Handpicked bouquets from her grandmothers garden. Invitations designed by her new sister. A dress made with love just for her. Sounds like the perfect mix of ingredients for a completely handmade wedding, doesn’t it? That is just what this Ohio wedding was – completely and totally DIY. Even the oh-so-talented Gina Leigh Photography is a sister to the groom. Make sure to save time for the wedding stories – both from Gina and from the beautiful bride – so you can fully appreciate just how much time, effort, and love went into creating this sweet, sweet wedding. You’ll be as floored as we’ve been since first laying eyes on this charmer. Click here for more!

From Gina Leigh PhotographyThe couple met long ago while they were in high school together, and they were great friends. Eventually the friendship turned to romance, and then quickly thereafter, to marriage!

The wedding was 100% DIY.  It was held at Rachel’s grandmother’s farm at the end of a long dirt road in the middle of the Ohio countryside. Rachel’s grandmother handmade her wedding dress out of cotton eyelet lace and Rachel handmade each one of her bridesmaid’s lovely yellow dresses. The suspenders were a throw back to the groom’s father who wore suspenders every day of his adult life until he passed away four years ago to cancer.

The design on the invitations was hand drawn by Hannah, the lovely bridesmaid with the bright red hair. Christian is an amazingly trained cook at a historic restaurant, The Malabar Farm Restaurant, who provided all the catering. If you look closely, you’ll notice that Christian’s fingers are tattooed with the words “LET’S EAT” appropriately. Everything had a purpose and was filled with meaning.

After Christian proposed, my mother asked, “What do you see when you close your eyes and imagine your wedding?” All I could come up with was sunshine and my bare feet. With that humble foundation, we planned a wedding that was simple and extremely personal – everything had meaning for us.

Every single person involved was either family or close friend; the photos, food, music, flowers, outfits, even our officiant. Everything was touched by people who knew us personally. My grandmother, who has made dozens of prom dresses and ballet costumes throughout the years, sewed my beautiful ceremony gown, and I sewed all of my bridesmaids’ dresses. My reception dress was purchased at Mad4Mod after I swooned over it for months.

All in all, the planning was amazingly easy. We were married “beneath the walnut tree”, as our invitations, designed by my new sister-in-law Hannah, said, at my grandparents’ beautiful home. My bridesmaids and I made our bouquets and boutonnieres the day before with flowers from their garden – which I found very relaxing.

Every detail was in place, and Christian’s sister Gina (a phenomenal wedding photographer) somehow made everything look even more charming than it was. My grandfather, who so lovingly said prayer over the food in his West Virginian accent, noted that he and my grandmother, Eloise, would be married fifty years the following week, making the day even more special.

Our first act as a couple was taking communion. It was very important to us. We wanted to show our commitment to our faith and to each other. For our first dance, our good friend Renae sang and played guitar. Her voice is magical. Time absolutely stopped, and we were lost in each other.

Catering: Malabar Farm Restaurant / Photography: Gina Leigh Photography / Cake & Dessert: Malabar Farm Restaurant / Bride’s Wedding Gown: DIY / Bridesmaid Dresses: DIY / Floral: DIY / Bride’s Reception Dress: Mad4Mod