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You’ll Love the Story Behind This Whimsical Barn Wedding

If there’s anyone who knows how to throw a unique wedding with loads of heart, it’s this couple. Along with their planner, A Family Affair of Maine, they incorporated so many meaningful details including a log cutting ceremony to celebrate their German descent and protea blooms as a nod to his South African birthplace. The incredible White Loft Studio came along to photograph and her captures are all waiting in The Vault.

From the Bride and Groom…We met in the fall of 2010 as undergraduates at Bowdoin College. Though it’s a small school and we’d been there at the same time for a full year, we didn’t meet until the start of the second year, when we happened to be in two classes together. As our officiant (the professor of one of those classes) noted during our wedding ceremony, we began that semester sitting on opposite sides of the classroom, but it wasn’t long before we were sitting next to each other.

The college we attended has a beautiful art museum with dramatic front steps, and it was a particularly mild fall. Rory emailed me to ask if I wanted to sit on the steps with him at dusk and eat kiwis. It was somewhat unusual but exceptionally sweet—a phrase I think describes us as a pair. We sat together for a long time, talking and watching the sun go down. I think the kiwis went forgotten.

The proposal all happened very organically. We knew early on that it was ‘the real deal’ and never felt uncomfortable discussing a future together, even before we were officially engaged. We designed rings for each other with the help of a Maine jeweler and carried them around for a while until the time was right.

In 2013, we made the difficult decision to spend two years an ocean apart so that Rory could study history in England and I could study writing in Iowa. We decided it was time to make our commitment to each other, so once we’d moved into an apartment in Iowa City, Iowa, we woke up early one morning and walked to a nearby park to propose. We sat in the grass under an oak tree and each described why we wanted to marry the other, and presented each other with rings. Afterwards, we had brunch at our favorite Iowa City diner.

Every couple is special in its own way, but one thing that we’re always surprised by is how unlikely it was that we had the chance to meet. Rory grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Katie was raised in various locations across the Midwestern and northeastern U.S. Rory is also a few years older, so had he not decided to spend a full year studying abroad during college, we wouldn’t have overlapped in college at all. Additionally, we’re very different. We think all the time about how lucky we are to have crossed paths.

We wanted to include some South African elements in our wedding to celebrate Rory’s background, so I asked the florist to include a few protea, the national flower of South Africa, in my bouquet and in the décor. We also offered our guests iced South African rooibos tea before the ceremony, and used small South African animal figurines, which our wedding planner spray-painted gold, as place-card holders.

One of the craziest and most fun parts of our wedding was the log-cutting ceremony. Rory and I are both of German descent, so we researched German wedding traditions and discovered a ceremony in which the bride’s father and brothers fell a tree and the newly married couple saws through it together as their first obstacle in marriage. Rory and his dad cut down the tree together the day before the wedding, and my dad, brother, and cousins carried the log into the ceremony venue. The guests seemed to really enjoy the spectacle of the log cutting, and it was one of the most memorable moments from the day.


Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: White Loft Studio | Wedding Planning + Design: A Family Affair of Maine | Floral Design:Broadturn Farm | Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ dresses: JCrew | Caterering: Dandelion Catering | Makeup: Bride | Hair: Big Day Beauty | Lighting: The Event Light Pros | DJ: Dionne Entertainment| Band: Lay-Z Gait Trio | Groomsmen Ties: Liberty London | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire:The Black Tux | Venue: The Barn on Walnut Hill | Venue: The Barn on Walnut Hill | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Robe: BHLDN | Bridesmaids Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Event Rentals: One Stop Party Shoppe | Event Rentals: A Family Affair of Maine | Event Rentals : Heartwood Essentials | Invites:Stationery Bakery | Veil: Melinda Rose Designs | Wedding Cake / Desserts: Nothing Bakes Like A Parrott| Wedding Favors (macarons]: Nothing Bakes Like A Parrott

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Rustic Meets Modern Wedding at the Barn at Walnut Hill

This, my friends, is my dream wedding.  A modern meets rustic love-fest set against one of the prettiest locales you will ever see (I’m talking to you, Barn on Walnut Hill).  It’s chevron runners meets yummy goodness from Kitchen Chicks meets all sorts of awesome from Emily Carter Floral Designs, and it’s all wrapped up in one seriously amazing party.  See it all captured by Becca Wood right here.

