Michaela Runion and Zach Haynes

July 13, 2019 • Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg

Michaela Runion and Zach Haynes, both from Salem, first met in middle school. It wasn’t until they reconnected in college, however—Michaela attended Liberty University in Lynchburg and Zach went to Averett University in nearby Danville—that the two began dating. “We went on a couple of dates then,” Zach says. “We instantly knew we were meant to be.”

The proposal was simple and spontaneous. Michaela had always said she wanted to be surprised, so Zach took her for a walk in a local park and, when the perfect spot presented itself, he got down on one knee with an oval diamond ring set in white gold with a diamond halo. 

The couple was married July 13, 2019. When choosing a wedding venue, they both knew they wanted a location that would be easily accessible to their family and friends in Virginia. The Hahn Horticulture Garden on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg provided the beautiful garden setting they wanted. Pale pink and navy accents were showcased throughout—from the bridal party’s attire and the table runners to the peonies and rosebuds on the couple’s sweetheart table. “We both agreed that the traditional black suits weren’t our style,” Zach says, “so we tailored all of our wedding colors based on that idea.” Party favors included iced cookies with the slogan “Love is sweet” and individually potted succulents for guests to take home.

When it came to the wedding day festivities, however, there was no breaking with tradition. Michaela wore a silk flower in her hair that both of her sisters had previously worn in their weddings (something borrowed), pale blue shoes (something blue), and of course, something new—an ivory lace and tulle gown from Studio I Do in Roanoke. During the reception, the bride and groom participated in the classic bouquet and garter tosses before kicking off their dress shoes and opting instead for matching Birkenstocks.

The evening was filled with music—including a memorable first dance between the couple as well as a father-daughter dance between Michaela and her father, Tim. But what the groom remembers most? 

“Finally getting to see the love of my life turn the corner in her breathtaking dress,” Zach says. “I was blown away.”


Photographer: Emily Hancock Photography, Lynchburg, EmilyHancockPhotography.com | Videographer: Wedding Films by Gabrielson, Roanoke, WeddingPhotographyAndFilms.com | Floral Design: Thornfield Farm, Fincastle, ThornfieldFarm.com | Officiant: Jared Walters Weddings, Roanoke, Facebook.com/JaredWaltersWeddings | Gown: Studio I Do Bridals, Roanoke, StudioIDo.com | Caterer: Classic Caterers & Rent-A-Chef, Salem, ChefRichPerry.com | Cookies: Hilltop Cookie Shop, Roanoke, HilltopCookieShop.weebly.com | Music, Ceremony & Reception: RSP Entertainment, Troutville, Facebook.com/RSPEntertainment | Rentals: Tents R Us, Blacksburg, TentsRUsNRV.com

This article originally appeared in our February 2020 issue.

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