Last minute wedding details AND our life story!

Hello people!

I’m sitting at a picnic table on Sparrowhawk Farm, which is gorgeous and sunny and breezy. This is the ultimate wedding weather so far.

Here are a few details you might want to know before you drive/fly/train your way up/down/over here!

Directions to the farm:

We’ve recently discovered that GPS systems (including iPhones) may not actually be able to find the farm. So, here are some directions. We suggest you print them out to reference in case of loss of signal!

From I-81 (Western PA, most points south): 

  • Take exit 264 for New Market/Timberville/Luray.
  • Get onto US-211 east (towards Luray)
  • This will take you over a mountain on a very windy road.
  • At the foot of the mountain, take a right on US-340 S.
  • After about 2.5 miles, take a left on Shuler Lane.
  • This is a small windy dirt road. You might get scared. Everything is fine.
  • After about 2 miles, you’ll see a bunch of balloons and a sign for Sparrowhawk Lane. Take a left and go to the top of the hill.

From I-66 (DC area):

  • Take exit 13 toward Virginia 79/VA-55/Linden/Front Royal
  •  Turn left onto VA-79 S/Apple Mountain Rd
  • Turn right onto VA-55 W
  • After about 5 miles, turn left onto 340 S.
  • As you enter Luray, you’ll have to take a right to stay on 340, which is also 211 W. Follow signs to stay on 211 W.
  • Go about 7 miles on 211 W, until you are about to start ascending a mountain. 
  • Don’t ascend a mountain. Instead, take a left on US-340 S. 
  • After about 2.5 miles, take a left on Shuler Lane.
  • This is a small windy dirt road. You might get scared. Everything is fine.
  • After about 2 miles, you’ll see a bunch of balloons and a sign for Sparrowhawk Lane. Take a left and go to the top of the hill.

Stuff to Bring (updated):

  • Bathing suit
  • Dance shoes (if you plan to dance. There’s a floor!)
  • Instruments
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothes for hot, cool, and rainy weather.

Our LIfe Story

Because we thought you might be curious, and we want to avoid answering the same questions 180 times, we decided to write you our life story. That appears below. We wanted to include pictures in the body of the message but it didn’t work, so they are attached. Hopefully they make sense.


Carsie & Jon

Ps. Feel free to call me (Carsie) with questions: (610) 400-7301

Once upon a time in Hawaii, Jon was born. He swam around in the ocean and went fishing in tide pools. When he was nine, his family moved to Oswego, New York. He played hockey and soccer and clarinet and saxophone. He went to Cornell, built some robots, learned to swing dance, and got a degree in Engineering Physics. Then he got a degree in Computer Science. He got a job doing R&D at Lockheed Martin, and moved to New Jersey, the one place he vowed to never live. Then, he got a puppy named Domino.

Not long after Jon was born, Carsie was born. She learned to walk and talk in Washington, DC. When she was three, her family moved to an ex-cattle farm in Luray, Virginia. She ran around and caught salamanders and read books and didn’t go to school. At sixteen, she moved across the country. She wrote songs, got a concussion in a dumpster, went on tour with a funk band, and learned to swing dance. She worked as a barista, a dog groomer, and finally, a grantwriter. Then she made a record, moved to Philadelphia, found a manager and played lots of shows.

Jon and Carsie met at a swing dance in Philadelphia. One month and a one night stand later, they had an epic conversation about the meaning of life, and Carsie fell in love.  One week later, Jon admitted that he had also fallen in love.  They moved in together.  They taught a lot of dance classes and helped found LaB, a nonprofit that teaches people to swing dance. They found another puppy, LMNOP (“Ella”), in a parking lot in South Philly. 

They bought a house together.  Carsie opened for Paul Simon.  Jon quit his job to get paid twice as much to work from home. Carsie made another album, Idiot Heart. Jon started a web development business, Anvill Design.  They went to Europe, had a big fight in Barcelona, and got engaged in Corfu.

