (who is the blonde in the photos below). I recently caught up with Teresa to ask her a few questions about her store. Her story is peppered in between photos of some of the dresses they carry. Enjoy!

How did the idea for starting a bridal boutique come about? The idea of starting a bridal boutique began after talking with my 17 year old daughter about options for a major in college next year at Liberty. While discussing choices and talking about things that she enjoyed, the show ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ came up.  At the same time, I was also looking for a new challenge since I had been at home with my three children for 20 years. After a little research, we realized that there were no bridal boutiques in Forest. I also have a 12 year old daughter, and the idea of a mother/daughter business really intrigued me. We felt like this was a perfect fit for us as well as being able to serve brides and create a memorable experience. 


lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0001lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0002lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0003lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0004lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0005How did you arrive at the name Ashley Grace? The name Ashley Grace comes from the middle names of both of my daughters, Lauren Ashley and Madison Grace.

One thing that makes a bridal boutique unique is the lines that they carry. Tell us about some of your lines. We carry five lines of designer gowns. 

  • Justin Alexander is a collection of mid-to-high end wedding gowns inspired by the 1950s and 60s and is well known for making the finest vintage and couture wedding dresses with an updated, modern twist. 
  • Lillian West is a line that we felt perfect for this area and the large number of outdoor weddings. It consists of beautiful sheer layered gowns, tiered skirts and long lace. 
  • Stella York emphasizes detail and distinction.  The line is competitively priced and adds spectacular beading, glamorous laces,and enchanting fabrics to add a touch of elegance to each dress. 
  • Maggie Sottero is a well known and popular collection that channels grace and romance.  It features shimmering embellishments and lightweight fabrics in a variety of captivating designs.
  • Rebecca Ingram is the newest addition to Maggie Sottero Designs, making its debut in fall 2016.  It offers timeless elegance and superior quality.  We were fortunate to see its debut at the Chicago Bridal Mart.


What do you offer at the store? Ashley Grace caters to the bride with stunning dresses, exquisite accessories such as veils, jewelry, bridal belts, shoes. We also offer unique handmade flower girl dresses, tuxedo rentals and custom bow ties, gown cleaning and preservation, and lovely gifts for the special couple and the wedding party.  

What makes Ashley Grace different? The day a bride chooses a wedding dress is a memory that will never be forgotten. At Ashley Grace, we want to make finding the dress as special as the day the bride wears it. Our goal is to give exceptional customer service and a unique personalized experience. Our bridal boutique was designed with an open floor plan to carry a large selection of gowns and finishing touches. It offers 5 exquisite dressing suites in private settings for our guests.  


Are there any upcoming plans in the works? Even though we have only been open a few weeks, Ashley Grace is growing and expanding. The 2017 lines are coming in, new accessories and gifts are going up in the store. In January and February Ashley Grace will offer many opportunities for brides to get to know us better.

We will have a booth at the Virginia Bridal Show in Roanoke on Sunday, January 22 and our grand opening week will be February 19th – 25th featuring special events all week such as local vendor talks in our store, fashion shows, and prize giveaways. Follow us on social media and our website for a number of contests and giveaways. A couple of the most exciting events are a “cutest engagement photo” contest and a Justin Alexander dress giveaway.  


lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0017Of course we love all things local – can you tell us how that connects with your business? This year our plans are to launch our own Ashley Grace line of dresses and accessories.  We also love promoting local people and home businesses. Our store already carries custom bow ties for your special day from Twenty23 in Lynchburg, flower girl dresses and accessories that are made by a group of entrepreneurial mothers, and specialty robes from a home business.  We would love to further support our community by having local wedding jewelry and accessories in the store.  

We also think its very important to give back as we are blessed.  Each month we will be donating a portion of our profits to worthy charities.  

lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0018lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0019lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0020lynchburg-virginia-bridal-shop-as-seen-on-hill-city-bride-by-liz-cook-photography_0021We at Hill City Bride had the pleasure of helping out on the photo shoot that you are taking a peek at. Here are the other vendors involved in showcasing some of the gowns of Ashley Grace Bridal. 

Be sure to take a peek at the rest of the images and find Ashley Grace Bridal’s information at the end. 




