Matt Cox and Lauren Snead were married on October 17, 2015, at the Vinton War Memorial in an evening wedding so beautifully romantic that a photograph of the ceremony graced the Vinton Town Calendar this year.
Lauren and Matt are from Botetourt County. He graduated from James River High School; she graduated from rival Lord Botetourt. He works for Williams Supply in Roanoke as an industrial control/sensor/safety specialist. She is a group travel specialist for Educational Travel Adventures based out of Freehold, N.J.
They had “known of” each other through mutual high school friends, but didn’t really officially “meet” until a few years after college.
“I was away on a business trip when Matt messaged me via Facebook, asking to take me to dinner when I got back into town,” Lauren said. “At that time, Matt was living in Buchanan and I was living in Charlottesville, so though it was a little bit of a drive to meet for dinner, I was really excited to spend some time with him. I totally thought he was ‘out of my league,’ so I was actually quite nervous, but equally as excited.”
Skipping ahead in time, once they were engaged, they decided to hold both the wedding ceremony and their reception at the War Memorial. Lauren had looked at several venues as she “wanted our wedding day to reflect elegance, yet with a touch of rustic feel as well.”
“I fell in love with the Vinton War Memorial pretty instantly,” Cox says. “I loved everything from the beautiful structure of the building to the ballroom, the fireplace, etc. I loved that the Vinton War Memorial allowed for us to really make our day about us, from whom they allowed us to bring in vendor-wise, the time we needed to enjoy our day, the reception in the evening, everything.”
Cox said Chasity Barbour, event and operations manager at the War Memorial, went “above and beyond” for the couple.
“I was worried and stressed over several things leading up to the wedding, and she put me at ease in every regard and there wasn’t an issue that she didn’t have a solution or answer to,” continues Cox. “I was so grateful to have her from the planning up to the wedding day.
“Though the entire day was the best of our lives, there were a lot of sweet moments throughout the day,” she noted. “Matt and I did a ‘first look’ before the ceremony, which was extremely special for us. We had some time to cry and laugh and really just soak in those last few moments together alone before we were officially husband and wife.”
Cox says she also had a similar “first look” with her dad, which was very special and emotional for her.
“Being a daddy’s girl my whole life, I knew that it would be a hard moment for both he and I when he would officially give me away to Matt, so it was an especially sweet moment when he and I could spend some time together before the ceremony,” she shared. “One of the unique things about our wedding was that my dad made a wedding bench for us that everyone who was in attendance signed. It now sits beautifully in our home for us to remember what a wonderful day it was, celebrated with our families and friends.”
They recently returned to the Vinton War Memorial for a baby shower for Brody Alan Cox, due on October 19, almost two years exactly from their wedding date.
“Seeing as we all just had the most amazing experience at the War Memorial for the wedding, it almost felt perfect to have the baby shower there,” said Cox. “We knew we could really make the event beautiful with the already beautiful structure of the building. Having the use of the kitchen was extremely helpful for those who were preparing food and again, Chasity was wonderful to let us spend the time we needed to make the event exactly as we pictured.”
Cox said her sister Ashlee was the hostess for the baby shower, assisted by their mother Julie and mother-in-law Donna, who helped with other aspects of the event as well.
“My sister truly has a talent in party planning and she went above and beyond to make this day perfect for us,” said Cox. “She used a lot of black and white colors with accents of gold– from the banners she had made, the cake, the cupcake party favors, photo booth, personalized napkins, personalized champagne bottles that were served with gold-colored rock candy, gold glitter and black table runners; baby pictures of my husband and I were incorporated on the tables.
“The food was lovingly prepared by my mother, who had a beautiful spread of heavy hors d’oeuvres of chicken croissants, baby quiche, ham and gruyere thumbprints, and her delicious almond lemonade,” she added.
The Cox family of three will live in Botetourt County.
“The Vinton War Memorial will forever be our first ‘go to’ event facility and one we recommend to others,” says Cox. “We love everything about the property and staff there and they have made every event we’ve had there feel so special.”
Barbour said the couple was so memorable that they “won our Bridebook 2 spread in our wedding magazine and she was our Bride of the Year 2016.”