When Meghan Blanks heard about the 2014 Bride of the Year Luncheon, she was busy planning an April wedding at Forest’s The Trivium Estate. Upon realizing the annual event would be held at her venue, she purchased last-minute tickets hoping to get ideas for the big day. Meghan thought surely, with so many renowned vendors in one place, she would find inspiration by attending. But inspiration was not all she left with; she also took with her the sought-after title of Central Virginia’s 2014-2015 Bride of the Year.
Recalling the time, “I told my then-fiancé, Scott, that I was planning on going to the event, and briefly mentioned that one bride-to-be would win a honeymoon,” Meghan said. A travel enthusiast, Scott immediately felt sure his bride would win. “I told him there would be so many girls at the luncheon, and that there was no way we’d get this one.”
Before Meghan knew it, her name was called and she found herself standing in front of the crowd, excited and nervous, with no speech prepared. “As a teacher, I’m not afraid of public speaking, so that worked in my favor,” Meghan said. “I wasn’t sure what kind of questions to expect, but they were mostly about my relationship with Scott and our engagement … an easy and fun topic.”
Meghan charmingly told the crowd of her history with Scott. Both Lynchburg natives and teachers at Brookville, their love story began while Meghan was still a student at Virginia Tech.
“Scott was coaching basketball at Brookville High School, and my younger brother was on the team,” she explained. “Whenever I’d come home from Tech, I would see him at games.”
During her senior year of college, Meghan agreed to go on a date with Scott, not knowing that just nine months later he would pop the question.
“It was a beautiful day in July when Scott told me he thought a picnic would be fun,” Meghan remembered. “My parents had a picnic basket, so we borrowed that and packed a lunch before heading to visit wineries along Route 151.” After a few wine tastings, the couple was ready for lunch.
“We were at Veritas [Vineyards in Afton, VA], a beautiful winery, when Scott asked me to go inside and choose a bottle for our picnic,” she explained. “He told me he’d go to the car and grab our picnic basket while I got the wine.”
When they met back outside, Meghan opened the picnic basket to find something she didn’t recall packing: a small black velvet box. She quickly put two and two together, as Scott got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. After an enthusiastic “yes,” the pair began planning a wedding and a life together in Lynchburg.
That was the story that won the hearts of judges and fellow brides-to-be at the Bride of the Year luncheon on February 1, 2014. Along with the title, Meghan won a prize package including a honeymoon trip from Travel Lovers, a styled bridal session and 16×20 canvas from K.D. Burke Photography, a hair and makeup package for the big day from Emily Garbee and several other items. The total package was valued at more than $2,500.
“I was very grateful for the prizes, especially the bridal photo session,” Meghan said. “My wedding photographer was from Georgia, so she wasn’t able to come up beforehand for a bridal shoot. With this session, I was able to have a canvas on display at the wedding.”
Meghan described her April wedding as fairytale perfect.
“At first, we were concerned about the weather but it was a beautiful 65 degrees.” The ceremony was held beside the pond, and the reception took place in the Trivium’s ballroom.
The day was filled with laughter and lighthearted moments, one of which stands out as an amusing memory for Meghan.
“Everyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not very graceful,” she admitted. “People know I fall all the time.”
Sure enough, she took a minor tumble down The Trivium’s beautiful staircase before the ceremony.
“It was actually really funny, and no one saw it happen except my dad,” she explained. “He was a little concerned, but the dress was fine and it took some of the weight off the moment.”
Thankfully, Meghan maintained her footing for the rest of the evening and danced the night away with family and friends.
With Scott and Meghan’s teaching schedules, they were unable to take their honeymoon immediately following the wedding, so the pair planned a late-summer road trip instead, which included driving up to Niagara Falls, time in Toronto. Like true sports lovers, they planned their trip home around a fun pit stop to a Pirates game in Pittsburgh.
“Without the honeymoon prize from Travel Lovers, we probably would have put the trip off for a while,” Meghan said. “But it [is] awesome [that we got] to go this summer while we’re still newlyweds.”
Looking back on the proposal, wedding planning and the big day, Meghan wouldn’t change a thing.
“It could not have gone better,” she said. “Winning the Bride of the Year title was just icing on the cake.”
Meghan Blanks Jester, our 2014-2015 Bride of the Year received:
• Styled Bridal Session with K.D. Burke Photography, including a 16×20 canvas.
• Make-up and hair by provided by Makeup by Ashley. Valued at $1,200.
• Couples’ Massage from London Salt Spa. Valued at $150.
• Hair and Make-Up Design for Wedding Day or Photo Shoot from Emily Garbee. Valued at $100.
• $25 Gift Certificate from Body Works Day Spa & Salon.
• Bouquet arranged by bloom by Doyle’s.
• A Honeymoon Trip for two from Travel Lovers.
• Featured in the 2014-2015 Central Virginia Bridal Guide
Package valued at more than $2,500.
For more details on how you could to win the 2015-2016 Bride of the Year please visit www.vabridal.com/events/
Story by Morgan McCarty
Photography by K.D. Burke Photography
Hair and make-up by Emily Garbee with Body Works Day Spa & Salon
Bouquet arranged by bloom by Doyle’s