  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 – 6
  • Tuesday and Thursday 10 – 8
  • Saturday 10 – 5
  • Sunday by appt only


If you are struggling for a place to have your engagement session, why not head out to a local park like this Fredericksburg couple did with their photographer, Marie Hamilton? You can sneak off to private places, plus the backdrop is beautiful (and green!) as you will see in this session. Here are a few of my favorite things about Kate and Dave’s time together at Old Mill Park:

  • Speaking of Old Mill – this Fredericksburg park is just lovely!
  • You just can’t go wrong with a classic, round solitaire ring. Timeless, stunning and beautiful – it’s a choice that will always stay en vogue.
  • An off-the-shoulder dress? Yes, please! It’s absolutely stunning on Kate, and the styling is so lovely.
  • I love that they did an outfit change, yet it’s no fuss. So fun!

I hope you enjoy a peek into this adorable couple’s love today!



After nine years of dating, complete with high school and college graduations, parenting a now 4 years old golden retriever, and the purchase of their first home, Nathan and Rachel finally tied the knot at their elegant Richmond wedding. When they started the planning process, the venues were not a difficult decision for them as over 30 years ago, Rachel’s parents got married at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (where the bride and groom both grew up) with a reception following at the Commonwealth Club.

It was so important and special to have the same venues as her parents’ wedding; it added such a special element to a day already filled with so much love. With venues that exude elegance and a historic Richmond feel, Nathan and Rachel wanted to make sure that the rest of the style matched and helped to play off such beautiful spaces especially with the invitations, linens, and flower arrangements. After picking her form-fitting, old Hollywood glamour-inspired wedding gown, the rest of the style-related decisions became a bit easier. The bridesmaids wore black gowns of their own choosing, and the groomsmen wore tuxedoes. Nathan wore a beautiful hand-made midnight blue bowtie and velvet loafers.

The wedding day met all expectations and more and was filled with so much love and joy, with families and friends traveling from Japan, California, Colorado and more. Having both of Rachel’s parents walk her down the aisle to Nathan was such a memorable moment and seeing the Commonwealth Club’s ballroom for the first time was an unbelievable feeling as the lovebirds finally got to see all of their work come together.

The room was filled with ivory and blush tones through the florals and tablescapes. Each table at the Club was named after a special street in their lives, including the king’s table where the wedding party was seated. After a delicious dinner, laugh-worthy and cry-worthy speeches, and first dances with their parents, everyone just danced the night away in celebration of Nathan and Rachel.

I hope you enjoy this peek into their special day!





When you’re in the throes of wedding planning, think about who you want next to you all the way to your big day (other than your fiancé, of course!). Your wedding party will act as your support system in upcoming months, so it’s important to put a lot of consideration into who you choose to fill your crew.

Picking your ‘maids and ‘men can understandably feel like a sticky situation. Fortunately, there are many ways to navigate the selection process without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Think about personalities

As much as you love your college roommate, do you really think you can deal with her complaints for over a year? Would you trust your brother-in-law who hasn’t shown up on time for an event since you’ve known him? If so, great! If not, however, don’t feel obligated to ask someone simply because you feel etiquette calls for it. Your happiness (and sanity!) are what matters and you need to surround yourself with people who will make the planning process relaxing and enjoyable. Just because you don’t choose someone to be in your immediate wedding party doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for him or her to play in your special day – consider asking them to be greeters, ushers or readers so they don’t feel left out.


photos by Don Mears Photography

Don’t forget budgets

It’s no secret that being a bridesmaid or groomsman can cost a pretty penny. From attire to bachelor and bachelorette parties to travel expenses, be thoughtful about budgetary restrictions when choosing members for your wedding party. If your younger sister has been touting her ramen-only diet, consider asking her to help out without the expectations of a bridesmaid. Alternately, you could always ask her to be a bridesmaid and offer to pay for a part of her expenditures if you’re in the place to do so. Being a part of your wedding party should be a privilege, not a burden!


photos by Stephanie Yonce Photography

Select who you want

It can be difficult to pick and choose from your friends and family members, but now is the time to follow your heart and select only those you want at your side. Remember – your wedding is your day. In the months leading up to it, you’ll need people who are level-headed (for when you’re about to lose it), fun to be around (for all those DIY project nights), and all-around happy for you (just because). If you think it’ll ruin a friendship because you didn’t invite someone into your wedding party, imagine how it would be if you did and they made a mess of things. Those who truly love you will understand and accept your decision and will be cheering you on at your wedding regardless.

With the above tips in mind, think carefully about who you see standing at your side when you’re saying ‘I do.’ Once you’ve narrowed down your squad, get ready for the journey of a lifetime!

Amanda Zack is a wedding PR specialist with OFD Consulting, based in Richmond, VA. She also serves as a Public Relations adjunct professor at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University.

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