Not only am I in love with this sweet and whimsical backyard wedding, I totally want to be besties with this literary-loving bride. Inspired by the woods and her childhood dream of being a 19th century American Girl (love it), this bride created a day that was all about sentiment and nostalgia. And even though she planned her outdoor day in the middle of hurricane season, her dad up in heaven held off the rain until just minutes after the reception ended. (LOVE it!) Photography by Martha captured all the magic and you can see it all right here in the full gallery.

From the Bride… I have been visiting Allaire State Park in Farmingdale, New Jersey since I was a little girl. A part of me always secretly wished I could be an American Girl doll circa the 19th century and the historic chapel and village onsite of the park are totally representative of the era. This set the stage for what we wanted our wedding day to feel like; a little bit of nostalgia with hints of whimsy, woods, and soft colors.

My father passed away when I was 17 which made the wedding planning and wedding day bittersweet. The choice to hold the reception outdoors at the beginning of a hurricane season was a gamble but one of my bridesmaids continually reassured me that my father would never allow it to rain on my wedding day. Come the morning of the wedding, the weather was perfect. The sun was shining and the evening was ideal until about 5 minutes after the reception ended when it began to down pour. It was as if my father was telling me “This was the best I could do. I held off the rain until the very end.” It was one of the most emotional parts of the day.

Alex is in the Coast Guard and has a very unpredictable schedule so we knew that we needed to set a wedding date quickly and during a time when we knew he would be home. We set a date within a few weeks of being engaged and dove into seven months of all too quick planning. We knew that we didn’t want to break the bank or get married at a hotel ballroom or reception center, which left us with very few options here in New Jersey. The aesthetic that we felt most comfortable with from the beginning was a backyard-tented reception. At first, my mom wanted me to explore venue options but we quickly realized that there was nothing available in the area that suited our taste. Alex’s parents agreed to let us use their backyard for the reception and the vision of the wedding came easy from there.

Some of our favorite memories from the wedding took place before the actual wedding day. Our family and bridal party all pitched in to assemble flower arrangements, hang lights, place decorations, and even assemble a few last minute DIY projects. Alex’s mom grew zinnias and mums and made our pennant banners and table runners. Alex’s dad is a talented guitar player and was our ceremony musician. This made the wedding day even more meaningful to everyone involved. Everyone played an integral part.

Because of his enlistment in the Coast Guard, Alex was absent for half of the planning but I was still able to bounce ideas off of him through email. Luckily, we share the same taste in a lot of things so he was able to trust my judgment. I am a librarian and was able to add a few literary nods into the wedding without going overboard. The paper pinwheels were made from discarded maps and books from the library I work at and my save the dates and place cards were designed on an old school library card template. Alex decided to not wear his military uniform for the wedding but acknowledged his military connections by wearing red, white, and navy blue.

Wedding Photography: Photography by Martha | Ceremony Venue: Allaire State Park in Farmingdale, New Jersey | Reception Location: Private Residence in New Jersey | Officiant: Rev. Jill Dillner | Event Design: Bride + Groom’s Sister from Moody Lords | Floral Design: Petal Street Flower Company | Caterer: Shore Catering | Wedding Cake: the Bride | Cake Topper: ReadyGo | Ceremony Musician: Richard Hohowski, the Groom’s Father | DJ: DJ Kernsy (djkernsy1@yahoo.com) | Tent + Rentals: Omar the Tent Man | Decor: Save on Crafts | Bar Menu: Vintage Window Panes | Invitations: 3 Eggs Design | Wedding Paper Goods: DIY by the Bride | Pennant Banners + Table Runners: DIY by Groom’s Mother | Wedding Dress: Eden Bridals “1380″ | Sash: BHLDN | Headband: Amanda Judge Untamed Petals | Wedding Rings + Jewelry: Goldtinker | Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Guess + Anthropologie + Urban Outfitters + Modcloth + ASOS | Bridesmaid Clutches: J Carter Handmade | Groom’s Attire: Macy’s + J.Crew | Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan | Groomsmen: J.Crew | Hair: Alyssa Miller (missylysie2@yahoo.com) | Makeup: Marlena Singh from  Sally Duvall Makeup Artistry