Alicia Cooper is a wedding planner with Tina Lane Events. This fall, she had the opportunity to be Mother of the Bride when her daughter, Cheryl, wed Franco Salguero at East Lynn Farm. We spoke with Alicia about the couple’s love story and some of the touches that made her daughter’s big day fabulous.

CF-131

Alicia with her daughter, Cheryl.

How did Franco and Cheryl meet?

They met at BMW of Alexandria, in Alexandria, VA. Cheryl was working in their customer service department and Franco was working as a BMW technician.  After they admired each other from afar for a few months, and hanging out in groups, their first official date was for a Valentine’s Day dinner.  That was in 2013…they’ve been inseparable ever since.

How did Franco propose to Cheryl?   

Franco is an avid motorcycle rider and all winter long he told Cheryl that he couldn’t wait for the weather to turn warmer so he could go for a long ride.  Cheryl and Franco made plans to see the Cherry Blossom Trees along the National Mall.  The weather was turning warmer, so he was going to go for a ride and then meet Cheryl on top of the Pentagon City Mall parking garage after his ride and they would take the Metro into DC.

When she arrived, she pulled up next to his Suzuki GSXR and he met her with a kiss.  He asked her if she would like to see his route and he handed her his GPS.  What Cheryl didn’t realize is that Franco had just completed a 3-day, 1100+ mile ride across Virginia to spell out the words, “MARRY ME” on his GPS!  To honor his creative and romantic proposal, the motorcycle was prominently displayed at the wedding ceremony site with a photo of the GPS map alongside it.

Motorcycle-photos-768x768

What inspired Cheryl and Franco when designing their wedding?

They didn’t want a cookie cutter wedding or a traditional church and ballroom reception. They were looking for something laid back and playful that matched their personalities. The couple had family and friends coming in from as far away as Peru, and they wanted their party to feel like a big family reunion. They hoped to find a venue that was relaxed, elegant, and farm-to-table.

How did Cheryl and Franco choose East Lynn Farm as their wedding venue?.

We researched many different venues and visited six, and East Lynn was the last one we toured. When Cheryl first looked inside the barn, her face lit up! She loved the open, vaulted beams and natural vibe. When they entered the historic farmhouse, Cheryl gasped at the gorgeous staircase and Franco admired the craftsmanship of the restored home. They kept poking each other and saying, “Oh, look at this!”  When they took in the farm’s beautiful mountain vista and learned that the sun sets right behind the mountains, they knew that East Lynn Farm was where they wanted to begin their life together.  

CF-197

What were some of the details that made Cheryl and Franco’s wedding unique?

The reception was family style, featuring produce, meat and flowers from the farm. That weekend, Cheryl and some members of her bridal party picked flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces. We used the farm’s chairs, tables, and eco chic décor for the reception.

For the table centerpieces, we wanted to showcase something that reflected Cheryl’s love for literature and Franco’s appreciation for machines.  On each table there was a double-sided picture frame, one side with literary quotes, the other side with inventions and illustrations by Leonardo De Vinci.   We also used books to elevate a mercury jar full of East Lynn Farm’s beautiful flowers.

CF-268

What was your favorite part of the day?

The day was sunny, but unseasonably cold for October – not a temperature that one would recommend for an outdoor wedding.  However, being married on the grounds of East Lynn Farm, with the sun setting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains was something Cheryl had her heart set on.  We provided blankets and hand warmers for the guests to keep them comfortable and continued on as planned.

The sun was shining brightly as the guests turned to see Cheryl and her Daddy walking down the aisle, and quiet gasps rippled throughout the crowd.  When they reached the end of the aisle and her Daddy put her hand into Franco’s, the sun went behind the clouds, adjusting the light for the ceremony. During the closing prayer, as our tear-filled eyes were closed, we could feel the warmth of the sun coming back out again, shining down on the newlyweds as they kissed and departed.  The photographer captured those moments beautifully, but it will remain in my memory forever.

CF-246-1

What advice do you have for other couples getting married?

You should work with good vendors who you trust to take care of things behind the scenes so you can enjoy yourself. Here are the vendors that Cheryl and Franco chose:

Photographer: Josef Sullivan
Caterer: Six Star Events
Pies: The Little Apple Pastry Shop
Makeup: Izzy B Makeup
Hair: PSC Hair Artistry
Wedding Dress: Martin McCrea Couture
Wedding Day Coordinator: Stylish Planning by VFS
Bridal Party Accommodations: Inn at East Lynn
Bridal Family Weekend Accommodations:  Serene Manor Bed and Breakfast

Anything else?

I also think couples should try to find a place that that they really love to say their vows. Cheryl and Franco felt so comfortable at East Lynn Farm—the venue really seemed to fit the two of them. The memory of their wedding will be something I’ll always treasure.

More photos from this wedding: