Dominique Coulter & Ben Kuniholm

March 11, 2017 • Early Mountain Vineyards, Madison

Not all couples that meet in high school start out as sweethearts. Dominique Coulter and Ben Kuniholm were good friends, but Ben dated her best friend on and off first as high school students in Fairfax County and later in college. “We actually set one another up on dates!” Ben says. But in January 2015, with their college days behind them, both were living in Washington, D.C., and Ben decided that it might be fun to ask his good friend Dominique out on a date. “The rest is history,” he says. 

In the fall of 2016, Ben surprised Dominique with a proposal of marriage while she was visiting with friends for what she believed would be a “girls weekend” in Minneapolis, where her parents had moved. Totally caught off guard by the sight of Ben, whom she believed to be in D.C. at the time, Dominique recovered in time for Ben’s big question and responded with, “Yes!”

The couple chose early March for their wedding. “My vision was to get married in front of a fireplace with candles everywhere,” says Dominique. “I wanted the ceremony and reception to feel intimate and close and very reflective of Ben and me as a couple.” With guests coming from all over the country and beyond, they selected Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison County in order to show off the natural beauty of Virginia and provide a true experience of their home state’s best qualities. The soaring spaces of the white brick-and-slate event hall at the vineyard were the perfect setting for the couple’s late winter wedding. “We wanted Colorado ski lodge meets Central Virginia beauty,” Dominique explains. 

“I tell brides not to hesitate taking a chance with color in their flowers if they have a more whimsical personality, and Dominique was really able to do that.” 

-Courtney Hildebrand, Wedding Planner

Filled with candles and an abundance of greenery punctuated by pink and white roses, the vineyard’s hall took on a warm glow for the ceremony and reception. Dominique says her favorite memories are her sister, Rachel Coulter, and friend, Heather Hlavaty, singing Dominique’s favorite hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above,” during the ceremony and their guests’ toasts during the reception. For Ben, it was Dominique’s gift of a diary with notes from their courtship she had delivered to him before the ceremony. “Our wedding day was a beautiful reflection of the life that Ben and I have ahead and a celebration of the people who have made us who we are,” says Dominique.

Photographer: Paper Antler, Madison, Wisconsin,
Wedding Planner: Courtney Hildebrand, Keswick
Hair and Makeup: Wear Hair, Washington, D.C.,
Florals: Whimsical Florals, Charlottesville,
Catering: The Local, Charlottesville,

For a complete list of Dominique and Ben’s vendors, and for inspiration for planning your own big day, be sure to check out our 2018 Virginia Living Weddings issue.

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