A 500-Person Wedding Where Festival-Style Meets Garden Party Grace
May 18, 2016
Classic WeddingsRustic WeddingsReligious Institution
You would think a 500-person guest list would deter a Bride and Groom from any DIY projects, but that wasn't the case for Rebecca and Steve, who DIYed multiple elements of their boho garden party meets music festival-inspired wedding. And with Studio Elle Photography on hand to capture it all, The Vault is full of pretty inspiration — from loose, romantic florals to the pharmacist-inspired table names!
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From Studio Elle Photography...Rebecca & Steve are two of the most fun-loving, free-spirited couples that I've ever had the opportunity to work with. I was absolutely thrilled to be a part of their celebration! The weather was perfect for their tented outdoor garden party at Patterson's Fruit Farm. There wasn't a detail overlooked and so many personal touches were done by hand from the bride & groom.

After an afternoon church ceremony, we stopped at various spots around Cleveland for views of the skyline. Rebecca & Steve had so much fun with their wedding party while we made our way to Patterson's to finish off the day. While the couple and their 500+ guests danced and enjoyed the evening, the sun set behind the rolling hills and orchard. It was the perfect end to the most beautiful day!

From The Bride...With a guest list towering over five hundred, finding a wedding venue in Northeast Ohio was no easy task. When looking for a venue, we knew we wanted it to be unique. My husband Steven proposed to me at our third Bonnaroo together (a four-day-long, outdoor, hippie rave, music festival for those that aren't familiar), so having our wedding reception outdoors seemed like a natural extension of that free bird attitude, but finding the place to host us and dealing with what seemed like nearly every other opinion on how we needed a back up plan for weather (an August wedding in Cleveland? It could be snowing! It could be over 100 degrees!) was an additional feat. When I originally spoke with Patterson Fruit Farm, I was blessed to get ahold of a woman named Livia, who told me that they have never really tried anything like I was explaining before, but she was willing to pitch it to her boss and would get back to me. She was phenomenal throughout the planning process, and really alleviated a lot of potential bridezilla moments. Patterson's is a beautiful fruit market and farm located in Cuyahoga Country surrounded by Metroparks. On our wedding day, it was 72 degrees without a cloud in the sky, so we never needed that back up plan! We stuck with a color of ivory, blush, gold, and forest green. Our overall style vision was garden-themed/ festival/ bohemian.

Our ceremony was held at Saint James Catholic Church in Lakewood, Ohio. Our uncles concelebrated the ceremony, which was very special for both of our families (although two Catholic priests marrying their niece and nephew means a very long mass for a our guests!!). When we left the church, our guests were given pill vials that were filled with capsules to throw at us! These were all hand-filled at what we liked to call "wedding work nights," where we would work for a few hours a night on wedding crafts. The capsules were filled with sugar that was dyed gold and pale pink. Other items that we worked on during wedding work nights were custom water bottles, where we removed all labels from water bottles and added new labels in our wedding colors, and sparkler packages. The sparklers were pretty tedious. It included adorning a four-foot-long sparkler with a mini lighter and hand-stamped label that was also hand "antiqued" with paint. All lighting was done by family, which included bistro lighting throughout the 100 x 80 foot twin peak tent and chandeliers throughout the farm. A sprig of lavender was hand tied with twine to every seating placement. Guests were seated at tables that were named after drug names, since both my husband and I are pharmacists. Since our reception was at an apple farm, fresh apple cider was served throughout the night, both with and without bourbon! For the kids, flavored soda pop was available as well as glow sticks, which the kids ended up taping to themselves and running around the farm -- we got some really good photos from that. My something old was a handkerchief that my grandmother carried on her wedding day, my something blue was a hand-stitched cross from my grandmother, and my something borrowed was Steve's grandmother's engagement ring. The bridal party went to the Cleveland Browns stadium to play a little pick up game of football which was a good time, too.

There were so many perfect moments. Steve, my husband, surprised me with our first dance by having our band learn our song (Home- Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros) and he serenaded me during a part of the song which was really special and unexpected. I thought it was very special to have both of our uncles marry us. Our wedding day, August 22, is also his parents anniversary, which I think is very special.

AND I CANT FORGET ABOUT THE VENDORS!! So many of our vendors played a huge role in making our day a success. The bridal bouquet was hand tied with roses, dahlias, white stock, snow on the mountain, white veronica, and lisianthus with herbs, seeded eucalyptus, ruscus, and jasmine vine trailing. The bridesmaid bouquets were mismatched to complement the bridal bouquet. Fresh floral crowns were worn by the bride, bridesmaids, and mother of the groom! Long tables with ivory tablecloths and gold-rimmed china were accented with garland centerpieces. Seasonal locally grown flowers and foliages were also scattered throughout the guest tables, cookie table, and candy bar. Gold candelabras were also adorned with floral arrangements throughout the tables. Our cake, by Hummingbird Bake Shop, was a 4-tier "naked" white cake with buttercream frosting, fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries) between layers, each tier with 3 layers. It was the most delicious cake we have ever had! Our invitations were hand drawn by a friend who perfectly captured our personalities onto paper. I wore two of the most GORGEOUS gowns on the day of my wedding -- for the ceremony, Something White provided with me "Rosemary" by Amy Kuschel and for the reception I wore "Kensington" by Carol Hannah. The Grammy-nominated musician Alex Meixner Band was the entertainment for the reception with DJ Earl carrying guests into the early hours of the morning at the after party. This meant that guests of all ages danced the night away -- with a variation of polka throughout dinner BUT probably the most unique polka band you would ever hear considering they played "Enter Sandman" on the accordion. Guests were able to take home travel CDs, flower crowns, flip flops, light up drink cubes (activated when placed in a cold drink), candy bag, and cookie bag. The cookie table is a tradition from my Youngstown family. At our wedding, we had over 5,000 cookies. My grandmother's friends helped her over a two-month period to make sure we had enough cookies -- and they all went! Immediately following the traditional reception was a sparkler sendoff directly to the after party which went to 3:30 in the morning. At the after party, we served my husband's and my favorite foods -- pizza, green grapes, blueberries, wheat thins, chocolate almond milk, cheez-its, and kettle cooked potato chips and dip!

Honestly, after having an outdoor reception, there is so much more that I know now that I didn't know then! What do we do with garbage, are we recycling, what about glassware, how many bottles of water do we need, what about bathrooms, what about security, what about noise, what about ice, what about power, and on and on! I would change nothing, but I really did not realize the work that needed to be put in. We created every single detail of this wedding from the ground up. It was a ton of work, and with the exception of Livia at Patterson's (who doesn't consider herself a wedding planner although I would beg to differ!) we did it all ourselves. It was so nice to hear so many of our friends and family tell us that our wedding was the best party they have ever been to when it was by far the best day of my life!