In October 2012, Jon and Carsie bought a fourplex in New Orleans and painted it pink, finally satisfying Carsie’s longtime dream of living in a pink house in New Orleans.

Out of sheer naivete, they decided to renovate the house themselves. With the help of dozens of their very generous and similarly naïve friends, they spent eight months renovating the house.  They taught themselves to tile, demolish, exterminate, sheetrock, electrify, floor, plumb, and carpent.

Now, the house is done, and it is beautiful.  Three apartments are rented, and Jon (who is 31, by the way), Carsie (27), Domino (7) and Ella (6) live in the fourth. Two of their best friends, Lauren and Kerry, live next door. They have barbecues in the backyard. They’re about to finish a detached studio and paint it like a watermelon, satisfying Carsie’s other longtime dream of writing songs inside a watermelon.

After getting married, they plan to spend a week at the beach (in Florida; Louisiana has horrible beaches). Later this summer, Carsie will make an album of jazz covers, accompanied by New Orleans musicians.  Jon is starting a gaggle of business ventures that don’t require him to be anywhere in particular.

Yes, they will probably have some kids. And get some more dogs.

Here’s some handy second-to-last-minute information for you. If you don’t have time to read it all, just read the parts in bold.
Can’t wait to see you all!
Carsie and Jon
  • RSVP if you haven’t
If you haven’t already, please email me (carsieblanton at gmail) and let me know if and when you’re coming. If you can’t remember if you RSVP’d, go ahead and let me know anyway, for good measure.
  • Food & Volunteering:
Thanks to everyone who volunteered to make food! We now have all the meals covered except one.
Still seeking a meal captain for Friday Dinner! If you’d like to cook dinner for 50-60 people on Friday night, please email me and let me know!
We need more pies! My lovely sister Maria has taken it upon herself to bake enough pies for 150 people, to serve Saturday night. However, if you like baking pies, you can make it easier on her! If you want to contribute a pie (or five), please let me know. You can bake it and bring it, or buy and bake on-site (we’ll have access to two ovens).
You can also volunteer to help with a meal during the weekend. If you’d like to help with the meal-making process, but you don’t want to be in charge of a whole meal, you can volunteer to help someone over the course of the weekend. There will be a big volunteer sign-up sheet in the kitchen for all sorts of jobs (shopping, food prep, serving, cleaning). We are not going to set up a pre-weekend volunteer schedule, so if you want to help, plan to head straight for the kitchen upon arrival and write your name down. 
And yes, we’re still accepting monetary donations. Just send a check to me at 1521 Dumaine St. Rear, New Orleans LA 70116. Or, send paypal money to my email address (carsieblanton at gmail.)
  • Loose Schedule:
2pm – Lunch
6pm – Dinner
9am – Breakfast
12pm – Extremely fun get-to-know-everybody activity (arrive in time for this, if you can help it)
2pm – Lunch
4pm – Beginner swing dance lesson
5pm – Ceremony
6pm – Dinner (BBQ! Pig roast! Pies!)
8pm – Concert and dancing
9am – Breakfast
12pm – Extremely fun get-to-know-everybody activity #2
2pm – Taco Truck
6pm – Dinner
9am – Breakfast
12pm – Clean up and gentle prompting to leave
2pm – Less gentle prompting to leave
  • Not-So-Secret Missions!
Not-so-secret missions are things we’d like to see happen over the weekend which may not happen organically, and which we don’t want to spend time/worry on ourselves (because we will be busy being the bride & groom).  Please take a look at the list below, and if any of the missions sound like fun to you, respond to this email and let me know what mission you’ve accepted. 
If you need a small budget, equipment, or some helpers to execute your mission, let me know and I’ll do what I can to help. If a mission is accepted by more than one guest, I’ll introduce you to each other so that you can collaborate.
Coffee & Tea Station: People like coffee & tea, and we’d love to see it made available to all throughout the weekend. You can go as simple (urns stocked with coffee & hot water) or as elaborate (loose teas, french press, hot chocolate, pastries) as you want with it. I happen to know that someone is bringing a whole lot of homemade biscotti.
Wet Bar: Like we’ve said, we are not big drinkers, and we won’t be providing alcohol. However, other guests may well provide some, and it’s possible/probable that an interested party could start a collection and get a decent wet bar set up. Again, you can go as simple (beer in a cooler) or as elaborate (freshly mixed drinks served by someone wearing a vest) as you like. We would prefer that nobody get completely sloshed, so watch for that.
Hors D’Oeuvres: Although meals will be served at regular intervals, you can never have too much food at a wedding! If you’d like to help with food but you don’t want to take on a whole meal, this could be the job for you. Saturday afternoon would be the best time to break out some cheese plates or spinach pies or whathaveyou. 

