Now that the year is coming to a close, we thought it would be fun to share our top fifteen weddings of the year with you! We’re so grateful for our sweet brides & grooms who shared their stories with us. Our BEST OF 2016…
Photography by Ashley Cox.
From the bride’s baby’s breath floral crown to the groom’s relaxed get up, complete with suspenders, this wedding has so many sweet Southern touches. Even better, this couple have shared their full Christian Ceremony Script and budget breakdown with us. Be sure to read on to find out how they pulled off their rustic, romantic day.
“I had found designer Christy Dawn‘s dresses online and fell in love with them, and could not have been happier when she came out with her wedding dresses. Both of my dresses were made from rescued deadstock fabric that was left over by other fashion brands/houses. I loved that the dresses were not only beautiful but sustainably made.”
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We knew we wanted to find a venue that we could have both our ceremony and reception at, and we wanted our ceremony to be outside. After seeing photos of Big Spring Farm online, we already knew we loved it and after visiting it in person that love just grew. It was the first venue we visited, the only venue Evan ever visited and it was always our first choice.
Your ceremony in three words. Simple, relaxed, casual.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? The pastor from the church Kaitlyn grew up going to in Palmyra, PA officiated. We chose him because we were familiar with him and he knew us as a couple.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We wanted to keep the ceremony simple and relatively quick. We met with our pastor on two separate occasions to plan what all we would say and the readings we could include. Neither of us wanted an overly religious ceremony so we took out some prayers and readings our pastor had in his outline. We specifically took out anything that stated marriage was joining a man and woman or between a woman and a man, because for us, marriage is about love – no matter the gender. Writing our own vows was important to both of us because we really wanted to personalize that part of the ceremony to tell each other what the other meant to us.
What were your ceremony readings? We wanted out reading to be relatively short and not overly religious, so we chose 1 Corinthians 13.
What were your vows like? We chose to write our own vows because we wanted that personal aspect to our ceremony. The ‘vows’ we wrote were more like our messages to each other. We also included the traditional vows because even though we wanted to have that personalized component, our messages didn’t necessarily make those same pledges to each other that the traditional vows do, so that’s why we included both.
Read Kaitlyn & Evan’s full Christian ceremony script here.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Reading our vows to each other was probably the best and most emotional part. Kaitlyn got caught up when she talked about her dad (who passed away in 2012) in the beginning of her message to Evan. And simply looking at each other when we were reading what we wrote and seeing the look on the other’s face was a very moving moment for both of us.
What was your ceremony music? We didn’t want to include any hymns. Instead we opted for more current music which we put together into a Spotify playlist. Songs included You Got Me by Gavin DeGraw, I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, Loving You Easy by the Zac Brown Band and All I’ve Ever Needed by Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald. These songs played as people came to the ceremony site and sat down. I walked down the aisle to the usual Here Comes the Bride, but it was the version by the Blue Claw Philharmonic. Once we kissed and were pronounced husband and wife, we walked down the aisle to How Sweet it is (To Be Loved By You) by James Taylor.
Can you believe these peonies? The blush, peach and lemon flowers are such a pretty choice for a warm spring day. A few sprigs of lavender add a sweet, traditional touch, perfect for a farm wedding.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding day? Evan and I truly wanted our wedding day to feel like a big get together for our family and friends. We put in our wedding invitations that our guests could wear whatever made them comfortable. Yes, it was our wedding day, but all of our friends and family traveled to for us and we wanted them to enjoy themselves too. Ensuring our guests had fun was really important to us.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We loved the barn because it was rustic without being too country. It had a more modern feel and the big barn doors that opened to the outside made the space feel bigger and more organic.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Kaitlyn’s mom, Connie, made so many things for us, including our save the dates and invitations. She made signs that had our wedding hashtag on them, table numbers and the seating chart. She also made a sign from burlap pennants that said ‘Mr. & Mrs.’, which hung from our bench at the head table. She’s very crafty and we took advantage of her skills to save money and add more personal elements to the ceremony and receptions. We also added a lot of vintage pieces including galvanized tubs for flowers, old shutters that were used for display purposes and vintage K and E letters that were placed in the barn.