Rustic Venue

From Becca Wood PhotographyMeaghan & Derek met in North Carolina where she was a newscaster for a local network. When they fell in love and Meaghan’s job took her to Maine (she now works as a newscaster for WMTW), Derek followed her up North, despite his love of the south and warmer weather. They have grown to love Portland over the past couple of years and thought Maine would be the perfect place to bring their families together to celebrate their wedding!

From the Bride… Our wedding day was overcast, when the weatherman promised sunshine. It was humid, when it was supposed to be dry. But all the unexpected surprises that day turned in to a perfect evening. Our wedding day was the perfect expression of who we are as a couple: romantic, fun and a little bit old fashioned. Best day ever!

Derek and I have spent the last three years learning about Maine and falling in love with all this state offers. We wanted to make sure our guests, the majority of whom were travelling to be here, understood what a beautiful, peaceful and rustic place it is. The Barn On Walnut Hill just had that vibe. It was elegant but tough, sophisticated and fun all at the same time. We knew it was perfect. The nature sanctuary out back was also such a breathtaking place for us to exchange vows.

Our ceremony included a reading of a letter from my grandparents who have been married for 60 years, had 11 kids, 15 grandkids and six great grandkids. They told us the secret to a lasting marriage is like baking a cake, the ingredients to which were understanding, compromise and patience. Derek and I wrote our own vows. I vowed to love him even when he cheats at Scrabble, he promised to love me when I get all “Type A” like I tend to. Hand-sewn, chevron fabric programs included a note to our guests. Each program was tied with a yellow ribbon like a little gift to our friends and families.

From the ceremony to the cocktails to the reception, each detail was meant to embody Maine’s rustic charm. Old blueberry boxes I found at a Rt. 1 Kennebunk antique store were used to serve champagne, each with fresh blueberries inside. Derek and I decided to have the inside of the barn draped and lit to soften it but still keep its integrity as a rustic, country space.

One of the favorite elements was the tablescape. Our colors: soft gray and white with pops of yellow was supposed to feel both feminine and masculine at the same time. Full white flowers: peonies, David Austen Roses and ranunculus contrasted against the grayish hues of the dusty miller in a clean white centerpiece. Yellow table numbers popped against the arrangements on a custom gray and white chevron runner. Modern, sleek bud vases with a white flower flanked the tables and a single crespedia ball graced each napkin with a menu. It was both modern and rustic; romantic and edgy all at the same time. I love the contradiction of it all – the contrast seemed to work so beautifully.

We did our best to make the day about romance and we wanted our guests to feel it. With twine, we tied tags with our stamped initials around mason jars. Inside the jars, guests could serve our specialty “Something Blue” cocktail made up of blueberry lemonade and vodka.

And speaking of little gifts, the Love Cupcake truck was a huge hit! We opted for cupcakes instead of a traditional cake. Being my favorite treat, we wanted to showcase the cupcakes in a way that highlighted them. The cupcake truck was that perfect fit! It was interactive and charming – with that vintage twist we were going for. Plus, we got a special moment to sneak out of the reception and enjoy the sweets together alone.

Ultimately, the goal of the day was to make each person feel our love for them and of course, have a seriously awesome party! Derek’s best friend Brian got up and played the banjo with the Bob Charest Band. Lobster mac and cheese and sliders kept the crowd going after dinner. Not to mention the Holy Donuts (a Maine specialty) and Maine’s official state treat, whoopie pies. All washed down with milk from a local farm in the classic glass bottles!

Above and beyond all of these details, I look back and remember, just simply, love.

