Beautiful photos of fun details are incredibly inspiring, but we’re always so tickled when a couple goes above and beyond just sharing their photos, and shares details of their ceremony and their budget – knowing the specifics of how someone else did it can make planning so much easier! Big thanks to Heather and Brady for sharing their full wedding ceremony and their budget breakdown (in addition to their gorgeous photos!).
“We had our dog, Nicholas, walk down the aisle with Brady,” says Heather. “We weren’t sure how this would work out, but he is generally a very calm dog so we went for it. I had seen him and Brady before the ceremony for photos so he got his excitement out then and when he got to the altar area he immediately made himself comfortable, laying down in the grass, and watching as the bridesmaids and then my Dad and I walked down the aisle. He didn’t get up or pull away, he just lied there watching intently. When everyone was in place and the ministers started speaking, he stretched out behind Brady and went to sleep! At one point in the ceremony, the ministers mentioned him, and Brady and I turned around to see him sound asleep behind us and we, along with everyone else, started laughing. He was a perfect four-legged groomsman and it made us so happy to have him there with us.”
Your ceremony in three words. Thoughtful, Personal, Happy.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? Brady’s aunt and uncle were our ministers. They had married his two older siblings already and we knew they were the perfect choice for us as well. The ceremony and sermon were so much more personal and we were more relaxed in their presence. They sent us their basic wedding template with two variations on the ritual, as well as some recommended readings common for weddings. We used one scripture reading from their list, and chose one that is not as commonly used in weddings (Ruth 1:16-17), but we thought the words and sentiment fit our lifestyle perfectly. We also chose to add two non-scripture readings that were perfect for the occasion and they obliged, even including one as a basis for the sermon. We decided to combine our own personal written vows with traditional vows and they turned out perfectly.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The vows, easily! Brady and I wrote our own but followed the same format so that the personal words and promises were a surprise to each other, but we also knew we were on the same page. We started with a brief history and a few kind words, then on to personal promises, and then we added the traditional vows. We each ended with “It was always you, [Brady/Heather]. It will always be you.” The last line was something I wrote down soon after we got engaged and knew I had to have in my vows. I couldn’t help sharing it with Brady and he wanted to use it too. It perfectly wrapped up our vows and tied them together.
“Brady and I met in high school in 2001. We went to Brady’s senior prom together and then parted ways as he went off to college and then started a career in the Navy, while I went on to nursing school. But we always kept in touch and met up every year for dinner around Christmas when he was in town. In 2009 our dinner together felt different and I wondered why I kept letting him go. After that we started to talk daily. He was living in Mississippi and I was living in Massachusetts. I made my first trip to visit him in April 2009 to see if it was more than friendship (it was!) and eventually moved to live by him in February 2010. Since then, we’ve lived in four states (and are moving again at the end of this year). Needless to say, our wedding was a long time coming and we enjoyed every last second. We spent the night on the dance floor. Our feet hurt, my gown was filthy, my hair was a mess. The first thing we did when we got back to our room was sit on the edge of the tub and soak our poor feet while eating the snacks that our caterer left for us! Despite the stress and anxiety a wedding can bring, we’d do it again in a heartbeat. It was that good.”
Your ceremony in three words. SO MUCH FUN!
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? A vintage crystal decanter! It was the first piece I saw that set in motion the rest of our plans. I was over-inspired, if that’s possible, by magazines, blogs and Pinterest and my head was spinning with all the possibilities and color schemes and themes available. When I saw the crystal decanter, my brain slowed down a little and started thinking about how I could incorporate it. From there, everything else started to fall into place: a loose theme of “Elegant Barn Wedding” and colors, flowers, decor all started falling into place.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Chickens, newborn goats, sheep, wild turkeys, a garden full of peonies, lilac trees. It’s so hard to choose one reason why the farm appealed to us! Every inch of Mount Hope Farm is charming and beautiful, when we first visited it felt like we stumbled into a dream. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding in New England and it perfectly fit the bill and truly felt like us. We were able to rent every room on the farm and have most of our family stay there as well, turning our wedding weekend into a perfect family getaway.
Signature Cocktail: Cucumber Margarita with a Tajin Rim // Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Mini Lobster Rolls / Deviled Eggs / Shrimp Cocktail Shots / Goat Cheese Rounds / Mini Lamb Chops // Starter: Ceasar Salad // Main Course: Delmonico Grille Marinated Ribeye Steak with Red Onion Balsamic Marmalade and Cabernet Au Jus, served with Yukon Potato Wedges, and Broccolini with Red Peppers / Pan Seared Local Scallops with Sundried Tomato Chardonnay Cream, served with Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Scallions, and Vegetable Batons / Wild Mushroom Ravioli // Dessert: Various Miniature Sweets / Cotton Candy / Chocolate Wedding Cake
Reception Entrance Song: Happy by Pharrell Williams
First Dance Song: A Little More You by Little Big Town
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Hearing Brady’s vows sits very high on the list. Also, looking up at my dad when the song for us to walk out to came on and laughing our way down the aisle between tears. The nervous feeling in my gut watching from an inside window as seats started to fill up and then noticing that close friends who we didn’t think would make it were there! The pure joy I felt during our first dance and singing every word of the song to each other. So many good thoughts, I can’t choose!
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We actually decided to forego a lot of traditions for our wedding. Brady serves in the U.S. Navy and it is a huge part of our lives but we didn’t want it to define our wedding, so we left the uniforms, swords, and traditions at home and instead hung a huge American Flag above the fireplace, a simple but bold nod to our life and our country. We also skipped the church wedding, saw each other throughout the day before the wedding, and spent cocktail hour with our guests instead of off taking photos.
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. Instead of a traditional guest book, we opted for something we could hang on our wall and see daily. I designed a Quaker style marriage certificate, which we had everyone sign as witnesses to our vows that day. // My great uncle Ernie played a few songs on the accordion for us during dinner! // At the bottom of our menus it read “No chickens were harmed in the making of this meal.” (We raise chickens at home for eggs and entertainment!)
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Sneak away for a few private moments together sometime after the ceremony to take it all in! We did this during the salad course of dinner and got a second to talk to each other as well as a few great pictures as the sun was going down without an audience. Also, focus on your groom and smile as you walk down the aisle! It helped to keep me from being overwhelmed by all of the people watching. My dad and I cracked a few jokes to laugh through the tears and then made our way down to Brady with big smiles on our face. // Eat something before the wedding and save a snack for after it. Also, don’t drink too much; you’ll want to remember this night!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? I cannot explain enough how great it was to see each other before the ceremony and going to take photos. We had a private few moments to take it all in and calm our nerves. It didn’t take away from walking down the aisle AT ALL. I was still in tears and my heart was racing as we made our way to my groom. Then we got to spend an extra hour with family and friends on the beautiful grounds, enjoying the hors d’oeuvres and drinks we spent so much time planning! Also, I recommend that you practice bustling your dress with your bridesmaids beforehand. It took a bit longer than we hoped and wasn’t quite done right, but it worked out in the end!