Jessica and P.J. celebrated their love at Swift Level Farm.

Jessica Cheyanne Sanger & Paul Roland Heilig Jr. | Lewisburg | 6.23.18 | Bethanne Arthur Photography

Jessica knew it was love at first sight. She’d noticed P.J. on her shuttle to class at West Virginia University several times, and eventually felt the urge to introduce herself. “I was never the person who would make the first move, but something in me was like, ‘You need to speak to this guy,’” she said. There was something about his personality and the way he carried himself. She complimented his sunglasses, and the two talked for more than 30 minutes, until Jessica realized she was late for class. Since then, the couple has talked every day.

   

Making the first move may have seemed difficult, but every moment since then has been easy, the couple says. “We always meet in the middle with things,” Jessica says. “I don’t know how else to explain it. We have God in the center of our relationship, and that’s just what we focus on—each other and our faith and just making things work together.”

On a Private Plantation
On the weekend P.J. had decided to propose, his flight from Morgantown to visit Jessica in Charleston, South Carolina—where she was attending her first year of law school—was cancelled. He had the ring, the photographer, and the spot picked out, and he couldn’t put it off any longer. So, he made the 10-hour drive to see her.

P.J. proposed in private on a plantation under oak trees and Spanish moss. A photographer hid in the bushes while he got down on one knee. “It was really sweet and private, kind of like how we are,” Jessica says.

An Antique Spin
Jessica had an idea of what she wanted her wedding to look like: “classic, fun, and happy.” She worked with her mother, Robin, and a small group of friends to plan and execute each detail. The group hunted for mismatched china at thrift stores and gathered knickknacks to make the wedding unique. “It was just really happy, the whole planning process was like that,” Jessica says. To create a romantic space for photos, they hung an antique chandelier under a tree and added vintage pink chairs.

The couple chose to host the celebration at Swift Level Farm in Lewisburg, a secluded area surrounded by greenery and gorgeous views of the mountains. The farm was about halfway between Jessica’s family in Williamson and P.J.’s family in Prince Frederick, Maryland. Guests were given potted flowers to symbolize that “all things grow with love.”
best friends forever

   

In mid-June of last year, Jessica’s father, Rob, escorted her down the aisle while she wore a Justin Alexander ball gown with a cathedral-length train. “My dress had pockets, so that was a hit,” she says. “I carried candy in them all day.” Jessica also carried a bouquet of peonies with white hydrangeas and pink roses. The bridesmaids each chose a blush gown from Sorella Vita’s collection. The couple’s golden retriever, Lilly, was their flower girl. P.J. wore a navy suit with a clean white shirt and bow tie. The groomsmen also wore navy suits, but with skinny ties.

At the reception, the two danced to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman, a song that has always been special to them, Jessica says, “because in addition to being the love of each other’s lives, we’re also best friends.” They chose a classic buttercream cake with fresh flowers made by B Sweet Confectionary in White Sulphur Springs and food from Bridge Road Bistro in Charleston.

Nearly 140 people attended the celebration. For both the bride groom, after planning each and every detail, spending the day with both of their families was the highlight, Jessica says. “It’s just really special to be surrounded by all that love.”

The two spent their honeymoon in Bermuda and now live in Washington, D.C., where Jessica is currently a third-year law student and P.J. is a civil engineer.

Bride‘s Parents
Robin & Robert Sanger
Groom‘s Parents
Catherine & Paul Heilig
Photographed by Bethanne Arthur Photography

Bride’s gown
Twirl Boutique, Lexington, KY
Bridesmaids’ dresses
Twirl Boutique, Lexington, KY
Groom’s attire
JoS. A. Bank, Fairfax, VA
Groomsmen’s attire
JoS. A. Bank, Fairfax, VA
Flowers
Gillespie‘s Flowers & Productions, White Sulphur Springs
Caterer
Bridge Road Bistro, Charleston
Cake
B Sweet Confectionery, White Sulphur Springs
Entertainment
Hall Sound Company, Williamson
Location
Swift Level Farm, Lewisburg

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Written by Jennifer Gardner
Photographed by Bethanne Arthur Photography

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