Slip N Slide: 
There are lots of gently sloping hills on the property and we’d like to see at least one person slide down them on a soaped up piece of plastic at some point during the weekend. 
Official Swim Captain: The gorgeous, temperate Shenandoah river flows through the property, and somebody ought to make sure it gets swum in. Did I mention that you should bring a bathing suit? 
Fireworks: Could happen Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday evening. Just don’t blow anything up (besides the fireworks themselves).
Board Games: If you accept this mission, we ask that you bring some board games, set them up somewhere appropriate (we’ll all have access to a big house all weekend), AND see that each of them gets played at least once over the course of the weekend. We happen to know of several Settlers of Catan enthusiasts planning to attend.
Movie Room: This entails providing movies and a device to watch them on. Again, there are several quiet rooms available in the house where you can set up shop.
Etcetera: Now that you’ve read the above, you may have a better idea of the atmosphere we’re going for. If you have any schemes for missions of your own, feel free to execute them secretly or not-so-secretly. If you need help, you can email me with questions, and/or post on the facebook page to find collaborators.


Details! Part 1

Where and When

  • The wedding will take place at Sparrowhawk Farm, 646 Shuler Lane, Stanley VA, 22851.
  • The ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 22, around 4pm. It will be brief and followed by barbecue, live music, and dancing for the rest of the night. 
  • Guests are welcome any time between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Friday and Sunday will be more low-key and less scheduled. Plan to be there if you like hanging out with extremely interesting people, playing games, slip & slides, taco trucks and/or swimming in the river.
  • Please make plans for when you will arrive and depart, but don’t tell us yet! I will be contacting you again some time in the next two months to get the official numbers, so we can make sure to have enough food on hand for everybody.
How to Get There
  • The closest airport is Washington/Dulles, which is about a two hour drive from the farm.
  • We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this distance! Because we have lots of friends driving to the wedding from the north (Philadelphia area), it’s our hope that guests who are flying in will be able to catch rides from the airport with guests who are driving in.
  • How will I find and coordinate with said guests?, you might ask! Well, if you’re reading this email, you will soon receive an invitation to our Facebook event page. If you don’t, hurry up and ‘friend’ Carsie on Facebook so she can invite you! That event page is THE place to meet other guests and coordinate travel plans with them.
Where to Stay
  • “Woodsy” option: Sparrowhawk Farm is a breathtakingly beautiful piece of land in the Shendandoah Valley. It’s huge and grassy and surrounded by mountains, woods, and the Shenandoah River. A June evening is likely to be warm and breezy and humid and full of fireflies. If you’re the woodsy type, or the broke type, we highly encourage you to camp out on the land. You’ll have access to electricity, several bathrooms, and a hot tub under the stars! You’ll also have the option of creating a refugee camp in the house if it ends up being thunderstormy (which is not impossible in June).
  • “Economy” option: The Quality Inn Shenandoah Valley is a 7 mile drive from the farm and has offered us a group rate of $74/night for June 21-24th (or any part of that weekend). If you’d like to book a room, just call (540) 740-3141 and tell them you’re booking your stay with the “Darvill/Blanton Wedding Party”. They’ve guaranteed us a limited number of rooms, so this rate is first-come, first-served. To get the rate, you’ll need to book your room no later than May 11th. ***
  • “Schmancy” option: If you want to make a proper vacation out of it, we recommend booking a room at the Mimslyn Inn. That’s a fancy historic mansion/hotel/restaurant in the center of Luray. The food is good and the rooms are clean, and you’ll be just a hop and skip from fun touristy stuff like Luray Caverns.