How would you describe your reception? Rustic, organic, ethereal. I really wanted flowers everywhere, but my original vision was a bit out of our price range. We still had a lot of flowers and loose blooms that could be placed throughout the barn. Lori at Wild Green Yonder also made these amazing hanging florals (rattan spheres) that came down over our head table. We had a lot of games and activities to keep our guests busy during the reception and cocktail hour. Evan and I (with the help of my mom) put together a game for each table that featured numerous slightly obscure facts about each other, and our guests had to guess which facts belonged to which person. We also had marble games like tic-tac-toe and Chinese checkers for guests to play at their tables, as well as croquet, ladder ball and corn hole outside.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Evan left the majority of the wedding planning up to me and I spent a lot of time on Pinterest – typical, I know! I had a vision from the beginning of a very laid-back, casual, organic wedding with a lot of DIY elements. Neither of us are fancy people and we wanted our guests to have fun and be comfortable throughout the day. We put a lot of thought into that and ensuring that our guests wouldn’t be bored, which tends to happen when there is a lot of down time during the portrait sessions. That’s why we added the indoor and outdoor games. We weren’t inspired by any one thing or anyone else’s wedding in particular, but more by the outdoor, laid back wedding images and ideas we found online, and then mixed with some of our own ideas.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We went with a naked wedding cake because we don’t really like all the pizazz of an iced wedding cake and it just fit better with our rustic, organic reception vibe. Our baker Kay Pitts of The Little Apple Pastry Shop had actually never heard of a naked wedding cake when we asked her to make one, so she was excited to try something new. She also had never made a lavender cake before, so we really challenged her with our wedding cake. The wedding cake was small because we primarily wanted it for the cake cutting. For the main desserts we had mini pies and bitesized brownies. Our pie flavors were fruit basket (a mix of fruits), strawberry rhubarb, blackberry, apple jalapeno and pear cranberry ginger. The brownies were chocolate fudge, cheesecake and chocolate ganache.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? There were two pieces of advice that I found most beneficial. The first, to have a wedding coordinator (at least for the day of) because you want to be able to enjoy your special day and not have to worry about whether the vendors are arriving on time or if the tables are set up etc. Secondly, a coworker told me to hold onto Evan, because you’ll get pulled in so many directions by friends and family who want to talk to you and congratulate you, but you want to be able to spend time with and enjoy the entire night with your new husband. She said, if you need to, to even “link arms or something,” so that way you don’t get separated. I never actually linked arms with Evan, but we did try our best to be together for most of the night.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? Our first dance was to Russell Dickerson’s Yours (Wedding Addition). During it, Evan tried to spin me and ended up knocking off my floral crown which just went on to prove how dancing is not our thing, but it was a funny moment for everyone! We opted not to have a father/daughter or mother/son dance because my dad passed away in 2012. Evan knew it would be hard to have one dance and not the other, so we just chose to not have the extra dances.
In keeping with the thoughtful vibes of their wedding, Kaitlyn & Evan have decided to share their budget breakdown with us! For their day with 75 guests in Virginia:
TOTAL BUDGET: $30,000 (we only went slightly over)
VENUE – BIG SPRING FARM
Saturday license fee $6,400
Bridal Suite $500
LINENS / TABLEWARE
Linen rentals $426
Beer glasses $45
Wine glasses $50
FOOD / DRINK
Mini pies, brownies $426.50
Wedding cake $150
Dessert delivery $500
Invitation/Program materials $125
Vintage finds -$300
LED candles $560
Materials for handmade Mr. & Mrs. sign, table numbers etc $75
Popcorn favors $112
Wooden “This is how our story begins” sign $15
Ceremony snack bags $50
Earrings (Bride’s own) $0
Bow tie $15
Photography (including 10 hours of shooting with second photographer/assistant & engagement photos) $6,816.55
Sound system $265
GRAND TOTAL: $30,413.54
Kaitlyn says, “we had a budget of $30,000 that we wanted to try our best to stay under. My original idea for flowers was going to cost nearly $10,000, and though I would have loved to have had $10,000 worth of flowers for our wedding day we also had to put into perspective that this was just one day, and how much did we really want to spend for one day? Yes, we wanted it to be special, but it was also important to us to think about saving money for a honeymoon, a home, a pet etc. Some decisions we made to help us stick to budget? For one, we decided not to go on our honeymoon right away. Instead we will go to Iceland next spring. Also, when you are running low on cash, turn to DIY items because they save you quite a bit of money as well as adding that personal touch to your big day.”
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? To be honest, we both said that our wedding day was pretty perfect, so there’s nothing we would have changed.