If you were to Google “rustic elegance” these photos by The Reason I Love should pop right up. I Do Events combined the two distinct styles to a tee, mixing the Bride’s family farm with a beautiful tent overflowing with white and blush florals. Elegant but not boring, stunning but not stuffy, this is my type of soiree and I’ll be in this gallery, taking notes for my own nuptials, long after lunchtime.
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From The Bride… I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia my whole life. Since the age of two, my family had a farm in Highlands, North Carolina where my parents took us to get away from the city life. Whenever I thought about where I would want to get married, I knew it would either be Atlanta or Highlands. I watched my friends from home get married in big churches and country clubs. But when the time came and I got engaged, I knew a big city wedding wasn’t for me. I wanted to get married beneath the scenery of grand mountains surrounded by the greenery of the trees and blue skies above. I was never one with a great sense of style, so getting married in a place that was beautiful all by itself sounded perfect to me. I am the youngest of five children, and my mother always made it clear that she felt strongly about us getting married in churches. So I knew that one day I would be married in a small church in town, and then have my reception at the beautiful place that had been so special to me my whole life. This, I thought, was what I wanted to welcome my wedding guests into. This, I thought, was love and joy. Another thing I knew when I got engaged was that I wanted a fall wedding. North Carolina is stunningly beautiful in the fall, with vibrant colors of red, orange, yellow, orange, and every shade in between. The weather is unbeatable, with most days in the low 70s with a cool, crisp, clean mountain breeze. So that about sums it up: I knew I wanted to be married in a small church it town, followed by a reception on the farm I’d grown up on, in the state I had known as home for half my life, and in a season where heaven never felt closer.
Three unique details that was infused into my décor were:
1. Beauty in Nature – Like aforementioned, I wanted to get married at a place that was beautiful in its own rite. We chose to get married in the afternoon so that our guests would get to enjoy part of the reception with daylight. After making most of our guests drive a good distance, I wanted them to all be able to see and take in the place that was so special to me and worth driving for. Because of this, we spread out the reception in such a way that I hoped guests would get to see varying angles of the farm. The guests arrived and walked through the lower valley through candles in wine bottles, crossed the creek that runs through the farm over a bridge, past the garden where the last of the summer harvest was, and into the cocktail hour. During the cocktail hour, guests could drink and eat while taking in all the beauty around them. From there, guests moved farther across the farm, through a lighted arbor, into the valley where the main reception tent was. We intentionally faced the tent so that it faced the creek. Elizabeth of I Do Events likes to incorporate the five senses into every event and wanted our guests to not only see all the beautiful sights around them, but also hear all of the sounds. The fun part about having a reception start at 530 and end at 1030 was that guests got to see the farm with daylight and at night. Once the sun went down, lighting was set up to illuminate certain features of the farm. One such thing was lights around the rope swing near the swimming pond. Thus, by simply highlighting features of the farm and allowing the sunlight to run its course, I feel our guests got a full spectrum of experiences on the farm that day.
2. Romance – I always knew I wanted a wedding with an ethereal feel to it. I wanted the decor to be soft, lovely, and romantic. As mentioned before, i wanted our guests to walk away feeling the love Dan and I have together as well as the special love we have for the farm. I really just told Elizabeth and Paul of Rooms in Bloom my color palate and gave them the liberty to design the wedding. We used a soft color palette to communicate a romantic feel. All the flowers were light pinks, peach, and white. The farm has always been a very peaceful place, so we wanted to use colors and decor that alluded to that peace.
3. Elegance and Sophistication – Though I opted out of a black tie city wedding, I still wanted the wedding to be elegant with details of sophistication. The key was striking the right balance of sophistication at a farm. My team executed this perfectly, with satin tablecloths, mercury glass, crystal chandeliers, and a white dance floor. I wanted a country club look in the setting of a farm valley. There were little touches like draping the ceiling of the tent that I think helped give the reception a lot of sophistication and elegance.
My most memorable moment was about midway through the reception. Dan and I were on the dance floor having the time of our lives. There’s a moment where time froze and I just looked around the dance floor at all of our guests dancing. It was in that moment I noticed how packed our dance floor was and how much fun our guests were having. That ultimately is what brides want and what I wanted – for our guests to enjoy themselves. We handed out Dan + Sarah sunglasses and, more importantly, light up tambourines that people just LOVED. Watching others enjoy themselves was such a memorable gift I will never forget.
Our first dance was to a song called “God Gave Me You” by Dave Barnes. Dave Barnes is a good friend of our family’s who I had actually tried to get to come to the wedding to sing live. Meeting my husband Dan was the greatest gift which I will forever be grateful for.
One thing to note was the bourbon bar. The bourbon bar was a huge hit. My husband’s family is partly from Kentucky, and are thus bourbon enthusiasts. We have a playhouse in the valley at the farm that we thought would be fun to surprise Dan with a bourbon bar. I consulted a couple of his guy friends for types of bourbon and recipes and we ended up with the following: 1792, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, Angel’s Envy, and Maker’s Mark. The drinks available at the bourbon bar were mint julips, whiskey sours, old fashioned, and manhattans. Elizabeth of I Do Events had a sign made to go over the doorway that said “Dan’s Bourbon Bar.” We had the bar setup with two barrels and a wooden top and a handsome man in a tux making all the drinks behind the bar. With 25 bottles of bourbon, the bourbon bar was busy all night and shut down early.
There were a couple of things we did ourselves. My sister had gotten married at the farm three years before and had some letters made out of large wooden sticks and covered in lights that spelled JOY. She had propped them up on the valley hill. I chose to hang them from the barn.
I had my something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Old was I had one of my recently deceased grandmother’s handkerchiefs wrapped around my bouquet. I was named after her so I wanted her to represented. My father also passed away when I was two. I had one of his ties and part of my mom’s veil sewn into the under layer of my dress. New was my wedding dress, veil, earrings and shoes were all new. Borrowed and blue was I wore my mom’s original wedding band on my right hand at the wedding. It is a white gold band with sapphires and diamonds.
Photography: The Reason I Love | Event Planning: I Do Events | Floral Design: Rooms In Bloom | Wedding Dress: Joan Pillow Bridal | Wedding Cake: Lydia Clopton Cakes | Church: First Presbyterian Church Of HIghlands | Catering: Lee Epting | Lighting: Get Lit Special Event Lighting | Venue: Farm | Rentals: Professional Party Rentals