What Not to Bring
  • Fancy clothes that you don’t want to get dirty (unless you are prepared to change out of them immediately following the ceremony). Over the course of this wedding, you are likely to get one or more of the following substances on your clothes: BBQ sauce, chocolate, wine, dog slobber, baby spitup, holi festival powder, slip & slide suds, grass stains, grease, red clay. You’ve been warned.
  • Wedding gifts, especially of the KitchenAid/ottoman/knicknack variety. We appreciate the thought! But we’ve already been living together for 5 years and we have two houses full of stuff. If you cannot survive the heartbreak of not giving us a wedding gift, see below!
What To Bring
  • Kids and dogs and guests. We consider kids and dogs good luck charms, so if you have some and you don’t bring them, it’s like the opposite of a wedding gift. Also, feel free to bring a date or two as long as they are into slip & slides, taco trucks etc (if they aren’t into those things, you really shouldn’t be dating them.)
  • If you’re a drinker, booze. Jon and I and a bunch of our family members don’t drink, so we don’t want to spend a lot of money on alcohol. That said, we don’t mind if you drink, especially if you spend your own money on it. I bet if all the drinkers brought a bottle of something we could get a pretty decent wet bar going. Hint-hint.
  • Clothes and shoes that are appropriate for lounging, eating BBQ, swimming, hiking, dancing, and whatever else you might want to do.
  • Cameras, of the video and still varieties. We have a couple friends who are fantastic photographers, so we’re farming out the wedding photo responsibilities to them. That said, those friends are encouraged to spend the majority of the wedding goofing off instead of taking photos, and we would love to have lots of documentation. Please bring cameras and snap anything you think looks pretty – we’ll hassle you for copies afterwards.
  • Instead of giving us a wedding gift: we would love it if you’d donate to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Among other things, they run Jazzfest, WWOZ (the best radio station in the entire world), and a free music school for kids from New Orleans. Jon and I are BIG fans of the culture and the music here in NOLA. We’d love to see it continue thriving for as long as possible and we think this foundation helps support that goal. Go here to donate. You can give us a card at the wedding that says “I donated to the Jazz & Heritage Foundation for you!” and we will be at least as happy to read that card as we would have been to receive a crockpot. 
  • If you reealllly want to give us a wedding gift: you can donate to our personal charity: the Feed the Wedding Guests Project. You can do that by giving us money, pledging to buy a bunch of food when you get to Luray, and/or pledging to cook a meal for roughly 150 people some time during the weekend. If you’d like to do that, send me an email (carsieblanton at gmail) with “feed the wedding guests project” in the subject line, and let me know how you’d like to help. Thank you in advance!
What to Expect
  • A fun, silly, slightly disorganized party. Other than providing abundant food and music (and writing this email), we aren’t planning to do much planning. There will be no wedding officiants, bridesmaids, table settings, or event schedules. The ceremony will take about 15 minutes. We are humbly requesting that you come prepared to enjoy yourself and others, jump in and get your hands dirty, and be the wedding planner of your own experience.
  • Lots of really interesting people. Seriously. Bring your chattin’ hat cus we gots some characters.
  • Dancing, live music, and probably some games/workshops/lectures. Feel free to plan some group activities of your own! That might be another good use of the Facebook event page. You might even get an email from me requesting something in particular… don’t be scared.

Save the Date

Jon Darvill and Carsie Blanton will be married next June on a beautiful piece of land in Luray, Virginia. A brief and unusually fun ceremony will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, June 22nd, followed by a gigantic party that lasts into the wee hours of Monday morning. There will be music, dancing, food, and general merriment. You can attend any or all parts of the event, but we have a hunch that Saturday night will be particularly spectacular!


The deadline to RSVP for this wedding has passed, please contact the bride and groom to see if there is still a seat for you.