I have two words for you. Pie Contest. Yes, this couple took the idea of a Farm wedding to an entirely new level of awesome. With photos that tell the story to utter perfection from Gabe Aceves. My favorite part? I’ll just quote the bride…”Don’t be fooled by the styling – those are real chickens that produce real eggs in a REALLY dirty henhouse on a working farm.” Obsessed. Even more here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Farm
Styles
Rustic

From Jill…Eric and I met on a tropical island in the Caribbean and thought in the beginning that we’d elope on the beach. When he began coming home with me to our family farm, he first learned to drive the tractor. I’d find him seeking any excuse to drive it. Then he’d disappear to organize the barn, or spend hours picking strawberries or weeding peas. When I caught him racing out the door to be the first to tend the chickens in the morning, I knew he was as smitten with this enchanted place as I was. When I suggested a down-home wedding, he agreed with gusto. It took a few weeks of convincing my family, however, that this dirty, ramshackle, wildly gorgeous place was suitable for a wedding!

Over a long engagement, we came together as a whole family to conceptualize, strategize, and craft a wedding reflective of our family and traditions. When I reflect on our engagement, I’m humbled by the amount of time and attention our entire family (brothers, aunts, great-aunts, uncles, cousins, friends) came together in what I can only describe as a “barn raising”. Winter was spent selecting vegetables from seed catalogs and spring witnessed the reception site being leveled and sewn with grass seed. Deals were done with the surrounding farms- trading a bushel of tomatoes for bales of hay.

We also honored our family’s Polish heritage, dredging up an old tradition called the “Ozcipiny” (pronounced “Cha-pea-nah”). This traditional Polish unveiling ceremony was shared with all of our guests in a touching, and simultaneously hilarious series of songs, accompanied by a full polka band (the bride’s father and his six brothers!) After a few rousing polkas, we invited guests to send off dozens of Chinese lanterns. Watching our guests illuminated by the lanterns, delighting in the enchantment of it all, was my favorite part of the evening.

We wrote the entire ceremony from scratch, which was an endeavor on its own, but we’ll never trade that time for anything. For over a year we worked to craft the words of our promises to each other. It helped us shape our road map for how we plan to live the rest of our lives together and how we wanted to present our relationship to our guests. We also painstakingly wrote our vows together in a call-and-response manner. Our ceremony was performed by a dear friend who got ordained just to marry us.

Don’t be fooled by the styling – those are real chickens that produce real eggs in a REALLY dirty henhouse on a working farm. The ceremony doors and windows were found in a pile in the barn. The quilts were pulled off of beds that morning. Little of this wedding was “styled”, but all of it was thoughtfully pulled together with love. We’re just really lucky that the rustic farm wedding is in fashion!

Flowers were entirely grown on site and picked by our bridesmaids the morning of the wedding. Mostly sunflowers, Zinnias, Dahlias, and wild field flowers. My floral crown was designed and fabricated the day of the wedding by my mother and godmother and was made of stephanotis and a weed we found growing in the woods called Virgin’s Bower- it was perfect!

Guests were invited to submit a pie in the pie-baking contest which was inspired by the beloved Erie County Fair. In addition to guest submissions, family members baked for days! Four guests volunteered to judge the pies by crust, flavor, and overall aesthetic and the Bride and Groom handed out prizes for the top three pies.

Processional- “Northern Sky” by Nick Drake, performed by friends and family | Recessional- “La Vie en Rose” (Louie Armstrong’s version) performed by the bride’s father on trumpet | First Dance- “As” by Stevie Wonder

For our DIY elements, Eric hand screen-printed all of our invitations. He also screen printed 22 different fruit or veggie designs onto Canvas bags as gifts for our guests. Their bag, imprinted with a vegetable or fruit that corresponded to a tag on their Mason jar which served as their drinking cup, indicated their table assignment. I saw guests sneaking around at the end of the night looking for extra abandoned bags! They loved it. In an homage to the farm’s earlier strawberry-production era, my uncle crafted 25 replica’s of strawberry crates in his wood shop. They held the mason jars full of flowers on the tables.

Photography: Gabe Aceves | Wedding Dress: Sue Wong | Catering: Chef Pat Koch | Groom's Attire: Joseph A. Banks

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