There are so many details to love about this whimsical ranch wedding, it’s tough to know exactly where to begin. From the bride’s gown and Emma Katzka headpiece, to the sprawling natural scenery, to the family style reception set aglow by hundreds of candles…it’s a fairytale day if I ever saw one and we’re only just getting started. More this way from the lens of Shannon Moffit.
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From Shannon Moffit Photography… Justine and Zach are the kind of couple you can’t help but love! Their wedding was a perfect reflection of them, simple with an elegant flair. The two were married on a private ranch in Virginia, against a view of woodland mountains that seem to be painted on the horizon. The layers of Justine’s Sarah Seven gown danced in the wind as they said their vows, and her organic bouquet with shades of purple, made for a lovely color pop against the dark greens around us. The reception was one of the most unique I have experienced. Guests sat “family style” and dined solely by the glow of hundreds of candles; it was perfectly intimate!
From the Bride… Zach and I were first introduced by a mutual friend while attending Southern Illinois University. I was a bit of an introvert and highly focused on obtaining a suitable enough GPA to grant me admission into graduate school, while Zach was busy making the most of his college experience (wink, wink). Unsure at first, Zach soon won me over with his silly sense of humor and his easy-going nature, and I slowly converted him to a guy who preferred “Netflix & Nap” over that night’s college rager.
Five years, six moves and three cats later… Zach proposed to me while we were alone on the beautiful beach of Fort De Soto. After the initial shock wore off, the reality of planning a large wedding sunk in. While we lived down in Florida, most of our family lived in Illinois, so the first task was deciding where we would tie the knot. Travel would be required for at least half of our family no matter the state, so when one of Zach’s relatives’ offered up her retired horse ranch in the gorgeous rolling hills of Northern Virginia we jumped at the opportunity!
Zach and I are both pretty laid-back, with a style that I would describe as organic and minimalistic. Northern Virginia is stunningly beautiful, so we didn’t want loud colors or unnecessary bells and whistles taking away from the beauty of the countryside! Dove grey and gold were the perfect colors for our neutral affair, and we welcomed the soft yellow, orange, and red tones that came with the changing leaves of fall (our favorite season).
The bridesmaids wore a variety of convertible Jenny Yoo dresses, which perfectly accented the gold embroidered appliqué flowers in my Sarah Seven gown. We added pops of eggplant and lavender to the floral arrangements to honor my grandmother, who has always loved the color purple. The ceremony took place overlooking the horse pastures under a simple, but elegant structure lined with greenery and a beautiful banner. The wind was strong that day, but it made for the most beautiful movement with our chiffon dresses! The same mutual friend that introduced us, officiated our wedding, which made the ceremony so much more intimate for Zach and I. After the ceremony, the guests were moved inside a tent to enjoy a cocktail hour with hot apple cider – the perfect fall treat!
For the reception, tapered candles and loose greenery were used to decorate the beautiful farm tables that lined the barn from front to back – helping us set a comfortable, “family style” tone. Injectable donut holes made for the perfect dessert, and after dinner was served, the guests moved into the tent for dancing! The top and side panels of the tent were translucent, allowing guests to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without having to endure the frigid cold temperatures that evening!
In retrospect, our wedding was perfectly us – simple yet elegant. We could not have pulled it off without the help of our amazing event designer and stylist, Luxe and Luna Couture Events, and our fabulous photographer, Shannon Moffit Photography! These “friendors” helped us take our fragmented visions and make them cohesive and practical. While they took care of the heavy lifting, Zach and I were able to enjoy our day and the precious time with our beloved friends and family. We are so thankful!
Photography: Shannon Moffit Photography | Event Planning: Luxe and Luna Couture Events | Floral Design: Petals and Hedges | Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven, Practically Perfect | Cake: Sweetz Bakery | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Tri-Spring Farm Catering | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Alexis Janney | Hair: Kirsten Marie Design | Calligraphy: Letterlyn Studio | Groom's Attire: Vera Wang | Venue: Family Horse Ranch | Film Lab: PhotoVision Prints | Headpiece: Emma Katzka Bridal | Rentals: Something Vintage Rentals