Lyric Lin and Cory Ayers met as fourth graders at Hunter Elementary School in Raleigh, NC. They stayed in touch throughout the years spent at different middle schools, and Enloe High School brought them back to each other. As they melded into the same friend group, the pair grew closer. “We did a lot of extracurriculars together, like student council and Key Club volunteering,” Lyric says of their teen years.
They started dating during senior year. When Cory committed to the University of Virginia and Lyric to UNC-Chapel Hill shortly after becoming “official,” they also committed to the four years of long distance that would follow. After graduation, they moved to D.C. to start their careers and continue life in the same zip code.
After multiple months of planning and coordinating with friends and family coming from as far as Florida and New York City to celebrate, Cory pulled off an epic proposal on November 28, 2021, in Georgetown, D.C. On what was supposed to be a relaxing Sunday after Thanksgiving, Cory suggested they visit the Christmas market in Frederick, Maryland.
Correctly anticipating that Lyric would be too tired to make the hour-long trek there, he sneakily secured tickets to Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Georgetown as the Plan B she’d go for. After a nerve-racking drive to a place he’d already scoped out, Cory led Lyric to where a hidden photographer caught the action. After a resounding “yes,” Lyric was surprised again by about 20 of her closest friends and both their families.
Just five days after the engagement, Lyric and Cory picked their date and venue based on their dream photographer’s availability. “We knew we needed Ashley Olson to be our photographer, so we first asked for her available dates, and we picked a venue around her availability!” Lyric says. They also knew Charlottesville would be the nuptial destination since Cory went to UVA, and visits there were always so special to Lyric.
During the 18 months between the proposal and the wedding, Lyric and Cory started researching, planning, booking, and designing everything themselves. “I am a designer, so it was a lot of fun putting the vision together and designing all of our invitations and day-of paper,” says Lyric, who soaked up the unhurried engagement season. “We could thoughtfully plan out all the details, but not everything was about the wedding all the time.”
In the month leading up to the big day, Erin Cleveland came on board to help with partial planning. “Erin was great at suggesting vendors we should work with, making planning and coordinating a breeze,” Lyric says.
Lyric’s floral vision was inspired by ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of arranging flowers to feel alive and emotive. “I knew I wanted something soft, neutral, but not the typical white and green flower aesthetic,” she adds. “I put my bridesmaids in a champagne gold color for a classy and elegant feel, and the groomsmen wore black tuxedos.” From there, Willow Branch Flowers crafted everything from the ceremony arch to the blooms on the cake in an irresistibly elegant array of neutral light pink, cream, taupe, and white flowers.
Lyric went to six or more dress shops and tried on 30 or more dresses before finding the one. “I actually found it when I was shopping alone and then brought back my maid of honor, Valeria, to see it before I made the final purchase,” she recalls. “It was the first one I truly felt like I didn’t want to take off. It felt classy with a touch of vintage, which I had been looking for the whole time!
After a tender “first look” for her best girls and then one for each other, Lyric and Cory felt lighter before the ceremony. “We were both so nervous, and this calmed our nerves! It was an emotional moment, and I’m so glad we did it,” she says.
During a golden cocktail hour, zucchini fritters, mini crab cakes, summer bruschetta, and tuna tartare circled the terrace as beautifully dressed guests moseyed to the tented reception. The couple’s signature drinks — margarita, old fashion, and ranch water — were scooped up from silver trays by thirsty guests ready to kick off the night.
Dinner was a seated buffet meal. “The food was INCREDIBLE,” Lyric says. “We had salmon, chicken with fruit chutney, summer salad, mac and cheese, and rosemary potatoes.” After dinner and a few key dances, the couple cut into an unassuming but striking cake in a trio of mouthwatering flavors: floral funfetti, lemon, and rainbow carrot.
A Chick-fil-A delivery came at the night’s end, ensuring the guests had enough energy to dance their way to the late-night parties. Through a cloud of sparklers and cheers, the newlyweds packed into shuttle buses and headed to downtown Charlottesville bars to keep the party going.
They recently spent two-and-a-half weeks honeymooning across Japan and Thailand in Tokyo, Kyoto, Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai. And they’ve settled back into a lovely life in Washington D.C. with their new puppy, June, named after their wedding month and the pup’s birth month.
Thanks for taking us back to your big day, Lyric and Cory. And thanks to Ashley Olson for the fabulous photos.
Ceremony & Reception: Keswick Vineyards
Officiant: Christy Harman
Planner & Day-of coordinator: Erin Cleveland of Erin Cleveland Events
Photographer: Ashley Olson Photography
Flowers: Willow Branch Flowers
Stationery: Dandelion Patch
Hair and makeup: The Veil Hair & Makeup
Bride’s gown: Eve by Neta Dover
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Skye in Champagne Gold by Revelry
Groom’s suit: Indochino
Groomsmen’s suits: Vera Wang
Catering: Lexington Catering Company
Cakes: Cake Bloom
Entertainment: DJ Fit
Rentals: MS Events, Blue Ridge Event Production
Glassware: MS Events
Linens: Lexington Catering Company
Transportation: Easy Riders
Get lost in more dreamy Southern weddings. Visit our Weddings Archives!