Photography: Becca Wood Photography | Dress: Andrea's Bridal | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: Kitchen Chicks Catering | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Ceremony & Reception Site: The Barn on Walnut Hill | Cupcake Trailer: Love Cupcakes | Flowers & Design: Emily Carter Floral Designs | Music: Bob Charest Band

Maine Barn Wedding from Maine Seasons Events

Good morning lovelies, and Happy Valentine’s day to you! As you are settling at your desk with a piping hot cup of tea, just prepare yourselves for the simple elegance that surrounds this soiree. Lush bouquets by Flora Fauna, an intricate gown with tiny buttons down the back, and a pooch wearing his best bow tie. Maine Season Events transformed a simple barn into such a chic event, you almost don’t know where the line between elegant and rustic begins and ends. So before your day officially begins, visit the gallery to see gorgeous photographs captured by Meredith Perdue that are just filled with love and promise on this most romantic of days. Oh, and a film to top it off by  Zach Boyce.

From the Bride + Groom… We met at Sunrise Beach in Marshfield, MA. Our two families both share the tradition of summering there since childhood. Although we grew up in cottages on the same small street, it wasn’t until later on in life that we began making small talk with one another on the beach. During our courtship observers watched our beach chair gradually move closer and closer. Ironically, it’s the same scenario that [Jamie’s] parents met as children at the very same beach.

Our first date was at Alicia’s favorite restaurant called Pho Republic in the South End neighborhood of Boston. Unfortunately it’s no longer there, but we enjoyed their infamous tuna sashimi spring rolls and a few drinks. We than enjoyed live jazz at the Beehive. It was the perfect first date, we both were able to share our similar love for food and music.

We decided on Maine as a location for our fall wedding because we both have come to enjoy traveling to the Portland area during the fall season. Our first trip away together was a visit to Alicia’s family home in Oxford, ME, and we spent some time that weekend down in Portland exploring Old Port. We wanted our family and friends to experience a place that we look forward to revisiting every fall. As far as the Barn at Walnut Hill venue, the concept of a barn wedding seemed to provide us with the rustic charm we were looking for. While researching properties, we were lucky enough to uncover the beautiful property by virtue of Maine Seasons Events.

We incorporated a special candle lighting tradition from Alicia’s parish into the ceremony. Alicia’s Youth Minister also traveled from Florida to commence our marriage. The decorations incorporated symbolic anchors to represent hope amongst our family and friends. They were also their to represent Alicia’s sorority, Delta Gamma which her grandmother also was a member. Also we displayed a memory tree to celebrate and remember the close relationships of loved one’s whom have passed. Our advice is to begin conceptualizing early, but be open to changes and suggestions. Food and music selection is extremely important to make a most memorable time for your guests. Sweat the small stuff because those details can make all the difference at the end of the day.

Wedding Photography: Meredith Perdue / Wedding Venue: The Barn on Walnut Hill in North Yarmouth, Maine / Wedding Planning, Design, Props, Furniture + Chandeliers: Maine Seasons Events / Floral Design, Props + Furniture: Flora Fauna / Wedding Cinematography: Zach Boyce / Catering: Trillium Caterers / Wedding Stationery: Parrott Design Studio / Escort cards: Ellen O’Toole Calligraphy ( / Lighting: Event Light Pros ( / Rentals: One Stop Party Shop / Transportation: BoMar Transportation / Wedding Dress: Victoria Nicole via Country Weddings Bridal Boutique / Bride’s Shoes: Myla by Bandolino / Bride’s Jewlery: Haute Bride (Earrings) + Lisa Marie ‘s Boutique (Silver Side Comb with Swarovski Crystals) / Matron of Honor’s Attire: Colorblocked Gown Private Collection Dress + BHLDN (Belt) / Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell (Gold Printed Asymmetrical Polka Dot Chiffon Dress) + MANGO (Wrap Silk Dress with Embellished Belt) + JS Collection (Sequin Dress) + Adrianna Papell (Grey Sleeveless Lace Sheath Dress) / Bridesmaids’ Shoes: Vince Camuto (Renees Nude Patent Leather Heel) / Hair + Makeup: Akari / Groom’s Suit: BLACK by Vera Wang (Two Button Super) / Groomsmen Suits: BLACK by Vera Wang (Two Button Grey)

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